Getting Lost: What Kate Does

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

So, how excited were you for this episode? Ugh. At least this time they put Kate’s name in the title, so I knew going in that this episode would probably be a bust. It continually astounds me that the producers insist on putting Kate episodes at the forefront of seasons and relying on her so heavily. She is possibly the show’s least interesting character, and yet, besides Jack, nobody gets more screen time. Last season, she was the only character to get two flashback episodes; in Season One, she was the only character other than Jack to get three.

A lot of Lost fans have complaints about Jack, believing that he is not likable enough, or that he isn’t interesting enough as the “main character” of a show with such a deep cast. Well, I’ve always liked Jack more than most, and I think Kate represents a much bigger problem with the show. For one, she gets almost as much screen time as Jack, and more than any other female cast member by a wide margin. And, as last night’s episode showed, her stories are always a new incarnation of the same story, specifically her desire to run away from things.

Was there any doubt, after all, once Kate left the Temple to follow Sawyer that she was going to try and flee for good? At least Sawyer has a good reason to be fleeing—his self-loathing and misanthropy brought on by Juliet’s death—whereas Kate is just doing it because that is what she does. Unlike pretty much every other character on the show, Kate has shown exactly no development in her character and the stories that revolve around her.

One of the best elements of last season was that the show gave Kate a real motivation for going back to the Island. Instead of simply saying she went back to find Sawyer—which I certainly expected, even though the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle stopped being interesting in the middle of Season Three (and even that’s a little generous)—her actual motivation was to find Claire and bring her back home so she could raise her baby. That was brought back last night, but not in any way that really made sense: If Kate truly wanted to find Claire, then the Others are probably going to be more helpful than a mourning Sawyer. Instead, we have to spend more time watching Kate waver between her loyalty to Jack and her affection for Sawyer. Jesus, woman, make up your mind!

Kate’s story DOES progress. I mean, in the 2004 stuff, Kate ends up returning to Claire to help her deliver Aaron. I did like that touch. For one, it is consistent with the show’s philosophy of “certain things would have worked out no matter what,” since Kate helped deliver Aaron the first time around as well. Also, any attempt to make Kate establish a connection with someone besides Jack or Sawyer is a welcomed change of pace.

But this is what is so frustrating about Kate stories: They always end the same. She runs away from something, what she runs to ends up not working out/makes her guilty for running away in the first place, so she runs again.

Come on, wouldn’t you have punched Aldo in the face? Funny you should mention the return of Mac of from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Tim, who’s way behind on this show, just watched “Not in Portland” from Season Three, reminding me of Rob McElhenney’s guest appearance. I was all ready to point out that he had actually been on the show before, and then of course he had to explain that to Jin and Kate, ruining my chance to sound knowledgeable. Plus, Aldo kept shooting down the well-meaning and generally likable Justin.

Yeah, Justin was great. Too bad he had to get shot by a grungy-looking Claire. The return of Claire, combined with how it connected to the aftermath of Sayid’s resurrection, gave us even more progress on the first of my Big Questions that the show seems to be answering: Namely, what is the deal with the Island and dead people? As Dogen, the creepy Japanese guy, tells Jack, when dead people are revived, they are “claimed”—presumably by the same Man in Black/Smoke Monster that claimed Locke—and that “darkness” slowly consumes them. This, if I recall, would actually mesh rather well with how the resurrection of Locke was handled last season. That is, initially Locke seemed like the same old Locke: certain that he was meant for something, but confused and unsure of exactly what. But as the season progressed, he grew more and more confident and more and more sure of what he was doing. Presumably this coincided with Locke’s personality being completely overtaken by the Man in Black/Smoke Monster.

If this is true, and it is the explanation as to the reappearance of the dead on the show, then it has some troubling implications. Namely, it means that every appearance of Christian, who had previously declared himself as speaking “on behalf” of Jacob, has actually been an instance of Jacob’s nemesis exploiting people using Jacob’s name. This is troubling not only because it means that Locke was working for the Smoke Monster when he moved the Island/brought the Oceanic Six back, but because it also means we’ve had even less exposure to the real Jacob. If all the dead people are not Jacob, and the voice that asked Locke to help him back in the cabin was not Jacob, and if Ben really had never spoken to the real Jacob before killing him, then the only times the show has actually given us any indication of Jacob’s will have been in the last two episodes. This makes it a little hard to develop any sense of loyalty or reverence for the guy (despite my affinity for Mark Pellegrino), which seems like it would be pretty important if the show wants us to believe Jacob v. Man in Black = Good v. Evil.

Just admit it. The only reason you didn’t like this episode was because— No Locke. No Ben. WTF?! What are the producers thinking? “Hey, there are only like 15 episodes left. Let’s take two of our most important characters and give them a whole episode off!” That’s like benching Peyton Manning during the Super Bowl.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. […] A Locke episode! Yeah, after an episode that left him out completely, we get an episode totally centered on John Locke, who I’ve already called the show’s most […]

    Reply

  2. […] (such as him trying to save Boone) has always been the most compelling thing about him, but, like so many character stories on Lost, it got repetitive. Ever since the finale of Season Three, in which we watched a broken down Jack […]

    Reply

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