Friday, April 4, 2008

"Lost" Friday: what to make of Walt?

Note: With "Lost" inexcusably on hiatus until the end of the month, I intend to spend the next few Fridays pontificating about mysterious characters we don't fully understand. Hopefully, it will be enlightening. Odds are it won't be, but a man can dream.

Another note: As always, if you are interested in watching the show and don't want anything spoiled for you, STOP READING RIGHT NOW. I MEAN IT. SOMETHING IN THE POST BELOW COULD SPOIL THE SHOW FOR YOU, SO STOP IT. I SWEAR TO GOD.

At this point in the bizarre saga of the mysterious island and the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, the one passenger who baffles me the most is Walt Lloyd. Why is this interesting? Because Walt has been given very few lines, virtually disappeared from the show after the finale to Season 1 ... and he's 10 years old.

Stand by for a doctored version of Walt's last big moment on the show ...

Here are the things we know about Walt, in order:
• He's Michael's son, even if he barely knew Michael for most of the first part of his life.
• He's (apparently) back in New York, living with his grandmother.
• He's got some form of supernatural ability.

And it's that last bullet about him that has me thinking he could become an important figure in the show, eventually. Since being captured by The Others in the video above, he (or, at least, his image) has appeared to two different characters on the show — to Shannon (shot to death while chasing him) and Locke (about to commit suicide before Walt shows up and tells him he has "work to do"). What do those two encounters have to do with one another? I have no idea.

In the flesh, Walt appears to be equally confounding. We know, for example, that he terrified his step-dad, Brian, who basically begged Michael to take him off his hands — one could, I suppose, blame the natural disconnect that occurs between children and their step-parents, but Brian seemed genuinely afraid of Walt, possibly owing to the flashback we got to see where Walt appeared to have some hand in the death of a bird.
Two other episodes give some insight into the child's character: one, in which it's revealed Walt burned Michael's raft, explaining to Locke, "I like it here." (Interestingly, Walt and Locke become fast friends in Season 1, beginning when Locke teaches him to play backgammon — both, it seems, have their love of the island in common.) In a subsequent episode, Walt touches Locke's hand, then abruptly warns him not to open the hatch — significant because, of course, at that point in the story, only Locke and a handful of others had any idea the hatch was even there.

In Walt's character description linked above, there's one other instance where we get to see Walt, described thusly:
In a mobisode it is revealed that at some point after he was taken off the raft, Walt was held in Room 23 at the Hydra compound by the Others. Walt posed a greater threat to them than they expected, as he had been doing something unspecified that frightened them so that they would not go in to see him. Ben responded to a particular situation with a blaring alarm and people in commotion, and Juliet suggested that Ben take responsibility and bring Walt back to Michael. Ben refused, saying Jacob wanted him there, and that Walt is important and special. After Ben denied Walt's dangerous nature, Juliet took him outside to show what Walt had done: a group of dead birds were lying on the stairwell beneath a boarded up window.
23, it should be noted, is one of Hurley's evil "numbers."

In Walt's only other appearance on the show, he briefly reveals to Michael that the Others had been "experimenting" on him, before being dragged away. And that's pretty much his last significant line up until now.

So, what to make of Walt? He's obviously unnaturally gifted in some fashion, really likes the island — where he's not at the moment, it seems — and has popped up twice, once leading someone to death and another time bringing someone back to life.
And honestly? I have no idea. Were The Others attempting to harness his power when he led Shannon to death? Has he tapped into his own potential, leading Locke out of the pit and his father back to the place he calls home? Or is there something else going on that we haven't even realized yet?
I don't know and I'm not sure I want to. Just know that I don't think we've heard the last of him.


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