what about what do you like about them (Jack and Kate) and why do you ship them as a couple?
“Thaaaaanks for the replay! :) what about what do you like about them and why do you ship them as a couple? :)”
Whoa! Are you sure you want to go there? Oh well, you asked for it *cracks knuckles*
What do I like about them and why do I ship Jack and Kate?
I love Jack Shephard, I love Kate Austen, and I love Jack and Kate. I love them individually, I love them as a couple, I love what they do to each other, I love what they bring out of each other and I love what they are for one another. And here is the inevitable essay that will tell you more.
For two people who were supposed to be complete opposites, Jack and Kate were shockingly very much alike. They came from completely different places, different upbringings, different worlds, they went through different circumstances and they came out as two damaged, broken and hardened people. They are two people who went about their adult lives in completely different ways on the exterior, but inside they were doing the same things. They built walls. They built walls around their hearts, around the souls and kept everyone at a safe distance. They were two people who needed to control everything around them in order to make sure no one attempted to come close enough to break these walls.
To me Jack, with all his complications, is the easier character to understand and in return, the easier one to fall in love with, to justify, to understand. Maybe because he wasn’t a murderer and so a little more relatable. But don’t get me wrong, Jack is probably the most complicated character on that show, most damaged, most complex and interesting character. Jack’s my favorite male character in anything, ever, so yeah.
Anyway, what made Jack the man we first met on the island is Christian and his rather unorthodox parenting methods. I am pretty sure Christian never laid a hand on his son, but that did not make him an abusive father. The psychological damage Christian did on Jack was huge, not only in his childhood but even as an adult. Jack as a doctor had a huge talent, and great skills. We know he finished his education faster than doctors usually do, he was one of the most talented surgeons in his field, with patients seeking him from all over the world. But that was Jack’s “worldly” talent. The driving force behind that talent was something else, it was Jack’s view of right and wrong. He could not see someone being wrong, someone being hurt, someone being oppressed and just sit back. We saw that in him as a ten year old standing up to bullies to decent Marc. Jack could not see an innocent young boy be bullied and without thinking about it he took his side. And that instinct grew with him and became what everyone referred to as his “hero complex”, his need to save everyone. Honestly that is an honorable trait in a person, but when you mix in the constant emotional and psychological beating he took from Christian, the constant reminder that he did not have in him what it took, that he could not be the hero, the result was something dangerous. He had very little faith in himself, but he was stubborn as hell and refused to give up. Ever. The harder he tried, the louder the voice in his head got. “You don’t have what it takes, Jack”. Christian was a man who could lose a patient on his table and a few hours go have drink with his friends. Jack couldn’t. Jack could not let go of anything because he believed he had to carry everything on his own two shoulders. And even though he was a very rational and logical person, more often than not he’d jump into action before properly thinking it through, his instincts getting the best of him.
That was the Jack who came to the island. A stubborn man who could not see injustice or pain happening to the people around him, strangers or not, who had developed an urge to save others, a man who had no faith in himself, with a cloud over him and a voice in his head constantly reminding him of his shortcomings, a man who did not know how to let go, and who had spent the last three years building a fortress around his heart to keep people away. Oh, and he had one hell of a bullshit detector.
Kate, on the other hand, is less easy to understand and easier to vilify. Kate’s actions throughout her adult life and even on the island were often marked as selfish. It was easy to look at what Kate did and label her as selfish or looking out for herself only. It was easier to do that than look deeper and find the truth out. And the truth was, in essence, Kate was the exact opposite of that. Instinctually, Kate is selfless. Kate has a heart that cares too much and that had turned on her. Like Jack, her childhood and upbringing forged the women she became, but unlike Jack, the choices she made as an adult, the way she acted on her instincts forced her to become something else. Kate saw the father she left, she looked up to and adored, leave and be quickly replaced by a horrible man. Sam, I believe, was a good father, an honorable man, and I truly believe he loved Kate very much. A young Kate watching her parent’s marriage fall apart, and watching Wayne replace Sam, must have been so tragically broken at a very young age, and most probably blamed herself, as most children in her situation would do. Wayne was the complete opposite of Sam. He was an abusive drunk, who even though we never saw it, I believe, abused Kate as well as Diane. As a child, an adolescent and a young woman, I think Kate’s only consolation was that she was not Wayne’s daughter, she was Sam’s. That made her feel slightly better, knowing that she was not like Wayne, but rather like Sam. When she found out the truth of her parentage, Kate could not handle it. She hated herself before anyone. Before hating Sam or Diane for keeping the truth from her, she hated herself for being Wayne’s child. But that was not why she killed him. She truly believed killing him was the only way to keep her mother safe.
Sam told Kate she had murder in her heart. When I first saw that scene I was so pissed at him. Why would he say that?! How could he say that?! But then it made sense. Kate does have murder in her heart, but not because she is inherently evil, not because she craves murder or the infliction of pain. Kate had murder in her heart because Kate had a capacity to love that knew no bounds. When Kate loved something or someone, when she cared for someone, she cared and she loved too much. And with that love came the instinct to protect them. There is where Kate had murder in her. Protecting those she cared about and loved blinded her, she would do anything to keep them safe, even if it meant murder whoever was causing them pain or threatening them.
The one instinct that Kate had her entire life, that stayed with her, was her instinct to run. After killing Wayne, when she realized her mother did not need her killing him, when she realized what killing him meant to her, the danger she was then in, her flight instinct went into gear. So she ran. She cut all her connections, built that wall around her heart and did the one thing she could do to survive. Self preservation is an instinct in all of us and the only way Kate knew how was to run. Decisions she made while on the run are decisions that you and me would not consider wise, but we are not in her shoes, are we? Kate isn’t a selfish bitch who only cares about herself. On the contrary, she is a woman who loves so much, who was hurt in the worst of ways and is just trying to survive. So as a result she became this hardened fugitive who did not allow anyone in who went through the last three years before the island doing anything to stay alive and out of prison. And just as a slightly unrelated observation, Kate (along with maybe Rose, Bernard and Aaron) is the only one who never killed anyone on the island or any time after the crash, despite all those many opportunities. So much for murder in her heart, huh? (That goes to you too, Jack, “I am not a murderer” pffft!) But that’s a whole different story.
(side note: I know I’ve gone on and on longer about Kate here, but I just feel she is misunderstood more so than Jack)
Kate’s curse, the way I see it, was that she was really good at putting on that mask, that people failed to see the real her. All they saw was the hardened criminal and fugitive who only served herself and her survival. Often people criticized Jack and Kate’s relationship saying that Jack wanted to change Kate. But the thing is, he didn’t. Unlike them, he saw that mask, he saw those walls and saw what was behind them and all he wanted was for the real Kate to come out. That is what makes it magical. While people hated on Jack for wanting Kate to stop being who they saw on the surface they failed to see that by wanting Kate to stay the way they saw her they were killing the character, sopping her growth, and forbidding her from breaking down her walls, and becoming who she really was. Jack didn’t. Jack saw the real her, he loved what he saw and he wanted her to see that as well, wanted her to embrace that Kate she had buried so long ago.
A person showing vulnerability is not a weakness, it is a strength. Hiding it is the weakness. And when a character bares that vulnerability, and bares it to someone else, it is a beautiful beautiful thing to watch.
So where was I? And a better question, where am I going with this?
Why I love them? Because these are these beautiful characters, beautiful souls, damaged and tortured and broken in every way possible. They’re both impulsive in very different ways though, I could never put my finger exactly on how that difference is. Two strong willed, stubborn people, who care too much, will do anything to protect the people around them, two people with layers and layers of faults and shortcomings, layers and layers of vulnerabilities, buried so deep inside beneath thick walls they’ve spent their adult life building. Oh, and in one way of another, they are each responsible for their father’s death. So those two seemingly opposite people aren’t that different after all are they? Well at their core they aren’t, but when it comes to how they do things they are very different.
Jack commits, intensely and cannot let go, gets too involved, drowns himself and carries it all on his shoulders. He plays by the book, a straight laced boy scout - with a few tattoos here and there - who sees wrong as wrong and right as right. Kate runs because if she doesn’t her heart will act of its own will, putting her and those she is trying to protect in danger.
And then they walk into each other’s lives and rock the other person’s existence to the core, shake every belief they ever had in themselves. That’s one thing that is so unique about them. With Jack in Kate’s life, Kate did not only get to know Jack and who he really is, she got to really know herself, met the real Kate for the first time in a long time, the Kate she had been hiding from others for so long that she forgot her herself. And the same goes for Jack. They literally turned each other’s lives upside down and inside out in the best ways possible. Accepting the other person, getting to know them, befriending them and falling in love was a challenge not against that person but against their own minds, their own hearts and souls and beliefs. It is not everyday that a person walks into your life and does that.
Those solid dark walls, those rough armors and those masks that they both built and wore had been there for years and no one had come close to touching. But when Jack and Kate met, they started coming down, crumbling and falling. At first it was happening without them noticing, and when they noticed it, they fought it. Hard. Their vulnerabilities and weaknesses were starting to show to the other person and they were too stubborn to let it happen. Kate would break down a ship off of Jack’s walls, so he would replace it with ten more but then with one more she’d take down twenty. Watching that happen was incredible, beautiful, so touching and emotional.
But it was not only that. They had to consciously and unconsciously start to shed these protective surfaces of themselves, to start to accept themselves in order to accept the other person. But there were also things happening that were so against who they had become that it shocked them and us as viewers before them. It was drilled into our minds that Kate was a runner, a flight risk, but what we saw was a Kate running in the opposite direction. Running towards Jack even when it went against her every survival instinct. Early on that was happening right in front of us. Kate was on the mission to triangulate the signal, something that would help them get off the island, but news came that Jack was caught in a cave in and she dropped it all and ran to him. She did not take a minute to think about it, she did not make sure Sawyer is going to take over, she just dropped it all and ran.
That’s just he tip of the ice berg with regards to why I love these two, as individuals, and why I love them as a couple. There’s a whole lot more, enough to fill another sixty pages, on what makes them incredible characters, of what makes them an amazing team and what makes them a mind-blowing, heart breaking, earth shattering couple. But instead of going on and on, I’m gonna ask you this,
why do you love Jack and Kate? and why do you ship them?
now I’m wondering if I should have just said “ZOMG! SO HAWT!! CHEMISTRY!!!”
but I’ll shut up now.