We ended last week with Sayid rising from the mostly-dead and asking, “What happened?”
The first scene this week picks up where that one left off. Guess what? No one hazards a guess at the answer to Sayid’s question. Big surprise. Kate asks Sawyer how Sayid’s resurrection was possible. And Sawyer drops a classic: “He’s an Iraqi torturer who shoots kids; he definitely deserves another go-round.”
This will be one theme of the week (and perhaps the season): Sawyer’s unyielding bitterness, not only about the bomb detonation that cost him Juliet, but also the inexplicable politics of the Island. Last season, he tried, like other Losties have, to give himself over to circumstance and resign himself to a fate of indefinite residence there. And that panned out no better for him than the previous seasons’ Attack-Capture-Escape-Repeat cycle.
He’s over it.
And if viewers don’t start getting some answers soon, we might jump on Sawyer’s Bitter Bandwagon. (After last night’s ep, ABC ran a promo for next week, in which the voiceover boasted, “The time for questions is OVER.” I glared at the screened and muttered, “No shit.” But I digress.)
This is a Kate-centric episode. When I saw that that’s who we’d be closely following in Bizarro LA, I was super-annoyed… until I realized that Kate’s sliding-door scenes were just set-up for the reintroduction of another long-missing Lostie.
At the airport, Kate’s still holding the cabbie she carjacked at gunpoint and Claire is still tearily wondering what’s on Kate’s bird. She begs to be released from the Cab of Crime and, for some reason, Kate is reluctant to let her out. But eventually, Claire jumps out of the backseat when the vehicle slows and Kate, who’s already ejected the driver she’s knocked unconscious, peels off.
Back at the Temple, Jack observes that Sayid’s gunshot wound has almost completely closed. Sayid thanks Jack, for some reason. Then, the Temple Others ask Sayid for a word in private. Jack, of course, takes umbrage and demands to come along. Then, Sawyer jumps in with a gun, demanding to be released from Temple custody, despite Dogen, the Temple leader, urgently asserting, “You have to stay.” Sawyer warns Kate not to come after him.
Once he’s gone, Kate offers to track him. She’s all confident. “I can bring him back, and I can make him stay.” Ha! Good luck, girlie. Lennon, the hippie Temple guy played by John Hawkes, says it’s “very important” that Sawyer returns safely, then wonders what makes Kate think she can bring him back.
“I can be very convincing when I want to,” she grits. Eye roll.
Back in Bizarro LA, Kate stops at a mechanic shop and gets her handcuffs drilled off. She then excuses herself to change clothes. When she opens the bag she brought it, we see that it’s Claire’s. It contains a Polaroid of Claire lovingly holding her pregnant stomach, a stuffed whale, and a package of unopened onesies. Kate stares at herself in the mirror. That’s seriously the end of that scene.
Back to The Temple. Jin is accompanying Kate on her Sawyer-tracking mission. Jack is worried. “I’ll take care of James; you take care of Sayid,” Kate tells Jack. He’s all, “Be careful,” with this fawning look in his eyes. Why won’t anyone tell Jack to quit trying to make fetch happen?!
Dogen has strapped Sayid to a table and is using some sort of dust on him. Then he inserts probes in his chest and starts cranking. It’s like that scene in The Princess Bride when Count Rugen sucks years of Westley’s life away. Except Sayid whines way more.
Then Dogen brands a screaming Sayid. It’s kind of awesome. Lennon apologizes, saying the light torture was a test. “Don’t worry; you passed.” When Sayid’s gone, Lennon says, “I just lied to him, didn’t I.” Dogen answers in the affirmative.
In LA, Kate finds Claire at the bus stop where she left her and asks where she was going. She returns her bag. Claire reluctantly says she’s going to see the couple who are adopting her baby. She says they were supposed to meet her at the airport, but didn’t. Kate offers her a ride.
Back in jungle, Kate, Jin, and two random Temple dudes (Justin and Aldo) are “tracking Sawyer.” Jin asks the Temple people if they know anything about the Ajira flight. Justin starts to answer, because he’s playing Good Cop. Aldo, as Bad Cop, tells Justin to shut up. This happens a few times, until Kate gets sick of it and is all, “What was he gonna say?” with this menacing look on her face. Aldo pushes right back, stating that when Kate “staged a prison break three years ago,” Aldo was the guard she knocked out with the butt of a rifle. She knocks him out again and, with the aid of a tripwire they’d sidestepped earlier, she takes out Justin, too. Jin asks what she’s doing. She says they’re “escaping.”
I’ve never been able to buy how bad-ass they write Kate, and because I can never get down with her motives or desires, I hardly ever root for her. You probably thought there was a “but” coming; there isn’t. I just had to say that.
When they release Sayid, he tells Jack and Hurley he was tortured, so Jack goes to talk to Dogen and Lennon. They tell Jack Sayid is “infected,” and Dogen gives Jack a pill to give Sayid. True to character, Jack gets all protective and wants to know what’s in the pill or else he’s not giving it to Sayid. This goes on for a while, with Dogen trying to play on Jack’s guilt for getting Sayid shot in the first place, but nothing really works. Finally, Dogen says that if Jack doesn’t give Sayid the pill, “the infection will spread.”
In another room, Miles is asking Sayid what he experienced when he “died.” Hurley asks if he’s a zombie; Sayid says no. Jack returns with the pill and confesses that he didn’t have anything to do with “fixing” Sayid. Sayid says he doesn’t care who fixed him; he only cares about who he trusts. He asks Jack if he thinks he should take the pill.
I’ve also never bought how willing Sayid is to defer to an authority figure. I get that he was in the military. I get that he was a torturer and actually feels less accountable for his crimes, when they’re committed under the direct orders of someone else. But I always expected him to take on a leadership role on the island, because before last season, he seemed a lot more even-tempered and less given to impulse than Jack or Sawyer. He always pauses to collect more information before coming up with a plan.
Now he just seems… reduced—and on top of that, in the aftermath of last season’s character assassination, with the Little Ben shooting and begging Adult Ben for more opportunities to kill, the writers have decided to “infect” him. Nice.
In the jungle, Jin presses Kate for information about the Ajira flight. She doesn’t have any. Aaaand scene.
In LA, Claire and Kate catch up with the potential adoptive family, knocking on their front door, only now it’s just a disoriented woman whose husband has left her. She says she can’t care for the baby alone and she’s sorry that she didn’t call before now to tell Claire. On news of this, Claire promptly goes into labor.
On the island, Kate has tracked Sawyer to the abandoned Dharma Initiative house he shared with Juliet. She and Jin parted ways in the jungle; I guess he wasn’t down with “escape.” Kate spies on Sawyer as he pulls up a floorboard, pulls out a shoebox and tearfully fondles something from inside it.
In LA, Claire’s doctor is Ethan. He’s still creepy. He says she’s effaced and dilated enough to give birth but if she isn’t ready, he can give her drugs to slow the labor. She isn’t ready and opts for the drugs. Interesting inversion of birth events: on the island, the drugs were forcefed; in alterna-LA, Claire requests them.
On the island, Kate tells Sawyer she came back to the island to find Claire and hoped Sawyer would help her. Sawyer looks about as enthused about that as he was about staying in the “protective custody” of the Temple Others. He tells Kate he was going to marry Juliet, then throws the ring he intended to give her into the ocean. When walks off, Kate stays behind and sobs. Like, it really doesn’t matter who Kate chooses; both of these dudes reduce her to tears. What’s the point?
At the temple, Jack continues to press Dogen for the ingredients of the pill; Dogen says Jack should just trust him. Jack doesn’t, so he ingests the pill himself.
To make an already overlong recap less long: Dogen Heimlichs Jack and gets the pill back up, admitting it’s poison. He says that Sayid must be killed because evil is spreading through his body and once it gets to his heart the Sayid they know will be no more. This is in line with what Richard told Sawyer and Kate when they handed over Little Ben to be healed. Jack’s still not buying it, but Dogen has a trump card. “It happened to your sister,” he says, and Jack looks shook (and it’s unclear if it’s because someone is finally referring to Claire as his sister again or because she’s been “infected”).
In WhoCaresville, California, a detective looks for “Joan Hart” (aka Kate, who’s hiding in the bathroom) and Claire covers for her. When they’re alone again, Kate asks why Claire doesn’t just keep the kid. She says she doesn’t know. They bid each other farewell and good luck.
In the final scene, Jin is alone in the jungle when he finds himself ambushed by Justin and Aldo, who’ve regained consciousness. As they tussle, Jin gets caught in a bear trap and the latter pair take a few slugs to the gut, from above. Jin looks up in shock and gratitude then squints and utters the incredulous: “Claire?!”
A dirty-faced, scraggly haired worse-for-the-wear Emilie de Ravin squints back at him, kind of uncomprehendingly.
And that’s the episode.
Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. This alternate realities thing is off to a sort of slow start for me, much slower than last season’s time jumps (and with none of the fun of Daniel Faraday and his nosebleeds and neuroses and Constants). Not only that, I’m not sure I want to spend the whole of last season finding out what would’ve happened if they never crashed.
In an interview this week, Michael Emerson said that he felt like this season would’ve been boring if it’d been all denouement. But when you spend five seasons on exposition, rising actions, and climaxes, denouement is the only thing you’ll care about in the twenty or so eps before the show takes a final bow. What happened to Claire and the long-touted “infection” are two large loose ends, but they aren’t the only ones. I’m worried that all the screen time being given to the “What if?” storylines are going to mean a rushed and unsatisfying resolution in the final third of the season.
I blame Kate.
What’s your take?