Friday, February 22, 2008

LOST 011: Dharma Box Wine, And I Don't Care


Well, what can I tell you? This is probably as good as a Kate-centric episode can possibly be. We had a nice little scene where Jack gave a lying, lying, lying testimony about how only eight of them survived, they landed in the water, he was incapacitated, and Kate was the big hero who saved them all. This was great in that it gave us more information about exactly what this false story is that the O6 is feeding the world (more on this later), but there was a more subtle point of interest. Namely (and this is according to producer's interviews from the Season 1 DVDs) this lie of Jack's was how the producers originally saw Kate's role.

Jack was supposed to die in the first episode, killed by the smoke-monster. It was supposed to be the classic audience-association bait-and-switch, in which the nominative hero was slaughtered within the first hour. The idea was to make the island seem even more dangerous, the stakes even more real. And then Kate was supposed to step in and become what the Jack character is. The leader. The good guy.

Then the producers decided they couldn't do it, for whatever reason. The corpse in the tree in the first episode became the pilot. Fine. The problem is, Kate was stranded without a developed character arc. And therein, I suspect, lies the problem with Kate.

She makes no sense.

She's a fugitive from justice, and we're meant to identify with her, but I at least can't because what people say about her is at odds with what we actually know. She insists she's wrongly accused, but then we find out that she's rightly accused. She says that everything she did was not her fault, that she's the victim of circumstance, but what do we discover? In fact, she killed her father in cold blood. She got her old boyfriend killed. She robbed a bank to get . . . um, her old dead boyfriend's toy airplane out of a safe deposit box. (Yes, that's right. You remember it, too. Don't act like you don't. Is there further meaning behind that plane? Survey says . . . XXX) She married a guy and then cut out on him because, well, because she was a wanted criminal and he was a POLICE OFFICER.

So she's not a hero, she's not falsely accused, and she has absolutely no impulse control and extremely selfish motives. This isn't a problem in and of itself; in fact, it could make her a completely fascinating character. Unfortunately, the writers and show creators don't see her like this. They've never let go of the "Kate is a hero" idea from the beginning, and that's clearly how we are meant to see her: as a hero. So we have a character that makes no emotional sense at all. More than anywhere else, it is the Kate episodes that lend credibility to critics who suspect that there is no real story, and the writers are just making it up as they go. As a result, I just don't care what happens to Kate, and further could care less whether she ends up with Jack or Sawyer or Turniphead.

Last night's episode was no different for Kate. She meets her mother, the one she loved so much she killed for. Against all odds, her mom, who had a terminal sickness before the crash, is still alive. Is Kate happy to see her? No, she feels betrayed, to the point that she won't let her dying mom see her own grandson.

That's fine, it's a valid reaction to somebody who one could see as responsible for one's situation (if, you know, you had no capacity to find fault in yourself). Except we've already seen that Kate has endangered her own life and the lives of others on multiple occasions to go visit her mother, even after her mother has betrayed her.

It just don't add up. And not in a "what a cool mystery" sort of way. More in a "how many crack rocks are they smoking when they write for Kate?" sort of way.

Nor does her acquittal add up, as much as I'm glad to see the show explaining it. OK, her mom doesn't testify, whether out of pity for her daughter or for medical reasons (it could be either, since Kate's mom didn't get what she wanted). So the star witness is gone. So what?

Does this somehow clear her of charges of destruction of property? Of evading arrest for years? Of reckless endangerment? Grand theft? How is she getting a walk? Because her airplane crashed? Is this the worst DA ever, or what?

My wife is an RN, and she can't stand to watch TV shows and movies botch medical procedures and practices. Whenever poker shows up in prime time, I think we all just kind of groan and look away. Hey lawyers! Did this episode do the same thing to you? Let me know, because it just seems completely false.

OK, now that that's out of the way . . . all the really really good stuff.

New Questions

* Is Aaron considered one of the O6? Do they count babies? We either have two more O6 to discover or one.

* Why doesn't Jack want to see Aaron? Kate may have managed to convince other people that she somehow gave birth on the island (how? Is this just part of the bubble of narrative sloppiness that seems to enshroud Kate?), but she wouldn't convince Jack. He clearly doesn't think it's Sawyer's kid. I think the reason that Jack doesn't want to see Aaron is at least part of the same reason the O6 are engaged in a conspiracy.

* Jack said there were eight survivors. Who are the two survivors not part of the O6? Why do they have to be a part of the story?

* What are the implications of Dan's amnesia/total lack of short term memory? Does that mean that when he saw Oceanic was found, it helped him remember something? If so, what?

* Are the O6 lying to protect themselves, or to protect those they left behind? While you're trying to decide, remember that it is Abbadan (the man behind the freighter, Naoimi and the rest), who was trying to get information from Hurley. In other words, the guys who are not on the island are trying to get information from the O6 about what is going on on the island. This points toward "lie to protect." We shall see.

* How on earth does being the survivor of a plane crash make Kate "one of the most recognizable people on the planet," as her lawyer claimed? Even given that lawyers change the facts to make themselves look good, how could this be a plausible claim? Am I that out of touch with what it takes to achieve international mega-stardom?

New Theories

* The fact that Ben has approximately 700 million passports means that he could easily be one of the O6. He clearly has the resources to make it seem that he was on that plane.

* Consider the possibility that ALL of the O6 are working with Ben in some way.

* I think we are going to see the death of a major, major character this season. And I think it will happen in flash forward. I think this character is the person in the coffin. By the way, I think it's Locke. Which doesn't necessarily mean that Locke will be dead in Season 5. Remember when Travolta is killed in the middle of Pulp Fiction? Didn't stop Travolta from being in most of the rest of the movie, did it? I think we're going to see more stuff like that.

* I think the next episode will open a whole can of worms.

Really Awesome Stuff

* Miles. Everything that Miles does, I love. Heeeeeeeeeeeeelarious.

* Um . . . grenade breakfast. Hoy was clearly on-point when he said that anybody who went willingly with this guy is an idiot. Notice he didn't say that it was his job to protect the people, just the island. Locke's gone totally Kurtz. Be interesting when we finally see what's pulling his strings, and he finally has his once-a-season moment of clarity.

* Metaphysical moment, as Locke brings Ben this book and Ben says "I've read it before." Locke: "You may find new things the second time." I'm pretty sure that's the writers talking to us about Lost DVDs there . . .

* It was a deja vu episode for sure. Ben locked up. Ben crawling inside Locke's skull. The triumphant return of the Sawyer specs. Backgammon, even (by the way, Sawyer picked light and Locke picked dark).

* Sawyer calling Kate out. "In about a week, Jack'll do something to piss you off and then you'll come right back to me." Tell it like it is, James. Tell it like it is.

* "Dude, did you just totally Scooby-Doo me?" Hurly is getting like 80% of the great lines so far this season.

Join us next week when we hear Miles say:



This post was brought to you by Michael Craig's blog on Full Tilt. Read Michael Craig, it's the right thing to do.


Mike Maloney said...

So, how long do you think you could hold a live grenade in your mouth?

-I think Aaron is considered one of the Six, although I could certainly see it going either way.

-In regards to Aaron and Jack, some things to consider: Claire is Jack's half-sister, which could have some impact on how he views Aaron in terms of what happened to Claire. I'm with you on what you said about Kate to the extent that I've never, ever trusted her character to be anything but selfish, so I can't help but wonder if the way in how Kate 'acquired' Aaron has anything to do with it.

-Perhaps there were two bodies that were made public along with the rescue of the six, necessitating the lie to include a total of 8?

-...I have nothing to add about Dan, he's a weird guy.

-It seems to me that they're lying to protect those on the island/the island itself.

-Honestly, I think the reason it's hard to grasp the idea of these guys being big celebrities, is because we really don't have any real-life example to fall back on. I mean, has there ever been a story where six people out of a plane of 200 survive a plane crash on an island in the Pacific Ocean, and then survive on the island for a certain period of time? Of course not, because that's the kind of shit you see in movie. So, for it to legitimately happen, I can at least understand why they would become such popular people.

PokerFool said...

That episode was by far the weakest of the season. The only reason for this episode is to answer the question of "If Kate gets rescued, how do we solve the problem of her being a fugitive?"

The bigest disappointment of this episode for me was Miles wanting money from Ben. WTF? That made absolutely no sense. What a waste of airtime.

Another waste of airtime? Sun and Jin right now. "Oh crap, we haven't shown Sun and Jin yet. Lets have them talk about where they want to live after they get off the island." ZZZZZzzzzzzzz

HighOnPoker said...

My guess is that Claire dies, so Kate who has suddenly begun chumming up with Claire becomes Aaron's caregiver, especially when she strikes the deal to get off of the island. I also think that Jack will find out about his connection to Claire, probably after it is too late, making it difficult to see his nephew.

As for the celebrity of being a crash survivor, I can see it happening. Think about the guys from the movie Alive, some South or Central Americans who crashed in the mountains. With 24 hour news, I think they'd get a lot more international press today. Also, I don't know how it is outside of NY, but remember the guy who jumped onto the subway tracks to save a kid having an epileptic fit? He was discussed in the media for weeks, if not months, including TV spots on Letterman and other shows.

I don't really understand the memory situation with Dan. I didn't realize that they were doing a memory exercise. I thought it was a psychic thing. I'll have to rewatch it.

Oh, and Aaron and Kate's son/mother relationship further supports the idea that time moves slowed on the island. There is no way that Kate would have a baby that old unless time outside of the island moved a lot faster than time on the island. Kate's own mother refers to Aaron as her grandson, so I think they've passed Aaron off as Kate's real son.

Or, the castaways might be on the island for a lot longer than we think before rescuing...but I bet that the O6 (+2 corpses) will be off the island by the season finale.

(BTW, I called the Aaron switcheroo the first moment he was on camera yesterday. I shouted out, "Oh no!", wifey Kim turned to me and asked what's up, and I told her I couldn't tell her. In the past, I've postulated on theories only to confuse her with what's in the show and what I concocted.)

Anonymous said...

sorry dud e, but i just unsubscribed from ur blog , i prefer poker content , not stuff that i can read in tv guide.,.. i dont mean this as an insult but just letting you u write very well , just not about topics i care about

Julius_Goat said...

Fair enough, Annony Mouse, but I should point out that with the proliferation of televised poker, you actually CAN read about poker in TV Guide.

So, you know, you might consider subscribing to them.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nice recap as always, JG. My additional thoughts:

1. I am thinking Jack must have been part of some awful decision or something to do with Aaron.

2. I am thinking that Miles could not really be offering to let Ben go in exchange for money. There is going to be some kind of code there, or some other message involved. No way that same guy who said those awful things about Ben is now going to be sated for a mere 3.2 mil.

3. Very interesting about Dan's lack of memory. That's the first time we've heard anything about that aspect of the island.

4. I sort of agree with the earlier comment that the whole purpose of this episode was to show how Kate is free and not in jail for life in the flash forward. Good observation. The rest of this show was a throwaway.

5. Technically, Aaron should not be part of the Oceanic 6. Because he was not alive at all on that plane. He's not on the manifest and he was not "on the plane" in a technical sense. Though I thought the show suggested that he is in fact one of the O6. That's ghey though, he wasn't even born yet.