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


  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?

  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.

  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.

  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.

  5. Rewatch Comments: First, thank you Billie for your reply on the last comment. Your reviews here are awesome and I am truly enjoying the comments from folks like ChrisB and Josie from many years after the show first came out. It’s fun to read them after each episode rewatch.

    The below is spoilery so if you are the one person in America reading this site and not yet having watched a two decade old tv series, fair warning.

    This rewatch is so interesting already. I come into it with enough time passed that my memories of it are more broad strokes of recollection on characters and my sense of what story was trying to be told over the extent of the series versus distinct memory of what happened in each episode. With that said, after watching this series the first two times, I was a purgatory guy, with a firm belief that the people that were on the island were there because they had issues to resolve before they could move…on. This always made sense to me based on the importance of the flashbacks and the realization that a lot of these folks had either unsavory or unsettled histories.

    I bring this up because on this rewatch, the first few episodes are taking me in a different direction, and I’m not sure it’s because my memories are so broad, or that Lost is just so good that it can be interpreted in so many different ways.

    Anyway, this episode really hit differently this time around. There are these not so subtle themes brought up in the first episode “One side dark, the other light” that I can’t shake. Locke looked into the island and what he saw was beautiful… but poor Locke, what side of the island did you see? I think you saw the side that gave you what you wanted, not what you needed.

    And then there’s Jack following an image of his father, who led him to water, shelter, and a catharsis at that coffin that helped him overcome his self doubt, step up and eventually become a leader. It was the side of the island that Jack needed, even if he didn’t want it.

    One side dark, the other side light. I’m going to keep an eye on that theme throughout and see how often it shows up. We eventually get numbers, and initiatives, and Nikki and Paulo (gag) and so on, but I know we end with this theme eventually.

  6. DreadPirate, a terrific comment. Just fyi, though. What you wrote wasn't explicitly spoilery and you put the "spoilers below" line, but really -- you may not think so, but a lot of people read these reviews who have never seen the entire show. One of them just posted a comment. So please, keep in mind that if you post a specific spoiler, I'll have to delete it. And I hate deleting comments.

    1. Billie - 100% understand and completely respect that!! In fact I just moved a comment from one episode to the next so it didn’t spoil… I hope. And if a comment is deleted I will understand why :)

    2. Why aren't marked spoilers allowed? Shouldn't the onus be on the newcomers to skip past a comment that gives clear warning?

    3. There are a few here and there on the site, but it makes it hard for newbies.

    4. What's hard about scrolling down to the next comment if an adequate warning is given beforehand?

    5. Onigirli, because people will see it anyway. It's just a thing. Readers expect us not to have spoilers for future episodes in the reviews and comments because we've been doing it that way since we started. After nearly twenty years, it's not something I want to change.

  7. Onigirli, there's also a mobile vs computer issue. On mobile, replying to a comment nests it below that comment, so spoilers could lurk anywhere in the comments thread among older, non-spoiler comments.

    1. But what does the nesting matter? The warning ideally would be given before the spoiler text anyway, as it has been done here

  8. For me, at least, I read texts in large chunks, so a warning just a few millimeters above a spoiler wouldn't work for me.


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