Recap: 'Lost' 6.03 - 'What Kate Does' marks time, lays pipe
And, no, I don't mean "lays pipe" in the sexy fun-time way. I mean it more in the "lots of exposition" way.
"Lost" has always had trouble following up their typically-impressive season openers. It's just the mechanics of storytelling on television, I think, because they have all summer to figure out exactly how they plan to punch you in the face right out of the gate, and then they have to settle into the business of actually telling the story for the season, and that requires a shifting of gears. This year is no exception, and 6.03 ends up moving a bunch of pieces around the chess board without advancing much of anything. There are a few tidbits of note, but for the most part, this is all about getting things in order for bigger episodes ahead.
It's interesting that there is so much disagreement between "Lost" fans about what is happening so far this season. I'm seeing a lot of speculation out there that the storyline that takes place back in Los Angeles is actually the future, after the storyline that takes place on the Island, and that they aren't alternate timelines at all, but the same timeline at two different points.
I vehemently disagree.
I don't believe for a second that the two timelines are going to remain separate, but I think they are running parallel at the moment. What's going to happen later this year if my guess is correct is that some event is going to have to take place that pulls the two timelines into one, merging them. Neither will be completely erased, and the events we're watching will have ramificiations in both timelines. I don't think the "Lost" producers would be cruel enough to waste giant chunks of the running time this year with something they'll wipe out later with a simple, "But that didn't REALLY happen" sort of narrative double-back. No way.
The "previously on" clips are quick this week, basically just highlighting a bit of Sawyer and Juliet, then showing us the tail end of the Temple stuff with the characters that have now been identified as Dogen (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Lennon (John Hawkes), although I'm not sure how everyone picked that up last week except for me. No matter. This week picks up with Dogen and Lennon walking back in, moments after Sayid sat up, and they're told, "He's alive."
No one seems more surprised than Sayid, who asks, "What happened?" He's told that he died, while on the far side of the healing pool, Sawyer looks on, bitter. He's ready to make a run for it.
"Of course he's fine. He's an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids. He definitely deserves another go-round," he snarls. Sawyer's really not interested in any of this, and even as Kate tries to talk him out of doing something stupid, it's obvious he's not listening.
TIMELINE A. We see Kate jump in the cab again, gun out, and order the driver to take off with Claire next to her in the back seat. They almost hit Arzt on their way out of the airport, and the first time they reach a light, the cab driver hops out and takes off. Kate takes Claire's purse, then lets her get out as well before driving away. I'd just like to point out, having been to both the Honolulu Airport and LAX many times, those two airports couldn't look less alike, and any drama inherent to these scenes was ruined by me watching how hard they worked to try to make the one look like the other.
TIMELINE B. Everyone tries to catch Sayid up, with Miles getting off one of the evening's best lines. "As you can see, Hugo has assumed a leadership position. So that's pretty great." They check Sayid's gunshot wound, and it's almost completely gone at this point. Sayid thanks Jack for fixing him, and before anyone can correct him, Lennon and Dogen make another appearance. They want Sayid to come with them, by himself, and they aren't particularly interested in giving Jack or anyone else any answers in the meantime.
As they all argue about it, there's a gunshot. Sure enough, Sawyer's making his move. He's got a gun, and all he wants is out. Dogen tries to talk him out of going. "You have to stay."
"No. I don't." Sawyer throws open a door, warns everyone not to follow him, and he's gone.
LOST. First commercial. And we're off and running... although mostly in place.
Kate and Jin volunteer to go help bring Sawyer back. Kate says she can track him even if she's not sure where he's going, and a couple of Others are told to go with them, including Mac from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," who appeared in a small part as an Other several seasons back. It's crazy seeing him and Cindy the Stewardess and other day players all showing up this season as a way of establishing continuity.
TIMELINE A. Kate goes to an auto shop, where creepy character actor Jeff Kober (he almost always plays deranged killers because of the way he looks) is working on a car. She tries making him take the handcuffs off at gunpoint, but he just sort of shrugs her off, and she puts the gun away. He's obviously not going to rat her out, and after he helps her, he lets her use the bathroom to change. She has Claire's bag, and she goes through it. She finds a Polaroid of the very pregnant Claire, and it's obvious that Kate's not feeling good about what she's done.
TIMELINE B. Kate is putting supplies into a bag, getting ready to leave. Jack talks to her for a moment, and she tells him, "I'll take care of James. You take care of Sayid."
"Deal," Jack replies, and for a moment, it's like he wants to kiss her, but Kate keeps some space between them. It's an awkward dynamic, something subtle but intentional.
Further into the Temple, Dogen and Lennon are "questioning" Sayid. Actually, they don't have any questions at all for him. They run an electric current through him. They stick him with a hot poker. Sayid manages to whimper a few variations on "Why?", but they're not telling. Not until they're done.
Finally, as they help him up, Lennon tells him, "It was a test. We had to be sure." He tells Sayid that he passed the test, and some of the Others lead him back out to join his friends. Lennon turns to Dogen and says, "I just lied to him. Didn't I?"
TIMELINE A. Kate is still driving the stolen cab, probably not the smartest idea for a fugitive on the run. She drives back by where she left Claire, and there she is, sitting at a bus stop. Kate stops and returns her things to her. Kate is literally the nicest subject of a federal manhunt ever. So polite. Claire tells her she was on her way to Brentwood to see the couple that is going to adopt her baby, and Kate actually offers her a ride. I have to say... this may be the hardest thing for me to swallow this week. Not the parallel realities. Not the idea of smoke monsters that possess people. Just the idea that Kate would reach out to help someone with the law presumably just a few steps behind her.
TIMELINE B. Kate, Jin, Mac from "Sunny" (who is actually named Aldo), and a very chatty Other named Justin are all together, tracking Sawyer. Aldo asks if Kate and Jin have ever seen the Smoke Monster. Justin asks a few other questions, but everything he asks, Aldo shouts at him to shut up, afraid he's telling Kate and Jin too much in the process.
They almost set off a trap, and Kate and Jin think at first that it's one of Rousseau's traps. "The French lady?" Aldo asks. "She's been dead for years." Aldo's pretty openly hostile to Kate, and when she finally calls him on it, he's almost offended. "You don't recognize me at all, do you?" He reminds her that his was the head she smashed in with the rifle when she escaped from the polar bear cages. As he starts to follow up on that thought, she smashes him in the head again, then sets off the trap so that Justin is also taken out of action.
Jin is shocked. "What are you doing?"
At the Temple, Sayid is returned to the healing pool and his friends. He tells them he was tortured without being questioned, and Jack goes looking for some answers. Dogen and Lennon aren't surprised when he walks in on them. Dogen's busy making something as they talk.
They tell him that Sayid is infected, which obviously raises thoughts of the mysterious illness that was a big part of the mechanics of season one and two, but I think if there's any storyline they've constantly modified as they went, it's that one. Too much about it seems too inconsistent. This is more like the "illness" that forced Rousseau to have to kill her crew, a possession of sorts. Dogen finishes what he's doing and gives Jack a pill. He tells him that Sayid has to take the pill, and he has to take it willingly.
Jack protests at first, but Dogen plays on Jack's guilt, asking him how Sayid got shot, asking him how many other people have been hurt because of decisions he's made. He tells him to give the pill to Sayid. "This is your chance to redeem yourself."
Jack asks what happens if he does not get Sayid to take the pill. "The infection will spread."
I like the idea of Miles and Hurley questioning Sayid about being dead. Of course they're the ones that are most curious. Hurley's not sure what he thinks of Sayid's answers. "You're not a zombie, right?"
Jack comes back. He asks to speak with Sayid privately. From the way both Hurley and Miles answer, it's obvious that the writers are going to let them be the ones who say what the audience is thinking this year. Sayid knows he didn't pass whatever test Dogen and Lennon were giving him. Jack shows him the pill and levels with him. No games. No subterfuge. Jack tells Sayid that he wasn't the one who fixed him, and Sayid tells Jack it doesn't matter. He trusts Jack. He'll take the pill if Jack tells him to.
In the jungle, Jin and Kate are still on the run. Jin's not sure what to make of Kate's behavior. He's interested in finding out where Kate's plane came down when she returned to the Island, since Sun was on that plane, and that's all he cares about now that they've returned to the present. Kate still wants to find Sawyer, and the two of them part ways.
TIMELINE A. Claire and Kate drive through Brentwood, getting to know each other as they take a leisurely jaunt in a stolen taxi. Claire is actually the one doing most of the talking, wracked with self-doubt about why the couple didn't show up at the airport to meet her, trying to justify it to herself. When they finally arive at the right address, Claire asks Kate if she'll come inside with her.
"Are you kidding me?" Damn straight, Kate. Still, she does it. When the woman comes to the door, she's been crying, and she's a mess. She tells Claire that her husband left her, and that even though she wanted the baby desperately, there's no way she can take the baby now.
Claire responds as any rational person would. She goes into labor.
TIMELINE B. Kate tracks Sawyer to Dharmaville, which is abandoned and ruined. Sawyer's in his old bungalow, tearing up the floorboards in one of the bedrooms, looking for something. Sure enough, it's there... a shoebox. As he's retrieving something from the shoebox, he hears Kate in the hall and he almost shoots her. When she tries to apologize for following him, he pushes past her and leaves.
TIMELINE A. Kate takes Claire to the hospital, still in the stolen taxi. As they're taking Claire inside, Kate sees a cop car and looks a little nervous. Yeah, y'think? Maybe?
Inside, they get Claire settled in and Kate goes to talk to her doctor... who turns out to be Ethan. Okay, that's creepy. The idea of him as a smiling, helpful OB/GYN who actually helps and reassures Claire is the biggest pretzel twist of the flash-sideways so far. He gives her a choice, actually... she can either press on and they can try and deliver the baby, or they can give her some drugs to help relax these premature contractions. There's a little scare when they lose the baby on the EKG for a moment, and Claire cries out, "Is Aaron okay?!" They find the heartbeat again, though, and they start to slow everything down. It's not time yet. And during the whole thing, Claire holds Kate's hand for support.
TIMELINE B. Sawyer's sitting outside, looking at the submarine dock. He's a little weepy when Kate walks out and sits down beside him. Kate tells him that she came back to the Island to find Claire so she can reunite her with Aaron, then tells Sawyer, "I never should have followed you."
"Which time?" he responds. And it's apparent here and in the conversation that follows that cause and effect is starting to drive these people crazy. Whose fault is what, and which choice led to which result, and where does blame ultimately fall for any of this? Sawyer's just folding from the grief and the guilt, sure that Juliet would have been off the island and alive if he hadn't been so needy, if he hadn't wanted her to be the one to assuage his loneliness. He reveals what it was he was looking for... an engagement ring. "I was going to ask her to marry me," he confesses before throwing the ring into the water and walking away, leaving Kate to get all weepy in return.
At the Temple, Jack walks in on Dogen with a baseball and asks him what it is. "It is a baseball." SEE, NAYSAYERS? ANSWERS. REAL ANSWERS.
Dogen offers up a few more answers during their conversation, too, as it happens. He's speaking a lot more English this week, and when Jack asks why he uses a translator at all, Dogen tells him, "I have to remain separate from the people I am in charge of." Dogen also tells Jack that he was brought to the Island, just like everyone else. Jack asks what he means by that, and Dogen tells him, "You know exactly what I mean."
So Jacob hand-picked everyone who is on the Island? Really?
Jack tells Dogen that he's not going to give Sayid the pill unless he knows what's in it, and Dogen tries to get Jack to trust him and just do it. Jack shows Dogen how much he trusts him by taking the pill himself, and Dogen promptly flips his lid. He does everything he can to get Jack to cough it up, finally managing. As Jack gasps, he manages to demand, "Tell me what it is."
"Poison," Dogen replies.
And now we're in the final stretch, and back in TIMELINE A. The Cops finally show up at the hospital, looking for Kate. They refer to her by the name she used to sign Claire in, though. "Joan Hart." Claire plays dumb, even though Kate's in the bathroom, listening. She convinces the cops that Kate left already, and they leave. Claire thanks Kate for helping her, asks her why the cops want her.
"Would you believe me if I said I was innocent?"
Claire sizes her up and says, "Yeah." She thanks her again, and Kate tells Claire that she should keep the baby. She tells her how much she likes the name Aaron.
Claire confesses that she has no idea why she called him Aaron during the moment of panic. "It's like I just... knew it," she says. You see what I mean? These two timelines are already bleeding back and forth a little bit. Juliet knew that the reset button had worked, even though she was in the timeline where it didn't work, and people in this timeline are starting to get some wicked bouts of deja vu as they look at one another and interact, and it'll only get worse.
TIMELINE B. Kate fills up her canteen as Sawyer walks right by her and heads back inside. She leaves.
At the Temple, Dogen makes tea for Jack. He tries to explain more about what's wrong with Sayid. "We believe he has been... claimed." They're afraid of what he will become, and they tell Jack that it's not the first time this has occurred. "It happened to your sister," Dogen says, and Jack leans back. Mind? Blown.
Jin, alone in the jungle now, stops at a river to drink, and that's where Aldo and Justin catch up with him. Aldo is really not pleased with Jin, and they demand to know where Kate is. When Jin can't tell them, Aldo gets ready to shoot him. Jin tries to get away, but he steps in a bear trap as he does. So, yeah, they catch him again, and this time, Aldo is REALLY ready to shoot him.
Aldo's down. Justin's down. They're dead.
And who did it?
Jungle Claire. Looking all Crazy French Lady. With a rifle. In the library.
LOST. Boom. And at least the episode ends strong.
The preview for next week had one great line, but if you don't watch those scenes to avoid spoilers, I won't ruin it here. Suffice it to say, they'd better turn it up a notch. We've got thirteen hours left to go, and that doesn't leave much room for this sort of episode.
Still, the bits that do move things forward this week do so in interesting ways, and the things that confirm what I think is going on make a compelling case for where I think the season's headed.
As always, we'll have each week's recap for you as promptly as possible, and I look forward to sharing the home stretch with you, fingers crossed for it all to tie together in a way that rewards the time and attention.
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