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Catch A Falling Star: Kate Learns the Meaning of Sacrifice on "Lost"

"Anything that happens, happens. Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again. It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though." - Douglas Adams

Last night's episode of Lost ("Whatever Happened, Happened"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, revealed the fate of the wounded Ben and fleshed out just what happened to lost boy Aaron as well as the promise that Kate made to Sawyer before he sacrificed his spot on the helicopter bound for safety. (Both of which I had predicted a while back.)

Far more surprising in this week's installment was the dynamic shift in the relationships between Sawyer, Jack, Kate, and Juliet. I'm not referring to any romantic entanglements but the bonds of allegiance and loyalty, which were severely tested by Jack's decision not to help the wounded twelve-year-old Benjamin Linus, a decision which will likely haunt him for the rest of his life.

So slip on your Dharma jumpsuit, crank up the Geronimo Jackson, and let's discuss "Whatever Happens, Happens."

Kate. I'm glad that this episode was a Kate-centric one. She's been a bit of a ghostly presence so far on this season of Lost, concealing deep pools of regret and guilt behind her usually limpid eyes. Mommyhood has changed this bad girl in ways that go beyond the surface. Her absolute terror when Aaron disappears in the supermarket speaks to more than just the normal fear that a mother would experience if her son suddenly vanished: in fact it points to the fact that, throughout her time off-island, Kate has been waiting for that very moment when Aaron is seized from her. Raising Aaron went against the natural order of things; she was never meant to have him and the island--or Life, in general--has a way of restoring the balance. She was never meant to have Aaron forever, no matter how much she needed him in her life, no matter how much she craved having a Purpose and it's only right that he should be with his grandmother Carol Littleton in the end. (After all, she's known for quite some time where Carol is staying, thanks to Ben.)

I loved the fact that Kate sang "Catch A Falling Star" to Aaron; after all, it's the song that Claire told a set of prospective adoptive parents that she wanted the lullaby sang to him and it also popped up on that mobile in The Staff. A nice touch that speaks volumes about Claire's influence, even after her disappearance on the island. And did anyone else think it was completely intentional that the woman in the supermarket who found Aaron looked suspiciously like Claire from behind? Could it be that it's been guilt about leaving Claire behind and raising her son as her own that's been eating away at Kate?

I also loved that Kate befriended Roger Linus and donated blood to the wounded Ben, as well as forming a bond with Juliet that wasn't based around Sawyer or any sort of rivalry. It's clear that both of these women respect one another and that their relationship would evolve into a sisterhood that strives to save the life of a child rather than arguing over a man points to the fact that Lost develops its female characters far more convincingly and three-dimensionally than most series.

This week also featured a nice reunion between Kate and con woman/former con victim Cassidy (Kim Dickens), who also happens to be the mother of Sawyer's daughter Clementine. I've been waiting to see just what would happen if the two women loved (and, according to Cassidy, abused) by Sawyer met up again. Here, Cassidy isn't a rival for Sawyer's affections but a genuine friend to Kate, despite her feeling that Sawyer's sacrifice wasn't that in the end, but a means to jilt Kate and leave her for good. Kate, for her part, confides the truth about what happened on the island to Cassidy; it's an unburdening for Kate and a safe haven. It's clear that over the course of the three years, these two women become very close, even if Cassidy can't figure out why Kate would want to return to the island. She sees a very different side of Sawyer than Kate does... and Juliet loves a much different Sawyer than Kate did.


Ben.
Can one's innocence be stripped away like a discarded piece of clothing? It was patently obvious that young Ben (or as one reader called him Ben12) would survive Sayid's shooting. After all, his dying would create a rip in the space-time continuum that would destroy the universe. But we know that Ben never did die because he is alive and well (at least somewhat) in the future. Did Ben always get shot by Sayid? Yes. Did he survive that attack and grow up to become the Machiavellian master manipulator he is today? Youbetcha. Did he need the help of Juliet, Kate, and Sawyer to do so--and the lack of assistance from Jack--in order to do so? Indeed he did. So desperate is Ben to escape the confines of his life with the Dharma Initiative that he frees Sayid in an effort to join their enemies, so strong is his belief that Richard Alpert has finally sent for him. But Sayid isn't a hostile and Ben12 learns for the first (and possibly last) time that he's been played and gets shot.

In refusing to perform surgery on Ben, Jack is just as culpable as Sayid in creating the monster that Benjamin Linus becomes in the future. Had he acted and not turned his back on his Hippocratic oath, he could have saved Ben, but Jack was never destined to help and so Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer make the ultimate sacrifice, launching a plan to take Ben to the Others and beg Richard Alpert for help. I'm not sure what Richard Alpert will do to Ben in the Temple, other than strip away his "innocence," making him an Other through and through. It is, after all, that very loss of innocence that leads to the Purge of the Dharma Initiative and everything else that happens to the castaways after they arrive on the island.

So what did Kate and Sawyer sacrifice to bring him to Richard? Everything, really: their future happiness, the idyllic community of the Dharma Initiative, their very sanity. In offering Ben to Richard, they know that they've completed the cycle and ensure that everything that happened to them will come to pass. That it's the actions of these two--each parents in their own way to a child--is more than significant. Ben might lose his innocence, but it's a parent's love that ensures that he will live.

Jack. As for Jack, I was absolutely shocked that he would refuse to perform surgery on a child, even if that child would grow up to become their enemy. Has Jack really changed that much that he would let an innocent child die because of the things he'll do as an adult? Has his worldview been clouded that much? Doesn't he realize that by not acting he's actually ensuring that Benjamin Linus the villain will come to pass? It's a wake-up call for Kate as well who sees that Jack has changed and not for the better. "I miss the old you," she says to him before he spits that sentiment back in her face, saying that she didn't like the old him either. (Ouch.) That he would refuse both Kate and Juliet's pleas for help show just how much of his leadership role among the castaways he's lost. Is it a fitting revenge to not perform surgery on Ben this time? Perhaps, but a selfish one. Jack listened to Kate once before and saved Ben's life, removing a spinal tumor, in order to save Sawyer's life. Now, when faced with the same dilemma, he chooses not to act at all.

Sawyer and Juliet. I have to say that I am loving these two as a romantic couple. The way with which they look at one another, the understanding between the two, the trust and support is all absolutely
heartfelt. Sawyer has changed from the brutish outcast we saw in Season One; over the past three years, he's become a responsible leader, a family man, and a man of convictions. He's, in essence, redeemed himself. That he would not stop Kate at the sonic fence but drive out to help her is proof of that. The old Sawyer would have Ben die. Now, he can't but the reason he helps Kate isn't Kate; it's for Juliet. All of which makes me extremely nervous as happy romantic love can't last very long on this accursed island...

Miles. I squealed with delight at Miles' attempts to explain time travel theory to Hurley (who thinks they are going to disappear a la Back to the Future) while he had the castaways under house arrest. Whatever happened, happened. They can't change the past but they can ensure that the future will happen. They were always "meant" to come to the past; every action they make ensures that the future happens in precisely the way it does and always has. Ben was always shot by Sayid, was always saved by Richard and turned to the dark side, was always protected by Juliet.

But Hurley does raise one interesting point: if Sayid always did shoot Ben12, how come Ben doesn't seem to recognize Sayid when they have him imprisoned in The Swan during Season Two? The answer: because Ben hadn't yet been shot by Sayid yet. Time had yet to loop in on itself, forming a serpentine shape that doubles back on itself instead of running in a straight, linear fashion. Or is it because of Richard's involvement, as he promises that Ben won't remember the shooting? Hmmm...

Ellie and Charles. Given the conversation between Richard Alpert and an unnamed hostile, it's inferred that Ellie Hawking and Charles Widmore have assumed some sort of leadership role within the Others since we last saw them in the 1950s. However, Richard doesn't care what they might think of him taking Ben into The Temple; he says that he doesn't answer to them. So what happens to Ellie and Charles between now in 1977 and the present day remains a mystery of sorts... though it clearly stems from his very moment, in Ben receiving the dark gifts of the Others, and ends with Ben exiling Charles from the island. Hmmm...

Locke. And I loved the scene in which Ben, in the present day, woke up in The Hydra to see John Locke staring back at him. It's clear that he didn't expect to see Locke there, much less alive and well, so the look of shock on his face is palpable. Plus, how awesome was it that Locke got to say, "Welcome to the land of the living"?

All in all, a fantastic installment that set up what looks to be an incredible episode next week in which we'll finally learn what happened to Desmond and Penny, what truly made Ben into the monster he is today, and have him face down the cosmic judgment of the smoke monster in The Temple.

What did you think of this week's episode? Did you think it was absolutely fitting that Jack would refuse to operate? Did you love that Sawyer helped Kate save Ben for the love of Juliet? Just what does Richard do to Ben in The Temple? Discuss.

Next week on Lost ("Dead is Dead"), Ben attempts to summon the smoke monster to atone for sins of the past.

Comments

Mel said…
I'm glad I always read your Lost write ups because I hated last night's ep until I read this. You always make me the eps in a new light and this was no exception. Hated Jack but now I can see why he would have not acted and I thought that Kate was behaving bizarrely b/c I didn't put it context of her motherhood and Sawyer being a father. Thanks again for offering the most thoughtful Lost write ups around, Jace!
Sam said…
I'm pretty thoroughly convinced that the Oceanics in the past are not changing history at all, and that, by and large, there is no course correction.

Since anything that happened already happened, there was no version of history in which Ben got to the Others by any means other than the ones that transpired in last night's episode.

The only strange time loops are the compass Locke gets from Richard and Desmond meeting Faraday.

I wonder, though, whether the speculation about Ben choosing Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley (and knowing Sawyer's real name) at the end of season 2 because they were the ones in the DI still makes any sense in light of the "he won't remember anything" development.
Doug said…
Glad you picked up on the Douglas Adams reference in the title. Really liked that it was Kate and Sawyer who wanted to help Ben rather than Jack who has turned out to be a complete douchebag. I get why he wanted Ben to die but he wasn't listening to Miles' explanation of time travel. Yea, I blame Jack for everything that's going to go wrong. The DI is going to get killed because he wouldn't get off his ass to help Ben. But he has time to take a shower and keep shaving his chest? What an ass.
Annie said…
But he has time to take a shower and keep shaving his chest? What an ass.

@Doug: That made me laugh right there. I can't help but wonder if Darlton have basically destroyed the character of Jack so they can have him do something noble later on to redeem himself and find his rightful place as leader again. Otherwise, I think he's totally doomed as a sympathetic character.

@Jace: Thanks for mentioning the Ellie and Charles Widmore thing. Totally didn't catch that!
rockauteur said…
If Jack saved Ben12, would he have still turned into the monster today? Or would course correction have presented another alternative into making Ben evil? Does this speed the process along from what has already been presented? (i.e. Richard coming for Ben a few years down the line).
Jace Lacob said…
Rockauteur,

I don't think there is a need for course correction because Jack was always NOT going to help Ben. Because of his experiences with Ben in the future, there was never any chance of him assisting him. Therefore no need to correct the course: he couldn't have helped him.
ted23 said…
@rockauteur Ditto. I think Jack was never meant to help Ben. Juliet, Sawyer, and Kate had to help get him to Richard and be corrupted by the Others. Dharma Init. had to fall and Ben had to do it. In order for him to do that he had to have been stripped of his innocence in the temple. Why did he need that? so he could be saved after shot by Sayid. It all comes back around.
CL said…
There was a time when Jack wouldn't have hesitated to save Ben. I'm with Kate - I don't like the new Jack all that much.
Hannah said…
There was a horrible satisfaction in watching Jack and Sayid as they tried to take revenge on Ben only to set in motion the actions that make Ben into the horrible monster he is in present day. D'oh!
Unknown said…
I have to say that I completely agreed (at the time) with Jack in not saving Ben12. Reminds me of the question about killing baby Hitler if you could go back in time. You are damn right I would. I wouldn't have lifted a finger for Ben. After watching the ending of the episode and realizing that Jack and Sayid are directly responsible for creating the monster that Ben becomes, it is obvious that Jack made the wrong decision. I do have to say though, that I would have made the same one.

I guess I am just a bad person,
:-) Beesoc
Anonymous said…
Loved the Douglas Adams reference! I loved reading his books when I was in high school.

As usual a very thoughtful analysis of the episode. I enjoy reading your recaps.

A friend wondered if BEN woke up at that very moment because ben12's life was saved at that very moment? What do you think?
Anonymous said…
Decent recap Jace but I am beginning to wonder if some of the recappers are watching the same show I am watching. Since La Fleur that established the Sawyer and Juliet relationship, can you please tell us how much screen time they have had as a couple that allows you to continue to perpetuate this myth(and it is a myth) of this loving, trusting, healthy relationship? I am just confused. This weeks episode has woken some up but others are still in a doozy so I had to ask you. In that very scene where he says he is doing it for "her", he calls Kate "Freckles" for the 1st time. He tells Kate they would not have worked and most likely the people they were then would have been on/off just like they were on the Island but "he's grown up in 3 years" and starting from Sawyer watching Kate birth Aaron in the early episodes of this season, up till the reunion, and the Sawyer and Kate scenes we have had since then, I am baffled when anyone thinks Sawyer is over kate. Sawyer is so conning himself it is not even funny and the writers are not even hiding it either. What this episode did was to show that Kate did love Sawyer. She did miss him and Sawyer was not the only one who had insecurity issues, Kate had them as well along with abandonment which Cassidy aided by saying Sawyer jumped to leave Kate when Sawyer himself has said to Juliet, he jumped so "SHE(kate) could get off the Island" because he was always worried as to why Kate so desperately needed to leave(See season 4)Jack himself this episode has explained with his comments, why he stopped Hurley from going on about Sawyer and Juliet and why he had that look when Kate saw Sawyer for the 1st time this season. He knew she still loved Sawyer. "You did not like the old me".

Jace, Sawyer and Kate are not over. The writers have done nothing to make anyone think they are. Sawyer is in a relationship now that is 2safe". It has been depicted as such. However, all indication is that he will return to Kate because the show has shown over 5 seasons and till now, even with Sawyer in a seemingly "healthy" relationship that these two characters are intertwined. Now, if you insist on imagining a loving wonderful relationship b/w Sawyer and Juliet because of a "I did it for her" here and a "cheek caress" there, that's fine. We are watching a show where dead does not mean dead, plots of Land disappear and timetravel takes place. The quest for "healthy relationships" by some fans is amusing. There is no such thing as a healthy relationship on that Island. Sawyer and Juliet foundations are based on a lie to the DI. Juliet does not even know about Clementine.

I look forward to your recap of the episode where you will recall everything I have written above and please do not call that forthcoming episode, lacklustre, because it won't be. You should have seen the Sawyer/Juliet pairing as the obstacle to the shows OTP that it so clearly is.
ted23 said…
Yeah, I was waiting for some moronic shipper to join in the conversation and sure enough "Anonymous" does so by making as many spelling and grammar errors as possible. Really winning your case there. LOL.

No one is saying that Sawyer doesn't still have feelings for Kate. Jace didn't say that and no one else has here. He IS in a stable and supportive relationship with Juliet. This is LOST. It's gonna end. Even Jace says it has to end. Sawyer has been with Juliet for 3 years now. It's not a "myth" by any means. It's the situation right now: they are together so deal.

Try actually reading what people are syaing before foisting your ridiculous shipper nonsense on everyone and get a clue, moron. Not everyone stays home salivating over Kate and Sawyer footage from four years ago. In fact some of us watch this show for more than Skater bullshit.
Anonymous said…
@ted23- Ah.predictable. I knew one of these imbecilic myth geeks would crawl out and start attacking my post as "shipper" nonsense. I do not know when they will start to realise that the relationships are part and parcel of the show and if recappers are going to comment on them, it's pretty daft to then accuse anyone who posts their own opinion on the matter as a "moronic shiper". If recappers think it's all twaddle, they should keep it out of their recaps and focus on Jacob. I do not think Jace thinks it's twaddle so I was responding to Jaces recap. Why don't you start your own blog and leave it out? Then, you won't have to read the opinions of "moronic shippers".

For someone who is criticising grammar and spellings, you seem to have a problem with simple comprehension of the English language. The myth is as I said, the so called "loving and trusting relationship" not the relationship itself. Television is a visual medium. We have seen barely anything of Sawyer/Juliet as a couple barring the nauseating introduction in La Fleur that even the writers of As The World Turns would be ashamed of. The rest of that relationship has been based on the imaginations of some fans and recappers alike. The highest form of fanwanking. If you are not going to watch and discuss what the writers are showing you and rather focus on your imaginations, it is daft, once again, to call anyone a moron because the person is actually pointing out what has been shown and not what we imagine. Ted, do you know for a fact that the relationship is 3 years? NO. You assume. If it is 3 years that means it started once Sawyer jumped off the helicopter and we know that is not the case. So, most of the accolades attributed to that pairing is actually fanwanking. It is safe, Stable, Supportive but so is my relationship with my dentist.

I did read what everyone posted. I responded to Jace. So, I am not sure why you are implying I was responding to nothing that was said. Jace implied that Sawyer is over Kate and inlove with Juliet because he said "I did it for her" and he said they would not have worked. I disagreed with that assessment and gave the reasons, that have been shown as to why I disagree.

You disagree with me...yet you have no reasons from the show, just fanwanking, and calling me a moron. I find sawyer and Kate's chemistry off the charts, It excites me. Are you kidding? I am a human being. You on the underhand are a fanwanker. No one can excite you except your imaginations and yourself. So, yes, I am unashamedly a lover of the chemistry b/w those two and my brain has the ability to multitask, so as to enjoy them and other aspects of the show. You don't? Too bad. Maybe if you gave your hands and your narrow little mind a little respite you might be able to watch the show and enjoy the show. The name is LOST. It shows on ABC on Wednesdays at 9. Not Ted's imaginary Lost showing in Teds trailer in some little car park in Kentucky.
Workman said…
I love this stuff. You guys are almost as exciting as the show itself...
Here's a few thoughts, probably not worth anything:
Is it possible that the Sawyer/ Juliet dynamic is supposed to look like a soap opera, so that we won't take it seriously?
Is it possible that Juliet is still loyal to Ben and perpetuating an act that began in season 3...
So that when it is revealed and she is judged by the island and ultimately killed we won't feel bad... Just like Jack's turn as a "douchebag" loses him the sympathy vote when Kate and a grieving Sawyer reuinite in the end...
Is is possible that the "her" Sawyer did it for was actually his daughter and not Juliet at all?
And does anyone else suspect that Kate is preggers with Jack's baby?
Jace Lacob said…
Anonymous,

I don't typically like to get involved in disputes between readers but I think I've made it pretty abundantly clear that Sawyer still has feelings for Kate and haven't "implied" anything to that effect. (Rather than me implying it, you inferred that.)

And, if you take a look my write-ups for any of the episodes since "LaFleur," this is clear. Nowhere have I implied that Sawyer doesn't have feelings for her, even if he purports not to.

From "Namaste" (http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2009/03/incense-and-peppermints-castaways-get.html):

"Just the way he looks at Kate longingly from his front porch in the night speaks volumes about his unresolved feelings for her... and while likely lead to some serious issues between him and Juliet. (Which makes me quite sad as I do love the two of them together.)"

From "He's Our You" (http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2009/03/its-in-my-nature-sayid-discovers-truth.html):

"And the way that Sawyer paused outside his home and then headed over to Kate's barrack points very much for things not being over between them. Poor Juliet is in for some rude awakening, I'm sure."

Don't know if I can get any more clear than that. The writers have done a fantastic job of establishing Sawyer and Juliet as a couple, despite what you might think via your disparaging remarks about the writers' abilities, and the little details of their relationship together point to a shared intimacy. That said, at no point should anyone think that Sawyer has completely gotten over Kate, which the writers have also done a fantastic job at establishing.

Keep it civil, people. That goes for both Anonymous and Ted23.
Enchilada said…
It seemed to me in the bathroom scene that Juliet wasn't over Jack in the bathroom scene, not only there but the manner in which she takes the news that Kate and Jack were engaged off the island. I keep thinking that there may be a WTF moment when its her that caves in first. That's just me.
The Rush Blog said…
Did Ben always get shot by Sayid? Yes. Did he survive that attack and grow up to become the Machiavellian master manipulator he is today? Youbetcha. Did he need the help of Juliet, Kate, and Sawyer to do so--and the lack of assistance from Jack--in order to do so? Indeed he did. So desperate is Ben to escape the confines of his life with the Dharma Initiative that he frees Sayid in an effort to join their enemies, so strong is his belief that Richard Alpert has finally sent for him. But Sayid isn't a hostile and Ben12 learns for the first (and possibly last) time that he's been played and gets shot.


The whole thing about Ben losing his innocence, due to being shot and cured in the Others' Temple is a load of crap as big as an elephant. I cannot believe that so many fans bought this shit. It is contrived writing at its worst. Michael Emerson must have squirmed with discomfort after learning this little tidbit regarding Ben's past.

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