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Summary by Will Milton
A young boy lies injured on the ground at the feet of a bully, watching his friend being mercilessly beaten. He is warned to walk away, but he courageously climbs to his feet in an attempt to aid his helpless friend. The result is a severe beating, as the bully yells “you should have stayed down, Jack!”
Present: Charlie is sprinting across the beach, calling to a sleeping Jack that there is a woman screaming for help out at sea. Jack instantly hurls himself into the water as Charlie admits he can’t swim. Fighting the current, Jack paddles towards the drowning woman as concerned beach-dwellers look on. Arriving at the woman’s location, she is nowhere to be seen, so Jack dives down and emerges seconds later with Boone in his arms. He reassures Boone, who meekly asks “did you get her?” – Boone had been trying to save the woman before coming into difficulties himself. Jack sees her further out to sea, but realizes he has to get Boone to dry land first. After delivering Boone to safety, Jack’s attempts to return for the woman are futile...
Later, Kate rushes to Jack to comfort him, telling him who the woman was but failing to appease his guilt that he didn’t save her. He laments his decision to bring Boone back before going after the woman, knowing now that that decision doomed the unfortunate woman. As his guilt overflows he is dumbstruck by something he sees over Kate’s shoulder – a mysterious suited man is standing knee-deep in the water not 50 yards away, hands clasped behind his back, staring at Jack. The doctor takes several paces forward but the haunting spectre vanishes. He tells Kate what he saw, but she is sceptical, implying that he is suffering from sleep deprivation. As he leaves she looks on, concerned for her friend’s wellbeing.
Walt is playing with his dog and brushing his teeth using herbs as the Korean woman taught him. He tells Michael the woman’s name is Sun, and Michael begins showing signs of impatience, demonstrating his inexperience with children. Sun watches them as her husband steps in, voicing his concern that she looks dehydrated. She says she’s ok, and begins asking her husband what he thinks will happen to them. Amid her acute observations that the couple are outsiders among the group due to culture and language barriers, her husband stubbornly insists they don’t need anyone else. He says “I will tell you what to do”.
Shannon storms up to Sawyer who is reading Watership Down, and she demands “Have you got it?” Met with the usual sarcasm and obnoxious nicknames, she demands he hands over what she wants, which turns out to be some insect repellent. As payment, he asks for $5000 although it’s clear the only real payment he wants is the opportunity to antagonize her.
Down the beach, Kate is folding clothes. Claire walks up, asking for a hairbrush and joking about how astonishingly scarce they seem among people’s luggage. She suddenly stumbles, saying that the heat (and the pregnancy) is making her feel dizzy. The two women bond, as Claire reveals her love of astrology, and Kate reveals her fear of her personal life being pried into. Claire is charming and sweet, Kate is passionate and fragile; the two connect instantly. Hurley finds Jack, commenting on how tired he looks but alerting him to the alarming shortage of drinking water he and Charlie have discovered. Clean drinking water needs to be found, and a more organized way of distributing water needs to be established – Jack is stressed and exhausted, with no energy to be involved in a discussion about how to bring these things about. He snaps at Charlie and Hurley, disgruntled at their suggestion that he must make all the decisions and inform the group, then he storms off.
Flashback: A man sits in an office holding a glass of whisky. Only his left hand, holding the glass, can be seen as he sits facing away from the camera and grants the teenage Jack, face bruised and battered, permission to enter the office. The man, Jack’s father, is stern-faced and unmoved by the sight of his son’s wounds, telling Jack to explain what happened. Jack tells of how he attempted to help his friend, and his father appears disappointed that his son decided to get involved. The father tells a story of how, earlier that day, he had a young boy on the operating table and had to make tough decisions that eventually concluded in him being unable to save the boy’s life. He remarks that he was able to accept that conclusion and move on, because “even when I fail...I have what it takes”. He advises his son not to be a hero, not to try and save everyone, stating “when you fail...you just don’t have what it takes”. The young Jack looks hurt by his father’s harsh words and lack of recognition for his bravery or the subsequent pain it caused.
Present: Jack stares at the ground reflecting on those haunting words from his father’s mouth. An angry Boone approaches him. Boone is furious with Jack for not saving the woman, but Jack asserts that his decision to save Boone was instantaneous. Boone goes on to show his disdain at the group’s adoption of Jack as their heroic leader, and as Jack is about to begin to argue he becomes distracted at the sight of the suited man once again standing by the trees, staring at him. From this moment, we can see that the man is Jack’s stern-faced father, wearing a black suit and white trainers. Jack abandon’s Boone’s enraged appeal in favour of pursuing his father into the jungle.
As soon as the doctor enters the tree line, he finds himself just feet away from the eerie spectre of his father, who stands with his back to the awestruck doctor. Jack approaches, but falls to the ground in shock as his father turns and launches a piercing glare into Jack’s tormented eyes. As Jack forces out the word “Dad?” the man begins walking into the jungle again. Jack is left confused and terrified on the ground as his father disappears into the foliage.
Flashback: An adult Jack stands staring through a window into the rain as his mother tells him “you’re father’s gone Jack”. She is angry, but he is dismissive of the situation, claiming his father will come back soon. Jack refuses to go and find his father, revealing that the two haven’t spoken in two months and claiming the last thing his father would want would be for him to find him and drag him back home. Jack’s mother speaks with scorn at Jack’s inability to understand the pressure his father endures, blaming Jack for his father’s current isolation. His mother’s desperate pleas for Jack to find and help his father are met with the response “I can’t”. Angrily, his mother replies “You don’t get to say ‘I can’t’, not after what you did!” Jack looks guilty, and reluctantly agrees to go to Australia to find his father.
Present: Jack heads into the jungle in pursuit of the ominous apparition of his father. Meanwhile, Walt is running to Kate to tell her Claire has collapsed. Charlie and Michael carry the unconscious Claire into Jack’s tent, where Kate gradually brings her around and tells Charlie to bring her water. As Charlie searches, it becomes clear that someone has stolen the bag containing the last few water bottles they had.
Kate and Sayid turn to Locke to inform him of all that’s happening. His first response is “Where is the doctor?” Locke warns of the inevitable unrest among the camp these recent revelations will cause, and volunteers to head into the jungle to seek out a source of drinking water. He is confident and smiles reassuringly to his concerned companions. Elsewhere Jack continues his relentless, desperate pursuit through the jungle despite seeing no further sign of his father. He shouts “Where are you?” into the surrounding trees that seem to mock his futile desperation. Flashback: Jack is in an Australian hotel room where his father has been staying. The hotel manager tells Jack that his father had been binge drinking and causing significant disturbances throughout his time at the hotel before disappearing. Jack is confused to find his father has left his wallet in the hotel room before his disappearance, and is advised to contact the police as it becomes clear that this is a missing person case. Jack’s growing concern is reflected in his muttering of the words “Where are you?”
Present: Jack trudges, exhausted, through the thick foliage until he once again finds his father beneath a tree, facing away from the disorientated doctor. As Jack closes in, the mysterious figure vanishes in the blink of an eye. Deeper into the jungle, Jack stumbles into a clearing shrouded in darkness by the canopy above and is once again met with the haunting apparition of his father, back turned, not moving. This time Jack sprints towards his objective, leading him to trip and tumble uncontrollably down a steep slope that ends with a sheer drop down a cliff face. The doctor clings desperately to some vines his hands grip at the edge of the cliff, and struggles against his exhaustion and dehydration to haul himself back to safety. As his strength fades, the fall seems inevitable until an open hand reaches over the cliff edge and offers salvation. It is Locke, and he smiles as he offers rescue, which is accepted with great relief. Jack is saved, and the two men lie exhausted as a delirious Jack laughs inappropriately at Locke’s question “Are you ok?” At the beach, Charlie brings what little drinking water he can muster to an exhausted Claire. He urges her to relax, and she is very grateful for his support. The mystery of Jack’s whereabouts is becoming a cause for concern, but Charlie assures Claire that Locke is on a mission to find her some water. The pair joke about Locke’s mysterious demeanour and feel assured that he is someone who could never fall prey to any threat the island poses. Charlie’s efforts to comfort Claire are effective, and his attention to her needs are very much appreciated; the two are forging a strong bond through their ordeal.
Hurley runs to Sayid to inform him that the Korean couple have water. Sayid questions Sun angrily as to where she got her bottle, but Sun struggles to understand. As she attempts to communicate her side, her furious husband storms between Sayid and his wife to protect her. As he barks threats into the unimpressed face of Sayid, Kate intervenes for calmness and gets the angry Korean to indicate that Sawyer was the provider of the water bottle in question. Sayid convinces Kate to be patient, saying that if they watch him from afar he will eventually lead them to his stash so they can catch him red-handed and confiscate all his salvaged goods. Later, Sawyer sneaks into the jungle. He opens a buried suitcase and pulls out a packet of cigarettes from among the various treasures contained, before being violently tackled to the ground by Kate. He remains sarcastic and arrogant, revelling in the physical contact with the beautiful Kate. She demands he tells her where the water is, and as Sayid becomes involved Sawyer becomes utterly humourless about the issue and insists he is not responsible for the water theft – the bottle he gave to the Koreans was from his own stash, and was traded for a fish; Sawyer’s establishment of an economy among the survivors in action. The lingering question is that of who did steal the water, as Sawyer taunts Kate one more time by tossing her the US Marshal’s badge, dubbing her ‘the new Sheriff in town’.
In the jungle, Locke is patiently salvaging droplets of water from the vegetation. Jack asks him how the other beach dwellers are doing. The doctor expresses his anxiety at being treated as a leader, claiming it doesn’t come naturally to him. He opens up, revealing his own vulnerability to his apparently wise comrade and telling him of the ghostly sight that had led him so deep into the jungle. Locke likens Jack’s pursuit of this mysterious figure to that of Alice chasing The White Rabbit. Locke is neither surprised nor sceptical about Jack’s story – both accept that Jack could be hallucinating due to exhaustion, but Locke encourages Jack to consider the possibility that something else is happening. He expresses his belief that the island they are on is different to other places; special, even magical. He claims that every one of the survivors feels the island’s power, and that destiny has brought them all here, so Jack should not dismiss something so significant as his White Rabbit – it may be trying to tell him something. Jack, a man of science, is sceptical, but as Locke declares “I looked into the eye of this island and what I saw...was beautiful”, Jack is unable to ignore the power of this mysterious man’s belief, and is compelled to continue his search as Locke departs to find more water. Locke’s parting words are “a leader can’t lead until he knows where he’s going”.
Flashback: Jack is walking through the corridors of a morgue as a doctor describes to him the alcohol-fuelled death of their unidentified corpse. Jack enters to identify the body, and is devastated when he sees the face that confirms his father has died. He weeps as he stands beside what remains of his father. Present: This recollection causes Jack to weep quietly as he sits alone at night in the jungle over a campfire. His heartbreak is moving, but is abruptly interrupted by the sounds of someone passing by behind him. He rushes off in pursuit of the sounds, braving the darkness with only a flaming torch in his hand. He finds himself led to a fantastic cave, wherein lies a beautiful fountain of fresh water that streams into a clear pool at its base. In this pool, Jack spots a porcelain doll, and on closer inspection finds a trail of these dolls that lead him along a path strewn with luggage from the plane wreck, ending with the haunting discovery of a coffin.
Flashback: A flustered Jack is arguing with a member of staff at an airport over whether they will allow him to carry a certain cargo on the plane. We see behind him the Korean man, as Jack attempts to appeal to the woman’s compassion to make an exception to the rules for this sensitive cargo as it is his father’s body. Jack wishes to bury his father, and his heartfelt appeal wins the woman over; she allows him to take his precious cargo on board the plane. Present: Jack carefully inspects his father’s coffin as it sits among the strewn wreckage amid the immaculate caves he has found. He reluctantly opens the lid in an attempt to gain closure in his heart-rending pursuit of his ‘White Rabbit’ but is horrified to discover that the coffin is empty; his father body has gone. Jack flies into a rage and smashes the coffin to pieces.
On the beach, tired survivors work to keep their rescue fire burning. Boone appears at the sleeping Claire’s side with three bottles of water, but is apprehended by an angry Charlie who exposes him to the group as the thief. Boone tries to explain himself, claiming he only tried to take responsibility for the distribution of the water, but the group begins to circle him as the threat of mob justice ensues. Out of nowhere, Jack shouts “leave him alone!” and everyone looks towards him. He begins making a speech to the desperate survivors, warning them of the reality that they may not be rescued. He lays out their need to become organized and united to ensure their survival as a group. He tells them of his discovery of the caves in the jungle, promising to take people there in the morning but demanding that anyone who doesn’t want to come must find another way to contribute to the group effort. The enduring message of his speech is the poignant phrase “If we can’t live together, we will die alone”.
In the wake of Jack’s powerful speech, the survivors retreat to their personal camps. Sun thanks her husband for getting the water for her, and he assures her he will always take care of her. Michael gives some water to the dog Vincent, as Boone and Sawyer identify with one another over Boone’s recent pariah status owing to his misguided actions. Kate brings Jack some water, joining him by his campfire. She quizzes him as to why he disappeared that day, and he tells her about his father’s death back in Sydney. The pair remains in silence by the campfire as the episode draws to a close.
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