The explanation for What Kate Did with Aaron turned up sooner than I expected, and turned out to be more elegant and promising for Kate’s character than I anticipated. It has now become firmly established that whatever happened really did happen and Kate accepts the facts of her history whilst forming a determination to fix her future based entirely on her own will.
Mr. Fix-It “Old Jack” has turned into Mr. Passive “New Jack” and so Kate has become the new Old Jack! (And if you can wrap your head around that sentence then all the time travel pondering is going to be a piece of cake.)
Of all the Oceanic 6, it turns out Kate has been the one most freely telling the truth about what happened. First up was a visit to Cassidy’s, to fulfil the request Sawyer made of her before he took a running jump out of a helicopter. It didn’t take Cassidy the con artist long to realise when she was being to lied to, but Kate hearing that Sawyer wasn’t quite the heroic figure she had built up in her mind was the first step to shattering those love hearts in her eyes.
Indeed, this episode was fundamentally about Kate learning to dispense with the various men in her life – Jack, Sawyer, Aaron – and reclaim her own self-reliance.
Curiously, despite Kate’s friendship with Cassidy (Clementine referring to her as Auntie Kate displayed they’d met frequently), it seems Kate didn’t tell her anything about her relationship, and engagement, with Jack. The scene where Kate went to discuss the proposal to go back to the Island prompted Cassidy to remark, “Jack sounds like a piece of work.”
“Sounds like”? Hasn’t Cassidy heard anything about Jack from Kate over the past three years? Seems not.
Small detail, large potential. Kate was with Jack during the time of her friendship with Cassidy. Indeed, as we saw during Something Nice Back Home, Kate’s mysterious phone call, which she told Jack was merely her fulfilling a promise to Sawyer, almost surely can now be identified as her talking to Cassidy. And yet if Kate didn’t even mention Jack to Cassidy back when they were together it suggests to me that there was a large part of Kate that knew her and Jack were never going to last.
Same goes for Aaron. Kate’s time off the Island was just some strange transitory otherworld, where she settled down with a child and potential husband. The antithesis of the girl that was born to run. She’d gone through the looking glass to a fantasy land, but finally she realised it was not sustainable. Seeing Aaron walking hand-in-hand with a woman that, from the rear, could easily have been Claire was the final watershed moment.
The illusion was kind of shattered when she turned around. . .
. . . but we’ll gloss over that.
Coincidental symbolism showed Kate where Aaron really belonged (good luck explaining it all to him – that is going to be one messed up kid!) and she duly went and dumped him on his grandma, the same way Sun dumped Ji Yeon on his grandma. It’s not ideal, but it does suggest that Kate is on a total rescue mission – find Claire and bring her back home. (Maybe that one-time vision Desmond had of Claire getting on a helicopter may one day yet come to pass!) Whether Kate intends to return with Claire is another matter – Sawyer might have a big say in that. . .
So Kate has come to liberate people from the Island, much the same way Jack has decided now’s the time to stop being a fixer, to stop standing in the way of the Island’s will, and just go with the flow. When opportunity came knocking for the surgeon to step up and fix Ben he turned it down flat. Unwittingly, by doing this, Jack is pivotally responsible for Ben being delivered into the hands of Alpert and The Others where he will, apparently, undergo irrevocable changes that will forever bind him to their group and, as a convenient side-effect, erase some of his memories.
Ah yes, that good old caveat of amnesia to avoid time paradoxes. At least Lost has never used that ruse before!
The concerns that Hurley held about becoming like this guy. . .
. . . have been proven unfounded.
Miles was on hand (in place of the-still-absent Faraday) to attempt to dispense some clarification about time travel and the role of the time travellers within it. Frankly, he didn’t do a great job. Stick to ghosts, man. Faraday summed it up best with his “whatever happened, happened” credos and nothing’s changed since. The only important thing our heroes need to be aware of is that, just because they’re in their own history, it doesn’t mean they can’t die in it.
But then a bunch of folk who were shot by a rain of flaming arrows could have told them that. (Well, they could have told Miles that, if he or Lost seemed at all interested in his ability to commune with the dead!)
Disappointingly then, it would seem the Ben we first met – that watched the crash of Oceanic and got caught in a net and tortured by Sayid – genuinely didn’t have any recollection of having met them before. It may be a plot contrivance that helps neaten up any potential loose threads, yet I can’t help but feel that it was an overly-precautious measure and a whole new dimension to Ben’s character got snatched away. Still, Alpert taking Ben to The Temple to undertake whatever mysterious process occurs within opens new doors of possibility.
Mention is made that, when taking Ben, Alpert ought to run it by Widmore and Ellie – Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking, of course.
It would seem that they are definitely an item on the Island in the 1970s, and if they are not joint rulers over The Others then one is definitely a second-in-command (probably Ellie). This we already knew anyway, since Widmore had claimed that the Island was once his and it was Ben that tricked him off it. What’s perhaps more interesting is Alpert’s defiance over them, caring little about what they had to say over his actions.
The ageless Alpert apparently has no time for the duties and responsibilities involved with being leader of The Others, remaining answerable only to himself. Perhaps the key difference between Alpert and, say, Widmore or Ben, is that he cannot commune with Jacob whilst they can. The capacity to commune with Jacob is what qualifies them to carry out his word and be leader of The Others. Hence Locke’s status as Island Chief being awarded as he, too, has at least heard Jacob speak.
Charles Widmore and Ben Linus met as adults after apparently a long time apart during the episode The Shape Of Things To Come. There Widmore made the proclamation that he could not be killed, and also stated, “I know what you are, boy.”
What is Ben the boy going to become in The Temple? We the audience don’t know, but Widmore apparently does. And so Ben’s claim of being born on the Island, that he once admitted to Locke wasn’t necessarily so, does contain more truth than it previously did. The good-natured Young Ben was killed when Sayid put a bullet in him, when Jack refused to operate on him, and when Kate and Sawyer delivered him to The Others – in his place came the colder, calculating leader of The Others.
I feel certain that Young Ben cannot remain apart from Dharma for too long. We saw already that he does get back with them, as a Workman with his father, when ‘the purge’ occurs. Given Dharma’s paranoid insecurity over ‘the hostiles’ it’s hard to imagine them welcoming Ben back with open arms if he has spent a considerable amount of time with The Others.
Perhaps being made a Workman was a form of punishment for helping Sayid escape, and a way to ensure he never found out or got involved in anything important within the Dharma Initiative that he might betray to ‘the hostiles’. Whatever, it didn’t work! (Although it further explains why he had no clue about The Swan until after the crash of Oceanic 815.)
So this was an episode full of rebirths. Kate finding a new-found sense of purpose after confessing the lies she had been carrying for three years. The moment Roger Linus (himself cast in a more sympathetic light for the first time, displaying genuine concern over the son he mostly ill-treats) asked Kate if she had kids her response was telling: it took a moment for her to conjure the truth, and saying it aloud confirmed it more for her than it did for Roger. She doesn’t have children. She’s not a mother. The words caught in her throat but she spoke them anyway.
Young Ben as stated, is set to be brought back from the dead and born again. And Jack stepped out of the shower like a baptised baby, cleansed of his controlling nature, and willing to accept the Island on its own terms and wait and see what he is supposed to do next. An episode of rebirths indeed. And yet with all these new prospects opening it only further spells the end for the likes of Sawyer and Juliet and the Dharma Initiative.
Juliet’s angry confrontation with Jack in the shower stemmed more from him being responsible for sending Sawyer and Kate out together into the jungle on an adventure than anything else. She’s pessimistic about this Dharma life remaining and since we know ‘the purge’ happened, and what happened definitely happens, she’s right to accept as much.
I don’t think Juliet holds any kind of torch for Jack – that seemed apparent. And likewise Jack doesn’t appear to hold any affection for her, or Kate, or indeed anyone other than himself for that matter! So all of those love triangles that once meshed together in such a complicated way appear to have sprung apart with little chance of pulling back together. I won’t be so rash as to write off Sawyer and Kate, though. Whilst Kate may have been warned by Cassidy that Sawyer is a coward and will run away from anything serious, he mentioned that he had done a lot of growing up in the three years they had been apart. No, I don’t think that door’s wholly shut just yet and, for one thing, I think Kate will find an ally in him in the hunt for Claire.
When Alpert asked Kate who she was, Sawyer quickly interjected: “She’s with me.” I think, for the first time ever, that he’s right. I am convinced it will be Kate and Sawyer together by the finish.
The last scene felt more like an appetiser for what will be, hopefully, longer time spent with Ben and Locke and the Ajira crash survivors. There are still bits and pieces about this group of people that need addressing (like who was in the canoe that chased Sawyer and Juliet and co back in The Little Prince!) The question I’ll leave you with is this: Was Ben startled to see Locke when he awoke simply because he was in a strange place and would have been startled no matter what? Or was he startled because it was Locke who woke him and he didn’t expect to see Locke alive?