|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Greg Yaitanes|
|Written by||David Fury|
|Original air date||January 19, 2005|
"Special" is the 14th episode of the first season of Lost. The episode was directed by Greg Yaitanes and written by David Fury. It first aired on January 19, 2005 on ABC. The characters of Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) and his son Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley) are featured in the episode's flashbacks.
Michael and his partner, lawyer Susan Lloyd (Tamara Taylor), have a son, Walt. When Walt was only a few months old, Susan accepted a job in Amsterdam and took her child with her. Months later, Michael calls Susan, and she reveals to have started a relationship with her former boss, Brian Porter (David Starzyk). Michael says he is coming to Amsterdam, not for Susan, but to take his son back. Hanging up, Michael storms away but, forgetting to look, walks out into the middle of the road and is hit by an oncoming vehicle. While Michael is in the hospital recovering, Susan appears and says she will be marrying Brian and he wants to adopt Walt as his legal son. Michael refuses; Susan questions his motives, suggesting that Michael is holding on for his own stubborn principles rather than love for his son.
Eight years later, Brian, Susan and Walt live in Sydney, Australia. Walt is hinted to have some sort of supernatural power over his surroundings, when he opens one of his books to a picture of a native bird, and shortly afterward an identical real-life bird fatally slams into a nearby window. Shortly later, Susan dies from an unspecified form of blood disorder. Brian comes to New York to tell this to Michael, and says it was Susan's wish that Michael be given custody. Michael soon sees past this, and realizes Brian does not care for Walt, only pursuing paternal rights in the past to please Susan. He offers Michael plane tickets to and from Sydney, inviting him to come and take Walt. Michael is livid that Brian would willingly abandon Walt, but is confused when Brian says the boy is different, and "things happen when he is around". Michael then goes to Brian's house in Sydney, where he picks up Walt and his dog Vincent.
On the Island
On Day 26, October 17, 2004, an annoyed Michael Dawson confronts Walt Lloyd, whom John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) has been teaching how to throw a knife, and enlists his help in scavenging parts from the wreck to build a raft. The next day, Walt tells his dad that he is going to get some water and runs off with his dog, Vincent (Madison). Michael initially accuses Locke of contributing to his son's delinquency despite his repeated warnings, but when he sees that the boy is not with Locke, the two men track Walt into the jungle. Michael risks his own life to save Walt from one of the island's unlikely predators, a polar bear, thus aiding the reconciliation between the two. Michael then gives Walt a wooden box that holds all the letters he wrote to Walt, but his mother never delivered.
Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) recovers Claire Littleton's (Emilie de Ravin) diary from James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) with help from Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly). As he skims through it, hoping to find some mention of him in her musings, he reads her description of a dream about a "black rock" which corresponds to a location on the map that Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) stole from Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan). He shows this to the others, thinking it might be a clue to her whereabouts. However, while looking for Vincent, who disappeared shortly after Walt was attacked by the bear, Locke and Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder) are shocked by the sudden appearance of Claire, stumbling out of the jungle.
Michael is the focus of the flashbacks seen in "Special". The episode sets up Walt as a character with possible supernatural powers, as two situations imply he summons animals – he causes a bird to fly into a window while reading a book on birds, and makes a polar bear attack him after reading a comic book such a bear.
In the United States, "Special" first aired on January 19, 2005, and experienced only a slight decline from the season's high rated episodes. Its premiere earned an estimated 19.69 million American viewers, and finished first in its timeslot. It garnered an overall ratings share of 12.6/19, and in the adult demographic it earned a share of 7.9/21, placing sixth among adults aged 18 to 49.
"Special" was well received by critics. Chris Carabott of IGN called Michael's flashback "heart wrenching" and praised Perrineau's "brilliant performance" at "expressing the heartbreak that Michael is feeling." He rated "Special" with a score of 7.8 out of 10, an indication of a "good" episode. Kirthana Ramisetti from Entertainment Weekly called it the best episode since "Walkabout" because of Michael's character development. She said that one of her favorite scenes of the entire season "was Michael and Walt bonding over the letters and the drawing of the sunburned penguin. It was moving to see these two finally relating to each other as father and son after everything they've been through."
In her 2006 work Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide, Nikki Stafford considered the episode's flashbacks to be "some of the most emotionally painful ones yet" due to the lack of control over his circumstances. She also praised Monaghan's comic timing. Robert Dougherty, author of the 2008 book Lost Episode Guide for Others: An Unofficial Anthology, classified it as a "must see episode", explaining that it redefined Michael and Walt's relationship to viewers, introduced "new mysteries," and had a good cliffhanger. After the series' conclusion in 2010, IGN ranked "Special" as the 86th best episode of the series, noting that while "Michael was not the most popular character," Perrineau gave a "great performance." On a similar list, the Los Angeles Times ranked "Special" as the 87th best, observing that the episode's few "fantastic moments" were marred by its "terrible, terrible special effects."
- Greg Yaitanes (director), David Fury (writer) (November 17, 2004). "Solitary". Lost. Season 1. Episode 9. American Broadcasting Company.
- Harold Perrineau, Malcolm David Kelley (2004). Lost on Location for "Special" (DVD). Lost: The Complete First Season Disc 7: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
- Dougherty 2008, p. 55.
- Stafford 2006, p. 88.
- Stafford 2006, p. 87.
- Kissell, Rick (January 21, 2005). "'Idol,' 'Lost' leave few viewers for rest of nets". Daily Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2014. (subscription required)
- "Weekly Program Rankings" (Press release). ABC Medianet. January 25, 2005. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- "Nielsen ratings report". Daily Variety. January 20, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2014. (subscription required)
- "CBS powers to weekly ratings win". Zap2It. January 19, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2014. (subscription required)
- Carabott, Chris (September 12, 2008). "IGN: Special Review". IGN. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Ramisetti, Kirthana (January 20, 2005). "Walt on the Wild Side". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- Stafford 2006, pp. 88–89.
- Dougherty 2008, p. 57.
- IGN staff (June 2, 2010). "Ranking Lost". IGN. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (May 23, 2010). "'Lost' 10s: Every episode of 'Lost,' ever (well, except the finale), ranked for your enjoyment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
- Works cited
- Dougherty, Robert (2008). Lost Episode Guide for Others: An Unofficial Anthology. iUniverse. ASIN B005NI5AHC.
- Stafford, Nikki (2006). Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 1550227432.
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