Last Night on LOST: Whatever Happened, Happened

Okay, so, remember what I predicted this week’s episode would be like at the end of last week’s “Last Night on Lost”? No? Well, here’s a refresher:

[W]hat scares me even more is that [the] episode is Kate-centric, and that almost guarantees another shitty episode. Yes, it’ll probably answer for us the question of “What happened to Aaron?” but it’ll probably do it in the least satisfying way possible, and it’ll probably spend way too much time on the fucking love square…

Uhm, so… where’s that crow? Cause I’m ready to eat some.

Oh my goodness… where to begin.

You see, here’s the thing: I had completely written off Kate as a character. I hadn’t written off Evangeline Lilly as an actress, but I had given up on the ability of the writers to give her anything useful to do. The only kind of storylines she’s been getting for the past two and a half seasons or so have been love triangle or love square stories. Her courtroom episode last season wasn’t bad, but it was sullied by all the Jack-Kate horseshit that was being shoveled at us. The last time I remember enjoying a Kate episode start-to-finish had to have been back in season two. Although, when was that episode where Nathan Fillion guest-starred as her husband? I remember enjoying the flashback parts of that episode, at the very least.

Anyway, here, finally, Kate is given something else to do. Her storyline with Aaron has been strong the whole way through, as far as I’m concerned, but we’ve never gotten a big juicy chunk of it until now. Seeing Kate as a mom, having a terrifying parental moment in that grocery story—that got me reinvested. Watching her say goodbye to Aaron—that nearly made me cry. And hearing that the reason she came back was not for Jack, or for Sawyer, but for Claire—that turned everything around for me. Yes, the romantic entanglements will probably continue—The Powers That Be have to sate the shipper demographic—but I love the idea that Kate came back primarily for a reason that had nothing to do with romance, but everything to do with love of another kind: love of child.

Speaking of the love of child, how good was Jon Gries as Roger Linus in this episode. You absolutely get the sense that this is a guy who wants to be a better father, but has no idea how. I loved his interactions with Kate, too. There was a little bit of romantic tension between them—there always is when Kate’s involved—but it was mostly a scene between two parents (and Kate definitely still is a parent, no matter what she says to the contrary). And it felt totally natural to me that Kate’s perception of Ben changed when she realized that he too, once upon a time, had been someone’s kid.

The final moments of the episode were the icing on the cake. For the most part, this was a character episode and not a mythology episode, but it did answer its fair share of questions. I loved watching Kate and Sawyer hesitate as they made their decision on how to answer Richard’s question. You could see in their faces that they understood: they made Ben. It all became clear to them in that moment. They’d both heard what Faraday said about time travel, whether directly or indirectly, but it was only now that they understood. Whatever happened, happened. Ben became the person he is today because he needed Others-style healing, and the reason he needed that healing was because of the castaways. Everything that he did to them is, in some way, their own fault.

Last little tidbit: Notice the way Richard hesitates. Combine this with his interaction with Ben way back when, and don’t you start to get the sense that Richard didn’t really want to do this? Don’t you get the sense that Richard feels guilty for doing this? I’m starting to think that Richard may be made up of more shades of gray than I’d previously thought.

In closing, from the way that Aaron changed his mind (milk vs. juice box) to the way that Kate vs. Mrs. Littleton didn’t become some huge blowup, to the funny-yet-illuminating conversation between Hurley and Miles, everything in this episode felt authentic and real to me. I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised by “Whatever Happened, Happened”—I was pleasantly stunned