Key Points from "What Kate Does"
Season 6, Episode 3
Episode Air Date: 02/09/10
Anyone who's followed this blog for a while knows I can't stand Kate episodes. There's just something about her story that doesn't hold me. It's not the acting -- Evangeline Lilly is really quite good. It's not the concept -- the "fugitive with a heart of gold" is a tad cliche, but nothing egregious. It's just ... Kate doesn't play.
But Claire? Claire works. Claire is compelling. She's important, too: daughter to Christian, sister to Jack, mother to Aaron.
So, because this is the last season and anything goes, here's what I'm going to do: let's swap out "Kate-centric" for "Claire-centric" and look at the episode that way. (Kate fans, you might want to skip this week).
So let's have it!
We begin in the alternate timeline. You'll recall that Claire and her cab were abducted at gunpoint by fugitive Kate in last week's episode. Things pick up in the same place. And then ... well, the whole '04 Claire-Kate storyline is really quite odd after that.
There's a lot of "why would they do that?" going on in these Claire-Kate scenes. For starters, Kate ditches Claire on a Los Angeles street. After rifling through Claire's luggage and getting all weepy at the site of a stuffed orca, Kate inexplicably drives back to Claire. The only thing that explains this behavior -- seriously, the only thing -- is that the island or fate or destiny or some omniscient overlord is repositioning characters in the alternate timeline. There's just no reason for free-and-clear-fugitive Kate to check in on the pregnant chick she just ditched. Moreover, there's no reason for Claire to get back in the cab. It has to be a higher/bigger power, right?
Putting that aside, there are a couple intriguing developments in the alt timeline scenes that deserve mention:
- Lending credence to the "higher forces at work" theory, Claire's attempt to give her still-unborn child up for adoption is thwarted not by a plane crash and a mystical island, but by the breakup of a marriage. This, of course, doesn't guarantee that Claire will raise Aaron in this alternate universe. Kate may once again be his chosen guardian. (But let's hope not ... the alt-'04 version of Kate is even worse than the original model.)
- The best alt-timeline surprise came courtesy Claire's OB/GYN. He's know as Dr. Goodspeed, but you can call him Ethan. And in a lovely twist, this kindly version of Ethan wants to do everything he can not to stick Claire full of needles. This is in stark contrast to the needle freak who kidnapped Claire and used her belly as a pincushion.
- Speaking of Dr. Goodspeed -- such an overt use of the name was a nice reminder that Ethan is the child of Dharma bums Amy and Horace Goodspeed. But seeing as alt-'04 Ethan is a benevolent doctor and not a violence-prone Other, what does that mean for Amy and Horace? What became of them? Is Ethan still the product of their union? And what about the Dharma Initiative itself? Did it even exist in this alternate timeline's history? This is where the rabbit hole gets deep ...
Update 2/11/10: Eagle-eyed commenters (thanks Oscar!) noticed something very interesting in the ultrasound printout: the date is 10/22/04. If that's not a continuity error, that means the alternate timeline is a month later than the original. Take a look:
You can see a larger version of the screen at Lost Media.
That's that for Claire (and Kate) in the alt timeline. But we'll have more on a whole different version of Claire in a bit.
Meanwhile, at the Temple in 2007 ...
You just knew things wouldn't go well for Sayid. There's no way you can miraculously resurrect by the side of the Others' Jacuzzi and suddenly have all your metaphorical red lights turn green, right? There's gonna be repercussions to that kind of thing.
So the big news -- and the big problem -- on the Sayid front is that he's been "claimed" by someone or something. I'm working under the assumption we can believe this "claim" business because it came forth after a bunch of arguments, a torture scene, and a bold pharmaceutical gambit on the part of Jack. But it's entirely possible the Temple Others are lying and Sayid is totally fine ... they just don't like him very much.
But I doubt it.
Beyond this claiming thing -- which we really don't learn that much about -- the temple scenes also shed a little light on the enigmatic, Japanese-speaking leader we met last week.
His name is Dogen. He owns a typewriter and a baseball. He came to the island just like everyone else (supernatural circumstances were likely at play ... or maybe a submarine). He uses an interpreter as a way of insulating himself from his pesky followers. He's good with torture devices and apothecary know-how, but his greatest talent lies in regurgitation -- as in, making pig-headed doctors regurgitate pills filled with poison. (Really Jack? That's your move?)
Most interesting of all, Dogen is acquainted with the Shephard family tree. He knows that Jack has a sister. And he also knows that same sister was infected by the very thing that's now growing in Sayid.
Wait ... what?! Claire is infected? Her last on-island appearance suggested death, or maybe an in-between state (or a lot of hashish), but infected?
And as we see at the very end of this episode, Claire's infection has certainly done wonders for her survival skills. The once passive, smiley Australian with a penchant for peanut butter and washed up rockers has been reborn as Rousseau 2.0. She's now a rifle-firing badass who sets traps and picks off Others like they're womp rats. That's an interesting infection, indeed.
I hope Josh Holloway lands some choice dramatic roles down the road because that dude can bring it. In the course of this episode he went from gun-pointing rage (during his "escape" from the Temple) to poignant reflection (that quiet moment when he was alone in the Dharma condo he once shared with Juliet) to deep, dark, eye-watering guilt (when he blamed himself for making Juliet stay on the island). And then, after tossing the engagement ring he never got a chance to give into the waters by the Dharma dock, he zipped up all that emotion and slipped Sawyer into depression. That was something to see.
Speaking of that depression ... I'm 70 percent sure the end of the series will involve Sawyer spraying gunfire and grenades over anyone in his path. The guy is in a real bad way, and not even a heartfelt look from Freckles is going to bring him out of this tailspin.
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "We'll be in the food court if you need us." -- Miles to Jack and Sayid.
- Second Best Line: "As you can see, Hugo here has assumed the leadership position. So that's great." -- Miles to Sayid.
- How has Jin not lost his mind? He's been separated from his wife for more than three years. He's never seen his daughter. He was trapped in 1977. Learned English. Wore Dharma coveralls for days on end. And then, upon finally arriving in the correct time period and land mass, he's forced to dilly dally at an ash-covered temple with a dirty hot tub. And now his foot is gored in a Claire Trap! Infected or not, Claire best watch herself. Jin's in no mood.
- I'm curious about this infection business. Is this the same malady that worked its way through Rousseau's team? Or was that something different? And how is it transmitted?
- I was surprised they killed off Aldo the Other (this assumes he doesn't get a dip in the Others' Rejuvenation Jacuzzi). He had a couple snarky lines, which usually portends a multi-episode arc. Why waste the good stuff on a dead guy?
- In case you're wondering (and I know some people are because I wondered this myself), the guy running the chop shop in the alt timeline is not Tom Friendly.
- Not sure if this means anything -- probably not -- but the customary "backstory swoosh" has been replaced this season by the "alt-story swoosh." It's a cacophonous cranking sound. A shout out to smokey's tikka-tikka perhaps?
That's all I've got!
"The Substitute" -- This is rumored to be a Locke-centric episode. That presumably means it's set in the alternate timeline (or maybe it's 43 minutes in a casket). Airs Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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