Monday, August 3

White Rabbit

White Rabbit (S1, ep 5)

Boone continues to prove himself excellent Monster-fodder with his bookending idiocies. He gets a drowning woman killed by almost drowning himself, and he decides to quietly take the entire camp's water without, you know, actually telling anyone he's doing it - despite the fact that several people run around all day looking for it in a panic.

The brief shots of Christian from Walkabout are expanded on and we witness the origin of Jack's Legendary Daddy Issues.

How wonderfully strange/eerie is that shot of Christian, fuly dressed in a suit, standing knee-deep in the surf?

In the Pilot, we learned that Claire's baby hadn't moved since she'd woken on the Island. Given what we know now about the fertility issues on the Island I'm assuming that was the first hint of the problems to come. We get (potential, uncertain) hints again in this episode. Claire gets suddenly, alarmingly sick. It's attributed to heat-stroke/dehydration, but Kate makes that call, not Jack. It's left ultimately ambiguous. She recovers, so it could easily have been the heat. But it could also have been a symptom of the Island-hates-preggers-chicks plague.

We learn Claire is into astrology. She asks Kate for her sign. Kate's answer: Gemini, a sign associated with the Roman figures of Castor and Pollux, who were twins. Twins and twinning play an important part in the subtext of this show, and this is the first mention of the concept, albeit a veiled one.

We see John Terry (who looks wildly younger in this episode than he does in any other) tell Jack that his son 'doesn't have what it takes,' but it's not clear what this means. Christian claims to be able to walk away from work at the day's end, and that this means he has what it takes. Only, as he's saying this, he's drinking and pouring several whiskeys at the same time, explicitly showing the lie of that claim. Jack's inability to let a problem go is painted as, and arguably is, a real liability. But Christian's expressed ability to let the same problems go is painted as, and arguably is, a falsity.

And speaking of Christian, Jack spends much of the episode running around pursuing his 'ghost.' The same ghost that will later tell Locke that he's Jacob's emissary. I like that Jack is chasing his father in multiple senses throughout the episode. (1) while in the jungle, looking for his apparition, (2) all the way to Sydney, in order to bring him back after what Jack 'did,' and (3) professionally and personally, as if to prove and disprove his father's opening judgments all at once.

White Rabbit lends serious credence to the notion that Risen Christian is the MiB. As a result of following him through the jungle, Jack comes close to plummeting from a cliff and dying similarly to the way in which 'Dave' comes close to tempting Hurley off a cliff in Season Two. Then again, Risen Christian also ends up leading Jack to the caves - a locale I haven't thought about in years.

It's interesting to note that Locke is the one who saves him. Locke further gives Jack a pep talk on leadership, and at this moment in the show it really does appear as though Locke is untainted by the notion that he's 'special.' Locke will spend later seasons increasingly convinced of his own self-worth, but where he's happiest, most in-tune with the Island, and most sure of himself is in these first episodes, where his own ego is abandoned almost carelessly in the face of the miracle he's recieved. In a microcosmic sense, Locke here seems content to be Jack's Richard - advising, but not in control. Then again, this is the same man who wandered off for boar while his companion was bleeding from the leg, so I'm not going to claim that he's perfectly balanced here either.

Great Locke Line#1: "Crazy people don't know they're crazy. They think they're getting saner."

Jack and Locke talk very briefly about the Island itself, adn about what Locke saw. He looked into the eye of the Island, and what he saw...was beautiful. Did Smokey recognize Locke from 'the past'? Did the Monster 'read' something in Locke that was useful? If the Monster is the MiB or a servant of the MiB, did it recognize an instrument essential to the MiB's apparent 'master plan'?

At the end of the episode, Jack finds his father's coffin and it is empty. We know that Anti-Locke didn't actually possess Locke's corpse because we see it at the end of Season 5. So what happened to Christian's body? Did it land elsewhere?


  1. While rewatching this episode, my wife and I debated the goal of the Christian apparition. If it indeed tried to kill him by leading him over the cliff, why then lead him to the caves and the water? Perhaps it saw that Locke saved him, and in its effort to manipulate and use Locke, reworked its goals for Jack.

  2. I was plenty confused on that point also, Greg. Then I saw how the move to the caves effectively splits the group in two for a bit, causing drama between Jack and Kate (Kate won't move to the caves).

    I'm more and more convinced that Christian is the MiB.

  3. Let's look at some of ghost Christian's actions: Primarily, he's been responsible for helping Locke stop the island's time skipping as well as get him off the island, setting up his eventual death. He's also spirited Claire away, potentially sending Kate a message in her image telling her not to bring Aaron to the island, when we've been told by at least one other source (the psychic) that Claire needs to raise him and no other.

    He appeared to Michael and told him he could go (die) once certain individuals had gotten off the ship (Jack, Sayid, Kate, Aaron(!), Hurley, Sawyer, Sun).

    Most recently, he has pointed out to Sun and Ben where/when they can find the other castaways.

    Based on available evidence, I'd say you have a case. The only hitch I see so far is that if Aaron played a role he could have had induced Michael in some way to stop freezing the bomb before the chopper could take off. But then Sayid would not be able to go back and shoot young Ben Linus, marking a turning point for that character.

    Following this line, both Locke and Ben have both been used (presumably) by the MiB, and Sayid perhaps in some way as well as a means of shaping Ben. I wonder if its too much to assume that Sun, who Christian has also appeared to, will be used in some way as well. Her willingness, at least at first, to deal with Widmore and kill Ben suggests that some point of no return for her character may have been crossed.

    So I think I agree with you about Christian and the MiB. Though I still think they are both the smoke monster.

  4. Nice post. I've floated that idea as well, Greg. I think it's a fairly logical one (at least in the context of this show). If we think of the Island as being similar to the planet Solaris in Stanislaw Lem's novel of the same name, then we can look at the Smoke Monster as a pure, formless, inexplicable expression of the Island's power(much like, to use an example, the 'angel of death' that passes through Egypt in the Bible) that's similar to the 'formations' in Lem's book. The various 'ghosts' can be seen as the Island's attempts to create avatars for itself, just as Solaris created ghosts to interact with Kelvin and crew in Lem's novel (and note that the name Kelvin is given to Clancy Brown's character at the end of S2).

  5. I've never heard the monster described that way, but I like it. Not necessarily an indepenent entity, but rather an expression or even avatar of a much larger entity, the Island.

    It's a question that, during the run of the show, almost gets lost amid so many others, but I guess in the end it's the most important question of all: What is the Island?

    Despite my post about having no expectations of the ending, as long as it fit the show, I certainly hope they answer this before the end.

  6. I'm hopeful that we'll get hints and/or flashbacks (as opposed to full-on exposition) about the nature of the Island.

    The Temple, which I think we're going to see fully next year, seems like a likely key to the question.

  7. Wow I love reading your comments on the show, I stumbled upon it on Quick question though, you keep referring to the MiB, I know that is Jacob's rival of sorts, but what does MiB stand for? Again great stuff.

  8. Hey, Anonymous. Thanks for the comment and the compliment. Glad you're enjoying the rewatch. 'MiB' stands for 'Man in Black.' Since we don't have a name for Jacbo's adversary I've taken to calling him the MiB.