Of the forty-eight survivors, Boone was the first to catch Locke's eye. Locke watched him for only a few days before making his move, because it was easy to see that Boone was different. Special. Locke sees the potential Boone never had to use it before, not playing tennis or pushing papers. The island is bringing it out. Locke sees what Boone will be. He sees Boone could be. He wants to make sure of it. Boone is a block of marble waiting to be carved, and Locke has a hammer in one hand and a chisel in the other.
Jack was Boone, many years ago, but time wasn't kind to him. Jack arrived on the island scarred, like a sculpture that someone spent their life engraving only to find out wasn't fit to be carved and took a chainsaw to in a fit of pique. Jack reminds Locke of the colored baby chicks they sell at fairs. Something that would have been better if left the way nature intended. Locke isn't sure he can fix Jack. He can fill the cracks and sand away the splinters but he can't do anything to stop Jack from crumbling on the inside.
Kate, now. Kate won't crumble. She's too strong. She doesn't have time for crumbling. Something's been chasing her. That's what made her so tough and fast and scared to trust. She's like a snake lying in the sun, perfectly harmless until you frighten her. Most of her is carefully hidden away, like deep water, so cool and smooth on the surface you have no idea what's going on underneath. Jack seems hell-bent on figuring her out, and Locke wishes him well. Saves him the trouble. He has bigger mysteries on his hands than why a good girl grew up bad.
Sawyer is harder to pin down. He's dangerous, maybe, like a suitcase sitting in an airport chair that might be a bomb. He draws people to them. Hypnotic. Charismatic. A little like fire, which you know you should be wary of but just aren't. Mostly Locke thinks Sawyer is like an apple, rotten at the core. When he laughs the rots rises to the surface in his smiles, flickering in his eyes. Locke doesn't like the analogy because there's only one thing to do with a rotten apple: throw it away. He'd like to at least give Sawyer a chance.
If Sawyer is an apple rotting at the core, then Sayid is a loaf of bread molding around the edges. Sayid knows what's happening to him, sees the bits of pain and darkness manifest themselves. He scrapes them off but they always seem to come back. If Sawyer is a man embracing chaos then Sayid is one carefully avoiding it. They're so different. So alike. Two versions of the same man. Under different circumstances, Sayid might have been Sawyer. Or vice versa. Of course, Locke's thinking in food metaphors, so he probably shouldn't really try to prove much of anything.
Shannon is a Bitch, capital B, but Locke likes her anyway. She is everything the others say she is – selfish and vain and cruel, and she never tries to convince anyone otherwise. She is what she is and makes no apologies for it. Besides, she's using Sayid no more than he's using her. The bargain they have struck is one that's been around since the beginning of time. The weak latch onto the strong and here, on the island, Shannon is weak. She's also smart enough to realize it and press her advantage. Locke admires survival instinct most of all.
The only other couple on the island is Claire and Charlie, and Claire and Charlie are Meant To Be. Two kids that the world spit on enough to make them wary, but not enough to make them cynical. They've got their problems. Charlie's drug addiction was only the tip of the iceberg, like the scab over a cut. And Claire – someone hurt Claire badly enough for her to consider giving up her child. Locke hasn't asked her for the details, but whoever the real father is, Claire is better off without him. Locke didn't know Charlie and Claire Before, but he knows that they are sad shadows of who they used to be. They smile and joke and sing silly little songs, but inside they're hurting. They have each other though. Claire will help Charlie, Charlie will help Claire, and soon the baby will help them both. They will be a prefect triumvirate, Charlie and Claire and the baby. They will make their own little world where they can heal and grow and become strong again, until it's like nothing was ever wrong. It will be like Charlie was the father. Charlie will be a good father. Locke can tell.
For everything that is fixed there is something broken. Sun is broken. Locke doesn't know why – the language barrier is a bit much – but Sun has the look of someone whose ideals have been shattered. Locke knows that look. Locke finds it distressing, because Sun is someone who deserves to be happy. She is beautiful and smart, and while Jack may be a doctor, Sun is a healer. Her very presence is calming. Kate has all ready confided in her, and that's more than anyone else has managed. Sun is very much like her namesake, bringing things into the light.
Hurley is all too easy to dismiss as the funny fat guy. Locke knows better. Hurley managed to bargain with Rousseau and wrangle a favor from Sawyer; impossible things. Hurley has a knack for saying just the right thing at just the right time in a tense situation. That's something you have to learn somewhere. And while everyone thinks he's the most open and easy-going guy on the island, they seem to have failed to realize he never talks about himself. Locke would be worried if he hadn't seen the way Hurley took care of Charlie. He's a good man.
Michael is refreshing in his directness. Much like Shannon, he says what he means and means what he says. He likes to work with his hands, whether it's building his boat or drawing pictures or carving Walt new backgammon pieces. Locke likes him, even though Michael doesn't trust him. Michael's a little too raw for trust, brash and angry. Locke understands. He's been there. Who hasn't been there? For Michael, it boils down to Walt, of course. Michael is protective of Walt in the same way Jin was protective of Sun. Overly so, in other words, because both Jin and Michael seem to think they should take the world on to prove their love. But a love like that has to lessen, or your hold on it breaks. Michael let it lesson. Jin let it break. And now Jin is angry. Angry at Sun. Angry at the situation. Angry at himself. Who wouldn't be angry? His every action is misconstrued, and the only other person on the island who speaks Korean isn't speaking to him. Jin is the one true outsider on this island, even more alone than Sawyer. Locke would help him, but Jin doesn't want help. Not yet.
By and large, Walt is confusing. Nothing about him makes sense. It's like trying to put puzzles pieces together, only to find they won't fit. He's the only child on the island. He never loses at backgammon, or cards, or anything else he plays. He sees things, or he makes them happen. But who is he? What is he? What's his purpose here? Too many questions and no answers. But Walt, like Locke, doesn't want to leave the island. Because of that Locke doesn't fear him. Whatever part Walt is to play, he and Locke are on the same side.
And what is Locke? An oracle, maybe. A prophet, an augur, a soothsayer. He doesn't know what gifts are his own and what gifts the island have given to him. What he does know is that the island has chosen him to be Her voice. She moves through him. He isn't so adept at interpreting Her purpose yet. His dreams are murky and confusing, and he's all ready steered the others wrong, but he's confident that in time he will get it right. He will do whatever She thinks is necessary. She gave him back what no one else could.