Wednesday, March 10, 2010

you don't know jack

Riffing on last night's LOST. Avoid if you aren't up-to-date with the show or averse to my crackpot theorizing . . .

There was so much internet buzz over the promos for last night's episode, predicting the demise of one of my most beloved Losties, Ben. I know, I know, he's been deceptive, dangerous, manipulative, weak, vindictive—the list of negative adjectives goes on and on. But he is also a joy to watch. Last night's episode proved that no one is either solely black or white. Ben's scale tipped towards the white last night and I think it's going to stay that way.

There was lots more to mull over, and anyone who has been feeling that questions weren't being answered in earlier episodes got their fill: Richard! The Black Rock! Where the HELL is Sawyer?

But I really want to write about Jack and his tendency to play russian roulette to make a point or get his way. What is it with russian roulette and movies, anyway? I don't ever want to watch that scene again with Christopher Walken, and I didn't enjoy Jack's use of a stick of dynamite with Richard that much last night, either. Macho posturing? Suicidal tendencies? Faith at last?

As I've said before, I have a hard time with Jack's character. He is a tough one to like. His heart is in the right place (to do what's right), but he always thinks he knows what's best, which is a dangerous combo. I don't know where I heard this oxymoronic joke, long ago, but they compared someone to a "vicious Saint Bernard." That's our boy Jack. I prefer Christian, his also conflicted, but more even-tempered dad, and hope we get to see him soon. You never know who's going to resurface on LOST.

As Widmore's sub was gliding by, I rejoiced that the focus will finally be back where it belongs, on the Island. So much debate has centered around who will replace Jacob and/or the MIB. But no one is asking why replacements might be necessary. The Island, that's why. Ben gets that, and I have to admit, as much as I've never thought Jack was the right man for the job, Jack seems to get the power and importance of the Island, too. But does the Island need someone as reactionary as Jack? Jacob may not have liked sharing information (like all bosses on a power trip), but he seems so centered and calm—dead or alive. Jack, not so much. He often makes split second decisions which affect (sometimes adversely) many lives, and won't consider other opinions or options other than his own. But maybe that's the difference between being a human in charge and whatever Jacob was? Ben and Widmore made some pretty hasty decisions in their respective reigns as well.

Does the Island want Jack or Sawyer, Kate, Ben, Sun, etc. to ever leave? Sounding like Hotel California . . . Do we want them to leave? As much as I have been enjoying the Sideways world more and more with each episode, is it really how I want their stories to end? Somehow it seems, as much better as their lives may be Sideways, it might be a bit of a letdown. I mean, it's all about the Island, after all.

Now Jack and Hurley and Richard have gone "back to the beach." We're coming full circle, except a little off kilter. LOST has always had folks changing sides and swapping loyalties and trusts fast and furiously, but this latest division seems like the teams are really aligning for good. Will anyone want to choose Jack as team captain?

Thanks to Lostpedia, it's easy to cite many instances of Jack and his russian roulette tendencies (more than I remembered) both playing with his own life and the life of others:

Season 2:
[In the Hatch] He saw a computer and reached out to it, but Locke appeared and told him not to touch it. Jack raised the gun and asked where Kate was. Locke did not answer, as  [Desmond] had a gun pointed at the side of his head. Locke told Jack to put the gun down. The man threatened that he would shoot Locke if Jack did not surrender. Jack refused, instead taunting Locke about his destiny.
[In the Hatch] The man [Ben as Henry Gale]'s screams led Jack to force Locke to open the armory door just as the timer began to sound. Jack said that if Locke did not open the door he would not let him push the button. Locke did not believe that Jack would risk everybody's life on the Island, but Jack said he didn't think anything would happen if the button was not pushed. Locke eventually opened the door, then rushed to enter the code and push the button, but his fingers tripped over themselves and he didn't get them entered in time.
Season 3:
[As a prisoner of the Others] Jack attempted to break out by assaulting Juliet as she was bringing him food. He dragged her out into the corridor of the Hydra and commanded her to open a door, which she said would kill them if opened. He unlatched the door himself and the door burst open, flooding the corridor. Jack and Juliet managed to force the door shut, and Jack was then knocked unconscious by Juliet.
During the surgery [on Ben's tumor], Jack deliberately cut Ben's kidney sack. He told the Others that Ben would die unless he repaired the damage, and demanded one of their transceivers.
[Ben] said that Naomi was not who she claimed to be, and that if Jack did not bring him her satellite phone, everyone on the Island would die. When Jack did not cooperate, Ben ordered Ryan to kill Sayid, Jin and Bernard (whom they had  back at the Beach), but Jack let this happen for the good of the rest of the group (it is later revealed that they were not dead).
Season 4:
They headed back to the cockpit to meet the other survivors, and Jack attacked Locke, knocking him down and taking his gun. He aimed the gun at Locke's head and Locke said Jack wasn't going to shoot him. Jack pulled the trigger, but the gun clicked on an empty chamber. He started to beat him and the other survivors pulled him off.
. . . Jack spent most of his time drinking, examining maps and geography books, and using the golden pass given to him by Oceanic Airlines to fly back and forth across the Pacific Ocean. He hoped one of the planes he got onto would crash, either returning him to the Island or killing him.
Season 5:
Blowing up Jughead to blast them back to the future.
Season 6:
Dogen dismissed his concerns, and asked Jack to administer a pill to Sayid, which would reportedly cure the "infection" which was plaguing him. Jack refused to give the pill to Sayid, and instead tried to take it himself, but Dogen prevented him from doing so, forcing him to cough it back up. Jack asked Dogen what was in the pill, to which Dogen replied, "Poison."


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