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Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010


Episode 9 - What Kate Did

3 April 2017

Present: Kate is out picking fruit to feed Sawyer when she sees a black horse. She stays tending to Sawyer while Jack attends Shannon’s funeral. Sawyer appears to grab Kate and ask why she killed him. She freaks out and leaves the hatch. When Jack confronts her she kisses him and then runs away again. Eko brings Locke a film strip which he discovered in the other Dharma station and they fix it to the existing footage. It fills in one of the gaps in the orientation film where Marvin Candle warns against using the computer for communication. At that moment Michael gets a message from someone claiming to be Walt. As Kate shows Sawyer some daylight they come across the black horse again.

Flashback: A younger Kate helps her drunken mother’s boyfriend Wayne into bed. She seems disgusted by him and as she drives away the house blows up. She goes to see her mother and gives her an insurance policy she took out on the house. She attempts to flee but is captured by Marshall Mars. As he drives her to be arraigned a black horse runs in front of the car causing a crash and allowing Kate to escape. She heads to see her father Serjeant Major Austen. The truth comes out that she discovered that he wasn’t her real father but Wayne was. He never told her because he thought she would kill him.

The Good: There is certainly a lot of intrigue in this episode. While far from the best episode you will see, there is plenty going on to keep you entertained.

Kate’s flashbacks provide an interesting explanation for her strange past. I have been heavily critical of the explanations given for her criminal actions throughout the first season. Here at least some explanation is plausibly offered. The Marshall helpfully lays out her life story so we can understand. She was “born” to a military father and a working class mother. But then when she was five her parents split up and her mother ended up with redneck Wayne. Kate maintains her middle class manners and aspirations through time spent with her father while Wayne drinks and abuses her mother. It’s only when Kate realises that Wayne is her biological father that she decides to kill him. Her explanation is that this fact makes her incapable of being good because he is a part of her.

This explanation does keep you interested in why she chose now to kill him and it offers a passable explanation for why such an obviously “normal” middle class girl could turn to crime in the way she does. This explanation does not excuse her from killing people in a bank robbery (112) though or make us cheer her on for killing her dislikeable father (see The Bad).

Kate’s kiss with Jack has been a long time coming of course. She plays it really well so that she somehow implies that she kisses Jack because he is the kind of man she wishes she could be with. And yet she leaves because she believes that she doesn’t deserve good things and is drawn back to Sawyer who reminds her of Wayne. That attraction-repulsion she has with Sawyer is brought even more to life with the added understanding of how he reminds her of her father.

Poor Sayid looks suitably miserable and Sawyer assuming bunk beds meant they had been saved are nice touches. Meanwhile Mr Eko could clearly make a nice living reading audio books as he tells his Biblical story to Locke. The significance of what they have found (see Best Moment) will soon become clear as the episode ends with “Walt” making contact with Michael. That’s certainly a good cliff-hanger.

Locke implies that everyone is taking turns in the hatch to input the numbers. It’s good to hear that as I had complained of the survivors’ lack of interest in discovering evidence of civilisation on a deserted island.

The Bad: If anything though, this story makes Kate out to be extremely selfish. She allowed her mother to be abused by Wayne and only chose to kill him once she discovered that he was her father. So only when it affected her directly did she take her brutal decision. I don’t think the producers intended to make us look at Kate as a selfish murderer. When it was revealed that her mother had given her up, it feels like we are supposed to have sympathy for Kate. To be betrayed by your own mother is harsh, but actually Kate is the one who looks unsympathetic. Not only is she selfish, but then commits murder and refuses to be held accountable for what she did.

Of course if the producers wanted to create a genuine grey character who the audience could choose to either like or dislike, then Kate could be a decent creation. But as we all know most television viewers have their favourite characters and support them, sometimes regardless of their actions. And Lost definitely “leads” its viewers into what to feel, particularly by its use of music. And it is pretty clear that Kate is meant to be one of the good guys. But her character has been a weak point for the show and it will remain so for now.

While Eko’s story of Josiah is well told and gripping to watch, it doesn’t seem to have much purpose. It appears to have been inserted because it sounds cool and reminds viewers that Eko is a religious man.

The Unknown: What are the blast doors there for? Could the incident be an electromagnetic explosion? How is using the computer for communication connected to the previous incident? Who is communicating with Michael? How did they know he was there? Who cut up the film and why did they leave the other part in the Arrow station?

Sawyer suddenly grabbing Kate and asking why she killed him is a very weird moment. It is tempting to call it ridiculous but perhaps there will be an explanation one day. It is implied that he was “possessed” somehow by Wayne or indeed that Kate somehow imagined the whole thing. But if that was the case then how did Sawyer fall on the floor?

Similarly the black horse’s appearance is bizarre. Is it meant to be a complete coincidence that a horse appeared in front of the Marshall’s car? Or is this horse somehow there to imply that the island rescued Kate from prison in order to bring her here? Kate’s story is pretty confusing throughout and these two elements make it difficult to fathom. Let’s hope the writers offer an explanation.

Best Moment: Locke is so excited to have found missing parts of the film. As he and Eko stick the pieces back together he asks what the odds are that the two of them would land on different sides of the island and find the pieces of film. Eko looks unexcited and says “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate.” Which is he implying it is?

On the one hand Locke uses the expression “what are the odds” which implies luck. So Eko’s reply seems to be saying that this is clearly fate and not a coincidence. If you replaced fate with God’s plan or some other expression then Eko could well be looking at this situation through Christian eyes. On the other hand Locke is so excited that he seems to be asking whether it is fate that has brought them together. Eko looks so cold that it is possible to interpret his statement as saying that there is no such thing as fate and this is a coincidence.

The Bottom Line: This is a complicated episode. So many things happen for which we don’t have an explanation. And as ever Kate’s character causes a few problems for those who appreciate logic. However I think this is more good than bad. Lost is beginning to get rolling again, this flashback definitely feeds the main plot and that plot is certainly full of intrigue.



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  • I really agree with your opinion on this. The episode is entertaining and well paced but it stumbles on some spots.

    I don't like the amount of unanswered questions here. The horse and Sawyer being possessed are never looked further into ever again which is really disappointing.

    I like the whole focus on Kat being selfish since I honestly thought that it was intentional, especially considering how selfish she is throughout the series. What I didn't like was how the flashback story failed to make me believe that Kate would really kill Wayne just because he was her biological father. I just can't buy it and the emotion was nullified because of that.

    I wish the missing Orientation film and communication on the computer had more impact on the story as it seemed to only exist to give us an exciting cliff-hanger.

    This episode kicked in he messy love triangle story, but I'm pretty sure it thankfully won't get much focus until next season.

    Overall this episode worked to provide an entertaining hour, but some poor decisions and questions took away from it.

    Viewer score: 63 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 01/04/2017 5:45pm (3 years ago)

  • You can see the horse trainer's hand when Sawyer and Kate see the horse in the jungle.

    Posted by Ruby, 11/08/2011 8:38am (9 years ago)

  • ["This explanation does not excuse her from killing people in a bank robbery (112) though or make us cheer her on for killing her dislikeable father (see The Bad)."]

    I didn't cheer over her murder of Wayne. It was an incredibly selfish and quite disgusting thing to do. Just because he was a douche bag, doesn't mean that he deserved to be murdered in that manner and for Kate's incredibly selfish reason.

    Posted by Rosie, 08/04/2011 11:46pm (9 years ago)

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