Lost Episode 5.11 "Whatever Happened, Happened"

After a stellar start to season five, we’re now floating through the mid-season doldrums. It happens every year, and you can’t really complain. Now that the timeflashing story arc has settled, the writers have to transition the show into something different. By my count, this week’s ep was the third such episode in a row, with our characters basically arguing with each other in 1977. The pace can be frustrating, but there’s still plenty to chew on, and if previews and press releases can be trusted we’ll be emerging from the doldrums next week.

“Bye-bye, baby…”

This week’s flashback filled a gap in Kate’s story, but unnecessarily so. We knew she decided to head back to the Island without Aaron, but weren’t shown the exact circumstances. To me, it was relatively obvious that she’d given Aaron back to his grandmother. If a flashback isn’t surprising, it seems like a waste to spend an entire episode on it.
Did anyone care about Kate and Aaron’s relationship? I never bought it. She’s a pretty terrible mother, and their bond has always felt contrived, so watching a cold, lifeless Kate leave behind a child who’s displayed virtually no personality whatsoever wasn’t really a tearjerker for me.
Watching Kate, especially this season, it seems like even Evangeline Lilly is bored with the character. If she weren’t so nice to look at, do you think the writers would’ve kept her alive for so long? Call me cynical, but Nielsen ratings count.
“That was really confusing.”

This scene started off cute, with the Back to the Future reference, but it’s a good example of something Lost should never do: directly explain itself. “The Little Prince” did the same thing earlier this season, and there was a lot of explaining in this episode, too. Everyone from Jack to Sawyer to Kate was explaining their feelings and motivations out loud, which made me cringe a few times. And not just because they were talking about their desires, but because they were a bit contrived as well.
I didn’t buy that Kate would suddenly want to rescue a teenaged Ben just because it reminded her of Aaron. Or that Jack would refuse to do surgery because of Miles and Hurley’s chat. Even the time-talk between those characters started to get a bit too heavy-handed. As a viewer, I prefer the fun of trying to figure things out for myself.
“If I take him, he will never be the same.”

This development was easily the most interesting. Ben’s conversion to an Other was caused by Sayid, and facilitated by Kate and Sawyer. Nice!
My question: if the Smoke Monster heals Ben in the Temple, does that mean Ben is infected with the same sickness as Rousseau’s team? Or even further: are all of the Others “infected” by the Monster? Is that what makes them other? It could explain their fierce devotion to the Island.
I can’t wait for next week’s episode. It looks like it’ll kick off the storylines that will run to the end of the season. I want more Ben, more Locke, more Richard, more young Widmore and young Hawking. And a side of Smokey, Jacob, and Daniel!
Stray Thoughts
  • Wouldn’t it be obvious to Horace that Ben let Sayid escape? Since Ben was found shot in the jungle, and since his father’s a janitor with keys?
  • Jack’s really bugging me this season. For once, I agreed with Kate in this ep, when she said “I liked the old you.” Jack needs to be a man of action again. I think Matthew Fox is getting bored.
  • I love seeing Juliet in 70’s attire. It suits Elizabeth Mitchell.
  • I like the way they humanized Roger Linus this week.
  • The final scene between Ben and Locke: perfect. It’s been three weeks since we saw the Island’s present, and I’m looking forward to getting back. The 70’s Dharma storyline has been less than revelatory. Too much bickering, not enough action/mystery!
And now, back to the Final Four!

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