INTRO: Spare Chaynge
I have probably said this in every other article I’ve written, but I must say it again. It amazes me to no end how well LOST is able to reference itself and spin around and into its own story. I believe it truly is the Ourboros of television shows if there was ever such a thing. Take for example the latest installment of season six, “The Lighthouse”, which once again reveals part of the tale of one of our most beloved survivors, Jack Shephard, in the new “flash-sideways” time-line.
Once more we have a character who is both the same, yet different. There are fundamental personality traits we have seen before, yet we are served them in a different kind of light. One might even say in this episode specifically that light is reflected. As Locke is to Rain, Jack is to Mirror, or more appropriately, the Looking Glass.
Jack has never been one to really enjoy taking a deeper peek inside himself. For the last five years we’ve seen him play the scientific hero, yet we’ve seen him lack inner faith. Instead of facing his inner demons, he’s tried to escape them or ignore them for some time now. Jack even once contemplated suicide. He has served as a reflection of his own father both in his occupation and in his method of coping with the rest of what life has shown him.
However in this newest tale it would seem that down is starting to look as if it is turning up for Jack and his ability to see himself for who he truly is.
Comin' Back to Me
Of course the opening scene right away reflected the opening scene we saw of the good Doctor in the season’s opener, “LA X”, when he went to the restroom on the plane and caught his reflection in the mirror. There, he noticed a small wound on his neck. This time back in his apartment, he noticed the small scar that we all remember from where he had his appendix removed back on the Island in our “normal” time-line.
I feel very much like we are almost being teased at this point with how our characters appear to be having little bits and fits of memory and recognition issues in these new iterations of their lives. It would seem that Jack suddenly had no recollection of where the scar came from and had to ask his mom about it on the phone. Apparently it happened when he was a child, and he had even passed out at school from the failing organ. I would think that would definitely be something a kid of 7 or 8 years old would not forget, and that it would even more than likely be a downright traumatic experience overall. But nope, Jack only guesses that he remembers.
Curiouser and curiouser!
Let Me In
But before Jack’s conversation with his mom could get any further, he suddenly realized he was late, late, for a very important date…to pick up his son (insert multiple exclamation points) from school. Instantly we were shown that David and Jack really don’t have the best relationship. David is not only the typical, despondent teenager, but he is also the product of a failed marriage and only spends time with Jack once a month. And spending time with Dad to David is just getting through it. Jack makes every effort he can to connect with his son, but his attempts are only met with more detachment. From the Red Sox, to Alice in Wonderland, which we all remember Jack reading to little Aaron in the main time-line, Jack just can’t seem to relate to the kid anymore. It was kind of sad to watch, honestly.
One thing I want to mention was that Jack’s house was filled for the most part with nothing but stark, black and white décor. Even his choice of cookie was the black and white Milano, which David helped himself to in the kitchen while Jack had yet another call from his mom. The only room in the apartment that had any real warmth to it was David’s room, with its deep rusty orange curtains and basic earth tones overall. It was almost as if Jack’s inner desire to have a warm relationship with David was even reflected in how he made up his son’s temporary abode.
A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly
First they lost Christian’s casket, then they lost his will. Those Shephards certainly have had a hard time keeping track of all that surrounds the once-living patriarch of the family. It didn’t really seem like the will was even that difficult to find, but since in this iteration it seems that mom likes the drinky-drink, and not Jack so much, it made sense that she didn’t see that it was practically right in front of her eyes.
I really think she also just wanted to chat a bit with Jack, but not only for a little comfort from losing her husband and trying to manage the aftermath. The main crux of the scene served to tell us how David was now a mirror of how Jack was at the same age, and how David and Jack’s relationship overall mirrored Jack and Christian’s, with the son being terrified of somehow failing in the eyes of the father. I guess the Daddy issues run in the family, too.
Rock and Roll Island
The mirroring didn’t stop there, though. Just as Jack lost his father’s body both on the Island, and in time-line X, he then returned home to find his son missing. Jack raced over to David’s mother’s home, who was conveniently out of town so that her identity could remain unknown to us. Personally I am thinking mom is Juliet. For one thing, their relationship would then also be mirrored as one that did not last long in either time-line. The actor who plays David also looks like he could have her eyes. It’s obviously not Kate, and I just really doubt that they would bring Sarah back for this part of Jack’s story. Well, at least I hope not. Sorry Sarah fans, but she was just so blah.
Finally, it would not only give us the opportunity to have the amazing Elizabeth Mitchell back on the show, proving to us that as she was about to die after the Jughead explosion her character did indeed experience time-line X, but it would also then open the door for her and Sawyer to fall in love once again. I know that there are plenty more of you out there besides myself who are waiting to see them “go Dutch” on that coffee date she mentioned right before she expired in his arms.
With a key conveniently located under a ceramic white rabbit, Jack let himself in to what was probably once his home as well. We got to see David’s room, and learned that David was a huge fan of music from Beethoven to The Who. It was only from then listening to David’s answering machine that Jack found out that he was late, late, for another important date.
Somebody to Love
It was quite a lovely touch to see David playing the piano, just like his Dad once did in his New Otherton estate back in our main time-line. And just like Dad, David was a “candidate”…well, at least for admission into what seemed like one very prestigious music conservatory. As Jack stood in the back of the auditorium listening to his son play the same Chopin piece that Daniel Faraday once played for his mother, you could see the amazement and pride well up in his eyes. I must say that some of Matthew Fox’s best acting of the series came from this episode.
However, before Jack could get back to David, he had to first have a fate-related encounter with time-line X Dogen who reminded him how hard it is to be a gifted kid under pressure, and how difficult it is to be a parent who feels like they cannot do anything to really help.
That seemed to be the final motivation that Jack needed to figure out how to re-connect with his son. All Jack really had to do this entire time was just open up and be honest with David. By sharing how he felt at the same age, terrified of disappointing a father who always seemed to be in overdrive, and by reassuring David that he could never fail in his eyes, Jack finally dissolved the wall that David had been keeping up around himself. The spell, and the history of Shephard father and son communication problems, was finally broken.
It's No Secret
In the first scene we were shown from Island-time, Jack was also staring at himself, this time in the waters around Temple Otherton. Here, Dogen and Jack shared some more words as they sat facing each other and reflected each other’s honesty about the current situation with Kate, Jin, and Sawyer who had taken off some time ago with no real intention of returning.
It didn’t really seem like much else had been going on in the meantime. The Others were back in the courtyard planting flowers and making hemp bracelets. Hurley and Miles had been tying each other in game after game of tic-tac-toe with cute little makeshift leaf-X’s and branch-O’s. Sayid was just wandering around getting stared at for rising from the dead and becoming “infected”. To me it seemed odd altogether how just a short while ago the place was on high-alert, but now the vibe seemed pretty relaxed again. I suppose if you have enough ash then you must be good to go.
Thank goodness for Jacob and Hurley time! Those two are becoming one of my favorite parts of season six by a long shot. I love how Jacob really seems to care about Hugo, and how Hugo is no longer afraid to be a little more assertive with getting information from Jacob. I used to want to see a Hurley and Ben spin-off show, but Hurley and Ghost-Jacob might just have that wish beat by the end of the series.
Once again, Jacob had a task for our good buddy and newly-found “leader”. So with a literal arm-full of written instructions the Big H set off through the Temple looking for some secret exit door, but not before Dogen caught him and asked what he was up to. This was by far the best scene of the episode. I was so happy to have the writers give a proper shout out to my favorite film adventurer, Indiana Jones, since every episode this season has been reminding me of those films in one way or another.
But it was really Jorge Garcia’s acting that really had me in stitches as he portrayed a very nervous Hurley trying to deal with Jacob who stood right there, unbeknownst to Dogen, and told Hugo to stand up to “the Samurai”. Dogen’s expression when Hurley said that he could do what he wanted because he was a Candidate along with Hurley’s come-back, “Why don’t YOU go back to the courtyard?” was also pretty priceless.
However, the one thing Hurley forgot to bring along was Jack. Jacob was quite explicit about this, and so when Hurley tried to explain how difficult it was to get Jack to do anything he didn’t want to do, Jacob had just the solution. Once again I couldn’t help giggling as Hugo went out to the courtyard and told Jack to “stay cool” and “act natural” as if they were in some kind of secret spy adventure.
But there was no way that Jack could stay cool when Hurley let loose the magic motivational phrase Jacob gave to him to say. “You have what it takes” was the very opposite of what Jack’s father had told him as a kid; the one we learned that he had carried with him all his life. This was an exceptionally personal thing for Jack to suddenly hear, and with a mixture of fear, shock, and a maybe even a drop of anger in his eyes, he demanded that they go see Jacob that instant.
Hurley so very often serves as the voice of the audience these days, and when he mentioned how his trek through the jungle with Jack was “old school”, he hit the nail on the head. It really did take me back, especially to memories of the first and second seasons, to times when there were always separate little groups off on their own little missions, when the whispers were loud and mysterious, and when occasionally, someone would get knocked out from behind, or even taken.
And then they literally took us back.
The discovery of Shannon’s inhaler actually made me jump in my seat a little bit, and before the knot in my stomach had time to recognize it was from excitement, we were back at The Caves.
The two episodes on LOST that really solidified my infatuation with the show (well, after the Pilot of course) were “Walkabout” and “White Rabbit”. Besides being the two stories that really introduced us to our Man of Science and our Man of Faith on the Island, we have had this ongoing mystery surrounding the appearance(s) and disappearance(s) of one Christian Shephard. We first witnessed how his “apparition” seemed to tease and torment Jack, yet at the same time ended up helping him by leading him to fresh water and shelter right when he needed it most. He then showed himself again and claimed to speak for the then unknown character of Jacob, Leader of the Others. Christian was the entity who also told Locke to move the Island, and was then the last one seen with Claire before her long 3-year absence.
Now in the final season, we can pretty much say that his body was being used by the Man In Black to manipulate the 815 survivors for his various purposes. It feels strange to now look back and remember how Dead But Here Christian Shephard used to freak me out, how for awhile I was then led to somewhat trust him, and how now I feel a bit silly having been tricked by the Monster himself all along.
As Jack stood before that old smashed coffin and told Hurley the true story of how he found the caves, I believe there was a larger purpose besides providing the opportunity for the audience to reminisce a bit. The way that Jack delivered his speech and his general mannerism as he went on with his tale led me to believe that he too was feeling a bit like a fool at that point. Just as David in time-line X was learning there was no longer a need to have fear of Jack, I think Jack was realizing there was no longer a need to carry all of that same negative weight he had been bearing from his own father. These two storylines, on-Island and “X”, are really starting to connect with each other in some very profound ways.
Time-line X is more than just “what could have been". It’s more than just a reflection.
At this point, it’s progress.
Turn My Life Down
On the final stretch to the Lighthouse, Hurley and Jack opened up to each other in regards to why they each had decided to return to the Island. I have always enjoyed when the two of them talk, as it seems Jack is always able to let his defenses down more with Hurley than with anyone else on the show. Jack didn’t even flinch when Hurley just flat-out said that Jacob met him in a cab and suggested that he come back. But Jack’s reason was even more surprisingly honest, as he told Hurley that he was “broken” and thought that the Island would somehow fix him. Jack’s need to fix everyone and everything has always been mostly about his need to fix himself. Though it was heartbreaking to hear him admit it, I also felt that it was a good thing for him to confess, as it meant that he was perhaps finally starting to identify the issues that have plagued him for so long.
The Last Wall of the Castle
The Lighthouse was an impressive structure full of the classic mythology and strange technology that we have all come to know and love on LOST. Inside the tower was the massive wheeled contraption Jacob had asked Hurley and Jack to tend to so they could help the mysterious “someone” who was coming to the Island to find the place.
As Hurley began to turn the wheel to the designated bearing of 108 degrees, which is of course yet another one of those oh-so-important Numbers, Jack realized that each degree on the wheel’s table corresponded with a name, much in the same manner as the Cliffside cave that Lockeness had recently taken Sawyer on tour of. As the cogs turned its giant mirrors toward Jack, he could see strange places fading in and out in addition to his own reflection. We saw the location where Sun and Jin were married. Then the church where Sawyer’s parents’ funeral was held came and went. When Jack found his own name listed on the wheel, he demanded that Hurley turn it to the corresponding degree, number 23. The result was a reflection of his own childhood home, and he immediately demanded to see Jacob, who was of course nowhere to be found.
The inner turmoil that Jack had been dealing with since he was just a kid seemed to suddenly rage up as he realized that Jacob, or someone, had been watching all of the survivors for all of their lives. Those mirrors forced him to take one – no, actually 4 – good hard glances at both himself and his demons one more time.
Progress isn’t always pretty. Sometimes we need to destroy in order to build back up again. And in the type of outburst one would expect from someone who may not have been totally ready to learn such information, or take such a deep look at himself, Jack smashed each of the 4 mirrors and stormed away.
Afterwards, Jack just sat on the rocks to himself and stared out into the ocean as Jacob finally did show up to have a chat with one very deflated Hugo. Jacob actually didn’t mind at all that the Lighthouse mirrors had been broken. Instead, he was simply making sure that Jack saw what was up in that tower. The fact that it triggered some subsequent soul-searching on Jack’s part was exactly what Jacob had intended all along. He expressed to Hurley that Jack was very important, and that he needed to work through a few things. Jacob then also confessed that he wanted to make sure the two of them were as far away from the Temple as possible. Apparently, someone bad was on their way there, and now Jacob’s seemingly two most important Candidates would be for the moment at least, out of immediate danger.
Speaking of immediate danger, I suppose I should briefly mention the whole Creepy Claire storyline that was also occurring through the episode. Personally it didn’t do a lot for me, but I am sure there will be more to see so I will wait for it to play out a bit more before I really make a judgment about it. Maybe the problem is that Emilie de Ravin is just too adorable to convincingly pull off true malice. The scariest thing about this storyline to me was the skull-headed squirrel baby thing she had in the bassinet nearby a poor, wounded and confused Jin.
My Best Friend
Of course, the final reveal was one that I believe most of us had been expecting. The special friend that Claire kept referring to, who had apparently told her along with her “father” that the Others had her bay-bee Aaron, was Lockeness himself.
CONCLUSION: Wooden Ships
Overall I really enjoyed this episode, as the Lighthouse was a sweet addition to the long list of fascinating locations we’ve come to know on the Island. My thought at this point is that the Lighthouse is Jacob’s place for keeping track of the Candidates, and the Cliffside cave is where the MIB keeps his own backup list of sorts.
I suppose now we are also meant to wonder who exactly it is that is coming to the Island that Jacob mentioned. My bets are on Desmond, since Eloise told him that the Island wasn’t finished with him yet, aka Des still Has Work to Do.
However I think the biggest mystery of all here relates to Jack, and whether or not he will be able to face whatever task is in store for him. This journey that he took seems to have at least set him on the right path, and so far Jacob seems to know what he is doing. Here’s to the hope that his time spent gazing at his reflection in relation to the wide, open ocean gives Jack the perspective, courage, and wisdom to finally fix things.
*I write about LOST because I love the challenge of deciphering the clues and adding the pieces together. My thoughts are based solely on the show, the LOST Experience, and random research, as I try to avoid spoilers, promos, and even future episode titles. I love to guess what is going on, but I also like to do so in a way that leaves some of the conclusions still up to you. I do not know the answers and am often wrong. Whatever the truth turns out to be, it has been the journey that has meant the most to me.*