Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 2: "What Kate Does"

What Kate Does

I have followers now so it looks like I’ll have to stop with the zero readers jokes (I’ve had some complaints about it *Steven*). I’m a couple days late on this episode breakdown so I apologize to you special few who are reading this masterpiece (in the future I plan to post these things the night the show airs). I’d like to thank Mr. Steven Apostolidis for the sweet new banner (I’d take credit for it myself but he’s significantly stronger than me and he might take issue *that's him on the left there*), tell me those aren’t the two greatest images you’ve ever seen put side by side; orange smiley face was always one of my favorite Locke moments (season 1: episode 3 “Tabula Rasa” I believe, if you want to relive it), and Smoky McGee looking like he’s going to murder some people as a perfect contrast (from LAX Part 2 of course).

Once again for those who haven’t read the previous posts, JISAS refers to the “reset” timeline and BTFF refers to the “failure to reset” timeline (for further explanation read the first couple paragraphs of LAX Part 2). I feel like I should also probably confess that of all the episodes on LOST the Kate-centric ones are generally my least favorite (if you don’t count Charlie of course). It’s not that I don’t like Kate (though she does a lot of stuff that annoys me), I just find her episodes to be less than engaging. I hope that won’t be the case here; so if I seem overly critical or snarky it might just be a reflection of my subconscious expectations for this episode to suck (and when I say suck I am talking by LOST standards, as even a bad episode of LOST is better than a good episode of just about everything else, with a few exceptions of course). Now on to the show!

Interesting opening sequence here. Dogen sits at a desk having just finished finger typing something (another LOST mystery no doubt) on an old typewriter (not unlike the one we saw Smoky finger typing on behind Ben’s desk in season 5, though there’s likely no connection other than maybe the LOST writers’ love of typewriters). Sayid’s alive, or so we are to believe. Something tells me there’s more to Lennon’s words “he’s alive” than it might at first appear. Dogen’s expression almost suggests that he isn’t particularly surprised by this news, it’s as if he was waiting to hear that Sayid had resurrected and is a bit disappointed when he does, but I could be wrong. I also don’t know if this is significant at all but it appears that Dogen grabs and rubs his necklace ominously (if it’s even possible to grab a necklace ominously). I can’t really tell what is on the necklace but it almost looks like a small cylindrical container of some sort. Maybe it contains grey sand?

Sawyer clearly isn’t happy with Sayid being resurrected while his smoking hot Juliet is dead in the ground (I feel his pain, so here’s another picture of Juliet to help ease it), “He’s an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids, he definitely deserves another go round,” might be a bit harsh, but I feel you Sawyer, I feel you. I look forward to seeing how his escape attempt turns out (it’s going to work, just a hunch).

We’re back with Kate in the JISAS timeline and she is hijacking the puppet master’s cab again. I think we’re going to find out if he still has powers (I’m betting no). I know Kate’s desperate but pointing a gun in the face of a massively pregnant Claire seems like a bit much. The long look at Jack is clearly significant. It’s somewhat obvious at this point that these JISAS LOSTies are still retaining some residual memories from their island life, albeit deeply embedded in the subconscious. How slow is this Marshal that he can’t catch up to the cab stopped in front of the startlingly irritating Dr. Artz? I mean they drove what, 500 feet? Anyway, continuity errors notwithstanding, Kate manages to escape the airport (running over Artz’s bags in the process, got to enjoy the little things).

The gang is back at the temple and it’s revealed that Sayid’s wound is “almost completely healed.” Why would Sayid’s wound be healed but Dogen’s hand still appears to be heavily bandaged (unless he’s in the habit of wearing a glove on only one hand)? It’s obvious that Dogen isn’t convinced by Sayid’s sudden healing. What exactly he thinks happened is hard to say, but given that we know Smoky’s propensity for inhabiting the bodies of the dead it’s not much of a reach to think that maybe Dogen fears an infiltration. Sawyer makes an appearance with a gun, though how he got said gun is not yet known. Sawyer has really reached rock bottom, he doesn’t seem to care anymore. I wonder why Dogen insists on them all staying put, telling Sawyer, “Please, you have to stay.” I doubt think that he is afraid for their safety, given that he was all too ready to have them all executed before reading Jacob’s note. What reason could he have for wanting to keep them all confined to the temple? Without even watching the rest of the episode I can pretty much guarantee that Kate is going after Sawyer. Telling Kate “don’t come after me” is just about the best way to make sure she will (that woman sure doesn’t like being told what to do).

We’re back from commercial break, and hey look! it’s Mac from Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia! Not going to speculate how he arrived on the island (I know, he was in an earlier episode, “Not In Portland”, as well), but if I know Mac you can bet there’ll be some high jinks in the near future. I won’t point out the irony of telling everybody to calm down while screaming and putting guns in their faces (oh wait, I just did!). Here’s come Kate, being as predictable as ever, did we really think she wasn’t going after Sawyer? I don’t know if it’s just me but I never really bought the tough side of Kate’s character. I mean when she’s crying in 1 out of every 3 episodes it’s hard for me to see her as an intimidating presence.

Back to Los Angeles. Kate’s pointing guns at people again. Fortunately for her the first mechanic she runs into just happens to not only be sympathetic to criminals but doesn’t seem to particularly mind having a gun pointed at him. What luck! While stealing a set of Claire’s clothes Kate comes across a photo of the pregnant Claire (why anyone would place a Polaroid of themselves at the top of their own suitcase is hard to say). I’m probably not the only one to recognize the whale that she pulls out of the bag, if you recall Kate had purchased the same whale for Aaron during her time off the island in season 4.

Back on the island Jin has volunteered to accompany Kate on her “recovery” mission. I don’t think he has any interest in Sawyer (here’s hoping we get a Jin-Sun reunion soon). Dogen is now blowing grey sand all over a strapped down Sayid. We can only assume this is the same grey sand used to repel Smoky and must be some kind of test to determine if Sayid has been infected by the smoke monster. A few electrocutions and a branding later we find out that it was in fact a test and that Sayid has apparently failed (though Lennon tells him otherwise). This sequence has peeked my interest. I can’t figure out how electrocuting and branding him is a test for infection. Maybe an infection by the smoke monster increases pain tolerance and this is a way to test that, or it’s possible that there is some cue that gives away the presence of the infection when pain is administered, but why electrocute him AND brand him? If any form of pain is sufficient then why do both? Perhaps an infected person doesn’t scar the same way that a normal person would, I don’t know.

Kate is back in Los Angeles and has relocated Claire (feeling guilty perhaps?). You would imagine that it wouldn’t be too tough to find a stolen cab (don’t they all have GPS these days?), but let’s just go with it. Kate gives Claire back her stuff and offers her a ride, amazingly she accepts her offer (Claire’s never struck me as the sharpest knife in the drawer but her survival instincts must be seriously underdeveloped to get back into a car with a person who just escaped police custody and pointed a gun in her face).

On the island Mac is informing Kate that they’re protecting them from Smoky (not buying it). Jin is making inquiries about plane crashes. Kate is out-tracking the others (which seems highly unlikely). A very Rousseau-esque trap almost destroys Kate’s face. We know it can’t be Rousseau of course, as she was killed by Keamy back in season 4 (along with poor Karl). So who is running around the island setting traps? Interesting. Anyway, Kate knocks out the guards and her and Jin escape (I’m just going to ignore the canteen situation, but you know I’m upset).

Jack is VERY unhappy to hear that Sayid has been tortured. Dogen is mixing some green powdery substance in a mortar and pestle, we can see rather thick open book in front of him (a book of potions perhaps?). Lennon tells Jack that Sayid has been “infected”. The wordage here is clearly meant to bring to mind the French expedition team who were “infected” by the smoke monster back in season 5. What this infection is exactly we don’t yet know. Dogen puts his green concoction into pill form and tells Jack he must give it to Sayid. Lennon informs him that it must be taken willingly. Strange no? What kind of a substance only works when taken willingly? My knowledge of medical science is less than stellar but I don’t know of any medicine which requires the patient to “allow” it to work. Assuming that it is in fact the smoke monster who has infected Sayid, what is the nature of that infection? Thinking back to the other “infected” members of Rousseau’s expedition crew we know that there never appeared to be any physical symptoms. David (Rousseau’s infected lover) does try to kill her, which makes one think that the effects must be psychological, an alteration in their personality. Personality changes can certainly take place by altering a person’s brain. It’s been suggested that the smoke monster is a machine of some kind, nano-robots or some such thing. If that’s true than it might conceivably be possible that those nano-robots could alter the makeup of a person’s brain at the synaptic level, drastically changing their personality. It’s also possible that the smoke monster is supernatural and then of course all bets are off.

Back in the temple and Jack is having a heart to heart with the infected Sayid. Nothing real interesting going on here, Sayid tells Jack he’ll take the pill and Jack weighs the options.

Jin is looking for Sun (of course), and his only lead is the others. Kate still seems hell bent on defying anyone and everyone.

Back in Los Angeles Claire and Kate are bonding. Claire seems concerned that her adoption plans might be falling through. I pretty much hated this whole scene so I don’t have that much to say about it. Claire goes into labor (several weeks sooner than she did on the island).

Kate has managed to track Sawyer across the jungle (riiiight) and is back in Dharmaville. Sawyer is back in the house he had with Juliet. Kate spies on him from the doorway as he uncovers a box hidden in the floorboards. The box appears to contain a black cloth of some sort, maybe my memory is failing me here but I don’t remember any black cloths of any importance (though I know if it were me there’s probably only one type of black cloth worth hiding under some floorboards, if you know what I’m saying *people rarely do*). Kate seems to realize that she has made ANOTHER mistake in following ANOTHER person who asked her specifically not to, but in turning to leave Sawyer discovers her spying on him, a fact he is none too happy about.

In Los Angeles Kate and Claire have just illegally parked in front of a hospital. Of course Claire’s doctor is Ethan, though I don’t quite understand why as we were told by Ben that Ethan was a surgeon (I don’t know that much about delivering babies but I’m pretty sure it’s not done by surgeons). I guess it’s possible that in this version of events Ethan is not a surgeon, either way it’s largely irrelevant. Moving on. A few lame needle jokes later we’re back on the island.

We find out at this point that Sawyer blames himself for convincing Juliet to stay on the island so he wouldn’t be alone. The acting here by Josh Holloway is pretty convincing. I think back to who Sawyer was when this show started and it’s hard to imagine he would ever care enough about another person for a scene like this one to ever occur. Of all the characters on the show I think the writers did the best job with Sawyer. He has always had great dialogue and witty one-liners, but from the middle of season 5 onward he has undergone a pretty significant transformation that I think has given his character considerable depth. If I had to point at the one thing that bothers me most about Kate it’s that she has never really changed, she seems no different to me now than she did on day 1. But hey, that’s just one man’s opinion. Sawyer reveals that he was going to ask Juliet to marry him (it just keeps getting worse doesn’t it?). Is it just me or does that ring looking an awful lot like the one that Desmond throws into the river back in episode 8 of season 3 “Flashes Before Your Eyes”? I would go back and look it up but I’m too lazy. I guess it’s not really that important. I could probably write another 500 words speculating on why Kate breaks down at the end of this scene but I will just spare us all and not. I’ll just say that I’m hoping it’s because she is empathetically heartbroken at seeing Sawyer’s pain and that she will leave him alone now (one can hope right?).

Dogen explains his reasons for using a translator (to keep distance between him and his crew in order to make the decisions he has to make a little bit easier) and that he was “brought” to the island like everyone else. Of everything in this scene I think it’s probably this bit that is the most interesting. Dogen asserts that Jack knows “exactly” what he means by brought, and Jack doesn’t seem to press him any further. We know that Smoky asks Jacob in the season 5 finale if he “brought” the men on the boat to the island, to which Jacob says yes, prompting Smoky to say that “it always ends the same.” We can safely assume from that conversation that Jacob is the one bringing these people here, and I don’t just mean Dogen and the others, but Jack and all the other LOSTies as well.
Smoky seems to be opposed to the idea and thinks Jacob should just leave it alone. The other important bit of information from that conversation in season 5 is that Jacob is trying to bring about an “ending” of some sort, as his reply to Smoky’s objection is simply, “It only ends once. Everything else is just progress.” It’s unclear if the people being “brought” to the island by Jacob are aware of his intentions or ultimate end game. Obviously the LOSTies don’t have any idea what he’s up to but we aren’t sure if the others do. Ben, who was the leader of the others, certainly seemed not to know (as he never even met Jacob and got his orders through Richard). What then is motivating these others to do Jacob’s bidding? It’s not clear to me. Maybe we’ll find out soon. The scene continues with some Jack and Dogen back and forth, blah, blah, blah, Jack tries to swallow the pill, Dogen heimlich’s his ass and informs him that the pill is poison, he doesn’t elaborate.

Back at the hospital Claire covers for Kate with the cops and gives her some money. Claire explains that she “knew” Aaron’s name somehow (more subconscious crap).

Dogen tells Jack that Sayid has been “claimed”. Interesting. Dogen says that when the infection reaches Sayid’s heart it will change everything he once was. We don’t know if he means his literal heart here or if he perhaps means to use the term metaphorically. I would assume he means it metaphorically as an infection of the heart would have no affect on personality. This brings up an interesting question though. We know that Richard took child Ben into the temple walls (where the smoke monster had been living) and he told Sawyer and Kate that he would never be the same, that his innocence would be gone. So did Ben live his entire adult life “infected”? It looks that way to me. Ben Linus aside, the big reveal of the episode is that Claire was apparently “infected” as well. The last time we saw Claire on the island she was in a cabin with Christian Shephard (who we know for sure to be dead). It did seem like she had undergone a change in personality at that point (she was wholly unconcerned about Aaron, a major departure from her character’s history) and seemed content to follow her dead father around. If she had been changed by the smoke monster that would make some sense. If Smoky is “claiming” these people what exactly does that mean? Is this some kind of turf war between him and Jacob? He was clearly upset at Jacob for bringing people to the island but seems more than happy to “infect” them once they have arrived. It’s all very mysterious. I guess I am making the assumption that it is indeed Smoky who is infecting these people, though that fact has yet to be confirmed.

Jin is accosted by our friends from the temple and tries to escape, but his attempt is thwarted when he steps on a bear trap. This scene is pretty brief but there is an interesting exchange when Brian tells Aldo that they can’t shoot Jin because he is “one of them” to which Aldo replies, “he MAY be one of them.” I honestly have no idea what this means but thought it was worth pointing out. Who is “them”, why are they not allowed to be killed, and why does Aldo say that Jin “may” be one of them? If “them” means the members of flight 815 then he clearly wouldn’t be a “may”. Anyway, something to think about. Brian and Aldo are shot by someone. The camera pans around to reveal that this someone is Claire Littleton, a very ragged looking Claire Littleton. I won’t lie, I’m confused by this. Claire somehow went from carefree cabin dweller, hanging out with Christian Shephard (“I’m with him” if you recall), to ragged dirty jungle madwoman running around shooting people and setting traps. I don’t think there’s even a point in guessing as to why, there just isn’t enough information.

Well that’s it. “What Kate Does” is now in the books. I’ll say that I thought the episode was pretty weak, I just don’t like Kate-centric episodes. For whatever reason they always seem to be less interesting. That being said, we did learn some good information and the last third of the episode or so was pretty solid. The teaser for next week looks aaaamazing. Finally Smoky McGee is going to get some face time (and with Sawyer no less!). A bloodied up Richard fervently claiming to Sun that, “he wants everyone dead, everyone you care about.” Of course he could only be talking about one guy, that’s right, Smoky McGee! I don’t know that I believe Richard, we don’t know what his motives are yet or what their history is together. The comment about Richard being in chains could be interpreted as Smoky having put him in those chains, but it could also have been a reference to the ship that Richard came in on. If you recall the “Black Rock” was revealed to be a slaving ship and it’s possible that Richard was one of those slaves, hence him having been in chains. Clearly Sawyer and Smoky are going on an adventure together, though as to the where and what for I can’t rightly guess. Is it just me or does that look like the back of Jack’s head that Smoky is telling, “I promise, I’ll tell you everything.”

I’ve seen the title for next week’s episode, “The Substitute.” My theory is that we are going to learn some new information about what Dogen meant when he said that Sayid had been “claimed”. I’m betting that Jack is going to offer himself up as a substitute (hence the title of the episode) to be “claimed” in Sayid’s place. Just speculation. Well, that’s it for me. Only 3,600 words this time, not bad. I’m still waiting for someone to comment on this blog, so be the first.


Apos said...

Seeing as I got a shout out in this post I'll take the initiative to be the first post. I've been speculating and theory crafting on several issues. One of which you jumped on too, I'm pretty convinced that Richard came to the island on the Black Rock.

I also think the Claire issue needs to be looked at much more closely. She is said to be "infected" now, does this mean that the stories we received from Rousseau about her husband and crew were in fact inaccurate? Could it be that Rousseau was the one that was "infected" and in her craze killed all of her crew members. I'd say its a good guess. I also think something of Claire's condition has to be directly linked with the fact that she is no longer with/taking care of Aaron. I say this of course because of the several clues we've received throughout the series stating that 1.) "You must raise the child" and 2.) the numerous visions to Kate that shes not suppose to raise Aaron. I'd also like to point out the obvious similarities between Claire and Rousseau: Claire looks like Rousseau, Claire is placing traps and seems bewildered, and of course we can't forget the fact that both were separated from their children.

As for the Dogen comment, the possible reasoning for the poison reaching his "heart" could be that many ancient civilizations such as the Chinese and Japanese believed the mind was an essence of the heart (life force), not the brain. I also question the whole Ben never being the same issue, because if being healed by the Spring had some negative effects why would Dogen so willingly plunge his hand into the water. Yet again, I think that there was definitely something about Ben's revitalization that caused him to be as ruthless and cutthroat as he is.

There's plenty of other crap I've thought of and would like to discuss, but its getting late and honestly I can't keep all my thoughts straight in this tiny little box, so we'll continue this later. (P.s. the island is actually Atlantis - am I being serious? Who knows).

James Demarko said...

Good Evening,
Like my dog sometimes eating cat shit – there are some things I just don’t understand.
(ie. I had a tough time making sense of that episode)But.. “lift that veil over your ears and my words will, in their direct path, light those tiny electrical currents responsible for foresight and understanding.”

Anyway, themes
1)Kate is “not the sharpest knife in the drawar”.
2)A Black beat-off towel hidden underneath floorboard
3)Smoky Mcgee is nuts and trying to “kill everyone.”

All crazy ideas.. so I sought out Billy.

In his A midsummer Night’s Dream (5.1),
Thesius remarks on the craziness of peoples
in their various conditions. He cuts through the cloudy haze of confusion like a hot knife through butter.
I forget who the character is that keeps liking a failed relationship one.. but o well.

“Lover’s and madmen, have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunactic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all copact.
One sees more devils than vast hell shall hold.
That is the madmen. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s heauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The Forms of things unknonown, the poet’s pen
Turns them into shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imaginging some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!"

bee.. yahhh

Anonymous said...

This might be too obvious, but it's clear that the Lennon character is a blatant John Lennon look alike from his hippie days, complete with round-rimmed glasses. And the first thing anyone thinks of when they think of John Lennon is his enduring masterpiece "Imagine" in which he speaks of imagining there is no heaven or hell (among other things), maybe there's something there in the lyrics, hence the purgatory theory (it aint heaven or hell), hence references to making atonement, hence ben saying he was to be judged, hence folks being claimed, hence smoky wanting to go home (heaven or hell perhaps?), hence a jacob possessed (or smoky possessed?) jack's dad named "Christian" serving as a spiritual adviser of sorts.

Also it seems to be implied, that since smoky went through all this trouble to manipulate Ben that for some reason only Ben could actually kill Jacob maybe because he was "claimed/infected", otherwise he could have just convinced any old chap in all the hundreds or thousands of years prior to kill Jacob who doesn't seem capable of putting up any resistance.

Anyway I'll leave you with the lyrics to "Imagine":

-Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one