Jack, Chad, so much going on in this episode. Let’s start with the shocker: Jack Shephard has a son! Strained father-son dynamics are one of Lost’s favorite themes. Jack, Locke, and Sawyer all harbor serious daddy issues. Michael and Walt were thwarted just as they seemed to be working theirs out. This season has already featured an Abraham and Isaac reference, via a briefly glimpsed copy of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.
And isn’t Jacob shaping up as the patriarch of the island? He always knows best. He’s searching for an heir. He watches over us and yet seems so distant—mostly because he’s watching us from a weird lighthouse contraption that may or may not exist in an alternate dimension. (Wild speculation: It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Smokey is in fact Jacob’s son, itching to commit patricide and seize the island throne.)
Anyone who’s seen Field of Dreams knows that father-son conflicts are best resolved through baseball. So I was amused that Jack seems to be foisting Red Sox fanhood on his boy. Jack mentions that he’s set up a way to watch Red Sox games in the kid’s bedroom, even though in later photos we see the kid wearing an L.A. Dodgers hat. I suppose we have to forgive Jack since, in his timeline, it’s late September 2004 and the Red Sox haven’t won the World Series in 86 years. Before that October’s playoff miracle, insufferable Red Sox fans were a bit more sufferable.
The real question is: Who’s the kid’s mom? Jack pays a tantalizing visit to her house, but we get no real clues. I’d say David looks to be 15 or 16, which would mean he was born in the late 1970s. Could Jack have been doing the nasty in a Dharma bungalow back then, during one of his time-hops? Or no, I guess the 2004 Jack has never been to the island. I get a headache when I try to wrap my head around these temporal complexities. I’ll leave it to Chad to analyze possible conception scenarios. I would note that David is sporting a pair of bright blue eyes—but that gene is recessive, so I’m not sure we can rule anything out. [Update, 9:40 a.m.: Readers point out that if Jack’s kid looks about 15, he would have been born in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s. I could just admit that my math is terrible. Or I could argue that Jack’s kid also fell victim to a time hop! OK, my math is terrible.]
Lost’s creators have acknowledged the influence of the video game Myst on the show’s aesthetics. The scene in which Hurley and Jack enter an abandoned lighthouse, and then manipulate a mechanical thingamajig to reveal a secret, felt like a direct tribute to the game (which I’m pretty sure also featured an abandoned lighthouse with hidden secrets). And what did we learn when Hurley pulled that chain? The numbers—along with whatever else they may symbolize—refer to angles at which one can station a magical mirror to see into faraway realms. Click the mirror over to 23, for instance, and you can peek at Jack’s childhood home.
Now, let’s say I was searching for answers about my fate. And let’s say I discovered a magical mirror that could peer through space and time. I imagine I’d want to spend a few minutes playing around with that mirror, gleaning whatever knowledge I could from it. But not Jack! No, he decides to immediately smash the mirror beyond all repair. Maybe that’s why he “has what it takes.”
Lots of other stuff to chew on here. What would Hurley and Jack have seen if they’d followed Jacob’s instructions and clicked the mirror to 108? Why is the temple samurai showing up at piano auditions? When did Claire get chummy with the smoke monster?
And what—dare I ask—was that horrifying thing inside Claire’s freaky bassinet of doom? I paused my DVR, but all I could make out was a jumble of animal bones and fur. Whatever it is, I hope it meets its dad someday and plays a cathartic game of catch.