Whoo-hoo! After a lull last week, the Peabody Award-winning "Lost" was back in fine form with "What Happened, Happened." It might also have been titled "Role Reversal," because that's what we've got going on with some of our key characters.
But for starters, let me offer a few kind words to Kate, who has annoyed me more often than not during the run of the skein to date. And the kindness should extend to Evangeline Lilly, who was very good in last night's seg. I've been hard on her in the past for being wooden, especially in her big emotional moments, but she showed some growth as an actress in this seg.
I particularly liked Kate's flashback scenes back in
L.A. (I presume) with Sawyer's ex, Cassidy (played by the talented Kim Dickens, who some of us know better as Matt's mom on "Friday Night Lights").
This episode was also fulfilling because we got a lot of recent backstory filled in in a short amount of time -- and very straightforwardly too, unusually so for "Lost." It felt like a real come-to-Jacob episode for Kate, Jack, Sawyer and Juliet.
In a nutshell, we see Kate turning into a real warrior-avenger; Jack turning into an utterly self-obsessed cretin who is so lost he's turning to island-religion to try to make sense of things; Sawyer starts out desperate to protect his new settled-down status quo but ends up doing the right thing in the end -- all things that we'd never have expected from Sawyer even last season; and we got a Great Moment with an Angry Juliet that came as the cherry on this cake.
Amid all the moving and shaking, we're treated two priceless scenes of Miles trying to help Hurley understand Faraday's Law of Time Travel, with a nod to the Zemeckis Theory as laid out by Hurley. (By the way, where is Daniel? And Rose? And Bernard? And what about Vincent??!!). "This is really confusing," Hurley says.
On the backstory front, we got a key piece of the puzzle for Kate and her erstwhile charge Aaron filled in last night as we peeked in on Kate's actions in the days leading up to her decision to board Ajira Airways Flight 316.
As many of us suspected, she's not particularly interested in following Jack to the ends of the earth -- despite what she tells Juliet in the quote above -- but she's actually on a mission to find Claire, Aaron's rightful mum. Until then, the next best thing she can do is give Aaron to his biological grandmother, Carol Littleton. (No relation.)
We pick up with Kate and Aaron back to that oft-revisited scene at the dock in L.A., where Sun holds Ben at gunpoint, Sayid walks off in disgust and Kate fetches Aaron back from Sun. Kate and Aaron are still on the run, but as she races away from the scene in her BMW, Aaron announces that he's thirsty and wants milk.
Cut to the inside of a supermarket where Kate proves that while her heart may be in the right place, she's quite not mommy material. Who in their right mind would ask a 3-year-old, at night, whether he wants regular milk or chocolate milk?
The supermarket scene gave us a jolt of drama -- and the sight of Kate running in high heels -- as Aaron wanders off from Kate and is found by a woman who looks a lot like Claire from behind. Foreshadowing for sure.
It was a momentous episode for Kate all around. We finally see how she reconnects with Cassidy after her return from the island, and how those two connect the dots between their mutual association with Sawyer.
I was very, very surprised to see that Kate unloads all to Cassidy. ("So that son of a bitch is still alive?" Cassidy asks her, reminding us of con-man Sawyer.) Maybe that was all she needed -- a good friend and a sympathetic ear. Because Kate and Cassidy (and the actresses) were making such a strong connection, I completely bought that Cassidy would have the Clairevoyance a few years later to see right through Kate's lie about Aaron. (Others are saying that Cassidy lives in Arizona, but that would be a heck of a drive for Kate to pull off in the 36 hours or so between losing Aaron at the supermarket and getting on Ajira 316.)
And Cassidy spoke for the fans in speaking bluntly to Kate: "Why in God's name would you want to go back there?" and "Jack sounds like a piece of work."
Meanwhile, back-forward into 1977, Kate's in an odd-couple awkward situation with Jack and the island and of all people, Ben's dad, Roger, decides to flirt with her, just before he learns that his son has been shot. Interesting that when Roger asks Kate if she has kids, she pauses but says no.
We know the thrill is gone between Jack and Kate after he refuses Sawyer's request to help Ben. There's a nasty exchange between Kate and Jack after Sawyer leaves in which jack reminds Kate that they've gone down this road before of her begging him to save Ben's life, on Sawyer's behalf. Kate seems to intuit that there's a big problem with letting Ben die.
"This is our fault. We brought Sayid back," she says.
Jack's not moved. After trying to fix things all during his previous stint on the island he's come to believe it was futile. "Did you ever think that the island wants to fix things...maybe I was just getting in the way." (It was a good episode for Matthew Fox too.)
"I don't like the new you," Kate tells him. "You didn't like the old me," Jack snaps back. Can't argue with that.
Meanwhile, Kate finally impressed Juliet by taking a stand (and being a universal blood donor) to save the life of young Ben.
In fact, Juliet seemed revved up by Kate's actions. She storms into Jack in the shower but she's not looking for footsie. Doctor to doctor, she's pissed that he wimped out on helping wounded Ben. "That kid was bleeding out and you're a surgeon."
And then it gets personal. Just as Cassidy forced Kate to face the cold hard truth, Juliet tries to get an honest answer out of Jack. "You came back here for you. At least do me the courtesy of telling me why!"
But Jack's so far gone he can only feebly offer: "I came back here because I was supposed to."
** Loved Kate listening to Patsy Cline again as she drives to Cassidy's house for the first time. The tune, "She's Got You," was oh-so-appropriate. And Variety's Justin Kroll points out that the tune Kate sings to infant Aaron as she walks up to Cassidy's door, "Catch a Falling Star," is the same ditty that pre-island Claire asks the prospective Aussie adoptive parents to sing to her baby before she changes her mind.
** Freckles is back! "Dammit Freckles, I ain't here to stop you, I'm here to help you," Sawyer tells Kate has he helps her spirit wounded Ben through the sonic fence to get to the Others encampment. I don't think it indicates any kind of rekindling between Sawyer and Kate, at least on Sawyer's part. I get the feeling he's pretty darn devoted to Juliet, and that he likes the idea of being good to one woman, fond as he may be of Freckles.
** At first I thought Cassidy was just being harsh on Sawyer in telling Kate that his jump from the helicopter was really bailing on her. But then Sawyer himself kinda confirmed it to Kate later in telling her: "I wasn't any more fit to be your boyfriend then I was to be that little girl's father. I've done a lot of growing up in the last three years."
** The sight of Richard Alpert carrying wounded Ben into the Temple was quite creepy. Especially after informing Sawyer and Kate: "If I take him he'll not be the same again. His innocence will be gone. He'll always be one of us," Well that explains a lot, doesn't it?
** Tantalizing reference from another Other to Richard about checking with Ellie -- and what about if Charles finds out? -- before he agrees to help Ben. "I don't answer to either of them," Richard says without a beat. So those two were in the picture as late as 1977. I guess we can presume that Widmore and Faraday's mom were no fans of the Dharma Initiative.
** "Hello Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living."