Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.11, "Whatever Happened, Happened"

"Sawyer broke your heart. You needed him to fix it."

Okay, so was this the best Kate episode since "Tabula Rasa" or simply the best Kate episode ever? I'm actually inclined to think the latter. Yeah, the scene where she said goodbye to Aaron was a bit melodramatic, but not outrageously so. So many things I loved tonight:

1) Total Protonic Reversal - Jack acting like Locke, Sawyer acting like first season Sawyer, Kate acting like first season Kate and not one, but several, love trapezoid conversations that actually sounded, shall we say, normal? Perhaps that isn't the right word, honest is probably better. Everyone this episode was actually honest with each other, especially...

2) Cassidy - Cassidy simply rocks. She's been awesome in every episode she's been in, she actually told off Kate to her face several times (about time, eh) and I really loved their relationship. Loved how Clementine called her "Auntie Kate" too.

3) Miles and Hurley's Excellent Conversation - Which pretty much summed up my thoughts on how time travel works in LOST. For those of you who missed it, you can check out here and especially here. Heck, Hurley even brought Back to the Future into it. Am I good or what? ;)

4) Richard's Five Lines of Dialogue - Between that and next week's preview (which, since it's a Ben episode, makes me two-for-two on flashback predictions so far), I think we can can make some pretty safe guesses about some pretty big things on this show, including what the Smoke Monster really is. More on that later...

5) Wakey-wakey! - Yeah, the ending was just awesome. Can't wait to see the continuation of that scene next week.

I loved every second of this episode. Was it better than "LaFleur," "316" or "This Place Is Death?" Yeah, it might be. Of course, this whole season has really been one long episode strung together, so it's kind of hard to judge them individually. But WHH did something no Lost episode has done in a while - actually make me care about some of the character relationships again.

It's about time Jack told off Kate, about time Kate got told off about Aaron, about time someone made Sawyer face himself, about time Juliet confronted Kate and Jack, about time Miles and Hurley had a serious time travel conversation (sorry, I was on a roll). Wasn't it all... refreshing? I think this was the best Lost has interlaced its mythology with its character drama since the second season (The 23rd Psalm and The Long Con come to mind).

I can't believe we have to wait seven days for next week. :)

Five Questions:

1) So whatever happened, happened?

Yeah. Again I'm going to refer y'all to this previous post of mine, which pretty much sums up Miles and Hurley's conversation. But basically they really can't change anything. Jack was always going to refuse to save Ben (and, ironically, probably did more to make Ben the man he becomes than even Sayid did). Juliet was always going to patch him up and Kate was always going to try to save him.

Now we need to find out if Desmond is truly the exception to the rule...

2) So what did Richard tell us?

It seems that once you enter the Temple, you "lose your innocence," likely another way of saying you cease to be a "good person." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Richard also said that Ben was "going to forget all this ever happened?" If true, it's a convenient way of retconning the fact Ben didn't seem to know Sayid in the Swan (as Hurley pointed out to Miles). Of course, I'm not 100% positive of this because Ben could have simply lied to Sayid, accepting the fact that all of this was going to happen for the good of the universe.

But we know Ben returns to DHARMA and remains there for another 15 years. So assuming he eventually returns to camp and remembers everything going forward, will he remember Sawyer, Jack and the other time travelers? Provided they're still there when he returns, that is - I'm thinking they may have to flee after what happened this episode. Of course, if they did flee and, in fact, the sub isn't supposed to return for a few months there's really only one place in 1977 for them to go... to the Others.

Richard also seemed to suggest Ellie and Charles were still in charge at this point. Ben seems to assume full command after the Purge in 1992, but when then is Charles exiled? Also, if Penny hasn't been born yet, it's gotta happen really soon (she's got to be at least 30 years old in 2007). Will we get to see her be born on the Island? Now that I think about it, Charles Widmore is another possible candidate for flashbacks in the season finale.

4) Is the Magic Box in the Temple?

Seems to me it has to be. It's the only way I can think of that Richard is going to cure Ben. But why does using it cause you to lose your innocence? Is that why the Others need kids? Is that why they needed Walt? If Richard hadn't had to take Ben to the Temple, would he have been able to use it in the future? If that's the case, Ben should be very, very angry at Jack. It seems to me that Jack's decision to do nothing (which was so awesome, by the way) seems to loom even larger and has bigger consequences than any other decision he ever made, including to call the freighter. And will Ben learn all about this in the future?

5) Is Smokey really Ammit, The Devourer of Hearts?

Okay, this is from next week's preview, but I have to ask it now (actually I already brought this up several weeks ago, but it's well worth revisiting). It seems to me Smokey has to be the incarnation of one of the Egyptian Underworld gods. I originally thought he was Anubis, but perhaps I was wrong.

Back in "The Cost of Living," Smokey asked Eko (in the form of Yemi) whether he repented, whether he showed remorse for all the wrongs he had committed in life. His response was:
"I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given, nonetheless. And with it, I did my best."
And then Smokey killed him. Now it's hard to say whether Eko was already "judged" at that point. Smokey told him he had to come and "confess," which sounds to me like he was already found guilty. But it certainly was Smokey that carried out the final sentence.

Next episode Ben gets "judged" and Smokey's going to be there. Now we know Smokey comes from the Underworld, the only question is who is he really in Egyptian mythology? Is he the Judge or the Executioner? If he's the judge, he's probably Anubis or Osiris, but from Eko's encounter with him that doesn't seem to be the case. If he's the Executioner though, he's probably Ammit. From the weighing of the heart:
In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as proceeding at death to the future world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed more than the feather of Maat, it was immediately consumed by the demon Ammit.
So who is this Ammit?

Ammit was not worshipped, and she was never regarded as a goddess. Instead, she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma'at. Thus Ammit was depicted with the head of a crocodile or dog, the front part of her body as a lioness or leopard, and her hind quarters in the form of a hippopotamus, a combination of those animals which were considered as the most dangerous to the Ancient Egyptians. Although often referred to as a demon, by destroying evil she acted as a force for good
Of course, Smokey could be something totally different, perhaps a combincation of all members of the Underworld court. It can certainly serve as judge since it can read minds, and it seems to weigh whether someone is good or evil. But then it also attacks without warning and seems to have no problem killing people outright.

Also if Smokey is Ammit, why did he appear to John Locke (in Walkabout) as a white light? Was Locke judged to be an innocent? I would think he certainly would be now that he was resurrected. But the bottom line here is that it seems to me Smokey is at least representative of one of the figures in Egyptian mythology and will be taking part when Ben has his heart weighed next episode. May god have mercy on his soul.


* I had such a hard time picking out a quote for the top of the post. Other contenders:

"Sawyer sent me"
"Then he dies. I've already saved Ben Linus once"
"You didn't like the old me, Kate"
"You and me would never have worked out, Kate"
"I'm going back to find your daughter"
"If I take him, he'll be one of us and his innocence will be gone"

and, of course,

"Welcome back to the land of the living!" So awesome.

I also considered putting "Juice box!!" up there, but stopped myself. ;-)

* Em welcomed the return of the "cute infant Aaron"

* The song Kate was singing to Aaron was the same lullaby, "Catch A Falling Star," that Claire loved. It was also the song the Others' mobile in The Staff's nursery played.

* I also really liked how suspicion in the Case of the Flaming Bus was thrown on Jack because he's the new janitor.

* Miles and Hurley were playing chicken foot. Awesome.

* I'm kinda afraid to admit this, but what made me think of the Egyptian Heart Weighing Ceremony was actually an old G.I. Joe Episode, "The Gods Below." Believe it or not, you can actually watch it here. God, I'm old.

* Again, I really loved Kate and Cassidy's relationship. Best one Kate's had on the show.

* Sawyer called Kate Freckles again. Loved it.


I really think this was the best Kate episode ever. She still has some mystery in Tabula Rasa, but this episode actually made me like Kate again. For now. 4.8/5.0 - loses a couple points for being a tad bit long in her goodbye to Aaron. Now if we could only jump a week forward in time...


Missie said...

Yes, Richard did say that Ben wouldn't remember anything that happened before. But Ed and I also agreed that Ben Linus could feign a first time introduction with the Losties in 2007 pretty damn well too. It was the mention of "Charles" in that scene that peaked my interest the most.

How could "Dude, shoot me," not be a quote contender? :)

Jay said...

Indeed. I believe it's our first confirmation that Charles is still in charge in 1977 (couldn't resist). From the preview, next episode looks more like an O6 type flashback, i.e. recent history with Ben. Thus, while we'll likely find out what happened to Desmond, Penny and young master Charlie, we might not find out as much about Ben's past from 1977-2004. But here's hoping. I'd love to see a flashback that picks up right after Richard entered the Temple with Ben.

And you're totally right about "Dude, shoot me." Really liked Miles this episode too. :)

Carly said...

Good Review Jay.
Here's the thing, it's hard to know which plot lines were already planned back in seasons 2 and 3 and which ones came about later. Certainly there was no pre-conceived dialogue for this season back in season 2. So I agree that some things had to be explained away like Ben not knowing who Sayid was. However maybe that is also why Ben was so nice to Kate when she and Jack and Sawyer were kidnapped (remember when he made her dinner on the beach) - because she did try and save his life. Hard to say exactly, but it does seem to come together ok in the end. I think they were focusing on relationships this episode, reminding us that this is also a show about the people involved and their inner struggles, not just about the island mysteries. And I think they were trying to make Kate seem like a good person in her befriending of Roger Linus. Which was kinda nice. It stirred up empathy for Roger instead of just distaste.

I have to say when Hurley held up his hand, I knew what he was doing right away! I laughed so hard.

And-(tooting my own horn), I also said that Kate gave Aaron to his grandmother, not Cassidy as many others did.
I agree with Em, baby Aaron was adorable!
You didn't say much Jay, about Locke sitting next to Ben's bed and Ben's face when he saw Locke was alive! Wasn't that just perfect?

someGirl said...

Borrowing from last weeks tile title: Jay, you 're our Miles...That scene with Miles explaining time travel to Hurley made me laugh for two reasons 1)It was just fantastic. 2) I imagined you as Miles, frustratingly trying to explain it all to us non-physicists! Dude, I was Hurley in that scene.

Great recap, Jay.

Tickey said...

That episode was amazing. Too many good lines again for Hurley... he rocks. All in all a great fun filled ride.. and yes Jay, your looking pretty good in the theory dept.

James said...

not very often that you see the real kate

Jay said...

I totally agree, Carly. It's really hard to know how much the writers planned in advance - some things, like the Blast Door Map and Adam and Eve, were obviously thought out a long time ago.

But I remember reading writers weren't sure how important they wanted to make Michael Emerson's character - he could have been their leader or simply an underling. After some positive fan response, we has made the former. So I'm not surprised that at that time, Ben showed no recognition of Sayid or any of them.

But I am a little disappointed that they chose to explain it by essentially "mind wiping" Ben. Would much rather have had him simply been faking all that time. But that's just me.

And I was wrong about Cassidy (though I am glad we got to see her and Clementine again). :)

Jay said...

Oh, and yeah, I was a bit understated about Ben and Locke. But looks like we'll get an extended version of that next week so I can gush. :)

Anonymous said...

"Welcome back to the land of the living," was great. You just know Locke spent all that time waiting by Ben's bedside compiling a mental shortlist of smug remarks he could make.

The Rush Blog said...

Jack was always going to refuse to save Ben (and, ironically, probably did more to make Ben the man he becomes than even Sayid did).

This is such a copout. It's a copout. It almost seemed as if Cuse and Lindehof used a shortcut to develop Ben's personality from an innocent child to the man he became. We're honestly supposed to believe that because Sayid had shot 14 year-old Ben and Jack refused to treat him, he "lost his innocence" because Richard healed him inside the Temple?

What utter bullshit! Cuse and Lindehof should be ashamed of themselves.

Juanita's Journal said...

Okay, so was this the best Kate episode since "Tabula Rasa" or simply the best Kate episode ever? I'm actually inclined to think the latter.

Not . . . quite. "What Kate Did" was the best Kate episode, in my opinion. And Kate's finest moment occurred in the Season 6 episode, "The Last Recruit", when she finally confessed to Claire that she had no business raising Aaron.

By the way, the episode's explanation for Ben's "loss of innocence" is incredibly lame and one-dimensional.