Re-Lost: White Rabbit

Jack and Locke

Jack and Locke take a breather

Jack has grown on me. In the early going, I always felt he was a little too white-knight for my tastes. I mean, he’s always saving people, and doing wild impulsive things, and he was such a believer in reason that it kind of chafed. Obviously, Jack was positioned early on against Locke, and I suppose I always related to Locke better. It wasn’t until about season five that I started becoming a believer in Jack, and he had one of the strongest character arcs in the last season. However, we’re at the beginning now. So how does “White Rabbit” age so far?

Quite well, for the most part. It’s a very good introduction to Jack’s character, and it fleshes out something that the show has already hinted at for a couple of episodes now. Why is Jack so hesitant to lead the survivors? According to this, it all comes back to daddy issues (as it so often does on Lost). Jack has been conditioned to assume that he cannot handle failure, and therefore cannot be put in a position where he will fail. According to his father, he’ll only let down himself and those around him. On the island, Jack’s worst fears are realized when a faceless survivor named Joanna is drowned in a riptide. His failure to save Joanna clearly shakes him, and he’s even more snappy than usual when people look to him for leadership. It’s like all of the castaways can see the leadership in him, and he’s convinced they’re nuts for not seeing why he can’t be a leader. It’s a poignant conflict, because it’s so relatable. We all are convinced there is something in our lives that will keep us from greatness, even though everyone insists we can rise above it. This is an episode about Jack coming to grips with who he is, and who he will be in the island. Another new start for another survivor.

This is also the first appearance of Christian Shepherd, Jack’s drink-like-a-fish father. Obviously, it’s not much of a relationship. Jack didn’t speak to his dad for two months before he died, and from what we see of him, there’s good reason. When Jack sees his father on the island, it’s a definite twist the first time. However, after having seen the whole series, Christian Shepherd’s appearances on the island still have me a little buffaloed. I’ll come to this later, but suffice to say that I think this is one twist that the writers definitely resolved at a much later date. It was pretty clearly introduced here as a way to mess with the audience, but I don’t think they knew precisely what was going on. I don’t really have a problem with that (though many do, I’m sure), but it does pull a little of the punch from the episode.

The weakest aspect of the episode is the subplot, where the survivors are in need of water. It feels a little too much like the main plot of “Walkabout,” and it’s not handled as well. The worst part is Boone, who is in full-on idiot mode here. He berates Jack for not saving Joanna, even though Jack saved Boone’s life instead. When Boone says, “I’m talking to you!” I want to smack him in his face. Much worse though is Boone’s moronic act of stealing the survivor’s water. Apparently he thinks that no one will have a problem with this, but he couldn’t possibly be that empty-headed, could he? It feels like a situation where the writers figured that SOMEone had to steal the water, and Boone didn’t have anything better to do.

So overall, “White Rabbit” is a little bit of a step down after the three really good episodes that precede it. However, it’s still a solid episode, largely because of Jack’s story and flashback. It’s also nice to see the episode end with a real live plot development. With the discovery of the cave, the first season of Lost is about to head into the next phase of it’s arc.

Grade: B


  • Sawyer is reading Watership Down. Good choice, dude.
  • There were some “ticka-ticka” noises in the jungle when Jack staggers through chasing his father. Maybe they knew what they were doing better than I thought.
  • I could get repetitive, praising Michael Giachinno’s score. It’s almost always very good, but it’s in fine form here, particularly the synth as Jack chases his dad. Very distant sounding, and very chilling.
  • Remember when Claire was all into astrology and stuff? Yeah, me neither.
  • Sayid believes that Sun can understand his question. He’s a perceptive man.
  • Everyone on the island has an endless supply of torches. This episode has the first of many!
  • Tune in on Friday for “House of the Rising Sun.”

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