Lost – “What Kate Does” – 6.3

Don’t anyone panic. This happens every year.

I’ll get into it in detail below but after last week’s slam-bang premiere, which kicked off the season in style and simultaneously left our minds stirred, shaken and blown – we were bound to get that patented Lost letdown where the writers stop for a spell to get everyone’s bearings straight. It’s akin to setting the chess board – they need a little bit of exposition to get the characters pointed in the right direction – especially considering this is the final lead-up to the end game.

Anyway, more in a moment but suffice it to say, while it wasn’t my favorite hour, we always end up with one or two of these a season.

Before I do the usual rundown, I did want to lead with something that’s been on my mind. As we all know, this is it. The end. Now that we know “What Kate Does” we have 15 episodes left to discover that what she does pales in significance to almost everyone else drawn to this island. And through the past 5 years, there have been a number of individuals drawn there – each with their own questions about why they’ve been called and what the island really means to them – and to us.

The thing is, with 15 episodes left, it would be foolhardy for the showrunners to attempt to answer every last question that has been posed. Seriously, who gives a rat’s ass why the Hurley Bird from Season 1 seemingly called out our porcine pal’s name. They could have had Toucan Sam chasing after Charlie’s Lucky Charms and I would have gone with it.

The point is – there is beauty in mystery. Half the fun of shows like Lost is the journey. The destination almost never meets everyone’s expectations and when you get a show like Lost that revels in its labyrinthine mystery and machinations, the true fans get to go off on flights of fancy where we imagine denouements more wild and crazy than any writer could dream. Often times, our thoughts are fun to bring to life and spring on our fellow Lostralians, but they’re largely unfilmable. In the end it’s just good old-fashioned watercooler chat – just another common fiber to tie our species together.

Therefore it’s encouraging to read some comments that Damon Lindelof made recently. Lindelof has been part of the show since Day 1 – hatching the idea with JJ Abrams. JJ has long since departed these shores for his Hollywood career and while he continues to oversee things from an Executive Producer capacity, the show is nurtured by the guiding hands of Lindelof, Carleton Cuse and their expert staff of writers – including comic book genius, Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man).

Anyway, Lindelof was largely in disclaimer mode when he made his statements but I think it’s the right tact and really makes a lot of sense that I hope Lost fans subscribe to.

“The important questions that need answering are those that are important to the characters.”

That’s Storytelling 101 there. If Hurley has long forgotten why a bird called his name or if Kate could care less that she came across the Black Stallion on the island, then we should just go with it. There are some core mysteries that the islanders do care about and I assume the nature of Jacob, the Man in Black and the numbers are still bee-bopping in their brain pans. As for why Libby was in the nuthouse with Hurley – who freakin’ cares.

Which leads me to another point that helps underscore this. One of the entertainment blogs that I follow is Drew McWeeny’s Motion-Captured over at HitFix.com. Drew used to write as Moriarty for Ain’t It Cool News and he has a nice breezy style and a legion of industry contacts – specifically in the genre realms. Anyway, Drew mainly sticks to movies but he is a Lost obsessive and in the days before the Season 6 premiere he offered up some intel gleaned from Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, the screenwriters of the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

“They talked about the theory of “distant mountains” when you’re building a series, the idea that you should always leave yourself more room in your world than you explore.  It leaves room for the viewer to insert themselves into the world, giving them things they can “solve” for themselves.  As long as the creators of “Lost” don’t give you every single little detail set in concrete, there’s still room for interpretation and conversation, and that’s just plain smart storytelling.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. When this series closes, I hope to have enough questions UNANSWERED to allow my mind to wander years from now, as I look back nostalgically on one of the better entertainments to cross my eyes in many a moon.

Enough with that. Let’s get Lost.

1.   I’ll tell ya’ “What Kate Does“. She sucks the air out of every episode that targets our self-centered queen con for its narrative drive. It’s the same every season. We get a slam-bang series premiere and then the second episode slams on the breaks for a little soul-searching time with Miss Piss and Vinegar. Remember, this is the same character who once got a couple guys plugged with bullets just so she could liberate a toy plane from a bank deposit box. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’ve never cottoned to Miss Austen’s tales of woe and in Season 6, she has done nothing to woo me yet. I don’t blame the actress either. This falls purely on the writers who may know how to spin a great yarn but have failed numerous times to make Kate compelling.

2.   That being said, it isn’t until the final moments of the episode, where we get a reveal that I will talk about in greater detail in a moment, that we find we’ve been subject to a little bait and switch. The off-island cutaways and episode title were meant to make us think we were following Kate’s newfound life on the lam when in fact, our beloved con woman was unknowingly in the midst of a little game of narrative bait and switch. It’s not Kate we were meant to follow but Claire.

3.   And we all know, that in a prior life, Claire is meant to raise the baby. Going into this episode, I thought her arrival in LA bore an ill omen. If she succeeded with the adoption then that sham psychic’s one-time legitimate proclamation would come true. But, here we spy another wrinkle in time sent forth by Jack’s H-Bomb. Claire does indeed track down the adoptive Mom who due to her husband’s preliminary departure has developed cold feet – leaving our plucky Aussie stranded in South Central with only her friendly neighborhood carjacker to confide in.

4.   This led to another twist of fate. In a neat parallel to the Season 2 episode that saw the former creep Ethan take a very nurturing approach to Claire and her baby, alterna-Claire finds a hospital where a kindly obstetrician named Ethan Goodspeed is practicing medicine. “The last thing I want to do is stick you with a bunch of needles.” – Clever Line.

5.   Any significance to Kate giving the name, Joan Hart, as an alias? I couldn’t come up with anything.

6.   I thought Kate’s scenes with Sawyer, on island, were more poignant and for once, I did actually feel something for Freckles when she learned what Sawyer had planned in his perfect life with Juliet. Her breakdown, after Sawyer revealed the ring and promptly tossed it in the ocean, felt real. In a way, Kate is beginning to realize the ripples that every little thing they do, and alter, send forth impacting others. In her desire to reunite Aaron with Claire, she has unknowingly become the instrument that robs James of his true love. Like I said last season, I liked La Fleur a lot and would have like nothing but to see him have a nice, happy life with Juliet back in the 70’s. But – as Sawyer reminded us in the Season 5 finale – “What’s done is done.”

7.   I know this is cheating a bit as it comes from the teaser for next week, but I’m guessing that MiB Locke (or we can call him Dead Locke) is going to attempt to use Sawyer’s knowledge of the temple to con his way in. But as we all know, you can’t con a con man.

8.   The most interesting stuff occurred around the temple and while much of it hinted at greater things to come, there was enough there to chew on. For starters, we learned that the dude I called Yoko last week is actually named Dogen – and he’s started to grown on me. As an aside, the guy I called Lennon is actually called Lennon. True that!!!

9.   Anyway, I don’t usually research much of this stuff but I did a Google search on Dogen last night and pulled this up. The real life Dogen Zenchi is a Japanese teacher and philosopher (a Lost trademark) who among his works has a famous piece called Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma. His main philosophy centered around humanity gleaning enlightenment from nature.  Sounds like he’s living in the right place.

10.   Anyway, Dogen’s interaction with Jack around the baseball is largely the reason he’s starting to grow on me. While last week he spit out that he doesn’t like the way English tastes on his tongue, this week he revealed his true nature to Jack. He tends to use a translator as the messages he often has to impart to his charges are not always pleasant. He seems to be in a position of interpreter himself – my guess, for Jacob’s word and orders – and he’s not always happy about it.

11.   So, we get to the poison intended for Sayid but consumed by Jack before Dogen laid they smackdown on him and got our foolish doctor to upchuck it. Originally I thought that perhaps the true Sayid was still holding onto some part of his body – thus barring Jacob from entering – and that the poison was intended to kill Sayid off. The tests involving torture seemed to hint at that.

12.   But Dogen was fairly straight forward. His talk of “infection”, that Sayid has been “claimed”, call to mind the French woman’s accusations. She killed her entire crew because they had been “infected”. The great thing is way back when we started this Blog, we theorized that it wasn’t a biological contagion but something along the lines of “being touched by evil”. This seems to be coming together.

13.   Which now brings into question Jacob’s appearance to Hurley last week. Could this be another MiB ruse – another loophole to gain entrance to the temple? What if the Jacob that implored Hurley to get the body to the Temple was in fact the Man in Black. And that he needed Hurley to bring Sayid’s body to the temple as a Trojan Horse. Then, Sayid truly did die but was resurrected not by Jacob but by the Man in Black. And now the Man in Black is in their midst. Which would explain the poison.

14.   Or, perhaps, there is a battle for that soul waging – with Jacob also trying to lay claim to it. Was the poison intended to kill Sayid’s body or kill the infection within? More to come, I’m sure.

15.   What we do know is that Dogen has seen this happen before telling Jack this his sister, Claire, was claimed as well – which proves that Claire did die in that explosion and explains why she was last seen hanging out with MiB Christian in Jacob’s shack.

15.   Which brings us to the final reveal – that Claire is the new feral French Woman. What is not clear, yet, is she alive or dead?

16.   My last point and this has nothing to do with information gleaned in this episode but is just another crackpot theory to consider. In LAX, the Man in Black said he wants what Locke does not – to go home. That lead us off in different directions pondering where his home is. Now, we know Jacob lures people to this island.

What if the Man in Black is not as evil as we think. What if, he too, was lured to this island by Jacob a long time ago and has become his longtime prisoner as Jacob continues his experimentation on the true nature of man? Perhaps, while on the island, the Man in Black, tapped into darker energies of the island. I know it’s nuts but what if the big twist is that MiB is not as bad as we think and Jacob is the true liar. I’m not sure I subscribe to that but I figured I’d toss it out so if the crazy becomes reality, I can say I called it (among the 9,999 unfounded theories I also tossed out).

See you next week for Episode 6.4 – ‘The Substitute’.

[tv 4.0]

Comments now closed (21)

  • most of this is still so far over my head. i cannot wait to go back and watch the series again after the ending so that maybe i will understand it (kind of like i had to do with the sixth sense…) i did have one thought that was different than yours, probably wrong, but i will throw it out there. i was thinking that claire would likely die in childbirth and therefore leaving kate to raise aaron as she was doing in the first future… again, probably wrong…..

  • @Stacy – That’s not a bad theory. If Claire is dead on the island and Kate is raising Aaron – maybe there’s a reason Kate and Claire have been brought together in this alternate reality. Maybe it will show that as much as some things can change, some things remain the same.

  • I don’t care about finding out the reasons behind every little thing that has happened on the island. L&C are doing the right thing and keeping the focus where it needs to be; what happens to these people going forward, not what happened to them. Look at the title of the episode. We know what Kate did, but we now want to know what she does. Except Ed. Because he doesn’t like her.

    I found the conversation between Sawyer and Kate about who caused the death of Juliet to be interesting. First, back at the temple, Sawyer was sticking with it being Jack’s fault. Then, Kate offers up herself as being the cause. Finally, Sawyer claims it was LaFleur wanting to play house as being the ultimate culprit.

    Can’t you see the Lord of the Flies parallels coming into play finally? We were throwing that out there long ago; Locke’s tribe v. Jack’s. Well, that’s what it is now, right? You have to believe that MiB, as Locke, is pulling together his band with the reveal about Claire being infected and Sayid as well. Will Sayid be compelled to join with MiB even though he still appears to have his Jack-on? Don’t you think Jin, seemingly now in the clutches of Claire, and known to be a bad seed in the past, will become infected? Sawyer and Kate as well? Jack’s tribe is shrinking fast. I mean really, out of everyone left on the island from the Oceanic flight, aren’t Jack, Sun and Hurley really the only good people left? (I’d throw Claire in there, but it seems too late.) Doesn’t it seem to come down to how much Dogan is going to share about what is truly going on with Jack?

    Overall, it was good to slow down a smidge and allow the characters and viewers to get some bearings. I don’t think this was a bad episode at all. Speaking of which, where are the Mooninites?

  • Mooninites are up now. I did the same last week but caught it before anyone else did. Not so quick on the draw this week. : )

    I agree that it’s good to slow things down. At heart, this show is a character drama – albeit one with with sneaky smoke monsters sticking their necks in where they don’t belong.

    Also, I like your reasoning on the Kate/Sawyer exchange and the Lord of the Flies comparisons. I also think that Sawyer will join Locke’s band of merry men but is being set up for a noble sacrifice. With Juliet gone, he has nothing left to live for, and I think he will ultimately make a sacrifice before the season is out to save Jack, Kate and the others.

  • I thought the same thing when I realized this was a Kate episode. Kate and Claire are two of my least favorite characters on LOST, and here they are, together again. I just hope this is the last Kate-centric episode we have to endure… EVER.

    @10. I really enjoyed that little scene between Jack and Dogen. There was something strange about seeing him spinning that baseball on his desk, it pulled him into the modern world and it gave us a glimpse as to who he is. Benjamin Sisko kept a baseball on his desk too! 😉

  • I agree this was a necessary episode where not much comes out, but it moves us slowly forward. For a moment there I though Kate would deliever Clair’s baby as she did on the Island… It was creepy how Ethan was the doctor at hospital…I had forgotton how the Rousseau had said her crew had been “infected” and it is funny how her traps are still littered around the island. Ed I agree that shouldn’t answer every question, nor do I think could in any coherent way. One thing from LAX that I posted on the last write up was if Christian Shepard’s body was not on the plane how could the Mib take his form, but then I saw your post on the Kate’s Stallion and realized that was not on the island either… so who knows.

  • Also, I agree that the relationship between Dogen and Jack is interesting and will be big thing moving forward. I think Dogen and Lennon were both shocked when Jack swallowed the pill. I think they underestimated his loyality to “his” people and now know what he is all about.

  • @Chris – Great points – especially the “loyalty one”.

    Regarding Christian – his body was on the plane for the original crash in the original time line which is why MiB could become him. In the new timeline where Jack lands in LA, he’s never on the island and therefore his father never is (nor is his father on the plane). Does that make sense?

  • @PrfktTear – The baseball scene was great. It really opened Dogen up. Granted, he’s still a pretty mysterious dude but like I said, I started to dig him this episode.

  • I happened to click on a review link on cnn.com a little while ago. I never read any reviews or other sites for this show, but the headline got my attention because it mentions Claire and so there seems to be a universal wonderment in why she was so central to a Kate named episode. Whatevs… think I wanted to point out, which actually made sense to me, is the reviewer suggested it is Claire setting these new traps. She is the new Rousseau. (She certainly looked the part.)

    @Ed: I like the thought of Sawyer making a sacrifice. The guy jumped off the helicopter to save them once, why not something like that again? Then, there is no Aaron around this time and you wonder how much that matters seeing he thought of his own child.

  • @Sean – You and I are on the same wavelength. The moment that feral Claire stepped forward, I knew she set the traps. In fact, there was a line of dialogue just before that where one of those “Others” commented that they were surprised that her traps were still around since she had died so many years ago (3 years prior to where they are now). Claire even has a similar rifle and I think the first time we were introduced to Rousseau, it was when Sayid got caught in one of her traps, so this neatly mimicked that moment.

    I think the title “What Kate Does” was certainly a bit of misdirection but at the same time, she was the focus for sure. Afterall, she was central to the Claire piece and also the Sawyer part as well.

  • Interesting… there was an episode from season 2 called “What Kate Did”, I presume this is a sort of sequel to that.

    Did anyone else enjoy seeing Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) reprise his role as Aldo? Either I just completely forgot he was in the show before (Season 3’s “Not in Portland”) or I didn’t recognise him.

    Speaking of Aldo and his Other friend, he sort of alluded to someone else being out there, I wonder if they meant Claire.

    As far as Rosseau’s shipmates, I always presumed that they weren’t infected… she went mad.

  • @PrfktTear – Yeah, Sean and I were discussing the parallels between “What Kate Did” and “What Kate Does” on the prior thread. The interesting thing is Season 1 opened with a Jack ep, a Kate ep, and then a Locke ep. And that’s the exact same order we get for this final season also.

    Also was the dude guarding the concentration camp, if I remember correctly right? I think they were referring to Claire when they were talking about someone else being out there.

    As for Rousseau, I don’t think we have enough evidence to support one way or the other but in the episode last season when Jin flashed to the moment that she killed her partner, the partner was attempting to lure her somewhere. It made it seem as if they had all been “turned” and she went crazy later – being all alone and having watched her child snatched and her fellow travelers infected. Like I said though, I think we need more evidence one way or the other.

    Either way – Claire looks nuts.

  • Hey, I just rewatched the episode with Melissa and at the end I picked up something I missed the first time around. When Aldo and Jason (I think) found Jin and Aldo said maybe we didn’t find him alive Jason, don’t he is one them “them”. Not sure what he means but that, but I think the others know that those that went to and brought to the Temple are important for some reason. That is Dogen said to Sawyer you can’t leave and they went after him. I like point about Claire setting the traps. Right when Melissa saw her she said Claire is the new Rousseu.

    The issue I have with saying Claire died in the explosion is that she was there right afterward being led away by Sawyer … Did the Mib/smoke monster appear as her so would believe she was alive so he could use her at a later date?

  • Aldo and the other Other were clearly bickering about what to reveal or not. With the appearance of Claire so near the trap, that had to be one of the things the Other was going to say before Kate went off.

    To Chris’ point, Aldo was clearly going to kill him because he was pissed off. He wanted the other Other to go along with it by saying they found him dead. I am sure I am pointing out the obvious. But that said, yes, Dogen clearly wants them all back as they were all on the list inside the Ankh that Jacob sent.

  • good stuff here. you all said it all. I have only one thing I thought of yesterday and after reading I think it’s possible but not likely. Is it possible Dogen can’t tell if the infection is good or evil? Has Jacob ever “infected” anyone before? If the possibility for Jacob to infect someone exists, but it has not been seen nor is known to Dogen, then perhaps Jack stepping in and not allowing Sayid to take the poison was fate to not kill Sayid/Jacob. If the possibility for Jacob to infect someone does not exist then Dogen’s action are spot on and we now have the above theories in play; trojan horse, Sayid needs to die, etc. With Ed’s final theory, which I like, this takes even more of a twist. Sayid is Jacob but Jacob the liar!

  • was this already mentioned….i just read that the date on claires ultrasound is for a month after the original flight date…? since i don’t do well with the details, i don’t know if it’s true or if it matters. i leave that up to you 🙂

  • @Stacy – That could be another example of how different things are in this new timeline – i.e. the plane left on a different date.

  • @Carlos – Regarding the poison pill, I’ve read elsewhere that some people think Dogen was truly, at that point, just trying to completely kill Sayid – as he was a “lost cause” having been claimed by MiB. So, it’s not that he’s trying to kill the infection, just the man. The theory is that Sayid should not be exhibiting signs of his former self (or pain for that matter) and that with those torture tests, Dogen is pretty sure Jacob is not in his body. Remains to be seen, I guess.

    Either way – I’m sticking with my Trojan Horse theory. : )