|Get 'im, Lennie.|
Jack Shephard. My attitude towards our conflicted hero has rather shifted through my time with Lost - beginning with mild annoyance, through complete hatred, into a sort of grudging respect and finally the acceptance that maybe basing your views of a character upon his actions 60% of the way into a series won't give you the full picture. As it goes, my chances of liking Jack are higher the earlier you get in the series, and so this first centric episode (kinda) for the character hits all my buttons as a simple tale of a character learning a lesson.
The pressures of leadership are getting to Jack, as he fails to save one of the survivors due to Boone having gone in after her and encountering difficulties. Tired, and remembering his father telling him that he didn't have what it takes to save everyone, he escapes Boone's douchebaggery (shouting at him for saving his life) and runs off into the woods after a man he's been hallucinating since last episode. He nearly falls off a cliff, but is luckily saved by Locke, who was looking for fresh water after the final reserves were stolen by Boone. (He's being kind of an arse this episode, really.) Locke tells him to finish what he started, and after flashing back to learning of his father's death he discovers a fresh source of water at The Caves. He finds his father's coffin but it's empty. Returning to camp, Jack breaks up a fight between Boone and the rest of the survivors and gives an inspiring speech about having to live together or they'll die alone.
Jack's crisis of faith is a typical storyline for a heroic lead, especially with the nice details of his father's heavy-set confidence drain throughout his childhood. Matthew Fox plays it out very well, with the episode really acting as a test of character for someone who really did elevate himself to the leader position through sheer utility. Despite the douchey situation in which he said it, Boone's cries of "Who made you Leader?" do ring true, at least at the beginning of the episode, and the rest of the episode is Jack's core struggle in accepting that his father was wrong and that he can be the man in charge.
|Boone's a lifeguard who nearly drowns trying to save people.|
White Rabbit proves what I said last week dead wrong. I was very much comparing Lost to shows like Heroes when I said that Walkabout's pace was too slow for me to handle. But that's always been the case with Lost - except that it doesn't matter. What we get instead is very much a chance to soak everything in - specific attempts, like this, to expose us to our characters before the seasons' major dramas start so that it's that much more epic with that context. White Rabbit brought Jack out of the darkness, and it's a winner for me.
NEXT WEEK: We finally learn about those Krazy Koreans... it's House of the Rising Sun.