Monday, February 22, 2010

Lost 6.03: "What Kate Does"

“As you can see, Hugo here has assumed the leadership position. So that’s pretty great.”


While I wouldn’t say this is one of my favorite episodes of “Lost” by far, some excellent performances by Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lily, and a surprise visit from Ethan, saved it from stooping to “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “Eggtown” levels. The episode began to answer some interesting questions, raised a bunch more questions, and the Sideways verse (creator Damon Lindelof has said in a bunch of interviews since the season premier that he doesn’t think the word “alternate” should apply to the storytelling device being used this season) once again provided a place for some fascinating character interaction.

A lot of the action in this episode still takes place in the Temple (which is still pretty lame), but at least the Temple action starts to give us some explanations. To say that Sayid being alive again has caused a bit of an uproar would be an understatement. Dogan and Lennon are most definitely in a panic. Over Jack’s protests, Sayid is sheparded away from the rest of the Losties. The Temple Others than proceed to torture him with electric shocks and a hot poker. Lennon claims that the torture was a test, and Sayid passed. This is pretty obviously not the case, though. I can watch gruesome stuff on television, but my level of tolerance is just below torture. It’s why I’ve never rewatched the episode of “Firefly” “War Stories,” even though it’s an excellent episode from a storytelling standpoint. And it’s why I will probably not rewatch this episode very often.

Jack is pretty much the only person really focused on Sayid. Hurley is trying to understand everything, and Miles is pretty much just standing around and making snarky remarks. Sawyer wants to get out of the Temple, and so does Kate (which they do, thanks to Sawyer somehow getting a gun). This is completely in character- both are free spirits and don’t do well when cooped up, even if they aren’t being kept in one place for malicious reasons. Jack is peppering Dogan and Lennon with questions, which is actually kind of refreshing. Dogan’s answers are still pretty cryptic, but at least Jack is asking the questions in the first place. Dogan wants Jack to give Sayid a pill, but he refuses to tell Jack what it contains.

Jack actually shows a surprising amount of character growth in this episode. And I am not at all a Jack fan, so it is very difficult for me to admit this. Jack acts rashly, like he often does, but it’s genuinely out of concern for Sayid, not some need to feel better about himself. After Sayid tells Jack that he’ll take the pill if Jack says it’s okay, Jack rushes back to Dogan and once again demands to know what’s in the pill. I’d like to think that Jack genuinely doesn’t want to betray Sayid’s trust. Jack goes so far as to swallow the pill, and Dogan is forced to perform the Heimlich and admit that the pill was poison. Dogan explains that Sayid has been “claimed” and will become completely dark in time…just like Claire.

The Temple folks are pretty irritated that Sawyer left, so they take Kate up on her offer to track him and bring him back. She’s accompanied by Jin and two others, one of which is the guy she hit over the head with a rifle outside Room 23 on Hydra Island back in Season 3. Needless to say, that guy doesn’t especially like Kate. Actually, nobody really seems to be much of a Kate fan at the moment, except maybe Jack. And as far as he’s concerned, there’s no accounting for taste. Kate manages to get away from the Other chaperones and leaves Jin (who has finally switched his primary concern back to finding Sun) in the lurch. Sawyer also isn’t especially happy to see Kate when she shows up in New Otherton. He wants to mourn Juliet, and Kate is getting in the way. He pries up the floorboards in their old house looking for something important. The engagement ring he was going to give Juliet.

You might think that the smidgen of Sawyer/Kate shipper that still resides in me despite travesties like “Eggtown” might be irritated by this turn of events, but it resulted in superb performances by both Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly. Sawyer’s anger and grief is both beautiful and painful to watch. Kate’s breakdown as she realizes that it actually isn’t all about her and what she wants is almost as powerful. She actually feels guilty that she was preoccupied with her plan to use Sawyer to help her find Claire for Aaron when he’s actually really, really hurting over the loss of Juliet. Speaking of Claire, Jin is the one who actually finds her. Only I don’t think she’s going to be all that useful to Aaron. She’s pretty much become the new Rousseau, crazy traps and all.

Although the stakes weren’t quite as high in the sideways-verse in this episode, there was still plenty of intriguing character interactions and surprise reveals. Okay, some characters did things that were just plain stupid, but it was still kind of fun. I really think that the sideways-verse is the reward to those of us who always really paid attention to the Easter eggs such as random characters meeting in flashbacks over the years. Our attention to detail is paying off, and it’s certainly making my viewing experience enjoyable.

The “flash sidewayses” (is that an acceptable plural?) this episode focus on Kate, which makes sense considering the title of the episode. It picks up right where we left off, with Kate hijacking Claire’s cab. There were two things about Kate’s initial getaway that made me especially happy. The first was Dr. Arzt being annoying as ever trying to collect his sprawled out luggage in the middle of the crosswalk. The second was Kate glimpsing Jack and having some sort of déjà vu moment. I really can’t wait to find out just how the two realities relate to each other, and moments like that one make me convinced that the two stories we’re seeing play out are really connected somehow.

Kate ends up kicking Claire out of the cab and hightailing it to a shady-ish mechanic shop to get her handcuffs taken off. She looks in Claire’s suitcase for potential clothes to change into and gets an attack of guilt when she sees that the suitcase is actually full of baby stuff. Claire is still waiting on the street corner where Kate left her, and she inexplicably accepts an offer of a ride from Kate. Claire needs to get to the house of the couple who is supposed to adopt her baby. Shutting the door on the “Kate and Jack were the couple in LA who were supposed to adopt Aaron” theory, the woman who answers the door at the address Claire gives Kate is not anyone we’ve met before. She says that she didn’t show up at the airport because her husband just left her. Repeating Claire’s dialogue from “Raised by Another” almost word for word, the woman says that she just can’t raise a baby alone right now. Claire then picks a really inconvenient time to start having contractions.

Kate rushes Claire to the nearest hospital where who is waiting but Dr. Goodspeed, aka Ethan Rom. This was probably my favorite moment of the episode. I do love those random mind bending moments that Lost knows how to bring so well. The best part was Ethan telling Claire that she could either have her baby or he could stop the contractions, but he didn’t want to stick her with needles if he didn’t have to.

I like how there’s a symmetry about the sideways-verse. Claire instinctively knows her child’s name is Aaron. Claire and Kate are also once again closely connected through Aaron, and Kate is connected to Aaron’s birth (even if it was early labor that was stopped this time around). It leaves me feeling like the big events we’ve seen play out for the past five years are inevitable for our characters, and watching that all play out is pretty cool.

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