Follow along! The “White Rabbit” episode guide in Finding Lost is on pp. 33-37.
“White Rabbit” was the first of MANY overt references to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with Jack chasing the white rabbit deeper down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, where he eventually meets with the Cheshire Cat/White Knight/Mad Hatter… or however you’d like to characterize Locke. I think the scene between Locke and Jack was so integral to the entire series, I’m just gonna go ahead and quote the entire thing here:
LOCKE: Why are you out here, Jack?
JACK: I think I'm going crazy.
LOCKE: No. You're not going crazy.
LOCKE: No, crazy people don't know they're going crazy. They think they're getting sane. So, why are you out here?
JACK: I'm chasing something—someone.
LOCKE: Ah. The white rabbit. Alice in Wonderland.
JACK: Yeah, wonderland, because who I'm chasing—he's not there.
LOCKE: But you see him?
JACK: Yes. But he's not there.
LOCKE: And if I came to you and said the same thing, then what would your explanation be, as a doctor.
JACK: I'd call it a hallucination. A result of dehydration, post traumatic stress, not getting more than two hours of sleep a night for the past week. All of the above.
LOCKE: All right, then. You're hallucinating. But what if you're not?
JACK: Then we're all in a lot of trouble.
LOCKE: I'm an ordinary man, Jack, meat and potatoes, I live in the real world. I'm not a big believer in magic. But this place is different. It's special. The others don't want to talk about it because it scares them. But we all know it. We all feel it. Is your white rabbit a hallucination? Probably. But what if everything that happened here, happened for a reason? What if this person that you're chasing is really here?
JACK: That's impossible.
LOCKE: Even if it is, let's say it's not.
JACK: Then what happens when I catch him?
LOCKE: I don't know. But I've looked into the eye of this island. And what I saw was beautiful.
[Locke gets up to leave.]
JACK: Wait, wait, wait, where are you going?
LOCKE: To find some more water.
JACK: I'll come with you.
LOCKE: No. You need to finish what you've started.
LOCKE: Because a leader can't lead until he knows where he's going.
How rife is that passage with meaning for the rest of the series?! First, how much do I love that Locke talks and Jack listens? That alone is worth watching this episode. I love that Locke saves Jack’s life by pulling him up the cliff (and therefore the lives of just about everyone else on that beach). Many people have forgotten that Locke did that early on.
Fun things I noticed:
• How many times so far people have been referring to “the others” to simply mean other people on the flight. Especially Jin, who refers to everyone aside from them as “the others” when talking to Sun. Then Locke says in the passage above that “the others” don’t want to talk about it. It sounds so strange to hear them use this phrase when it would later take on such a significant meaning.
• There are 45 people on the beach. You’d think news of the water disappearing would have spread like wildfire, and that the pregnant lady in dire need of water would have had everyone going completely nutzoid. So… why doesn’t Boone fess up and just give her the damn water? He took it because Jack just “left it out there” so some goon could take it… um, like BOONE, maybe?? God, I’m happy the Boone and Shannon show is officially over. I never realized how much they annoyed me until now.
• Jack running really fast and suddenly tripping hard was REALLY funny to me. Sorry Jack. You fall funny. Teehee…
• I’ve mentioned throughout my episode guides that Sayid probably has the most heightened b.s. detector of anyone in the group. And already you can see it: notice he is convinced Sun understands every word he’s saying.
Things that have new meaning:
• In “The Incident” we saw Jack do the infamous five-second-fear surgery, and we see Christian help him through it, and then Jack comes out into the hallway and freaks out on Daddy for actually treating him like a normal student and helping him save the woman’s life. Until that point we’d been led to believe Christian was some hard-ass father, but in that scene we realize it’s all about perspective. Maybe Christian really DID believe his son was smart as a tack and believed in him, but Jack just didn’t believe in himself and thought his father was constantly undermining him. So watching the scene where Christian tells Little Jack that he doesn’t have what it takes, I tried watching it as if Christian wasn’t the bad guy. And it turns out… you really CAN watch it that way. Aside from the awful, “You don’t have what it takes” crap, he’s suggesting he has a sensitive son who wants to help people so badly that he’ll take it to heart when he can’t, and he’s urging him to another life where his sensitivity could be a help, not a hindrance. But Jack becomes a doctor, and then we see when he talks to Rose a couple of episodes ago that he’s all, “I didn’t choose this career; it chose me.” Maybe not.
• I loved the beginning where the kid says, “You should have just stayed down, Jack.” How many times have we thought that about him since? And in season 5, that’s exactly what he does. Just lies on the ground while things happen around him and thinks, “Oh well. Not my problem.” But that doesn’t last for long.
• I said it at the time, but watching Charlie freak out saying, “I don’t swim” seems very strange when we saw him dive under the water to the Looking Glass station after announcing he was some sort of junior swimming champion. Guess the writers hadn’t figured that one out yet.
• When the hotel manager tells Jack that Christian was involved in an “incident” at a hotel bar, I thought, “OMG, he set off an H-bomb, too? Oh… wait…” Man, THAT word has changed for me!
• When Jack goes to see his father’s body, he just cries and falls against the wall, and can’t actually say anything to him. But in “316,” he actually has a moment where he talks to John Locke’s body. I think in many ways John really DOES act as a proxy, not just physically, but emotionally for Jack. Christian was the man who haunted Jack when he was younger, but now it’s Locke hanging over him. And when he puts the shoes on Locke – a literal hint that he’s like his father – he gets to tell him off in a way he never did with his father.
Questions that still need to be answered 5 seasons later:
• Why wasn’t Christian in the coffin? If the Man in Black possessed Locke’s body, but Locke’s body exists separately, then why is Christian’s body gone?