Lost: Whatever Happened, Happened
(S05E11) "Maybe there's something they can do." - Juliet
At the risk of sounding clichéd, I'm gonna say it anyway - all the pieces are coming together. While I didn't particularly care for any of tonight's flashbacks (personally, I've never really gotten into Kate at all), what happened on the island in 1977 was mesmerizing. It's looking more and more like the Oceanic 6 (plus Juliet, Miles, etc.) were directly responsible for, well ... everything.
Alright, so let's get the flashback analysis out of the way first. Two words: boring and letdown. For the most part, we all assumed that Kate finally caved and gave Aaron back to his true grandmother, Carole Littleton. No surprise, but it was still a detail that needed to be shown. That was the boring part. The letdown? All Sawyer whispered into Kate's ear on the helicopter was "take care of my daughter?" That's it?!? Booo. Hisss.
Look, Cassidy (Kim Dickens) has always been a great character and I was glad to see her back, but this wasn't the right way to do it. It was shocking to me that Kate so readily spilled her guts about the entire lie to Cassidy (and somewhat to Carole) and I can't comprehend why she did this. I refuse to accept "I had to get that off my chest" as an excuse, yet I feel like that's the only answer there is. Then again, Kate still carried around the guilt of killing her father, so I guess maybe she just couldn't take it anymore.
The one solid piece of information to come out of the ordeal was Kate's reasoning for going back to the island. She wants to find Claire and seems to be driven by Roger Linus' mentality: a boy needs his mother. It's telling that Kate seemed to change her tune when Aaron ran off in the supermarket and walked away with a woman who looked an awful lot like his biological mother. So it appears Kate didn't go back for Sawyer? Baloney. I say he was part of Kate's decision, too. As Jack pointed out, Kate never liked the "old him" either. So Sawyer definitely has to be part of her agenda because she certainly wasn't doing it for Jack.
Anyway, back to 1977. Once again, Hurley served as proxy for the frustrated Lost fanbase trying to comprehend "Daniel Faraday Logic 101." Listening to him and Miles banter about whether or not we exist, what's happened, what will happen, what hasn't happened, and disproving Back to the Future was absolutely hilarious and it damn near mimicked word for word some of the conversations I've had with my friends about this stuff. It can be confusing as hell, and this was a great way to stand back and laugh at it all.
However, Hurley brought up the million dollar question: if Sayid shot young Ben, why didn't Ben (a.k.a Henry Gale at the time) recognize Sayid in 2004 when he captured and tortured him? Obviously, the plot probably wasn't this far developed during season two and having Ben recognize Sayid probably wasn't even discussed. But Lindelof and Cuse have come up with a pretty cool and exciting way to explain it all.
So Lil' Ben has been shot, Juliet can't save him, and Jack refuses to help. Speaking of Jack, he sure sounded a lot like Locke here. "Maybe the island wants to fix things itself?" "I was supposed to come back." He seems to have a lot of faith all of a sudden, and his refusal to save Ben seemed to be less about his hatred for the lad and more about him testing Miles' assertion - Ben will live regardless. If that's the case, then why bother, right?
The irony here? Had Jack helped him, then maybe Ben wouldn't have become the man he did. Young Ben might have grown up with a dislike for the hostiles since one of them shot him. But instead, Sawyer and Kate brought Ben to Richard, who in turn brought Ben into the temple to be saved. Now we all remember what Lacombe, Brennan, and Robert were like when they came out of the temple. Richard warned that Ben would not remember any of the events leading up to this (hence, not recognizing Sayid in '04) and that he would lose his innocence as well as be one of them forever. So it seems that Kate and Sawyer's choice is directly responsible for why Ben grew up into a hateful, manipulative, Other for life. Nice jobs, guys.
A few other thoughts -
I still don't fully understand Richard's role in the Others hierarchy. He clearly had big plans for Ben when he took the boy from Kate. Richard even said to that one random Other that he didn't report to Ellie or Charles (who was in charge at the time). So how does Richard fit in if he somehow always has an upper hand over whomever is in charge?
I loved the final scene in 2007 when Ben woke to see Locke staring at him, the same way Locke woke to find Widmore in Tunisia. The same could be said about Kate begging Jack to save Ben's life in 1977 again. Not only did "whatever happen, happen," but it seems as though situations are continually being repeated. Just not quite the same way every time.
What's the verdict - was Ben truly surprised to see Locke alive? Or was he just feigning awe to fool John yet again?
Here's the official description for next week's episode:
"Dead is Dead" - To atone for sins of the past, Ben must attempt to summon the smoke monster in order to be judged, on "Lost," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on ABC.