Lost ratchets up the confusion with a Kate-centered episode presenting few answers
Just when you think they're going to finally let you in on a secret or two, the masterminds behind Lost often deliver an episode so full of mind-bending fakery you wonder if they aren't trying to see how preposterously they can push things before you'll cry uncle.
At least, that's my thinking after wading through Tuesday episode "What Kate Does," a dizzying meditation on some of my least favorite characters which offered no real revelations on the series' biggest mysteries.
Officially, this episode half-answered the last of our 15 pressing questions that Lost MUST answer before it ends, revealing that mousy Claire is alive, possessed of Clint Eastwood-level shootin' skills and a fashion sense stuck somewhere between Lord of the Flies and the show's other killer hermit babe, Rousseau.
Episodes like this one can make real Lost fans feel like dopes. Already, you're taking heaps of abuse from friends who accuse you of slavishly following a series which makes no sense -- then along comes a 60-minute workout like this one which proves their point all too well.
The obvious meaning of "What Kate Does" is easy -- this former fugitive runs. She runs from her relationships with the island's two alpha males, Jack and Sawyer, and as the show began, she was running from a life where she was accused of murder.
So in this new Lost world where we see two timelines at once, Kate is running from the law in the reality where her plane didn't crash and running to Sawyer in the timeline where she and her fellow castaways are captives of this new group of island dwellers I like to call the other Others.
At least there were lots of neat touches for longtime fans. As Kate commandeers a cab to leave the airport in the not-crash timeline, she nearly runs over Arzt, an annoying high school teacher character who was killed early in the series before producers started monkeying with time. Stuck in the cab with her is Claire Littleton, a pregnant mom who actually had her baby on the island and vanished before time jumping became an issue for our Losties.
Back in the timeline where the crash happened, the other Others seems to be trying to figure out why stalwart Sayid, who was shot and eventually died while helping Jack, was resurrected. Though Sayid is the one who passed away and came back, much of this back and forth babble is about Jack and his guilt over leading his pal to his death. Another thing I find supremely annoying about Lost: its insistence on returning again and again to the show's most uninteresting characters, including damaged, self-pitying control freak Jack.
Eventually, the other Others try to trick Jack into giving Sayid poison. They say he's been claimed by a growing darkness -- but if so, this would be different than the shape-shifting we've seen from the island's only obvious bad guy, the Man in Black. My brain really hurts now.
And there's the typical Lost leaps in logic. Why do Claire and Kate bond in the not-crash timeline, when they first meet because Kate sticks a gun in the pregnant mom's face, stealing her cab, suitcase and clothes? Why does Kate, who seems to be a smart fugitive, keep driving around in her stolen cab like it's a rental car she picked up at LAX?
(I'm thinking because Lost producers knew the geeks out there would totally dig the shout-out)
Upshot here is that this episode felt like the show's writers were running in place, leading us through a lot emotional changes -- look, Sawyer's crying over lost love Juliet and Claire has reappeared on the island looking like a Lost Boy! -- without much explanation or sense.
Lost, you've done it again.