LOST: Dissecting "What Kate Does" (6x03)
When the Kate-centric episode is this good, it's pretty hard not to think this last season will be the big pay-off we've all been waiting for.
"What Kate Does," a title that recalls the Season 2 episode "What Kate Did," is one of those episodes that rewards the truly devoted fan by referencing and building upon material from each of the previous five seasons.
The Season 1 callbacks are the most obvious, beginning with Sayid the torturer getting a taste of his own medicine. His first flashback episode, "Solitary" (1x09), saw Danielle Rousseau administer a very similar brand of electro-shock torture, and she may very well have been giving him the same "test" that Dogen gave Sayid here -- only he didn't pass this time.
In Season 2's "Maternity Leave" (2x15), we saw flashbacks of Ethan Rom at Claire's bedside in the DHARMA Staff Station, observing her and the baby after kidnapping her in "Raised By Another" (1x10). In this week's alternate timeline, Ethan is once again at Claire's bedside, only now he goes by "Goodspeed" (he is Amy and Horace's son, after all, as we discovered last season), works at an L.A. hospital, and is apparently the creepiest, nicest doctor in the world. That scene in the hospital was intense -- Claire didn't know who to trust, and we in the audience certainly didn't. It's almost more disquieting to see Ethan in a good light than how we have come to know him in the past five seasons.
In Season 3's "Not in Portland" (3x07), we first met Aldo, a snotty Other henchman who just happened to be played by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's" Rob McElhenny. He returned this week as a Temple guard who actually answered a question (the Temple protects people from the Smoke Monster) and had a great one-liner ("What is this, a press conference?")! McElhenny's scenes with Evangeline Lilly and Daniel Dae Kim were fun and funny, something this show desperately needs amid all the death and dense mythology.
Season 4 wasn't neglected tonight either. Kate learned for the first time tonight that Rousseau has "been dead for years" -- she died at the end of "Meet Kevin Johnson" (4x08) at the hands of Keamy and his mercenaries.
And then, of course, there's the small matter of Sayid's sickness.
Dogen and his translator tell Jack that some kind of darkness has taken over Sayid -- who was presumed dead, and miraculously came to life -- and that the same thing happened to Claire. This fuels the fire of a theory held by many Losties: Claire died in Keamy's attack on DHARMAville in "The Shape of Things to Come" (4x09), and was somehow resurrected for the purpose of helping Smokey. The last we saw of Claire on the island, she was hanging out in Jacob's cabin with her father, Christian Shephard, whom we formerly assumed was another one of Smokey's apparitions. ("Cabin Fever," 4x11)
But can we assume that anymore? If Sayid and Claire have been "infected," as Dogen puts it, and brought back to life, could the same have happened to Christian? We know for a fact after last week that the Man in Black, Locke's impostor and the Smoke Monster are one and the same, but we don't know for sure if that relationship extends to every "dead" person we've ever seen on the island. And so the mystery deepens.
And our appreciation for Josh Holloway should have deepened this week as well. Sawyer's journey from con man to grieving would-be husband gets more and more impressive every week, and his scene at the DHARMA pier with Kate is going to be a "Lost" classic. The dialogue in that scene, where each traces Juliet's death back to a decision they made, will resonate with just about anyone with a deep regret. I have a few, and I trace all of them back to the seemingly insignificant decisions that ended up shaping my personal history. Can Kate and Sawyer change their fates in the alternate timeline? (Probably not. After all, whatever happened, happened.)
Gone from tonight's episode were Ben, Sun, Ilana, Richard and Smokey, but they'll be back next week in a Locke-centric episode called "The Substitute." Can't wait.
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Best performance: Josh Holloway. Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson have their Emmys, and maybe this year it will be Holloway's turn. (And just think: we haven't gotten to the Sawyer-centric episode yet.)
Best scene: Sawyer and Kate on the pier. I expect this will launch a thousand YouTube tribute videos by next week.
Best line: It's Sawyer again: "Of course he's safe. He's an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids, he definitely deserves another go-around."