Remember That Time On Lost When: Jack Was A Pill-Popping Bearded Mess?
[Remember That Time On LOST is a daily post running the entire month up until the season premiere of LOST on February 2nd. I’m going to just pick something awesome, noteworthy, or ludicrous about LOST when I wake up that morning, and hopefully get you geeks talking about it with me.]
I have a soft spot for tortured Jack Shephard. Why, you ask? Well, I find a bearded, miserable, pill-popping mess to be an eminently relatable character in my life. I should probably be sticking to more fringe ideas this early into my month-long extravaganza. But I was driving around today in my car, and I was like, you know what totally sold me on LOST? Bearded Jack at the end of Season 3, screaming “We have to go back!”
It blew my god damn mind. Up until that point, LOST was a pretty cool show, but it never succeeded in blowing my mind. The hatch kicked my ass, but episodes covering them setting up mini-golf courses and shit had me snoring.
In fact, I had zoned out during the middle of Season 2, leaving it behind while the gang scavenged around the island and spent entire episodes walking from Point A to Point B interwoven with character back story. However, at the behest of a couple of friends, I caught up, and watched Season 3 enjoying myself. I mean, there were polar bear cages, and we got to see Locke get shoved out of a building by his own father. All of this was pretty awesome.
But the moment where I realized, and let’s be honest, you too realized, that the writers of LOST had given up sanity for awesomeness is when this show kicked it up another notch. There are moments in television when I run around my room screaming, too excited for my big squishy to handle. And when it was made known that not only Jack gotten off the island, but also that he wanted to go back on it? Fucking extreme, man! Extreme!
It was a game changer, because it completely demolished the existing structure of the show. The show was enjoyable, but it seemed rather static. They’re marching around an island they don’t know shit about, trying to escape. There’s a pile of smoke chasing them, and some old bastard named Ben Linus has a weird voice and spends episodes reading The Brothers Karamzov. But after that episode?
I had to ask myself, what the fuck was going on? Let me get this straight, they…got off the island? And they’re off, but where and when are they? And who died? And wha..what? Jesus lord, hold me. And they want to go back? And how did they get off? And my nose is bleeding from awesomeness, or the thirteen Diet Mountain Dews I drank during it, or maybe a combination of both?
Also, it marked a rather curious shift away from the Jack we had known and loved. Sure, the dude had his demons, and he had clashed in an epic throwdown between him sporting…Lockeian Empricism versus Locke’s Unwavering Faith. But here was the dude laid low, unraveling before the viewer’s eyes. He’d come along way from being total Maverick from Top Gun being able to sew up his own gashes and shit.
And since then? They’ve seemed to shift away from Jack. He’s been edged out by the Helicopter Brigade, and Richard Alpert, and a bunch of other bullshit afoot. Not in a bad way, mind you. But I still think the dude has something left to give the show, and ever the optimist, I can’t help but feel he’ll be the hero of the show. This is while acknowledging of course, that this type of show probably won’t have the archetypal hero. All of their characters coming packing a minimum amount of loathsome. Perhaps I’m putting too much significance to how central he was to the early portions of the show, and perhaps I just love the guy too much to have some correct perspective in the house.
But what I do know, is that when Jack: Sexy Bearded Hobo edition warbled to Kate that they had to return to the Island, I began to worship at the altar of Damon Lindelof. I began speaking with Pepsibones yesterday after kicking off this crap, and we talked about how brilliantly the show unfolded.
You see, even though I’m convinced the writers were directionless and flailing in the night at first, the show’s slow boil into time-traveling madness made it all the better. If they had shoved the show into some mind-warping merry-go-round right from the start, it wouldn’t have developed the world and the characters. And sure, there were times where I yawned and probably tugged the pud in the middle of S2 and S3, but the laborious groundwork they laid through the first three seasons have resulted in S4 and S5 being the best damn television I’ve ever watched.
And it all changed when snot-covered, oxy-snorting Jack asked that whore Kate to come back with him.