“LOST” – The Aaron Littleton Lie
On February 4, 2009, ”LOST” had aired an episode called (5.04) ”The Little Prince”. In this episode, former fugitive Kate Austen learned that that someone discovered the secret of Aaron Littleton’s true parental lineage. When I first heard about this episode, I found myself wondering if the series would finally address the moral consequences of the Oceanic Six’s lie about Aaron. It did . . . on a very limited scale.
As everyone knows, Australian survivor, Claire Littleton had given birth to an infant son named Aaron on the castaways’ 41st day on the island. While on the run from the murderous Martin Keamy and his thugs; Claire, James “Sawyer” Ford and Miles Straume made camp for an overnight rest some fifty-seven days later. That night, a vision of her late father, Christian Shephard, led Claire to abandon Aaron and follow her father into the jungle. Sawyer and Miles spent nearly a day searching for her, before giving up and heading for the castaways’ beach camp. To make a long matter short, Aaron ended up with Kate Austen, a fugitive accused of murder, bank robbery and a few other crimes. Kate, Aaron, Desmond Hume, pilot Frank Lapidus and the other members of the Oceanic Six – Jack Shephard, Sun Kwon, Sayid Jarrah and Hugo Reyes – were rescued by Desmond’s lady love, Penelope Widmore, in her yacht. There, they made the decision to create a series of lies about their experiences on the island. One of those lies centered around Aaron’s parentage. In the Season Four episode, (4.12) ”There’s No Place Like Home, Part I”, Oceanic Airlines representative Karen Decker repeated the Oceanic Six’s lie to the press:
“Based on the location of the wreckage, our best estimate of the crash site is… (click) here. From there, the survivors were carried by the ocean’s current to… (click) here–an uninhabited island in the Lesser Sunda Islands known as Membata. As you’ve all read in your briefing books, on day 103… (click) a typhoon washed up the remnants of an Indonesian fishing boat, including basic supplies and a survival raft. On day 108, the remaining six survivors, including Ms. Austen’s baby which she gave birth to on the island of Membata, used this raft to journey here– (click) an island called Sumba. They then came ashore near a village called Manukangga. This photo was taken by the local fisherman who found them. Once it was discovered who they were, they were transported to Honolulu by the U.S. Coast Guard. As you can imagine, this has been an extraordinarily trying experience. They have, however, agreed to answer a few questions. So, ladies and gentlemen, the survivors of Oceanic 8-1-5.”
Now, according to the Oceanic Six, Kate was six months pregnant when U.S. Marshal Edward Mars arrested her in Australia and later accompanied her aboard Oceanic Flight 815 on September 22, 2004. Sometime between the crash and their arrival at an island called Sumba, Kate gave birth to Aaron. Six months following their return, the Shephard family – Jack and his mother, Marge – held a funeral for Christian Shephard, who had died in Australia before the crash. Kate (with Aaron), Sayid and his wife Nadia, and Hurley attended the funeral. Following the service, a blond woman approached Jack and informed him that she was Carole Littleton, Claire’s mother. While Kate stood nearby, holding Aaron, Carole also revealed that she had an affair with Christian and that Claire was Jack’s half-sister. This meant that Aaron was Jack’s nephew. Naturally, Jack was upset over the news. Even more important, both he and Kate failed to inform Ms. Littleton that she was standing just a few feet away from her grandson. The episode,(4.04) “Eggtown” revealed that Kate eventually stood trial for her crimes. Because her mother Diane Jensen – the prosecution’s star witness for the murder charge – refused to testify against her, Kate got away with the cold blooded murder of her father, Wayne Jensen. For some reason that still defies me, the prosecution decided to offer probation to Kate for her other crimes – which included bank robbery, assault of a Federal officer, grand larceny and grand theft auto. Kate agreed to ten (10) years of probation. In other words, she was not allowed to leave the state of California for a decade. I doubt that this verdict actually bothered Kate. It kept her out of prison and she was able to go home and continue her charade as Aaron’s mother.
In the Season Five episode called (5.01) “Because You Left”, Kate had received a visit from two attorneys who claimed to have a court order demanding paternity tests be conducted to conclude if Kate is Aaron’s biological mother. Kate used their visit as another opportunity to do what she did best – namely flee. This time, she did so with Aaron. In the following episode, (5.02) “The Lie”, Kate met up with her fellow Oceanic Six survivor, Sun Kwon, somewhere in Los Angeles and told the latter about the attorneys’ visit. In a mind-blowing moment, Sun advised her to meet the attorneys again and kill them. According to the other woman, the Oceanic Six had to maintain their lies in order to protect the island and those who had been left behind.
In the end, the excuse that Sun gave Kate is the same excuse that Jack first stated on Penny’s yacht some few years ago – namely their lies were necessary to protect those who had been left behind and the island itself from the authorities and especially Charles Widmore. In fact, many of the show’s fans have expressed their acceptance of this excuse on many ”LOST” forums, message boards and blogs. I must admit that I never understood the need for these lies, except for one reason – the media and the authorities would have found the truth ludicrous and committed the Oceanic Six to various mental institutions. Even if the authorities had believed their story, I doubt that anyone would have been able to find the island, considering that Ben Linus managed to move it using some ‘Donkey Wheel’ in the Season Four finale, (4.13) ”There’s No Place Like Home, Part III”. But what really annoys me to no end was the lie about Aaron and Kate.
Kate Austen must have been a very popular character with the fans of ”LOST”. Of all the characters, she was the only one who had received more excuses for her crimes and mistakes than any of the others. Sawyer was probably a close second, but that is another matter. Many fans have spent more time on her ludicrous love triangle with Jack and Sawyer than on the fact that she was an unrepentant murderess and later, kidnapper. With Aaron, Kate committed the act of kidnapping via a lie. Mind you, she was not solely guilty of this crime. Jack, Sayid, Sun and Hurley were also guilty. Before ”The Little Prince” aired, everyone – including myself – believed that Jack had been the creator behind the lie surrounding Aaron. This episode eventually revealed that Kate was the one who had suggested the lie to Jack. He eventually accepted it and used it as part of his repertoire of other lies surrounding the island. Sayid, Sun and Hurley remained silent on the matter, while Kate carried out the lie. Along with the excuse mentioned in a previous paragraph, I have come across many excuses surrounding the lie about Aaron’s parentage. I have yet to come across an excuse or justification that made any sense to me. And God knows I have come across a good number of them. Here are just a few:
*Kate is a good mother.
*No one had any knowledge of whether Claire had any relations in Australia.
*Claire had originally been on her way to Los Angeles to give Aaron up for adoption.
*Sun’s Korean heritage prevented her from claiming to be Aaron’s mother.
*Claire had allowed Kate to leave the island with Aaron (this one was hard to swallow).
*In Kate’s dream, Claire told her not to bring Aaron back to the island.
*Carole Littleton’s affair with a much married Christian Shephard made her morally unacceptable as Aaron’s guardian (I swear, I actually came across this one)
*The psychic Richard Malkin had lied to Claire, when he told her that only she should raise Aaron. A “nice couple from L.A.” – namely Jack and Kate – were destined to raise him.
*Due to ”LOST” being a fictional story, there was nothing wrong with Kate pretending to be Aaron’s mother.
*By lying, the Oceanic Six did the best thing they could to protect Aaron.
*Claire left Aaron in the jungle to follow her father in (4.09) “The Shape of Things to Come”.
And so on. One of the forums that really demonstrated the need for fans to see nothing wrong in Kate’s custody of Aaron was The Fuselage. Other forums such as Lost-Forums, Souless Spike, Television Without Pity more or less skirted the issue. Although the Lost-TV Forum posted a thread in which someone had criticized Kate for creating the lie about Aaron, most of the members who have responded are defending Kate’s actions . . . and bashing Jack for agreeing to the lie. Amazing. This woman not only got away with the kidnapping of a child, but also received a free pass by certain fans. Fortunately, not all of the show’s fans on this forum defended her. There were some on other threads who criticized Kate for her actions in regard to Aaron.
There were many aspects to the lie surrounding Aaron Littleton that I find questionable. First all, I had doubts about the Oceanic Six’s decision to lie about the island. In one of the flashbacks for “The Lie”, Jack claimed that the lies would protect those left behind on the island:
JACK: Hurley, what about you?
HURLEY: I don’t think we should lie, dude.
JACK: We need to protect the people that we left behind, Hurley.
HURLEY: How does lying protect them?
JACK: It protects them from Charles Widmore. The guy hired a boatload of people to kill all of us. He faked a plane crash. I mean, you think telling him the truth, he’s just gonna–he’s gonna leave them alone?
Hurley was right. How did this lie protect those left behind from Charles Widmore? The Oceanic Six had witnessed the island’s disappearance. He eventually learned the whereabouts of the island without the help of the Oceanic Six in the series’ last season. And should it not have been more important for them to tell the authorities that others had been left behind, so that they could be rescued? Of all of the survivors from Flight 815, only two people had formed any attachment to the island – John Locke and Rose Nadler. Rose’s husband, Bernard, was only willing to remain due to his wife’s belief that the island kept her healthy and alive. I suspect that the Oceanic Six’s real motivation behind their lies was due to their guilt over leaving the others behind. None of them ever bothered to stop at the beach camp to see if all of the Losties had made it to the freighter. Instead, they had Frank Lapidus fly them directly to the freighter in their bid to escape from the island. I suspect that guilt was the main motivator behind their lies.
But what was the main motivation behind the lie surrounding Aaron Littleton? In this scene from ”The Little Prince”, Kate Austen gave her reasons to Jack Shephard – one of two men she had managed to wrap around her finger during her three month stay on the island:
KATE: (Chuckles) At least one of us can sleep. It’s gonna take more than two nights for me to get used to sleeping in a normal bed. What are we gonna do about him? About Aaron.
JACK: I don’t know.
KATE: I’ve been thinking a lot about him. Did you know that Claire was flying to L.A. to give him up for adoption?
JACK: No. No, I didn’t.
KATE: I think we should say he’s mine.
KATE: We could say that I was six months pregnant when I was arrested and that I gave birth to him on the Island. No one would ever know.
JACK: Kate, no. You don’t have to… (sighs) There’s other ways too this.
KATE: After everyone we’ve lost–Michael, Jin, Sawyer… I can’t lose him, too.
JACK: Sawyer’s not dead.
KATE: No. But he’s gone. Good night, Jack.
JACK: Kate… If we’re gonna be safe, if we’re gonna protect the people that we left behind, tomorrow morning, I’m gonna have to convince everyone to lie. If it’s just me, they’re never gonna go for it. So I’m gonna turn to you first. Are you with me?
KATE: I have always been with you.
That was probably one of the most flimsiest excuses I have ever came across for keeping a child, based upon a lie. It made Kate look like an over-emotional nanny who had resorted to kidnapping to keep a favored child by her side. She had grown attached to Aaron and could not deal with another loss after Sawyer’s departure from Frank’s helicopter? On one level, I can understand this. It is possible that she had grown emotionally attached to Aaron, considering what they had experienced before Penny’s rescue. On another level, I found this excuse questionable. There was something niggling in the back of my mind that Kate may have been using Aaron as an excuse to avoid time in prison. It was possible that she realized that she could not flee from the authorities following their return to the States . . . and decided to use Aaron as some kind of character reference without allowing him to show up at the trial. She did not need Aaron at the trial. She had Jack. Looking back on the trial featured in ”Eggtown”, Kate did not put up much of a resistance against Jack’s lies about her. But like I had said . . . it was merely a possibility. But surely she must have realized that Aaron would come into the picture some way or the other by claiming to be his mother. What did she expect?
There were those who claimed that Kate and the rest of the Oceanic Six had done nothing wrong by supporting the lie about Aaron’s parentage. Here, I beg to differ. Frankly, I found the lie to be appalling. Kate used Claire’s revelation that the latter was planning to give Aaron up for adoption as an excuse to claim the baby as her child. What she, Jack and the rest of the Oceanic Six failed to realize was that none of them knew the circumstances surrounding Claire’s original intent. They decided to accept the possibility that Claire lacked a family . . . and handed over an innocent child to a woman facing charges of murder and other crimes in the U.S. No one knew whether Kate would be able to avoid prison and decided to support her claim that Aaron was her son. I found that despicable.
There was also the argument that Kate really had no choice but to raise Aaron. Sun could not claim the baby as her own, due to her Korean heritage. Many fans claimed that someone had to raise Aaron. Why? To protect him? What on earth made them think that Kate could protect Aaron? This was the same woman who ended up getting jumped by a mortally wounded Naomi Dorrit in the Season Four premiere, (4.01) “The Beginning of the End”. How on earth was Kate supposed to protect Aaron? Very people did not even bother to consider that the Oceanic Six could have told the truth about Aaron’s parentage . . . and maintain their lies about the island. All they had to do was reveal at the press conference hosted by Oceanic Airlines in ”There’s No Place Like Home” that Claire had survived the plane crash, given birth to Aaron and died before the five adult survivors could be rescued. Chances are that Aaron would have ended up with his grandmother, Carole Littleton. The ironic thing is that when Carole made her second appearance in ”The Little Prince”, both Kate and Jack viewed the woman as some kind of villain or threat to their existence. Especially Kate:
KATE: Oh, my God.
JACK: (Exhales deeply) It’s Claire’s mother.
KATE: What am I waiting for, Jack?
JACK: Wait. I just… let’s just think about this for a minute.
KATE: She knows.
JACK: Maybe she doesn’t know.
KATE: No, but she knows about Aaron, and that’s all that matters!
JACK: (Sighs) Let me go talk to her.
JACK: If I can just explain to her why we did it–maybe if I can get her to understand why… she’ll listen to me. I can fix this, Kate. I can fix it. Hey. Aaron is my family, too.
(Knock on door)
CAROLE: Dr. Shephard?
JACK: Hello, Ms. Littleton. Um… may I come in?
CAROLE: Of course.
CAROLE: You look drenched.
JACK: No, no. No, I’m fine.
CAROLE: God, I haven’t seen you since your father’s funeral. How did you even know I was here?
JACK: Um… I knew you were here, Ms. Littleton, because I followed your lawyer.
CAROLE: Why would you do that?
JACK: I’m–I did it because, um… I understand that you feel the need to do this. But I need you to know that everything that Kate and I have done–it was for Aaron.
CAROLE: Who’s… Aaron? I–I’m afraid I’m not following you.
JACK: Ms. Littleton, um… what are you doing here in Los Angeles?
JACK: Let’s go. Drive. Then call Sun and tell her to bring Aaron to the Long Beach Marina. We’ll meet her there.
KATE: What–wh-what are you talking about? What happened?
JACK: Kate, we have to go now.
KATE: I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what just happened!
JACK: She doesn’t know anything.
JACK: She doesn’t know. She still thinks that Claire is dead. (Pants) She doesn’t even know that Aaron exists.
KATE: But the lawyer–
JACK: She sued Oceanic, and she’s in town to pick up her settlement.
KATE: What, and it’s just a coincidence that her lawyer happens to be the same one that’s trying to take my son?
JACK: I don’t know. But whoever’s trying to take Aaron… it’s not her.
KATE: Then who is it?
Amazing. Kate, Jack and the rest of the Oceanic Six were the ones guilty of kidnapping and both Jack and Kate ended up viewing Carole Littleton as some potential kidnapper. It was enough to make me sick to my stomach.
Many fans have condoned the Oceanic Six’s actions by claiming that Kate turned out to be a wonderful mother for Aaron. Frankly, who gives a shit? I really DID NOT CARE what type of mother Kate turned out to be. And to this day, this sentiment remains. What she and the rest of the Oceanic Six had done with Aaron was despicable. They had dragged an innocent child into an unnecessary deception with hardly any qualms, for their own selfish reasons. They really had no excuse for the lie about Aaron. Of all the crimes that had been featured on ”LOST”, the lie about Aaron to be the most appalling I had ever witnessed on that show. The Oceanic Six disgusted me. Especially one Kate Austen.
In the end, the deception surrounding Aaron was finally laid to rest by Kate. Before leaving the United States on Ajira Flight 816, she returned Aaron to his grandmother, Carole Littleton. She also returned to the island to find Claire, in order to reunited mother and son. However, this little chapter will be discussed further in another article.
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