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Lost Reviews and News

Key Points from "White Rabbit"

Season 1, Episode 5
Episode Air Date: 10/20/04

Point 1
Jack I'm seeing a pattern here. The first three episodes of "Lost" were all about hooking the audience with a big ol' plane crash and the immediate aftershocks (that guy getting sucked into the jet engine was a nice little stunt). But now the series is settling into character analysis and I've gotta admit, I like it even more.

Last week we crawled inside the head of Locke. This week, Jack is our character of note.

So what did we learn about the good (or not so good?) doctor? Here's a breakdown:

In the opening sequence we see a 10- or 11-year-old Jack facing a dilemma: Should he help his friend fight off two bullies or should he stay on the ground and let the pummeling continue? Jack opts for the hero route, but his heroic deed falls a bit short. "You should have stayed down, Jack" is the last thing he hears before taking a fist straight to the noggin'.

I could be reaching here, but that sentence -- "You should have stayed down, Jack" -- could also extend to the very first sequence in the pilot episode. When we first meet Jack, he's gaining consciousness on the jungle floor. He soon bolts into action and promptly saves scores of people, but had he stayed down (metaphorically that is), he may have found comfort in being part of the crowd rather than assuming a leadership position. Yeah. I know. It's a reach.

But going along with this leadership thing, let the record show that episode 5 is when Jack finally runs from responsibility. Boone (who fancies himself an alpha male) questions Jack's role as de facto head of the castaway clan, but Jack doesn't fight back. In fact, he walks away. Granted, it's not as dramatic as a "You can't handle the leadership!" speech, but it's a key character development nonetheless. Why? Because now that Jack has questioned his role, he can begin defining it.

Sorry. I had a Yoda moment there. Let's talk about what Jack actually did this week.

  • He saves Boone from a wicked rip tide.

  • In saving Boone, he opts not to save one of those random castaways we've never met. The unknown survivor drowns. Jack is racked with guilt.

  • The guilt gives way to extended flashbacks that reveal Jack's big-time Daddy issues. Daddy is a successful surgeon with a nasty drinking habit. Jack, it appears, is following in his father's footsteps in more ways than one. But there's a key difference between the two. Jack has a heroic make-up (he'd better have one -- he's been doing an awful lot of hero stuff lately), but his dad takes the path of least heroic resistance. Somehow, Daddy doesn't realize -- or want to realize -- that his son has strength. "You don't have what it takes," Daddy tells his young son. Damn you, Daddy.

    But anyway. These Daddy issues are the reason why Jack is stuck on the island. In a set of adult Jack flashbacks we learn that his dad took off on a wicked binge in Sydney and Jack's mom guilted him into pursuing his wayward father. Jack at first says he "can't" go after his father. His mother shoots back: "'I can't?' You don't get to say 'I can't.' Not after what you did!"


  • In the present day, Jack's Daddy problems are manifesting themselves as hallucinations. Remember the suit-wearing man Jack sees at the end of "Walkabout"? That's Daddy! It gets weirder because Daddy is very clearly dead. A flashback shows Jack identifying his father in a Sydney morgue and then later making a desperate plea with an airline attendant to let him bring his dead Daddy home.

    Back on the island, Jack sets out on a jungle journey to confront his hallucination. His rush through the brush eventually leads him to an undiscovered section of the plane, and it just so happens there's a shiny wooden coffin sitting amidst the rubble ... and that coffin is empty. Jack proceeds to exorcise his demons by beating the snot out of that coffin with a big metal pole.

    So here's what all of this is supposed to lead us to:

    We're supposed to think Daddy was once in that coffin. Now he's not.

    And ...

    -- We're supposed to believe that Jack's hallucination might not be a hallucination at all.

    Remember, I said supposed to believe. In the flashback sequence with the airport attendant, we never actually see the attendant acquiesce. That coffin could have been empty all along, or it could have been packed up with someone other than Daddy. The plot thickens.

  • We'd all better get used to the sound of ice cubes clinking in a glass. This audible was first introduced when Jack was on the plane (he sloshed ice around in his martini glass). It's also his father's defining noise. This episode's first Jack flashback is chock full of ice clinking and the noise later serves as the catalyst for the final leg of Jack's jungle journey. That journey leads him to the empty coffin and, perhaps more importantly, the island's fresh water supply. Hmmm.

  • Jack's last name is Shepherd. Shepherd of castaways, perhaps?
Point 2
Boone Boone made the most of his limited screen time. First, he gets his butt caught in a riptide (nice job, lifeguard boy). Then, he chooses to challenge Jack rather than get down on his friggin' knees and thank him for saving his lame-ass lifeguard self. And finally, he steals the dwindling supply of bottled water, which almost sends Claire (pregnant Claire) into heat stroke.

The real clincher is that after all this, Sawyer sidles up to Boone and asks him how it feels to be the new Island Enemy No. 1.

Yup. It was a bad week for Boone.

One final Boone note: During his chest-thumping session with Jack, Boone illustrates his leadership skills by screaming: "You're not the only one who knows what to do around here. I run a business!" Great. We've got an "Apprentice" reject on our hands.

Point 3
claire She's pregnant and the heat is sucking her dry, but dammit, Claire is cheery as ever. She bonds with Kate by going on about astrology. Kate seems mildly amused, which is a dramatic shift from the sullen Kate we've seen for weeks. Nice work, Claire. We can put to rest rumors that Kate's smile muscles were destroyed in the crash.
Point 4
Charlie Last week I noted that Charlie inexplicably ripped the sleeves off his shirt. It's not inexplicable anymore. Now we're all privy to the Very Profound Tattoo on his left shoulder. It reads: "Living is easy with eyes closed."

In other Charlie news, he and Claire appeared to share a brief "moment." Or maybe it's just the heat stroke.

Point 5
Sawyer Sawyer's entrepreneurial instincts are kicking in (how you like that, Boone!). He's become the island's corrupt swap-shop dealer. Using a stash of sundry items (bug spray, etc.), he barters with fellow castaways for goods, services and fish.

He's also shown an aptitude for nicknames. He dubs Shannon "Sticks" (for her bird legs) and Kate "Freckles" (presumably because she has freckles).

Sidenote: I'm convinced Sawyer is the evil sibling of Wooderson from "Dazed and Confused." He's got the exact same cadence. It's only a matter of time before he starts spouting lines like: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."

Point 6
Locke Locke gets more interesting every week. First, he miraculously regains use of his legs and then he emerges as the island's go-to guy for boar hunting and water finding. It's as if he's fulfilling his destiny ...

In this episode destiny takes a pause for the cause -- and that cause is the Jack Mental Stability Fund. Locke happens to be in the right place at the right time to save Jack from dropping off a cliff (literally and figuratively). He plays the Obi-Wan role, telling Jack that his hallucinations could be much more than mere mind tricks; Jack may be chasing his own white rabbit (episode title alert!). He also points out that despite Jack's claim of "not being a leader," the other survivors all treat him like one. Chew on that, Jack.

And finally, Locke dropped two telling quotes:

  1. "What if everything that happened here happened for a reason?"

  2. "I looked into the eye of this island and what I saw was beautiful."
Point 7
Sayid Sayid didn't build or invent anything this week. Slacker.
Point *
Island Assorted Island Notes
  • The survivors have been on the island for six days.

  • There are 46 survivors (the 47th drowned at the beginning of the episode).

  • The monster did not make an appearance despite Jack and Locke's ample time in the jungle.

  • Hurley did not use the word "Dude." He's still annoying.

That's it for now. Be sure to drop by our "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.

Next Episode:
"House of the Rising Sun" -- Michael gets beaten, but only Sun and Jin know how and why it happened. Also, the newfound water source sparks debate about the camp's location. Airs: Wednesday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m., ABC.

Review by Mac Slocum. All photos and episode descriptions © ABC Inc.

Posted by Mac Slocum on October 22, 2004 8:42 PM |

You sir have entirely too much time on your hands. However, I am glad for that because had you not the inclination to create these posts I would have to think for myself. Thanks for the insight.

PS. I like Hurley, it's good to see a fat man get some acting work.

#1. Posted by: Chris at July 1, 2005 12:40 AM

Hey! I liked your site very much! Astonishing Opponents is always Red Round: , Green Pair becomes White Cards in final Player can Play Cosmos , to Steal Round you should be very Universal Give Play Kill - that is all that Grass is capable of

#2. Posted by: Juan Anderson at December 4, 2005 3:42 AM

GRAA, Mac. I'm rewatching all the episodes over the break and reading your reviews as I go along. I'll do this at least into Season 2, when I started reading your stuff.

#3. Posted by: James at June 2, 2007 2:25 PM

@James - Great minds think alike. I am rewatching it all as well. Mac's writing gets better and better, and it's interesting to see the points he made earlier on.

MIF and Scarf forever.

#4. Posted by: meg at March 27, 2008 8:56 PM

  1. If your post contains spoilers -- or even hints at spoilers -- add ***** SPOILERS ***** to the top of your comment.
  2. Your post will NOT immediately show up if you post any URLs. Because of ongoing spam issues, I need to manually approve comments that include links. This sucks, but it's the only solution at this time.
  3. Super-long URLs screw up the page. If you post one of these, people will get very angry at you and really, no one wants that. The solution is easy. Go to and create a mini URL.
  4. Do not post under multiple identities and then have inane conversations with yourself. This kind of nonsense will get you banned from the blog.
  5. Do not post in ALL CAPS FOR YOUR ENTIRE POST. In netiquette, all caps suggests you're screaming. In etiquette, it's lame. All-caps posts will be deleted.
  6. Please scan through previous posts to see if someone has already addressed your theory or comment.

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