My dislike for Kate is longstanding, and so it’s no surprise that I was disappointed to learn that the season’s second episode would be focusing on her. My expectations were largely validated as this certainly wasn’t a strong follow up to the premiere. Truth be told, Kate’s decisions weren’t as wholly stupid as many of her past one’s have been, but “I’m escaping” was just too close to her old mistakes for me to expect anything but seeing her make things worse (again). The fact that she hasn’t (yet) didn’t so much vindicate her decisions as it left me waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s fine for the story to depart from old patterns, but it shouldn’t just pretend those patterns don’t exist. Then again, maybe that’s just my Kate-hate talking.
In the midst of the Others forcibly taking Sayid in for some questioning, Sawyer gets a gun and makes good his escape. Kate volunteers to bring him back and stages a jail-break of her own before following him to the barracks. Her willful disregard of the protection the temple offers seems completely in keeping with her previous behavior and had me rolling my eyes. Combine this with a Kate/Claire buddy storyline in the LA X universe and you’ve got one uninteresting main plot. The two bond after Kate feels guilty about stealing Claire’s luggage and it turns out that Aaron’s adoptive mother doesn’t want him. The whole scene where she explains her divorce felt really flat to me and the “oh my God, she’s in labour!” conclusion was laughable. We get an Ethan cameo in the hospital and it turns out that the Baby’s fine. Honestly, we’ve been waiting to see what happened to Claire for a long time and to reintroduce her in this way was a real let down.
Luckily, the subplot was there to pick up the slack. The Others put Sayid through some torturous tests and determine that he’s “infected.” It’s a tantalizing promise to payoff one of season one’s plot points, though we’re left wondering why they need to trick Jack into delivering the fatal “antidote.” Taking the pill himself has to be one of my favourite Jack moments in a long time. The Others administer a karate Heimlich and admit the deception before explain that there’s now a darkness growing inside Sayid that will consume him… just as it did Jack’s sister! This is certainly a more welcome return to her story and we conclude with an image of her rescuing Jin from the Other’s search party.
If one were being generous, one might see Kate’s admission that she shouldn’t have followed Sawyer as some kind of growth, but I’m afraid there just isn’t enough weight here.
Jack’s conversations with Dogen about leadership were pretty interesting, given all the poor decisions he’s made recently. It put taking the pill himself in context, a bold move that puts only himself at risk and actually pays off. Dogen promised that administering the pill would be a means of redemption and, in a way, it was.
Sawyer’s grief for Juliet was another episode highlight. For all the character’s Lost has killed over the years, they’ve never really given the deaths much weight. What a welcome change.
Coming back to Jack taking the pill (again, sorry), it’s a fine comment on the lack of trust and communication that’s permeated the entire series. Rather than simply give the pill to Sayid, Jack actually has a conversation with him and then makes a decision to force the truth out of Dogen. He finally seems to be putting some muscle behind his demands for answers.