“You have what it takes.” – Hurley
Each week, I try to get a head start on these reviews by prognosticating a bit about the night’s episode. I’d read that the LOST creators are trying to mimic Season 1 as much as possible, so I started there for clues. In Season 1, the two-part pilot episode was followed by a Kate episode, then a Locke episode, then a Jack episode. This season began with a two-part premiere, followed by a Kate episode and a Locke episode, so I had my eyes open for a Jack episode.
It helped that when I looked at the episode trailer on abc.com that Jack was yelling things like, “What does he want from me?!” and the good folks at the network provided this description: Hurley tries to persuade Jack to go with him on an unspecified mission; Jin has an encounter with an old friend.
Well now, if Hurley’s got an unspecified mission, it sounds like he’s on assignment from Jacob again. Last we saw Jin, he was meeting up with Claire (who is seen screaming about the whereabouts of her son in the trailer), so there wasn’t much mystery there. As for the title, my guess was yet another Dharma station, because there’s always another Dharma station.
When I make my notes for each episode, I divide the pages of a steno pad down the middle into 2004 and 2007 sections, so for the sake of clarity, I’m going to try to divide the meat of my reviews into those segments going forward.
So wait, Jack has daddy issues? And now those daddy issues are affecting his relationship with his own son? Ladies and gentlemen, the wit and wisdom of the Clichéatron 3000, a remarkable device that will spit out the same plot you’ve seen a hundred times somewhere else.
In Bizarro 2004, Jack is still divorced, but in this reality, he has a pre-teen son. It isn’t clear whether Sara is David’s mother, but like the differences in Locke’s alternate reality, does any of it signify?
Last week’s flash-sideways was enjoyable despite it’s questionable relevance because it gave us something new to look at. While Jack’s son was a revelation, all we got out of the story was Jack not getting along with David, David running off, then father and son sharing a heartwarming reconciliation complete with uplifting music and gag.
If there’s anything of thematic significance (besides the scar, which I’ll get to below), it’s the notion of Jack “having what it takes.” It seems like an awfully long way around to repeat a theme that most viewers should be familiar with. The flash-sideways material is supposed to pay off in the show’s big picture, but it’s already wearing thin and we’re only a few episodes into the season.
Now for the juicy bits. Back on the island, Jacob appears to Hurley and, as the summary promised, tells him to take Jack on an unspecified mission. They tramp through the jungle, passing Kate (still looking for Claire) and the old caves (memories!) before reaching the titular lighthouse.
The ostensible purpose of the trip is to activate the lighthouse so that the “someone” who is coming to the island can find it. The identity of this someone is – of course – left shrouded in mystery. There are any number of off-island characters that it could be, but rather than speculate which one it could be, I’m going to guess that the someone is Mickey Mouse. I’m probably wrong, but if I’m right, you totally heard it here first.
Like the cave from last episode, the lighthouse contains a dial with the names of the potential candidates and their corresponding numbers. When the dial is turned to Jack’s name and number, the lighthouse’s magic mirror shows Jack his childhood home. This tells Jack that Jacob has been watching him for a long time, and rocks his world so much that he smashes the hell out of the lighthouse.
Earlier in the episode, Jack tells Hurley that he came back to the island because he was broken and thought the island could fix him. As he’s left contemplating the ocean (shades of Rose, Season 1), he may finally be coming to terms with the fact that he came to the island for a reason, and that he has a job to do.
Jacob is pretty blasé about the lighthouse being destroyed, content that Mickey Mouse will arrive on the island by other means. The important thing is that they’re far away from the Temple, because apparently bad stuff is about to happen there.
Meanwhile, Claire is crazy. I don’t know if she’s as unhinged as Rousseau was quite yet, but give her another 13 years. She’s been living in the wild on her own for three years now, and the implication is that she didn’t jump through time with the rest of them.
Like Rousseau, she is obsessed with recovering her lost child from the Others. The difference in her case is that Others don’t actually have her child, Kate does (or did). Kate would probably be a lot less eager to find Claire if she had overheard her casually inform Jin that she would kill her if it was true that Kate was raising Aaron.
Claire has gone through the same “testing” as Sayid did last week, though an interjection from a captured Other suggests that not everything happened the way she remembered it. What’s more, she has allies in her father and her “friend”, who is revealed to be faux-Locke at the end of the episode.
There’s been some discussion about when the big LOST questions will be answered – What is the Island? Why these people? – and the consensus seems to be that all will be revealed in the series finale. For the first four seasons, we knew what the stakes were – it was about getting off the island, and later getting back to it. Since last season (and into this one) the waters have already been muddied, and the stakes that the characters are playing for are no longer clear.
This was another episode that maneuvered characters into position for the final showdown that LOST is building to. Cramming the climactic conflict and all the major revelations into the final pair of episodes seems like overkill, so I’m hoping the revelations will come out sooner than later so that we can deal strictly with the conflict.
- In what will surely be the most talked about moment of the show, Jack calls his mom to ask about his appendix scar. Now, we all know that he had his appendix taken out on the island, but his mom says it happened when he was 7 or 8… ONLY JACK DOESN’T REMEMBER! The walls of reality are totally bleeding together here, dudes.
- So what’s up with Jack’s truck? He drives the same one in both realities, and it looks like a P.O.S. to me – or maybe it’s just ugly?
- Jack tells his son that he can watch the Red Sox game. I reckon that’s a callback to the old Season 1 line, “that’s why the Sox will never win the series”, but as a Sox fan, I also appreciate that the show is currently flipping back and forth between 2004 and 2007 – the last two times the Sox won the series.
- Jack’s son David is a musician. The biblical King David was a musician. DUDES THIS TOTALLY MEANS SOMETHING!
- I don’t remember the exact quote, but I loved Hurley’s “old school” line as he and Jack tramped through the jungle.
- Dogan and son show up off the island. I hadn’t figured him in my list of potential off-island Others last week. What I’m really waiting for is the return of Aldo.
- Claire distinguished between her father and faux-Locke/the Man in Black/the smoke monster, so that means that the Christian on the island is really Christian, right?