LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 2: “What Kate Does”

11 02 2010

So…what did all of you think about the latest installment?  Did you like it?  Love it?  Hate it?  For me, I think it was about resetting expectations just a bit.  With this being the last season of LOST, I guess I expected every episode to be pedal-to-the-metal action, at least at the speed that we got for the premiere.  It certainly *feels* as though there are enough outstanding mysteries for the show to operate at a frenetic pace from now until the series finale.  In fact, all of the ads for the show have stated, “The time for questions is over.”

Well, not so much.  This was definitely (at least in my mind) one of those episodes where things slowed down quite a bit.  And oddly, despite my being fascinated and intrigued by the alternate timeline thread initially, I find myself feeling like I can’t wait for the “flash-sideways” bits to be over.  The on-island narrative is just so much more compelling right now that the off-island stuff seems like one big distraction.  Only 3 hours in, I’m wondering just how much I care about what’s happening on this alternate timeline.  Do I really care if Kate’s on the run again and that Claire’s having her baby?

Anyway, I’m getting just a bit ahead of myself here.  Let me step back for a second and take this from the top, like I always do…

“Jack, what happened to me?”

Now ain’t that the 64-thousand dollar question?  What we’re led to believe in this episode is that Sayid did in fact die, and that he’s come back to life “infected”.  That certainly seems to be the most viable outcome, but let me just make sure that I cover the possibility that he was never dead.  Jack didn’t have time to diagnose him, and Miles had a strange look on his face as Hurley was suggesting that Sayid talk to him in the afterlife.

That being said, I’m going to go on the assumption that Sayid did indeed die, and that he has now come back to life somehow.  While the how is an intriguing question, and one that I’m sure will be explained to us at some point in the near future, I’m more concerned with the why.  Specifically regarding how Sayid might fit in with the rest of the deceased on the island.  I’d love to dive headlong into this subject right off the top, but let’s do some more analysis of the straightforward scenes from the episode before we do.

“He’s an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids, he definitely deserves another go-around.”

I touched on this topic briefly in last week’s recap, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it again, especially since the writers hit us over the head with it this week: Sawyer has checked out.  He is done, done, done with this island and everyone on it.  He could give a crap about what happens to the island or anyone else on it.  He wants off, and he wants to go home.  This place has soured his toughts about life in general, and he’s ready to take leave of it, immediately.

By the way, does that attitude remind you of anyone else on the island right now?  Yep, I’m talking about the Man in Black.  If by some chance those two get in the same room together, and share stories about wanting to leave, there might be a very unlikely alliance formed.  Seriously, don’t be surprised if Sawyer and Smokey are planning some nasty trickery in the near future.  It could be just the break that Smokey needs to infiltrate the ranks of the LOSTies and willingly get them to do his bidding without even knowing it.

“Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”

OK, so the things I thought was so interesting in the flash-sideways in the premiere were a) trying to determine just how “real” this alternate timeline was, b) seeing old favorites come back in new ways, and c) seeing if any clues about the main timeline were embedded in the alternate thread.  In this episode, it felt as though all 3 of those items were missing.  It clearly seems as though this timeline has entered a more natural, deliberate, storytelling approach, and that any clarifications on how “real” it is will not be coming any time soon.  Additionally, while Arzt’s appearance here was nice, we saw him in a much more humorous role in the premiere.  And while Ethan’s appearance later in the episode was a nice twist, it wasn’t anything overwhelming.  I don’t know how much of that is related to the significance of his character, or the significance of the timeline, but it simply didn’t have the same emotional impact that he previous re-appearances have had.  Finally, other than referencing events from seasons past in a cute way, I didn’t pick up any overwhelming clues for the main timeline in the alternate timeline.

I don’t want to sound cynical, but I definitely did not enjoy the alternate timeline in this episode as much as I did in the premiere.  I think it’s because I need to feel the rules and/or the consequences of this timeline for me to really care about the events that take place in it.  I’m hoping we’ll get just a bit of that next episode, but who knows.

Sawyer jumps ship

Sawyer's had about enough of this place

Not entirely unexpectedly, Sawyer takes leave of the group he used to call friends, and heads out into the jungle, despite the fact that Smokey is on the loose.  He’s tired of being held captive, he’s tired of these people, and he’s ready to do things his way.  When he says, “Don’t come after me” at the end of the scene, it’s almost more of a threat than it is a request.

“Be careful.”

The Others’ trust in Kate and Jin to safely go out and return with Sawyer notwithstanding, it’s interesting to see things play out with Jack and Kate as she’s getting ready to leave.  While the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle has never been the plot point at the top of my list, it’s certainly been a prominent over-arching thread throughout the show, and to not recognize advancement in it would be doing injustice to a recap of the show.  Based on that, you have to take notice of Jack grabbing Kate’s arm and forcing her to linger just a bit longer.  With Plan A of the bomb resetting the timeline failing (at least as much as this Jack knows), Jack is at least wearing his emotions on his sleeve.  With the way events unfolded at the Barracks later in the episode, I think it’s important to pay attention to this scene as a potential shift in the direction of where the love triangle may be headed.

Sayid becomes the torturee

Sayid has the tables turned

Interesting not so much for its irony as it is for what the torturers were trying to accomplish, Sayid gets the tables turned on him and is tortured for apparently no reason.  By the end of the scene we’re given some insight: this was a test, and Sayid failed.  But really, in what way would he have reacted differently had he actually passed?  Is it just me, or are we slipping into a situation in which we’re unsure as to who the real “bad guys” are?  Motivation for the events we’re seeing in the Temple are becoming just as cloudy as the stream Sayid was dropped into, and I bet that’s exactly how the writers envisioned it.

Kate goes back and picks up Claire

Really, I’m having a hard time understanding the significance of these events.  Are we supposed to glean that Kate would always come to Claire’s side and help her have the baby?  Or that Claire wouldn’t end up giving the baby up for adoption, even if she landed in LA?  Or that she would always name the baby Aaron?  Because we don’t know the rules, we don’t know the significance of what’s happening on screen.  Perhaps we’re supposed to re-watch them after the series is over, and that they’ll become a denounment of some sort.  But without any meaningful frame of reference, these scenes really don’t carry much impact at all…at least for me.

“Looks like one of Rousseau’s traps…”

Of course, we don’t need it explained to us that Rousseau is dead, but then the question becomes, whose trap is it?  Pretty fascinating twist as to who it is at the end of the episode.  But I’ll get to that shortly.

“It’s medicine, and your friend needs it.”

What's in it?

Amazing how much these Temple-dwelling Others are willing to lie in order to try to get Sayid to take that pill.  They want him dead (again) at all costs, and they’re even willing to play on Jack’s redemption issues to make it happen.  But what about the “it only works if he takes it willingly” line?  Did they make that up as well, or is it true?  All of this only further lends itself to the theory of not trusting these people, no matter how much they say they’re trying to protect everyone.

“You’re not a zombie, right?”

Funny little in-joke here for some of the more die-hard fans.  Several times during their podcasts, Damon and Carlton have made reference to the last season being the “zombie season”, where all of the dead people would have a chance to come back to life and tell the parts of their stories that they didn’t get to share as the seasons progressed.  (Libby would be a good example.)  Although clearly not going that route, the writers couldn’t help but to make a nod to the die-hards in this scene.

Kate catches up to Sawyer in the Barracks

Kate looks on as Sawyer tosses the ring he intended to give to Juliet

…and finds him digging up an old stash of Juliet-related items, including an engagement ring.  Sawyer’s completely distraught, and has a hard time even vocalizing what he’s feeling to Kate.  One thing I want to point out, just in case any of you might have been wondering about it, I completely buy Sawyer’s response here.  As I mentioned last season, it’s easy for us to think that Sawyer would want to be with Kate more, and that his relationship with Juliet was just a facade.  In fact, I think that perhaps Kate was thinking or hoping for this as she tracked him down.  But remember, although we’ve seen 5+ seasons (years) of interaction between Sawyer and Kate, it was only 3 months of “real” time.  When you put that up against 3 years of “real” time that Sawyer and Juliet spent together…well, I guess I’m just saying that it makes sense to me.

By the way, I’m compelled to try to explain why Kate began to cry at the end of the scene at the Barracks.  After watching the scene 3 times in the last 24 hours, I think that it’s a combination of things.  I think she realizes just how broken Sawyer is, and how seemingly unrecoverable he is now that Juliet is gone.  Additionally, if she was holding out hope for rekindling anything between them, it’s very evident that that scenario isn’t coming to fruition anytime soon.  And finally, I think she realizes that she’s not going to get much help in her effort to find Claire.  Many areas of hope were shot down in that single conversation, and I think that Kate simply let the emotion of the moment take over.

“I don’t trust myself; how am I supposed to trust you?”

Jack has a test of his own for Dogen

A couple of things got my attention in this scene.  First, Jack always comes off as a better man when he admits to his shortcomings.  For all that he’s been through, he’s finally coming to the conclusion that he doesn’t know what’s going on, and that he can’t even trust his own instincts with regard to his decision-making.  And it appears that he’s tuly accepted that.

But what might be even more fascinating is just how much Dogen doesn’t want Jack to injest that pill.  While he doesn’t trust him enough to tell Jack what’s going on around him, Dogen clearly feels as though Jack is going to serve some higher purpose, and that he needs to keep him around to fulfill it.  It’s a very convoluted relationship that Dogen is creating with Jack and the rest of the LOSTies.

“Why would you people want to kill Sayid?”

Claire doesn't quite look the way we remember her

So Dogen’s explanation seems to make sense, especially considering what we’ve seen on the island regarding dead people, and the fact that Claire appears to be not quite herself at the end of the episode.  After all, the Others were always interested in gathering the dead bodies back in the Dharma days, and Rousseau felt compelled to kill off her entire team after they became “infected”.  But Dogen’s answer doesn’t seem to cover all of the questions we might have surrounding dead people on the island.  For example, if we believe Dogen, then why would Ben say, “Dead is dead” last season?  Why hasn’t John Locke suddenly come back to life?  Is it because he died off-island?  And how do the dead people fit into what’s going on with the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster?  Is he able to control them once the “darkness takes over”?  A couple of answers in this episode, but even more questions to bounce around in our heads…

Post-episode questions

1. What are we supposed to make of the events in the alternate timeline?  How are they relevant to the main timeline?

2. Is Sawyer beyond hope for a peaceful resolution?  What’s his next play?

3. What’s Sayid’s true situation?  Is he really not himself and on borrowed time?

4. What is Dogen’s true motivation?  Why is he deliberately withholding information from Jack, especially if he thinks highly enough of him to stop him from swallowing the poision pill?

5. What’s going on with Claire?  Is she really “claimed” as Dogen suggests?

I hope you all enjoyed the episode and recap!  See you again next week!

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One response

12 02 2010
jeremyshingles

Agreed. Can’t wait to get the answers!

There is a discussion of LOST happening at my blog right now. I invite you to be a part of it!

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