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Walkabout (Lost)

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Lost episode
A bald man in a wheelchair, inside a travel agency.
John Locke is revealed to be paralyzed before crashing into the island. This plot twist is considered a defining moment of the show.[1]
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 4
Directed byJack Bender
Written byDavid Fury
Production code102
Original air dateOctober 13, 2004
Running time43 minutes[2]
Guest appearance(s)

John Simon Jones as Travel agent
Billy Ray Gallion as Randy Nations
Stephen J. Rafferty as Warren
Bryan Sato as Richard

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Tabula Rasa"
Next →
"White Rabbit"
Lost (season 1)
List of Lost episodes

"Walkabout" is the fourth episode of the first season of Lost. The episode was directed by Jack Bender and written by David Fury. It first aired on October 13, 2004, on ABC.

The episode centers on the character of John Locke (Terry O'Quinn), who in flashbacks is revealed, in one of the first plot twists of the show, to be paralyzed from the waist down as he attempts to join a walkabout tour. On the present day events, Locke leads a hunting mission after the wild boar in the jungle as the food supplies of the Oceanic 815 survivors starts to shorten, while other survivors decide to burn the plane's fuselage.

John Locke's backstory was conceived during the writing of the previous episode, "Tabula Rasa", and director Jack Bender decided to shoot the flashbacks in a way it enhanced the contrast between Locke's life before and after the crash. Problems involving the usage of real boar caused the producers to use computer-generated replacements and shots that suggested the animals' presence. "Walkabout" was watched by 18.16 million people and was reviewed positively, later being considered one of the show's best episodes.



John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) is shown working in an office building for a box company. He has a cruel manager named Randy Nations (Billy Ray Gallion) who is constantly taunting and demeaning Locke. At one point Locke tells Randy off and feels great about it. He tells a woman named Helen on the phone about it, but it is revealed that she charges by the hour to talk with Locke, and that they have been conversing for eight months. Locke reveals to Helen that he is going on a walkabout and would like for Helen to go with him; she tells him that she can't meet customers in person and that his paid hour on the phone with her is up.

In a later flashback, Locke is in Australia talking to one of the leaders of a walkabout. He refuses to let Locke come on the walkabout because of his condition, saying it is too big of a risk for the insurance company. As the man gets up to leave for the trip, Locke is shown to be using a wheelchair.

Towards the end of the episode, a unique type of flashback is shown: one on the island. In the aftermath of Oceanic Flight 815 crash's, Locke wakes up on the beach, and notices that his toes wiggle, making him realize that he is no longer paralyzed. He stands up and is called over by Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) to help with an injured person.

On the Island[edit]

It has been 4 days since the crash, September 25, 2004. Locke awakens from Oceanic Flight 815's crash and wiggles his toes, realizing that he is no longer paralyzed. Boars raid the body-filled fuselage, causing Jack to decide it should be burned. The next day, the survivors discover that their food is exhausted, and wonder what to do. Locke reveals his case of hunting knives, and suggests to go after the boar in the jungle. On his hunting mission, Locke is accompanied by Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) – who was given by Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) an antenna, which after being set will help triangulate the signal of the French transmission heard two days before – and Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau).

While hunting the boar, Michael is wounded by one of the animals. Kate starts leading Michael back to the beach, while Locke goes on his own into the jungle. As Kate and Michael head back, she climbs up a tree to attach the antenna. However, before she can finish, she hears the sounds of the monster, causing her to drop and break the equipment. The Monster heads straight for Locke, who stares straight at it.

Throughout the episode, Jack has been talking to Rose Nadler (L. Scott Caldwell). Rose's husband, Bernard Nadler (Sam Anderson), was in the tail section of the plane in the bathroom. He, along with the rest of the tail section's passengers, is believed by the survivors to be dead, but Rose is convinced that he is alive and that the tail section of the plane thinks that the middle section is dead.

Michael and Kate return to camp, and when she goes to tell Jack about Locke, Jack sees a man in a suit walk into the jungle. Jack chases after him and Kate follows, but instead of the mysterious figure, they find Locke, who brings with him a dead boar. That night, the fuselage is burned while Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) holds a memorial service for the dead passengers using information she found in their passports, wallets, and luggage. Michael thanks Locke for hunting the boar and then asks Locke about the Monster, but Locke says that he did not see anything. Looking towards the fire, Locke sees his wheelchair against the flame and smiles.


While writing "Tabula Rasa", Damon Lindelof suggested that John Locke was in a wheelchair before going to the island, and while the rest of the writing team initially reacted with shock, they embraced the idea.[3] Lindelof wanted to embrace how "what you think these people are is actually entirely different", particularly since "Tabula Rasa" did not have many developments on Kate's backstory or why she was a fugitive, "the Locke thing was a huge, big, reveal".[4] To enhance the plot twist, all the flashbacks were shot in a way that disguised the presence of a wheelchair. In the scene where Locke is sitting in his bed, the paralysis is alluded by the electromedical nerve stimulation machine on his nightstand.[3] Lindelof also created a title for the episode, "Lord of the Files", a pun on Lord of the Flies and Locke's off-island occupation,[3] but the writers had already settled on "Walkabout".[5]

To enhance the contrast between Locke's pre and post-crash life, director Jack Bender decided to put very little green and blue imagery in the flashbacks since the two colors are the most present in the island – being the jungle and the sea, respectively. The flashbacks were also shot with fixed cameras and wider lenses, "Godfather-style", to display the bleakness and sterility of Locke's world, and objects such as vending machines were put to remind of the "things taken for granted" that the castaways lack on the island. The flashback scenes featuring the day of the crash (see above 'Flashbacks' section above) were shot in a way that looked similar to the ones from the pilot episode, with the only shot from the pilot being the one where Jack requests Locke's assistance.[3]

The scenes featuring boar were originally planned to use actual, domesticated animals. Since bringing domesticated boar from continental United States was expensive, and the animals available in Hawaii did not look like wild boar and rarely moved (the script required them to run in most scenes), the producers decided to use computer-generated boar instead, along with reaction shots from the actors and first-person sequences from the animals' point of view.[6] Instead of having a stunt double for Kate climbing the tree to place the antenna, Evangeline Lilly climbed the tree herself.[3] The Australian office that hosts the travel agency was filmed in an empty retail space in downtown Honolulu.[7]

The episode is the first to feature Christian Shephard, but he is not portrayed by John Terry, who had not been cast yet. Late into writing, the producers decided to start setting up Sayid's backstory by introducing the pictures of Nadia. The scenes where Sayid looks at the photos were reshot when production of "Solitary" began and Andrea Gabriel was selected for the role, as the original pictures depicted a different actress.[3]

Themes and analysis[edit]

Robert Dougherty writes that the episode possesses similar themes to "Tabula Rasa" – "Walkabout" is about "being able to overcome the past and start over."[8] It presents the dichotomy seen in much of the series; while Jack is a man of science, Locke is a man of faith.[9] Lindelof discussed that since Locke's healing was interpreted by the character as a religious experience, "this character had been presented as this very sort of mystical figure moving forward".[4]


"Walkabout" received a 6.5 in the ages 18–49 demographic in the Nielsen ratings. The episode was watched by 18.16 million viewers,[10] an improvement of 1.6 million over the previous episode, "Tabula Rasa".[11]

Reviews for the episode were positive. Chris Carabott of IGN gave "Walkabout" a 9.5/10, stating that "Terry O'Quinn puts in an exceptional performance", and commenting that showing Locke, who "seemed like a confident and resourceful man with a mysterious and intriguing past", to be a "shell of a human being that is trying desperately to find his place in the world" was "a perfect juxtaposition of the differences between Locke off and on the island". He also praised the supporting stories, claiming that "Matthew Fox does a great job of playing the uneasy leader" as Jack Shephard and that the Shannon-Charlie storyline "does supply a little comic relief".[12] Ryan Mcgee of Zap2it described the revelation that Locke was a paraplegic as being "one of the show's signature moments", and commented that the episode "cemented the show as 'Must-See TV'" and was "a five-star effort."[13]

Robin Pierson of The TV Critic gave the episode a rating of 86/100, saying that "Walkabout" is an episode "which seems to confirm all the promise of Lost’s pilot episodes", and that the episode "both enhances and completely changes how we perceive both Locke and Lost."[14] Dan Kawa of Television Without Pity rated the episode as a 'B'.[15] Emily VanDerWerff of the Los Angeles Times said that 'Walkabout' is one of the most confident episodes a series has ever unveiled that early in its run" and that the episode "cemented more 'Lost' fans than just me, maybe more than any other episode."[1]

David Fury was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series" for writing this episode.[16] O'Quinn submitted his work in "Walkabout" and "The Moth" for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.[17]

Significance and legacy[edit]

"Walkabout" comprises a significant chapter in Lost's history, persuading viewers of the series' ability to exist in the long term.[18] Viewers learned that the series would be full of surprises and mysteries,[9] and Lindelof even considered it "a litmus test" for viewers, particularly regarding how after a twist like Locke's past, "the show isn't going to openly state what the implications of that are."[4] Entertainment Weekly considered "Walkabout" to be the best episode of Season 1.[19] IGN ranked "Walkabout" as the fifth best Lost episode ever, behind "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham", the Pilot, "Through the Looking Glass" and "The Constant".[20] The episode was also featured in similar lists by the Los Angeles Times,[21] TV Guide,[22] National Post,[23] and ABC2.[24] Jason Snell of The Incomparable thought similarly, saying "Skippable? Are you kidding? If you could watch only one first-season episode of “Lost,” this might be it."[25]

The episode also shaped how O'Quinn viewed his character, as he was unaware that Locke would be paralyzed until reading the script. To the actor, "Walkabout and the fifth season episode "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" are the two installments which "sort of (summarize) [Locke's] whole trip."[26]


  1. ^ a b VanDerWerff, Emily (2010-02-16). "'Lost': Locke gets in touch with his feelings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Lost - Netflix". Netflix. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jack Bender, David Fury, Terry O'Quinn (2004). Audio commentary for "Walkabout" (DVD). Lost: The Complete First Season Disk 1: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
  4. ^ a b c VanDerWerff, Emily (2014-02-16). "The Lost interviews: Walkabout (Episode 4)". Vox. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Lostpedia Interview: David Fury". Lostpedia. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  6. ^ The Trouble With Boars (DVD). Lost: The Complete First Season Disk 7: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
  7. ^ Stafford 2006, pp. 29, 356.
  8. ^ Dougherty 2008, p. 18.
  9. ^ a b Stafford 2006, p. 28.
  10. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings: 10/11/2004-10/17/2004". ABC Medianet. October 19, 2004. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  11. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings: 10/04/2004-10/10/2004". ABC Medianet. October 19, 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  12. ^ Carabott, Chris (2008-07-03). "Lost Flashback: "Walkabout" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  13. ^ McGee, Ryan (2008-06-22). "'Lost': Walkabout". Zap2it. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  14. ^ Pierson, Robin (30 March 2012). "Lost, Season 1, Episode 3: Walkabout". The TV Critic. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  15. ^ Kawa, Dan. "I Wanna Touch You Outback". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  16. ^ "The 57th Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmys Nominations" (PDF). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  17. ^ "Supporting actor in a drama". Daily Variety. 2005-08-15. Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2014-03-17. (subscription required)
  18. ^ Dougherty 2008, pp. 15–18.
  19. ^ Snierson, Dan (2010-05-07). "Lost: Season breakdown". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  20. ^ "Ranking Lost". IGN. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  21. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (2010-05-23). "'Lost' 10s: Every episode of 'Lost,' ever (well, except the finale), ranked for your enjoyment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  22. ^ "Photo Galleries: Best Lost Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  23. ^ Medley, Mark (2010-05-21). "The Top 10 Lost episodes of all-time". National Post. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  24. ^ "The top ten 'LOST' episodes of all time". WMAR-TV. 2010-05-25. Archived from the original on 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  25. ^ Snell, Jason (8 July 2009). "Re-watching Lost, Season 1, Episode 2: "Walkabout"". The Incomparable. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Cast conversation: Terry O'Quinn". Daily Variety. 2009-04-29. Archived from the original on 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2014-03-17. (subscription required)
Works cited

External links[edit]