What It Takes

24 02 2010

For everything that “Lighthouse” lacked in Locke Monster/Richard Alpert/Island History-ness, it more than made up for in Hurley hilarity.

When he wasn’t making references to Indiana Jones, Star Wars, or “dinosaur times,” he was calling Dogen a samurai and blaming Jacob for giving him 7 years of bad luck. But in spite of his reference to bad luck, I’m not sure Hurley really buys into that anymore. (More about that at the end of this post.)

This also had to be a new record for the number of times Hurley says “Dude” in an episode. That particular lostpedia page hasn’t been updated yet, but when it is, here’s where you can check it (yeah, someone actually does track that): lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Dude

In this episode, didn’t it feel like some of our characters started feeling at home on the island again? (Somewhat reminiscent of season 1, isn’t it?) There’s Jack standing and looking out over the ocean, er, scratch that—over the lagoon in front of the Temple. Meanwhile, Miles and Hurley are playing Temple Tic-Tac-Toe. And we’re seeing bits of conversation like this:

Hurley: Are you hungry?
Miles: Are you?
Hurley: I could eat…

Even though the storyline is darker and kookier than ever before, I love that the writers are making time for moments like these—moments when our characters have time to just be, well, themselves.

And just as I was thinking it, Hurley said it:

Hurley: This is cool, dude. Very old school.
Jack: What?
Hurley: You know, you and me trekking through the jungle, on our way to do something we don’t quite understand. Good times.

And of course Kate is still wandering around the jungle by herself (probably climbing trees just for the heck of it), so it’s almost like nothing’s changed. Except for the fact that everything has changed. But still, it’s nice to see some of the characters being themselves.

But what about characters who don’t know how to be themselves…because they still aren’t sure who they are? Enter Dr. Shephard—a man who admitted he returned to the island because “I was broken, and I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me.”

He Walks Amongst Us, But…
Last year, I started writing a “Character Overview of Jack Shephard.” I still have that draft saved over at my old Lost blog. I’m going to paste a lot of that here…because I think it’s especially relevant now. If you’re not interested, skip over it. But I think it’s worthwhile:

(From “Special”):
MICHAEL: Yeah, he took his dog for a walk. I told him to stay close, as usual. You listened to your old man when you were 10, right?
JACK: Uh, yeah, yeah, I listened. Maybe a little too well.

(From “White Rabbit”):
[Shot of kids in a school yard.]
BULLY: It’s your choice man, walk away now and you won’t get your ass kicked.
[Shot of young Jack looking at another kid getting punched. Jack gets up and tries to go help.]
BULLY: You should’ve stayed down, Jack.

(Also from “White Rabbit”):
YOUNG JACK: A couple guys jumped Marc Silverman.
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: A couple guys jumped Marc Silverman. But they didn’t jump you?
YOUNG JACK: No.
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: I had a boy on my table today. I don’t know, maybe a year younger than you. He had a bad heart. It got real hairy, real fast. Everybody’s looking at your old man to make decisions. And I was able to make those decisions because at the end of the day, after the boy died, I was able to wash my hands and come home to dinner. You know, watch a little Carol Burnett, laugh till my sides hurt. And how can I do that, hmm? And even when I fail, how do I do that, Jack? Because I have what it takes. Don’t choose, Jack, don’t decide. You don’t want to be a hero, you don’t try and save everyone because when you fail … you just don’t have what it takes.

(Also from “White Rabbit”):
JACK: How are they, the others?
LOCKE: Thirsty. Hungry. Waiting to be rescued. And they need someone to tell them what to do.
JACK: Me? I can’t.
LOCKE: Why can’t you?
JACK: Because I’m not a leader.
LOCKE: And yet they all treat you like one.
JACK: I don’t know how to help them. I’ll fail. I don’t have what it takes.

(From “Do No Harm”):
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: Do you love her?
JACK: Absolutely.
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: Then why are you sitting out here?
JACK: What if I can’t be the husband, or the father, that I want to be? What if I asked her because I saved her life? Should I marry her, dad?
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: Commitment is what makes you tick, Jack. The problem is you’re just not good at letting go.

(From “Outlaws”):
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD:I have a son who’s about your age. He’s not like me, he does what’s in his heart. He’s a good man, maybe a great one. Right now, he thinks that I hate him. He thinks I feel betrayed by him. But what I really feel is gratitude, and pride because of what he did to me. What he did for me. It took more courage than I have. There’s a pay phone over there. I could pick it up and I could call my son. I could tell him about all this. I could tell him that I love him. One simple phone call and I could fix everything.
SAWYER: Why don’t you?
CHRISTIAN SHEPHARD: Because I am weak.

(From “Man of Science, Man of Faith”):
JACK: I told her — I made her a promise I couldn’t keep — I told her I’d fix her and I couldn’t. I failed.
DESMOND: Well, right. Just one thing — what if you did fix her?
JACK: I didn’t.
DESMOND: But what if you did?
JACK: You don’t know what you’re talking about, man.
DESMOND: I don’t? Why not?
JACK: Because with her situation that would be a miracle, brother.
DESMOND: Oh, and you don’t believe in miracles?
[Jack chuckles and shakes his head.]

(From “The Watch” mobisode)
CHRISTIAN: Whatcha doin’ there, kiddo?
[Camera turns to show Christian walking towards Jack on a beach. They are in front of the hotel where Jack will get married.]
JACK: Just throwing rocks.
CHRISTIAN: Good! Good, you get all that rock throwing out before you get married.
JACK: Well, it was either this or being inside with Sarah and the wedding planner figuring out where all the flowers go.
CHRISTIAN: Wise choice! Listen, before tonight; before… before things get crazy, I wanted to give you something. This was my dad’s, and I just—I thought it would only be fitting.
[Christian pulls a watch out of a white handkerchief.]
JACK: I’ve never seen you wear it before.
CHRISTIAN: Well that’s because I never did. [Jack and Christian chuckle] Your grandfather… didn’t really like … your mother. You know, he thought marrying her was a mistake. He told me—to my face—that, the day that I got married. And then he gave me this watch. So I never wore it.
JACK: Dad, are you trying to tell me something?
CHRISTIAN: Unlike me, you have made the absolute right choice.
JACK [chuckling]: Thank you.
CHRISTIAN: So here, it’s yours.
[Jack puts the watch on.]
JACK: I guess this is really happenin’, huh?
CHRISTIAN: Ooh… as soon as they arrange those flowers and you run out of rocks…
JACK [chuckling]: Well there’s a lot of rocks out here.
CHRISTIAN: Would you do me a favor? If you and Sarah ever have a kid, try to treat him a little better than I treated you.

(From “Not in Portland”):
TOM: You said you can’t stitch him up—then you don’t need to be in here. Go Julie.
JULIET: Don’t let him fool you. He’ll never let a patient just die.


Those were the quotes (plus some others) that I was going to use, but the one I thought was most important was the scene from “White Rabbit” when Christian tells Jack that he doesn’t have what it takes. I don’t think Jack’s dad believed it. I think he was trying to protect Jack. Like Christian later admitted to Sawyer, I think Christian lacked courage. But he knew Jack didn’t. He wasn’t trying to protect Jack from failure; he was trying to protect him from pain.

And now we know, because of Jack’s admission to David in Sideways World, that Jack’s been living with that his whole life—believing he didn’t have what it takes.

In season 1, Jack was reluctant to lead. It wasn’t until Locke encouraged him to be the leader everyone expected him to be that he assumed the leadership role willingly. He was determined to get them off the island, and eventually, he did. (Well, some of them anyway.)

For the first time in his life, Jack may have started thinking he did have what it takes. And then…things fell apart. Jack started believing they weren’t supposed to leave—which means that he, their leader, was responsible.

Once back on the island, Jack latches on to the idea that detonating Jughead can fix everything. And if Jack loves one thing (other than his Red Sox), it’s fixing things. We don’t know if that plan “worked” or not, but from their perspective, it definitely didn’t. They’re still on the island, Juliet’s dead, and Sayid’s, well, who knows what Sayid is right now? Which leaves Jack floundering in more self-doubt than ever before.

But when Hurley shares Jacob’s message, that Jack has what it takes, Jack springs to life. Jack—a man who had seemingly resigned himself to the fact that he wasn’t special, believing that he wasn’t capable of leading the Losties (“I can’t even trust myself…”)—is desperate to understand why Jacob, a man he’s never met, believes in him. He doesn’t believe he has what it takes…but he wants to.

And I know I’m jumping ahead, but when Jack destroyed the lighthouse mirrors, I was like, “Dude…Why?” (Hurley was rubbing off on me at the time, apparently.) But I think it makes sense now. This goes back to my theory that Jack is special (I think he comes from a line of descendants who are all special), and I think that even though Christian rejected the idea (for Jack, but probably also for himself), I think Jack wanted to believe he had what it takes. He’s always wanted to believe that. That’s why he flew over to Thailand to “find himself.” That’s why Achara (in “Stranger in a Strange Land”) marked him with the tattoo that says, “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.” (Although Jack says that’s what it says, but not what it means…maybe because he believes it means he’s special? Maybe because Achara told him it means he is a leader, but that it makes him “lonely, and frightened, and angry.”)

I don’t know if Jack is feeling “lonely, frightened, and angry” right now, but I don’t think he’s believing he’s special. So when he sees that Jacob has been watching him (watching the house where Jack “hasn’t lived since I was a kid”), Jack feels like Jacob has been watching him fail, and that’s too much for Jack. So he destroys the lighthouse.

In Sideways World, when David reveals that he hadn’t told Jack about his recital he says it’s because he didn’t want Jack to see him fail.

Jack’s says that his father didn’t want to see him fail either, and that’s why he told Jack that he didn’t have what it takes. “I spent my whole life carrying that around with me,” Jack says. “I don’t ever want you to feel that way.”

He goes on to say, “I will always love you. In my eyes, you can never fail.”

Certainly not what Jack heard as a kid…(it’s interesting that, in the “Missing Pieces” mobisode quoted above, Christian told Jack, if he ever has a kid, to treat him better than he treated Jack…well, it looks like, in this reality, he is.)

Speaking of kids, here’s a poll about the transformations of Christian Shephard’s two kids:

Poll:

“Say hello to my little friend”
Claire is officially loco. I think.

She might be dead. Or infected (“If there’s one thing on this island that will kill you, Jin, it’s an infection…”). But whatever she is, it’s crazy. Poor, poor Jin. And poor, poor Justin—the Other who caught her axe with his chest.

But did you notice that she didn’t enjoy doing it. She’s at least not that crazy. She looked like she had no choice. Maybe because she’s evil…or maybe because she’s been duped by the Locke Monster (“That’s not John. This is my friend.”) Maybe her “friend” filled her infected head with stories about the Others being murderers…or maybe she drew that conclusion when the Others gave her the Sayid Special (a.k.a. the torture test).

But Claire does seem to be taking good care of Jin—stitching him up, bringing him water. She says she’s glad he’s still her friend. But when she thought Kate had been raising Aaron, oh, that brought out the creepy in her quick.

Even though he wasn’t, Jin tells her he was lying—probably because he knew it wouldn’t end well for Kate, and maybe for him, if Claire learns Aaron is not on the island.

As soon as he commits to sneaking Claire into the temple, Locke Monster shows up. And you can bet he’ll be sneaking them both in now. After all, how could Jin convince Crazy Claire that her friend isn’t so friendly? (But does Jin even know anything about Locke? Did he know he died? He knows that Claire says her friend isn’t Locke, but the last time Jin heard from Locke was when he was heading down the well—when Jin gave him his ring and said “Proof,” because he wanted Sun to think he was dead.)

Well, whatever Claire is, it seems clear that she’s headed to the Temple with her two friends—Locke Monster and Jin—next week.

Unless Kate finds her first…

Kate’s Search for Claire
I’m not going to pull any punches here. This is the worst part of Season 6. Kate really came back to find Claire? Because she felt like she couldn’t raise Aaron?

Sure, I get that there’s a reason for this… The writers are setting something up. Maybe Claire isn’t beyond hope. According to Dogen, everything they knew of their friend is gone, but maybe Kate can reach her; maybe she can restore Claire to her original sweet mothering self…. But even if that’s exactly what happens, Kate’s “I’m here for Claire” routine was poorly done. Unless they’re going to reveal that there was another impetus for all of this (and not just the scene where she thought she lost Aaron in the grocery store), then it’s bad.

It’s a waste of Kate’s character, and it feels inconsistent. And I’m ready to be done with it.

The Lighthouse
I liked the title of the episode. Sure Jack and Hurley find a lighthouse; that was pretty sweet. But I also spent some time thinking about lighthouses. What do they do? They guide people (or ships) to land. They bring people to their destination. (Sort of like an old Matthew Abaddon quote: “I help people get to where they need to go.”) They also serve as a warning: so ships won’t run aground inadvertently. Lighthouses guide and, in a way, they protect.

Jacob, apparently, used this lighthouse to monitor the lives of those indicated on that wheel. Maybe he was just an observer, or maybe he was guiding them to the island. Whatever the case, now Jacob is there to warn them (or some of them, anyway):

Jacob: I had to get you and Jack as far away from that Temple as I possibly could…because someone’s coming there. Someone bad.
Hurley: Dude, we have to warn them.
Jacob: You can’t warn them, Hugo. I’m sorry, it’s too late.

So what happens to Jacob’s Temple People? What happens to the Temple? Does it matter? Or are the candidates the only thing of importance right now? Is it only the candidates that Jacob is worried about protecting now?

Parallels Between Worlds:
I think most of us believe that there’s a significance to Sideways World (even when we get lulled into just enjoying it, like I did last week during “The Substitute”), but even though the plot is significant, how many little things are just gamesmanship by the writers?

For example, does it matter that Rose works for Hurley’s temp agency? Probably not. But it gave us a chance to see Rose. And it was probably fun for the writers.

In this week’s episode, there were a lot of things we’re left wondering about:

—Jack’s a daddy! And his son is David. (Earlier this week Todd Hertz wrote an article about a possible connection between the numbers of each of Jacob’s candidates and the Psalms that match their numbers. For example, Jack’s number was 23, and the 23rd psalm is about the good shepherd. Well, Todd, what did you think about Jack Shephard’s son being named David?)

—But who is David’s mother? Dr. Juliette Burke, anyone?

—Maybe it’s because I just finished reading Boone’s favorite book, Watership Down, but did you notice that the key (at Jack’s baby’s mama’s house) was hidden under a rabbit?

—Speaking of books (and rabbits), David was reading Alice in Wonderland, the book that Jack used to read to Aaron—and a book that has prompted a number of Lost allusions. (So, no, I don’t think it was just a plug for Johnny Depp’s new movie).

—Jack has a picture on display at his house of him with his dad. Would that have been true for the Jack we knew before? Does this mean that in Sideways World Jack had a good relationship with his dad?

—If Jack did have a good relationship with his dad…why do he and his mom seem so callous about his death? (I mean, Jack’s mom is upset that she can’t find the will…but did she seem to be upset about losing her husband?)

Of course, there are things in Sideways World that I believe are significant:

—Claire was listed in Christian’s will. Margo, Jack’s mom, didn’t know who she was. So apparently that’s still true in Sideways World: Christian had an affair, and Jack has a sister.

—Dogen (and his daughter…or was it a boy?) were at David’s piano recital. At first I wrote this off as another one of the writer’s games. But I wonder… didn’t Dogen say that Jack’s son “has a gift”? Isn’t that what the Others once said about Walt? Haven’t the Others always been interested in kids? And how did Dogen know that the boy was Jack’s son? The kid asked, not Dogen. Unless Dogen sent the kid to ask Jack… (Maybe that scene was a clue after all, and maybe the other scenes where our characters’ lives intersected—like Rose in the temp office—were the smoke screen to obscure the significance of Dogen’s appearance. Or maybe not.

—And then there’s the big kahuna. The scene that screams importance. (You didn’t forget it, did you? I know it was early in the episode, but you couldn’t have forgotten.)Of course I’m talking about Jack’s appendix scar. In Sideways World, Jack had his appendix removed when he was, according to his mother, “7…or 8.” But in Island World, Juliet did the operation for him. (In season 4?)

What are the implications of a somewhat fresh scar? Well, I can think of two things that we need to consider. The first involves the timeline. Oceanic Flight 815 was in 2004. So in Sideways World, we’re still three years behind the Island World. Which means, if viewed on a timeline, Jack’s appendix shouldn’t be removed until 2006 (or so). (Nevermind that in this reality, he had it taken out when he was 7…or 8.)

The second involves consciousness/memories. If Jack has that scar, it suggests that remnants of what happened on the island (in the future) are still true/real in that world. They didn’t just start Oceanic Flight 815 all over again—they were reinserted into that timeline, with either limited or no recollection of their time on the island (remind you of how the temple’s life-saving spring erases stretches of memory?). But if scars exist (plus that odd nick Jack had on his neck on the airplane), then perhaps those memories are there…beneath the surface, but there.

Dominant Themes

Redemption
Redemption is an ongoing theme in Lost. But in this particular episode, one redemption story stole the stage—subtly.

At first glance, I thought this episode centered around Christian Shephard’s offspring—Claire and Jack. And I suppose it did, but I think it was also Hurley’s finest hour.

Ever since the Jughead explosion—and ever since he led the march to save Sayid at the Temple—Hurley has been a little more of a leader. And in some ways, he seems more comfortable in his skin. When we first met Hurley, he believed he was cursed. He recoiled whenever a dead person appeared to him. At times, he even plugged his ears and ran away. Eventually, he learned to enjoy their company (like when he played chess with Mr. Eko), but he still believed he was crazy.

Now he’s not ashamed to admit that a dead Jacob is giving him orders.

Jack: You found a secret tunnel?
Hurley: Well, Jacob told me about it.

There didn’t seem to be a hint of embarrassment in his voice this time. He wasn’t worried about anyone calling him crazy, because, I think, Hurley has finally accepted that he isn’t crazy. We saw the beginning of this last season (remember all that dialogue between Hurley and Miles about their respective superpowers?), but I think this episode was the culmination of Hurley’s redemption.

But I guess “redemption” isn’t exactly the right word. Because Hurley wasn’t a swindler, a murderer, or a fugitive—like some of his friends. He’s always been a good guy. He’s just always been a good guy with very little confidence and a “Don’t call me crazy!” complex. But those are the things that seem to have shifted.

Which is also why I think he got so frustrated with the Ghost of Jacob Present. Because Hurley knew that he was taking a step here, leading his leader (Jack) on a journey based solely on the word of a ghost. And Hurley doesn’t want to look crazy again. So that’s why he was mad at Jacob for not appearing, for making it look like the mission had been a failure…

But then Jacob revealed that it hadn’t been a failure, and it dawned on Hurley (“Wait a minute, did you want Jack to see what was in that mirror?”).

Immediately after that, when Jacob reveals that someone “bad” is coming to the Temple, Hurley is ready to go warn them. He isn’t rushing off to get Jack’s approval; he’s not hesitating. He’s ready to act.

Of course, Jacob tells him that it’s too late. Which is bad for those Temple People, but Hurley’s willingness to act is a good sign. I think it’s a sign of redemption.

I just hope that doesn’t mean he’s going to get killed off in the next episode…

Snippets:
—I’ve always liked Jack (I’m one of the few; I know), but I’ve always liked him best when he’s with Hurley.

—Hurley talking about the lighthouse: “I guess they used mirrors because electricity hadn’t been invented yet.” (Or…because Jacob doesn’t use electricity.)

—Apparently there were a lot of other names on that wheel in the lighthouse. Among them, 51 Austen (Kate?), 124 Dawson (Michael?), and 117 Linus (Ben?). If you want to see more of those, check out this link (Thanks for hooking me up with it, Barbie): www.buddytv.com//slideshows/lost/lost-easter-eggs-episode-65-lighthouse-420.aspx

—That slideshow of images (from the link above) also suggests that maybe Jacob appeared to a different Shephard. Because we saw the image of the pagoda where Jacob appeared to Jin and Sun, and we saw the image of the church where he appeared to Sawyer during his parents’ funeral, but Jacob appeared to Jack at the hospital. It might mean nothing, but it could mean that Jacob appeared to another Shephard at Jack’s parents’ house…

—In the Sideways World, we saw Jack looking at his watch a couple times. But that didn’t look like the watch his dad gave him. Or was it?

—Remember the episode awhile back when Ben flashed a mirror at someone, and they saw a flash back. Could that have been coming from the lighthouse? Were the Others using that lighthouse to monitor things?

—Jacob: “Jack is here because he needs to do something. He can’t be told what that is. He’s got to find it himself. Sometimes you can hop in the back of someone’s cab and tell them what they’re supposed to do. Other times you have to let them look out at the ocean for awhile.”

—Kate to Jack: “I hope you find what you’re looking for…”

—Sayid had a very brief cameo, didn’t he? He just showed up long enough for Jack to tell him that the pill was poison, that the Temple People had wanted to kill him… that’s quite a piece of information to toss someone’s way and then hike across the island. Like Sayid is just going to sit around and think, “Oh, so these people want me dead; that’s cool.”

Top 5 Hurley Quotes:
5) Hurley: “I totally forgot these were in here, man. Wait a second, what if we time traveled again to dinosaur times, and then we died, and got buried here. What if these skeletons are us?”

4) Hurley: “I have ink on my forehead? That’s all you can think to say to me right now? Jack just broke your lighthouse, dude. Mission unaccomplished. Whoever you needed to get to the island is totally screwed.”

3) Hurley: “He’s kind of dead. He turns up whenever he wants, like Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

2) Hurley: “You already had me write down way too much stuff…and I just lied to a samurai.”

1) Dogen: What are you doing?
Hurley: I’m just looking…because I’m a big fan of Temples, history, and…Indiana Jones stuff.
Dogen tells him to go back to the courtyard…
Hurley: I’m a candidate…so…I can do what I want…
Dogen [shocked]: Who told you that?
Hurley: Does it matter? I’m a candidate…so why don’t you go back to the courtyard…

Questions:
1) So Locke Monster showed up at Claire’s abode…but where’s Sawyer?

2) When Jacob originally told Hurley that someone was coming to the island and he needed Hurley to help them get there…did anyone else think it was going to be Desmond? Could it still be Desmond? Is anyone coming? Or was that just Jacob’s ploy to get Hurley and Jack out of the temple—and to evoke a response from Jack?

3) We heard Jack telling Hurley why he smashed his dad’s coffin to pieces (“because he wasn’t in it”). Was this the writers’ way of reminding us that Christian’s corpse is missing (in both worlds)? But why wasn’t it in that coffin? When we saw Christian in previous episodes, was he in a state similar to Claire’s, or was he more like the Locke Monster?

4) Why was Dogen shocked when Hurley said he’s a candidate? Just because he didn’t think the candidates knew they were candidates?

5) Speaking of candidates, how long ago did the others know who the candidates were? (This is reminding me of when Ben shot Locke and left him to die in the Dharma pit…but Locke didn’t die. But who saved him? The island? Jacob? Jacob’s Enemy? hmmm…

6) Why did Jack and Hurley stop at the caves on the way to the lighthouse? Was that necessary? Or did Jacob want Jack to catch a glimpse of that busted coffin?

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One response

4 03 2010
Todd Hertz

Hey, Tyler. Sorry I never commented–I’ve been traveling. But you know what, i didn’t notice until you mentioned it that Jack’s son was DAVID. Good catch!

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