Eyes to See
By SHARON K. GILBERT
YOU HAVE to admire the symmetry of LOST. The first episode, first scene begins with Jack’s eye opening. The final scene, final show ends with Jack’s eye closing.
Knowing the end from the beginning gives those of us who are ‘rewatching’ keener vision as the scenes unfold. We almost become allies to Jacob, watching the candidates’ progress. Remember the Man-in-Black’s line to Jacob in the Season Five Finale?
MIB: They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.
As we move through the ‘progress’ of each episode, we, like Jacob, can now judge the fitness of the candidates. And we can discern the writers’ attempts to hide or even reveal the end from the beginning. For instance, Vincent spends a great deal of the six seasons ‘hiding’, yet he is there to initiate Jack into the first moments and again to comfort him in his final moments.
Jack Shepard’s first, faltering steps as hero-in-the-making take him from a dark jungle into blinding reality when he finds his fellow passengers among the burning wreckage of Oceanic 815. The camera intentionally follows Jack from person to person, each presenting a new medical emergency that tests the reluctant hero’s knowledge and courage. One of the first passengers Shepard assists is Claire, his sister (though he doesn’t know it yet). He assigns Hurley to look after Claire, appropriate since it is Hurley who takes over for Jack as the island’s protector following Shepard’s ultimate sacrifice.
Since Jack is the main focus of Part I, let’s explore just a few of the semiotics (symbols) around this pivotal person. Though called Jack, it is possible that his name is actually ‘John’ since Jack is a common nickname for John. In the Bible, John was a favorite follower to Jesus Christ, and it is John who lived the longest (note that Jack is the last to ‘waken’ to the truth and join the others as they cross over in the finale). The Apostle John is given a vision of the ultimate ending of the earth as we now know it and of spiritual warfare in the book of Revelation (the Unveiling). Jack learns to ‘see’ truth and receives ‘vision’ and faith over the course of the six year run, until he finally is willing to set aside all his ‘humanist’ ideas and become the island’s savior. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to unravel Shephard’s character as well as those of his fellow travelers.
Just a warning to those who’ve not yet seen all six seasons: I will be referencing events from the end as well as early episodes, so you may find yourself reading ‘spoilers’. Writing a daily analysis of each episode as I rewatch is an exercise in discernment as well as a nice workout for my brain. With six seasons (121 episodes) to decipher, and writing 5 articles per week (I’m taking weekends off!), this will take about 4 months.
This should be fun.