You can’t be… a superhero

Cabin Fever • season 4 • episode 11

JB, 28 – Paris (France) :

This is one of the flashback scenes in Cabin Fever, the season 4, perfectly titled episode about Locke’s connexion with the Island at crucial moments of his life. Locke is a nerdy teenager, the butt of the joke of his whole high school. His science teacher finds him trapped in a… locker. He brings him in his office and proceeds to tell him about the summer camp of a Portland-based company called Mittelos Laboratories. Locke is less than thrilled. “I like boxing and fishing and cars. I like sports!“, he says. His teacher turns pale, marks a pause, and goes on with a 15-second speech that, to me, became one of the most powerful lines in Lost, ever : “I’m gonna tell you something – something I wish someone had told me at your age : you might not want to be that guy in the labs surrounded by test tubes and beakers… but that’s who you are, John. You can’t be the prom king. You can’t be the quarterback. You can’t be… a superhero.
I don’t know the name of the actor who portrayed this teacher, but I can’t think of any other actor in Lost who has used such a short screen time so intensely. Plus the line completely captures one the key notion of Lost : being able to “let go” and accepting who you are. A monologue so great it almost eclipses the iconic Locke signature phrase that comes as a sharp reply from Young John : “Don’t tell me what I can’t do“.