Part of the success of Lost is that the writers wisely give the fans not what they want, but what they need. The result is that the viewers are constantly in a state of wanting, so they keep coming back for more. Upon first viewing, this episode came across as a slight disappointment after the fireworks of the season opener, but upon reflection, we have to say that it was the right direction to go in. Without the deep characterizations on this show, it'd just be another goofy sci-fi adventure series, one that may not have lasted as long as it has without all that character work. If these were just a bunch of boilerplate adventure characters, chances are the viewership would have lost interest a while ago. Besides, this is the final season and each major character deserves to have one last episode centered solely around themselves.
And so, we got probably the last Kate-centric episode, cleverly titled "What Kate Does," a callback to the Season 2 episode "What Kate Did," which revealed for the first time the crime that turned Kate into a fugitive. Despite the attempts of a portion of the viewership to make Kate all about which man she's going to choose (we are neither "Skaters," nor "Jaters," thank you very much) Kate has always been about herself and her own motivations first. This point was driven home last season when we were teased with the idea that Kate returned to the island to reunite with Sawyer or to be with Jack, only to find out she had reasons that had nothing to do with either man and those reasons revolved around Claire and Aaron.
Well, we got a repeat of that last night, as we were teased with the prospect of either a Kate and Jack moment or a Kate and Sawyer moment and we got neither. The Kate and Jack moment came in the temple where we saw the spark of that old partnership ("I'll take care of James. You take care of Sayid.") The Kate and Sawyer moment? Pick one. There were several. And yet none of these moments were the romantic teases they first appeared to be. The fact is, she lied to Jack when she said she'd bring Sawyer back and the fact is, she's not looking at Sawyer romantically at the moment and he's not looking at her that way either. She's concerned for a friend who's grieving (and feeling guilty about her part in it) and Sawyer's grief was revealed to be far deeper than anyone really thought. By the way, kudos to Josh Holloway, who's been knocking it out of the park, acting-wise. His grief is real and palpable and punches through the TV screen so you can feel it. Everything from his voice to the way he walks illustrates that this is a man who's lost everything, including hope.
And can we just say, Kate is always FAR more interesting when she's following her own agenda? When she knocked out both others in the space of 5 seconds we were all "YOU GO, KATE!" But whenever she's sighing and leaning in to almost-but-not-quite kiss one of her paramours, we find all the interesting parts of her just drain away. Kate's just more fun when she's on the run. By the way, we've been racking our brains, but we don't think Jin and Kate have ever had a scene together, just the two of them, before this episode. It's amazing to us that after all this time, the writers can still come up with new character combinations.
In other news, the mystery of just what the hell is going on with Sayid deepens. So maybe we were wrong last week. He's not Jacob in Sayid's body. He's apparently "infected" in much the same way Rousseau's team was. Rousseau's ghost hung heavy over everything last night, but we'll get to that in a bit.
One of the overriding themes of Lost is destiny and we saw a lot of that last night. It is apparently Sayid's destiny to be tortured again and again as payment for his sins and it's Kate's destiny to run, no matter where she is or what reality she's in. Kate is also destined to play a part in Claire and Aaron's life, no matter the reality too. In fact, one thing the B timeline is establishing is that even if flight 815 never crashed, certain things are going to happen: Jack will save Charlie's life in either reality, Kate will be there for Claire when she goes into labor, Ethan will be there to stick needles into Claire, Claire will always scream "Moy bye-bye!" As in, "They're troying to tyke moy bye-bye!" And more and more, the B versions of the characters appear to be retaining some sense of the A timeline. Kate looked puzzled for a second when she saw Jack outside the airport. Claire got back into the cab with the woman who had pulled a gun on her. Kate looked momentarily confused and surprised when Claire blurted out the name of Aaron. Also, there appears to be something with mirrors. Jack had a moment in the season opener when he peered in the mirror, seemingly confused about where he was and Kate had a similar moment when she opened Claire's bag and peered into the mirror, confused. These characters are literally Through the Looking Glass.
Now, let's quote an exchange between Jacob and his Nemesis from last season:
Nemesis: "They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same."
Jacob: "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress."
Why are we quoting this? Because it popped into our heads last night when Claire showed up toting a rifle in the jungle. We mentioned last week about the echoes. Those scenes and moments that refer back to earlier scenes and moments. Like we said, Sayid gets tortured over and over again. Kate runs over and over again. Charlie's life is saved over and over again. Locke sustains leg injuries over and over again. We could go on and on, but we'll stop there. The point is, it is apparently destiny that there will always be a crazed, rifle-toting woman wandering the jungle after having lost her child. With Rousseau gone, it became Claire's turn to set the traps and stop using hair products. According to Dogen (who incidentally serves as an echo of Sun, an Asian character who can speak English, but refuses to do so), Claire has been infected. What this means, we can only guess. Actually, we can't even do that. We have no clue what's going on there.
Okay, we've rambled enough. Here are some discussion points for extra credit:
* Why is there no technology of any sort in the Temple? From the typewriter to the mortar and pestle to the hand-cranked torture device, it seemed like there was a point being made but we can't figure it out. Is this a philosophical conceit or is it by necessity?
* What's the deal with the pill? Why does it have to be taken willingly?
* Jack, like Sawyer, is at the end of the line after the events at the Swan. He swallowed that pill because he really doesn't care if he lives or dies. That makes both characters much more dangerous.
* Miles keeps looking at Sayid funny. Granted, the guy pulled a full-on Jesus in front of him, but he was looking at him funny even before he rose from the dead. Since Miles has a connection with the dead, we're wondering what that means. Discuss.
* Despite his puzzlement, Miles got off a couple great lines. "As you can see, Hugo here has assumed a leadership position, so...that's pretty good. " "We'll be in the food court if you need us."
*If Ethan is alive in the B timeline, that must mean he was taken off the island before the bomb went off. Pierre Chang ordered all the women and children off the island. Does this mean his mother's wandering around somewhere? Is there a Ben in the B timeline? Discuss.
* As we said, the characters are literally through the looking glass. "The Looking Glass" was the DHARMA station that used a beacon to guide submarines to the island. Discuss.
* Claire's tatty-ass wig in the B timeline. Discuss.
Pictures courtesy of ABC TV.
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