February 16, 2010

Why DO Kate Do What She Do?

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From “The Other 48” to “All the Good Cowboys have Daddy Issues,” from “The Man from Tallahassee” to “The Man Behind the Curtain,” the writers of Lost have taken great pleasure in peppering their episode titles with puns and one-liners. This week’s “What Kate Does” was no different, mirroring season one’s “What Kate Did” and reinforcing the importance of her behavior in this week’s two narratives.

What did Kate do? Well, in the flash-sideways, Kate resumed her relationship with a pregnant Claire she didn’t know, first hijacking her taxi (post-Flight 815 landing safely at LAX) and kicking her to the curb, then reconsidering (thanks, orca!) and bringing her to her unborn baby’s adoptive parents. Upon their arrival, our unacquainted ladies of the Island were informed by Aaron’s former future mommy that her husband had left her (daddies daddies everywhere), sending Claire into labor and the dynamic duo to the hospital.

Back on the Island, we’ve got the Sayid situation. In “LA X”, everyone’s favorite Iraqi torturer died, was revived underwater, died again and came back to life to end the premiere. This episode, temple master Dogen performed a diagnosis disguised as torture on Sayid. The verdict? Smokey might’ve just infected, nay, claimed him. This puts, for my money, four people in control of the Dark Man, aka Jacob’s nemesis, aka Smokey: Christian Shepherd, Claire, Locke and Sayid.

Segue aside, I’m not sure if I buy Dogen, Lennon and this whole Temple Other crew. Watching a slew of mysteriously red-shirted, permanently-dirty (how’d that happen?) Others creep out of the mythical Temple ruins during the premiere had me kinda weirded out … dare I say duped by my Darlton? I don’t buy any of these guys hanging out with the crew we saw buggin’ in New Otherton aka the Suburbs aka North Otherville aka the Barracks during the season three premiere.

Speaking of the 2004 Barracks dwellers, what’s up with Ethan Goodspeed (né Rom) being off the Island? We saw him born-ed, and can only assume he got off the Island when Pierre Cheng evacuated ladies and babies before the Incident. I did enjoy his appearance though, particularly for its parallels to his OG season one storyline poking Claire with needles (now he doesn’t want to! Hurley has good luck! Desmond was on the plane! Jack only got one extra shot of vodka!). My only problem with this new reality is how it kinda fucks the idea that these people were brought together for a specific reason … though, they may still have been, and if so, we may have one hell of a season and / or finale in store for us.

Most reactions to “What Kate Does” take a moment to get serious and praise Josh Holloway’s performance as heart wrenching and characterized by palpable grief. Maybe I’ve just soured on some of the more emotional aspects of the show (the eternal romantic quadrangle perhaps?), but I found the two Sawyer scenes that everybody loved (his breaking out of the temple, nothing-to-live-for season one style, and his throwing the engagement ring he intended for Juliet and just showed to Kate into the ocean, breaking her heart twofold and nullifying – while also bringing into question – her daring escape from loose Other captivity and sojourn to New Otherton, which we’ll discuss in a bit) to be classic OG Sawyer, nothing more, nothing less. He’d rather have never loved his father, Juliet or his innocence than had loved and lost any of ‘em. Maybe I was spoiled by Jon Hamm’s performance in the Mad Men season finale, but I saw Holloway’s performance as pulpy, maybe even comic book-y in the first scene, and cold as ice, as well as integral to the destruction of the everlasting quadrangle, in the second scene.

So, in conclusion, why did Kate break free (on the Island, that is)? To catch up to her long lost love, and live with him in some (creepy? Hollister-y?) Island porno? Maybe a Barracks version of Rebecca? Or were there other motives, motives informed by the flash-sideways with Kate and Claire that reminded us of Aaron, his prodigal-son status and most importantly, his consequentially integral role in our myriad webs of mythical mystery? Maybe Claire dominated the episode — particularly with her episode-ending turn as our brand-spanking new Rousseau parallel — because we were meant to see through Kate’s Sawyer-yearning motive to another more motherly motive (one she ironically fulfilled for Sawyer in a limited capacity during that quickly-forgotten, three-year, hyphen-laden, off-island stint). Maybe Kate wasn’t as surprised as we were at Claire’s surprise entrance at the episode’s close — maybe she was looking for her. To tell her about Aaron, perhaps? My guess — she already knows.

Original Author: Ian Postman