Okay, so it wasn't exactly brilliant but we do like to tell ourselves that all our ideas are brilliant. Here's what: Since the show's creators have been saying that this final season owes an awful lot to the first season of the show, and since so far, they've been following exactly the same pattern as Season 1, story-wise (two-part opener, followed by a Kate-centric episode, followed by a Locke-centric episode), we figured we'd get in ahead and re-watch the 5th episode from Season 1, the first Jack-centric episode, entitled "White Rabbit." We're glad we did, because it helped us see a whole bunch of connections being made between the two episodes.
To give you a slight recap of "White Rabbit," that's the episode where the Losties realize they're running out of water from the plane and they have less than a day's supply left. Claire passes out from heat exhaustion but someone stole the remaining water. Several people appeal to Jack to solve the situation but he can't handle it for two reasons: One, he's exhausted and hasn't slept in days, and two, he keeps seeing visions of his dead father on the island, leading him to go crashing through the jungle trying to find him until he eventually stumbles on the caves and fresh water. He makes his way back to the camp and gives his famous "Live together/die alone" speech to the survivors. The flashbacks in this episode all deal with the father and son relationship of Jack and Christian, starting with a flashback from Jack's childhood and going up to the present day as Jack's father goes missing and he goes out to Australia to find him on his mother's orders.
As you can see, themes and places from that episode were all over this one and they made us insanely happy. See, every Lost fan has their favorite season and since, as we pointed out last week, each season was structured like the next level of a video game, each season had its own settings, objectives, and even antagonists. For us, our favorite season has always been the first one, because the problems faced by the survivors were basic: how to live together, how to survive together. Things like water and asthma inhalers represented the worst of the survivors' problems. This was when there was a large background cast living on the beach, with the main cast traipsing through the jungle on their latest quest, the only "bad guys" being either the occasional polar bear or the mysterious smoke monster.
Well, here we are in S6, with the main bad guy being the smoke monster (Linus, Widmore, and the Freighties all relegated to footnotes for the moment or gone altogether) and Hurley, in typical Hurley fashion acting as the audience's surrogate and observing to Jack, "This is cool dude. Very old school. Y'know, you and me. Walking through the jungle. On our way to do something we don't understand. Good times." Last episode's return to the beach camp to bury Locke was just the first in what we suspect may be a long line of references back to S1 this season.
Echoes of "White Rabbit," were all over this one: Jack (with Hurley) returns to the caves for the first time in years; Jack spends the episode working his way through tense father-and-son exchanges and searching for a family member with whom he has a strained relationship; we see Claire in a tent but this time she's "tending" to the wounded rather than being the sick pregnant girl being tended to by everyone else; and finally, echoing the S1 search for it, water was prevalent all over this episode as Jack encounters Kate filling her water bottle at the stream and Hurley encounters Jacob by the fountain in the temple and Claire offers a terrified Jin a sip of her water as he lies his way out of an increasingly dangerous situation. They even slipped in a white rabbit reference with David Shephard's copy of The Annotated Alice in Wonderland. They're good, these Lost writers, but now more than ever, you really have to be paying attention.
The episode opens with Jack noticing his appendectomy scar and asking his mother the details on when it happened. Of course, in the timeline we're most familiar with, Juliet performed an appendectomy on Jack with Bernard's help on the beach in Season 4. Jack's mother seems surprised he doesn't remember that (in this timeline at least) he had the surgery at seven years old. "I guess I do," he replies, but he doesn't sound very convincing.
They've been showing us that the B-timeline is different from the A timeline and with each reveal, the differences become more pronounced. It started with Cindy the flight attendant giving Jack one bottle instead of two on the plane and last night's shock that B-Jack has a 14 year old son was the biggest one yet. We suspect there are some major shocks coming down the line regarding just how different everyone's lives are in this timeline. For Jack to have a son that age would mean that Jack's backstory going back more than a decade is significantly different in this timeline. In fact, with the appendectomy story, the differences go back at least 3 decades. Hmmm. Three decades. 1977. Discuss.
To be honest, we weren't exactly enthralled by the whole relationship with David. It was interesting pondering Jack as a father and it was interesting to note the parallels in the relationships between Jack and Christian and Jack and David. It was also interesting to note the differences between the corresponding scenes in Jacks' father's study. In "White Rabbit," Jack's mother confronts him in the study at night, angry, and orders him to Australia to find his father, all but accusing him of causing his father's downfall. In this episode, the scenes in the study are lighter, daytime, with Jack's mother coming off far more caring than she has in the past. Having her look up from Christian's will and ask Jack, "Did your father ever mention a Claire Littleton?" does kind of intrigue us with the possibilities going forward, though.
But we really had to kind of plod through Jack's latest interpersonal crisis and didn't really sit up in our seats until Dogen showed up in the B timeline. This is the first time we've seen any of the New, Improved Others show up this way. Dogen asks Jack how long his son has been a musician and Jack says he doesn't know. Now, maybe that was just a way to illustrate what a distant father he is, but we suspect between that and the appendectomy scar, the writers are telling us that the B-timeline characters have gaps in their memories.
In the A-timeline, Jack couldn't connect with his father and they both paid a heavy price for it. In the B-timeline he succeeds in connecting with his son. Like Locke in the B-timeline, he seems to be a better version of himself without the influence of Jacob in his life. Un-Locke said to Ben that crashing on the island was the best thing that could have happened to these people but in reality, it seems that it was the best thing that could happen to them because Jacob's been fucking around with their lives going back decades.
Speaking of Jacob, let's look at that for a second. The whole episode was about Jacob doing what he apparently does and moving his players around a chessboard to get the desired results. Now, we're assuming that Smokey has an agenda somewhat in opposition to Jacob's. The thing is, the reveal this week to Hurley and Jack is pretty much the same information that Smokey told Sawyer last week. You would think there'd be conflicting stories. Unless Jacob is going to claim that Smokey's the one that's been watching them their whole lives, but we doubt that. Unlike Smokey, who seems to want everyone to reject their destinies, Jacob is all about getting them to accept them. That's why we're still on Team Jacob for now. Yes, he could be revealed to be some terrible monster, but for now, we're giving him the benefit of the doubt, even if, as the B-timeline keeps illustrating, all the Losties would have been better off without him in their lives.
In other Lost news, Claire is out-Rousseau-ing Rousseau as Jin finds out to his horror that she's not just crazy, she's evil and dangerous. As she says to him, "If there's anything that'll kill you around here it's infection," which leads us to think that Claire really is gone and what we're looking at is whatever happens when someone has been "infected." If the "infection" can make Claire this bad and dangerous, just imagine what's gonna happen when the assassin and torturer back at the Temple succumbs to it. And worse, she's been hanging out with a mighty bad crowd. Once again, when she creepily introduces Smokey with, "This is my friend," we're more convinced than ever that Smokey's the bad guy.
Let's see, what else. Oh yeah. One little thing. WE GOT THE FINAL ANSWER ON THE NUMBERS. Oh sure, it only opens up more questions but it for really-reals answers the big one that fans have been waiting 5 years to hear. The numbers all represent points on the compass. When the lighthouse lines up with a specific point, the person who corresponds to that number apparently is revealed in the mirror of the lighthouse lamp. Okay, so we don't know all the details, but still. That's pretty definitive.
Okay, let's wrap this up with discussion points:
* What is Jack's destiny on the island? Jacob tells him through Hurley, "You have what it takes," Another very strong callback to the corresponding episode in Season 1, but what is it he has to do?
*The battle-scarred and battle-hardened Claire is hard to take. Interesting to note that she reveals that she went through the same "diagnosis" protocol that Sayid went through at the temple, "They branded me!" But nothing beat the creepiness of "You're still my friend, aren't you Jin?" Okay, no. The animal-skull babydoll in the cradle beats that for creepiness. In fact, it's one of the creepiest things we've ever seen on this show.
* We always thought it was weird how the caves just disappeared from the story in S2 without any explanation. Hurley again serves as audience surrogate by asking the question everyone's been asking since Season 1: "What if these skeletons are us?" It's also notable that Jack tells the story of his father's ghost to Hurley, one of the few people in this story who would take it at face value without question.
* "I came back here because I was broken and I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me." The thing is, we think the island is doing just that. Sure, he fucked things up and got Juliet killed but he looks a hell of a sight better than when he was a drug addict ready to kill himself on a bridge.
* We said last week that with each season, new secret locations get revealed as in a video game, but even we exclaimed "Come on now!" when the lighthouse appeared for the first time. This time it was Jack's turn to ask the question the audience was collectively voicing: How could they have not seen this building before? Hurley's answer of "I guess we weren't looking for it," may just be a cute response or maybe it reveals more of the island's mysterious qualities.
*Jacob tells Hurley someone's coming to the island. Who? Our best guess is Widmore. They have to bring him back somehow. At first it seemed that Jacob wanted this person to find the island but he didn't seem upset when Jack scuttled those plans by smashing the mirror.
Labels: Lost, Lost Season 6
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