It’s time for our fifth LOST Observations, this time focusing on the Jack-centric episode “White Rabbit”. This is a fun episode to rewatch. It’s always been a classic, but knowing what we know now about Jack’s ‘white rabbit’ makes it all the more interesting. Down the rabbit hole we go!
Major plot spoilers for Seasons 1-6 follow
“I don’t have what it takes.”
- Marc Silverman, the boy Jack attempted to rescue in the opening moments of the episode, will grow up to be Jack’s best man at his wedding (Do No Harm).
- This is the second episode of the series that opens with a shot of Jack’s eye.
GOING FOR A SWIM
- Poor Joana drowns after taking a swim in the ocean. Claire still tries to take a dive herself a few seasons later and almost ends up drowning as well. She’s lucky Boone wasn’t around anymore to distract her saviour, although Charlie (like Boone) would have drowned as well had Desmond not been there (Flashes Before Your Eyes).
- This is the second time Boone fails at saving someone’s life, forcing Jack to take over in his place. Just mentioning.
- Charlie tells Jack he “doesn’t swim”. Jack was probably too distracted to hear, since Charlie later tells him he’s a swimming champion (although there is an exchange with Desmond that suggests that he’s lying about that). In any case, he ends up drowning in the following episode (Greatest Hits; Through the Looking Glass). The Looking Glass station where Charlie breathes his last breath has the white rabbit from Alice In Wonderland as its logo.
- Jack feels guilty for not going after Joana, even though she was already lost. Jack will later abandon Jin (twice!) and Sun to save others, and will feel less guilty and responsible about it then, blaming the Man In Black for their deaths. Progress!
- Christian tells his son that he doesn’t “have what it takes”. A message that will haunt him for a long, long time.
- In Lighthouse, Jacob gives Jack a message (through Hurley): “You have what it takes.”
- There’s some interesting similarities between Jack and Jacob’s parental issues. Jack’s father told him he wasn’t cut out to be the ‘hero’, and Jack has been trying to prove his father wrong ever since. Jacob grew up convinced his mother didn’t believe in him and that she favoured his twin brother. One of them had to protect the Heart of the Island, and according to Jacob she wanted it to be the Nameless One.
“It has to be you, Jacob –”
“No, it doesn’t. You wanted it to be him. But now I’m all you have.”
“It was always supposed to be you, Jacob. I see that now.”
- Being told he was ‘chosen’ convinced Jacob to take the job of “Protector of the Island”. Since Jacob had been watching Jack through his Lighthouse, he knew exactly what to tell him to convince him to follow his plan. It’s the same thing he needed to hear when he was young.
IT’S ABOUT BUNNIES
- Sawyer is seen reading Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The book has a lot of similarities with LOST and shares similar themes, like survival, heroism and the search for a new “home”.
- The fact that Sawyer is reading the book (originally belonging to Boone) will eventually lead to his torture in Confidence Man. Life is strange that way.
- Sawyer decides to read the book again in Left Behind, and even has a copy in the flashsideways world (Recon)!
- Claire mentions being interested in Astrology. This is one of the reasons why she started visiting Richard Malkin, who ended up putting her on the plane that crashed on the island (Raised By Another).
- But seriously. What happened to all the hair brushes?!
- The best plot twists on the show involve dads, and not just in this episode.
- “Dad?!” was Walt’s reaction when he realised who he was chatting with (What Kate Did).
- “Dad?!” is what Locke said when he found out what came out of the ‘magic box’ (The Man From Tallahassee).
- “Dad?!”, Claire asked bewildered when she noticed her father at the campfire (Something Nice Back Home).
THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT
- Christian Shephard has gone to Australia a few times before, most likely to visit his Australian ex and daughter. As revealed in Par Avion, Christian Shephard is Claire’s father, and he often visited and sang to her. He went to Australia to pay the medical bills for Carole Littleton’s treatment, and to convince Claire to stop keeping her alive.
- Jack’s mother, Margo Shephard, refers to the events from All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues when she tells Jack Christian has no friends left. She seems to blame him for it, telling him he doesn’t understand the pressure his father was under when he was operating while under the influence of alcohol.
- Jack’s “I can’t” stands in contrast with Locke’s catchphrase “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”. He says it a second time on the island.
PEANUT BUTTER BELLY TIME
- Early seeds of the Charlie and Claire relationship as the former decides to take care of the “time bomb of responsibility”.
- In his flashback storyline from Homecoming, Charlie tried to be a respectable man, and wanted his girlfriend/victim Lucy to think that he could take care of her. She told him he would never take care of anyone. Like everybody else, Charlie gets a second chance to become the person he wants to be.
MAN IN BLACK IN WHITE RABBIT’S CLOTHING
- Knowing that the image of Jack’s dead father is not a hallucination at all, but the Man In Black posing as him makes you look at the episode in an entirely different way. For one it means Jack was not going “crazy”; Christian really was there. Which leads to…
“So you’re hallucinating. But what if you’re not?”
“Then we’re all in a lot of trouble!”
- As for MIB’s motivations… It sounds like something “the island” would do; lead Jack to the source of water (the caves he had lived in as a kid!) and his father’s coffin. We now know the island wasn’t behind it. As MIB explained it, he was trying to help Jack, as he had been doing all along. We know that’s not true; MIB was trying to get all the survivors in one place so he could kill them and leave the island.
- I’m sure no one ever really trusted that MIB was helping the survivors, and I don’t think that was the point. Leading the survivors to the water would keep them alive long enough for them (Locke specifically) to meet Benjamin Linus. After that, MIB could convince Locke to move the island, have him die off-island, have his body shipped back to the island for him to inhabit, convince Ben to kill Jacob, kill all the Candidates himself and finally leave. It’s a complex little project, and I’m not even trying to be clever when I say he probably “made most of it up as he went along”.
- When Jack finds his father’s coffin, the body is not inside. The body of Eko’s brother Yemi was gone as well when MIB took his form. I think the best theory is that MIB disposed of the bodies in some way (hiding them in the Cabin?), to make it appear as though the dead people were real. Ilana probably knew about this method and kept Locke’s body in a crate before MIB could get rid of it. By doing that, Ilana had proof that MIB was not really Locke, and that he could not be trusted. Of course, it also provided us with the wicked cool image of two Locke’s in one spot.
THIS ISLAND IS DIFFERENT
- It’s sad to say, but even Locke’s beautiful speech about the island could be considered a bit pathetic now. He thinks the island is special and beautiful, but Jack’s white rabbit is not the work of the island. It’s actually the Man In Black planning Locke’s death.
- On the other hand, you could argue that as long as Locke believes the island is something special, the true ‘meaning’ of his speech remains the same. Locke does inspire Jack with his speech, and he really does believe he experienced something special when he encountered the Smoke Monster. That’s all that counts, right?
- As the first version of Michael Giacchino’s “Life and Death” score plays, Jack finally finds the caves. Inside are a bunch of dolls. Jack manages to ‘save’ one of them from the water, but unfortunately he couldn’t save them all. Gotta love metaphors!
I’M LATE, I’M LATE, I’M LATE
- In the last two scenes, Michael is seen wearing a watch he wasn’t wearing before. The same watch that will almost get him killed in the next episode, House of the Rising Sun. Nice detail!
THEY JUST LOST HIS BODY
- Jack tells Chrissy that he needs to bury his father, but when he finally finds his coffin on the island there’s no body inside. Although smashing it to pieces must have felt satisfying at the time, Jack’s issue with his father’s death is the very last one he’ll resolve, when he finds the coffin empty again in the The End.
- Most of the main survivors are wearing symbolic white to match the episode’s title. Sawyer and Claire wear black, and Shannon wears pink.
- Boone asks Jack “who appointed you our savior?”. He sort of did that himself in the previous episode, when he sent Jack to go help Rose instead of doing it himself. So that answers that. And yes, I do like Boone. I just think he’s stupid.
- Sayid probably doesn’t even realise what he’s saying when he tells Kate Sun understands him. Or does he? Man, that guy can see through everyone!
- Yet another ironic Kate moment when Sawyer officially names her the new sheriff in town. He will later give that title to himself.
- “I’m not a leader.” “And yet, they all treat you like one.” This proves it; power resides where men believe it resides.
- Don’t go looking for Nikki and Paulo during Jack’s “live together, die alone” speech. They’re not really there.
Look deeper into the Eye of the Island with more LOST Observations
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