"Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less." - Chuck Klosterman
Now and then, Lost
serves up an episode that hearkens back to its character-based beginnings, where the mythology of the island plays second fiddle to a specific character and his or her personal journey. These episodes have become less and less common in recent seasons, as Lost
has become plot-heavy (and wonderfully so, in my opinion). “Kate Episodes” tend to get their fair share of flak from Lost
die-hards, and oftentimes rightly so. Kate episodes are the lima beans before the apple pie. As the “Scenes from Next Week” showed, last night's Lost
was a little breather before the season's home stretch. As a character study, “Whatever Happened, Happened” was a mild success, and one that I more or less enjoyed, even if I'm a little fearful of the spiritual mumbo-jumbo that Richard Alpert spouted prior to taking Little Ben Linus into the Temple of Doom. But, forget about that - let's talk about Kate and Sawyer and Jack.
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I got to thinking about the above quote (a favorite of mine, as cynical as it is), during Sawyer and Kate's discussion in the woods. I think it pretty much sums up the Kate-Sawyer-Jack dynamic throughout the series. While the title and conceit of the episode had over-arching meaning in regards to the island and its fate, as Miles so entertainingly explained to Hurley last night, it also was an apt theme for everyone's favorite love triangle. It's become clear that all three of these people are self-destructive and were never meant to be together. It was never really a possibility, because of who they fundamentally are as people. If we are to believe Cassidy, Sawyer knew this and jumped out of the helicopter because of it. When Sawyer told Kate last night that it wouldn't have worked out between them on the mainland, there's an inclination to take that as a cop out. Maybe it could've worked out. Maybe Sawyer took the easy way out. But, I don't think that's true.
Could two ex-criminals with a stolen baby live happily ever after while living a very public lie, especially when saddled with guilt from leaving their friends on the island? That's not a recipe for a happy relationship. Both Sawyer and Kate had a long history of manipulation and deception in their past romantic entanglements. I agree with Sawyer – it wouldn't have worked.
The idea that the island's fate is sealed and that, no matter what anyone decides to do, the future will play out as it was always intended to, can be transferred also to the characters. In spite of any attempts at love and normalcy, maybe Jack, Sawyer and Kate are fated to end up alone and out of love. A depressing notion, yes, but not one that is out-of-line with Lost's past. As we've witnessed time and time again with Kate's history, she's an escape artist. The relationships she forges, no matter how real and how profound, will always eventually fall to the wayside. She's going to want to escape them, even if she doesn't know why, because that's who Kate is.
Jack is a different case, but no less abysmal. He can't hold down a relationship. His neuroses, his stubbornness, will always do him in. He's the definition of self-destructive. And, Sawyer, while at his core may be the best-intentioned of the three, has a sort of heightened sense of chivalry and self-loathing. He's always going to assume that his mere presence will eventually turn out to be a negative one on the people he loves. This may be true, it may not be true, but it's ultimately an unfair and, in a way, selfish notion. Cassidy was hurt by it, Kate was hurt by it and I think by the end of the series the same thing will happen to Juliet. “Whatever Happened, Happened” was a good title, but maybe “Whatever Happened, Will Happen Again” would have been more apt.
Back to the quote, if only for a little fun. At the beginning of Lost, Kate was the one in power. Jack and Sawyer both had feelings for her, and Kate was conflicted. When Sawyer and Kate were held captive together on the Others' Island, Kate fell for Sawyer in such a way that Sawyer had the power. Sawyer held that power with Kate through the jump out of the helicopter and, actually, still holds it over Kate now, but in a much different way, given his relationship with Juliet. Interestingly, Jack has never held the power of the relationship with Kate. Kate's always been the one in charge emotionally. Whenever Kate has wanted Jack, he's been available. I'm sure there's something there to discuss, with Jack ostensibly the leader of the survivors, the one who held the power and, yet, in his romantic relationships, he remains totally powerless. However, I've already written enough. It's only six days until Locke and Ben go at it. I can't wait.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)