news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

LostZone: Claires (Freaky? Psychotic!?) Return and Sideways Significance with Jack Shephard

LostZone: Claire’s (Freaky? Psychotic!?) Return and Sideways Significance with Jack Shephard
By Louis Bedigian

 “Lighthouse” redeems the island doctor and brings dignity to the sideways universe.

In the series premiere of Lost, viewers were introduced to Jack Shephard, a flawed but caring (and committed) man who would lead the castaways to safety. During the entire first season, Jack was slowly developed as a complex man with a lot of emotion. When he was upset, you could feel it. When he started to fall for Kate – but reluctantly turned away from her – you could understand why. For all intents and purposes, Jack wasn’t just the leader of the castaways; he was the leader of the show.

This was not the Jack we experienced in Season Two and Three (the seasons in which Jack went a little crazy), nor was his strength – or any sign of respectable acting – present in the “We have to go back!” moments of Season Four.

But in “Lighthouse,” an episode many of you were likely afraid to watch after the atrocious sideways scenarios of “What Kate Does,” the writers brought Jack back to reality and gave his sideways alter ego a story that was true to the man we first met in 2004.

In his sideways story, nobody cares about the origins of Jack’s tattoos.

Still Divorced, Now a Father

“Lighthouse” reinforces the significant (but still mysterious) connection that the parallel worlds have. More importantly, it all but confirms that the flash sideways scenarios are permanent. 

In the new world, Jack has a son, David, and – surprise, surprise – their relationship isn’t the best. Numerous connections to Jack’s island self are thrown into the sideways scenarios (Jack can’t remember having his appendix taken out – how interesting!). But the best moment comes when Jack is talking to his son, who is keeping his love of music and his talent as a pianist a secret because he didn’t want his father to see him fail.

“You know when I was your age, my father didn’t want to see me fail either. He used to say to me that, he said that I didn’t have what it takes. I spent my whole life carrying that around with me. I don’t ever want you to feel that way. I will always love you, no matter what you do. In my eyes you can never fail. I just want to be a part of your life.”

There couldn’t have been a more honest thing for Jack to say to his son. Simply beautiful.

Jack is still divorced in this scenario, though we don’t know his ex-wife’s identity since she was not shown. That could be due to Julie Bowen’s (who played Jack’s original ex-wife) hectic schedule with the hilarious Modern Family. Another, more interesting reason could be that he was married to someone different, most likely a woman from the island. Who? It can’t be Sun (who is still with Jin), and it can’t be Shannon unless some major time shifts have occurred (she’d be too young in 2004 to have a pre-teen son). Kate would be too young as well, though her status as a fugitive confirms it’s not her anyway. Who does that leave?

Juliet. In the sideways world, there’s no island for her to come to, but wouldn’t it fit that she and Jack meet anyway? They’re both doctors, they fall in love, have a kid together, and slowly realize they weren’t meant for each other. It starts with Jack’s subconscious longing for a sexy fugitive and concludes with Juliet’s perpetual pining for a guy who was a con man in another life.

If Sayid is indeed infected, we should get an answer (or at least a clue) in next week’s episode.

Claire as a French Woman

“The part of Danielle Rousseau will now be played by…” Alright, so Claire’s Other-hunting, Aaron-seeking escapade didn’t completely mirror the life and death of the island’s leading French woman. But, like Rousseau, Claire looks like she could use a shower. She believes the Others have taken her child (not true for Claire, though it was in Rousseau’s case). And she’s willing to kill anyone responsible, and will likely shoot anyone who stands in her way.

The biggest differences, of course, are (1) it didn’t appear that Rousseau was “infected,” and (2) Rousseau wasn’t friends with the Man Formerly Known as Locke.

If you noticed that the word “infected” is still being written with quotation marks around it, there’s a reason for that: I’m not yet convinced that Claire is truly sick or infected with anything. The Others are notorious liars – Claire wasn’t wrong to assume that her hostage would have killed her if given the opportunity. We know from experience with Ethan (who was so dedicated to “helping” Claire’s baby that he hung Charlie by the neck and left him for dead), Goodwin (who had no qualms about killing castaways), Ben and virtually every Other we’ve encountered that they will kill anyone. “We’re the good guys” doesn’t mean much of anything when they’re the ones pulling the trigger.

Which begs the question: why should we believe the Others now?

Whether Claire is sick or not, however, doesn’t change the fact that she is friends with a madman. She wouldn’t actually say his name, which is probably a clue to who she believes he is – and perhaps who she sees when she looks at him. Could it be that Fake Locke has the power to disguise his image to her? And if so, does this go back to my original theory that the infection is merely a way for New Locke to influence/take control of someone?

A part of me is really starting to believe that Hurley will become the new protector of the island.

The Sideways World, AKA Destiny

It seems the producers are doing everything they can to make the sideways world the most appealing outcome for our beloved castaways. Which makes me wonder…what if they haven’t happened yet? What if the sideways scenarios are essentially flash-forward scenarios for what’s going to happen when the castaways complete their island missions?

Think about it: just because we’re seeing them now doesn’t mean the flash sideways have occurred yet. As far as we know the parallel world was created the moment Juliet ignited the bomb. But with the way the story is developing, it feels like there's more to it than that – like all of our castaways are going to be led down a path that eventually guides them to the sideways world – not to erase their island identities but to ultimately take them to the world in which they truly belong.

Last season we learned that time is a changing element on Lost. Thus, it is not without reason that the flash sideways timeline – the rebooted timeline – will actually begin when the island world concludes. Does that mean the show will end with the island under water? Not necessarily. In fact, there’s a good chance that Jacob’s replacement will do something to prevent the island from going under while keeping the sideways world intact.

What will become of the rest of the castaways? We've known since 2004 that Claire was meant to raise her child; perhaps that isn't the only certainty. Maybe Jack was always meant to have a son. Maybe Kate was always meant to be innocent (of killing her dad, at least). Maybe Locke was always meant to find (and hold onto) true love.

If so, then the results of the sideways world could be explained with one simple word: destiny.

LostZone – Previous Installments

February 18, 2010: Giving Meaning to the Numbers, 4 8 15 16 23 42

February 11, 2010: Season Three Stall Tactics and Claire’s Disappearance Explained!?

February 4, 2010: Thoughts and Theories From the Mind-Blowing Season Six Premiere

February 1, 2010: Are Lost and Final Fantasy VII Unofficially Connected?

LostZone is a new, ongoing feature on GameZone aimed at discussing the show’s most breathtaking moments (and, if necessary, its most depressing bombs) while dissecting its most intriguing mysteries. Stay tuned for new installments.

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