Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lost Rewind - "White Rabbit"

Episode Review: One of the great things about these early episodes of Lost is that with one flashback, you pretty much got the idea of what each character was all about. Kate’s showed that she was a girl always on the run. Locke’s showed that he was a guy who was always put down by society around him. In “White Rabbit”, we learned that Jack had some serious leadership and daddy issues. While there is much more to each character (as we find out later), each episode served as a nice little summary of their major life drama.

This episode also dealt up another realistic on-Island dilemma for our Survivors – a lack of fresh water. There are hints of their happy little society falling apart Lord of the Flies style, with characters hording supplies, losing their tempers, and blaming each other – but luckily Jack steps up and provides one of the signature speeches of the series, his “Live Together or Die Alone” manifesto.

All in all, it’s another very solid episode that realistically moved the plot forward on the Island. But early on in Lost, it’s clearly the flashbacks that drove the storylines, not the on-Island action. If you think about it, what really happened over the course of “Tabula Rasa” through “White Rabbit”? Our Survivors have started to form a little society and are dealing with base physical needs while getting to know each other. If we had a series of episodes with this little action nowadays, people would flip out and claim the show had lost its way. But back in the day, we were all gently easing into the story – learning the players and setting the stage before the huge mythology of the show would start to appear.


Deeper Meaning Explanation: Locke comes out and explains the meaning during the episode, but “White Rabbit” refers to Jack’s Dad. One of our first (of many) references to the Alice in Wonderland, the white rabbit leads Alice through a hole into Wonderland – just like Jack’s Dad leads him to some much needed fresh water on the Island. Locke tells Jack that “I looked into the eye of the Island… and what I saw was beautiful”, hinting that maybe his father is alive, and wondering what would happen if Jack were to catch him. In a way, it’s symbolism that the Island itself just might be a type of “wonderland”, and the vision of his father might be the Island’s way of leading Jack into it.


Original Thoughts: Wa wa wa. One more week without original thoughts.


New Thoughts: A few good things to ponder this episode, starting with a question that lingers to this very day…

Jack’s Dad. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – but here’s where I said it first – Christian Shephard is Dead. While there were a few tidbits that probably appealed to the “Christian Shephard is Alive” theorists out there – most notably the empty coffin and Locke’s “what if your dad was alive” speech – I think the truth is much simpler.

Flashbacks show that Jack was unable to get his father’s body onto the plane due to proper paperwork not being filled out. Yet he is adamant with the lady at the ticket counter that he needs the coffin to be on the plane. It seems pretty clear that the airline simply put the coffin, sans body, on the plane as a means of appeasing Jack while adhering to the rules. The episode also shows that Jack hasn’t really slept since the crash, probably explaining him suddenly having visions of his father. His mind is playing tricks on him due to exhaustion.

There’s always the possibility that Christian Shephard was a manifestation of Smokey (you could argue that it intentionally lead Jack to the water – but it also almost killed him – so maybe both were just coincidental?), but the simplest answer is that it’s all in Jack’s head.


Jack. Speaking of Jack’s head, it’s ironic that this episode featured his father telling him “Don’t try and save everyone. You don’t have what it takes”, especially when you consider that Jack tried to save everyone during the Season Three finale by calling Naomi’s Crew – and it looks like that plan is going to backfire terribly. Maybe father knows best after all?


Locke. Lastly, we have John Locke who continued to be a little creepy, and seemingly knows more than he’s letting on. He continues his mission to save everyone from their own demons during his talk with Jack (which convinces Jack that he needs to be a leader for the Survivors), but also makes the comment about “knowing where to look for water”. He doesn’t find it however – but instead is conveniently around to save Jack from a cliffhanger-death.

If the Island and Smokey are working on the same side, this pretty much eliminates the possibility of Jack’s Dad being Smokey, doesn’t it? Assuming that the Island is giving Locke “all-knowing” powers, why would it try and kill Jack only to have Locke turn around and rescue him? Seems like a waste of time and effort to me. Yet another reason I’m chalking up Christian Shephard to a hallucination.


Short and sweet this week. Comment on the Board here, or below below.

(No pressure, but every passing week with little to no comments increases the likelihood of me pulling the plug on the Lost Rewinds and focusing my attention elsewhere… )

29 comments:

Pickle said...

First comment!

Joey D. said...

I totally agree with your assessment about not much really happening on the island in these early episodes. These first episodes really were introducing the characters to the audience. It seemed like there was one thing that happened on the island with the main focus being on telling a story about one character at a time via the flashbacks. In Tabula Rasa, we had the ordeal with the marshall. In Walkabout there was a lack of food. Then in White Rabbit, we had the lack of water. The primary focus of all three of those episodes was character introduction. It wasn't really until Solitary and then Raised by Another where we really started getting deep into mythology. White Rabbit is my favorite Jack-centric episode...although All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues was very close. I get chillbumps every time I watch White Rabbit all the way through when it gets to Jack's "Live Together, Die Alone" speech. There are a lot of Jack bashers out there....but I've never been one of them. I have always liked Jack. The only Jack-centric episode that I actually didn't like at all was Stranger In A Strange Land. Back to White Rabbit....Something that I never did understand was something that you pointed out.....the coffin being empty. It appeared quite obvious to me that Jack was very upset when he opened the coffin and it was empty. He opened the coffin right after the final flashback of the episode. The last thing Jack said to the airline lady was "I need to bury my father." It seemed to me that Jack really wanted Christian to be in that coffin so that he could bury him. Where did the body go? Was it even on the plane in the first place? It really made sense to me what you said about the airline not putting the body on the plane and just making Jack think that they did to calm him down. Then, I started thinking about it. I don't think that they did that. I think that the body was on the plane. I think Christian's body is somewhere on the island. I think that the images of Christian that Jack was seeing were the work of Smokey....just like the visions of Yemi that Eko saw in ? and The Cost Of Living. As to where Christian's body went?? The same place that Yemi's body went. Remember in The Cost Of Living, Eko went back to the beechcraft to find that Yemi's body was missing. I think that smokey took both bodies somewhere. I really hope that one day, Jack will find Christian's body on the island so that he can bury him.

But what the hell do I know? I do hope that the mystery of Christian's body does get an answer at some point.

Joey D. said...

And I hope that you keep up with the Lost rewinds. I really enjoy them. I am currently in the middle of rewatching the entire series. I recently injured my knee. I tore my ACL. Watching Lost is really helping to keep me from being completely bored out of my mind. I am up to season 2, episode 11. I watched The 23rd Psalm earlier today. I can't really do anything that requires me to walk. I'm having surgery tomorrow. My point is that I really, really enjoy your Lost rewinds.

Ok....I'm finished rambling. I'm gonna go watch The Hunting Party and then watch the Nashville fireworks display on the television.

Joey D. said...

Happy 4th of July to everyone out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christine said...

I have been enjoying reading your Rewinds, but I totally understand if you feel like ditching them. What if you just write when you have something you really want to say, instead of feeling compelled to write on each episode?

eric said...

I like your point about how the stories are really driven by the flashbacks early on, but I wonder if that really means little is happening on island. I haven't been able to find the time to rewatch, but my memory is that quite a lot of interpersonal dynamics is going on. That for me was one of the early hooks of Lost: the writers and producers took some time to flesh out characters and get me to care. I'm not sure the mythology would have mattered as much without that. In addition, what else is there to do on an Island except worry about water and start a little society? I remember really liking the way it slowly dawned on everyone that they weren't just about the get rescued ...

Anonymous said...

woah woah woah dude, lets not can the Lost rewind. I think it is a great idea to take back and look at some of the little things that may have been missed or slipped by before the new season starts.

Anonymous said...

It think in these first few episodes, people's identities are being formed...Locke refers to Jack as "the Doctor." Claire refers to Locke as "The Hunter" and to herself as "The Pregnant Girl." Boone argues with Jack about his being their "Hero". And in the Pilot, Sawyer calls Sayid "The Terrorist" and himself "The Criminal". I think early on, it was about survival, and each person's contributions determined their value to a large degree. Maybe that's why Boone is always trying to be a hero and make a name for himself.

Jabbadoo said...

Hey Brian! Thanks for the overview, I'm really enjoying the rewinds (although I'm not watching the cd's) I dont' recall when I tuned into the blog so I'm liking catching up on your early thoughts.

BTW much congratulations and best wishes on your engagement!

Nothing Better said...

I have an idea. If you're not happy with the way the rewinds have been going, why not do your favorite 10 episodes and review them. Maybe you will have more to write about, you could say why they're your favorites etc.
You could also do like the control the blog thing, where we could also review our favorite episodes.
Just a few ideas.
Congrats on the engagement Brian.

Sawyer's Optician said...

"references to the Wizard of Oz, the white rabbit leads Alice through a hole into Wonderland"

Brian, I'm sure you know the difference between the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I'll excuse the slip, you just got engaged for Pete's sake!
In case anyone out there didn't have a childhood.. Dorothy landed in a crazy, magical land called Oz. Alice followed the White rabbit down a hole into crazy, magical Wonderland. Alice also went through the Looking glass (a different book from Alice in Wonderland) into a crazy backwards land.

I appreciate the rewind, but if you are over it, and want to concentrate on something else, I'm sure people understand. We can always look at your original omments, (startng with next episode?) from the original post, can't we? Is there an easy way to get to them?

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying the rewinds but don't often have much to add, however I'll comment anyway. I agree that in some of these S1 episodes the fbs were more important than the on island story, but I agree with Eric that there was still important stuff going on on the island, even if it wasn't always majorly advancing the plot in terms of mysteries and the like. Rewatching this episode I wondered how locke could once have been quite so seemingly all-knowing. How on Earth was he able to be in the right place at the right time to save Jack? Also, I'm sure Christian is dead, but I'd never thought he wasn't ever in the coffin. Surely the airport people couldnt just not put him in the coffin and not tell Jack?! I always just assumed the body fell from the coffin at some point in its journey from sky to ground, but then did Jack open it in this episode or was it already open? I forget...

CR said...

I LOVE the rewinds, I usually just lurke but will comment if it helps! I really enjoy going back and watching the show and reading your thoughts on it. I was so happy to find your site in the first place but it was only during the last half of season 3 so I missed all this the first time around. I really didn't understand the deepness of the show until reading your thoughts. I really appreciate your work and time and hope you continue on, you are much needed!

Brian said...

Okay! The Lost Rewinds will continue. As long as people are enjoying them, I'll keep doing them. I think they'll really start to pick up once we can look back at my original thoughts and laugh at how wrong I was, or marvel at how right I was.

Seriously - if anyone else wants to Control the Blog this summer, just let me know (controltheblog@hotmail.com) because you are more than welcome. You can take a Rewind or two, or even just write about general Lostiness.

Rebecca said...

Is it just me or is Boone a terrible lifeguard (which he claimed to be). First he doesn't know how to perform CPR, and then we see he can't even rescue a drowning woman. Lame! It's a good thing he was hot to make up for this. ;)

BTW, joey d "All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy" was a Sawyer-centric episode.

Joey D. said...

Rebecca:

All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues was actually Jack-centric. It was the episode where Jack, Locke, Kate, and Boone took off trying to find Claire and Charlie. Jack eventually finds Ethan. Ethan beats him down. In flashbacks, it is the set of flashbacks where Jack's father operates on the girl while intoxicated which leads to her dying. Jack tells the board that his dad was drunk and it leads to him losing his license.

There were three Jack-centric episodes in season one. They were
WHITE RABBIT
ALL THE BEST COWBOYS HAVE DADDY ISSUES
DO NO HARM

There were two Sawyer-centric episodes in season one. They were:
CONFIDENCE MAN
OUTLAWS

Joey D. said...

http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/All_The_Best_Cowboys_Have_Daddy_Issues

Rebecca said...

Sorry. :(
I guess next time I'll have to check my sources instead of my sometimes faulty memory before I try to tell someone they are wrong!

Holly said...

Why do you think that Charlie claimed he couldn't swim? It seems he swam perfectly well in the S3 finale...do you think it's just his cowardice speaking?

Matt said...

Please don't ditch the rewinds. I think you'll get more responses once you break into episodes that you already analyzed, when people get a look at comparing the two assessments.

amber said...

When Jack’s mom said “After what you did”, do you think she was referring to Jack turning his dad in for being drunk when he operated that time, or was she referring to Jack driving his dad back to drinking??

Interesting how Locke encouraged Jack to be the leader, but later goes against him.

WHY IS THE CASKET EMPTY??????? I don't buy that the airline didn't put his body on the plane. Also, didn't Damon say in a Podcast that it was significant that the casket was empty?

joe d. said...

"When Jack’s mom said “After what you did”, do you think she was referring to Jack turning his dad in for being drunk when he operated that time, or was she referring to Jack driving his dad back to drinking??"

Those two things are connected. One led to the other, so I guess you could say that she was talking about both of them. Jack turning his father in for operating under the influence caused Christian to lose his job which lead him to go on that massive bender...which eventually took him to Australia.

Heather's Brain said...

Just a brief comment from me...

I still think we saw Smokey as Christian Sheppard in this episode. I think NOTHING on Lost is incidental!

Also, This was actually my FIRST episode rewind becuase fo the dvd mix up at my rental store. So it was BEAUTIFUL for me to watch this episode after last seeing season 3 finale where Charlie dies, and Jack CAN'T save them all! It was a perfect circle!

As for Charlie's "swim" issue. I will say this, he does say, I DON'T SWIM...not that he can't so it may be his heroin addiction leaving him unable or pushing him away from wholesome events that his daddy had originally taught him. All in all I immediately thought it was a SLIP on the writers but then the more I think of it, it seems it was worded just right.

PS...if you bag the rewinds I will surely die! It is all in your hands now, Brian!

amber said...

did we skip a week? Which episodes should I be watching this week?

joey d. said...

AMBER,

He just did a re-review of episode 105, White Rabbit. This week you should watch episode 106 which is HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN.

amber said...

Sorry, but I thought we were watching 2 a week? No big deal, I just don't want to be way ahead of everyone else!

Sawyer's Optician said...

Ok, this is really off the wall, but I work for an airline, and I fly quite a bit. I have never seen water bottles on an airplain like the ones Oceanic 815 had. Not even in first class! Usually they are one good sip, and I'm dying for more even on a 40 minute flight from DC to NYC. I guess they are just taking artistic license in having the BIG water bottles.

webuffy said...

Please keep the rewinds going! I have not had as much time to comment but happily anticipate your new postings each week.
- wbuff

Stef said...

I'm sorry I've gotten a bit behind on the rewind schedule, but all of these great comments covered most of what I noticed with this episode, too. The whole Charlie not swimming thing, Boone's struggles, Locke's mysterious nature.

I do tend to be one of those Jack-bashers, though, and the Jack/Christian storyline is always one of my least favorite. I do believe the Christian on the island is Smokey, but I'm intrigued by that idea that the body may never have been on the plane in the first place. I'd never interpreted that airport conversation that way, but I could see it working. I'd always thought that the body somehow fell out, so here's hoping there is some explanation in the future.

Also, it struck me that the caves were such a big part of Sn 1, but they've been virtually nonexistent since they opened up the Hatch. I guess it makes sense - the Hatch was a much better sustainable environment and more interesting story-wise - but I wonder when we'll get back to Adam & Eve and the caves themselves?