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'Alex Cross' Reveals Whatever Happened to Sideways Jack from 'Lost'

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Oct 20, 2012 | 7:27am EDT

Matthew Fox

Warning: Alex Cross spoilers ahead!

He had to go back. He really did. If you weren't convinced when a bearded Jack Shephard made this proclamation to an ostensibly varnished Kate Austen (seriously, doesn't she look so odd in that scene?) on that fateful Season 3 finale of Lost, you will be soon. Just go see Alex Cross.

It might not make a lot of sense to consider the 2012 cinematic adaptation of a James Patterson novel to be canon in a seemingly unrelated television series that ended in 2010, but rest assured: when you see Matthew Fox take the villainous role in the new Tyler Perry-starrer, you'll be remiss if you don't notice the obvious connection. Fox's nameless MMA-fighting, Picasso-painting, sociopathic mercenary is, undeniably, Sideways Jack. The Jack that, thanks to some fancy footwork from the space-time continuum, never made it to the island. This is a Jack with a much less tumultuous history of air travel, who married (and divorced) Juliet Burke and birthed a son named David. This is a Jack who would, eventually, were not for that spiritual awakening at the end of the Lost finale, transform into the bloodthirsty, heartless killer we see in Alex Cross. They're the same guy.

But how could this be? His life seemed pleasant enough, didn't it? Maybe not enlightenment-levels of pleasant, but hardly anything that'd result in a plunge into the hit man business. But we've seen what mainland life does to Jack. Sure, he seemed happy right before that whole touching-Kate's-hand-and-flashing-over-to-a-church-where-everyone-he-knew-from-a-parallel-life-on-a-waterlocked-purgatory-was-escorted-to-Heaven-by-his-estranged-father thing (remember?). But despite all the details listed above, he is the same guy as main timeline Jack. We've seen this Jack in his extraislandic states of being. Before the crash of Flight 815, he was unhappy. He had a strained relationship with his disapproving, alcoholic father, and had endured an ill-fated marriage to Claire Dunphy. When the doc returned prematurely from the island as one of the Oceanic Six, he was one step away from holing up in a bomb shelter with a copy of the Warren Commission Report and a dozen bags of human blood. This dude wasn't made for Los Angeles life. He belonged on the island. And eventually, be his timeline sideways or straight down the middle, he'd get there.

Fortunately, Jack found his way to a blissful final resting place beside faithful Vincent, right on that grass patch upon which he was first delivered to that strange, horrifying land that gave him the most important days of his life. Fortunately, that very same Jack would reunite with Kate, John Locke, James Ford, Boone Diedtooearlytorememberhislastname, and the rest of the castaways just before the strange, white glow that had the power to turn angry boys into smoke monsters and send polar bears to African deserts, beckoned him and his surrogate family to eternal bliss. Unfortunately, one incarnation of Jack seems to have escaped this fate. A Jack lived on performing stressful spinal surgeries in L.A., feigning a civil relationship with ex-wife Juliet, and fostering an increasingly distant relationship with his adolescent son. Eventually, this would tear him apart.

Maybe the visions would come. Maybe they'd drive him mad. What is this enlightened life of which I keep earning momentary glimpses? Who are these strangers that I feel to be my family? Where is this home I have never known? Hard questions to battle. Enough to drive any well-adjusted man to lunacy.

As we see in Alex Cross, Fox's villain isn't your average hit man desperate for a dirty dollar. He revels in pain, because it's the only feeling he understands. You might recall a bearded Jack embracing a similar mentality. He delved into alcoholism, into a variety of self-destructive behaviors, into taking frequent flights... just hoping that he'd crash back down to his island home, and never concerned with losing his own or his fellow flyers' lives in the process.

We know a few things about Jack. We know that he's an expert surgeon. Someone who has made a career out of cutting people open and tending to their wounded bodies. In his own way, you might call Fox's Cross character a surgeon. He dismembers, burns, and otherwise maims his victims. He, too, has a fixation with "playing with" the human body. It's just a sick, dark, evil one.

Both men have affinities for fitness, for tattoos, for positions of authority. They both have issues of control — they don't like people telling them what to do or how to think. And they both (at least according to Tyler Perry's character) have issues with their fathers. The only difference is, one never found peace. One never met the love of his life, the friends and family members he'd always longed for, the final resting place that he was meant to inhabit. One just went on living out the decadent shell of a life that fate dealt him, never coming to understand the mysteries of the universe through a heartfelt six-season journey. One veered off sideways. And became a madman.

Now, some of you may find this farfetched. Maybe the character from Alex Cross isn't Jack Shephard. Maybe he's just Matthew Fox playing another character. Well, if this evidence hasn't swayed you, then I guess nothing will. But if you won't admit to the Lost connection, then you have to admit that he's at least the same kid from Party of Five. I mean, that's just plain sense.

[Photo Credit: ABC; Summit Entertainment]

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