LOST: "What Kate Does"

This last season of LOST, I’m not going to try and recap every episode (there are other, better people on the internet doing that), but I will post any thoughts that I have on the episode if I feel like they have any value.
I had very mixed feelings about last night’s episode. It felt like a classic LOST, let’s-tread-water-and-wait-until-the-anticipation-becomes-unbearable episode. Therefore, nothing that I haven’t seen before; that is, I didn’t worry that the show was going down in quality. On the other hand, it is the last season and you would think that with so few episodes left, they could have written in the answers to some of the lingering minor questions that the show has accumulated even as they are waiting to move forward with the main story line. That’s one of the things that I most appreciated about the pilot.
I’m constantly flummoxed by the things that the producers seem obligated to include. I’ve thought from Season 1 that Claire is the most annoying of the main characters and, while they have built Aaron up in the mythology to the point that they must address it, I would have been happy to let her rest in peace. On a similar note, Kate has served her purpose on the show. I’m not as ardent a Kate-hater as many of the people that I watch with, but in Season 5, the focal point of the series moved so far away from the interpersonal dramas that Kate specializes in (just as it’s true that the series has moved away from being a survivor story) that to return to those kind of story lines feels fatiguing and lame. My hope is that the producers felt obligated to have one last Kate episode.
On a more positive note, I was intrigued by this observation from Noel Murray of the Onion A.V. Club,

Dogen claims that he prefers not to speak English because it allows him to remain separate from his people, so that he can make decisions that affect them with some measure of emotional distance. That’s an entirely different model of leadership than we’ve seen from Jack, Ben, Locke or Sawyer. I like that Lost keeps offering up alternate examples of how to be a hero.

I find this idea really interesting, although I question whether LOST is interested in heroes, per se (in fact, it’s a pretty reliable rule of thumb that if a LOST character thinks he or she is a hero, something bad is going to happen). I do think that different expressions of leadership is a good way to think about the show. The producers are fond of saying that LOST is a character oriented show, but I think that’s only partially true. I think it’s true in that characters are put into unusual situations and crises, and it’s that response, that drama, that keeps us coming back.  I happen to be a big fan of the mythology that the show has generated, but I am still capable of being shocked by a character responding in an unusual way to a crisis.

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