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LostZone: Season Three Stall Tactics and Claires Disappearance Explained!?

February 11, 2010

LostZone: Season Three Stall Tactics and Claire’s Disappearance Explained!?
By Louis Bedigian

It seems the showrunners still have too many hours to burn off before they can start to answer our biggest questions.

If the Season Six premiere of Lost was reminiscent of Season Four, with its new form of storytelling and all the wonder it brought to the island, then the follow-up episode, "What Kate Does," would be a throwback to Seasons Two and Three. Instead of focusing on the new mysteries (such as the confirmation that Jacob's nemesis, who disguised himself as Locke, is also the smoke monster), this very long hour was dedicated to two storylines that felt like they were designed to kill time.

 
Oh no! Jack is being held hostage again!

A Little Ride With Kate

Like all of the castaways, Kate has always come in two flavors: Fugitive and Island-Dweller. Some might say that Love Triangle Catalyst is a more appropriate title for her jungle-exploring self, but that's secondary. This week, we got to learn about the other Kate, a woman who is still on the run for killing the rotten bastard she called daddy. In theory, this should have been very exciting. Her early flashbacks during Season One were filled with suspense and intrigue that helped develop a character we'd end up watching for the next six years. They made her likable; she was no saint, but we understood her, and we wanted to know more.

This year, I feel like I'm at the place we reached during Season Two for some characters, and Season Three for others - the point at which I stop wondering about each castaway's past and begin to only care about the future. "What Kate Does" revolved around a silly, hard-to-believe story in which Kate hops into a cab, points a gun to the driver and tells him to speed away.

But wait! He's got a customer! And look who it is ... a still-pregnant Claire!

I can support a story that moves in this direction – after all, the writers really, really want to make it clear that the new off-island scenarios partially mirror what happened on the island. But I'm having a hard time believing that, after Claire flees the vehicle, Fugitive Kate would take the time to return to the scene, pick her up and return her bag just because she realized the young woman had a bun in the oven. Though it'd be hard to pretend that Lost has ever been realistic, I find it even less plausible that Kate could continue to drive around town in a stolen cab without getting caught.

Four years ago, an episode like this might have made sense. Back then, the producers had no idea when the series was going to end, so they had to do whatever was necessary to avoid revealing too much too soon – otherwise they could be in deep trouble if the show lasted longer than they anticipated. But now, with only a few months until the finale, I'm getting the sense that the showrunners still have too many hours to burn off before they can start to answer our biggest questions. Why would that be case, when there are so many questions left to answer? My long-held assumption has been that the majority of the show's key secrets are linked so tightly that when you reveal one of them, you inadvertently reveal all of them.

So much for ABC's promo, "The time for questions is over."

 
At times, the Lost video game made players feel like they were going around in circles.
Sometimes the show creates that same feeling.

Captivity isn't Captivating

Can I have a get-out-of-jail-free card? Please?  "What Kate Does" has taken us back to the Season Three monotony when Jack, Kate and Sawyer were held hostage by the Dharma people, and I want to escape. This time, they're being held in a temple for their "protection" (presumably from the-man-who-isn't-really-Locke). But no matter how the writers try and sugarcoat the story, it's still the same time-wasting premise. Outside of the very slow buildup with Sayid, the mysterious thing he's infected with, and a pill of poison (which Jack swallowed, oh my!), the imprisoned scenario did nothing to advance the story.

Jungle Claire Unveiled

Sayid's latest torture scenario (hmm, someone's torturing him again? I'm stunned) was used to pave the way for Claire's long-awaited return on the island. It seems that Sayid is "infected" with something that will consume his heart. Proof-seeking Jack was as skeptical as ever, so Dogen finally revealed one of the previous victims: Claire.

This was the only mysterious and intriguing part of the show. First, what is the infection? Considering Dogen's response, it's easy to assume it's connected to the smoke monster. You might also start to consider the circumstances that led to the death of Rousseau’s people – maybe she wasn't crazy after all. I always assumed that she thought her people went nuts because they spoke of seeing the dead, a phenomenon that seems to occur with everyone on the island except for Rousseau.

Second, how did Claire get infected? She (apparently) walked away from her baby at the end of Season Four, but would the infection really have the power to make her do that? Sayid hasn't shown any symptoms yet, which could mean that Claire was infected long before her disappearance. But how and when? I'm betting there's a very subtle clue in Season Four, and that we'll be able to figure out what that clue is as soon as Sayid starts to get sick (if he ever does).

Third, what does the infection actually do? Up until this week, Claire was seen with a man that appeared to be her father. But we still don't know if it was her father or merely a manipulation by the smoke monster or some other powerful being. Either way, Claire looked a bit weird – she had a strange look on her face, as if she was in a peaceful daze. If that odd image was Claire (and not merely an illusion), it makes me wonder if the infection is less of a virus and more of a mechanism that allows New Locke to control/influence her.

That would explain why she disappeared and why Dogen and his people are so terrified of Sayid’s infection.

 
In the new Lost timeline, this lovely hatch was never built.

Other Stories to Come

Considering the direction of “What Kate Does,” many Lost fans are probably fearing what they’ll get from the next set of Flash Sideways (the term the show’s producers use to describe the new off-island scenarios). Frankly, I am too, but remain hopeful that this episode was an unfortunate freak accident. In the back of my mind, I see a spectacular scenario in which the off-island Sawyer encounters Juliet and the on-island Sawyer finds out and goes crazy because he, the one with all those memories, cannot be with her. Let’s dissect that thought – and hopefully a much better episode – in GameZone’s next edition of LostZone.

LostZone – Previous Installments

February 4, 2010: Thoughts and Theories From the Mind-Blowing Season Six Premiere

February 1, 2010: Are Lost and Final Fantasy VII Unofficially Connected?

* * *

LostZone is a new, ongoing feature on GameZone aimed at discussing the show’s most breathtaking moments (and, if necessary, its most depressing bombs) while dissecting its most intriguing mysteries. Stay tuned for new installments.

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