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I'm writing this before "Numbers," so who knows what goes on in tonight's ep. (Oh, turns out Sawyer's only storyline was he had a headache! It's the aftermath of a night of debauchery, I'm tellin' ya! Kate also seemed kind of ... tired. ;->)

Prompted by some discussions with foxxcub and yndigot about Jack and whether there's more to him than the show and some fic writers (cough*me*cough) have been giving him credit for so far. (Also, please pet my slashy new icon, courtesy of ada_farrow. Doesn't it look like they were just kissing? Or are saying, "Come kiss us both?")

Thoughts about the power situation between Jack and Sawyer:

Jack is the de facto leader. Everyone seeks his opinion and while he's certainly not a dictator, his decisions are mostly followed and respected. He defers to Locke or Sayid, both of whom he clearly respects.
He likes but is wary of Kate. He is very wary of Sawyer, has little to no respect for him (Locke came up with the idea to bring Sawyer in on the Ethan stakeout, not Jack), and has been openly hostile to him on more than one occasion. He's so serious most of the time because of the burdens of responsibility. He feels guilty if he doesn't have the answer for everything. He resents Sawyer's me-first attitude and probably envies his carefree philosophy. What does Jack want? To know that everyone is safe, to do the right thing, and to be loved are at the top of the list, I think. He hasn't had much of a chance to cut loose or do more than worry, really. His priority is the general welfare and much lower on the list is getting his rocks off, if we can judge by the whole scene where Kate asked him if he was checking her out and he proceeded to deny it and start talking about the caves instead.

Sawyer ... what does Sawyer really want? He craves and creates situations that bring him negative attention. Deep down, he must want to be loved but doesn't feel worthy of it. He resents Jack and others in authority, perhaps stemming back to his resentment over his father. Does he hate his father? Probably. Was that metaphorical boar supposed to be his father as well as the man he unjustly murdered? That altered flashback suggested so. And does that mean that Sawyer now has a measure of peace regarding his parents' death? Who knows?

Sawyer is the island outcast who has gone out of his way to incur everyone's wrath, partly because he's an ornery SOB but also because he has (or had) a burning death wish. But he seemed glad to be on the team to get Ethan. He didn't give any guff, just stepped up to the plate and played ball. Jack was the one being pissy and snide about it. So, given the opportunity and the respect, Sawyer can play nice, as seen when Hurley asked him directly for the manifest without being threatening or cute about it. But will anyone give Sawyer that opportunity? Sawyer definitely thinks the world owes him something, but then he's just as certain that maybe he doesn't deserve it. A complex guy indeed.

Can Jack be dominant? Certainly! Does he also seem the most sympathetic and vulnerable of the OT3 of Kate and Sawyer? Yes. He's also a take-charge kind of guy. He's not afraid to throw a punch or face down difficult situations or even threaten and torture someone if he thinks the occasion calls for it.

Can Sawyer be submissive? (Pardon me while I put my head back together...) I *know* he's a masochist and all but I just can't go there. So much. I know there's a lot Sawyer/Sayid stuff where Sayid's dominant, which makes sense, but still, something about that bothers me. I tend to think of someone who's sexually submissive as those authority figure guys who secretly long to be dominated. (Kinda more like Jack ...)

Sawyer seems like he's up for a good time, but he also likes to be in control of situations as much as he can. Isn't that what the whole hoarding thing is about? Making people come to him and ask for stuff? Having a degree of power over them? The same with the knowledge about Jack's dad. It makes him feel powerful to hold that secret. And running cons, back in the real world. So, no, I can't entirely go along with submissive Sawyer. But that doesn't mean *you* can't be writing those fics and convince me. Of course, what people do in bed (or on the beach or wherever), doesn't always make sense, strictly speaking. Nor can a kink always be predicted just by looking at someone, talking to them or even having sex with them a few times.

Scenarios in which Jack and Sawyer have to interact: When Sawyer was injured. When Sawyer has something Jack wants. When they have to work together for the common good. When Sawyer just feels like needling Jack about something. When their pursuit of Kate causes their paths to cross.

Scenarios in which Jack and Sawyer could be friends: When they realize how much they have in common, which would mean both of them coming to grips with their past and forgiving their fathers for all the damage they did. Not holding my breath on that one! When they realize they have a common enemy, whether it's Ethan, the island, or lyin' ass Kate.

Scenarios in which Jack and Sawyer could be more than friends: That's what all us slash writers have been pondering, with varying degrees of convincingness. There's drunken abandon, deciding to share Kate rather than not have her at all, a near-death experience, violence leading to sex, mystical influences (yes, that's an Angel shout-out). And then there's the always popular: Just because I say so.

Anyway, that's me rehashing some familiar ground. Ultimately, good writing makes characters work even when they're acting kind of *out* of character. Smutwise, if someone tries something new on another character, and that character goes along with it just for that once maybe, well, hallelujah. I'm not going to analyze it to death. If it feels good, do it, right? ;-> And yes, this is all because of the mind-blowing fic that is foxxcub's "Quid Pro Quo" fic. (Why do I hear Hannibal Lecter hissing in my ear now? XD)


And on a slightly more mundane note:

Because of the following post, I was pondering the whole situation where Sawyer knows about Jack's dad but Jack doesn't know he knows. Here's this food for thought about what *could* happen if Jack believes that Sawyer *killed* his father. http://www.livejournal.com/community/lost_tv/539548.html

I actually think Jack's dad died of natural causes and Sawyer couldn't have caused it. This was discussed quite a lot over at TWoP. Also, Sawyer's arrest had to be for something very minor if he was joking around and being treated so dismissively by the police. We still don't know the whole story about Jack's dad, but I don't think Sawyer killed him. I imagine there's a scenario where Jack could *think* Sawyer did, but since he's a doctor himself and his dad was a longterm alcoholic, and there was no mention of foul play so far, I don't think Jack would jump to the conclusion.

Instead, I think the tension between them is that it's one more thing for Sawyer to be jealous about that Jack had and he didn't -- a father who loved him. Probably Sawyer thinks his father would have killed him too if he hadn't hidden under the bed that night.

I saw an interview on E! where Josh Holloway said that his knowledge about Jack's dad is the "trump card" he holds over Jack. How will he choose to use that information, if at all? It would help Jack more than hurt him, so if he tells Jack, he loses that feeling of being one-up on him. I don't think he can tell him until they are on a more equal or at least friendly footing and god knows when that will be, if ever.


Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
svilleficrecs
Mar. 3rd, 2005 07:45 am (UTC)
Smart, insightful commentary. I look forward to seeing more analysis from you. ;) Thanks for sharing.
halfdutch
Mar. 3rd, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm known to ramble on and on about Sawyer. Thanks for reading ;->
foxxcub
Mar. 3rd, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
Mercy, girl, I really DID get your noodle buzzin'! Wow! Oh, now my head hurts...;D

I do have to disagree about Sawyer being submissive (you know I have to, dude!). But I completely agree with you about his need to have control--his hoarding of supplies is essentially his need (as Sawyer, not James) to not have to rely on people for his survival, which he's been doing practically his whole life. When he lets himself actually BE James and starts to let go of the Controlling!Sawyer persona, he is vulnerable to people and lets himself rely on others, such as him going to Sayid about the whispers and needing Kate to help him track the boar. There is (I believe, anyway) this deep-seeded need within him to let others care for him, but it's almost too deeply buried within Controlling!Sawyer for the little James in him to express this vulnerability. I think it only comes close to the surface when he's with Kate (on the show and in fic) and with Jack (in fic). As long as writers don't exploit this need and use it for good angsty purposes, I think this can be illustrated to its full potential. On the Skate side, I've always said that while Jack is Kate's saving grace, she is also Sawyer's, and I think that will most definitely come into play sometime, hopefully soon!!

I also think Christian died of natural causes. Sawyer has had enough trauma from killing Shrimp Dude and inadvertently shooting the Marshall in the chest; I don't think he's ever killed anyone else. If he's that upset over killing Shrimp Dude that he'd let Sayid and Jack torture him, I don't think he's responsible for Doctor Daddy's death as well. But I definitely think he'll lord his info over Jack just to know he has something on him. Mmmm, delicious conflict and angst, mwa!!

'Kay, babbled enough. Probably made nooo sense whatsoever, but muh, oh well ;D

I can't believe my little smutty fic 'caused you to do all this! Whodathunk?
halfdutch
Mar. 3rd, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
When he lets himself actually BE James and starts to let go of the Controlling!Sawyer persona, he is vulnerable to people and lets himself rely on others... this deep-seeded need within him to let others care for him, but it's almost too deeply buried within Controlling!Sawyer for the little James in him to express this vulnerability.

ITA. And damn, I need to go hug him right now! I guess I've been caught up in how tough and manipulative Kate is and that while she and Sawyer may be more *right* for each other than her and Jack, Kate is actually *worse* than Sawyer in many ways. So I've gotten off the "she will save Sawyer" bandwagon. However, I think canonically, she will save him or get him on the right path. It would be more typical (like John Wayne movie typical) if it was someone completely sweet like Claire who "redeemed" him, though.

(OT: God, please don't kill him off saving her. Eek. Just reading some spec that the only way he'll be redeemed is through sacrificing himself. Not a new idea, but not a welcome one, either. Nooo! I swear I will stop watching if they do that.)

But yes, James/Sawyer is more vulnerable than he lets on underneath that hard shell. He doesn't want to admit he needs anyone, but of course he does.

Hats off to the show for giving us some great, complex characters that we can spend (waste?) this much time analyzing. Still rethinking these two and their relationship, if you can call it that.

For example, on what occasions does Sawyer fight back? (Exploring the actual masochism angle - not that being submissive and being masochistic are the same thing.) Sawyer was ready to throw down with Jack when he first demanded the asthma inhalers. Then, by the time Sawyer went to the caves for water and Jack punched him, he didn't fight back and egged him on. Was it because there were people around now? Or because he'd realized he could now manipulate the situation to maybe get his death/"punish me I'm bad" wish fulfilled?

Sawyer fought Sayid in the pilot. He beat up Boone. He shot the bear. So he is about self-defense but also about self-destruction. He hasn't been in a fight in a while (besides "arresting" Jin), but I think it takes a special circumstance for him *not* to fight back.

OK, now *my* head hurts! ;-> Thanks for the (super hot!) food for thought and the ongoing discussion!


foxxcub
Mar. 3rd, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
For example, on what occasions does Sawyer fight back? (Exploring the actual masochism angle - not that being submissive and being masochistic are the same thing.) Sawyer was ready to throw down with Jack when he first demanded the asthma inhalers. Then, by the time Sawyer went to the caves for water and Jack punched him, he didn't fight back and egged him on. Was it because there were people around now? Or because he'd realized he could now manipulate the situation to maybe get his death/"punish me I'm bad" wish fulfilled?

That's very true, I hadn't thought of that! He is ready to take Jack there at first, then he just lets him pummel him at the caves. Hmmm...But there were people around the first time, at least Kate was there. I personally think it's very much a slight masochistic desire to have people hate/punish him for his sins. Guh, DON'T get me started on my he-just-had-Kate-kiss-him-because-he's-torturing-himself-with-what-he-can't-have gushing ;p
halfdutch
Mar. 3rd, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
That's very true, I hadn't thought of that! He is ready to take Jack there at first, then he just lets him pummel him at the caves. Hmmm...But there were people around the first time, at least Kate was there.

I just watched this again recently and Kate actually does her patented "What's going on?" buttinsky thing, showing up just as they're about to fight. So they stop because of her. But I think they were alone before she arrived -- just in the nick of time!

I personally think it's very much a slight masochistic desire to have people hate/punish him for his sins.

Agreed. Question: Does he still feel that way, you think?

Guh, DON'T get me started on my he-just-had-Kate-kiss-him-because-he's-torturing-himself-with-what-he-can't-have gushing

So his mortal sin is envy? (He said he's not greedy. ;-D) He's spent his life outside looking in, in a way, hasn't he? Ah, Sawyer angst. It's my crack.

foxxcub
Mar. 3rd, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
So his mortal sin is envy? (He said he's not greedy. ;-D) He's spent his life outside looking in, in a way, hasn't he? Ah, Sawyer angst. It's my crack.

GUH. *head explodes*

Duuuuuude...if Sawyer angst is your crack, then it's my morphine, and I'm hooked up to an IV. Holy shit...his sin is envy...wow. My brain hurts.
halfdutch
Mar. 3rd, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
As long as Sawyer doesn't, ya know, cut anyone's head off to force Jack to become Wrath. ;-> Or maybe Sawyer's really Sloth. And Boone is Envy.

Let's see: Hurley = Gluttony, Locke = Greed (for Power), Sayid = Wrath. Hmm, does Jack = Pride, then? Eh. (What am I missing, as I run through Seven in my head?)

And weren't you working on a Jealous!Sawyer fic?
foxxcub
Mar. 3rd, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
And weren't you working on a Jealous!Sawyer fic?

Oh. Dude. You gotta see the entry I just made in my LJ. I don't what I was working on, but I'm now obsessed with writing Smoking!Jack fic. *spontaneously combusts*

*ahem* seeicon
ada_farrow
Mar. 4th, 2005 01:14 am (UTC)
1) I...warily believe in the sacrifice of Sawyer. I suspect that it may happen, unfortunately. :-/

2) I can't think of him as "James," because who knows if it's his real name or not? I guess he wouldn't have any reason to give an alias, but...still. The identity thing, as I say below is what keeps us estranged from Sawyer and Kate, and distrustful of them. (Although Sayid doesn't have a last name, either...*cough*) Does Michael have a last name?

3) I wish that someone's backstory had been completely different from who and what they are in the present. Like a radically different style of dress, if not manner.
halfdutch
Mar. 4th, 2005 02:02 am (UTC)
1) I...warily believe in the sacrifice of Sawyer. I suspect that it may happen, unfortunately. :-/
Augh. Me too, but I really hope not. Not least because Josh is *the* breakout star of the show and they'd be stupid to kill him off. I really would stop watching.

2) The identity thing, as I say below is what keeps us estranged from Sawyer and Kate, and distrustful of them.
I am distrustful of Kate, not of Sawyer, but that's just me, probably. I found it hard to write about her sympathetically after her 2nd backstory. Now I just get into a headspace separate from the show if I want to write her as anything other than a conniving bitch.

3) I wish that someone's backstory had been completely different from who and what they are in the present. Like a radically different style of dress, if not manner.

Well, Sawyer was wearing a suit in his first flashback!! Locke was pretty different in his flashback.
ada_farrow
Mar. 4th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
Hmm...point taken. Maybe Boone will wear a dress in Shannon's flashback. Oh wait, he pretty much does all ready. *CHEAP SHOT*
ada_farrow
Mar. 4th, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
Sawyer has serious identity issues. Since he's become the man he hates, transitive logic reasons that he'd hate himself as well. I would love to see how Jack would act were he not supported and revered by the masses. Something said on the Lost-Forum: Jack's familiar with his own fallibility, and that keeps him from being totalitarian--he's willing to accept contributions from others. Sawyer's perfectly comfortable as an outcast, but what would Jack do?
Actually, I see Jack as dominant in Jack/Sawyer maybe because his character is less fragmented? (Not sure that makes sense, uh...) All right, I can't explain it, but I'll get there. There's also that quality to Sawyer that's...coaxing/teasing/daring/truly-wanting. "I bet you won't fuck me." Although, you make a good point:
I tend to think of someone who's sexually submissive as those authority figure guys who secretly long to be dominated. (Kinda more like Jack ...)
As far as the OT3, I do think he'd be more submissive (more like cautious) simply in that he probably hasn't been as sexually daring as Kate may have been and Sawyer definately has. Although part of the reason I love the OT3 so much is the dynamic contrast between passionate Jack/Sawyer and competitive Jack/Sawyer when it comes to Kate.
In a way, Jack and Sawyer are two different "practicalities" of mind, as you've said. Group ethics and preservation vs. personal security. Together they've provided for everything. I am a little skeptical of the characters who judge Sawyer for hoarding. Would they have left the useful items of the dead to burn? No. They're just upset that Sawyer's gained from rejecting "civility" and that his choice made sense. I know that I probably wouldn't have been doing any "personal shopping" right after the crash, but soon. The dead shouldn't control the living. But that's a little tangent. Sawyer hoards his emotions like his possessions. His conversation with Jacks dad, his hearing voices in the forest. Defensive mechanism, or offensive mechanism? I'm not so sure.

Side-note: In the anime world, we put the dominant person first in slash pairings. That can also extend to het. Hence it would always be Sawyer/Kate. And you can distinguish between Sawyer/Jack and Jack/Sawyer. Does anyone else adhere to this? Meh. I'm used to it. Although that also extends to using an 'x' for sex pairings and '+' for romantic ones.
halfdutch
Mar. 4th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC)
I would love to see how Jack would act were he not supported and revered by the masses.

Well, he's a little boy lost too, in a way. I think he was surprised to be given the leadership mantle and had to be coaxed into it by Locke.

Sawyer hoards his emotions like his possessions. Too true. He can't let himself be vulnerable or hurt. He'd honestly rather die.

I was just thinking that Sawyer *can* be manipulated. Despite his own skill as a con artist, he has a blind spot when it comes to his drive for vengeance and Hibbs knew that. Whether Sawyer can be manipulated in other ways -- not so sure. It seems like Jack was more willing to help Kate with her suitcase than Sawyer was. He was using it as a bargaining chip to get closer to her, but she didn't want to play the game that way. Sawyer called her on her manipulations and I loved it when he and Jack bonded over their mutual mistrust of her. Sadly, that faded away all too soon. Jack seemed easier to "play" than Sawyer, but he was no dummy either.

Almost forgot - Jack threatening to withhold Sawyer's meds. Sawyer actually *respected* him when he did this, stopped playing nice and got dirty. So, yeah, Sawyer does seem to respond to (and yield to) Tough!Jack. ;-> Hmm, putting that in my thinking cap.

Jack is definitely out for the greater good and Sawyer out for himself, both different responses to (very different) bad childhoods. I think they are essentially both good and are capable of good, although maybe that's just fanwanking on my part. There have been numerous instances where Sawyer helped out unselfishly (like in the Jin-Michael fight), but it's just a drop in the bucket compared to all his selfish grandstanding.

As far as who to put first in pairings: I like to go with how it sounds to me, aesthetically. I like Sawyer/Sayid and Jack/Sawyer, just the sound of it.
Interestingly, many of the LJ communities put Sawyer first: Sawyer/Shannon, Sawyer/Jack & Sawyer/Sayid. And I'm fine with that. *g* I've read some *bad* fic where Sawyer's the bottom and it just doesn't ring true to me, whether due to bad writing or OOC or both.

All it takes is one good fic to change my mind, though. I didn't used to be into Sawyer/Sayid -- or slash -- at all, but wow, did I get my view turned around!







belleimani
Mar. 7th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
Excellent commentary, especially on the whole, Sawyer/Jack having so much in common, which actually goes along with the fact that Jack was originally supposed to die.
I wonder how mucho of Jack's character comes from him being the flipside of Sawyer, their sort of Bruce Banner/Hulk relationship ie. Jack feels the same way about a lot of things the way Sawyer does but only Sawyer actually says/does what Jack wants to.
halfdutch
Mar. 7th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I wonder how mucho of Jack's character comes from him being the flipside of Sawyer. There was that MF quote a while ago that Jack has to become more like Sawyer to survive, and vice versa. They are kind of two extremes of the same person and neither one's strategy is successful on the island, so they both have to adapt. And occasionally work together!

Jack feels the same way about a lot of things the way Sawyer does but only Sawyer actually says/does what Jack wants to. Good point! Like regarding Kate. Jack is so buttoned up most of the time and Sawyer just puts his interest right out there.

their sort of Bruce Banner/Hulk relationship Ha! Yeah, Jack seems to be about keeping it together while Sawyer's more "me angry, me smash!" ;->
belleimani
Mar. 9th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
Hee, Sawyer's more "me angry, me smash!" ;-> Exactly.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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