”Lost” recap: The trials of Kate
I usually jot down notes when I watch Lost. It’s pretty necessary when you do a job like this. Take last night’s episode, ”Eggtown.” As John Locke, not-so-benevolent dictator of Old New Otherton, prepared Ben’s breakfast during the opening sequence (two eggs, fruit, a copy of Philip K. Dick’s Valis), I wrote the following:
”Other books on the bookshelf: The Sheltering Sky and something by Arthur C. Clarke.”
”Interesting: Locke is now sleeping in Ben’s (hospital) bed — and here’s Ben mocking the former invalid for being more helpless (‘lost’) than ever.”
”If Locke ran a bed and breakfast, what would he call it?”
But as I reviewed my chicken scratches after the episode was over, I realized that I had accumulated far more questions than observations, ideas, theories, and/or lame jokes. Why didn’t Kate want to bring her son to court? Is she trying to hide him from the world? Why did Jack tell the jury that only eight people survived the crash of Oceanic 815? According to the cover story of the Oceanic 6, who were the two who didn’t make it? Who does Miles really work for? How does Ben know him? What was the significance of Daniel Faraday’s guessing game with the cards? What happened to Frank Lapidus’ helicopter? Why doesn’t Jack want to see Kate’s child? Speaking of said child, how did Aaron (!) become Kate’s kid? What happened to Claire? And most of all: Why was the episode called ”Eggtown”?
It was one of those episodes of Lost where a few big answers came at the price of many, many more questions. If you’re keeping score at home, this is what we can scratch off the Active Mystery List. Island Kate isn’t pregnant. (I have to admit that I kinda forgot that was even a question.) The mystery man that Flash-Forward Kate referenced in the season finale last year was actually a mystery boy, Aaron. We now know — or at least reasonably assume — that Aaron is the fifth member of the Oceanic 6. And we now know what Hurley sounds like when he’s going number two.
”Eggtown” was technically a Kate flash-forward that revealed that the Oceanic 6 are nothing short of super-celebs. (Didn’t Ms. Austin look Hollywood glam? Evie cleans up nicely, doesn’t she?) But it was really all about bargaining and bartering, proposals and ultimatums. Perhaps the best way to recap the plot is by following the deals.
THE KATE-MILES PACT
Kate — perhaps truly enticed by Sawyer’s proposal of making the Island their permanent address — asked freaky freighter dude Miles Straum for info about what kind of life waited for her off the Island if she went back. The caustic ghost whisperer agreed to help her — if she could arrange a meeting with Ben. Kate accepted his terms. But to pull it off, she needed to secure Sawyer’s help, which led to some flirtatious banter between the two former Hydra humpers. Transaction status: Completed. Kate busted Miles out of his boathouse cell and into Ben’s basement cell. In exchange, Miles informed her that yep, the freighter folk knew that she was a wanted lass and that a long prison sentence loomed in her future. Miles’ suggestion: She should stay on the Island.
NEXT: Do Kate and Jack have a future?
THE MILES-BEN PROPOSAL
The hotheaded hustler — tasked to track down über-Other Ben — told the Man With 1000 Passports that for exactly $3.2 million, he would tell his mysterious employer that he had found Ben dead. Ben asked the obvious questions: Why $3.2 million exactly? Why not 100 grand more? Heck, why not round it up to $3.5 mil? Miles dodged the question. When Ben clucked about not being able to scrounge up the dough, Miles got huffy: ”I know what you can do!” Transaction status: Pending. Given his being a prisoner and all, Ben asked for a week to figure out how to fulfill his end of the bargain.
JACK-KATE: WINK-WINK, NUDGE-NUDGE
Kate’s flash-forward dealt with her trial for her long list of crimes, beginning with killing her abusive father by blowing up their house. To help her cause, Kate’s lawyer asked Flash-Forward Jack (pre-grizzly-beard edition) to testify as a character witness. Curiously, Jack’s Bible-sworn testimony was a bunch of lies. He told the jury that only eight people survived the crash of Oceanic 815 and that Kate was a lifesaving Wonder Woman. Apparently, this fib is part of a larger cover story that the Oceanic 6 have agreed to stick to. Transaction status: Aborted. Kate cut Jack’s testimony short. Interesting how Kate had no problem using Sawyer to get what she wanted in the Island story but was unwilling to similarly exploit Jack in the flash-forward tale. Perhaps this was her way of loving Jack: Maybe she understands how painful it is for him be ”living a lie,” as Jack said in the season finale.
KATE AND HER MOTHER: GRANDMA’S GAMBIT
Kate’s ailing yet clinging-to-life mother — the key witness for the prosecution in her daughter’s trial — told Kate that she had no interest in testifying against her, though she seemed to suggest that the offer was contingent on being able to see the grandson she had never met. Transaction status: Spitefully rejected. Kate was still smarting over how Mom called the cops on her the last time they hooked up. But Kate’s mother seemed to suggest that she had forgiven her because of her ”castaway hero” part in the Oceanic 6 cover story. So much for unconditional love or forgiveness.
KATE’S PLEA DEAL
Give Mom a little credit: With Kate promising her nothing, she still backed out (or wheeled away) from testifying. Screwed, the prosecution offered a deal: 15 years in jail. Kate got panicky. Clearly, doing time would take her away from Aaron. But didn’t you get the sense that there was more to her resistance than just motherly attachment? I have this theory that the Oceanic 6 know something about future events and, more, know something about the role that they must play in them. Being in jail would obviously really screw that up. Just a theory. After Kate’s lawyer successfully spooked the prosecution with the prospect that a jury would probably side with her, the plea deal was knocked down to a mere 10 years’ probation — and a promise that Kate would never leave the state. Transaction status: Accepted. Kate jumped at the deal. Case closed — and stakes established for when she ultimately changes her mind and joins Jack in his ”We gotta go back!” quest. (At which time, I also predict that Kate will entrust Aaron to…her mother, finally completing their reconciliation.)
KATE AND JACK: THE DATING CONTRACT
In one of the episode’s final scenes, Jack confessed to Kate that his I-don’t-love-you stance on the stand was a lie. Kate got all weak in the knees and asked if he wanted to come back to her place. But Jack chickened out and said he had to get back to the hospital. Kate called him out: She said the real reason he was backing away was that he can’t deal with Aaron. Transaction status: Deliberating. Jack didn’t deny Kate’s claim. What’s up with that? I bet it either has something to do with the fact that Kate’s child is his — what? — half nephew? Maybe Jack can’t deal with Aaron because he reminds him of Claire — and if Claire met an unfortunate end on the Island, no doubt Doc Savior Complex blames himself.
NEXT: The mini-mysteries and loose ends
All in all, I thought ”Eggtown” was the Lost equivalent of a sacrifice bunt. It was all about moving all the simmering subplots forward so the next episodes can drive them home. (Prime examples: the allegedly-MIA-chopper intrigue; the Jin-Sun discussion about their post-Island home — both set up for future episodes.) For our indulgence, we were treated with some tantalizing new questions and some payoffs on some long-standing Kate mysteries.
Some quick hits:
Philip K. Dick’s Valis In this trippy novel, one of Dick’s best and most personal, ”Valis” stands for ”Vast Acting Living Intelligence System.” Sounds like the way Locke or Ben might regard the Island.
Locke putting the grenade in Miles’ mouth Pretty cool — and kinda ridiculous. Locke suffered some challenges to his leadership in this episode, including a crisis of self-confidence. I guess stuffing an explosive into a bad guy’s mouth is one way to feel like a man again. Sawyer is right: Locke is going Kurtz on us. The horror…the horror…
The Faraday-Charlotte card game The task involved Daniel correctly guessing what three overturned cards were. But the key line there is C.S. Lewis asking him, ”What do you remember?” My interpretation: Daniel Faraday is a time traveler — or thinks he is a time traveler — and he’s recovering memories of his past experience on the Island. Speaking of time travel:
The meaning of the title ”Eggtown” I researched many options, include the significance to mythological ideas like the ”world egg” and the ”cosmic egg.” There could be a connection to the book Cracking the Cosmic Egg, too. But inspired by Locke’s conspicuous mention of killing a chicken, I decided to investigate the Wikipedia write-up on the chicken and the egg. It has some interesting things to say about the theory of causality and ”the Grandfather Paradox,” two important ideas in time-travel lore — and that’s where we’re headed next week.
Kate and Sawyer making out I think that was the last time. Don’t you? How can she crawl back to him after he called her out like that?
I turn this over to you guys now: What did you think of ”Eggtown?”