Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1:11 All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

It's difficult to tell from the title which character this episode centers on: I can't think of a single one who doesn't have "daddy issues." Sun's is a megalomaniacal tycoon, Jin's is a poor fisherman whom he tells everyone is dead, Claire's has never been around (although *we* know who he is), Sawyer's committed murder/suicide, and Kate killed hers herself. OK, so maybe Rose and Bernard have great dads, but we've never met them. This particular episode focuses once again on Jack and Christian Shephard.

The opening scene of Jack trying to resuscitate a young woman during surgery is echoed in the present time on the Island as Jack tries to save Charlie, who has been hanged by creepy Ethan. Once again, Jack's overwhelming drive to save and fix people comes into play. In the flashback, Jack's father forces him to stop; in the present, Kate tries to stop him but he ignores her and ends up saving Charlie's life.

So much of Jack's complexity as a character comes out here. Does Jack turn his dad in because it's the morally right thing to do? Or is it a combination of his conscience and his anger with his dad for not believing in him, for always putting him down? His relief in saving Charlie is heightened by his guilt for thinking Claire was imagining that she was in danger. The patient that died on the operating table was pregnant, just like Claire, and this drives his need to save Charlie and Claire.

This exchange between Jack and Locke as they try to track down Charlie and Claire provides some insight into the difference between them:

LOCKE: Tracks are still fresh.

JACK: This doesn't make any sense. How can one man drag off two people, one of them pregnant?

LOCKE: You're asking the wrong question. Not how, why?

JACK: You think it was Ethan.

LOCKE: It certainly feels like it was Ethan, doesn't it?

What strikes me here is that Jack, the man of science, asks "how?" (an empirical question) and Locke, man of faith, asks "why?" (a theoretical question.) This contrast will be heightened in future episodes, where Jack and Locke become more and more diametrically opposed to each other.

A few ironies I noticed this time around:
-Kate reassures Shannon that "if there's anyone on this Island that your brother is safe with, it's Locke." We soon find out that Boone is anything but safe with Locke.
-Locke says Jack should go back to camp rather than continue to pursue Ethan because he doesn't want anything to happen to the only doctor on the Island. There are at least two other doctors on the Island at this point, Ethan and Juliet.
-Jack seems to want nothing more than his father's approval, and he thinks he's lost it forever by exposing him. But in reality, it was that act that caused Christian to be proud of Jack, as he tells Sawyer at the bar in "Outlaws."

The most memorable part of this episode for me is Boone and Locke discovering the hatch right after Locke has said "Don't you feel it?"


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