Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Lost - S6E3 What Kate Does - Analysis

Just as I had guessed, this week's episode was yet another re-tread of the same old "Kate on the run" storyline.

Repetition leaves very little new ground for a Lost analyst like myself to unearth any new theories, however rather than see this as a negative thing, I think "What Kate Does" feeds in quite nicely to the overall vibe this year of destiny vs free will - does Kate go on the run out of choice, or does she harbor some deep instinct, one that is constantly forcing her into fugitive status?

This video is from 2009's Comi-con, traditionally the home of Lost's first mentions of the coming season and videos portraying the overall theme of each season. This year's Comi-con featured three videos - 1) an advert for Oceanic Airlines (in the air since 1979; a perfect safety record), 2) an advert for Mr Cluck's featuring new owner Hurley (remember those numbers? The Outback Roasters meal costs 4 42) and finally 3) America's Most Wanted - Kate Austen on the run.

Let us analysis Kate's video for a second. As in the 'original' timeline, Kate had planned to kill her father/step-father Wayne by way of arson, only this time instead of blowing up his house, she blows up his place of work, and instead of killing Wayne, she kills his apprentice, Ryan.

Fate, as the host so subtly puts is, intervened.

Up against your will, Through the thick and thin, He will wait until,
You give yourself to him."

I do not believe the use of the word fate here is unintentional. Perhaps it has always been (What Kate Did) and will always be (What Kate Does) Kate's destiny to try to kill Wayne, but this time around, something has changed. Wayne lives on.

Does this make Kate a less sympathetic character? There was always a small part of me that could relate to Kate's story. None of us can, or should, play "God", but there are people on this Earth that you can't help but think deserve to die. Whether Wayne was one of them is debatable, and also a moot point. In this scenario, Kate is nothing more than a foolish killer, not to mention arsonist. Wayne lives on, but his innocent employee does not. How can we justifiably call Kate a 'hero' in this world?

One final question - isn't it strange that her exact weight and exact height are listed, yet her age is "late 20's"? Makes you wonder whether these alternative scenes are in the 2004 we think they are.

Further Research

I feel it is worth mentioning that the Others are calling their pool of water a "spring". Traditionally a pool is man-made, and it would make sense that one of either Jacob or Smokey made this pool, but a spring, on the other hand, traditionally comes from a natural source. So the question is this - is the Island a product of Jacob and Smokey, or are Jacob and Smokey a product of the Island?

The Others
Before we get into Kate going on the run (twice! Hey, it's what she does!) let's first look at the other characters. We had: Sayid being tortured; The Others being mysterious; Jack being the hero/martyr; previous Season shout-outs; Jin understanding; Sawyer reminiscing; and the return of Danielle.. oh, wait a minute!

We'll return to Claire Rousseau before the end, but first let us talk about Sayid. My thoughts on his test are that whatever they did to him had the power to knock out/kill a normal human being. The fact that he survived this test proves that he is "infected" - infected with what, or whom, is another matter.

Now, assuming Sayid is Smokey (or Jacob). Perhaps the pill that was made for him is truly poison for a normal human being, but for a person in Sayid's position it could perhaps be medicine. Dogen never outright said it was universally poison, he just said "poison". (Is it an unwritten rule in the Lost universe to never include context when discussing something important?)

However, the fact that the pill was presented to Jack in a paper sheet (for protection, or mere aesthetics?) points towards it being a universal poison. Miss Scarlett, regular commentator over at NCJL, started my gears moving when mentioning Sayid playing on Jack's guilt - both Sayid and Dogen had a little game of Jack-tennis going on, batting him back and forth between the two and using his guilt as leverage. Perhaps Sayid really didn't want to take that pill, and playing on Jack's hero complex was the most subtle way to avoid taking it.

((I'm going to break the fourth wall slightly here - I think the Lost team did a poor job in the lighting/framing department with this episode. Personally, I put it down to director Paul Edward's style - looking at his previous episodes is like watching a show about shadows. A few things that needed to be more clear were what Sawyer pulled out of the ground (more on that later) and whether Jack swallowed the pill or not. At least the former was cleared up with some later dialogue, but the latter was only further muddied by Lennon's "He swallowed it?" line. This might just be my personal opinion, but I wonder who else felt the same way?))

Anyway, on a lighter note - Jack sure seemed overly willing to accept the tea, despite the Others poisoning left, right and centre. I wonder just what it was they made Zack and Emma feed them earlier?

Despite all of this, my instincts were telling me that Sayid is an idiot for trusting Jack (hey, the man doesn't even trust himself!), and that Jack was an idiot for not trusting the Others (hey, they did bring Sayid back from the damn dead!). Sayid has always been 5 steps ahead of Jack in the smartness scale - when he revealed to Jack back in Season 2 that he knew Michael was a spy, Jack should have just resigned as leader that very second.

Whether these Others are worthy of my trust remains to be seen but, like Erika over at LongLiveLocke, I loved Jack's "step aside" scene and don't feel very threatened by these Others. Discovering that Dogen was "brought" to the Island "like everyone else" certainly went a long way towards humanising them. I can easily see the likes of Jack eventually joining their ranks, continuing on the cycle of psychotic recruitment practises and being sent running through the jungle to infiltrate and kidnap another group of survivors the next time a plane/boat crashes - what a scary visual that would be!

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

"In this world of hate and shallowness,
Where enemies become your consolation,

And those of us who win the game give up their minds,

I don't call that winning."

As I mentioned previously, I don't think they handled the Sawyer-box-retrieval scene very well. I first thought that he had pulled out a baby's sock and almost began bawling at the thought of Juliet having a miscarriage some time previously adding to Sawyer's woes. As it turns out, it was merely an engagement ring and what should have been a solemn scene seemed almost lessened by that.

It also didn't help that Kate was also there, stealing the attention as always. I'm beginning to disbelieve that she ever came back for Claire to begin with - if Sawyer had been willing to forget about Juliet and play happy families on the beach with Kate, would she have even mentioned blondie?

She's Going The Distance

Meet Claire Littleton. Claire is a young, pregnant, Australian woman on her way to L.A. to meet a couple who are ready to adopt her unborn child.

Claire is also possibly involved in some psychic trickery designed to force her away from her home country and her mother (who may or may not be in a coma) and to face up to her responsibilities as a mother. Or was it designed so that Claire would ditch her responsibilities as a mother and instead hand her baby over to this woman:

sorry, I mean this woman:

A lot of possibilities, and only one definite - the baby was, is and always will be, called Aaron, no matter who the 'mother' eventually turns out to be:

Now it is here that Fishbiscuitland is one very large step ahead of us all - she has deduced that the woman who was going to adopt Claire's baby, one Lindsey Baskum, is an anagram for Used By Malkins, as in Richard Malkins, the psychic who saw Claire and convinced her to go on Flight 815. Now, either he is a very, very unlucky conman or he is a very, very smart psychic. Taking a leap of faith, I think we can glean from this episode that Claire is always destined to raise Aaron, or at the very least to deliver him to Kate. Only time will tell.

She's Going For Speed
Although she was on the surface the lead character in this episode, I actually have surprisingly little to say about Kate. Her handcuff scene with the mechanic was just strange. For starters, I don't think that was really a bathroom that she went into:

Secondly, there was a wasted opportunity here to show Tom aka "Mr Friendly" once again. (Kudos to Miss Scarlet once again for raising this notion). Besides flashing Jack a weird glance of recognition, not a lot happened with Kate in LA "X".

I did laugh out loud at one scene though - when Kate and Claire turned up at Mrs Baskum's home, as bad as I felt for both Lindsey losing her husband and chance at a happy family, and also Claire, who certainly deserved at least a phone call, it was Kate who once again stole the scene:

"Lady, I may have murdered someone back home, but you let this woman fly all the way to America without even a phone call?! SCANDALOUS!!! I may have held her at gunpoint mere moments ago, its true I may have induced an early and dangerous labour. I stole all her belongings, left her stranded in a dangerous, foreign city with no food, clothes or money, but you have suffered a major shock and you have acted slightly selfish about the whole thing. You, woman, are pure evil. I have half a mind to burn down your home/place of work!" - Kate Austen, defining double standards.

She's All Alone
All Alone In Her Time Of Need

On-Island Claire, finally you make your triumphant return. It would appear Claire was in the right place, at the right time for Jin. There are obvious parallels to made with Danielle here - the hair, the off-Island pregnancy/on-Island birth, their children being raised by "another", even the name are similar (Aaron/Alex). Are the writers setting us up for a brief Claire/Aaron reunion, perhaps ending in a horrific helicopter-related (Desmond/Charlie shout-out) death in front of Kate? I sincerely hope not.

One thing I was wondering about - when the Others told Jack his sister was 'claimed', did they make any mention of his father? Do they even know about Christian? I personally find him fascinating - was he an off-Island other, or just another soul dragged to the Island? Is he claimed by Jacob, or Smokey, or both? And what is his ties to Vincent? (I still maintain that Vincent will be revealed to be far more than a dog by the end of the series - perhaps he was killed and 'claimed' during the plane crash? Which brings me to..)

When There's No More Room In Hell
The Dead Will Walk The Earth

The Lost writers have always joked about there being a 7th "Zombie" Season. Talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. So far we have had Christian, Yemi and Locke as bona fide confirmed zombies, but on top of that we now can count Claire and Sayid (the confused glances that Miles was giving Sayid reminded me of his trek through the jungle with Sawyer and Claire in Season 4 and the looks he was giving her then) as possible zombies.

Throw into the mix the complete unknowns such as Walt, Vincent, Richard, Ilana, Harper and Ben, all of which have hints at powers, if not full-on zombification. Finally, you have the 'ghosts' of Hurley, Miles and Michael, including Libby, Ana-Lucia, Charlie and Mr Eko and you now have the makings of a true zombie show (looks like The Walking Dead may have to wait a while).

Finally, could all of this perhaps explain Mikhail's resilience? Probably not, but he is worth a mention. So, for those of you keeping score at home, we now need to decide who is alive and who is dead, and who is claimed by Smokey and Jacob and who remains unclaimed. Who is an Other and who is a candidate? The mind boggles, but I have one theory pushing to the front - if a body is buried, it is 'safe' in this game, but while it lays vacant on this Earth (or burned in the case of Yemi) it is fair game for Smokey to inhabit it.

The Sun Has Gone Down
And The Moon Has Come Up

Poor Jin. All he wants to do is protect his friends, find his Sun and get the hell home to see his daughter. If there is one character you can say has changed for the better, it is Jin. Far more so than Sawyer, who immediately reverted back to his old self the moment Juliet died, Jin just may end up being the epitome of change on the show. I hope his character gets a lot more focus soon - I would love to see a purely Jin-centric episode, however I imagine Sun will still feature heavily in his "X" story.

Looking back, there was not a lot of mystery to delve into this week, but there was certainly a lot more to this episode than many give it credit for. There is never a great deal of story movement going on with the more character driven episodes (think Kate, Jack, Sayid, Jin) but I personally love any episode that involves Claire for the very reason being that she seems to take no notice of the madness going on around her - she takes everything and everyone at face value, and that is a good attitude to adopt for this kind of episode.

One final note - Fishbiscuitland has posted this amazing video, and I think we all owe it to ourselves to take a minute to breath, watch this video and remember - Lost wont boil down to one singular answer - it is the experience, the questions and the emotion that has made this journey worthwhile.

Until next week, adios!

(PS. I will be very impressed if anyone can name all the musical references I have made in this post. I'll give you a hint - there are more than 2 of them. Give it a go and see how many you can find!)


  1. I think the thing that struck me the most about the episode, was exactly how destined these people are to be part of one another's lives...even in the new alternate reality.
    That, and the whole good versus evil, choose a side, Jacob or Smokey thing that is going on in the episode. Sayid being infected reminded me so much of Danielle Rousseau shooting her sweetheart back on the beach during that scene of Jin's flash last season.
    One more thing...did you see the way Jin looked at Dogen when they arrived at the temple? I wonder if there will be some LOST-like connection between these two later in the season.
    Your re-cap has been very well done,and was thought provoking. LOST is on tonight here in the states, and I can't wait! Thanks for the e-mail and letting me know about your blog!

  2. Thank you very much for your comment - I can't wait until Friday (when we in the UK get new episodes).

    I thought it was Sunday that Lost was shown in the States?

    I hope there is some connection between Jin and Dogen. Jin/Sun don't have enough off-Island connections I feel - Jin saw Hurley on the TV when he won the lottery, but that is really all they have. It's not fair.

    I think a few people are going to switch sides before the show has finished. I can forsee Sawyer going rogue and joining the "bad" guys, and maybe Ben trying to repent and join the "good" guys. Kate will, naturally, be torn in the middle between the two camps, I think.

  3. ok i think it's just TOO FUNNY that we both referred to jungle claire as "claire rousseau"!!! i also agree the episode was way too dark w/lighting.

    "Sayid has always been 5 steps ahead of Jack in the smartness scale - when he revealed to Jack back in Season 2 that he knew Michael was a spy, Jack should have just resigned as leader that very second"

    ^ awesome

    great article overall - we seem to agree on a lot on this one!

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  5. [Does this make Kate a less sympathetic character? There was always a small part of me that could relate to Kate's story. None of us can, or should, play "God", but there are people on this Earth that you can't help but think deserve to die. Whether Wayne was one of them is debatable, and also a moot point. In this scenario, Kate is nothing more than a foolish killer, not to mention arsonist. Wayne lives on, but his innocent employee does not. How can we justifiably call Kate a 'hero' in this world?]

    In the "real world", Kate had murdered Wayne, because she couldn't stand the idea of him being her father. She wasn't trying to save Diane. Even Diane knew this. And Kate had admitted that she had killed Wayne for selfish reasons in "What Kate Did".

    Although Kate finally admitted to Claire that she had been wrong to claim Aaron as her son (which was the right thing to do) and returned Aaron to the Littleton family, she never expressed remorse for Wayne's death. And I believe that she paid for that lack of remorse by losing Jack in the end.


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