Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Just Happened? (Part 2)

Let's continue our discussion (here is part 1) focusing in on one thing: Jack as the main character.

Old Jackie Boy

It should surprise no one that Jack is the main character of this show: his is the first flashback, he becomes the Protector that destroys The Man in Black (which ensures the safety of the island and allows Kate, Sawyer, et al to finally get off of said island--we assume), the show begins and ends with his eye opening and closing. The fact is that Jack is our guy.

Why does this matter? Jack's story arch is the most important, because it dictates the show's direction. The other characters have interesting story lines, they may be more enjoyable to us than Jack, but the only reason they are important ultimately is that these characters influence and change Jack through their interaction and relationships. They influence Jack's decisions and help shape who he becomes.

Jack's Hang Ups

So what are Jack's issues? These are the two most important:

1. Faith vs. Science - Jack is a man of science; he can't believe unless he has proof or he fully understands something (you may remember the question "Why?" being a common utterance of Jack's throughout the show's 6 seasons). He and Locke spend so much time pitted against each other for this very reason; Jack is not a man of belief.
2. Jack can't let things go - This stems from his relationship with his father; Jack feels like he doesn't measure up, like he doesn't have what it takes. So he is always trying to "fix things" and prove himself (because he believes his father's assessment that he "doesn't have what it takes").

By the end of the show we see Jack confront and resolve these issues: Jack accepts what he does not fully understand--he believes Jacob and he acts according to that belief--and he and his father embrace and express their love for each other at the chapel. All of Jack's experiences lead up to him being able to finally, truly let go of his resentment and feelings of inadequacy with his father and his being able to believe and act on that faith. Jack's issues epitomize the show's theme of letting go perfectly.

Jack's Eye

Jack's new-earned faith allows him to act without knowing exactly the hows or the whys. It allows him to accept that some things just simply are. As this happens, certain questions stop being asked (like the 3 I listed earlier, which I still want to know), because Jack now sees that they are no longer important. In the end, does it really matter what the island is or where it gets its power from? No. For Jack it is enough to know that the island is special, it has power, and that power needs protecting. He accepts it and moves on--he lets go. We as the audience are forced into doing the same (which has been and will be difficult for so many of).

Any lack of explanation is due to Jack's not having received it himself; we are limited to Jack's understanding in the end. Just as Jack is forced to accept a few things on faith, we as viewers are as well. Jack is our eyes, our window into understanding this show and this is shown to us rather beautifully through the opening and closing shots of the series; the show opens as Jack's eye opens, and closes and his eye closes. We realize that we have been watching the entire show through Jack's perspective, through his eyes.

Fantastic Finale

This is why I am at peace with the show's finale. As much as I am still curious about things and still have questions, I realize that the questions that mattered were all answered. Besides, why is it bad for there to still be questions when a show ends? I almost wonder if I'd feel less fulfilled if there was no reason to still be thinking and writing about this show. The show's ending leaves me satisfied yet still curious and excited--the same feelings that made this show so wonderful during the 6 seasons I spent loving it.

Still To Come

I do intend to go over the actual events of the final episode, but my guess is that by the time I get there, it won't be so necessary. Until tomorrow (or sometime very soon), namaste.

1 comment:

Ken Cory said...

Thanks, John, at last I understand why you have such trouble letting go--it was meeeeeeeeee.