News flash! Last night's Lost was Kate-centric, and I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. Spoilers ahoy.
The promise, or threat, depending on your outlook, of a Kate episode has been looming over our heads for several weeks, and last night it arrived. The surprise, for me, is that I didn't dislike "What Happened, Happened" (thanks, Douglas Adams) as much as I feared I would.
Perhaps it's become I'm suffering from The Cold From Hell - or just maybe, despite the occasional forays into soap opera and the play dates with Clementine and Aaron, Kate's storyline answered some of our burning questions: what Sawyer told her before he jumped from the helicopter, what happened to Aaron, and perhaps most interestingly, how Ben becomes an Other. We also find out Kate and Jack's motives for returning to the island: Kate, to find Claire, and Jack, because he was "supposed to." (This, after Juliet pokes holes in his first response, a reflexive "to save you!") I'm sure this a nod to Jack's destiny and all, but next to Kate's altruism, it sounds pretty lame.
On the other hand, I don't think it was one of the season's stronger episodes. I'm glad Kate did the right thing and gave Aaron to Claire's mother - but spare me the tears and the swelling violins. And since when did Sawyer break Kate's heart? She was the one jerking him around and making goo-goo eyes at Jack.
What I enjoyed most about last night's show was the banter between Hurley and Miles. Now is a good time to explain that I try hard to stay unspoiled about Lost, and therefore hadn't seen the promos featuring the two discussing how the past/present/future intersect. "But when we first captured Ben, and Sayid, like, tortured him, then why wouldn't he remember getting shot by that same guy when he was a kid?" asks Hurley. "Huh. I hadn't thought of that," says Miles. Part exposition, part shout-out to fans whose brains hurt from asking the same questions - I loved it.
Speaking of regaining consciousness, when Jin awakes to discover Sayid is gone, he immediately tells Phil that Sayid "the hostile" is headed north; his lack of hesitation in doing so make clear how far his allegiances, like Sawyer and Juliet's, have shifted over the past three years. Miles remains his own man, of course-and my guess is that Daniel does as well. Hopefully we'll find out soon what he's been doing for the past three years.
The Dharma-ites quickly deduce that Sayid's breakout is an inside job, and when Sawyer asks Roger Linus if he has his keys, it becomes apparent to both of them that Ben is the guilty party. Ben, meanwhile, is on the operating table, where Juliet can't stanch his internal bleeding. Roger Linus's concern for Ben at this point comes as something of a shock. Last week, and in prior seasons, we've only seen his cruelty to the son he holds responsible for his wife's death and his lousy life on Craphole Island. This new tenderness allows him to deliver the poignant line to Kate that a boy needs his mother, but it felt jarringly at odds with his previously established character.
Sawyer appeals to Jack for surgical intervention, but the doctor, who is under house arrest with Kate and Hurley, and party to Miles and Hurley's conversation about the inevitability of future events, decides that now is a good time to begin trusting the island's healing powers. He refuses to help save Ben the child, after having saved Ben the adult at Kate's behest.
When Juliet suggests the others may be able to help save him, Kate and Sawyer (at Juliet's behest) deliver him to Richard Alpert. He says he can save the boy's life, but Ben will never be the same again; he'll forget it ever happened, his innocence will be gone, and "He will always be one of us." When one of the others question Richard for taking the boy without notifying Ellie and Charles (who have apparently attained positions of power since we last saw them in 1954), he notes that he doesn't answer to them. Then he carries Ben into The Temple. What knowledge will the others impart to Ben that causes him to "lose his innocence"? Does Ben really forget everything that happened to him before the others take him (e.g., that Sayid shot him), or is this exactly the knowledge that Ben exploits to become the leader of the others?
Off the island, in a flashback to 2004, Kate delivers an envelope filled with part of her crash settlement money to a still-bitter Cassidy in fulfillment of her promise to Sawyer to take care of Clementine. She proceeds to tell Cassidy the truth about O6, and admits that Aaron is not her son. Then, in 2008, Kate briefly loses track of Aaron in a supermarket. She finds him with a woman who resembles Claire (albeit a kind of scary one) and realizes, after consultation with Cassidy, that she must give him up to his grandmother. When she meets with Mrs. Littleton, Kate again tells the truth about what happened on the island: that Claire, and others, survived the plane crash. I have to give it up for Kate, at least she admits to the understandably upset Mrs. Littleton that she didn't return Aaron to her immediately because of her own selfishness. Nevertheless, I feel certain that repercussions from these truth-telling sessions are sure to follow.
How awesome was the final scene (circa 2008) between Locke and Ben, who comes to in the makeshift infirmary to discover the man he murdered looming over him, a Cheshire-cat smile playing about his lips? "Welcome back to the land of the living" indeed!