In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, actor Terry O’Quinn who plays John Locke on Lost got the opportunity to discuss Locke as a character and his actions in the latest Lost episodes:
When Locke boarded Oceanic Flight 815, he was in a wheelchair. But when the plane crashed, he could mysteriously walk, and that seemed to bond him to the island forever. Wednesday’s episode finally revealed to viewers how he became paralyzed: His con artist of a father, who years ago manipulated Locke into giving him a kidney, pushed him out a high-rise window, hoping to kill him. Then it did what “Lost” does. It delivered another whopper: Locke’s father is tied up and gagged on “Other” territory.
“That was a big ‘What?!’ ” O’Quinn said, describing how he felt when he first read the script. “It leaves you with a big question mark, but there was plenty revealed in this episode too.”
Terry also says that he understands the audience’s frustration with schedule changes and “unanswered questions”:
“If I take Locke’s story individually and just follow it from its beginning point to now, to me it’s cohesive and it’s understandable and it’s interesting,” O’Quinn said. “But because there are so many people, it’s very patchy. It comes in fits and starts, and that’s tough for the fans of the show to have to work to tie everything together.”
Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse also talked a bit about Locke:
Fans have surmised that Locke was named after 17th century philosopher John Locke, who theorized that the mind is a tabula rasa (the title of the third episode of the series) â€” that is, individuals are born with a clean slate, without innate mental content, and build knowledge from their experiences.
Dead right, Lindelof said. The fictional Locke had lived a life marked by pain and disappointment until he regained his ability to walk on the island, which he interprets as a sign that destiny brought him there to give him a second chance. In this way, Cuse said, the character is a springboard to explore the issue of faith versus empiricism.
“The very original idea for Locke was that we needed a character who was going to have some sort of mystical quotient going on with him,” Lindelof said. “He was going to be very mysterious and quiet. This plane crash is the best thing that’s ever happened to this guy.”
Damon also clarified what ‘secret’ Locke told Walt in the Lost pilot episode:
Locke and Walt are about to play backgammon and Locke explains the game: “Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark.” The scene ends with Locke asking, “Walt, do you want to know a secret?”
“That hook coming out of the pilot wasn’t just that secret that he told Walt â€” that he used to be in a wheelchair and now he’s mysteriously healed,” Lindelof said. “That’s everything the show is. Do you want to know a secret? And cutting away before you actually answer that question.”
So does Terry O’Quinn know if Locke is the key to solving Lost’s secrets?
“I don’t know how central he is, but â€¦ it usually means something when he’s around. I think it’s because of the deeper quality in him. Of this group of characters, he’s the one that’s actively looking for an explanation, not just a way home.”