Hello my dear friends -
As I did last week, I'm going to kick off this post by tying up a few loose ends from the premiere:
1) A huge "Thanks!" to the approximately 1,457 people who reminded me that the gaping hole in the Temple's perimeter was caused by Ben's fall when he was on his way to be judged by Smokey last season...
2)... and that the chick who drowned in Season One was named Joanna...
3) ... and that in Korea, married women often keep their last name, so it might not have been any sort of clue when the security guard called Sun "Mrs. Paik."
Some people also wrote in to say that perhaps Fake Locke's reference to Richard's chains wasn't because Richard was on the Black Rock, but rather because he was originally a slave in ancient Egypt who was brought to the Island by Jacob (hence tying in the multitude of nods to that culture on the show over the years). Others thought the chains were just the metaphorical kind -- like now that Jacob's dead, Richard's no longer at his beck and call.
Since I am positive we'll get more background on the Ageless One before the final credits roll on the series, let's move on to "What Kate Does." I've heard some grumblings about this episode having "too much filler," "moving too slowly," and "not giving enough answers." I felt quite differently. Perhaps it's because I rewatched all of Season One this past summer (that's as far as my own personal re-watch got, though, unfortunately) and have a new appreciation for what makes an hour of Lost enjoyable enough that it stands the test of time. I'd forgotten how much simpler the show used to be -- hell, Jack spent half of "Deux Ex Machina" trying to figure out why Sawyer was having bad headaches (remember his classic line of questioning about STDs?) and melding together Harry Potter glasses for his rival.
And guess what folks? Whether you realize it or not, those were the kind of scenes that made you fall in love with the show and stick with it for the past five years. "What Kate Does" brought back that type of intimate vibe that is hard to achieve in a more action-packed episode. I'd take meaningful, heartfelt exchanges between characters over Smokey sequences and rumbles in the jungle any day. So what I'm trying to say is, I liked this episode. And for the record, I don't care if they dole out ONE more answer on this show. I mean it. I can explain everything we've seen so far courtesy of my over-active imagination. And that way I can still get some elves into the picture.
Now that I've made my plea to you all to just ENJOY the remaining hours of the show, let's get into the meat of this Kate-centric installment. Casual viewers (aka: "normal people") might have forgotten that in Season Two there was an episode entitled "What Kate Did," which clued us in to her (successful) attempt to blow up her mom's house... which contained her abusive stepfather. In "What Kate Does" she's still on the run for murder in the alternate timeline, but aside from the video played at Comic-Con, we have no other details about exactly what landed her in handcuffs.
So let's take the do-over/reset/reboot/bizarro world/if-there's-a-common-name-the-alternate-timeline-is-being-referred-to-across-the-messageboards-please-tell-me scenes first.
I KNOW YOU
I WALKED WITH YOU ONCE UPON A DREAM
I KNOW YOU
THAT GLEAM IN YOUR EYES IS SO FAMILIAR A GLEAM
After Kate jumped in the cab with Claire, good ol' Arzt blocked their way with all of his dropped luggage. You can bet that I thought he was going to be run over since we all know he didn't meet a very happy ending on the Island, either. But he stepped aside, and only his luggage was worse for the wear.
What was more important about this part, however, is the weird look that flashed across Kate's face when she locked eyes with Jack as he stood outside the terminal and was making calls to try and straighten out his dad's non-funeral. Yes, Jack and Kate bumped into each other on the plane and he'd made googly eyes at her, but she was pretty busy stealing his pen and I don't think their quick encounter was anything that would've caused her to make such an expression of recognition when she saw him again a half-hour or so later. Jack also had a "Hey, huh, wha...?" air about him when he saw Kate from afar. Some people think that if this timeline was running concurrently with the timeline in which Flight 815 crashed, that by this point Kate and Jack would've met each other on the Island and that's why they're now seeming to recognize one another in this instance of events. That doesn't really explain why Jack would've already felt like he'd met Desmond before, though... and I'm honestly not sure that Jack and Kate met THAT quickly after the crash, but it's still something to consider.
I'm going with a more general theory that all of the 815ers are going to start experiencing some sort of nagging feelings... like they're meant to be somewhere else. Or they'll feel oddly drawn to certain people, much like we've already seen starting to happen between Jack and Locke, and now Kate and Claire.
GOT A WHALE OF A TALE TO TELL YA, LADS
A WHALE OF A TALE OR TWO
After Kate left Claire stranded on the side of the road, she sweet-talked a mechanic into breaking open her handcuffs and then went into the body shop's bathroom to change into Claire's stuff. Except that there were no clothes in Claire's bag, there was just a bunch of baby stuff. Including the very same stuffed animal that Kate would end up buying Aaron in the original timeline in "Something Nice Back Home." I totally freaked out when I saw that thing.
So Kate then felt all guilty and decided to go back to get Claire, who was still in the exact same spot, waiting for the bus. Now, did the woman who stole Jack's pen, bashed the marshal's head into a counter, held a cab driver and pregnant chick at gunpoint and then manipulated her way into getting out of her 'cuffs strike you as the type of considerate lady who would have a change of heart about someone she screwed over that she didn't even know? No. Up until Kate looked in the bag, she had no intention of going back for Claire. I personally don't think she would've gone back even if she'd seen Claire's Polaroid or the pack of onesies. It was that orca stuffed animal, I tell ya, calling to Kate from a different dimension -- luring her back to be reunited with someone she was connected to in another life.
HE'S THE ONE THEY CALL DR. FEELGOOD
HE'S THE ONE THAT MAKES YA FEEL ALL RIGHT
That otherworldly connection Kate and Claire share is probably the same thing that swayed Claire into hitching a ride with the very same woman who had hijacked her cab earlier in the day. How else can you explain that decision?
Since I had seen William Mapother's name on the Guest Starring list at the beginning of the episode, I expected that Ethan would be the adoptive father who would open the door when Claire showed up in Brentwood. When he wasn't -- and when Claire started going into labor after being delivered the news that there was in fact no happy couple waiting to adopt her baby -- then I knew Ethan would have to turn up in the hospital. Damn spoilery beginning credits!
And yep, there he was, Dr. Ethan Goodspeed. I've been asked to address how he could be alive in this instance of events, so I'll remind you all that when Miles had forewarned Daddy Chang that the Island might blow up, the Dharma peeps started shipping out all of the women and children. So baby Ethan would've been safe, as would've baby Miles, and toddler Charlotte, etc., etc. So see -- Faraday DID save Charlotte, the death of the skinny tie was not in vain!
But back to the hospital room -- Ethan's all nicety-nice and makes a point of saying that he doesn't want to stick Claire with needles if he doesn't have to. Uh-huh. She chooses to delay the delivery, and then Unnamed, Unborn Turniphead throws a hissy fit and the machine beeps out some sort of flatline. The second Claire shouts, "Is Aaron OK?", however, normalcy returns and the ultrasound shows that everything's just dandy. This was clearly not a coincidence. Later, Claire claimed that it was like she just "knew it or something" when Kate inquired about the fact that Claire'd given her child a name. Kate also threw in that she felt Claire "should keep him."
Now, let's think back a bit about what originally put Claire on Oceanic 815. The psychic -- who I truly believe WAS a psychic -- who felt so strongly that Claire must be the one to raise Aaron that he put her on a flight he knew would either strand her with her son on a crazy island or -- gulp -- kill them both. What if in this new timeline she visited the same guy and he put her on the Oceanic flight because he knew that even though the adoption would fall through and the plane would land safely in LA, Claire would meet Kate and the labor scare they went through together -- as well as Kate's words -- would ultimately lead Claire to raise Aaron herself?
Finally, before we move on to the present-day events, I want to address something I mentioned at the end of my "LA X (Part 1)" post. I'd speculated that the new Oceanic flight we were watching might have been taking place three years after the original, in order for the on-Island and off-Island events to be moving in parallel and things to some how sync up in the series' finale. But, besides Jack's old-school cell phone, I think we now have other proof that the rebooted flight took place exactly when it did before: 9/22/04. Why? Because on Claire's ultrasound there was a date: 10/22/04. Some peeps wrote in to Gregg Nations, who keeps track of each and every little crazy detail about the show, and asked if the 10/22/04 was a mistake or a clue. He said it was a bit of both, and in this thread on Lost's creative team's official site, you can all but discern that the date should've been 9/22/04 (the mistake being the "10," and the clue being the "04"). The crew's just human folks -- they can goof up every once in a while just like the rest of us. So moving forward I will be working from the all-but-confirmed assumption that the alternate timeline is taking place in the fall of 2004.
Let's head to the Island!
HEY, I AIN'T NEVER COMING HOME
HEY, I'LL JUST WANDER MY OWN ROAD
HEY, HEY, I CAN'T MEET YOU HERE TOMORROW
MISERY SO HOLLOW
At the Temple, Sawyer glares at the rest of the group from the sidelines and informs Kate that he intends to escape. The Others return and demand some alone time with Sayid and Jack attempts to fight them off, but Sawyer starts firing shots in the air and lets everyone know that he'll be leaving now. Dogen the Japanese Other Leader decides that this would be an appropriate time to start speaking English and pleads, quite seriously,
"Please, you have to stay." Shuh, right! "James Ford" has totally reverted back to being Season One Sawyer -- hating on Sayid, out for himself, and just wanting to be alone. "Don't follow me," he warns Kate.
But OF COURSE Kate is going to go after him, and Jin -- sensing his chance to get closer to finding Sun -- offers to join her and two Others on the search mission. After a near-smooch with Jack (I really thought it was gonna happen), Kate takes off with Jin and Sayid is dragged away to a very Princess Bride-like Pit of Despair, minus the freaky albino wheelbarrow-toting guy.
BAD MEDICINE IS WHAT I NEED
SHAKE IT UP
JUST LIKE BAD MEDICINE
THERE AIN'T NO DOCTOR WHO CAN CURE MY DISEASE
When Lennon first informed Dogen that Sayid had awoken, did you notice how Dogen kept fingering that weird silver scroll pendant thingy around his neck? That's gotta mean something. I just don't know what yet. I also liked how he was corresponding with god knows who using a TYPEWRITER -- I think he was even pounding away at the keys one-finger style. I don't get these Others, they so crazy.
Anyway, once they get Sayid to the torture chamber, they do a bunch of stuff that 1) really reminded me of when Rousseau first captured Sayid back in Season One, and 2) is clearly related to the Man in Black/Smokey because Dogen was blowing ash all over the place. He shocks Sayid, brands him with a hot poker and then proclaims, "Nope, you don't have H1N1 -- that vaccine you got at Walgreens actually worked, whaddaya know!"
Sayid stumbles back out into the main chamber and Jack has just about had it when he learns that has friend has been hurt. My FAVORITE part of the episode was when Jack's all, "Step aside," to those two burly guards... and then they do it! He had a classic look on his face like "That worked?" before brushing by them. It reminded me of that little smile he had in "The Incident" when Hurley pulled up in the Dharma Van to rescue him and Bleeding Out Sayid.
Jack confronts Lennon and Dogen, who deliver the bad news that Sayid is "infected," and that if he doesn't take the green pill Dogen's whipped up, the "infection will spread." They stress that it's critical Sayid take the pill willingly and that Jack be the one who gives it to him. Dogen also mentions that since it's Jack's fault Sayid got shot in the first place (and reminds him of how so many others had been hurt or killed following him, their leader), this would be a good way to redeem himself.
WHAT'S IN YOUR HEAD
IN YOUR HEAD
Back in the spring room, Sayid is like "WTF just happened to me, for real," and Hurley's all, "Don't you remember? You signed on for the top-secret Zombie Season -- it's really gonna happen, just like Damon and Carlton promised! And you get to be the first zombie!"
Jack returns to have a quick private chat about the mystery pill with Sayid, whose attitude is, "I'll do whatever you want, bro. I apparently already died, what else could happen to me?"
Jack goes back to Dogen's lair once more and this time Dogen's messing around with a baseball. WHAT?!?! I was trying to remember if we've seen a baseball on the show before, but I've got nothing. We do know that Jack is a big BoSox fan, and one of the items that Ageless Richard had Young Locke choose from when he was "testing" him in "Cabin Fever" was a baseball glove, but that's all I could come up with. The mystery of the baseball gets added below the mysteries of the silver necklace thingy and the typewriter. But if the next time we see Dogen he's in a Snuggie, I will stop watching this show.
Anywho, Jack asks Dogen why he uses a translator when he doesn't need one, and Dogen gave a very diplomatic answer: "I have to remain separate from the people I'm in charge of. It makes it easier when they don't like the decisions I make for them." This immediately brought to mind the dreaded Episode About Jack's Tattoos, where we learn that one of the Mad Doctor's markings reads, "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us." Ah, the life of a leader is often a lonely one. Dogen and Jack have a bit in common, it seems.
But they're not yet at the same level of acceptance about the power of the Island, though. When Jack asked Dogen if he's "from" the Island, Dogen looked very confused and replied, "I was brought here like everyone else," and then Jack was the one feigning ignorance.
Not for long, however, because when Dogen continued to refuse to tell Jack the secret recipe for not only Mrs. Field's Cookies, but also Coca-Cola, KFC chicken and the mysterious green pill, Jack straight-up popped the little bugger down his throat. I did NOT see that one coming. I think I actually yelled out, "D'OH!!!!"
SWALLOW IT DOWN
SUCH A JAGGED LITTLE PILL
Bad move, Jack. It was poison. Double-d'oh!
Thankfully, Dogen was up to date with his Heimlich training and was able to retrieve the "medicine." Then he had no choice but to explain, with Lennon's help, that Sayid had been "claimed." They said a darkness was growing in Jack's Iraqi friend and once it reached his heart, everything that we all love about He of the Black Tank Tops will be gone forever. Nooooooo! Jack asks, "How do you know this?" and they clued him in to the fact that the same thing had happened to his half-sis, and she'd officially gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. (More on that later.)
Elsewhere on the Island...
OH I, OH I'D
BETTER LEARN HOW TO FACE IT
OH I, OH I'D
PAY THE DEVIL TO REPLACE HER
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Kate, Jin and Others Aldo and Justin are tracking Sawyer, and Aldo confirms that all the hullabaloo at the Temple was in order to prepare the grounds against a Smoke Monster attack. Before too long, however, Kate finds a way to knock both of her captors out, and after a tense exchange with Jin ("Who do YOU care about, Kate?") she makes a beeline for New Otherton.
And dammit if Sawyer isn't there pulling up the floorboards to retrieve the engagement ring he'd planned to give Juliet. He allows Kate to come with him to the pier and she tries to convince him to help her find Claire. Their ensuing "some of us are meant to be alone" conversation was almost too hard for me to watch, as they each took turns blaming themselves for Juliet's death. But -- my dog as my witness -- I totally, totally lost it when Sawyer threw the ring into the water and then broke down once again... and then after he left KATE broke down. This show has championship-level criers, it always has. Matthew Fox still reigns supreme as the Most Outstanding Man-Crier, but Josh Holloway came close to swiping the title with this scene. It was beautiful and awful all at the same time. I'm glad they're not just having Sawyer "get over" everything. And it doesn't look like he'll be trotting after Kate back to the Temple any time soon, either.
YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?
YOU'RE IN THE JUNGLE, BABY!
YOU'RE GONNA DIE...
Meanwhile, poor Jin's wandering around by himself trying to figure out how he can make it to wherever the Ajira flight might have landed when Aldo and Justin find him again. Aldo threatens to kill Jin, but before he gets a chance, he's shot down and then so is his fellow Other. By a very unkempt Claire. I've got to give props to Tom T for writing me milliseconds after the show ended and coining the nickname "Clousseau" for the Rousseau-ish Claire. I've since seen it elsewhere, but in my mind Tom T gets the kudos for that one.
So what's going on with Claire, and why are Dogen and Lennon convinced that whatever happened to her will also happen to Sayid?
When we last saw Completely Normal Claire, she was at her home in New Otherton before Keamy's team attacked. Her house was blown up, but Sawyer found her in the rubble and she appeared to be alive... though Miles was giving her funny looks from that point on, which made many of us think that she might actually be in some sort of undead state. That theory was strengthened once she up and left Aaron in the jungle and ran off with Zombie Dad to Jacob's cabin. Locke later saw her there and she was acting like she'd had one too many shots of MacCutcheon's since she claimed to be "fine" and that Aaron was "where he needed to be."
What can we make of all this?
THE DEVIL INSIDE
THE DEVIL INSIDE
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US
THE DEVIL INSIDE
Sticking with the "the easiest explanation is probably the right one" approach, I'm going with the theory that supports Locke and Walt's chat about backgammon waaaay back in the series' pilot. "There are two players: one side is light, one side is dark." On the Island, these sides are represented by Team Jacob and Team Edw--oops, I mean Team Man in Black. Jacob and his adversary have been lining up players for their various "armies" -- Jacob's got the Others and the 815ers that he visited and physically touched in the past. The Man in Black is able to pick off anyone's who's died and hasn't been properly disposed of (which is why, as we guessed before, the Others have always been so concerned with how to handle their dearly departed members).
This would lead us to believe that Claire did in fact die in that explosion at the barracks, and that the Man in Black got to her immediately. Same goes for Sayid. It doesn't matter that the Man in Black is also taking Locke's form right now -- he can be many places at once thanks to his ability to control the Black Smoke. At least this is how I'm explaining everything to myself in my own mind. Anyone else have any other relatively simple (key phrase) explanations?
Let me leave you with this thought so that you don't lose all hope for our favorite torturer: Dogen and Lennon generally seem to be telling the truth to Jack, it's just that -- like Ben -- what they say may often have a double or hidden meaning. So consider the fact that Dogen said the pill was made of poison. OK, we've got that, but at no point did he say that the pill would KILL Sayid. Now, think about how many medications are often actually poisons, but they double as antidotes if the person they're given to already has a disease or has been afflicted by something... that's essentially what ANY vaccine is. That's what chemotherapy is. So what if the pill contains poison that would've killed Jack because he's not been infected by Smokey, but it will actually help Sayid? I think there's some hope yet for him. There has to be.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
Hurley: You’re not a zombie, right?
Sayid: No, I am NOT a zombie.
Miles: We’ll be in the food court if you need us.
Kate: ... I’m sorry, I never should’ve followed you.
Sawyer: Which time?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Back in August when the Season Six premiere title ("LA X") had just been announced, I joined other members of the DarkUFO team -- Karen from Karen's Lost Notebook, The ODI from TheODI.com and Vozzek from Things I Noticed -- for a fun chat about the show and our predictions about Season Six. At the start of our talk I give a little background about how Long Live Locke came to be -- I think this might be the only time I've ever shared the full story!
You can listen to it on ODI's site here, or download it from iTunes here. Our discussion starts at the four-minute mark. Enjoy!
Until next time,