This week’s Kate-centric episode provided us with an answer to the question, “What happened to Aaron?” and gave us a peek into Ben’s origins as an Other.
- On the Island in 1977 – Juliet does her best to save Ben’s life after Sayid shoots him, and she gets no help from a cold-hearted Jack. Eventually, Juliet, Kate, and Sawyer decide to do what is necessary to save the life of this child, regardless of what kind of monster he becomes as an adult, and they hand Ben over to the Others. Apparently the Others’ motto is “Once an Other, always an Other.” Meanwhile, Miles and Hurley provide comic relief with their discussion of the implications of their time traveling. Initially, Miles exudes confidence and expertise, until Hurley points out a flaw in his logic. (I like how the writers worked this into an episode, since as viewers we could get bogged down in the details of the time/space continuum.)
- Kate’s three years in L.A. – Kate keeps her promise to Sawyer (before now the details of which were unknown to viewers, since Sawyer whispered his request in Kate’s ear before he jumped out of the helicopter) to visit Cassidy (Sawyer’s old flame), and take care of Clementine (his daughter). Kate and Cassidy, who already knew each other from when they traded criminal favors, strike up a comfortable friendship (which apparently continues for the three years Kate is in L.A., based on Clementine’s greeting at the door three years later of, “Hello, Auntie Kate!”) After Kate tells Cassidy the truth about what really happened to Flight 815 and then feebly talks about her pregnancy, Cassidy, being the great con artist she is, immediately recognizes that Kate is lying about Aaron being her son. So although the Oceanic Six agreed not to tell anyone the truth about their time on the Island, Kate now has a confidante. Skipping ahead three years, Kate runs by the grocery store with Aaron after leaving the docks (where the confrontation between Ben and Sun went down), and she suddenly loses track of him. Before long, he turns up holding hands with a Claire lookalike. Spooked by this experience, Kate visits Cassidy, who helps her realize her true motives for “taking Aaron.” And so we come to the answer to that burning question, “What happened to Aaron?” As I expected, Kate decides to tell Claire’s mom the truth about Aaron’s parentage, and leaves Aaron in her care while she goes back to the Island to find Claire.
- On the Island in 2000-something – At the end of the episode, we jump straight from Richard carrying young Ben’s body into the Temple, to John Locke sitting at grown up Ben’s infirmary bedside. Locke says to Ben, “Hello, Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living.” The implication is that what happened to Ben in 1977 had some affect on Ben in the 2000s. Or maybe this was just a nice segueway into next week’s Ben-centric episode.
Thelma and Louise
- I enjoyed the vibe of Kate and Cassidy’s surprising friendship. You would think two women who love the same man would hold some animosity toward one another, or at least see each other as competition. But it is their common ground as “ditched women” that brought them together. I don’t know if I buy Cassidy’s theory that Sawyer jumped out of the helicopter just to avoid a real-world relationship with Kate, or her theory that Kate just kept Aaron as a crutch to help her get over Sawyer. But, it seems that Cassidy struck a chord with Kate since they stayed in touch over those three years.
- We can also guess that in an episode last season, it was Cassidy that Kate was talking to on the phone, which led to an argument and break-up with Jack. It was pretty sneaky of Kate to keep a whole friendship with Sawyer’s ex a secret from Jack, her fiance. Not a great way to build trust.
- As soon as Kate let go of Aaron’s hand to check her cell phone, I knew he was going to disappear. I was horrified at first, wondering if that was the last time she saw him, wondering if he just disappeared similarly to Claire on the Island, or if he was taken by one of Ben’s cronies. I was relieved when he turned up after Kate’s momentary panic. How creepy was it that he was holding hands with a Claire lookalike? First of all, it must have been a jolt to Kate (not to mention a guilt trip), but also, it makes you wonder if Aaron possesses some special abilities, assuming he sought out someone who looked like his real mom (when he shouldn’t be able to remember what she looks like or that Kate isn’t is mom). It wouldn’t surprise me, based on the psychic’s belief that he is special, and on his family’s significance on the Island.
- The scene where Kate tells Claire’s mom, Carole, the truth about Claire surviving the crash, giving birth to Aaron on the Island, and then disappearing into the jungle, was difficult to watch. I couldn’t imagine finding out so many revelations at once: “So your daughter survived the plane crash. Oh, and she had the baby. Oh, and she’s still alive, but missing. And one more thing. Your grandson is waiting a couple rooms down, and I am handing him over to you now so I can go back to the Island that it was so hard to get off of in the first place. Which means you might have a whole lot of responsibility for the next 15 or so years. See ya!”
- Even harder to watch was Kate’s teary-eyed goodbye to the sleeping Aaron. Regardless of Kate’s motivations for raising Aaron as her son for those three years, she obviously developed maternal feelings for him. It took a lot of resolve for her to walk away from that hotel room, knowing she might never see him again. I shed a tear or two along with her. I really do hope she finds Claire, and that the Littleton family can be reunited. And if that happens, I hope that Aaron will be young enough to not be too scarred by the revelation that Kate isn’t his real Mommy.
- Watching Kate’s trauma over leaving Aaron to go back to the Island got me thinking about Sun. For years, Sun and Jin tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant, and when they finally did on the Island, they were overjoyed. So it seems that with all the anticipation for this child, Sun would be very hesitant to leave her to go back to the Island. Then again, Sun’s trauma over witnessing Jin’s supposed death, and her subsequent grief, have hardened her and changed her. She seems more bent on revenge now than anything. Plus, the revelation that Jin is still alive on the Island would be quite the motivation to return (Ben knew this). I hope the writers will address this whenever a Sun-centric episode comes around.
Best Line of the Night
- “That’s why I’m doing this. I’m doing it for her.”
- That was Sawyer’s answer to Kate’s question, “Why are you helping me?” when Sawyer drives out to the Dharma/Other border to meet her to deliver Ben to the Others in the hope that they can save his life. As he explained to Kate, he wondered the same thing until Julet told him, “No matter what he’s gonna grow up to be, it ain’t right to let a kid die.”
- Kate was probably secretly hoping that Sawyer would say he was helping her because he wanted to be where she was, or thought he couldn’t stand to stay away from her… Instead she got a wake-up call to reality. When Sawyer told Kate he was doing this for Juliet, it was a clear indicator that he’s not even thinking about Kate. It wasn’t about Kate at all. Kudos to the writers for throwing in a simple line of dialogue that holds the weight of the trust and love that Sawyer and Juliet have built during their time at the Dharma Initiative. Loved it.
- I also enjoyed Sawyer and Kate’s other conversation about “what might have been.” Sawyer told Kate they would have never worked out as a couple, and that he couldn’t have been a good father to Clementine. However, he says he’s “done a lot of growing up these past three years.” Indeed, he has. Let’s hope that Kate doesn’t make him fall off the wagon.
Ben’s Transformation from Dharma-ite to Other
- The key to saving Ben’s life, as Juliet and Kate see it, is to deliver him to the hands of the Others. They must be able to tap in to the Island’s healing properties. And Kate and Sawyer successfully transfered Ben over into Richard’s care. Their encounter led to some interesting new information about Ben.
- “If I take him, he’s not ever gonna be the same again… He’ll forget this ever happened… His innocence will be gone… He will always be one of us.” There’s a lot of connotations packed into these statements, which were Richard’s answer to Kate’s question of what would happen to Ben if Richard took him. At the moment Richard took Ben and healed him (presumably by way of the Island’s supernatural ability to bring new life where there is death or injury), Ben became an Other. When Ben had this encounter with the Island, he became forever linked to its destiny. Apparently, he can’t remember how he developed this connection, since as Richard said, he would forget about this experience. The part that I don’t get is “his innocence will be gone.” By becoming an Other, does one gain forbidden knowledge, similarly to eating an apple from the tree of Life? I don’t get it. Not all of the Others seem to be evil or even just manipulative. Why Ben? Why did this experience change him into the conscience-challenged, self-centered, slightly crazy man that he is today? Perhaps we’ll get some answers to these questions next week, or eventually.
- Richard’s exchange with Kate and Sawyer also revealed that at this point in the ’70s, Charles and Ellie were still on the Island, and had some sort of leadership role among the Others. Although, Richard said “I don’t answer to either of them.” It still seems that Richard has a special connection to the Island that no one else possesses. Will we ever have a Richard-centric episode? I hope so!
- Returning to the question of whether or not Ben being carried into the Temple by Richard somehow altered his condition in ~2000. I don’t think so. I think the writers just used the abrupt transition to reflect how that moment in 1977 was the moment that Ben became the person who we know now. Not an innocent, if slightly messed up litle boy, but a conniving, not-to-be-trusted manipulator of everyone around him.