So after a fun first few weeks of introductions to alternate story lines, new Others, dark plots, returning characters, and end game answers, we focus on the man who started it all off in Season 1, Episode 1, scene 1: Jack Shepard. The eternally broken man who wants to fix everything but himself is the star of maybe the heaviest episode of the season thus far, and boy is he as messed up as ever. Exec Producers Cuse and Lindelhof penned this one themselves, and whenever you see those credits roll up at the beginning of an episode, you know you're in for a noodle-scratcher. So without further ado, let's see if we can get to the bottom of "The Lighthouse."
It's no secret that the writers of this show rely heavily both meaningful imagery and literary reference, and "The Lighthouse" had a very healthy dose of both. Right off the bat we find Jack in the Flash Sideways returning home to change his clothes as he spies something curious in the mirror - his appendectomy scar. Not entirely sure of its origin he asks his mom when he had it removed and we learn that it was done so when he was seven years old . We know, however, that in the Island world Juliet removed his appendix in 2004 on the beach. But in the sideways world, while staring into the mirror Jack has another "deja vu" type moment; he's lost somewhere in between both realities, trying to ascertain which experience caused the scar but unable to pinpoint either in any real kind of way. This experience is very reminiscent of when Jack looks into the mirror on the airplane bathroom in "LA X"…he notices a cut on his neck, which is brings us - the viewer - back to the world where Oceanic 815 did in fact crash, (the series pilot) where a cut and bruised Jack is racing through the jungle looking for lives to save. The common thread in these moments is a piece of imagery that is very significant throughout the series: the mirror itself. And its importance is represented in two ways.
The first representation of the mirrors is its literary reference to "Alice in Wonderland." Alice literally went "through the looking glass" and "down the rabbit hole" to enter the world of her dreams, and the similarity of Jack looking through the mirrors in this episode and noticing things that happened in the alternate world could offer us an additional clue that these two time lines are happening concurrently, but not necessarily separately. Clearly Jack has some sort of recognition that his scars could have come from something other than what his mother tells him. I mean, how does a 7 year old forget a pretty major surgery? Did he instead remember that it happened on the Island?
And the "Alice in Wonderland" nods don't stop there: David, Jack's son in the reset timeline, is reading an abridged version of the book, and upon seeing it Jack reminisces about reading it to him when he was a child. Specifically he remembers Alice's kittens, Snowdrop and Kitty, one black and one white (I don't think I need to explain that one). But more importantly, we should remember that in "White Rabbit" - another Jack-centric episode that has an Alice in Wonderland type title - he is reading the book to Aaron. Is the memory Jack is having truly of reading to David, or is he instead viewing through the looking glass at the parallel world?
And maybe the looking glass works both ways. Clearly Jacob uses the mirrors within the Lighthouse as a portal to track what is happening in the lives of his candidates. As Hurley cranks the wheel towards 108 degrees (who's name was "Wallace" by the way - got nothing there), Jack sees the church in where Sawyer's parent's funeral was held, the building where Jin and Sun were married, and finally the house where he grew up as a kid. Notice that pictures in the mirror only become apparent only for candidates that are not crossed off the list. For those that are, the link is broken. But what's clear is that in both worlds, the mirror acts as a viewfinder for what is happening in the world of Lost, and that the writers are pushing that point pretty hard.
Now, the second explanation of the utilization of mirrors in the episode is much more direct. Mirrors, in the traditional sense, serve as a utility to reflect a person's appearance, but in the case of Lost they are utilized to represent a reflection of one's "self." While Jack stares upon his reflection on multiple occasions this episode, he's looking inside himself, wondering who he really is. Throughout his life he's been so wrapped up in fixing others that he's ignored his own needs and is at an utter loss as to what he is supposed to do, and to what path he needs to take to do it. He tells Hurley that he came back to the Island "because he was broken." He thought the Island would fix him, but is now finding out that finally, he's the one responsible for fixing himself. Jacob needed Jack to see the Lighthouse because he needed him to have a breakthrough moment and understand this revelation. As Jacob says to Hurley, "some people you can just hop in a cab and tell them what their supposed to do, other times you have to let them look out into the ocean for a while."
Jack smashed the mirrors because he's beginning to understand what he needs to do. No longer does he need to wait for some outside revelation, or struggle with his inner demons and second guess his every move. Instead, he eschews the mirror and looks out into the open ocean - the future - with a clear mind. In Jacob's words, he needs to finally understand "how important he is" and take the role of leader against the war that is coming to the Temple and beyond.
In the parallel world he's already had this revelation; he's realized his faults with David, and is able to reconcile a relationship that he never could with his own father. He took action on something that he never wanted to face up to personally. Is a similar realization brewing in Jack as he stares out into the ocean, now finally void of reflection and doubt?
I suppose we should also talk about Claire for a moment. Clearly, she's crazy...or infected...probably both. Her special friend is Fake Locke / MIB himself and we have to wonder if Sayid is going to follow this same path in upcoming episodes. Claire's main concern lies with the whereabouts of her baby, and it seems that MIB - through the visage of Christian (her father) and Locke - has been coercing her to believe that the Others have Aaron, when clearly they don't. I wonder if this is how MIB truly takes control of those that are infected? By identifying the one element that is most important to them and exploiting it so that they inevitably follow him into the fight. Because at the end of the day, being "infected" doesn't mean that you've lost total control of yourself. Claire still remembers the love she had for Aaron, and still holds memories for Jin and the other Losties. Similarly, Sayid (so far) seems to be acting pretty normal, even though "there is a darkness growing within him." So if MIB needs an emotional string to tug to take control, what might that be for Sayid? All that he has ever loved is dead (Nadia), but he's always had a soft spot for murderous revenge. If I were MIB, I'd introduce myself cordially to Sayid and quickly let him know that Jacob was effectively responsible for Nadia's death. If Sayid takes the bait, he'd want to eliminate anything that Jacob stands for, including other Candidates.
Another "Alice in Wonderland" reference that I didn't fit in: Jack lifts up a rabbit statue to get the key to his ex-wife's house. Also, who is his ex-wife? Is it still Sarah, the women we know from prior seasons?
The event sign at David's piano recital reads, "Welcome all Candidates." Furthermore, the piece that David plays (assuming it's the same as the liner notes Jack finds in David's room), is Chopin's "Fainstaise Improptu," the same music that a young Danielle Faraday was playing for his mother in a flashback of his in season 5.
The wheel in the lighthouse contained a whole host of new names that we didn't see in the cave, most importantly "Linus" and "Austin." But why is Ben's name crossed out? He's not dead yet, right? But what if the "Linus" on the wheel wasn't Ben's but instead belonged to his father Roger? This would explain why Jacob never seemed to care for Ben ("what about you?")...because Ben was never a candidate to begin with. And as for Kate: could her name have been left off the cave wall as a final fail-safe? If MIB can successfully eliminate all of the candidates on the wall, could Kate be the Dark Horse that closes his Loophole once and for all?
Alright, that's it for this week...chime in below with stuff that I missed, which is plentiful this week. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I'm a bit off the grid and internet is choppy, I'll try to fill them in next week. Enjoy Tuesday's episode, which I know nothing about (and that's the way I like it!)