So first off, my apologies for posting this so late. Wednesdays are typically very busy days for me (and that was before the days of Lost on Tuesday nights) so the show switching to one night earlier hasn’t been an easy transition for me. But maybe I’ll start putting my thoughts together right after the episode so I have something up here more quickly.
So what to talk about? This week’s episode, “What Kate Does,” raised some interesting questions about the nature of Sayid’s body being “claimed,” and what that could mean. Has it been possessed? Has he been killed and there’s something inside him now? Or is Sayid still inside that body but being hushed by something else that’s in there and taken over? (Maybe it’s years of Angel and Buffy with the real Liam co-existing in Angel’s body with the demon, or Fred being killed so Illyria could take up residence in the “shell” that was once her body, but for some reason that doesn’t seem like a weird question to me.) The thing is, I brought up this question and discussion on my blog already, and the comments have lit up discussing it further, so I’d like to talk about something else.
Maybe the shipper stuff?
Ha, just kidding. Other than I will say I thought Josh Holloway put in an incredible performance on the dock, and it’s one of the best scenes he and Evangeline Lilly have ever done. The two of them were amazing.
Instead, I wanted to address something I didn’t cover already in my blog post for this episode: the fan reaction to it. Because, of course, the post went up about an hour after the episode had aired, so there’s no way I would have known the fan reaction. I can only really cover off my reaction of it at that point. And what I said was that I was a little worried in the first half, but then it really picked up in the second. The response of many of my readers was that it was a huge disappointment, or that it was yet another one of those non-answer episodes that don’t belong in a final season where we’re expecting lots of answers and not MORE questions. Other people said it was a Kate-centric episode, and those have never been that interesting, so they knew going in that it was going to be bad. And still others said they didn’t believe for one second that Kate could hold a gun to pregger Claire’s head, then hijack her cab, dump her at the side of the road and take her wallet, bag, and baby things, and then come back and say, “Yeah. Sorry about all that… hey, wanna ride?” and Claire would TAKE HER UP ON IT.
So what do I say about all of this? Well, I don’t want to be an apologist for the show. And I’ll admit, as I confessed on my blog, that in a final season with SO much to wrap up, I’m a little nervous about introducing entirely new elements like Dogen and the Temple or spending an episode not answering anything. But it’s not like we have two hours left; we have the majority of the season still before us, and they can still cover a ton of ground in the 15 hours we have left.
If this show were all about the sci-fi aspects, or the mysteries, or the sheer bafflingness of it, I don’t think it would be anywhere near as successful as it is. Lost is a show about characters, about people, and about their emotions. The reason we want to know about what’s going to happen is because we really care about these people. Seeing Ethan as a doctor actually warmed my heart. A year ago my reaction would have been to scream for Claire to get out of that hospital. But after seeing him born, I have new sympathy for him. We saw him as a scraggly kid with Ben Linus, hiding in the bushes having been kidnapped by the Others and being one of them. But in this reality, he presumably left on the sub with his mom when the island was being evacuated. He got away, he started a new life, and rather than being stuck in a compound with women dying on his table and never bringing new life into the world, he’s a successful ob/gyn with a really good bedside manner. It was heartwarming.
Under normal circumstances, I think Claire wouldn’t have gotten into the cab with the kidnapper. And Kate wouldn’t have risked everything to get Claire to the hospital. But I believe they have some sort of residual knowledge of the parallel timeline… it’s like Claire instinctively knows that Kate is someone she can trust, and Kate knows Claire is someone who is important to her. Notice Kate’s face when Claire said the name Aaron: it went straight to her heart, like that name belonged to the most important person in the world to her. And in the original season 5 timeline… it did.
I think the Temple stuff might have been a little slow for us now, but what it did is lead us to exactly the questions that will ultimately give us the answers we want so badly. I think “What Kate Does” might end up being one of those episodes that is FAR more important in retrospect than it ever was at the time. Remember “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead,” with the VW van and the skeleton named Roger that seemed like a standalone? That episode became far more important later on down the road, and this one might, too.
And if it doesn’t, well… at least it slowed things down slightly after that whopper of a season premiere. I think next week’s episode will have us back to our old speculatory, excited ways. Come on over to my blog and read lots more, including identifying another Canadian reference on this week’s episode, and, later tonight, revealing the mystery behind a very strange and amazing package I received last week.
Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 5 is now available at Amazon.com, and is currently working on the season 6 book. She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.
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