A Case of the…. Lost – Episode 4-4

I know I have a tendency to defend shows when everybody else is flaming them (See: Heroes, season 2), leading many to argue that I’m perhaps not critical enough of shows I like. Well, if that’s the case, then I’m about to add fuel to the fire, because in my view this season of Lost has been near flawless.

Lets start with the big reveal at the end, which was that future Kate is now raising Aaron as her own son. While this was an awesome twist, I – along with at least two fellow viewers – were able to predict this surprise pretty early on. I can’t speak for my cohorts, but for me, the fact that Kate was spending an exorbitant amount of time with Claire on the island, and nearly all of those interactions were in some way connected to Aaron, was the dead giveaway. I want to make clear, though, that “predictable” is not necessarily equitable to poor writing. Quite the contrary, as many times certain plot points are predictable because of the fact that it’s the logical progression of the story. This particular revelation also cleared up matters from the season finale (we can safely assume, anyway). We can now understand why things are so tense and hostile between Kate and Jack, and we can reasonably presume that Aaron is the person at home who is going to wonder where Kate.

One matter of contention, however. I’ve read a few people refer to Aaron as one of the Oceanic Six. As I noted in a previous column, in my view, this is not the case. I believe that the Oceanic Six only refers to people who were on the Oceanic 815 flight and safely returned home. People like Aaron and Ben, who are also present in the future, were not on the plane, and thus cannot be considered part of the Oceanic Six. I am now going on record by predicting that the last two members of the returnees will be Sun and Locke, simply because it would provide the most interesting “future” stories. Keep in mind, however, that characters such as Desmond and Juliet could also end up getting off of the island.

I’m very pleased that the biggest question related to the character was answered right off the bat in Kate’s first flash forward episode. We now know that she was tried for the various crimes she had committed (and boy, was that a dirty – and I mean dirty –laundry list), and a deal was reached, essentially making her a free woman. This episode also gave viewers a bit of an indication on the time frame. The show has not made it clear exactly how much time passes between the current island happenings, and the returnees getting home. Is it a matter of days? Months? Years? While it is indicated that some time has passed between Kate returning home and her being tried, we do know that it occurred at least a couple of years after the rescue freight arrives (based on Aaron’s age). Kate’s story also occurs before the events of last season’s finale, and possibly (presumably?) before Hurley’s story as well (this is the most “together” we’ve seen future Jack yet). Based on your interpretation, this could be significant, as it could mean that the people were left behind on the island (under unpleasant circumstances) are potentially trapped there for years. This makes the inevitable union between those that return home and those that were left behind all the more interesting.

Another matter of interest is how Kate’s mother, who had six months to live, managed to survive four years (another indicator of the timeframe). This reminds me of how The Others managed to cure Juliet’s sister of her cancer, despite her never being on the island (as far as we know). Could there be some connection between the island’s mysterious healing effect and Kate’s mother’s longer-than-expected survival?

The highlight of the trial, in my opinion (which I am sure is shared by many others), was Jack’s deposition. I find it very interesting that while the Oceanic Six have been telling this lie that they were the only ones that survived, Jack indicates that eight people endured the plane crash, only to die before being rescued. What was the purpose of this passing comment? And, of course, who were the two people to supposedly perish?

One thing about Jack’s testimony that I particularly enjoyed was how uncomfortable Kate was taking advantage of him in order to gain her freedom. This is a stark contrast to what was happening on the island, where she quite openly uses Sawyer in order to arrange a meeting between Miles and Ben. This is another example of how, at the end of the day, Jack is the one she truly loves. There’s plenty of passion with Sawyer, but she even admitted that she doesn’t trust him. Despite the ups and downs that they’ve gone through, could you imagine Kate ever saying that to Jack?

Speaking of Kate and Jack, their reunion near the end of the episode, after Kate reached an agreement with the prosecutor, was very sweet. The smile on her face, which she quickly tried to hide, when he admitted that he still loved her was tender and felt real. Again, that’s a moment I don’t think she could ever really have with Sawyer. Like I said earlier in the column, this episode – and this scene in particular – shed some light as to why things eventually become so strained between these two. For whatever reason, Jack can’t bear seeing Kate with Aaron. While Kate understands this, she can’t allow a relationship – of any sort – to occur between her and Jack (probably due to her responsibility as Aaron’s caretaker). The ongoing theory is that Jack can’t bear to see Aaron because he reminds him of Claire, his half sister, who he was unable to save. While this makes sense, Jack abandoning his nephew seems strangely out of character.

Two quick notes on Sawyer: I LOVE the fact that he’s sharing a house with Hurley (whose “You just Scooby Doo’d me, didn’t you?” comment was the line of the night). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but these two are comedy gold together. I honestly feel like Sawyer and Hurley living together in the barracks could EASILY be a hit sitcom. Also, while his morning after comment to Kate about how she’ll come back to him once she gets upset with Jack was not the most tactful thing to say, he was right on the money.

On the subject of the barracks, Locke sure has embraced the Mr. Mom role, hasn’t he? He’s cooking people breakfast and dinner, preparing the food, punishing people when they misbehave… The opening scene – and the whole episode, really – echoed a sentiment I’ve been making for quite some time: Once it became common knowledge that The Others left the barracks, and the survivors basically gave up any hope/effort to leave the island, why NOT live there? It provides comfortable accommodations, electricity, a pleasing environment, not to mention the use of their security system. The interaction between Ben and Locke was also a wonderful homage to season two, when Ben would manipulate Locke (quite successfully) on a daily basis.

Locke has become quite an interesting paradox, of sorts. As time goes on, his actions make him more and more unlikable to the audience, while that same audience also knows that his view that leaving the island will only lead to catastrophic results, is correct. To paraphrase South Park (who knew they could be so eloquent?), Jack is wrong for the right reasons, while Locke is right for the wrong reasons.

So it seems that Miles is willing to lie about finding Ben – as well as “handle” Charlotte – for 3.2 million dollars. Naturally, that’s a curious number, but the thing that interested me most about the interaction was when he told Ben that he knows what he can do, which clearly made Ben uneasy.

There are still a lot of questions left unanswered, and I’m particularly interested how this Oceanic Six group comes together. They are seemingly coming from three different geographical points: The beach (Jack and Kate), the freighter (Sayid), and the barracks (Hurley, Aaron, and Ben). I’m hopeful that next week’s episode, which possibly answers what happens to Sayid and Desmond in the helicopter, will feature some time traveling from Desmond (only speculation, I don’t want to hear any spoilers regarding this). Desmond getting a glimpse of the future, and taking the knowledge back with him, could offer some very interesting storylines.

Sir Linksalot: Lost