“LOST”: A Tale of Two Fathers

“LOST”: A Tale of Two Fathers

Back in Season 2, “LOST” had aired an episode called (2.09) “What Kate Did”. The episode revealed the crime that led castaway Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) to being a fugitive for three years – she had murdered her father, Wayne Jensen (James Horan), and used his death to collect insurance for her mother, Diane (Beth Broderick). The episode also revealed Kate’s reason for her act of murder. She had just learned that Wayne – a man she had presumed to be her stepfather – was actually her father. 

Kate had made it perfectly clear that she disliked Wayne Jensen. She held him responsible for her mother’s break-up with Sam Austen, the man she had longed believed was her father. She certainly disliked the fact that he was an alcoholic who physically abused Diane. And she found his habit of occasionally leering at her disgusting and beneath contempt. Many believed that Kate had been a victim of sexual abuse. And that Wayne was the perputrator. But“What Kate Did” hinted that Wayne may not have abused Kate. In this scene, Kate talks to an unconscious fellow castaway, Sawyer (Josh Holloway), whose body she believes has been temporarily possessed by her late father:

“Can you hear me? Sawyer? Wayne? [Sawyer stirs] I’m probably crazy and this doesn’t matter, but maybe you’re in there somehow. But you asked me a question. You asked me why I — why I did it. It wasn’t because you drove my father away, or the way you looked at me, or because you beat her. It’s because I hated that you were a part of me — that I would never be good. That I would never have anything good. And every time that I look at Sawyer — every time I feel something for him — I see you, Wayne. It makes me sick.”.

Judging from her comments, it seems quite apparent that Wayne had never sexually abused her. Kate did accuse him of leering at her, which he proved in a flashback at the beginning of the episode. However, there are fans who still insist that Wayne may have abused her. They are entitled to their opinions. Frankly, I have doubts that Kate had ever been abused. But if she had . . . Wayne Jensen would not be on the top of my list of suspects.

When “What Kate Did” had first aired during the 2005-2006 television season, I also viewed an episode of “HOUSE”called “Skin Deep”. I noticed how Dr. Gregory House (portrayed by Hugh Laurie) had correctly guessed that a 15 year-old female patient, who happened to be a model, had been molested by “her” possessive father. How did House come to this conclusion? He noticed the close relationship between the model and her father. He noticed how the former seemed overtly concerned with pleasing said father.

This scene also brought about memories of the 1995 movie, “DOLORES CLAIRBORNE”. Based on a Stephen King novel, it told the story about a Maine woman (played by Kathy Bates) who murders her husband (David Straitharn) in order to stop him from continuing his sexual abuse of their daughter (Jennifer Jason-Leigh). What I had found interesting was that the daughter over-idealized her abusive father. And he (in flashbacks) over-idealized his mother, who may have sexually abused him.

Both that particular episode of “HOUSE” and “DOLORES CLAIRBORNE” led me to suspect that if Kate had actually been sexually abused, the best candidate as her abuser would have been her step-father, Sgt. Sam Austen (Lindsey Ginter). After all, Kate has expressed nothing but contempt for Wayne. Yet, she had a tendency to idealize her step-father. And in an odd way, she may have extended or projected this same tendency to idealize over to other men who probably reminded her of Sgt. Austen – Tom Brennan (MacKenzie Astin), her husband Kevin Callis (Nathan Fillon) and leader of the island castaways, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox).

Below is a link to a web page that lists traits of those (especially adult women) who may have suffered sexual abuse as a child – Beyond Victim. Included on the web page is a small list of the following traits of victims of sexual abuse:

*You feel powerless in important relationships and are terrified of honest confrontations. Yet you try to control and manipulate other people.

*If you were sexually abused by your father, you also may have felt unconsciously empowered by him; you are his special girl and you can do and be whatever you choose (as long as you don’t replace daddy with a new man in your life with whom you can be truly intimate). Your troubled relationships with men present a sharp contrast to other areas of your life.

*You over-idealize your father and fail to see his destructive side while seeing the negative side of your mother and ignoring her positive attributes. Consequently, you over-value and misperceive men while devaluing and discounting women. (Or you may over-idealize your mother and see your father as totally bad. this pattern is common with men who were sexually abused by either their mothers or their fathers.)

I am not saying that Kate was definitely a victim of sexual abuse. I honestly do not know. Over five years have passed since “What Kate Did” aired and the producers of “LOST” never followed up on that particular storyline. I do find it interesting that Kate’s feelings toward Sam Austen seemed to follow a pattern similar to that of sexual abuse victims harbor toward their perputrators – as described above. Kate not only tend to over-idealize Jack, a man who not only reminded her of Austen, she ended up becoming a victim of his emotional abuse – both on the island and off.  Look at Kate’s mother, Diane Jensen. She was always making excuses for Wayne’s actions, despite his abuse of her.   And look at James “Sawyer” Ford. Even though he had pointed out some of Kate’s bullshit during the series’ first four seasons, he was always willing to be her boy toy and seemed to have little regard for himself. However, I suspect that if she had remained on the island longer than the Season 4 finale, (4.14) “There’s No Place Like Home, Part III”, he would have eventually reached the end of his rope and end the cycle of emotional and physical abuse from her.

Perhaps Kate had learned of the vicious cycle abuse from her observation of her parents’ marriage .  Then again, she could have learned it from the person who may have abused her.  Personally, I suspect the former.


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