Thursday, July 03, 2008

Re-watch: White Rabbit

This is yet another myth-heavy episode for Lost. That doesn't mean it doesn't have pure fun in it though: the comedy duo of Charlie and Hurley is absolute perfection. The scene when they run after Jack, wanting him to deal with rationing the water, and the two of them just standing there aghast when he doesn't want to deal with leader-stuff, is flat-out hilarious. I've loved Hurley's more recent odd-couple pairing with Sawyer, but seeing him with Charlie again makes me miss that dynamic a lot.

White Rabbit also has what is either a throw-away line or a hint at some huge mystery/conspiracy that will crop up in the story much later. Claire remarks to Kate that she can't find any hair brushes in the luggage. Why would that be? Is it just an odd occurrance? Or is there something important there? Did someone scoop all the brushes for some nefarious purpose? To get the DNA off them perhaps? To do what with? Fake a wreckage and be able to provide DNA-proof of who was on board? To clone the survivors? What?

There's a flashback scene with Jack's mom telling him he has to go bring his father home. She is pretty harsh on him, as this is sometime after Jack gets his father busted for boozing it up on the job. Made me wonder how guilty his mom must have felt when the plane crashed and Jack was presumed dead. Both Jack's parents sure did a number on him. No wonder the man is so screwed up!

Recurring themes are a big thing on Lost. In this one we have the oft shown theme of Jack being the reluctant leader, and also trying to save people and not exactly succeeding in the best way. That scene, with Jack swimming out to save the drowning woman, only to instead find a drowning Boone, and end up in paralyzing choice: let Boone drown or save him and then try to save the woman? Of course he can't let Boone drown, but that means he's too late to save the other. Kind of reminded me of the S4 finale when he gets some of the people off the island but not all... Again, he kind of succeeded, but not quite. And again he beats himself up over it of course. This episode also lets us see what an a-hole Jack's father was when alive ("You don't have what it takes, Jack.") and we get to see dead-ish Christian seemingly lead his son to walk right over a precipice. Only for Locke to save him.

Dead-ish Christian is one creepy mo-fo in this episode. He is silent, he seems stiff and has an odd posture: kind of like he's still inside the coffin. Back kind of hunched, arms close to his sides... It reminds me of Men In Black when the alien wears the dead guy as a suit. Why is he so odd there? Later on he appears more at ease... almost as though this early on he is not quite "formed" yet. Is it Smokey learning how to look human? Is it a clone learning how to be Christian? Is it a somehow non-formed vision Christian? Is it the actual body walking around? In the scene when he disappears into the foliage, it would seem that he melts into it more than walks through it. IE more spirit than body. What really gets me is how different he looks here than he does in the mobisode "So It Begins". There he talks to Vincent and seems more alive-ish. Not as corpsefied. This would fit IF that scene in "So It Begins" is actually the opening for Jack's eventual return to the island, and not his awakening after the plane crash. You know, with the time loops and all that weirdness in play.

Christian is dressed in a suit and white sneakers, just as in Walkabout. No boots or relaxed clothing as in S4's "Cabin Fever". Poster lostmio at The Fuselage has some interesting thoughts on this. He comments that while alive, and in most of his dead-ish appearances, Christian doesn't do "casual Fridays" wear, he's always in a suit. Until Cabin Fever, when he's in the cabin with Claire. lostmio wonders if this means that this is a new entity, different from the Christian seen before. It is certainly a very interesting observation.

White Rabbit also has one, no make that two, of the best pieces of dialogue ever written for Lost imo. The first is the conversation between Locke and Jack in the jungle:

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.

LOCKE: Why are you out here, Jack?

JACK: I think I'm going crazy.

LOCKE: No. You're not going crazy. Crazy people don't know they're going crazy. They think they're getting saner. So, why are you out here?

JACK: I'm chasing something -- someone.

LOCKE: Ah. The white rabbit. Alice in Wonderland.

JACK: Yeah, wonderland, because who I'm chasing -- he's not there.

LOCKE: But you see him?

JACK: Yes. But he's not there.

LOCKE: And if I came to you and said the same thing, then what would your explanation be, as a doctor.

JACK: I'd call it a hallucination. A result of dehydration, post traumatic stress, not getting more than 2 hours of sleep a night for the past week. All of the above.

LOCKE: All right, then. You're hallucinating. But what if you're not?

JACK: Then we're all in a lot of trouble.

LOCKE: I'm an ordinary man Jack, meat and potatoes, I live in the real world. I'm not a big believer in magic. But this place is different. It's special. The others don't want to talk about it because it scares them. But we all know it. We all feel it. Is your white rabbit a hallucination? Probably. But what if everything that happened here, happened for a reason? What if this person that you're chasing is really here?

JACK: That's impossible.

LOCKE: Even if it is; let's say it's not.

JACK: Then what happens when I catch him?

LOCKE: I don't know. But I've looked into the eye of this island. And what I saw was beautiful.

[Locke gets up to leave.]

JACK: Wait, wait, wait, where are you going?

LOCKE: To find some more water.

JACK: I'll come with you.

LOCKE: No. You need to finish what's you've started.

JACK: Why?

LOCKE: Because a leader can't lead until he knows where he's going.

That significant exchange still seems to me to echo through the seasons of the show. The other is Jack's speech at the beach when he returns:
It's been 6 days and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out. A woman died this morning just going for a swim and he tried to save her, and now you're about to crucify him? We can't do this. Everyman for himself is not going to work. It's time to start organizing. We need to figure out how we're going to survive here. Now, I found water. Fresh water, up in the valley. I'll take a group in at first light. If you don't want to go come then find another way to contribute. Last week most of us were strangers, but we're all here now. And god knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together, we're going to die alone.
Live together, die alone. Now that is a great tag-line for any show.

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia and lost-media.

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