Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Lost" Fifteen Favorites: "Whatever Happened, Happened"

“I’m going back. To find your daughter.”

Well, considering we’re approaching the week of the “Lost” finale extravaganza- 3.5 hours of (hopefully) awesome television- I figured I’d better get a move on wrapping up Fifteen Favorites. That might mean the regularly scheduled recaps might be even more severely delayed than they already are, but summer’s almost here, and that’s catch-up time! Anyway, episode nine on my list is one of only two Season 5 episodes to make the list, “Whatever Happened, Happened.” I know this might come as a shock, considering I’ve been kind of hard on Kate here at MTVP. I generally find her ping-ponging between Jack and Sawyer infuriating and her relationship with Jack nauseating, but this episode stands out for me because I *gasp* actually liked Kate in this one. Kate thinks of someone other than herself for once, and it’s truly a beautiful moment, played convincingly by Evangeline Lilly.

The flashbacks in this episode show us something of Kate’s post-Island rescue time other than the aforementioned nauseating relationship with Jack. This episode instead focuses on Kate’s relationship with Aaron and just how complicated it really is, beyond the obvious “he’s not actually her son” thing. The first flashback is of Kate pulling up to a failry typical suburban home with Aaron in tow. It turns out to be the home of Cassidy, Sawyer’s baby mama (for lack of a better term), played by the always wonderful Kim Dickens. Cassidy is both surprised and elated to see Kate- they do have a history of helping each other out of tough spots back in the day. The flashbacks in “Left Behind” where Kate helps Cassidy when the fake necklace con is going south and Cassidy in turn helps Kate see her mom are quite fun.

Cassidy still has some serious Sawyer issues, and in the advice she gives to Kate, which is also pretty Sawyer-centric, it’s hard to know whether or not Sawyer is really at least part of the reason for Kate’s inner turmoil, or if Cassidy is just projecting. Cassidy’s kind of offended at the notion that Sawyer asked Kate to take care of Clementine, because as far as Cassidy knows, Sawyer’s never lifted a finger to help Clementine or even acknowledged her existence. When Kate tells the true story of how the Oceanic 6 escaped, Cassidy thinks that Sawyer jumped not to save everyone else, but to run from Kate because he was afraid of what might happen between them when they got to the mainland. When she hears the truth about Aaron, she thinks Kate kept Aaron because she needed him, not the other way around. Cassidy thinks Kate thought Aaron was the way to mend her heart that Sawyer broke. It’s an interesting theory, and Kate doesn’t deny it, but I’m not sure I buy it. Overall, Kate’s manipulated Sawyer more than the other way around, and Kate only seems to go truly off the rails in reaction to Jack, not Sawyer. Oh how I wish Cassidy was right, but I really do think it’s more likely she’s just projecting.

After storming off from the meeting at the marina where Ben told the Oceanic 6 they had to go back to the Island, Kate stops at a grocery store because Aaron is thirsty. When Kate takes a second to contemplate whether or not she’s going to answer a phone call from Jack (she doesn’t), Aaron disappears. Kate, understandably freaks out, although Aaron is quickly found. She later tells Cassidy that when it happened, her first thought was that she figured this would happen sooner or later, because Aaron wasn’t really hers. Later she goes to Mrs. Littleton’s motel room and tells her the truth. Her daughter is alive and her grandson is in the room two doors down. Kate leaves Aaron with Mrs. Littleton so Kate can go back to the Island and find Claire, Aaron’s true mother. I really think this is Kate’s shining moment of the entire series. For once she’s not caught up in the Love Quadrangle of Doom, and she makes a really difficult choice in the hopes that it will make someone else’s life better.

The on-Island action in this episode deals with the aftermath of Sayid escaping the Barracks and shooting young Ben. The Dharma folks turn up the paranoia when Sayid is gone, and that’s even before they realize Ben has been injured. After Jin brings Ben back to the Barracks, the tension ramps up even higher. For their protection, Sawyer puts Jack, Hurley, and Kate in a house and has Miles watch over them. Meanwhile, Juliet has to tend to Ben’s injury. There’s a real sense of Sawyer and Juliet scrambling to hold on to the life they’ve built as they see it slipping through their fingers, especially on Sawyer’s part. It’s this desire to hold the status quo together that will really animate his choices for the rest of the season.

Jack, however, is being his usual whiney self. Ben’s injuries require expertise greater than Juliet’s to fix, and she sends Sawyer to get Jack. Jack, however, refuses to help Ben, even after Kate chimes in asking Jack to help. He says “I’ve already saved Benjamin Linus, and I did it for you, Kate. I don’t need to do it again.” Jack can be such a self-important prick sometimes. On a lighter note, Miles and Hurley spend most of this time having a very entertaining discussion about time travel. They’re basically acting out discussions that were going on in the fandom at the time as we struggled to understand the rules of time travel in the “Lost” universe. Miles believes that their own personal timelines keep moving forward, even if they aren’t living their lives in a straight line, time-wise. In his words, “whatever happened, happened.”

Kate isn’t going to take Jack’s refusal to help Ben as the final word on the matter. Her maternal instincts kick in, and like Juliet, she doesn’t want to let a kid die. I think motherhood really suits Kate. She manages to placate an anxious Roger when Juliet can’t by saying Roger can keep an eye on her while she donates blood for Ben. This way, Roger can stay close to Ben, yet out of Juliet’s hair. Later, Juliet tells Kate that there’s nothing more she can do for Ben, and Ben will eventually die. Kate asks her if there’s anyone else who might possibly be able to help Ben, and Juliet gets an idea. They need to take Ben to the Others. Kate offers to drive Ben there in a Dharma van. Juliet says she has to tell Sawyer what’s going on, but she’ll try to give Kate a head start first.

Sawyer catches up to Kate as she reaches the sonic fence pylons, but he’s not there to stop her, he’s there to help her. More surprising than the fact that he wants to help is the reason why he wants to help. He’s there for Juliet. She thinks it would be wrong to let a child die, and Sawyer is supporting her in that. As they wait in the woods for the Others to find them, Sawyer and Kate have a very interesting conversation, where Kate tells Sawyer about Cassidy’s theories. Kate mentions that Sawyer doesn’t seem to have had a problem slowing down and committing to Juliet. Sawyer rightfully notes that he’s grown up in the past three years. Although I seem to remember him offering to try to make a life with Kate in New Otherton back in early Season 4, but I’ll let that one go, since I’d rather forget everything about the abomination that was “Eggtown.”

The Others interrupt the conversation, and Sawyer asks to be taken to Richard. Richard says that they’ll take Ben and heal him, but Ben will never be the same. He will lose his innocence, and he’ll be one of them now. After Richard takes young Ben into the Temple, we quick cut to 2007, where the Benjamin Linus we know and love to hate is waking up on Hydra Island. He opens his eyes to see Locke staring at him. Creepy.

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