Jack Shepard. Doctor. Leader. Kind of a douche. For the last six years, Jack has ostensibly been the main character of Lost, all while taking every opportunity to petulantly refusing to look around him and realize that, hey, this island is a pretty special place. That’s why I took Jack as the frontrunner in the candidate sweepstakes last week, and also why I was not in the least surprised to see him react to being confronted with something magical and mysterious by smashing it with a stick. The time has nearly come for Jack’s redemption; he’s just not quite ready yet.
But let’s back up. Tonight’s mostly excellent “Lighthouse” was Jack-centric, even though on the island it took prodding and manipulation to get him to do anything. After a quick check-in at the Temple (Sayid’s still infected, Jack’s still puzzled, Dogen’s still kind of cool in a mysterious way), Jacob pops by to give Hurley detailed instructions on his next mission. Hurley sets off to do it, but Jacob reminds him that he needs to grab Jack first, leading to the priceless business of Hurley trying to play it cool (actually, pretty much all of Hurley’s stuff was spot-on tonight, like when he told Dogen he was a candidate and he could do what he wanted). Jack doesn’t want to come (even Hurley knows its ridiculous to try and talk him into doing something) till Hurley uses Jacob’s secret code phrase: “you have what it takes” (anyone else think Hugo was just making that up at first? Because I kind of giggled to myself before seeing Jack react to it).
Off the island and through time, AlternaJack gets home from the airport still missing Christian Shepard’s body. He grabs at his appendix and asks his mom about having it removed (she says it was taken out when he was 8 or 9, but you and I remember Juliet having to do it in “Something Nice Back Home”). Then he goes to a private school to pick up his kid! Yes, AlternaJack has an Alternakid who is, frankly, kind of an AlternaAsshole too. He’s distant and near silent when around Jack, despite his new HD TV to watch Red Sox games on, and just wants to get through their monthly visits (also, I’m totally losing it. Was Julie Bowen in one of the pictures we saw with Jack? Or was there no hard evidence that AlternaJack married the same person RegularJack did?).
AlternaJack goes his mom’s house to help her look for Christian Shepard’s will and, after talking through some father issues, they find it…only to discover that he’s left a lot of money to someone named Claire Littleton (we’ll come back to her later). Jack goes home to reconnect, but his son is missing. Jack calls a bunch of times and goes to the mother’s house (she’s not there, presumably because she’s with her other family) where he figures out that the kid is playing a big audition for a conservatory. Not only do they reconnect and make amends (notice that, just like AlternaLocke, AlternaJack is not only more at peace to begin with, but he settles the biggest problem in his life almost immediately after getting back from Australia), but it turns out that Dogen and his son are at the recital!!! What? Why?
The real action, this week, was back on the island, as Hugo and Jack go on their adventure. After leaving the Temple and running into Kate (still looking for Claire), they come across Shannon’s old inhaler and the caves! Its a nice bit of symmetry, since Jack first stumbled upon the caves in “White Rabbit,” this episode’s season 1 mirror. They also come across the skeletons (Hurley theorizes that maybe they’re 815ers) and Christian Shepard’s coffin.
From there, its onto the titular Lighthouse, an old building (it looks like its from the same time period as the Temple and the Statue) sitting on the shore. Jack breaks down the door and they go up to start setting the light to 108 degrees, which Jacob told Hurley to do so they could bring someone (Desmond?) to the island. But, they don’t get past 23 when Jack notices something. He realizes that not only is his name written at 23 degrees (his number on the cave wall last week), but the mirror shows his childhood house, confirming that Jacob has been keeping tabs on him and explaining how Jacob knew that Jack’s father used to tell him that he didn’t have what it takes. Jack switches to Hulk mode and demands answers that Hurley can’t give so Jack does what he does best: destroys an important piece of island mythology.
Its all good, though, because Jacob’s real plan all along was to show Jack how important he was. Jacob explains to Hurley that, while he could just talk him into coming back, Jack is going to have to realize what he must do on his own.
But I’ve saved the best for last. It turns out that, while most of the 815ers spent the last three years being miserable or shacking up with Juliet, Claire spent it taking Awesome Pills. Replacing the nice-but-kind-of-bland Claire from Seasons 1-4 is a Rousseau’d-out badass who kills Others. Claire rescues Jin from the trap and takes him back to her tent, along with an Other who was just pretending to be dead. We get some insight to what’s been happening for the last three years. Claire was infected and has clearly turned into someone a little less stable than when we last saw her. She was taken to the Temple and given the same battery of tests they gave Sayid, but she escaped. She believes the Others have Aaron and will kill them all to get him back.
She stitches up Jin (if there’s one thing that will kill you on the island…its infection) and interrogates the Other, but kills him when he insists they don’t have Aaron. Jin can only watch as he realizes that this Claire is different from the one he left behind. He also tells her that Kate was raising Aaron, but backtracks after he realizes she was crazy; a good thing, since Claire says she’d kill Kate if it were true. But it hasn’t been so bad for Claire; she has had her father and her friend to hang with – the latter of whom, Smokey, pops by at the end.
So I thought the Claire stuff rocked, while the business with Jack was pretty good. This season seems to be about redemption and exorcising the demons of your past, and it seems our characters have started taking steps to do so. This episode, more than the others so far, seems to be about the Losties finding their way. AlternaJack finds a way to communicate with his son; Kate decides her purpose is to reunite Claire and Aaron; Hurley discovers the confidence to get past Dogen and lead Jack; Claire gets directions to the Temple; and regular Jack finds out that his dad can’t tell him what he can’t do. The destination is still far away, but the path is illuminated. Not bad for an episode titled “Lighthouse.”
Jonah’s Score: 78
TUIW Grade: B+
-Hurley and Miles playing Tic Tac Toe…priceless.
-At the end, Jacob tells Hurley that something very bad is about to go down at the Temple, no doubt involving Smokey and Claire. I’m a little worried for Miles, who is not a candidate and doesn’t have much to do.
-I already said in the recap that I think Jacob wants to bring Desmond to the island, however Lostpedia says that there already is a Candidate 108: “Wallace.”
-That being said, the lighthouse could still function as a lighthouse. And maybe that has something to do with the bearing that its safe to enter the island from.
-While we’re talking about the candidates, Lostpedia says that you can see “Austen” in the Lighthouse at 51 degrees and she didn’t appear to be crossed out. But why would Smokey not mention it if Kate was still a candidate too? Maybe the cave is where Smokey’s been keeping tabs on what Jacob’s been up to, while the Lighthouse is where Jacob keeps track of the candidates?
-The skeletons came back, and clearly the writers want us thinking about them again, so, any guesses? I’ve been leaning towards Jin and Sun recently, but maybe the skeletons aren’t the Losties at all. Maybe they’re Jacob and the Man in Black, or some earlier iteration of them.
-I was disappointed we didn’t get a Christian Shepard appearance this week. It seemed like they wanted us thinking about him too.
-Dogen in LA? Seriously, WTF?
-According to the Season 1 flashbacks, next week should be Sun-centric. After that, however, is where things kind of fall apart, since the one after that would need to be Charlie-centric.