As we are in this short lull of time between last night’s “Reckoning” (in which we got our minds refreshed about Desmond and other LOST episode happenings) and the SUPER-exciting new episodes to come, I find myself most interested in Michael Emerson’s character Henry Gale, or…”Not-Henry Gale.”
The LOST Creators really struck gold when they recruited Emerson for this role. I honestly don’t know who else could possibly play this role as well as Emerson.
I think what makes him so good at it is his ability to melt the “characters” that Not-Henry plays all into one, so one doesn’t even notice the transformations as they occur.
Take the LOST episode, “The Whole Truth”, for example, at the end of the episode when Jack brings Henry (at this point we still know him as Henry) out of the Armory for breakfast to get under Locke’s skin. I call this scene “Breakfast with Henry.”
We watch Henry play The Boyish Inquisitive Guest character.
“What’s the computer for?” “Where did you guys get cereal?” “If it were me, I would be asking all kinds of questions!”
He has such an innocent face and demeanor while playing this character!
Jack puts a stop to this by asking Henry if he wants the cereal or not. Then Henry morphs himself to play The Martyr character. He quiets down and looks humble, also with a totally believable innocent demeanor, but it is different than The Boyish Inquisitive Guest’s. It is more adult. He only plays this role for a very short time before he melts into…
The Innocent Instigator character.
“I guess this is my time off for good behavior. I earned some brownie points. You know, for finally drawing that map for Ana.”
BAM. Just like that, Jack and Locke are looking at each other to try to place blame. Henry has accomplished exactly what he set out to do. And he isn’t even close to being finished toying with them yet. Next thing we know, The Innocent Instigator has become…
The Masked Manipulator role.
“Wow, you guys have some real trust issues, don’t you? I guess it’s no wonder she didn’t tell you.”
Again, Jack glares at Locke, Locke at Jack. Back and forth, again and again.
Henry watches. Now for the FUN part, to plant the seeds of awful thoughts into their minds. Henry is having such fun here. Henry melts into…
The Cat Ready To Eat The Canary character.
“What would I do if I were one of Them? Well, there would be a trap, of course. I would pick a dark, secluded place, a perfect place for an ambush. And when your people got there, my people would be there waiting for them. Then they’d make a trade. Me for them.”
Henry lets his words hang as he watches Jack and Locke become more and more uncomfortable.
“Whoa, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not one of them, isn’t it?” (the tiniest chuckle to himself only)
No big giggle or laugh to let Jack and Locke in on it and make them feel better. Henry just lets those words hang suspensefully in the air for a good few seconds, and I feel that we should see a bright yellow feather sticking out the side of his mouth. He then becomes…
The Wide-Eyed Eager Little Kid character.
“Hey, you guys got any milk?”
We, the viewers, all exclaimed “WHOA! Stop, back up a minute! What the heck just happened there?” Those of us who recorded it watched it again. Those of us who recorded it, and could not get enough of that scene, watched it over and over and over again. (This was me. It is in my library of “TV and Movie scenes that will NEVER be forgotten.”)
As I was watching and rewatching this scene, I noticed how easily Henry Gale slid into each character, leaving virtually no trace of the last role he was playing! If you have the chance to rewatch “Breakfast with Henry”, I highly recommend it.
We know Not-Henry lies.That is easy. What is also so intriguing about Gale is that we don’t know of a time where he has told the truth yet. (Or have we? If I have missed something, please let me know) So we cannot gauge his mannerisms to see if he is lying or not!
He is good. He is unreal. He is tremendous.
I truly cannot wait to see more of his role (roles) in the upcoming Lost episodes.
Thank you for reading,
My quotes on what Henry Gale said in the scene of reference are not verbatim.