For the actual animal, see Rabbits.

"White Rabbit" is the fifth episode of Season 1 of Lost. 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.




Jack tries to decide how to respond to a bully.

A young Jack lies on the ground in fear as a bully threatens him, while his friend, Marc Silverman, is being beaten by another bully. Jack attempts to intervene, resulting in him getting a black eye from the bully.

Later on, Jack explains the fight to his father, Christian Shephard, who tells Jack about his day at the hospital over a glass of whiskey on the rocks. Christian says that he is able to cope with the difficult job of being a surgeon because he "has what it takes." He claims that he can make life or death decisions daily because even when he fails, he can live with the consequences. He concludes that Jack should not "decide," because if he failed, he wouldn't "have what it takes."


Jack's father's hotel room in Australia.

Years later as an adult, Jack is talking with his mother, Margo Shephard. She tells him that his father has gone away to Australia, and that she wants Jack to go and get him. He refuses, saying that they haven't spoken in months. She makes her son feel guilty about what he did to his father and demands that Jack retrieve him.

In a hotel room in Australia, the hotel manager tells Jack that his father hasn't used the room in three nights, and that he was involved in an incident in the hotel bar. The manager also says that he didn't rent a car, because no one would rent him a car "in his condition." Searching the room, Jack finds bottles of alcohol, pills, and his father's wallet.


Jack identifies his father's body.

An unknown amount of time later, Jack walks down the hallway of a morgue. A mortician tells him that the body presumed to be his father's was found in an alley, with the cause of death suspected of being a fatal heart attack brought on by high blood alcohol levels. Jack identifies his father and fights back the tears.

With nothing left for him in Australia, Jack heads to Sydney Airport, preparing to board Oceanic Flight 815. Because he lacks proper documentation, the airline's ticket agent refuses to allow Jack to store the coffin on the plane. Jack argues with her, explaining that he needs the coffin to be allowed on board because he has all the arrangements set for the funeral and he needs to bury his father, so that it will all be over.

On the Island[]

Day 6


Jack's "father" in the jungle.

Jack is woken by Charlie in a state of panic, and the two rush to the shore amidst a crowd of survivors. The screams of a young woman are heard from out in the ocean. Charlie says, "I don't swim," so Jack dives in and swims to save her. Instead, Jack finds Boone in need of assistance, as Boone had also tried to save the woman. Jack pulls him back to the beach. The group realizes it is now too late for Jack to go back out after the woman, and all they can do is stand there as her screams die out.


Hurley, Charlie, and Jack discussing the water shortage.

Later, while talking to Kate about the young woman for whose death Jack finds himself responsible, Jack sees a man dressed in a suit, watching from a distance as he had a few days before. Jack asks Kate if she saw him too. She says she did not and asks Jack how long it has been since he slept.

Hurley and Charlie approach Jack to tell him the survivors are running low on fresh water. Boone, angry with Jack for saving him and not Joanna, gets into an argument with Jack, asking who made him their leader. Jack, distracted by another appearance of the suited man, runs off after him.

Claire, who earlier showed signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration, collapses, and when Kate goes to give her some water, it is discovered that someone has stolen what little remained of their water supply. Locke announces he will go into the jungle and search for a source of fresh water, saying he is the only survivor who would know where to look.


Locke saving Jack.

Jack finds the suited man at the edge of the jungle, and when the man turns around, it looks like Christian Shephard, his dead father. After recovering from his shock, Jack chases the man into the jungle. As Jack runs further into the jungle, his father disappears and reappears several times, and the pursuit is punctuated several times by the adding machine sound of the Monster. The chase culminates when Jack sees his father closer than he has appeared before, and he runs toward him full force. Christian disappears once more, leaving Jack to fall down a rocky hill and roll off the side of a cliff. He grabs onto some roots, and tries to hoist himself up but is unable to do so. Locke appears and helps Jack get back on solid ground, where all Jack can do is to burst into laughter.


Jack and Locke discuss Jack's hallucination.

During a manhunt to find out who stole the water, it is discovered that Jin traded with Sawyer for some water; however, when Sayid and Kate follow Sawyer to see where he is hiding the water, it turns out that the bottles he traded were the last of his own supply.

Jack and Locke discuss Jack's "hallucination," and Locke advises that he should pursue it, comparing it to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Locke tells Jack to put it to rest and consider the possibility that everything happening on the Island happens for a reason. He then tells Jack, "I looked into the eye of the Island, and what I saw... was beautiful," referring to his previous encounter with the Monster.

Later, night has fallen, and Jack sits at a fire. A figure moves behind him, and he hears a sound reminiscent of ice rattling in a whiskey glass. He lights a torch and heads into the jungle, following the man. He finds a cave with a spring of fresh water, where he finds some debris from the plane, including what appears to be his father's coffin. Jack opens the coffin and finds it empty. He tears apart the coffin in frustration.

Back on the beach, Boone gives water to an unconscious Claire. It is revealed that it was Boone who stole the water, in an attempt to take responsibility for its rationing. A fight ensues, but Jack returns and interrupts with a speech, saying that he has found fresh water and that they must all band together if they are to survive, because "if we can't live together, we're going to die alone."


  • Both Jack's first full flashback episode, ("White Rabbit") and his first flashforward episode ("Through the Looking Glass") are titled in reference to the "Alice in Wonderland" books.
  • This is the first episode with a flashback featuring both child and adult versions of a character.
  • This is the first episode to open with a flashback.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-LV.
  • White Rabbit was Sydney Bristow's call sign in Alias, another J.J. Abrams show.

Production notes[]

Cut material[]


Jack loses a bet to his father.

  • Sawyer and Shannon's scene was to start with the camera on their feet, contrasting Shannon's dainty pink flip-flops with Sawyer's cowboy boots. Sawyer would have asked after Boone, who had almost drowned that morning.[1]
  • Young Jack's scene with Christian was scripted longer and with a different focus. Rather than Christian just claiming Jack lacked the ability to distance himself emotionally after loss, the conversation emphasized the consequences of bad choices. Christian bet Jack a quarter that the boy could not guess which of his hands held a coin. Jack lost the bet, and when Christian gave him the chance to bet again after the conversation, Jack declined and Christian approved.[2]
  • Jack and Margo's conversation would have gone into further detail about Jack's actions against Christian. Margo would have accused Jack of betraying Christian while thinking he was helping him.[3]
  • Shannon and Boone had an additional scene right before the survivors discovered Jin with the water. She would have tried consoling him about Joanna's death before giving up and leaving.[4]
  • Sawyer originally would not have pinned Kate down until Sayid arrived and they had exchanged words, perhaps clarifying the flippant nature of his advances.[5]
  • The episode would have cut from Jack staring into the flames to his watching a news report about Australia wildfires while waiting to see Christian's body. The script called for the morgue doctor to be Middle Eastern.[6]

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

Not Jack Hanging

You can clearly see that it is a stunt actor hanging off of the cliff, and not Matthew Fox.

  • While Claire is talking to Kate about her star sign, Claire takes a sip of water. In the next shot, her bottle is gone.
  • When Charlie and Hurley are questioning Jack about the water in the tent, two people, a man and woman, walk behind Jack twice in the same direction.
  • When Jack is hanging off the edge of the cliff, he briefly looks up. It is clearly a stunt actor portraying the character and not Matthew Fox.
    • When Jack falls over the edge of the cliff and Locke rescues him, Locke, who is out looking for water, should notice the stream running through the rocks below.
    • When Locke is grabbing Jack over the edge of the cliff, you can see the microphone at the top of the screen.
  • When Charlie runs to get Jack at the start of the episode, he says that he doesn't swim. However, it is shown later, in the episode "Greatest Hits", that he was taught to swim as a child. Also in "Greatest Hits", Charlie claims to have won the title of Junior Swim Champion in Northern England. He also successfully swims out to the Looking Glass station in the season three finale. It is possible, though, that Charlie was simply lying.


Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

The score uses a lot of music tracked from earlier episodes, most notably the pilot. There are also numerous statements, however, of a new four-note motif that plays frequently in scenes involving the apparition of Christian on the Island. The episode also contains the first haunting statement of the "life and death" theme later used for the deaths of numerous major characters. This is heard on synthesizers as Jack discovers the caves, and later on piano as he talks with Kate on the beach at the end of the episode. The latter statement can be heard as "Win One for the Reaper" on the Season 1 soundtrack. The episode also introduces a minor motif associated particularly with Kate and Sawyer.


Recurring themes[]

  • The episode begins with a close-up on a young Jack's eye. (Eyes)
  • Charlie tells Jack that he doesn't swim; it is later revealed that he is an experienced swimmer. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Jack sees his deceased father, Christian Shephard, numerous times during this episode. (Dreams and visions)  (Resurrection)
  • Locke: "I looked into the eye of this Island and what I saw was beautiful." (Eyes)
  • According to Sawyer, Boone took over his place "at the top of everybody's most hated list." (Isolation)
  • Joanna drowns before either Boone or Jack can save her. (Life and death)
  • Jack's father died in Australia due to a heart attack. (Life and death)
  • Jack goes to Australia in order to find his father and try to convince him to come back home. (Parent issues)
  • Sawyer refers to Shannon as "sticks," and Jin as "Mr. Miyagi." (Nicknames)
  • Both Jack and Kate have 4 distinct cuts on their faces. (The Numbers)
  • Jack tells Chrissy that he needs to land at LAX in 16 hours. (The Numbers)

Cultural references[]

Literary techniques[]

  • 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". (Foreshadowing)  (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • A white rabbit is the DHARMA symbol for the underwater Looking Glass station. (Foreshadowing)
  • Jack had been told all his life by his father that he didn't "have what it takes"; on the Island, Jack finds out that he, in fact, has it in him to lead the Losties. (Juxtaposition)
  • Jack went out to search for his father twice in this episode. In his flashbacks, he was instructed to head to Australia to locate his father, and found his corpse in the morgue. On the Island, Jack chases the hallucinations of his father, searching for the truth, and discovers his empty casket, devoid of his corpse. (Juxtaposition)
  • In this episode, there is heavy emphasis on the action of physically and/or spiritually searching. This parallels the search for the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. (Symbolism)
    • Jack searches for his father.
    • Locke searches for fresh water.
    • Kate and Sayid search for the stolen water.
    • Claire searches for a hairbrush.
    • Boone searches for his role in the camp.

Storyline analysis[]

  • Christian tells Jack he doesn't "have what it takes." (Leadership)
  • Sawyer and Shannon bargain for some insect repellent. (Economics)
  • Sawyer trades his last two bottles of water to Jin for a fish. (Economics)
  • Sawyer tossed Kate Edward Mars's badge, telling her that she was the "new sheriff" due to her aggressively pursuing him about the stolen water. (Leadership)
  • Charlie decides to take care of Claire. (Leadership)
  • Boone tells Jack off for not saving Joanna, steals the water in order to divvy it up, and tries to appoint himself as leader of the Losties. He says to Jack, "Who made you our savior?" (Leadership)
  • Jack refuses to "decide anything" about the water situation early on in the episode. (Leadership)
  • Locke tries to tell Jack that the Losties need him to be a leader, but Jack responds that he can't do it. (Leadership)
  • Jack returns to camp, takes his place as leader again, and says that if they don't "live together, we're gonna die alone." (Leadership)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

  • Locke tells Jack about his encounter with the Monster. ("Walkabout")

Episode allusions[]

  • The opening shot, featuring Jack on his side, calls back to a similar shot from the pilot's first scene. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • Jack continues to see a man appearing to be his dead father. ("Walkabout")

External links[]