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Here's the rewatch blog for "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," Jack's second centric, the 10th episode of Season 1. This episode definitely has one of the wordiest titles in the series, but it is one of the best. This episode marks a definitive turning point in Season 1, as the focus shifted from merely surviving, to conflict with the Others and the discovery of a mysterious hatch. These blogs will attempt to document dominant themes, plotlines and issues as raised in this episode, and future episodes.
As I alluded to in the opening paragraph, this episode is a major turning point of Season 1. On one side of the episode, the conflict between Oceanic Flight 815 and The Others hits home for the survivors as Ethan attempts to murder Charlie, and threatens Jack with more murder. On the other side of the episode, Locke and Boone discover the Hatch. Two very important events in the course of the show.
The one thing I always noticed about Ethan was his superhuman strength. Was there a really good weight room in one of the rooms of The Temple? Ethan certainly seemed invincible in his fight against Jack.
As this centric shows, episodes featuring Jack have a lot of things in common. They often feature him running through the jungle, and they often feature him trying to fix things. This episode's dual storyline features Jack trying to fix a difficult situation concerning his father and a surgery, and Jack trying to fix a situation he caused by not believing Claire.
This episode featured a lot of Jack/Locke conflict. Their search for Charlie and Claire highlights Jack's simple refusal to listen to anything Locke says. Locke told him to go back and not risk injury, given that it would be terrible for the only trained doctor on the Island to get injured. But Jack refuses to give in to Locke's suggestions. It turns out that Jack could've probably listened to Locke more often, because Locke was usually right. This sentiment is echoed in one of my favorite quotes from the series finale, while Jack and The Man in Black lower Desmond into the source: "You're not John Locke. You disrespect his memory by wearing his face, but you're nothing like him. Turns out he was right about most everything. I just wish I could've told him that while he was still alive." -Jack. It truly is sad that Locke wasn't alive to see Jack's transformation.
This episode shows the beginning of the interesting, but short-lived, Boone and Locke dynamic. This episode somewhat seals Boone's death. Because of the existence of two trails in the search party, Jack and Kate naturally go together, and Boone ends up going with Locke. By going with Locke, Boone ends up discovering the Hatch, which will ultimately lead to his death. It makes his statement about redshirts, the one in the title of this blog, all the more ironic. It also makes Locke's statement about Captain Kirk, that he was a piss-poor captain, very ironic as well. Locke was a pretty piss-poor captain when it came to guiding Boone, because he led him into a very dangerous situation with the drug-smuggler's plane. No one in the their right mind should have climbed into a plane hanging precariously over the side of a cliff, but Boone did it because Locke told him to.
We get the first glimpse of, in my opinion, the most important location on the entire Island, the Swan. Almost two full seasons focused on the Swan and its hatch (the last half of Season 1, all of Season 2, and the last half of Season 5). The Swan is the most important location on the Island because it was the reason, scientifically, why everyone on Flight 815 was on the Island. In my opinion, the survivors' actions in 1977 caused the Incident at the Swan. And we know the Incident is the reason why the survivors were on the Island in the first place, because the Incident forced Dharma to build a system where a button needed to be pushed every 108 minutes. Flight 815 crashed because Desmond failed to push the button on time on September 22nd, 2004. One of my favorite reveals of the entire show was during the Season 2 finale, "Live Together, Die Alone" when we find out, through Desmond reading the Pearl logs, that Desmond's failure to push the button crashed the plane. So watching this episode is great knowing that the survivors have found the place that holds the key to why they are there.
This episode also demonstrates one of the major conventions of Lost...that rain=a really dramatic scene. The scene where Jack and Ethan are fighting is made all the more intense by the downpour going on at the same time.
Aside from all of the great on-Island scenes (especially Jack pounding on Charlie's chest, that scene is always powerful), this episode had some of the best flashbacks of the entire series, especially the opening surgery where Christian repeatedly tells Jack "to call it." This episode demonstrated the lowest moment of Jack and Christian's relationship, as Jack caused his dad to get fired from his job as head of surgery. Seeing this episode again made me appreciate their teary reunion in the church in "The End" even more, seeing how broken their relationship once was. These flashbacks, concerning the morality of suppressing a report about a surgeon operating under the influence, would fit in well with a medical themed show. That is the beauty of Lost...that they can have rich, varied flashbacks that fit in perfectly with the science fiction involved with the Island storyline. This episode shows a major turning point in Christian's life. His fall from grace as the head of surgery at St. Sebastian's Hospital would be the start of a devastating spiral downwards fueled by alcohol that would lead to his death in Australia.
What was Hurley talking about when he told Walt, "Back home, I'm known as something of a warrior myself." A warrior of what? Eating competitions? The other big question raised in this episode is, will Hurley ever pay Walt back for being schooled in backgammon?
That's all, folks. Stay tuned for "Whatever the Case May Be," Kate's second centric. I'll see you in another life, brother.