'Lost' Dueling Analysis: 'What Kate Does'
Welcome back to another gripping analysis, in which Jen and Liz attempt to get to the bottom of this week's episode -- possibly without success. That's where you come in. After reading, add your thoughts to the comments section below, then join the 2 p.m. "Lost" Hour live chat. And, as always, don't forget to buzz by "Lost" Central.
Liz: Another week, another hour closer to the... very... end. What did we learn? That course correction -- at least as it applies to "Lost's" version of fate -- is alive and well? That Sawyer is still pretty P.O'd about the whole Juliet thing? That Kate is still torn between him and Jack? That Jack, speaking of the guy, is willing to swallow a mysterious poison pill to assuage his guilty conscience? And did we like this episode better than last week's premiere?
While you answer those questions, Jen, I'll get my credit card for you.
Jen: Oh, thanks. I figured you'd let me use it, even though I pulled a gun on you and stole your stuff. (I gave it back, though. And that makes me trustworthy.)
A lot of things to touch on this week, but let me address your last question first: Did I like the episode more than the premiere? At about the half-hour mark, I was feeling antsy and impatient. I wanted the episode to take me somewhere it hadn't taken me. And then four magic words were uttered: "Yes, I'm Dr. Goodspeed." Rest of the episode was pretty spot-on from there, I thought. Better than the premiere? In terms of jaw-dropping moments, yup.
Much more after the jump...
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Liz: We did seem to get off to a slow start and I was growing a bit impatient with Dogen (more on that guy later) and his henchman and their almost affected insistence on being as cryptic as possible while simultaneously wearing cast-off costumes from a local theater production of "Heart of Darkness."
Jen: Mr. Mapother actually deserves credit for delivering the quote of the night: "I just don't want to have to stick you with needles if I don't have to."
Liz: I'd have to go with Miles's: "As you can see, Hugo has assumed the leadership position, so it's pretty great."
Jen: I'm also a fan of "No, I am not a zombie." Which takes care of the S6 shout-outs to the zombie season, I suppose. Anyhoo, course correction. Ready? Go!
Liz: We have to assume that course correction was at work in bringing together Claire and Kate off island in the alternate reality. For the forgetful among us, I'll remind you that Kate delivered baby Aaron back on the island shortly after Claire had escaped the clutches of one (seemingly) evil Dr. Ethan Rom. How nice that they could all be together again (or, for the first time?) in L.A. after fate had handily seen to the trashing of Claire's plan to give her baby up for adoption.
Jen: Ethan, Kate and Claire being together prior to Aaron's birth was bound to happen, no matter what the circumstances, apparently. Which makes me a little more willing to buy that Claire would have gotten back in the cab with Little Miss Shotgun and Handcuffs. A little bit.
Liz: Though we should note that Kate left the hospital room without Aaron actually being born this time.
Jen: But back up a second. Both of us have been using the term alternate reality for the L.A. redux plotlines we're seeing in season six. But in their podcast last week (available at the bottom of the official ABC show page), LindeCuse cautioned against doing that. The term "alternate timeline" may be a misnomer.
They implied that both the island timeline and the new Oceanic timeline are now valid. My takeaway, if I understood correctly, was that the L.A. redux stuff wipes away everything from before. So it's not so much an alternate as THE timeline.
Does that make sense? Because I don't even trust myself.
Liz: Wait -- let me noodle that through for a second. So, it's not an alternate timeline, but it is -- in that both are actually unfolding somewhat simultaneously and, possibly, equally valid?
Jen: I think so. I believe they wanted to make it clear that what's happening since 815 landed isn't just an alternate version of what happened before, but THE version. Which is why other details in everyone's back stories also may be different.
Liz: Implying that if something in the new stateside timeline changes it could still potentially undo all that is unfolding on the island? Lending new legitimacy to Juliet's "it worked" statement? Ai -- my brain hurts.
Jen: Possibly, yes. So your astute observation that Kate left before Aaron was born ... could that somehow be tied up in the jawdropping revelation that Claire has been "infected" on the island? Perhaps Kate's absence from the child's arrival into the world had some impact on Claire, which is somehow tied up in what's going on on the island. It seems to me the two narratives we're currently experiencing have to be connected somehow.
Liz: Mmm kay. Not sure that's computing in my Commodore 64 of a brain, but I agree that the two narratives will at some point connect. But what of on-island Claire, who is now apparently Rousseau 2.0, and the notion that she has been "claimed"? By who or what we don't know, but the Others have suggested a "darkness" meaning our old friend MIB. But, since MIB has only claimed -- or so we thought -- the form of dead people in the past, should we assume that Claire did in fact die and was somehow reborn, ala Sayid's resurrection?
Jen: I think that's a fair assumption, that Claire was reborn. (And for the record, the Kate-not-being there-for-Aaron's-birth thought is not fully formed, and may be nothing more than nonsensical spitballin'.) But re: Claire as Rousseau -- interesting that Justin, aka Talky McRevealerson, said earlier in the episode that the Frenchwoman had died many years ago. So it would be fascinating if Claire assumed her role -- not literally her body, but the role Rousseau played on the island.
Liz: Well, if the shoe -- or rifle strap -- fits. She's living alone in the jungle, building primitive traps, searching for her lost baby. Sounds like Rousseau to me.
Which brings us to Sayid. Dogen (a name on which I believe you can shed some light) claims that Sayid is infected. I'm with Jack, though. I'm not sure we should trust him and his poison. Wouldn't a non-infected Sayid still cry out in pain if he were electrocuted and branded with a hot poker?
And, I'd just like to go on the record now as being in the enough-already-with-the-temple camp. Too much set design for too little plot payoff.
Jen: I think he would still cry out in pain. But I definitely sensed something different in the way he reacted. I think Sayid would have expressed distress, sure, but there's a steeliness in him that would normally come out in such a situation that didn't reveal itself. No ninja breakdance moves whatsoever.
And remember, when Rousseau's baby-daddy Robert got "infected" he almost seemed like himself, but she couldn't shake the notion that something about him was off. And that's the vibe I was getting from Sayid. I thought at first after the premiere that Jacob had entered him, but I guess that's not right. Or... maybe Jacob really did enter him and Jacob is the bad guy.
Liz: That is a good reminder re: Rousseau's boyfriend and the rest of her crew mates. They were definitely portrayed as possessed.
As for Sayid's lack of "steeliness," remember the guy just rose from the dead. He's hardly at the top of his game and in prime breakdancing ninja form. And, technically, Dogen is the one who killed Sayid anyway.
Jen: Oh, on another note, since we've referred to Justin, we should give Aldo a shout-out, otherwise known as the guy who fell for the Wookie Prisoner Gag. He's super ticked and sarcastic. And Lord knows we don't have enough sarcastic people on the show these days.
But let's talk Dogen, who more officially revealed his name this week.
Dogen, in the real (not alternate) world was a Zen Buddhist teacher. And according to Wikipedia, he eventually wrote the following:
"As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth. If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages—undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment—find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?"
Liz: Ahh, yes, I believe that was written in his "Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma."
Jen: Lostpedia also notes this fun fact: The original Dogen died on this date: Sept. 22, 1253. So the dude's important. I also think he's subtly telling Jack a few things about leadership. I liked his comment about not speaking English because he needs to separate himself from the people he leads. Otherwise, it will be too hard for him to tell them what to do. Jack's never quite been able to do that.
Liz: Yes, too bad Ben didn't think of that trick, too. But, like many an Other leader before him, Dogen is possessed of a singular ability to keep his cards close to his vest. As in "give your friend this pill, but I won't tell you what's in it or why."
Jen: Well, Ben did lie like the Temple Master. So, you know, he must have learned something.
Liz: As far as leadership skills go, Jack's coming along. He admitted tonight that he doesn't even "trust himself." So he's even further from the cocky spinal surgeon we met in season one. He's growing and changing -- for the better. And I think it's working for him. A couple of seasons ago he would've knocked Dogen out and hauled butt out of the temple. Now he's -- well, he's playing chess. He's taking calculated risks designed to pay off a move or two further in the game rather than just careening around the board with no endgame in sight.
Hmm, another metaphor for the entire show!
Jen: Well, that's true. Good point. But emotionally, I don't think Jack's in a good place. He seemed to have finally gotten comfortable with trusting something bigger than himself last season. But once he realized that didn't work out -- or at least doesn't appeared to have worked out -- he's seemed a little broken to me. But he's letting his brain dictate his choices instead of his emotions, which is probably a good thing.
Liz: He may not be in a good place emotionally at present (and who could be after what he's been through?), but he's firing on all cylinders. Unlike one James Ford, who is just utterly crippled by grief right now and susceptible to all kinds of evil influences... men in black, women with long curly brunette locks.
Jen: Oh, man. How heartbreaking was it to watch Josh Holloway cry?
Liz: Gotta admit it, for an actor dismissed largely as just another pretty torso, he's turned in some mighty powerful performances in the last few shows (I'm including the end of last season here).
Jen: He really has. He's come a very long way from season one. Not that he was bad then, necessarily, but he didn't have to play such a wide range of emotions. So kudos to him. The guy is more than just a shirtless heartthrob. There. We said it.
Liz: Though I love how Kate tries to make it all about herself by saying it was her fault Juliet is dead. Nice try, freckles, but you're not due for a pity party just yet.
Jen: Oh, come on, Liz! I read that comment from Kate very differently. I felt like she was trying to own up to the fact that she played a part in screwing things up for Sawyer. You always criticize her for manipulating Jack and Sawyer. And this time she took responsibility and said, you know what, I should have kept my mouth shut. I'm sorry. Give her credit for at least that.
And I think after she saw Sawyer weeping while digging through the shoebox, she realized just how much he loved Juliet. And not her. Kate's a runner -- that's given. What she did to Jin is further evidence of that. But I don't think she's a heartless monster. She just does stupid stuff, hates herself for it and messes up things for two very handsome men in the process. Whatev. We all do that every day, right?
Liz: Hey, I call it as I see it. And her insistence on following Sawyer out of the camp -- without letting Jin in on the fact that she planned to jump their escorts -- is just another chapter in the "Kate can't decide between Jack and James" romance novel.
I agree that she realized Sawyer's depth of feeling for Juliet, and I think it bugged her.
Hey -- were you at all puzzled by Sawyer's statement to Kate on the dock that he asked Juliet to stay on the island because he "didn't want to be alone?" For a second there I thought he was maybe admitting that his feelings for Juliet weren't head-over-heels love... the kind of love he could perhaps feel for Kate.
Jen: Well, I think that's what it was at first. It wasn't love at first sight. But I will say that part of me was a bit surprised he planned to propose because Sawyer definitely seemed affected by Kate's reappearance on the island. He didn't strike me as a guy so 100-percent sure that he would have popped the question. But now this is sounding like a "Grey's Anatomy" analysis...
Liz: Agreed, though I think character development -- and their emotional lives -- is at least a small part of what Damon and Carlton meant when they said this season would be more like season 1. So we can't ignore this stuff.
Jen: No, absolutely. We should not ignore it at all. I was just being a smart aleck.
Re: Jack and Kate -- did you notice when she hijacked the cab, almost running over Arzt doing his best Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy" impression, that Kate spotted Jack? The sight of him seemed to have an impact on her. I always feel like Jack reminds Kate that she has a conscience and that she should do the right thing. And it seemed like, for a second, she sensed that just from the sight of him, and then immediately forgot all about it.
Liz: Well, it did seem that she had some kind of brief flash of recognition when she saw Jack. I didn't get the "do the right thing" vibe in that 1.2 second shot, but I like the idea so I'm willing to give it a go. She seemed to me to have that moment of hesitation because -- well, because she didn't know why she was staring at this relative stranger (they'd had that run-in on the plane) outside the airport. Then she came back to herself. But that's me, Literal Lizzie.
Liz: So, we started out talking about Claire, Kate and course correction. How, I wonder, does course correction account for the boneheaded move of giving an alleged murderer your credit card? I mean, I'm pregnant and all and I get the whole "fog of pregnancy" thing. But I can tell you I keep my credit cards near me at all times.
Jen: You're right; it's not exactly responsible financial behavior. But from a narrative perspective, it makes a lot of sense. By giving Kate her credit card, Claire is basically saying, "Hey, feel free to start pretending you're me." Which is exactly what Kate did in the flashforwards we saw last season. Again, destiny at work. Kate was always going to try to pass herself off as Claire in some fashion.
Liz: Though in this case the means by which Kate can "become" Claire Littleton may ultimately make it easier for the feds to track her down.
Jen: That's true. Would be pretty easy to find her at that point. Hey, I need to paste a note from chat producer Paul Williams, another rabid "Lost" fan on staff, here:
"Hey -- after tonight's episode, I rewatched 'Raised by Another' (which is freaking terrifying, btw) then was reading on Lostpedia, and one of the entries on unanswered questions points out that all of the Losties who went to 1977 and hid out with the DI got the vaccine. Which means Sayid did not. Possibly meaningful.)
So are we buying the story that the temple Others -- Dogen's men -- are on the good foot and just trying to keep our Losties safe? Why the insistence that Saywer not leave and then, when he did, that he be brought back safe?
Jen: They need Sawyer there for some reason. Maybe they believe he's necessary to fight off the MIB? Or -- and I'm going back to the season one well again -- maybe he will ultimately be the one to kill Sayid. Remember, Sayid tortured Sawyer pretty mercilessly back then. This would be a revisiting of that plot development, with, again, a slightly different take on the events.
Liz: I'm not sure it's only Sawyer that they need, though. My thinking is that it has something to do with that note (list) Jacob sent along in the Ankh. Our Losties' presence is required in the temple in order to fulfill Jacob's conditions for... something we'll doubtless learn in a coming episode.
Jen: True. We don't know who was on Jacob's list. That is probably key as well.
Liz: So, I move that we table the discussion until the 2 p.m. chat where we can discuss all this, plus why it is that Sayid's gunshot wound healed so fast. Was it mere island magic at work, the healing waters of the temple or something else altogether?
Jen: Yes, I want to talk about that. Because understanding how the island heals seems like a central mystery that needs to be resolved this season, and what we saw happen to Sayid should help us unlock it. I hope.
Liz: Oh, one thing -- I won't be participating in the chat since I'll be returning to my regularly scheduled island vacation here in lovely Vieques, P.R. where today's expected high is a balmy 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
But I will, of course, be there in spirit. And with you as you weather today's Snowmaggedon, part two.
Jen: Yeah, right. If by spirit you mean you'll be drinking smoothies and pretending we don't exist. For the rest of you people kind enough not to escape to tropical paradises, I'll see you in the chat, assuming I still have power and haven't been buried under a snow drift. In which case the chat may be postponed.
Oh, and one more thing to noodle on before chat time. This screen cap of Claire's ultrasound clearly has the date written on it. And that would be: October 22, 2004. October. What??
Yes, we will discuss.
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| February 10, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
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