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Lost: White Rabbit

Locke: "I've looked into the eye of this Island, and what I saw was beautiful."

I can't think of a time in my life when I fell in love with a character during a single episode of a show. Until now.

The childhood flashback showed that (1) Jack has always been driven to help people; and (2) his father was a total jerk. ("You just don't have what it takes.") And Jack was still buying into his father's bullshit; he repeated the things his father told him: "I'll fail. I don't have what it takes." Funny how everyone on the Island seems to sense that Jack does have what it takes.

The death of his father completely explained Jack's detachment and distance, his inability to participate in the memorial service. Was Jack hallucinating? It was all symbolic: Jack was figuratively reaching for his father, and his father's approval, and Shephard senior was literally turning his back on his son. And when he appeared, he was preceded by the tinkle of ice in a cocktail glass, a sound every child of an alcoholic dreads.


I may be making this more complicated than it was ever intended to be, but I can think of several reasons for the title of this episode.

1. The fantasy aspects of Alice in Wonderland. The White Rabbit was the one who initially drew Alice out of reality and down the rabbit hole.

2. The Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit" was about drugs, hallucinations, and rebelling against one's parents: "One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all, go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall."

3. There was a famous episode of the original Star Trek called, "Shore Leave." It was about the crew visiting a planet where people from their past as well as amazing and dangerous things kept appearing out of nowhere whenever a member of the crew thought about them. There was even a scene with Alice and the White Rabbit. In the end, the crew discovered that the planet was a sophisticated adult amusement park created by aliens, and they were supposed to be enjoying themselves.

4. Speaking of rabbits, was Sawyer reading Watership Down?

5. During the water bottle scene with Hurley and Michael, the same two people passed behind Jack twice in a row. Was it a blooper? A re-set of The Matrix? There was a white rabbit in The Matrix, too; it was a tattoo.


6. The tattoo on Charlie's shoulder, "Living is easy with eyes closed," is a line from the Beatles' song, "Strawberry Fields Forever." "Let me take you down cause I'm going to strawberry fields, NOTHING IS REAL..."

Is the Island outside of our normal reality? Is someone or something supernatural playing with the survivors? Giving them their secret wishes? Certainly, Kate and Locke have gotten very lucky. And now, Dr. Daddy Shephard's ghost just led Jack to the water the survivors desperately needed. Jack is doing what his father told him he couldn't do – he is helping people, making a difference, succeeding.

Character bits:

We now know that Jack's surname is Shephard. He has a flock now. How apropos.

We still don't know what happened to the body of Jack's father. Or Jack's resurrected father. Or his father, the zombie.

Jack's mother was played by Veronica Hamel, who was once the female lead on Hill Street Blues.

Joanna, a character we never met, is now dead. Why would anyone go out swimming any distance from shore? Riptides are bad enough, but aren't there sharks, too?

Kate is a Gemini.

The tapes on Charlie's fingers now say, LATE. Shouldn't Charlie be out of dope by now? He can't be in withdrawal yet; he was way too nice to Claire.

Boone started the episode as a possible savior and ended as a pariah.

The Korean couple need to start learning some English. I dare say the forty-four other people are not going to learn Korean.

Bits and pieces:

— The action began with a close-up of young Jack's right eye.

— It was day six. (I seem to remember something about six days from the Bible.) It took them six days to accept that they might not get rescued, and that they had to get organized and take care of themselves.

— Sawyer hit on both Shannon and Kate. Sayid pigeonholed him well: "A rat will always lead you to its hole."

— The dolls Jack found near the airplane piece and the fresh water were also symbols of unreality. I'm just saying.

— Gold acting stars to Matthew Fox, who just stole my heart in this episode.

— Jack: "God knows how long we're going to be here." Billie: "At least twenty-two episodes." Lost has just been picked up for a full season.

Another four out of four polar bears. If every episode is as good as last week's and this week's, I may have to revise my grading system,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

  1. Water, water everywhere... Lots and lots of water references going on during this hour.

    Alice, we are not in Kansas any more! This Island is a strange, strange place. Not only does it heal, it is inhabited by ghosts -- or, at least something very close to them.

    I agree completely that anyone watching this episode and not falling for Jack by the end wasn't really watching. I was fascinated by the idea that although he had saved Boone's life, it wasn't enough; all he could think about was that he failed to save Joanna. Interestingly, neither she nor Jack were meant to be on the plane. And, what does it say that in our very first flashback of Jack, he is jumping in front of a fist for his friend, Marc.

    But, but the end, Jack himself has been saved literally and figuratively by Locke. I simply loved the conversation between the two men. The doctor, a man of science, trying to rationally explain everything that has been happening to him. The man who has spent his life inventing a persona (the Colonel) and paying people to "be his friend" willing to believe that there is something special about the island -- supernatural or not.

    "You need to finish what you started... Because a man can't lead until he knows where he's going." Again, literal (Jack now knows the way to the water and is organising a group to go get it) and figurative (he has stepped into the role that the group has already assigned for him).

    One minor character beat jumped out at me. When Kate tackles Sawyer, he says to her, "I made this birthday wish four years ago." Leaving aside the fact that four is one quarter of sixteen, did they know each other before the crash and, for some reason, both are hiding that fact?

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  2. This was the episode that hooked me on Lost, and I like it even more on rewatch.

    Especially the way they play with the Christian imagery: Jack's father (we don't learn his name here, do we?) in a coffin in a cave-ish structure, but the coffin is empty...and minutes later, Jack is talking about how they have to stop "waiting for" rescue, much like how various Beckett characters eventually learn to stop waiting for Godot.

    I also like the way that this ep is structure to set up two problems that need resolution: Jack wants to be a hero, and Jack needs to "bury [his] father" (literally and metaphorically). Although he can't literally bury Daddy Shepherd, he manages to discover his own heroism enough to figuratively bury him.

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  3. Just started my 8th re-watching of the show, and believe it or not, I'm
    still happily enjoying every moment. Yes, Jack at this point is a character to appreciate for all he's been through, I only wish he had stayed that way. :) Of course, in Season 6, he's fully redeemed in a way.

    I'll be coming here from time to time as I re-watch, and post some stories about Lost, and my experiences with the show. I really enjoy this site that I found by wanting review for many of my favorite shows.

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  4. Here Jack's character captures audience's heart. He'so real in his pain,in all of his regrets and mistakes. He's no hero but so heroic because he'a lost,broken,torn,good man.

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