Since speculating about the meaning of Lost is apparently the thing to do at cocktail parties (if not a pretext to get someone’s phone number), and since said activity has replaced speculating about, oh say, real people across the room as the topic du jour, I’ve decided to offer a running series of theories explaining the motivations of the show. **SPOILERS SPOILERS** and all that.
Theory 1: It’s All About Sexual Repression. The show’s creators have been reluctant to explore John Locke’s sex life (until this week’s episode, where a relationship was profiled). That is because John Locke is sexually repressed. After his kidney was removed by his father and Locke was left hung out to dry, reduced to sipping coffee with a disturbingly giddy grimace on his face in a car (the grimace itself closely matching the cup’s shape), note that Locke had great difficulty snuggling in bed with his girlfriend (who, not so coincidentally, teaches an anger management class). Even when she gave him the key to the house! (This is an ancient myth that goes back to the classic cinematic comedy Ghostbusters, whereby the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster must enjoin.)
The kidney represents virility and shares its shape with Locke’s grimace and his girlfriend’s beautiful ass crack (unseen, because this is teevee we’re talking about). Keep in mind too that Locke did resort to a phone sex line with “Helen” (a woman who he never met and, indeed, did not see, a sly reference to Helen Keller!). His idea was to go to Australia, aka Down Under, i.e., “going down under” on a woman. Locke then is partially frustrated because he has been unable to perform cunnilingus. Thus, he must “walkabout” the continent that is the global equiavlent of Helen/Anger Management Teacher’s vagina. It has not yet been revealed, but I suspect that the trajectory of Locke’s planned walkabout resembles a grimace, thus maintaining the symbol of the slight curve. Locke is also confined to a wheelchair — thus, reinforcing the circular motif. Is the real miracle then not Locke’s use of his legs, but his forthcoming ablity to lap his tongue with gusto?
Now, conversely, the French woman (who is, incidentally, named Rousseau, a philosopher exploring similar social contract issues as the 16th century philosopher John Locke) is also quite a lonely woman. What’s the first thing she does when Sayid comes looking for? Why, she ties him down and gets extremely close to him, demanding that he not bolt out of the building. Now it’s worth noting that Sayid is tied down to a square and uncomfortable bed, thus demonstrating that Rousseau is the exact opposite of Locke! (And where Locke is a man, Rousseau is a woman — another set of obverses. And where Rousseau has wild and unruly hair, Locke ain’t got much on top.) Where Locke has problems expressing intimacy and must resort to grand and despearate bravado (such as expensive plane tickets bought for phone sex operators), Rousseau is a woman ready to party (no LCD Soundsystem in her lair to speak of, but there is, at least, a music box; the woman can improvise). She also speaks French, the language of love.
Thus, it is the love/sexual repression that is one of the island’s many experiments. Locke and Rousseau are mere pawns. By the middle of Season 2, we will see rampant copulation among the island’s population. This season’s finale will end in an orgy uniting “The Others” with the survivors of Flight 815 in a very naked and licentious way. Kate will become the island’s dominatrix, demanding subservience from both Jack and Sawyer. Dawson will apply his carpentry skills to the construction of bamboo-related toys for the dungeon. And the Mamas and the Papas’ music will form a lasting soundtrack for this televised debauchery.