TV Club

Season 6: Gabbing About the Jack-Kate-Sawyer Staring Contest

Maybe it’s the unlabeled pill I took before bed last night, but I’m feeling surlier than usual this morning. One would hope that with three months to go, every episode would feel urgent. But last night we got two characters literally sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Wastin’ time, indeed.

But it’s a long season, and there was some nice movement on a number of fronts last night. Except, of course, the romantic one. Before we get into the mythology, let’s gab about the Jack-Kate-Sawyer staring contest. I refuse to call this calcified madness a love triangle, because a triangle demands its three points actually connect. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer do not. Does this contrived situation do anything for you guys? When Sawyer rifled through the floorboards for a memory of Juliet, I actually felt for the guy. Sawyer and Juliet had a well-written, emotionally resonant romance. They were two manipulators who discovered that the trick to love is finding someone who will trick you into it.

Any romance involving Kate, however, doesn’t have that kind of gravitas. This isn’t entirely the fault of Evangeline Lilly, the elfin actress who plays Kate. It’s more the writers, who can’t seem to reconcile Kate’s decisions with Kate’s character. I understand that she’s conflicted. She’s a runner who wants to settle down; she’s a killer who loves babies; she blew up her dad but has a mother complex. Ambiguity is a wonderful thing, but the underlying dualities here seem like nothing more than an excuse for ridiculous plot turns. She’s a loose cannon! Who knows what she’ll do next?

My main issue with last night’s episode was how the characters who come into contact with Kate act nonsensically, as well. Why is Claire so willing to lie for Kate? Are we supposed to believe it was her fate to do so? And why does that mechanic undo Kate’s handcuffs after she tells him she’s wanted for murder? Seth and Zombie Jack, next time either of you are on the run, I’m not helping you out. No matter how curly your hair is or how pretty your freckles are.

But enough with this human interest stuff. Let’s get to what actually matters. Zombies. Seth, your fondness for zombie lore will be of great use to us going forward. Assuming, that is, that we’re dealing with zombies. But I’m not sure we are. There appear to be three different kinds of undead/maybe-dead running around the island. We’ve got Smokey Locke, who’s not quite a zombie but a clone of some sort. (If he were a zombie, then we wouldn’t have seen the old Locke’s dead body on the beach.) Then we’ve got Sayid, who’s “infected,” and Claire, who, we’re told, was “claimed,” presumably after surviving a rocket attack on her house in Season 3. And then of course there’s Jack’s dad Christian, who may be undead, may be Smokey, or may be something entirely different. The “infection” that leads you guys to think there are zombies among us may just be what Rousseau once called “the sickness.” Remember that Rousseau’s people also got “infected,” after going near the temple in Season 4. They went a little nutso, too. How is this different?

So instead of calling everyone a zombie I’ll go with the sensei’s term, claimed. And I, for one, think this concept has great narrative potential. As Slate’s Lost social network showed a few weeks ago, this show has always been about who has power over whom. That Smokey might be able to recruit characters (without literally taking over their bodies) fits nicely into this motif. And have we already seen Jacob’s version of “claiming” somebody? Is Jacob’s touch the equivalent of Smokey’s revivals?

Also, do we think any other characters have already been claimed without us realizing? I have a theory that old Locke wasclaimed way back in Season 4, when Walt told a wounded Locke to get out of the pit because he still “had work to do.” Maybe being claimed eventually allows Smokey to impersonate you once you die?

But it’s rude to dwell on the undead. Let’s move on to a quick rundown of some of the allusions and references to seasons past:

  • As Jack (the TV Clubber, not the TV character) mentioned, Ethan makes an appearance. Slate V’s “Previously on Lost” video for the week has a refresher course on Ethan’s past. Find it embedded below. Also, remember Kate helped Claire give birth to Aaron in Season 1 but apparently won’t this year. Does that mean it wasn’t Kate’s destiny to play midwife?
  • Sawyer tosses his engagement ring in the ocean just as Desmond tossed his into the Thames in Season 3. Oh, and while we’re on Desmond’s ring, hawkeyed Lost fans realized Desmond was wearing a wedding ring on the plane in last week’s episode. Is he married to Penny or to somebody else?
  • The temple-Others torture Sayid with electrodes just like Rousseau did in Season 1.
  • The stuffed killer whale that Kate finds in Claire’s bag? Aaron had a very similar one in the other timeline—but it’s a present from Kate, who’s raising him, rather than from his biological mother.
  • One last thing about Kate. We don’t know if she’s still wanted for the same murder in this new timeline as she was in the last one. In fact, there’s reason to think she’s not. Last summer, the producers showed a video at Comic-Con that showed Kate on America’s Most Wanted, but for the murder of an innocent bystander, not her father. You can watch the video here.

That’s enough for now. I’ve got some traps to string up out back just in case there really are zombies running around.

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