LOST: No “Substitute” for Locke

by Sarah Carbiener

I was first inspired to watch Lost by hearing someone recount a Locke (Terry O’Quinn) episode from the first season. After getting the play-by-play of the first Locke-centric episode, where he tries to go on his walkabout, I knew I had to watch this show. Six seasons later, he is still the main reason I keep tuning in. After the shocking reveal at the end of last season, I’m very happy the character and the actor are getting the treatment they deserve.

The biggest difference between this week’s episode and last week’s is obviously that the “flashbacks” were so much more meaningful. They were entirely believable and, even though there were no guns or fugitive shenanigans, everything felt like it mattered more. Even when Locke has nothing left to lose, as is often the case, he still fights like he has everything at stake.

I find that in episodes where the writers don’t heavily broadcast what they’re trying to get across or what they may or may not reveal (unlike episodes where Jack demands answers over and over again) are the most riveting. This week, it’s never entirely clear what exactly we’re going to figure out by episode’s end, and so when we do learn something new, the impact is that much greater.

Locke episodes are great, but man, are they exhausting. Watching him struggle against the terrible hand life has dealt him over the course of an hour really takes it out of me. I sit there, tense, willing good things to happen for him and they almost never do.

Locke makes it worth renting Season 1 and starting the whole series from the beginning. But if you’re going to do that, you’d best catch up before the series finale in May. I’m guessing spoilers will be even more rampant than the spoilers for the final Harry Potter book.

What did you think of this episode? Were you exhausted like I was afterwards?

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Jimmy
    February 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I totally agree. The first Locke episode in season 1 is what made me spend all kinds of time and money on the show. Terry O’Quinn is so brilliant. I’d watch that man read the dictionary.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Welcome to PCN, Jimmy. I think that first Locke ep ranks as one of the best in the entire series. Have you ever seen O’Quinn in the original The Stepfather?

      • Reply
        Jimmy
        February 17, 2010 at 3:49 pm

        Thanks! And I have not!

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    February 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    It’s on my DVR to watch, but I agree with you that Terry O’Quinn remains the reason to watch the show. But, then again, it’s because I believe him as an actor not because of the story line.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Not to diminish him as an actor, but I also think it’s the story line with his character. Of all the back stories on the show, I think they handle his and Sun and Jin’s the best.

  • Reply
    ARB
    February 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Don’t know if you know this, but Terry O’Quinn was the original Stepfather in the movie of the same name. He had hair back then, but now looks more trustworthy sporting the bald dome. LOL!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      I don’t think I could handle O’Quinn with hair. I can’t separate him from his bald head. I would follow that cue ball to the ends of the earth.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      His Stepfather performance was SO creepy! It’s what first made me aware of him.

      He’s lucky that he’s one of the few men who can really rock the bald look.

  • Reply
    Poncho
    February 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I also think Locke-centric episodes are some of the strongest: Walkabout and the first great island mystery, Orientation and the freaking video, Lockdown and that amazing Ben-Locke showdown… and I can go on.

    Yet, as you wrote, Sarah, those episodes are very exhausting, specially when you’re a Lostie and you want to unravel the secrets and mythology: they reveal so much and then leave many new questions unanswered.

    Anyway, WTFH!!!! The ep was A-mazing!!!

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