Season 1 Episode 5

White Rabbit

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 20, 2004 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,596 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The survivors begin to struggle as they realize they are running out of fresh water. Meanwhile, Jack continues to see his dead father's figure on the Island. Flashbacks in this episode show a little bit of Jack's childhood and also what Jack was doing in Australia.

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  • Jack

    Possibly the best episode since the pilot, Jack's backstory is finally shown which contains a haunting twist and some new philosophical elements.
  • I love this show

    I liked this episode. My one gripe is why did no one else swim out ot help jack save the girl?? Can no one else swim?
  • 105

    A lot of development on tonight's episode of Lost, with the pilot being Jack-centric, it really surprised me that there was already another episode focused on him only five episodes, but surely, I am glad that they did have an episode like this one.

    We know why he was traveling from Sydney, and also, I noticed an ongoing theme that keeps on coming back from time to time: "Everything happens for a reason." The drowning at the beginning was chilling, even more chilling, since the lady wasn't even meant to be on that flight.

    Anyways we discover a lot of things about Jack and his father and I loved the comparison with the white rabbit from Alice and Wonderland, very clever, I liked it. The group going against each other for water was also entertaining. This show has not made an error yet, I'll tell you that much.moreless
  • Awesome.

    Boone steals the decreasing water supply in a misguided attempt to help everyone, but the survivors turn on him. A sleep-deprived Jack chases after what appears to be his deceased father in the forests and eventually discovers caves with fresh water. Jack comes to terms with his role as leader. In flashbacks, Jack goes to Australia to retrieve his deceased father. I love the start if this episode, little Jack reminds me of somebody I know, I love the flashbacks there amazing in the show, really clever. So somebody is drowning, I love it well, the scene anyway. I'm glad Jack saves Boone, I love him. Oh and I love the way Sawyer is so sneaky and has his nicknames.moreless
  • Our first real look at the center of the show

    Because of his skills, everyone has been looking at Jack as if he were the leader, and it's pretty clear that is a role he can manage, but doesn't want to accept. At its core, 'White Rabbit' is the episode where Jack finally gives into the inevitable, and takes the role of leader. Of course, since this is Lost, there's a lot more to it.

    Jack has been burning the candle at both ends since the plane crash (and, as we find out in this episode, for quite some time before that) and now it begins to take its toll. In the opening sequence, one of the survivors goes swimming, and Boone, the lifeguard, tries to save her, but nearly drowns himself. Jack dives in, pulls him back to shore, then goes back--- but it's too late. Jack takes this very personally, even though he didn't know this woman at all. Scarcely has he begun to deal with this problem, when another crisis emerges--- the water supply is starting to run low. Everyone's looking to Jack, and then things get worse--- he sees the man in the suit in the woods. Only it's not just a man in a suit--- it's his father.

    Jack obviously doubts his sanity, but nevertheless goes chasing after the phantom. But he becomes so obsessed that he ends up chasing it over a cliff, which would have killed him--- if not for the appearance of Locke.

    The two men have their first real conversation, where Jack reveals that he's chasing a ghost. Locke then tells him what he knows --- that the island is different. The others don't want to talk about it, but they all instinctually know it. Locke is convinced that this is happening to Jack for a reason--- mainly as a test to prove to himself that he can lead.

    A note: Locke says that he has "looked into the eyes of this island and what I saw was beautiful." What he doesn't consider is that it might be beautiful to him, the paralyzed man who can now walk, but it not might be for Jack. Perhaps the island is testing Jack somehow, and what we will come to realize is that while he can accept his role as leader, he can not quite buy what Locke is selling. This is a fundamental difference between the men, which will end up being a huge part of the drama of the show.

    For the first time, we get a good look at the kind of man Jack was pre-island, and more importantly the relationship that he had with his father. Jack's father, like him, was a surgeon, and it's clearly suggested that their relationship was not a good one. The entire reason Jack went to Australia was to find his father, who was the midst of something unexplained (we'll find out what, but not from Jack) Eventually, he drank himself to death. Jack was accompanying his father's body back to the States, and it's clear from the last flashback, that he was hoping that he could finally end their tormented relationship. How ironic, that even though Jack eventually finds the coffin which carried his father, his body is gone. Now he can never lay it to rest.

    (Another mystery: The coffin was shut, but the body wasn't in it. What happened? I would like to float the possibility that somehow the island is using Jack's father in some way. Over the past few years, several of the characters are revealed to have been involved with Jack's father, and because of that importance, the island took it, and I believe at some point in the shows final seasons, we will understand that purpose.)

    Perhaps one reason the body was used was to lead Jack to a cave with freshwater spring. Jack also finds scattered parts of the plane and the coffin. This leads to him finally accepting, however reluctantly, his role as leader. When he brings the water back, he tells them that it is time for the others to start preparing for the possibility that rescue will not come, and that if "they can't live together, they're going to die alone" However, not everybody will take Jack's word as gospel, and that's going to lead to problems.

    Jack is so front and center during this episode, everyone seems to fade into the background a bit. But we do get some more information. One of the more prominent characters is Claire. During the episode, she faints from lack of water, which leads to another crisis, when the already diminishing water is mysteriously taken. This sets up another sweet moment between her and Charlie. Claire knows that everyone thinks of her as a potential time bomb--- how long dot hey have before this new problem develops--- but Charlie is one of the only people who doesn't seem scared by this. There is definitely something between them, but Claire doesn't know Charlie's demon yet.

    Boone seems to be trying to prove himself. He demonstrated that when he tried to save the woman that drowned, and he clearly blamed Jack for coming back with him. Then when Jack disappears, Boone tries to use the water to help Claire, arguing weakly that someone had to step up. A mini-mob begins forming, which is dissipated by the return of Jack. Boone isn't happy about this either.

    Sawyer seems to be setting himself up the unofficial black market of this island. This becomes clear when he tries to bargain with Shannon over the price of some insect spray. When the water disappears, he's the obvious scapegoat, which becomes more suspicious when Sun mysteriously shows up with water. He reveals that he traded the water for a fish Jin caught --- that must have been fun for both of them--- but not before Kate tries to force it out of him, something which clearly delights him. Sun and her husband are clearly getting worried about their crisis, but their approaches are different--- she wants to try and communicate with the others to try and find leadership, he says that he will provide for her--- hence the trade with Sawyer. There is also a moment where Sayed tries to interrogate Sun, and replies to Kate's intervention with the reply that she understands what he's saying. Perhaps Sayed has insight into this from personal experience, and it turns out, he knows what he's talking about.

    Kate seems to be taking on the role of a miniature enforcer--- she doesn't seem to want to lead, but she seems drawn to authority figures like Jack, Locke and Sayed. This is particular ironic considering her flashback, but there is clearly compassion in her behavior. Locke is assuming the role of half survivalist (he gathers water from the moisture on the leaves) part mystical yogi. When he goes into the woods after Jack, he assures Kate he knows how to find him, and there he is. The obvious answer to this is that he tracked Jack, but what if there was another way? Did the island guide him like it seemed to guide Jack?

    The episode ends with Jack telling Kate why he was on the plane, but not why he went on his search in the first place. Maybe it's because he has trust issues or (more likely) he doesn't want to admit that what he saw was real. But this is a critical episode for Jack, and it demonstrates (if there was doubt before) that Matthew Fox is the right actor to be at the center of Lost Few people could demonstrate being strength and fear in the same character, but, as he demonstrated on Party of Five, Fox knows how to do it. The hallucination doesn't appear for awhile, but Jack still has real ghosts, and they're going to be biting at him on the island over and over.

    My score:9.2moreless
Meilinda Soerjoko

Meilinda Soerjoko


Guest Star

Veronica Hamel

Veronica Hamel

Margo Shephard

Guest Star

John O'Hara

John O'Hara

Young Jack

Guest Star

John Terry

John Terry

Christian Shephard

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (16)

    • When Jack enters the water to try and save the woman who is drowning in the shot that shows him swimming towards the camera you can clearly see a jet ski or boat keel trail.

    • When Joanna dies Jack says that only 47 people are left. Later when he is talking to Charlie and Hurley about the water bottles he says that they are not 47 but 46.

    • In the first flashback, Jack tries to help out a boy who he laters calls Mark Silverman. This boy would go on to be the best man at Jack's wedding in the episode "Do No Harm"

    • Goof: The Coffin. There is no way that the coffin would be placed on the plane as we saw it. It has to be sealed and wrapped before it even leaves. And a coffin is never put on a plane in front of other passengers. It goes cargo.

    • Numbers: 16

      In Jack's flash-back he talks to the lady at the check-in counter at the airport and tells her that he needs to land in 16 hours.

    • Numbers: 4

      When Kate jumps at Sawyer in the jungle, Sawyer makes a sarcastic remark about having made this wish four years ago. Charlie jokes with Claire that Locke has 400 knives in his case.

    • Island events in this episode take place on September 27th 2004.

    • In Jack's speech to the rest of the survivors at the end of the episode, the dialogue included the name of two future episodes, "Live Together, Die Alone" and "Every Man for Himself".

    • The name of the drowned survivor, which Jack could not save, is Joanna.

    • The tattoo on Charlie's left shoulder reads "Living is easy with eyes closed," a lyric from Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles.

    • Regarding Jack and getting the coffin on the plane: It is not possible to just show up at the airport with a body. The morgue will never release to an individual, only to a funeral home because there are so many laws, and so much paperwork involved. For example: in order to transport a body out of the country you have to have a burial/transit permit that has to be approved by the American consulate, who has to see a certified death certificate and letter declaring that the person did not die of a contagious disease; all of which are prepared by a funeral home. The body would also have to go to a funeral home in L.A., so more paperwork can be filed to receive a local burial permit number before the cemetery will bury the body. No one is going to risk their jobs and break all these laws just because of an impassioned speech.

    • The scratches on Jack's face keep changing sides. One minute they're on his right cheekbone, the next minute (such as when he's talking to Locke after Locke saved him) they're on his left. Simple reason, they flopped the film negative ... but you'd think they'd try for a little more continuity ... ?

    • For those curious: They couldn't use the dog to find water, because the dog is not specifically trained to do so.

    • Fire keeps dripping off of the torch Jack carries toward the end of the episode. This happens when an oily rag is burned on a stick. Unfortunately, this does not happen when one just pulls a log out of a fire.

    • When Jack is getting yelled at by Boone the same two people walk by twice because they reused the shot of Jack looking at Boone.

    • The scene where Jack is in the airport arguing about getting his father's coffin on the plane, the airport is obviously supposed to be an airport in Australia. However, the airport shown doesn't look like any airport here in Australia.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Boone: You should have saved her.
      Jack: But I didn´t save her. And neither do you
      Boone: You think you are all noble and heroic for coming after me? I was fine. You´re not the only one who knows what to do around here. I run a business. Who appointed you our savior, huh? What gives you the right?

    • Hurley: Maybe the dog can find water.
      Charlie: Better if no one knows how little is left.
      Hurley: I mean, dogs can find pot and bombs, so I'm sure they can find water.

    • Claire: Great. Now our only hunter's going to get eaten just so he can get the pregnant girl some more water.

    • Christian: I had a boy on my table today. I don't know, maybe a year younger than you. He had a bad heart. It got real hairy, real fast. And everybody's looking at your old man to make decisions. And I was able to make those decisions because at the end of the day, after the boy died, I was able to wash my hands and come home to dinner. You know, watch a little Carol Burnett, laugh till my sides hurt. And how can I do that, hmm? I mean even when I fail, how do I do that, Jack? Because I have what it takes. Don't choose, Jack, don't decide. You don't want to be a hero. You don't want to try and save everyone because when you fail... you just don't have what it takes.

    • Margo: Jack, you know how he gets. He doesn't. He won't look after himself. You have to go after him.
      Jack: I'm sorry. I can't.
      Margo: I can't? You don't get to say I can't. Not after what you did. Bring your father home, Jack.
      Jack: Where is he?
      Margo: Australia.

    • Hurley: (giving an idea to solve the water problem) Maybe we should find a water-finding stick.

    • Kate: You alright?
      Claire: Yeah. Just a headache. You know, I am pregnant.
      Kate: Really?

    • Kate: So where were you today, Jack?
      Jack: Just had to take care of a few things.
      Kate: That's all I'm gonna get, huh?
      Jack: My father died, in Sydney.
      Kate: I'm sorry.
      Jack: Yeah. I'm sorry too.

    • Sawyer: So how's it feel?
      Boone: How's what feel?
      Sawyer: Takin' my place atop everyone's most hated list. (Boone is silent) Sucks, don't it?

    • Kate: I can go into the jungle, try to find some fresh water.
      Sayid: You're not going alone.
      Locke: When the others find out the water's gone, it's going to get ugly. Then when they find out that someone pinched it, it's going to get uglier. I'll go. Camp needs you two here, especially with the doctor gone. And besides, I know where to look.

    • (Kate is searching through a suitcase)
      Claire: Hey, you haven't found a hairbrush in there have you?
      Kate: No, sorry.
      Claire: God! I must have looked through twenty suitcases, I can't find one. It's weird, right? I mean, you'd think that everyone packs a hairbrush.

    • Sawyer: (to Shannon) I'll take an IOU. Something tells me you're good . . . for it. (Shannon throws sunscreen at him)

    • (Kate has tackled Sawyer, she's on top of him)
      Sawyer: Well, it's about time.
      Kate: For what?
      Sawyer: I made this birthday wish 4 years ago.
      Kate: Where's the water? (Sawyer flips her over so he's on top)
      Sawyer: That's better.
      Kate: Get off of me.
      (Sayid throws him off of her)
      Sayid: Give us the water back now!
      Sawyer: Do you really think I stole your damn water?
      Sayid: We know you gave two bottles to the Koreans.

    • Jack: Leave him alone. It's been 6 days and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out. A woman died this morning just going for a swim and he tried to save her, and now you're about to crucify him? We can't do this. Everyman for himself is not going to work. It's time to start organizing. We need to figure out how we're going to survive here. Now, I found water. Fresh water, up in the valley. I'll take a group in at first light. If you don't want to come then find another way to contribute. Last week most of us were strangers, but we're all here now. And god knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together, we're going to die alone.

    • Locke: But I've looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw... was beautiful.

    • Locke: I'm not a big believer in... magic. But this place is different. It's special. The others don't wanna talk about it because it scares them, but we all know it, we all feel it.

    • Jack: I can't.
      Locke: Why can't you?
      Jack: Because I'm not a leader.
      Locke: Yet they all treat you like one.
      Jack: I don't know how to help them. I'll fail. I don't have what is takes.
      Locke: Why are you out here, Jack?
      Jack: I think I'm goin' crazy.
      Locke: Oh, you're not going crazy.
      Jack: No?
      Locke: No, crazy people don't think they're going crazy, they think they're getting saner.

    • Sayid: (about Sawyer, to Kate) You go after him now and he'll give you nothing. But if you wait, a rat will always lead you to its hole.

    • Charlie (talking about Locke): Who would you rather meet in a dark alley? Whatever's out there, or that old geezer with his four hundred knives? Now me, I only have room for two hundred knives. (Claire is giggling) Three hundred at most.
      Claire: When do you think we'll be rescued?
      Charlie: Soon.
      Claire: Thanks, Charlie.
      Charlie: For what?
      Claire: People don't seem to look me in the eye here. I think I scare them. The baby, it's like I'm this time bomb of responsibility just waiting to go off.
      Charlie: You don't scare me.

    • Locke: (to Jack) A leader can't lead until he knows where he's going.

    • Sawyer: You're in my light, sticks.
      Shannon: Light sticks, what the hell is that?
      Sawyer: Light, comma, sticks; as in those legs of yours.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Mr. Miyagi

      Mr. Miyagi refers to the beloved Okinawan karate master in the 1984 feature film The Karate Kid, and its sequels, played by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Mr. Miyagi befriends and teaches the ways of karate passed down from his father, to a New Jersey teenager he calls "Daniel-san" who is having trouble fitting into the southern California life.

    • Sawyer can be seen reading "Watership Down", a classic novel in which a group of rabbits set out to make a new home, together in unfamiliar surroundings.

    • Character name: Jack Shephard
      There was a famous British highwayman (one who robbed vehicles) in the 1700s named 'Jack Sheppard'. So popular was he when he was alive that his robberies were published in the newspapers & pamphlets after he committed them. He was viewed to be such a Robin-Hood-like hero that well into the Twentieth Century stories were still being written about him and no less than 9 theatrical plays were performed to the public. In fact, when author Harrison Ainsworth published a book about him in 1839, it outsold Dickens' 'Oliver Twist'.

      Literary Source: "100 Most Infamous Criminals" by Jo Durden Smith

    • Doctor: Police found him in an alley in Kings Cross.

      We find out that Jack's father died from a heart attack in Kings Cross. Kings Cross, an inner-city suburb, is known as the notorious 'Red Light District' in Sydney, Australia. Cranking 24-7 'The Cross' never dies, with murders, car-jackings, assaults, armed robberies, prostitution and large-scale drug deals in action around the clock.

    • Episode title: White Rabbit
      In "Alice In Wonderland", the White Rabbit was a top hat & vest wearing rabbit who kept running away from Alice, and eventually led her to Wonderland, similar to how Jack's father keeps running away and leads him to the fresh water.