Thursday, April 2, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, episode 14, Special

"I think Walt should be allowed to realize his potential."
Events: Michael is challenged by the demands of parenting willful Walt, and resents Locke's connection with his son. After witnessing Michael's frustrated reactions to Walt running off, Hurley suggests that Michael hates being a father but through flashbacks, Michael is shown to have been very devoted during Walt's early years. Susan Lloyd, Walt's mother and Michael's ex, took a series of jobs that kept Walt away from Michael, and eventually persuades him to relinquish his custody over his son so her new husband, Brian, can adopt him. Later, when Walt is living in Australia with Susan and Brian, Susan dies from complications of a blood disorder and Brian discloses to Michael that he can't be the boy's father, that there's something different about him.

On the island, John Locke's interactions with Walt are respectful and kind but cross the line once Locke and Boone start involving him in knife-training exercises. Michael insists that Locke stay away from Walt and Locke agrees, but both men eventually put aside their differences and work together to save him once Walt runs off and gets cornered in a tree by a polar bear. After Walt is safe and back in the caves, Michael softens toward him and gives him a box of letters Susan had kept hidden from Walt over the years. At the episode's conclusion, Claire emerges from a thicket of trees and collapses in Locke's arms.

Greater Meaning: As Michael is the only parent on the island, he's the only one that has someone he's directly responsible for (as opposed to Jack or Locke, who are less directly responsible for others through medical care or providing food). The island carries its own risks for a commonsense adult, but for a child hell-bent on defying his father, the risks are even greater and unpredictable. On the surface Michael appears to be rigid and obtuse compared with the rest of the adults, but as a father, he's just trying to keep his son safe and under careful watch.

"A penguin with a sunburn?" 
Locke's connection with Walt isn't that of a father and a son; Locke has experienced ablism as shown through flashbacks where he was confined to a wheelchair, and with Boone, he seems to have an understanding of the island that no one else has. His interest in Walt seems less paternal and more specific, for all the referencing of Walt's "special" abilities that happens, Locke seems to realize more about it than anyone does and this realization (as with Charlie's drug detoxification, as with Boone's disentanglement from Shannon) seems linked to Locke's own role as a leader on the island.

Further Questions:

1. Will Walt and Michael become closer?
2. Will Michael continue building a raft with Walt?
3. Will John and Michael bond over Walt?
4. How many polar bears are on the island and why are they there?
5. What special abilities does Walt have?
6. Are Claire and the baby all right?