So this was the classic pivot episode where our characters are all put into position for what comes next. The pace of this episode was more aligned with “What Kate Does”, more of a slow boil. But I really liked the episode and here are the reasons why:
- Jack. I know a lot of fans can’t stand the good doctor. Maybe it’s his insatiable desire to fix everything, even when things don’t need fixing. Maybe it’s his whole “live together, die alone” mantra. Maybe it’s his rapid fire blinking whenever he receives a shocking piece of news. I don’t know. But I’ve always liked the guy. Tonight’s episode made me hurt for him. When Hurley asks him why he returned to the Island, I love Jack’s response: “I came back here because I was broken. And I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me.” I think our erstwhile hero has finally reached the point of breakthrough. Whatever the reason for Jack being on the Island, I think he’s finally ready to accept his destiny. This Jack reminds me of the time-traveling Locke who, when reflecting on the painful experience of Boone’s death that leads him to bang on the hatch door, says, “I needed that pain to get to where I am now.” Jack Shepherd has needed his pain — every heart-wrenching moment of it — to get to where he is now: sitting on the coastline, staring at the ocean, reflecting on his destiny. I don’t know where the story goes from here, but I’m excited about Jack finally living into the hero role. Oh, and I LOVED the whole mirror destroying thing. Very cool.
- Hurley. Jorge Garcia may be one of the most unintentionally funny guys on television. The guy can read almost any line and crack me up. I love what the writers have done this season, pushing ghost-whisperer Hurley out front. I don’t know what to make of his interactions with Jacob (Is he dead? Undead? Good? Evil?), but I love the more prominent role Hurley is playing so far. But it seems that his Island buddy Jacob may not be the omniscient deity that some people think he is. Hang with me here: Jacob appeared to Hurley in the season premiere, telling Hurley how important it was to get Sayid to the Temple. Hurley followed orders, although not immediately — there was that whole matter of saving Juliet that they had to tend to. But we know that Sayid’s experience at the Temple did NOT go well; supposedly he’s “infected” and we assume he’ll eventually take sides with Smokey when this whole battle goes down. My question is this: If Jacob knew that the Temple baptistery was corrupted with murky water, why would he tell Hurley that it was important to get Sayid there? Maybe Sayid’s “corruption” is at least partially the result of Hurley and his friends not getting him to the Temple ASAP. But it still doesn’t make much sense for Jacob to have Hurley save Sayid if ultimately Sayid is going to end up playing for the other team. I think this is Jacob’s mea culpa. Does that make sense? It is interesting to note that Jacob is staring at the murky water at the beginning of the episode before he turns to give Hurley his instructions. It’s like he’s disappointed or something.
- Claire. For the first 100 days of her Island “journey”, Claire was one of the most boring castaways this side of Paulo and Nikki, especially after she gave birth to Aaron. Remember her whole carrier pigeon idea to get them rescued? Craziness. But this new Deliverance-esque Claire is way more fun. (And crazy, for that matter.) It seems that Smokey has been really doing a number on her over the past few years. She doesn’t seem to have any recollection of losing Aaron before walking off into the jungle with Christian. But with Smokey’s appearance at the end of the episode — and with the revelation that he’s been Claire’s “friend” these past few years — I feel pretty confident that the Christian Shepherd we saw on the Island was an earlier manifestation of our Man in Black. According to Claire, both Christian and FLocke have told her that the Others have her baby. It’ll be interesting to see if Claire believes Jin’s lie about lying (I don’t think she does) and what happens when Kate inevitably meets up with Claire of the Jungle. Showdown next week?
In his LA X reality, we learn that Jack has a son, David — a piano playing prodigy (could he be the student of another piano playing whiz, Daniel Farraday?) who has communication issues with his old man. (And how cool / biblical is it that David Shepherd is a song lover who amazes audiences with his gift?) This flash sideways did more for me than any other to date; I guess I’m a sucker for the Daddy-son themes that this episode plumbed. Basically, Jack and David seem destined to play out the same tired relationship Jack and Christian experienced…until Jack reaches a place of brokenness and honesty and tells his son that his love for him isn’t predicated on any level of achievement or ability. “I will always love you. No matter what you do. In my eyes you can never fail.”
The episode begins in this LA X reality with Jack reflecting in a mirror again, this time trying to remember when he had his appendix removed. Of course, in the Island reality, Juliet removed his appendix toward the end of Season Four; but in this reality, Jack seems to have no recollection of this. He goes so far as to ask his mother about it, only to find out his appendix has been removed for years. But there’s something significant about what’s happening to these castaways in their off-Island realities. There are these moments in each episode — Jack with his appendectomy scar; Kate with the whale plush doll — where our characters seem to be experiencing deja vu. It’s like they’re aware of the significance of some of these things, even if they can’t put their finger on exactly why.
This moment is paralleled in the Island story, which begins with Jack looking at his reflection in a reflecting pool. But this reflection is in flux; the turbulence of the water keeps Jack from seeing himself as he truly is. I could make a sweeping reference to how this serves as a metaphor for five seasons of Jack story-telling…but you get the point, right? Things are going to be clarified somewhat for Dr. Shepherd in this episode, an episode that I think will reap huge dividends down the line.
It was also no accident that Hurley and Jack made that little detour at the caves. The producers are wanting to call to mind Adam & Eve from Season One. Remember these are the corpses they found, one male and one female, one holding a black stone and the other holding a white stone. Of course, these were alluded to last week with the much larger stones hanging on the balance in Jacob’s cave. Hurley’s question is one that we’ve been asking for a while now — what if Adam & Eve are actually two of our castaways who somehow end up back in time living out their days in quiet serenity in the caves? Is Hurley’s question a foreshadowing device? Or is it meant to through us off? This is one of the show’s mysteries that interests me the most.
- Jack has a kid. Who’s the baby mama?
- Did LA X Christian leave his entire estate to Claire?
- Where and when will Desmond fit back in to the story? Remember the words of Eloise Hawking, aka Daniel Farraday’s mum from last season: “The Island’s not through with you yet, Desmond.” I wonder when we’ll get the rest of that story.
- So…candidates can do whatever they want? Interesting.
- Who’s coming to the Island? Hero Jack? Or someone else?
- And what was that thing in Claire’s baby bed? Talk about a Rosemary’s Baby moment. Yikes.
- Why does Jack refuse the drink his mother offers him? He didn’t have a problem asking for an extra drink on the plane.
- Did you notice the sign outside as Jack rushes into the school to see David’s performance? It reads: “Auditions. Williams Observatory. Welcome all candidates.” Is young David a “candidate” in the same way Jack is?