Written by Carlton Cuse and Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed by Rod Holcomb
It is time for Boone to make a choice. It is time for Boone to let go of the one thing that holds him back. Luckily for him, John Locke is there to help.
“I’m doing this, Boone, because it is time for you to let go of some things. Because it’s what’s best for you.”
It’s been a few months since I’ve done this, so bear with me. In fact, I’m questioning whether or not my heart is in this. Sure, I still want to re-watch Lost and see if it holds up on a second, more compact viewing. I currently wonder if it primarily didn’t seem to work because I spent six years watching it rather than a few months. But at the same time, I can’t truly tell if this theory will work because I cannot re-watch this show without knowing what happens, and thus, my reactions are tainted by foreknowledge. And this foreknowledge makes me move from a place of pitying John Locke, to feeling rather disgusted by him. Sure, many people thought at the time, and presumably still do, that John Locke was cool. However, I am coming to the conclusion that he is not and never was cool or “bad ass”. He was a fool. You see, John Locke has always lived in a place of brokenness, abandonment, and shame. He has never truly healed from the pains of his past, many of which have not yet been seen in this rewatch. His awakening on The Island has been spurred by his physical healing and his one-time vision of The Monster. And because he has experienced two events which he cannot explain, John Locke now sees himself as wise, as a chosen, as a guru. But in reality, the broken core still exists. We will spend the rest of the show, from season two until season five, learning just how clueless and inept John Locke is. Yes, this is sad and tragic. He is a man with some skills and knowledge that has been picked from one source or another and combined into an a’la cart spirituality that inevitably leads him more astray than it does save him. And this is why his presumption to heal Boone is so agonizing.
There is less in this flashback episode pertaining to Shannon than to Boone. While both characters are present, the real focus is on Boone’s obsession with Shannon. In the end, she claims he loves her and always has, but I don’t buy it. Boone is protective of her, yes, and I think he believes he loves her, but in reality he doesn’t. He does, however, want to be her hero. He has paid off many of Shannon’s boyfriends to leave her because he feels this is for her protection. What he never understood was that Shannon was conning him. She was using Boone’s hero complex and misunderstanding of love to manipulate him. She always split the money with her boys. It was only just prior to the plane crash that Boone realized what Shannon had been doing to him for years. And just to clarify, Boone and Shannon are step-brother and sister. They are not related by blood, so obviously it is okay for them to sleep together in this episode.
Boone lives in the shadow of his perceived obligation to Shannon, his perceived need to be her hero, a hero she doesn’t want. Locke decides to help Boone break this hold that he willingly submits to. To do so, he knocks Boone out, ties him up, secretly drugs him, and throws a knife at his feet, telling Boone “you will free yourself when you have proper motivation.” Locke then abandons the boy in the jungle.
Boone’s experiences in the jungle are a type of vision quest. As such, it is difficult to tell how much of what we see in Boone’s Island story is real and how much is hallucination. Obviously, he doesn’t really interact with Shannon, but is he merely hallucinating her or is she a manifestation of The Monster. And on that topic, is Boone really pursued by The Monster, or is he hallucinating that as well? As with Rousseau, we are dropped back into unreliable narration, then given John Locke to explain Boone’s experience. And what is so tragic about this situation is that ultimately, Locke is correct. Boone needs to let go of Shannon, he needs to stop defining himself by his relationship to her. Boone needs to find out who he is. John Locke is a bit Machiavellian here, but even Locke wasn’t sure what would happen. For all he knew, Boone could have been killed in the jungle. But Locke has blind faith, and so it wouldn’t have occurred to him. Locke feels he is in the right but he truly has no idea what he is doing, which makes Charlie’s assertion “if there was one person I’d put my absolute faith in to get us off this island, it’s John Locke,” all the more disturbing.