Commercial Interruption: Jack sees dead people
That's when we need a break to sit back, relax and indulge in some friendly back-and-forth (via email of course, we don't actually like to speak to one another in person). After last week's smoke-filled madness on "Lost," bloggers Adam Reinhard and Thomas Rozwadowski dissect Jack's post-island drama with Kate and discuss whether ghost dads not named Bill Cosby can really cradle a baby in their arms.
Adam: "You're not supposed to raise him, Jack."
While woefully short on explosions and gunplay, I still found last night's Jack-centric "Lost" episode -- entitled "Something Nice Back Home" -- to be thoroughly gripping. I've never understood the hate some fans heap upon the good doctor. Sure he can be a bit pigheaded, even to the point of jackassery, but he's always been the viewer's "window" into the show. A calm center to the storm. Which is why his deterioration in "Through the Looking Glass" was so unsettling, especially when revealed to be the way of things to come. What could possibly happen to ruin Jack Shepherd so completely?
Last night I think we got our answer, and it seemed to happen in an instant. The episode starts with Jack having it all: Kate, Aaron, good job, nice house, properly maintained stubble. But when he gets that call to see Hurley, and Hurley delivers that message from Charlie about Aaron, Jack just seems to shatter. Does this mean that Jack knows about Claire's warning that her son "not be raised by another?" Will that subplot now play a more important role in the show?
Thomas: Yep, we could have guessed from last week's previews that "Something Nice Back Home" would be a bit more grounded in the reality of being human as opposed to Ashy Ben going all Scott Bakula in a closet full of Banana Republic dress shirts for a second straight episode. So while I'm not quite as enraptured with the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet love rhombus as I am, say, ol' Bug Eyes strapping on a Dharma parka and giving two Bedouins the business, the episode was effective in sowing the seeds for Jack's downward spiral.
It may have happened a bit too fast for my tastes -- c'mon Doc, how can you possibly get mad at Kate when she prances around in her underwear? -- but Jack's got some serious chinks in the armor, and while they've always been there, he's far more destructive when he isn't obsessed with playing island savior. The Christian Shepherd stuff was thrown out as a tease, and only Hurley's comment about Aaron really jumped out at me. Miles had some nice face time with his ghostbusting prowess, and yeah, the Claire stuff finally gives her some renewed purpose. And why didn't Smokey kill the Freighter Fighter Squad? Not as many questions this week -- more of a thematic episode about the potential cost of island freedom and a reminder that while Ben and Widmore are major pieces to the puzzle, you're right, this is still Jack's show. The way Bernard has been stepping up to the plate, though ... I think it's time for a new island leader.
Adam: I think the producers realized that the love square was about as exciting as Dharma-brand oatmeal, which is why they gave us Jack In a Towel and Kate In the Shower. It also explains Jack's outta-left-field snippiness toward Juliet last night, insisting Kate be present during the operation that, hello, Juilet was performing. (How about not pissing off the woman saving your life, brainiac.) But I like that Juliet, good sport that she is, took it in stride. It fits the melancholy nature of her character, and gave Elizabeth Mitchell a chance to bat those beautiful blues of hers. Love square = dead.
This was a good night for supporting characters. Bernard's further emergence as MacGyver, Jin cutting a deal with Charlotte to get Sun Miss-Saigoned off the island, even Daniel trying to prove that he's merely bonkers, not evil. Plus Big Brother Sawyer's restraining order against Miles, which resulted in that awesome hero shot of Sawyer silhouetted with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Speaking of Sawyer, what do you think Kate promised she would do for him? Check up on his daughter, perhaps? Procure a shipment of fresh beer for the island?
Thomas: Maybe it has something to do with Claire .... CLAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIRE! Sorry, just wanted to play Sawyer for a second. Yeah, my immediate reaction was that it revolved around Sawyer's daughter, but with all the hushed tones and vague "Lost" speak, who really knows? Christ, I thought it might be Ben on the phone for a second. Taking a step back from that, Jack obviously throws something in Kate's face about saving her life. I didn't interpret that to mean he bandaged up her knee on the ol' chopper. Some bargaining must take place to get off the island -- a clear choice between staying or going -- and how that plays out should be pretty darn interesting. We already got a peek into Sawyer's motivations for staying.
But don't you think the tide will eventually turn and all the Losties will have to say to themselves, "Yeah, it wasn't just random chance that we crashed here?" I gotta think Michael can eventually bring some clarity to that little argument. And as I think about it more, I'm skeptical as to whether the appendicitis was really just an island plotline devised to get Kate and Juliet in the same room. I mean, Jack was pretty adamant about it not being appendicitis. Why would he prolong his pain, especially as a doctor who knows the difference between a serious, potentially fatal rupture and bad Dharma chili? Stubborn Jack? Yes. Something more in light of Rose's "the island is supposed to heal you" comment? Hmmm. I'm thinking we're going to get a curveball on that, or maybe I'm just trying to stir the pot. Also, ectoplasm or not, Miles is gonna be down with those creepy whispers. I can feel it.
Adam: Give it up for Rose, she may be on to something. (All that time chasing Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive" must have honed her detection skills.) Why DID Jack get sick? After all, the only other character to experience such a life-threatening illness was Ben. Well, unless you count that nasty bout of diarrhea Hurley contracted in Season One (which I do.) Yeah, the healing aspect of the island is something they haven't really explored as much as they probably should. I don't think you can chalk it up to the now-defunct magnetic anomaly. But if, as Rose says, "here they get better," than what is it about Jack that he didn't? Perhaps it has to do with his persistent lack of faith?
And yes, sooner or later, if the characters don't start figuring out all the coincidences that link them, then we as the audience are just going to chalk them up as being a bunch of chowderheads. We've spent too many a-flashback exploring the vast, interwoven web of chance meetings and inexplicable links for that crap NOT to be explained. There was a hint last night that these revelations have started, when Jack said to Kate, with regards to Aaron, "You're not even related to him!" Can we take this to mean Jack knows that he's an uncle? (Wait, if Jack had then married Kate, he would've become Aaron's uncle AND dad then, right? Jeez, that kid would've needed so much therapy...)
Thomas: Aaron's asleep all the damn time. He doesn't even know what's going on with Drunk Uncle Dad. Yeah, I obviously went way off track by trying to explain the island's healing powers in terms of time and space -- Locke isn't paralyzed because whatever time he's in on the island means he's yet to get shoved out of an eight-story window in the "real world." I still think something like that could come into play -- especially as it pertains to Immortal Michael -- or at least I want it to because I can't get behind the idea of faith healing or God-like island punishment via appendicitis, that sort of thing. "You don't believe in the almighty power of Jacob? Herpes for you and you and you!"
But I would think that plot filler is no longer part of the grand island experiment, which means Jack came down with appendicitis for a reason, just as Ben's tumor cropped up unexpectedly, just as women on the island can't give birth, just as Ben thought Alex wasn't going to die because it wasn't part of the rules, just as Hurley can't lose weight even though he's walking, like, 80 miles a day on the island.
Just one last thing, Adam. Who were you talking on the phone with when I walked by your desk earlier today? WHO WERE YOU TALKING TO?
-- Adam Reinhard, firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com