LOST Chapter Twelve: Whatever The Case May Be

Written by Damon Lindelof and Jennifer Johnson
Directed by Jack Bender

After finding a mysterious Haliburton case in a pond, Kate attempts to steal it from Sawyer any way she can.  Charlie struggles with guilt over Claire’s abduction.  Sayid and Shannon attempt to translate the French woman’s ramblings from her maps.

“Impact velocity?  Physics my ass!”

As you can tell from the synopsis, this episode had a lot happen.  My first thought was to think this was a bit of filler, but in reality, I think it was to give the audience a breather from the heavy material in the last episode.  In addition to the three separate plots occurring in this episode, we also have hints as to what Locke and Boone are up to.  It probably has something to do with the buried metal object they found in the jungle.  Perhaps it is some type of hatch?

But the flashback of this episode belongs to Kate, and it was with this episode that I realized that I didn’t much care for Kate as a character.  She is manipulative toward men, getting them to do what she wants.  She is probably just as manipulative as Ben, but I think Ben is better at it because he cannot appeal to his sexuality.  Kate often seems to make situations worse for her than they would be if she were honest.  For example, she desperately wants the Haliburton case, but the more she wants it, the more Sawyer wants her to tell him why.  The more she denies she wants it, the more Sawyer calls her bluff.  It is this reason that I think Sawyer was always a better man for Kate than Jack.  Sawyer can read Kate, he can interpret her actions and emotions.  He could make her be honest.  Sawyer won’t let Kate mask who she is.  Jack, on the other hand, often knows Kate is lying, but he goes along with her wishes anyway and resents her for it.  I think we see this in a big way in season five when we see Kate and Jack living together post-rescue.  He resents her and doesn’t trust her.

I also wonder if one problem with Kate is that her story was unnecessarily complicated.  Sure, it worked fine in Tabula Rasa, but LOST deliberately played on the mystery of Kate’s past.  It intentionally made you wonder what she did and planted all kinds of tantalizing an mysterious clues.  The toy airplane, the cruel U.S. Marshall, Kate being cold-hearted one moment and a blubbering mass of emotion the next . . . I think the ultimate revelation of Kate’s crime was a bit of a let down.  I think it would have been better to get an early episode of her crime, then show a few episodes where she was on the run, playing out more or less in sequence.  In the previous few stories, character flashbacks occurred when some event that was out of anyone’s control happened.  Charlie felt useless due to other people’s actions.  Jack being unable to save Claire reminded him of the girl who died because of Christian’s botched surgery.  Claire was assaulted in the night, an act which seemed directed at the baby she felt guilty about offering for adoption.  The flashbacks followed some event or unfolding drama on The Island.  In this episode, Kate finds a briefcase.  The dramatic tension seems somewhat benign.

I honestly think the best character moments in this episode occur between Sayid and Shannon, then Charlie and Rose.  Shannon feels useless, and is even told she is useless by Boone.  It is an accusation that she probably struggles with due to her affluence and upbringing.  Sayid is offering her an opportunity to do something important.  Unfortunately, she lacks self-confidence and struggles with the translations.  In the end, he helps her much more than she helps him.  Meanwhile, Rose helps break Charlie out of his shocked state.  She urges him to help move debris further up the beach (due to the erratic tide).  She actually irritates him in to helping, telling him he is being rude.  She breaks him out of his emotional state, and in the end, prays with him.  What I like about Rose is that she is a positive portrayal of a Christian.  Often, Christians are portrayed as dogmatic and apocalyptic, and while those types do exist, there are many more like Rose.  The problem is that Christians similar to Rose do not necessarily make good drama.  The fringe of belief often gets more ratings and is sometimes more compelling.  This is partly why books about Hell and eschatology sell better than books about loving your neighbor as yourself and choosing to focus on the good of life rather than the bad.  Practical Christianity often seems less interesting than uncompromising, paranoid, strongly-worded, fire and brimstone Christianity.  With Rose and later Mr. Eko, I feel that LOST chose to portray religious characters more evenhanded, when they chose to portray the religious at all.  In truth, given the ultimate end of the show, they probably should have delved in to religion and mysticism a bit more, if only to better set up the finale.  The roots of The Island itself go into mythological, if not outright religious, territory.

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