Hello my dear friends -
My reaction to "Whatever Happened, Happened" was comparable to how I felt about "Namaste" and "He's Our You"; I enjoyed the episode and was thankful that a few mysteries were resolved, but it's not like my jaw had hit the floor by the time the hour came to a close or anything. However, there's still a lot to be said for this Kate-centric installment: the instantly infamous Miles/Hurley time travel debate, Evangeline Lilly's heart-wrenching performance, the possible end of the Love Quadrangle...
The Kate and Cassidy reunion might have come as a surprise to "normal" viewers of the show (if you're reading this, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you're probably not normal), but most hardcore fans (including myself) had found enhanced audio clips of what Sawyer whispered before he jumped out of the helicopter at the end of Season Four, and therefore knew that Kate would most likely try to find his old flame and his daughter back on the mainland. What I didn't expect to see, however, was Kate telling Cassidy the truth about the Oceanic crash almost immediately after she returned. My knee-jerk reaction was to then be suspicious of Cassidy... I kept waiting for the scene where she ratted Kate out, which would inevitably lead to Aaron being taken away by force. Especially since she still seemed so bitter about Sawyer even after learning what happened to him. But I was wrong... we now know that she didn't blab the O6's secret.
Instead, Cassidy served as a pseudo-shrink for Kate... helping her to realize not only why Sawyer leapt into the ocean, but also why she made up the lie about being Aaron's birth mother in the first place. I thought the latter explanation was total crap, though, and was annoyed by the insinuation that Kate kept Aaron because "she needed him." I'm not trying to say that Kate didn't have some issues... but, um, hello... it IS a fact that Claire left her son in the jungle, and it IS a fact that the O6's cover could've been blown and therefore those back on the Island could've been in danger if Kate revealed Aaron's true identity once she returned to Los Angeles. I mean, what else was she supposed to do?
I personally think that Kate made the right choice by keeping Aaron during the three years before the group decided they needed to go back. It definitely sucks that poor Turniphead had to be abruptly separated from the only mother he's known and given to a complete stranger (even though she's a blood relative), but I feel like if that had been done at any earlier point, the group would've been constantly worried about Widmore tracking Aaron down and using him as leverage. Let's not forget that the O6 spent a chunk of time on Penny's boat and were told firsthand -- by Widmore's own daughter -- that there would be no calling him off in his search for the Island.
Between the freaky Ghost Claire visions, the middle-of-the-night haunting phone calls and her conversations with Cassidy, Kate was probably starting to realize that her time with Aaron was drawing to a close. But it wasn't until Ben's Threatening Lawyer Guy started hounded her and she then thought she'd lost Aaron at the grocery store and saw Meth Face Chick Who Sort of Resembled the Littleton Women (I'm sorry, but she was scary!) that Kate truly came to grips with what had to be done. (Was I the only one who thought Aaron had been taken? I was actually surprised when Kate found him.)
At this point in the episode, I still had no idea how the Kate-Aaron separation would go down. I thought that perhaps they had reintroduced Cassidy because Kate would choose to leave Aaron with her... and then he'd have little Clementine as a playmate. Instead, Kate decided to keep it in the family, so to speak, and sought out Claire's mother. She gave Mrs. Littleton a CliffsNotes version of what transpired on the Island, and then vowed to go back in order to find Claire.
I already commented above on how sad it is to think of Aaron being left with a woman he's never met before, so now let's talk about how sad it was to watch Kate say goodbye to him as he slept. Yeah, I cried! Evangeline Lilly was marvelous in this entire episode, but nothing topped her work in that scene. The whole situation is so depressing... I mean, even if Claire is found and is somehow able to leave the Island... Aaron's not going to know her, either. That kid will be in therapy his whole life. And since he's already been "raised by another" for three years, is bad stuff going to happen no matter what? Or is there still time to prevent the horrendous events that Claire's psychic predicted would happen if his birth mother wasn't the one to parent him?
If Claire's even alive, that is. Last we saw her (in Season Four's "Cabin Fever"), she was hangin' with Zombie Dad in Jacob's Shack. (On that note, Jorge Garcia (Hurley) pretty much confirmed that a production error had been made in "Namaste" -- the woman behind Sun was most likely a crew member in the frame by accident, and not Claire.)
TOMORROW... GO BACK TO BEING FRIENDS
OH... GO BACK TO BEING FRIENDS
BUT TONIGHT, LET'S BE LOVERS
I want to take a moment to revisit Kate and Jack's last-night-in-the-normal-world tryst simply because we now know the context of Kate's strange behavior. As many of us had guessed, she had voluntarily given Aaron to someone else, and then came to Jack to, uh, get her mind off of things. In my "316" write-up, I was really annoyed with both of the characters during that scene -- Jack for so easily agreeing to stop asking questions about Aaron, and Kate for not telling him exactly what had happened.
You may also remember that I was dreading the possibility that Kate would become pregnant as a result of this one-night stand. I'm still holding out hope that that's not what happens, but in case it does, here are two theories worth considering:
- Reader SG proposed that Kate's three years with Aaron made her realize that she really did love having a child. But since she'd made the decision to try to find Claire in order to reunite Aaron with his birth mother, and since she knew any woman who conceived on the Island would die, her fling with Jack was a last-ditch effort to get pregnant so that she could have a child of her own. Meaning, it wasn't some in-the-heat-of-the-moment display of passion or the result of any lingering feelings for The Mad Doctor, but rather a deliberate attempt to become a mother in her own right. I wanted to mention this idea because even though there's been a lot of speculation that Kate may be pregnant, I hadn't heard anyone say that maybe that was her plan all along.
- Before we knew exactly when the 815ers were going to end up once they'd returned to the Island, reader sweetpeas wondered -- assuming that Kate is pregnant -- if her child with Jack could possibly end up being Little Ben's crush, Annie. We've since learned that the timing doesn't work out for that theory, but I wanted to mention it anyway because if Kate is pregnant and she's still back in the '70s when she gives birth, there's a chance the kid (boy or girl) could be someone we've already met in earlier seasons. Hey, if Horace and Amy can spawn Ethan, anything's possible, right? Sweetpeas also questioned whether or not this strange phenomenon of Kate getting pregnant in 2008 but giving birth decades earlier could be what causes the future pregnancy issues for women on the Island. I guess we'll find out soon enough!
And with that weak segue, let's move on to the Island events...
AND I SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS,
"WHAT'S GOING ON?"
The episode began with Jin coming to and realizing that Little Ben had been shot by Sayid. The first thing I noticed was that Ben's wound was in a different location than it was at the end of the previous episode, and I started hollering at the TV in disgust. Then I was like, "OK, well, if he wasn't shot in his heart then he's definitely not going to die." So that was more than a little frustrating... not that I wanted the kid to kick the bucket or anything, but come on, that was a pretty blatant switcheroo. I mean, here's what we saw in "He's Our You":
And then here's what Ben looked like moments later when Jin rolled him over in "Whatever Happened, Happened":
What to make of this? I can only think of three possibilities:
1) It was a very bad screw-up on the part of the wardrobe and/or make-up peeps...
2) The Powers That Be wanted a big cliffhanger, and hoped viewers would think -- without a doubt -- that Ben was going to die, so they made the shot closer to his heart in "He's Our You" on purpose. They probably figured that the vast, vast majority of fans weren't going to compare frames after the following episode. (I know this seems hard to believe, but those of us who read Lost blogs, inspect screencaps and over-analyze dialogue are in the minority of the show's multimillion-person fan base.)
3) There's some other reason why the hole was in one place but the blood was in another... like "the Island moved the bullet" or "we saw things from Sayid's perspective, and he thought he hit Ben's heart" or "the bullet went in at an angle" or whatnot.
Quite frankly, I don't think the explanation matters (but if I had to choose, I'd go with #2). All that matters is that Little Ben's not going to die, but a lot of us truly believed there was a chance he might and a Great Debate raged for a week as to whether or not this was even possible. It was fun while it lasted, right?
While Jin was making his way back to the Barracks with Sayid's victim in tow, the rest of us were getting totally skeeved out by Roger Linus and Kate flirting with each other. I know that we were supposed to see "a different side" of Ben's dad in this episode and all that, but seriously, I just could not deal with those scenes and actually kept hoping against hope that it was some other dude named Roger that just looked a hell of a lot like the guy who slammed his son's face against Sayid's cell bars not too long ago. This might have been the only time when I would've actually been OK with an "evil twin" scenario. Alas, when Jin rolled up we got confirmation that it was indeed Ben's dad who'd been macking on Ms. Austen. Blech!
(The title of this section is in reference to the fact that Jon Gries, who plays Ben's dad, also starred as Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite. Further, and I probably shouldn't admit this, but I saw Gerardo -- the cheesy dude who sang the 1991 hit "Rico Suave" -- in concert. Granted, it was a free concert that my high school won (and Mr. Judge, if you're reading this, I hold you partially responsible for this awful memory!), but that doesn't make me any less ashamed.)
NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY
NO ONE EVER SAID IT WOULD BE SO HARD
"Hey, this is what you said in your last post... you even had the picture of Marty McFly and everything!" shouted my husband at the start of the Hurley/Miles time travel debate. We actually had to pause the show because we were laughing so hard in disbelief.
But it really shouldn't have been a surprise. By this late point in the series, we all know that Hurley often serves as the voice of the viewers at home. He's the one who's not afraid to ask the questions that are on our minds or make the blunt statements that we've been stewing over for months. And so it was only fitting that he got into it with Miles and attempted to clarify what in the hell is going on, and what can and cannot happen because of the characters' time-traveling escapades.
Maybe I've just thought about all of this waaaay too much, but everything they said was already crystal-clear to me. Miles subscribed to Faraday's "whatever happened, happened... we can't change the past" school of thought, while Hurley felt there was a possibility that they all might vanish at any moment because it looked like Ben might die. What I liked is that their argument did not end on a definitive note... if anything, Hurley stumped Mr. Ghostbuster:
HURLEY: But when we first captured Ben, Sayid like tortured him... then why wouldn't he remember getting shot by that same guy when he was a kid?
MILES: Huh? I hadn't thought of that.
Now, yes... later in this same episode we learned why Ben's memory of Sayid might have gone out the window... and yes, there's also an argument to be made that maybe Ben DID recognize Sayid in 2004 but had the presence of mind to not appear shocked. I'm going to talk a little more about this issue later, but in regard to the Miles/Hurley discussion, there's really only one thing that I think we MUST take from it. There is one thing that is certain, no matter what you believe about whether or not the 815ers can change the past. And that one thing is that any of 815ers, or the Freighter Team, or Juliet can die in 1977, because it is their present. Forget about what year it is to the outside world, all that matters is that those characters have lived out thirty-ish years on this planet, and while their personal pasts are set in stone, their futures are still very much up in the air.
Sadly, I believe that they wouldn't have had Miles try to make this point so clearly if one of the gang's numbers isn't up soon. Because if one of the stuck-in-the-past characters bites the dust, The Powers That Be don't want us thinking, "but wait, it's 1977 and since we saw them alive in 2004, they must not really be dead!" They want us to know what the stakes are, and that's got to be why they had Miles say what he said.
And it doesn't make me happy at all. I don't want to lose anyone else, dammit!
NEW JACK CITY
While Miles and Hurley were entertaining themselves with their time travel dispute, Juliet was furiously trying to save Ben. However, she quickly realized that it was really Jack who needed to be at the operating table. But The Mad Doctor was having none of it.
SAWYER: Doc, I need you to come with me.
JACK: Come with you where?
SAWYER: Juliet says the kid is losing blood, and we ain't got none to put back in him, so we need you to show us where he sprung a leak.
JACK: [pauses and shakes head] No.
JACK: No. I'm not coming with you.
SAWYER: If you don't come with me, Jack, that kid is gonna die.
JACK: [pauses] Then he dies.
What I found interesting about Jack in this episode is that in the above exchange with Sawyer, it seemed like he was "old Jack" ... the Man of Science who vehemently believed in free will. My reaction to Jack's stance was, "He's tempting fate, he wants to show he still has a choice and that everything's not predetermined."
At other points in the hour, though, "new Jack" (as Kate called him) seemed to be channeling his past nemesis, Locke:
KATE: This is our fault. We brought Sayid back. We caused this.
JACK: Yeah? When we were here before, I spent all my time trying to fix things... but did you ever think that maybe the Island just wants to fix things itself?
JACK: I came back because I was supposed to.
JULIET: Supposed to what?
JACK: I don't know yet.
What's ironic about Jack's refusal to operate on Little Ben is that it directly resulted in Little Ben's transformation into the conniving, manipulative, remorseless man that brought the O5 back to the Island in 2008 -- the man that Jack didn't feel compelled to save again. If Jack had operated on him in 1977, though, things might have ended up a lot differently for everyone. But, as Miles tried to explain to Hurley (and us), all of this already happened, and therefore Jack never agreed to help Little Ben.
The same irony applies to Sayid, too. Sayid thought "his purpose" was to kill Ben so that all of the evil things Ben goes on to do in the future wouldn't happen. Instead, Sayid's actions ultimately led to Ben getting Other-ized at age twelve.
IT'S OVER, IT'S OVER, IT'S OVER...
I would've never guessed that of all people, it would be Kate who went above and beyond to ensure Ben's survival. Motherhood truly changed her -- she simply didn't think of the young boy bleeding out on the hospital table as "Ben"... all she saw was a twelve-year-old in desperate need of help and a father beside himself with regret and worry. So when her blood donation wasn't enough, she brainstormed with Juliet to find another way to handle the situation.
Juliet then suggested that they take Ben to the Others. I can't decide whether or not we should interpret her suggestion to mean that: 1) she knew the Others had some supernatural way of saving people, or 2) she simply could think of no other options and figured that it was worth a try. Earlier this season we were given proof that she knows more about her old group then she'd previously let on... remember her statement about Richard being really old? This isn't to say that I think anything sinister is going on with Juliet, I'm simply wondering how much information she's still keeping to herself.
Regardless, Juliet and Kate eventually agreed that it was better if Kate took Ben into the jungle on her own... and they both knew that Sawyer would most likely be hot on her heels. Once the Dharma van was on its way, Juliet stormed over to the neighboring house to give Jack a piece of her mind. Words cannot describe how happy I was that this turned into neither a "Juliet couldn't resist dripping-wet-just-stepped-out-of-the-shower Jack, and so she jumped him" scene, nor a "Juliet cried to Jack because she thought Sawyer was going to fall for Kate again because they were going to be alone in the jungle together" scene. Juliet asked Jack why he came back, Jack said he didn't know, and that was it.
While we're on the subject of the Love Rhombus, or whatever the hell it's turned into, there are three other hopeful signs that it's kaput and that we'll be spared longing glances and tortured looks and all that crap from here on out:
1) Kate chose to come back to the Island to find Claire... not for Sawyer, and not just to follow Jack.
2) Kate confirmed that she didn't like the "new Jack," and he reminded her that she didn't really seem to like the "old Jack," either.
3) Sawyer declared that he was helping Ben because that's what Juliet wanted. "I'm doin' it for her." BOOM!
WON'T YOU SAVE ME?
SAVING'S WHAT I NEED
Did anyone else grow impatient with how leisurely all of the characters were acting as poor Little Ben was fading away? Juliet and Kate were having a chat by the van... Kate and Sawyer were catching up by the river... all while Little Ben was bleeding his guts out and most likely thinking, "I'm so gonna get you all you guys back for your dawdling!"
Finally some Others appeared in their usual out-of-thin-air manner, weapons drawn. I loved how Sawyer was just totally over their whole act. He's like, "Yeah, whatever... just get me the only guy with any fashion sense in your group -- you know who I'm talkin' 'bout!"
On cue, Richard materialized, looking like he'd just stepped out of a Ferragamo ad. (And seriously... at this point, for all we know, he did.) He goes, "Is that the same little brat who saw me on my worst bad hair day ever? I must erase that from his memory! Oh yeah, and he won't remember anything else once I'm done with him, either. 'Bye!"
OFFER UP YOUR BEST DEFENSE
BUT THIS IS THE END
THIS IS THE END
OF THE INNOCENCE
OK, so here's what Ageless Richard really said:
RICHARD: And why are you here?
KATE: Cause we need you to save his life. Can you?
[Richard pauses and thinks for a moment.]
RICHARD: If I take him, he's not ever gonna be the same again.
KATE: What do you mean by that?
RICHARD: What I mean is that he'll forget this ever happened and that his innocence will be gone. He will always be one of us.
RICHARD: You still want me to take him?
Then, after some other Other warned Richard that perhaps he should check with Ellie or Charles before he did whatever he was about to do, ol' Bushy Eyebrows was like, "They're not the boss of me!" and stomped off to The Temple with Little Ben.
So, a few things about this final scene:
1) We now have confirmation that Ellie (who is most likely Ms. Eloise Hawking) and Angry Young Charles Widmore are still on the Island in 1977. As Widmore indicated to Locke in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," his people had protected the Island for three decades before he was exiled. So, depending on when Charles first arrived on the Island (it's now pretty clear that he was NOT born there... the math doesn't add up), his time's probably close to running out, as twenty-three years have passed since we saw him in "Jughead," which was set in 1954.
2) We've also learned that Richard does not consider himself subservient to Charles' group. So I remain confused about whether or not Charles and Ellie should actually be considered Hostiles, or if they're in some other group that the Hostiles agreed to work with. Or is it perhaps Ageless Richard who's the odd man out? Maybe he's the only one of his kind... but what "kind" is he, exactly? Who's leading this motley crew?
3) What is going to happen to Little Ben? The general consensus seems to be that Richard is going to sic Smokey on him and that it's essentially like selling one's soul to the devil -- Ben will now be controlled 100% by the Island. Remember that the Temple is the same place we saw Danielle's science team go into after Montand was dragged underground by Smokey. And look at what happened to them once they came out. They were all eeevil, and Danielle had no choice but to kill them. Will something similar happen to Ben, or will his transformation be a tad more controlled as Richard is there to oversee things?
4) Regardless of what Little Ben's about to go through, when Richard said "he'll forget this ever happened," was he just talking about the whole "being shot by Sayid and saved by a group of the 815ers" situation? Or was he talking about everything in Ben's life up to that point? Because the latter would explain: a) Why Ben claimed to have been born on the Island even though we knew he wasn't, b) why Ben said his mother taught him to read (which most of us had assumed was a joke) when we knew she died in childbirth, c) why he didn't seem to have any memory of Sayid when they met in 2004... etc., etc., etc.
I'm willing to buy that explanation. However, I understand why a lot of people are crying foul and "cop out!" in regard to this situation. By erasing Little Ben's memory, the writers have covered their tracks. Crazy fans can't go back through the past three seasons and complain about how The Powers That Be screwed up because Ben should've remembered certain things about the various 815ers. (This is assuming that the time traveling group will have somehow returned to their rightful year by the time Richard returns Ben to the Barracks, and so he'll have no memory of ever seeing any of them when he was young. If Ben comes backs and the Losties are still there, however, then nitpick away, folks!)
The reason why I personally think that Little Ben will not have any more interaction with the 815ers (meaning that it's going to be a while before he's returned to his father) is because Michael Emerson (Ben) was only originally signed on for three episodes of the series in Season Two. I know that seems hard to believe at this point as his character is now such a pivotal one, but it's true. After fans had such a strong reaction to Ben, Emerson was asked to stay on. So I think everyone just needs to cut the writers some slack here and 1) be happy that Ben evolved into such a huge presence on the show, but at the same time 2) remember that those first episodes in which he appeared as a captive in the hatch most likely didn't have any tie-ins whatsoever to what has since transpired on the show. Hence the need to erase Young Ben's memory.
Having said all that, there's still no reason we can't choose to believe that Ben did recognize the 815ers at the Swan, and that he was simply able to control his reactions... especially since we've seen him do just that so many times going forward. Therefore, if Little Ben does end up seeing any of the time travelers again while they're all still in 1977, that's how we can explain why he seemingly had no memory of them in 2004. Deal?
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
JACK: You're telling us we're under house arrest.
MILES: No. You're all free to leave whenever you want, but I'll shoot you in the leg.
MILES: What the hell are you doing, Tubby?
HURLEY: Checking to see if I'm disappearing.
HURLEY: Back to the Future, man. We came back in time to the island, we can change stuff, so if little Ben dies he'll never grow up to be big Ben who's the one who made us come back here in the first place, which means we can't be here and therefore, dude, we don't exist.
MILES: You're an idiot.
HURLEY: Am I?
SAWYER: If you don't come with me, Jack... that kid is gonna die.
JACK: [pauses] Then he dies.
KATE: You know, I don't like the new you. I liked the old you who wouldn't just sit around waiting for things to happen.
JACK: [chuckles] You didn't like the old me, Kate.
HURLEY: But when we first captured Ben, Sayid like tortured him... then why wouldn't he remember getting shot by that same guy when he was a kid?
MILES: Huh? I hadn't thought of that.
LOCKE: Hello, Ben.
[Ben looks up at John, stunned.]
LOCKE: Welcome back to the land of the living.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
On April 22nd I'll be joining the hilarious Ryan from Zap2It's Guide to Lost for a live chat on his site. We've been trying to schedule this for a while, and have finally settled on a night when there's another break in the schedule (a clip show entitled "The Story of the Oceanic Six" will run instead of a new episode... this is the only break left this season).
I'll definitely post all of the details as the date gets closer, but for now I'd venture to guess that the chat will start a half-hour before the clip show begins at 9 PM EST. I've felt awful about how I haven't had time to respond to many of your emails and Facebook messages this season, so perhaps I can make up for it by discussing theories and answering questions in real-time on the 22nd.
Until next week,
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Hello my dear friends -