Letters from the Flame: 'Lost' about 'What Kate Does'? I have your answers
"What Kate Does" didn't generate the same volume of questions that "LA X," did, but "Lost" fans still had some pressing queries coming out of last week's episode. On tap in this weekly edition of "Letters to the Flame": the sickness, Aaron's role, and Sayid's fate. Let's get to your queries!
Ryan: Are you starting to rethink about your posting long ago that the meeting in Widmore's bedroom with Ben waking up Charles was the real first episode of the show, since they seemed to be at the heart of the good vs. bad problem or war going on with the island? To me if was Jacob and MIB last year talking on the beach. The show seems to have elevated itself to a higher authority and power that even outstrips Ben and Charles. Just look at Ben now ... he is a mere pawn in the MIB's camp. I am sure he will be up to no good at some point but he definately isn't running the show anymore. He has become the island's Dr. Smith ("Lost in Space" reference ): a spineless follower who would do whatever he could to get whatever he wanted, even if it meant working with the bad guys.
So, you're asking me if I am rethinking a statement I threw out there 1) two full years ago, 2) before the Island moved, 3) before time travel was heavily introduced, and 4) before the concept of Cabin Christian, The Man in Black, and the concept of the loophole was even put forth? The answer is, of course, no. In fact, everything I think about "Lost" comes from the pilot, which means that I still hold onto my belief that the monster is the mutated version of the polar bear that Sawyer shot. Cough.
One thing that I had to let go of early on, both as a "Lost" fan and blogger, is that I was going to be wrong, and be wrong often, and be wrong in a very public forum. For some that's paralyzing, but about a month into this gig I started worrying less about being "right" and more about being "interesting to read." That doesn't mean I willingly put forth theories that I knew 100% to be wrong for the sake of eyeballs here on the site, but it also meant that I ceded that only a handful of people truly know what's going to happen on "Lost," and they are all in the writers' room.
I work with what the show has presented as best I can, knowing that 90% of what I throw out there will be altered in some fashion. The end of "The Shape of Things to Come" offered a great zoom out on the War of the Island, with the intro to "The Incident" being the final zoom out (maybe) in terms of truly showing the audience the scope of what's going on. As for Ben being spinelessly following The Man in Black to get what he wants: I'm not sure Ben even knows what he wants at this point. I am sure the show will eventually address his moral stance at choosing either death or serving at the right hand of the entity that may or may not try and destroy not only the Island, but the entire freakin' world.
Now when The Man in Black/smoke monster takes over one's insides, do you think that means you are serving him or are you just tormented?
There's a couple levels to what the monster can do: infect someone, look/act like someone that's died, and physically be someone that's died. The Man in Black's been doing the former two things for a while now, possibly in practice/preparation for third. But I think we're supposed to understand that his current status as Locke 2.0 (Smocke? Flocke? The Locke-less Monster? Locke, Stock, and Two Smoking Monsters?) is a unique, singular event that had never happened before.
Let's look at the one person we've seen at any length acting differently before and after infection: Robert, Alex's daddy. Even here, we have little info to go on. But in "This Place is Death," he walked like a Robert and talked like a Robert after the supposed infection, only to turn cold and attempt to kill a pregnant Danielle. Was killing Danielle a programmed command? Doubtful. I think it's more than "infection" strips away all the "progress" that humanity has made since Jacob started bringing people to the Island, bringing them back to the base elements that The Man in Black thinks sits at the heart of every human. When The Man in Black infects someone, that's the "proof" he offers to Jacob that underneath it all, people never change.
Since the green pill was not so much "medicine" as a last resort/euthanasia, do we really know if there is a cure for this sickness? Is what makes Aaron so special that he will pull Claire back from the brink once they are reunited, and that's why Malkin put her onto Oceanic 815, knowing that someday in some way, Aaron would save Claire?
And along with that, with the revelation to Jack that his sister has "fallen to the dark side", will he be more motivated now to find her and fight the Man in Black in order to free her?
I think that pill was equivalent to the type of women Bell Biv Devoe wants us to avoid: poison. Pretty much as simple as that. (Never trust a green pill and a smile, that pill is poooiiissssooonnn.) As far as the "cure" to the sickness, I think this would work on an emotional, not physiological, level. I think having Aaron's blood be the cure for the "sickness" is taking things to that "midichlorian" level that Darlton (as well as millions of "Lost" fans) hope to avoid. If The Others had a physical cure, they would use have found it by now.
If I had to make an analogy to something else in pop culture with which to compare "the sickness," (and since this is me, I will), I'd compare it to the Swamp of Sadness from "The Neverending Story." The sickness eats away at you from the inside, but is triggered by (and eventually controlled by) an emotional response. With Sayid still reeling from the death of Nadia and the shooting of Ben, I think he's a prime example of someone who is unable to resist full infection. Claire, sans Aaron, might also fall into that category. (Also, I'm now going to tear up a bit thinking about Artax sinking into the Swamp of Sadness, one of the five most traumatic things I saw as a child.)
But reader "Fading-Dream" has a question that lets me pivot off this and continue looking at how the Claire/Aaron relationship might play out.
My main question is "How does Kate plan to reunite Aaron and Claire?" It took them three months to actually find a way to leave the island the first time. What does Kate plan to do once she finds her?
On one level, Kate has NO IDEA how she's going to accomplish this. Her "let's take this one step at a time" approach was evident in "What Kate Does," and by and large I'm fine with this approach. Were she able to accurately predict cause and effect in this crazy world, such improvisation would be foolish. But from the time she got on Ajira 316, it's been one crazy thing after another. Rolling with the punches and dealing with the problem in front of her face and only that seems appropriate.
But here's the other thing to think about: Kate reuniting Claire and Aaron might not have to happen in the Island universe for her plan to work. It could be as simple as Claire giving birth and raising Aaron in the sideways universe. In fact, a lot of things that "need" to happen in order for this show to reach conclusion will happen in the sideways universe. How will this all play out? Beats me. There's an energy (and a Desmond) that connects these two timelines. That's all we know. But that energy might be stronger than any powered by a frozen donkey wheel, and will be key to the show's endgame.
Finally today, a two-fer about Sayid.
So, what do you think Jack is going to do about the info on Sayid he received? Is he going to believe it? Is he going to tell Sayid? Is he going to tell Miles & Hurley? If they believe it, how will they handle it? What will Sayid do if he knows?
Is Sayid beyond saving? I got the impression that the poison was going to kill the infection, not Sayid. It sounded like there was a point of no return, but that Sayid wasn't beyond it yet, unlike Claire. Maybe that was just my wishful thinking since Sayid is one of my favorite characters.
I think if Sayid knew, he'd take eight green pills before turning into something that could harm his friends. So, naturally, Jack won't tell him or anyone else about this condition. One major source of tension this season will come around Sayid's terminal illness, for lack of a better phrase. Above, I hinted at a way to emotionally combat said sickness, but I'm not sure Sayid can ever achieve it.
My latest prediction-to-be-debunked-at-a-later-date: Becoming infected will allow The Others to gain an inside track on information about the monster and how to defeat it. Not-Quite-Zombie Sayid will become important as our heroes look for a dent in The Man in Black's seemingly impenetrable armor.
Coming tomorrow: the latest edition of "Orientation: Ryan Station," as The Chicago Tribune's Mo Ryan and I break down "What Kate Does" one final time in anticipation of the next episode: "The Substitute." See you then!
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Photo credit: ABC