Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LOST - Episode 5.11 - "Whatever Happened, Happened"

Let's face it. "Lost" is the greatest television show of all-time.

I dare you to name a better one that you can justify.

Granted, "Lost" is confusing, mysterious, and sometimes pretentious. Yet, it is also creative, genius, and even when it isn't batting .1000, it is always swinging for the fences.

Tonight's episode did a couple things that gave me a creative boner.

1) It made me like Kate Austen again. And I mean really like her. Not in a perverted way, but in that "long time no see, we've got a lot of catching up to do" way. I'll talk more on this later.

2) They made sure not to fuck up their promise of a single time-line. For all those assholes out there that kept theorizing about alternate timelines all that bullshit: fuck you and the paradox you rode in on.

To recap: there were three stories to follow tonight.

A) Kate's experiences leading up to her inevitable return to the Island.

B) Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer's attempts to save young Ben's life.

C) Jack, Miles, Hurley and discussions of time travel.

Kate ultimately decides to return to the Island to find Claire and bring her back to be the mother that Aaron deserves. Honestly, I didn't see that one coming. For a long time now I've been dissatisfied with Kate's character. When we first met her, she was the archetypal girl-next-door who we learn was actually a hardened criminal on the run from the feds. She did a lot of bad-ass shit. Fuck, she blew up her step-father (and possibly birth father) while he slept in his double wide. She seduced men into robbing banks and taking bullets to save her life.

Then she went all weak on me. It happened very progressively -- hard to notice at first. Then, all of a sudden, there she was, no longer a bad-ass (with a nice ass), but a romantically conflicted woman who blah blah blah. We got an entire episode of her getting married and leaving the poor schmuck. We discover that she's really a woman in search of love. That's all right and everything, since most of us are trying to do that anyway, but she wasn't doing it in a way that made her cool anymore. She was just another soap opera girl pining for two men and trying to figure out who had the bigger cock.

Then, tonight's episode brought us back to the Kate we once knew. No, she didn't kill anyone, or blow up buildings, or go on a dangerous hike. Instead, she sacrificed herself for a different kind of love.

The love of a child.

I have to admit, watching Kate weep over Aaron as she said her last goodbyes, knowing that if she returned things would not be the same, I was ready to start weeping with her. My eyes burned a bit. They're burning just writing this. There's a soft spot for children in my heart, especially since I have three of them. I'm currently finalizing a divorce and now I don't get to see them everyday, which tears me up inside. They were a daily staple of my life for the last 11 years (the age of my oldest), and now that I only see them twice a week (and every other weekend) I realize how much I took that time for granted. Kate's feelings about Aaron, about saying goodbye, about realizing how selfish she had been to hold on to him when he never belonged to him -- it was as real a feeling as we've seen on "Lost" this season. Maybe ever.

Now Kate is back to find Claire and bring her home to her son. If she can. Being stuck in 1977 isn't going to make that easy for her. But at least hooking up with Sawyer is no longer first and foremost on her mind now that she's seen the size of Jack's dick and realized it isn't up to snuff. Although, that didn't seem to stop her from fucking him the night before boarding Ajira 316. I understand why she did it now -- she wants her own child. Not a child with Jack, per se, but a child to love and to call her own as opposed to the pseudo-child she'd been raising for three years.

This backstory only made Kate's efforts to save young Ben's life that much more dramatic. Jack didn't want to operate on Ben because he had already done that once before and didn't want to help Ben ever again. Fair enough, I guess. At least understandable. But Kate and Juliet, being women and all, make the case that regardless of who young Ben becomes as an adult, you can't let a child die. Talk about a pro-life statement. Kate needs to save young Ben just as she needed to save baby Aaron. Both needed a mother, and both got one in her. She takes him to see Richard Alpert and the Others. As weird as it all is to her, she knows the Island is special and has healing powers. If anyone can save the dying youngster, they can.

And save him, they do. In what will no doubt be the most talked about element of this week's episode, Richard takes Ben to the temple to go through some sort of healing ceremony. But before he takes Ben from Sawyer's arms, he tells them that Ben will forget everything and never be the same. Last week, everyone was talking about whether or not Sayid's attempt on Ben's life turned Ben into the cold-blooded bastard he becomes as an adult. This week we know the truth (at least as of this minute): Kate and Sawyer turned Ben bad by giving him to the Others. By giving Ben to the "Hostiles," they made him hostile. Ha Ha Ha.

Some of the best moments of the episode happened back at Jack's house, where Miles kept them all under house arrest. Hurley staring at his hand waiting for it to disappear ala "Back to the Future." Miles and Hurley discussing the space-time continuum and confusing each other. And Juliet accosting Jack just as he steps out of the shower to tell him what an asshole he is for not helping baby Ben. Was it just me, or did Juliet check out his manhood and leave unimpressed?

The key moment in the house, though, was right before Kate left. In the kitchen, Kate yells at Jack for not helping Ben, and tells him she doesn't like the person he's become since coming back to the Island. Jack's comeback was classic: "You didn't like me before we came back, Kate."

Meaning: fuck you, bitch! I'm going to wait for the Island to guide me, John Locke-style.

Lastly, there was a moment I didn't mention that also brought me hope. Sawyer and Kate are dragging Ben's nearly lifeless body with them into the wild. Along the way they start talking about Kate fulfilling Sawyer's last request before jumping off the chopper in the season four finale. Kate mentions that when she went to see Cassidy and Clementine, Cassidy suggested the reason Sawyer jumped off the chopper was because he was too much of a coward to return to his daughter. Sawyer's response was the right one, and one that gives me hope as it relates to the love "quadrangle" that has pissed a lot of fans off for awhile now: "I've grown up a lot over these last three years, Freckles." I think I added in the "Freckles" part, but the spirit is right.

Sawyer has grown up. So has Kate. And oddly, Jack has, too. Not helping Ben was the smartest decision he has probably ever made on this show.

Next week: Ben gets judged! More Locke! Smoke monster? It's gonna be awesome!

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