This is the type of ask I dream about getting because it gives me an excuse to talk about one of my favorite characters until you all are sick of me. So thank you so much for this question nonnie!
It’s hard for me to start with this one, because Jack Shephard was instantly my favorite character on Lost, when I first watched it nearly 10 years ago. And I feel like the reasons I loved him at 12 are different from the reasons I still love him at (nearly) 22. Part of it may just be nostalgia since Lost is my favorite television show, but now I think I really understand why I felt so attached to Jack (who is, believe it or not, my favorite fictional character)
I’m a sucker for heroes who don’t want to be heroes. Now Jack definitely has this strong drive to save people, which at first really seems like someone who wants to be the typical heroic figure. His innate quality to rush in and save people from the crash gave the survivors this sense of comfort, but Jack didn’t stake any claims on being their leader. However, once things descend into chaos in 1x05 without Jack’s presence, he realizes he has to take charge of the situation, cause it’s the best way that he can protect everyone at once. But throughout the show you really see him struggle with this leadership.
Often Jack makes the wrong decisions based on his personal bias or his inability to “let go” and realize that he cannot save everyone. And on top of that, there’s his struggle with faith and destiny, forces that he can’t control and therefore make him uneasy. He is an imperfect person who struggles to be perfect in his profession, in being a doctor and subsequently in saving lives.
Jack’s characterization, the way he is shaped by the island and his fellow survivors, felt so natural and was compelling to watch. To me, stories with characters that are intensely flawed but strive to be good, moral people are stories that I invest myself in. And Jack is a character that made many mistakes, some irreversible, but as the show went on, he became more self-aware, became less constricted by how he thought he could do good in the world and started understanding that there were other ways he could go about saving people. In the end, he makes peace with his life and sacrifices himself to save his friends and loved ones, truly embodying what it means to be a hero.
Jack used to get so much shit from people back when the show was airing (all I can say is thank god there wasn’t tumblr then. He would probably be what Neal Cassidy is now) but I never wavered in my love for him. I don’t know, characters who struggle with destiny or with being forced into a leadership role are the people I’ve always gravitated towards. (Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, Rick Grimes, Emma Swan, etc)
I hope this all made sense. Obviously it’s concise because I could write a thesis on why Jack Shephard is a fascinating and incredibly dymanic character. :)
A++++++++ REPLY. I wrote this at some point, to Jack’s many, erroneous haters over the years. Shit, are we twins? DO I KNOW YOU? Are we related? Have we even met? Because after reading this, I feel like we might have had a fangirl moment or million about Jack, because yeah, he’s all kinds of awesome. Thank you for agreeing.