Saturday, February 27, 2010

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY

"I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of."
- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
The mirror does not lie. It may play a few tricks here and there, but it cannot hide the truth. The mirror forces us to look at ourselves, all our warts and zits and wrinkles and scars.



It was very odd that OtherJack didn't seem to recognize his own appendectomy scar, the one his Mom told him he'd gotten when he was 7 or 8. Not remembering a 30 year old scar seems downright inexplicable. I suppose it's possible that he only just noticed it after a fresh chest wax.


Or maybe he didn't remember that scar because he didn't used to have it. Maybe when he looked at himself in the mirror, his parallel mind tilted just a little and was reflecting back that time on the Island when Dr. Juliet yanked his appendix out by flashlight on Craphole Beach. You may remember that scene, how he tried to micromanage his own surgery by watching it in ... a mirror! It was the apex of Jack's lifetime achievement as crazy ass control freak.


So did the scar in the mirror trip Jack's consciousness upside down? Was he having one of those bleedthrough incidents, like he seemed to have on the plane with Desmond?


One of those weird brain farty feelings where his parallel Jackness was sending a secret coded message to his OtherJackness?


Mirrors have been used throughout history as a way to send messages.



When Jacob wanted to signal Jack about the next course correction he needed to take on his Hero's Journey, he sent him to the top of a Lighthouse.



There Jack and Hurley found the mirrors and firepit that a primitive lighthouse would have used to make a beacon. There was also a dial to position the mirrors, with each degree carefully printed with the name of one of the 360 potential Candidates.



Lighthouses are used as navigational aids, to help sailors find the harbor, or to warn them away from deadly hazards. But the mirrors in this Lighthouse, as befits a magical Island, did more than just reflect firelight. Just as OtherJack felt an Island memory when he saw his scar, the Lighthouse mirrors gave him a reflected vision of his childhood home.



The same home we saw him visiting in OtherLOST.



The mirrors in the parallel universes almost seem to be sending semaphore across the great interdimensional divide.



This 108th episode of LOST, happening in the fifth hour of the grand finale season, was a Jackback, just like the fifth hour of the pilot season of LOST. But it wasn't just one Jackback. It was like a kaleidoscope of Jackbackery. Mirrors were more than props. The symmetry of mirrors kept creating little jagged edges of memory, with parallel storylines reflecting onto past storylines in ever more unpredictable patterns.



In Season One's White Rabbit, Jack chased his father through the jungle.



In a cave filled with death he found the water of life. He also found his father's casket - empty.



In Lighthouse, Jack and Hurley rediscover the caves, still lined with rotty skeletons, and the empty grave is still there, still empty. Just the way it was after Jack finished bashing it to pieces.


Meanwhile, over on OtherLOST, Christian's body is still missing. Jack and his mother have a meeting in Christian's rich leather coated, booklined study, searching for the dead man's Will.



In White Rabbit, Mama Shephard confronted Jack in that same study.

She ordered him to Australia to retrieve the body that, ever since, no one has been able to keep track of.


Once upon a time, Christian Shephard was an evil figure in the lore of LOST. When first we met him, he was screwing with his kid's head in a most unforgivable way. I have never quite been able to decipher the looking glass advice that Christian gave to little Jack back in White Rabbit.



This is the same study where Dr. Shephard issued his famously cruel diagnosis of his son. Jack would never forget that, according to Dad, he didn't, and never would, "have what it takes".


Christian's verdict was made cloudy by the jabberwocky he added about Jack not being able to fail because he'd be a total failure at failing. He didn't have what it takes to fail - that was the gist of his very helpful lecture to Jack way back when. I think there's a way to see that as a kind of mirror image pep talk. Maybe Doc Shephard was telling Jack that he was doomed to succeed because he didn't have the ability to fail. Could that be it? Did Jack just need to take his father's advice and look at it upside down and backwards in a mirror to see that it was really a form of motivational encouragement?



In any case, it seems less of an issue in OtherLOST. Christian's bones are still missing, but his spirit lives on - rather happily, it seems. He's not a skeery ghost in OtherLOST. He's just a friendly face shining out from pictures on shelves in the home of his beloved son.



As has been the pattern, everything in OtherLOST is just a little bit nicer, a little bit easier, a little bit less mentally ill. OtherJack doesn't seem to have hated his dad at all. His mom is kind and helpful, not shrewish and accusing. She compliments him on not following her down the road to alcoholism.



Aside from the fresh coat of paint, though, it's not all that different in OtherJack's world.



His ride of choice is still a tan Bronco. He's still obviously a very successful spinal surgeon, with super deluxe accommodations overlooking Hollywood's hills.



It's a faithful mirror image of the life Jack had before, just a little bit prettier and cleaner. There is, however, one big difference. Instead of a surly disapproving father, in OtherLOST, Jack's the proud owner of a surly disapproving son!


And instead of chasing the ghost of his runaway father through a tropical jungle, OtherJack is running around looking for the son who doesn't want to be found.



The mirror of OtherLOST has created a symmetry that's so perfectly fitting it's a wonder none of us ever predicted it. OtherJack isn't just a child of a parent. He's at the focal point of the mirror now. He's a parent to a child as well. He gets to experience the fun and games from both sides of the great mirror of human reproduction.



LOST is a story of many themes, but no theme is more central than the great Curse of the Daddy Issue. Father begets Son, who fights - and, on LOST, often kills - the Father, in order to become the man he's meant to be. Jack has always been on the innocent side of that parallel, but in OtherLOST he gets to jump through the glass and try it on the flipside. The Son who resented the Father becomes the Father whose Son thinks he's a pain in the ass.


The son who is a candidate in a different, but no less heroic, challenge than his father.



It's a tale as old as time, and it's the indispensable lynchpin of every manly monomyth that's ever been told. Not every Hero gets to be father as well as son, but in a mirror story like LOST, it wouldn't make sense for Jack to be one and not the other. See? This OtherLOST does have a point to it! In this mirror world, the line of gifted-yet-crabby Shephard men does not stop with Jack. There is an heir to the House of Shephard.



A brand new Shephard coming on the scene has to have an interesting name, something we can riff on a little. And sure enough, he does. He's David. Namesake to the singer of the Song of David, which is the Psalm that just happens to fall at the Official Number of the Shephard Family: Number 23.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. - Psalm 23
In the Bible, David was the poor young shepherd that everyone remembers as the barefoot boy who slew the great Goliath with just a bag of rocks and a slingshot. Before he ever got around to that great deed, David was already famous in the royal court because he was a musical prodigy who alone had the talent to calm King Saul's tempers by playing his harp.



Naturally then this new Shephard - David - is also a musician.



But he's not just your average high school Gleek. He's Juilliard bound. And OtherJack, it turns out, has become so disconnected from the life of his only kid that he never even knew it!


Take a minute to think just how much indifference and disinvolvement it would take to not realize your 14 year old son could rip off a Chopin sonata allegro agitato in front of a panel of judges.



What has OtherJack been doing all these years that he knows so little about the life of his son?



We can tell that OtherJack is still a control freak. His very neat apartment looks like a place I'd be afraid to eat pizza in. He keeps David's room as cleanly sterile as a monk's cell. He only sees him once a month.



But in his real home, at Number 233 House, David's real self is spread out all over.


He's not a Boston Red Sox fan, like Jack seems to think. He's from L.A., so he follows the Dodgers ... which you think his Dad would realize.



In his real life, David is messy. He's an artist, not a scientist.


The story of David and Jack follows the pattern we've come to expect already from this brave new world called OtherLOST. David confesses that, just like old school Jack, he was afraid to let his father see him fail. Apparently Jack used to obsess over David's musical gifts and it made the kid self conscious.


Jack realizes that he was freakishly controlling, trying to see his own reflection in his son, rather than just standing back and respecting him for who he is. He has an epiphany and vows to love David forever. Magically, that fixes everything.


They go home to live happily ever after and eat pizza and watch Dodger games together. All problems fixed. OtherLOST is almost as neat and tidy as a sitcom.



Whatever happened in OtherLOST happened so differently that the OtherLosties have all become the kind of people who can solve their own problems. It probably helps that their Other-problems are not nearly as tough. Jack doesn't have to deal with a teenager that's taking drugs or flunking school. Even though Jack has just said no to parenting, the kid seems to be doing fantastic. He does his homework, he plays piano, he wears a tie, he even closes up the cookie bag after he takes his one (!) cookie.



He's almost too good to be true. His mother must have been doing an awesome job with him all those years that Jack couldn't be bothered. It wouldn't be LOST if an episode didn't leave us with a tingly little mystery like this one: Who is David's mom? What wise blue eyed woman has raised such an extraordinary blue eyed boy?


It's the guessing game du jour. I have to confess there really is only one possibility that interests me, and I do think they may have given us a fairly pithy clue. When Jack is poking around Number 233 House, he passes by a mirror flanked by big sunhats.



Now check out the picture below of the Othertown weekly book club discussing Juliet's favorite book Carrie. Note the mirror on the wall. Note the hats.



You thinking what I'm thinking? Granted the parameters of possibility in OtherLOST are still unknown, but I think it would be wicked cool if David's blue eyes were a reflection of Juliet's.

Reflection, after all, is the phenomenon that concerns us most these days. While LOST is a story that draws from many of the world's great books, the mother of all great LOST books is still this one, written by one of literature's greatest mirror aficionados.




We know Jack loves this book. It was the one his Dad read to him, the one he read to Aaron back in Something Nice Back Home.


And in OtherLOST apparently it's the book that represents some lost time in David's childhood, when Jack and he were still a family.


When Jack arrives at his old home, Number 233 House, he looks under a rabbit to find the key.

Jack is the character that chased the White Rabbit in Season One. He's the one who went Through the Looking Glass in Season Three. Jack, let's face it, is the Alice of WonderLOST.


Whenever one travels through the looking glass, the first thing that one notices are all the reversals. Jack reminds David about Alice's kittens, black Kitty and white Snowdrop, who the story turns into the wild and crazy Red and White Queens.

As we would expect in a mirror story like this one, we find other interesting reversals. Kate's number has been found! They decided not to keep us in suspense after all. She is Number 51.



She doesn't get to have one of the magic lottery numbers, but at least she's not crossed out. And, it's also curious that, of all the numbers in all the sundials in all the interdimensional parallelling universes, she gets assigned to the mirror image of Ford's Number: 15.



I like it! I'm sure many will say this is a mere meaningless accident, because hey, it could be. I mean there are only 358 other numbers the writers could have chosen for Kate and Sawyer. I'm sure it means absolutely nothing that they are palindrome reflections of each other. Nothing at all.


With a quick eye, you could find reflections everywhere in this episode.



David's audition piece, Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C-sharp minor, is the same piece little Daniel Faraday was playing in The Variable before his tender loving mother shot his piano career dead in its tracks.



I hope they don't plan to carry the reflections out too faithfully, because that would certainly not bode well for David Shephard's prospects in life.



Jack's philosophical talk with Dogen at the Temple is reflected later in their Other-meeting at the concert auditions.



Dogen is the better, wiser father. He is further along the path to enlightenment than Jack is.



Meanwhile, back in Christian Shephard's study, a cleverly placed bottle of McCutcheon's whiskey reminds us that we're still playing puzzles.


At the reading of his Will, we find that some things may have changed, but OtherChristian was still a lousy family man. Even though the OtherShephard family seemed a lot tighter and healthier, Christian still managed to spawn and then abandon an unwanted baby girl on the opposite side of the planet, sometime after 1977, the year of "the incident".


The Shephard sibling connection always seemed a little contrived to me, but in this episode I finally began to see the family resemblance.


Both of Christian Shephard's children have been branded.



Both are surgeons of a sort.



Both of them have some serious anger control issues.



Neither one should be trusted with sharp objects.

And now that we've met David, it turns out that both of them are parents!



Scary Claire is keeping her fetish baby in the little blue bassinet where Amy first kept Ethan.


Everything gets recycled on LOST Island.



In the three years since Claire left her by-bee lying around like lost luggage, we find out that she has gone stark raving bonkers.



And she really, really doesn't take any shit from anyone. To say she's hardcore is putting it mildly.


You can see why Jin is feeling so nervous around her.



I don't know if Stephen King's Misery ever played in Korea, but if it did, you know Jin was thinking of this.



Claire has been taken to the temple and given the torture test treatment. We still don't know what happened to her. Was she hemorrhaging and soon to die the day that Sawyer saved her from the burning house?



Was she saved in the Temple bathwater, the way Sayid was? Did she get claimed? Is she infected?


It's obvious the girl has been through an ordeal. She's regressed into a feral idiot, albeit one who still knows how to sterilize her suturing tools.



And one who remembers the little boy she wanted to read stories to and sing lullabies to about falling stars and wishes.



She is a blond wigged out reflection of the frizzy haired French brunette who used to wander around LOST Island doing creepy things because someone had stolen her baby.



But it's not exactly the same. Rousseau was a true hermit. She seemed to speak to no one. Claire, on the other hand, has A Friend.



The Monster, who probably first appeared to Claire in Christian's form, has become her father figure now. These two, who we saw long ago as a kind of father and daughter - when John made a cradle for Claire's soon to be born baby



- have reconfigured into an unlikely family unit here in the bizarro world of endgame LOST.


Claire, the mother who lost her child, the child who lost her father, is now being led through her final paces by a Monster masquerading as her big ole sugar daddy. It's super creepy.



Meanwhile, her big brother is in some other hidden quadrant of LOST Island being guided by the invisible hand of his unearthly father. While the Man in Locke is tending to his daughter Claire, it looks like Jacob is getting his claws pretty deep into his new favorite son Jack.


Both of the Island's twin gods are manipulative monsters. Just like his brother, Jacob is skilled in the art of using proxies to do his work for him.



Hurley, as we'd expect, has adjusted seamlessly to having suddenly become the uninvited guest of the Freak People.



He is doing what a dude does in such a situation. Play games in the courtyard and make the best of Temple Camp.



But when he goes to find some bug juice in the chow hall, who should be waiting there but Jacob, pondering his pale reflection in the dirtywater pool.



Jacob feigns that he's been disturbed unexpectedly in his prayers.



But we all know Jacob was expecting Hurley. He's been plotting ten moves ahead, like any other chessmaster would do. It turns out that in the moldy catacombs of Jacob's temple home there is a secret hidden door.



Marked with the symbol of the Stargate!



Very clever! One thing LOST was definitely missing was a Stargate. And it explains a lot.



Like how did the Lighthouse from ancient Alexandria suddenly appear on LOST Island?


Stargate!


There needed to be some portal through which the Losties could adventure into a plot generating machine where things like Lighthouses can spring up out of thin air.


Being able to make superstructures suddenly appear on this tiny Island is the only way this puzzle game can keep moving fast enough to get us to the end by May 23.



The Myst comparison works on a couple of levels. I made a guess last week that what we may be watching is a time transcending battle between two brothers trapped on an enchanted Island, dually cursed by the murder of their father, trying to escape by teaching a Stranger to decode the hidden Island secrets. It's as good an explanation as any for the way Jacob was pulling Jack and Hurley's strings throughout this episode.



First he guides Hugo through an ego boosting encounter with Dogen.


"Why don't you go back to the Courtyard?"

Following Jacob's cues, Hurley manages to pwn the Zen master at his own game. Jacob is so skilled a puppeteer that his dolls never even feel him pulling their strings.


Next Jacob feeds Hurley the line that Jack needs to hear. Unlike his mean old Earth Daddy who told Jack he didn't have what it takes, Jack's Heavenly Father has the opposite opinion of him. Being told he does have what it takes works like magic on Jack, and he and his Sancho Panza set out to find some windmills. Or to do whatever Jacob's invisible puppet strings are pulling on them to do.



Whoever's controlling him, Jack's Hero's Journey seems to be right on track. He's pretty much wrapped up the whole Kate thing, or to be more specific about it, he's resisted the Lure of the Temptress.


"The seeker of the life beyond life must press beyond the woman, surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond." - Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
I guess it's easier to resist the Temptress when she's lost all interest in tempting you. A few stray fans seem not to have noticed this, but Kate isn't Jack's adoring little girlfriend anymore. In any case, it's all obvious to Jack.



Kate has a story of her own. Finally. About damn time.


Having moved beyond the Temptress, the hero's journey next proceeds to the inescapable task of Atonement with the Father. And really, when you come right down to it, what else has Jack's story ever been about?



We learned a lot about Jack in this episode. For one thing, we learned why he came back to the Island. It's been a topic of debate on message boards throughout the run of LOST. What motivates Jack? What makes him act like such a .. Jack?



About midpoint in this episode, he told us. Jack does what he does because no matter what, he is always thinking about Jack. He can't get himself out of his head. The kind of reflection that most interests Jack is self reflection. I don't mean this as a criticism. It's a diagnosis. Jack didn't come back to the Island to save anyone, to help anyone, to get anyone home. He didn't come back to find his sister and reunite her with her long lost son. He didn't come to save the Island. He came to get fixed. He was broken and he wanted the Island to make him well. In one sense, it's a breathtakingly selfish motivation. But it makes perfect sense when you look at how he behaved in the Lighthouse cabin.



Hurley had instructions on his arm ... which, no, you can't read even if you hold a mirror up to it. (Not that I tried or anything.)



Somewhere in there you can see that Jacob has instructed Hurley to turn the compass dial to 1o8 degrees. The ancient smoked mirrors begin to swing past Jack. The temple where the Kwons were married floats by him.



Then the church where James Ford buried his mom and dad.



But it's not until his own family home lurches by that Jack suddenly finds this whole exercise intriguing. He looks down and sees his name on the dial at Number 23.



He doesn't stop to look for the names of his friends. He doesn't wonder what images the mirrors might project for each of them. And it's not like he cares that WE all wanted to see what those pictures might be! Thanks a lot, Jack! It's not like you broke a totally unexplored visual metaphor before we even got a chance to appreciate just how cool it might have been.



Seriously, I've been trying to be a little less hard on old Jack these days, but that was old school Jackassery. Right up until that moment, he was doing so well. He's been so mellow this season, I can hardly recognize him sometimes.


But when he got up in the Lighthouse and saw his magic number roll by, when he realized that whoever created this machine had been controlling his Fate since he lived at home with Christian and Margo, something snapped. Nice Jack disappeared. And like a storm blowing towards a quiet beach from across the open water, out came his rageface. Ah, it's been so long since we had a Jackface party!

"If you wish to avoid seeing a fool you must first break your looking glass"
- Francois Rabelais



When Jack smashes the lighthouse mirrors, it is the rebellious act of a defiant son. He may be a recovering control freak, but he still can't tolerate being controlled by someone else.

Afterwards, his heavenly Father watches over Jack as he hikes up to a cliffside to meditate on this new travail he's being made to endure.



Or maybe he's just posing to be the next great Island monument.



While Jack sits and contemplates the great burden of being Someone Very Important in the Battle of the Island Gods, Hurley and Jacob do a postgame wrapup. Hurley at one point in the episode refers to Jacob as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and it fits him well.


"Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can imagine..."
Jacob may be "dead", but it has only caused him to step up his game. What that game is remains a mystery, and whether or not Jacob is the Good Guy in this game is more in doubt than ever. He's a manipulative, scheming bastard, that much is clear. But at least his recruits aren't putting axes into people's guts. At least not yet.



So I guess for the time being at least, he seems a little bit less of a villain than his extra monstrous Bad Twin.



The episode leaves Jack perched on the mountaintop, searching the horizon for his Destiny Ship. Maybe he's wondering why he broke the Lighthouse that could have signalled his position. Maybe he just doesn't want to come down because he feels stupid for smashing the thing that might have fixed him. Because, uh, seriously, why did he do that?



Jacob doesn't seem disturbed that Jack broke his cool machine. He's still babbling about this big important Someone who is Coming, which is a phrase that Jacob may have used one time too many. I'm trying hard to be intrigued about who is coming, and why Jack breaking the beacon is going to help the Island to be found ... but my curiosity is weakening. Koans tire me. Jacob is like a zazen who never tries to teach his pupil anything, only gives him the chance to work it all out for himself.


Jacob is employing the time honored techniques of Buddhism, to seek the Mirrorlike Wisdom of pure Enlightenment by never actively seeking it. Whatever his destiny is, Jack is going to have to figure it out on his own. Especially now that he broke the mirrors.

"If you really want to know who I am,
you will have to be absolutely empty as I am.
Then two mirrors will be facing each other,

and only emptiness will be mirrored."
- Osho




33 comments:

SockeRock said...

I'm surprised no one has jumped on the fact that Sayid and Jack's names were traced over in a dark pen, while the other names we saw weren't. Sawyer, Jin and Kate's name wasn't. Whatever Jacob wants from Jack, I don't think it's anything good if you go by what he's done to Sayid. They didn't show Hurley or Locke's names, but I wouldn't be surprised if their names weren't traced over in the black pen, too.

The Others go on about Smokey claiming people, but that's what Jacob seems to have done to Hurley. Hurley is Jacob's puppet. The man mentioned danger was coming to the Temple and its too late to warn anyone at the Temple [can you say bogus, he could have told Hurley to get all those people to leave the Temple but he didn't] and Hurley just accepts it. He doesn't even make an attempt to try and go back and help them. He's been as claimed by Jacob as Claire has by Smokey.

I have to disagree that Jacob is less evil than Smokey. I think its Jacob who ordered The Purge. No one on that island would say boo if Jacob didn't tell them to. He ordered Claire's kidnapping. He ordered Walt's kidnapping. He made lists of who should be brought to the Temple. And now he doesn't care if the people loyal to him are slaughtered. Smokey just seems more bad because he's in your face, while Jacob isn't.

An interesting thing about the mirror thing is the places Jacob visited Jin/Sun and Sawyer were shown, so what Jack should have saw in the mirror was St. Sebastian Hospital, not his house. It's why I ponder the question if Jack is really a candidate or if Christian is the real Shephard candidate. Jacob didn't visit Jack at his house, he visited him at the hospital.

Kathleen said...

Great synopsis! First mention I've seen of the sunhats around the mirror in David's mom's house and in Juliet's house. And I missed that 51 is a mirror of 15.

Anonymous said...

I was somewhat seeing the connection between "15" and "51" too, but then someone pointed out that Shannon [as "Rutherford"] was given "32" and that would be the opposite of "23" [Shepherd] and that makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

But 32 is crossed off. 51 and 15 are the only mirror numbers that aren't crossed off.

Anonymous said...

Amazing, Fish! I don't mean to be a kiss-ass, but I think you get better at this with every episode. I'm enjoying the recaps more this season than ever.

Not remembering a 30 year old scar seems downright inexplicable. I suppose it's possible that he only just noticed it after a fresh chest wax.

LOL. If it's the first time he waxed, God only knows what else he could have found under there. Old sandwiches, lost keys...

Mirrors have been used throughout history as a way to send messages.

Wasn't there a scene on Lost a few seasons ago where someone send a message by flashing a mirror from up on a cliff to someone down below? Am I just imagining that?

Maybe Doc Shephard was telling Jack that he was doomed to succeed because he didn't have the ability to fail. Could that be it? Did Jack just need to take his father's advice and look at it upside down and backwards in a mirror to see that it was really a form of motivational encouragement?

Whoa. That's a lot to think about.

She compliments him on not following her down the road to alcoholism.

Was that what she was doing? I was wondering if Jack had already dealt with alcoholism, but then I guess his Mom would be pretty shitty for offering him a drink, if that was the case.

But he's not just your average high school Gleek.

I don't know if that's an actual Glee reference or not, but I love it anyway. ;)

Whatever happened in OtherLOST happened so differently that the OtherLosties have all become the kind of people who can solve their own problems.

Which brings up the question - what the hell is the point of the island in their lives? These people in this sideways universe seem to have no need of a place like the island where they're forced to deal with all their issues and become better people. I thought that was sort of the entire point of the show. It all seems just a little too easy for them. It makes me wonder whether that'll last. Surely not every sideways story will be wrapped up with a pretty bow? That'll get old as the season progresses.

Now check out the picture below of the Othertown weekly book club discussing Juliet's favorite book Carrie. Note the mirror on the wall. Note the hats.

Awesome clue. Considering that not too many women wear giant sun hats, surely that can be considered a hint?

I mean there are only 358 other numbers the writers could have chosen for Kate and Sawyer. I'm sure it means absolutely nothing that they are palindrome reflections of each other. Nothing at all.

Hee. It hasn't been said often enough - you rock.

"The seeker of the life beyond life must press beyond the woman, surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond." - Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

There's a lot that Joseph Campbell has written which I take issue with, but this is the perfect quote for Jack. In terms of following that archetypal hero's journey, he's hitting all the marks. The idea that he should get the big Heroic Destiny AND end up with Kate is downright ridiculous. Sawyer is the romantic hero. His story is all about finding and accepting love. Jack's isn't and never has been. Pretty simple disctinction, IMO.

Great recap! And it was fun to see some Jackface again. Here's to many more this season.

Leah Kate

Anonymous said...

And like that we wander to the jungle of stipulations and it somehow diminishes the significance.
It would have been a nice shout out, but...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
I was somewhat seeing the connection between "15" and "51" too, but then someone pointed out that Shannon [as "Rutherford"] was given "32" and that would be the opposite of "23" [Shepherd] and that makes no sense.

I think the difference is that people were deliberately looking for Kate's number, and Darlton would have been well aware of that when they wrote the episode. Her number is more significant, because it's a main focus for the audience. Nobody really cares about Shannon's.

I don't think Kate's number as the mirror of Sawyer's is necessarily going to come into play on the show, at least not in any explicit, obvious way. I think it was just a cool little Easter Egg, and hopefully a clue that those two characters will indeed be connected in the ultimate way when all is said and done.

Anonymous said...

One thing that sticks with me about Claire's crazy talk is that she indicated two separate contacts - her father and a friend. Fake-Locke was introduced as the friend, and since Smokey = Fake-Locke ... was Smokey ever Christian or not? And if not, it gets very confusing.

Claire knew clearly that her friend wasn't Locke. Wouldn't she also know if that same friend had previously posed as her father? So what's the deal with Christian if he isn't Smokey? At the same time it sure seemed like it was Smokey manipulating Locke to leave the island and into believing he had to die, which was Smokey's way into the loophole. Maybe I'm making too much of it and they are both Smokey and Claire is just crazy.

Beyond all that - island Jack has definitely not left his jackass self behind. Breaking the mirrors made me want to smack him, hard. It is a little easier to like alterna-Jack ... interesting that Matthew Fox looks much more attractive there, too.

Your catch of the sunhats is astounding, though I'd like the possibility better if David's parents were still together. Still, maybe Juliet was talking to Jack in her (possible) universe-jumping haze, making an overture to her ex, and David's parents will reunite in alterna-world.

Anonymous said...

P.S. - I've seen a lot attention paid various places to Jack's waxed chest ... except Oceanic 06 Jack also waxed. This isn't the first time we've seen this.

Anonymous said...

Best recap ever! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is one of your best recaps. Spot on! I had a great time reading.

Anonymous said...

Your recaps always amaze and amuse me, Fish. An entertaining and thought-provoking read as always!

So... did nobody else think of the movie War Games when Miles and Hugo were playing tic tac toe? A hint, perhaps, that the Losties will come to realize, as Joshua did, that the only way to "win" the game is to not play the game in the first place, and that these flash-sideways are the result of their decision? Or am I reading too much into it?

And anonymous 4:04 up there, Kate and Sawyer do have a rather extensive and layered backstory, and Jack and Shannon... don't. So think on that a bit before you dismiss the significance of their numbers.

Anonymous said...

Always love reading your stuff. Great insight as always.

Anonymous said...

I always look so forward to your recaps. They are the best out there. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Some of the things you pointed out were really interesting. But as for the Desmond thing, don't forget that Jack and Desmond met BEFORE reaching the island -- remember when Sarah was in the hospital and Jack was running through the stadium and Desmond helped him when Jack tripped up the stairs? I suppose, for all we know, that it never happened in OtherLost. Either way though, Desmond was right, they did 'see each other in another life'.

flowerchild said...

You remember the scene: Ben and Sawyer were standing on a cliff overlooking the larger island. Ben had just pulled off the rabbit-pacemaker con and arrogantly said, "You're good, but we're better." That was the moment I know a long con would be involved in the final solution. So when I saw Jacob assemble his hand picked (including Illana) Dirty Eight, I knew that each had been chosen for a particular talent. Most of them I'm not yet cetain what that special talent is (Jin - fishing? speaking Korean? Sun - lying? Kate - really, really good at escaping? keeping Sawyer connected to our favorite team?) But two are pretty well-established. Sawyer is there for the Long Con which began with his "Hell yess" last week. And Hurley is there because he (along with his sidekick Miles) can speak to dead people. (Remember, Jacob told him it was a blessing.) I wonder if the Man in Black can hop into the bodies of Charlie and Michael since they are not on the island.

Anonymous said...

Great recap Fish!

Regarding the Shannon-Jack inverse numbers. I too think her number was probably just assigned randomly.

But if it were to mean anything, perhaps it was Shannon's narcissistic, self-absorbed behavior and her lack of interest in being helpful that was meant to mirror Jack's need to save everyone.

In that same way, Sawyer's initial desire to push people away was a mirror opposite to Kate's need for approval -- most especially from Jack.

Anonymous said...

Kate has a story of her own. Finally. About damn time.

Is that your way of saying that you're okay with the triangular love-fest being sidelined for a while? If so, that's very brave of you.

mynamesdan said...

Claire and her by-bee.

I laughed some bran flakes out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

great read, again! THX!

I have something to add
about the tic-tac-toe game:
when i saw it it reminded me of the movie "wargames" (I think it's from the eighties, cold war times)
and the protagonist boy lets the computer, who is kind of up to throw the first bomb, play tic-tac-toe and he figueres out that way, that NOBODY can win this game.
and coming to this conclusion, the worlds gets saved.

Anonymous said...

Awesome recap, Fish! I found it far more entertaining than the actual episode, sorry to say. Tried to watch it a second time, hoping I'd find something to enjoy more the second time, but I fell asleep. So I've given up on it.

Kate has a story of her own. Finally. About damn time.

Agree completely. I was so happy to see Kate heading off to do her own thing. Five seasons of watching her trot dutifully after Jack was more than enough.

Thanks for all the funny gifs and the hilarious Alice manip. A boost of creativity actually made Jack entertaining.

I'm glad the Jack-SW is out of the way, though I did think his son was a cutie. Can't wait to find out who his Mom is, and my money's on it being Juliet too.

Thanks for the analysis and insights I was too lazy even to attempt on this one. Looking forward to next week!

Dezdemona

Anonymous said...

I've just read through your recap for a second time and I'm laughing even more than I did on my first read. Definitely feels more entertaining than the episode itself did, although in fairness too, it was a Jack episode and I might be a bit harsher judging it. It was about time we were due for a slightly weaker ep this season all the same and even so, it isn't what I'd call bad enough to be bad and it doesn't lessen the overall high of this season so far (for me at least).

Particularly lol at an image in my head of you checking out Hurley's arm instructions in a mirror! And this: "And it's not like he cares that WE all wanted to see what those pictures might be!"

I DID want to see more of the images and it did feel like the Jack we're all familiar with! Jackfaces included. Could have recycled some from previous episodes into your gif with the same results I'm sure!

Looking forward to your next review as much as I always do!

- Midnight

Anonymous said...

I just want to say I really enjoy your recaps, Fish. Thank you so much. I've been reluctant to post before because people sometimes get very cruel in the comments (Skaters and Jaters and Sulieters). I personally found Sawyer and Juliet very believable as a couple and enjoyed them together, however, I can definitely see the chemistry between Sawyer and Kate as well. Though I think I might be a Sulieter (mostly because Juliet seems much more able to make up her mind and not be wishy-washy), I won't mind if Sawyer ends up with Kate in the end. If I decide to continue posting here, I hope you guys will accept me despite my Suliet leanings. :) I respect your opinions, and I hope you respect mine. If it helps, Jack is my least favorite character...

Kyle from Kentucky said...

Wow I like when some posters have longer posts than the actual recapper. Jeez.

Skate. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

I think the shits about to hit the fan tomorrow night

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! I can't praise this review enough. And I appreciate your softer approach to Jack this year. I'm not a fan of Jack (the only character I really care about is Sawyer which is one reason I always read these posts), but I've had a little more empathy for him since returning to the island and sideways Jack seems almost ... well normal. Of course, I'm with you on breaking those mirrors. It pissed me off and all I could think was "haven't you learned anything afterall". How many disasters and potential disasters have resulted from Jack's impetuous nature. For such a smart man, I wish he'd learned to think before he acted or reacted (like Sawyer pointed out in season 5).

Nice catches on the numbers and the hats. I saw those numbers and it never dawned on me. And I never saw the hats at all. I hope you're right about that "hint".

Dana

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jessica said...

love this recap! I am happy that kate has a story too outside that damn triangle (tho i think she chose Jack, jmo) Jack was annoying as hell in the island and he 's been back to his oldself for 2/3 episodes now, I don't get that. He was softer and less arrogant and now he is back in full force, I hope that staring at the ocean is gonna calm him (by the way that line was lame). Can't wait for next's week Dr Linus!!!

Devera said...

Stargate and all the funny Jack manipulations--love them!

I like following your analysis of Jacob and Locke and the Myst analogies.

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