“LOST” – (5.11) “Whatever Happened, Happened” (Or . . . The Emergence of Saint Kate)

“LOST” – (5.11) “Whatever Happened, Happened” (Or . . . The Emergence of Saint Kate)

While looking back at some of the articles I have written about“LOST” and its characters, I discovered that I have written several articles that were either about the character, Kate Austen, or in which she featured heavily. One would think that she is such a compelling character. But I do not think so. I suspect that my problem with Kate was that I found her to be one of the most badly written characters on this show and in the history of television . . . and she was the female lead. And I find that disturbing. My past dislike of the character (which I eventually overcame) went up a notch after I had watched the Season 5 Kate-centric episode, (5.11) “Whatever Happened, Happened”.

This episode of “LOST” – “Whatever Happened, Happened” was not well written. It really was. I felt as if I had watched the emergence of a character called “Saint Kate”, instead of an interesting episode about the reasons behind a woman’s choices. But there were no reasons given for Kate’s sudden desire to save Ben’s life. Instead, the episode had her in a state of frantic over Ben’s condition that did not make any sense. Even worse, the episode went too far and had her donate blood to him in a heavily contrived attempt to make her seem selfless and worthy to the fans.

First, I want to focus on the situation regarding young Ben’s shooting. Why did Jack refuse to save Ben? Was his reason the same as Sayid’s? Because Ben will grow up to be a manipulative and murderous man? How did Jack suddenly become anti-Ben, again? I read a piece on this episode on WIKIPEDIA, which claimed that Jack was to blame for creating the monster, Ben Linus. I not only found this hard to accept, but rather ludicrous. It seemed as if they are trying to absolve Sayid of his crime. And that does not work with me.

Speaking of Sayid’s crime, it seems that Ben will no longer have any memories of it, following Richard’s treatment. If this was the case, what in the hell was the point of Sayid shooting Ben in the first place? What were the writers trying to achieve? Was the shooting nothing more than a contrived event to make Kate lovable to the fans again? Was it a plotline to explain how Ben became so murderous? Hell, they could have done that and allowed Ben to retain his memories of the shooting. This whole “erasing Ben’s memories of Sayid’s crime” made no sense to me. What was the purpose of it? To explain how Ben “lost his innocence”? Ben was already on that road by living under an abusive father.

But you know what? Despite Sayid shooting him, Jack’s refusal to save him or Richard’s memory-wiping cure, the one person who was mainly responsible for Ben’s moral downfall . . . was Ben. Other people have come from traumatic backgrounds and managed to make decent lives for themselves. Ben did not have any real excuse. Sayid has to deal with his crime of shooting an innocent boy, himself. Jack had to deal with his refusal to treat that boy. But they were not mainly responsible for Ben’s crimes. Ben was.

When I first heard that Kate might finally confess about the lie surrounding Aaron back in the spring of 2009, I thought she would end up confessing to Sawyer, Juliet and the other castaways. Instead, she confessed to Sawyer’s old girlfriend, Cassidy. That was disappointing. And now, Sawyer still does not know about the lie surrounding Aaron. Nor does he know that Kate had no intention of returning to the island to save his life. And she still has the murder of Wayne Jensen hanging over her head. If we’re supposed to root for them to get together following this episode, I think that the writers have failed. At least with me.

Regarding Kate’s decision to return to the island – she told Cassidy that her intention was to find Claire and get her back home to Aaron. I wondered how she was going to accomplish such a task, especially since she must have realized that there was no way to achieve this after crashing on the island for the second time. She did not know about the runway that Frank Lapidus had used to land Ajira Flight 316. Locke had destroyed the Dharma submarine back in Season 3. And Kate knew about the destruction of the freighter. How had she planning to send Claire back to Aaron? Or was she simply talking out of her ass?

You know, ever since (4.04) “Eggtown”, Kate’s story arc has been badly handled by the writers. It started with that ludicrous attempt by her to get information from Miles about her status as a fugitive. Then it developed into the storyline surrounding her custody of Aaron that went no where. The only thing that the Aaron storyline achieved was a temporary estragement between her and Jack. It was revealed in (5.04) “The Little Prince” that she had decided to claim Aaron as her own, because she was traumatized over losing Sawyer. And yet . . . “Eggtown” made it clear that she was willing to use Aaron to re-start a romance with Jack. If Aaron represented as a substitute for the loss of Sawyer, why did she have a photograph of both Aaron and Jack on her mantlepiece in Los Angeles? Was this a symbol of her continuing desire for both Jack and Sawyer? Or what? And the storyline surrounding her return to the island . . . contrived and badly written. After refusing to return to the island for Sawyer’s sake, she visited his ex-girlfriend, confessed the Aaron kidnapping and vowed to return to the island in order to find Claire Littleton and send the Australian woman back to her son and mother . . . without knowing how to achieve these tasks? The only thing Kate did right was to hand Aaron over to Carole Littleton. And I saw that coming a mile away. Once Kate returned to Los Angeles, she used Jack for comfort sex and later rejected him after boarding Ajira Flight 316.

And in the second half of Season 5, the producers dumped the badly written “Whatever Happened, Happened” episode on the viewers in order to make Kate favorable to the viewers again. They had her acting like a frantic Florence Nightengale over a kid she hardly knew. I would have understood if she had been perturbed over young Ben’s situation, like the others (sans Jack). But the writers . . . took it too far with Kate’s frantic desire to save him, which included her donating blood to him. And they even used this episode to blame Jack for Ben’s slide into darkness.

I guess that the show’s writers and producers’ attempt to redeem Kate in the eyes of the viewers eventually worked. The viewers eagerly lapped up this shit. But Lindehof and Cuse achieved this at a heavy price. In the end, all they did was sacrifice any semblance of artistic achievement for bad characterization and mediocre writing. As for me, another season and a confession to Claire by Kate would finally win me over to the latter.

How sad.

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