Countdown to Lost: 'What Kate Does' and 'What Doc Missed'

We are hours away from the arrival of the third episode of Lost’s last season, a Kate-centric affair entitled “What Kate Does.” That’s right, you heard me: third episode. Even though this is only week two, last week’s two-hour premiere counted as two episodes. Which means that after tonight, we will already be finished with 1/6th of the season. Holy Smokey! And it feels like the season only began last week. Wait…what?!

My mind is still reeling — in a good way — from what we got out of “LA X.” The premiere inspired a wide range of reactions — mostly positive, but with varying degrees of confusion (from severe frustration to just-rolling-with-it) or interest in the parallel world storyline the show has introduced this season, tracking the lives of a group of familiar characters who are actually profoundly different than the castaways we know, alterna-world people who landed safely in Los Angeles instead of crashing on an Island which, in their world, is actually sunk. One of my fave Lost bloggers, a very astute and very creative fellow who goes by the handle Fishbiscuit, has posted an insightful, well-researched and somewhat mixed assessment of “LA X.” I encourage you to read it. I don’t share his opinion, but I respect — and am greatly entertained — by his engagement.

Here within the halls of EW, our contingent of Lost fans had a variety of different reactions, too. Periodically through the season, I’m going to be sharing their thoughts with you, so that together, we might be able to reflect back the Lost community’s varied responses to the final year of the show. Perhaps one of these fine folk speak for you. Consider:

The revelation of Smokey Locke was cool, the alternate-universe plane stuff a real brain-buster, and I’m glad Sayid’s not dead. But I’m not sure we needed the introduction of yet another mysterious group of people, or more fake-looking ancient architecture. If they don’t come up with some answers by the end of this season, I’m gone. Oh, wait.

Despite all my concerns about a continuity-free reboot going into Season 6, what was most surprising and satisfying about the premiere was how completely engaged I was with the rebooted timeline — after spending five seasons with these people, seeing (most of) them (mostly) back to their pre-crash selves was incredibly moving and resonant to me. And Terry O’Quinn’s killer pimp acting kicked my keister five ways from Tuesday. But the writers really need to begin shifting gears away from answering mysteries with more mysteries. The New Big Mystery of the dual timelines is great, but the new small mysteries — the Japanese dude and his superfluous translator, the dirty hot-tub and its all-important hour glass, etc. — just felt tedious and unnecessary. The ground is already fecund with storytelling possibilities; there’s no need to seed it with even more fertilizer.

My biggest problem with the Lost premiere was this: Too much Kate, not enough Locke/Fake Locke. Never really cared about Kate as a fugitive, so it was kind of a bummer to be served a heaping helping of that yawner of a storyline. I’m also worried that the flash-sideways trick won’t carry the same emotional resonance as the flashbacks. In the flashbacks, the present and past were linked in that we saw how events that had already transpired forged the personality of a person in the here and now. The flash sideways, however, had no such connection and was instead merely a case of “now you’re here; now you’re there.” Oh, and the underwater scene looked like bad CGI from a SyFy channel movie starring Dean Cain and a posse of serpents. I’m just sayin…

It was wonderful to see all these characters again, but an hour into the premiere, I found myself suffering from mystery-fatigue. This series has always been so brilliant about implanting new burning questions into our brains, and we’ve been soooooo patient, but now that we’re in the final season, I’m ready for some f—-ing answers already. So, okay, the Man in Black is the smoke monster and John Locke is really dead (and Terry O’Quinn needs an Emmy, stat!), but now we’ve got these characters in two different locations in two different versions of reality, and we don’t know why or which reality (Both? Neither?) is real, and whether Juliet’s really dead, or just dead on the Island. And if Sayid is alive on the Island, does that mean he’s dead in Los Angeles? And why is it that no one on this series ever asks follow-up questions? These characters may be comfortable with not knowing, but I’m increasingly not. Of course, I’ll be sticking it out to the bitter end, but I have to say I’m frustrated. We have five seasons of questions burning in our brains. Did we really need a whole set of new ones? I feel like my head needs a hug.

As for me… well, you know what I think. All 8000-plus words of it. If you haven’t read my recap of “LA X,” feel free to read it now in preparation for tonight’s new episode. Then come right back, because as it happens, I somehow managed to miss some stuff. Can you believe that? Truth is, as much as I write about Lost each week, I can actually write even more. Yes, it is a sickness. Also, when I’m blurry-eyed and blurry-minded at 3 AM, little things can slip my mind. Little things like… Charlie’s entire storyline last week. (The shame, the shame…) So beginning this week, I’m going to post a list of “Things Doc Missed” as part of each Tuesday’s “Countdown To Lost” PopWatch post. The title was inspired by two top-notch Lost bloggers, Vozzek (“Things I Noticed”) and Nikki Stafford (“Things Nikki Noticed”). Without further ado:


Desmond’s got a wedding ring. But are Jin and Sun even husband and wife?

Sharper eyes than mine alerted me to the fact that Sideways Desmond was wearing a wedding ring on the airplane. Maybe he’s living a happily ever after life with Penelope somewhere in the world. Last week in my recap, I speculated that perhaps Desmond found new love with the woman he got his sailboat from—Libby. (As expected, the DesPen/PenMond lobbyists are now calling for my censure.) As for Jin and Sun, I defer to this email I received from reader William Riedel: “Doc, Nobody seems to be mentioning it, but it doesn’t appear that Jin and Sun are married. You don’t see a ring on either. Watch the scene with the customs again. The second customs lady asks Sun, “Ms. Paik, do you speak English?” It’s very quick, but she uses her maiden name…Thought it was interesting.”

Charlie’s Story
I actually feel really horrible about this. Allow me to atone for that error right now, using the format I employed for the other characters:
ISLAND WORD: The ex-rocker went to Australia to talk his brother into reuniting their band Driveshaft. When he said no, Charlie got wasted on drugs and booze. On the plane, an altercation with Cindy the flight attendant caused him to flee into the bathroom and attempt the old drug-flush. Then… CRASH!
SIDEWAYS WORLD: It was cool seeing Cindy, Boone (who went down under to bring Shannon back from a bad boyfriend; this time, she wouldn’t go), and especially Charlie, though the Sideways circumstances were pretty grim for this particular iteration of Mr. Pace. Charlie tried to swallow his bag of H — an apparent suicide attempt. His crisis gave Jack a hero moment that required him to improvise, which reminded of the early Lost stories in which the clever, unbeatable doc relied on wits and scraps to pull off life-saving procedures for his fellow castaways. Still, Sideways Charlie was embittered toward Jack for saving his life, embellishing Jack’s status in castaways lives as the unwanted/pathological savior-fixer. But I would say Jack made the right call in helping Charlie. It’ll be interesting to see if Jack’s hard-charging hero act will play as a virtue or vice in this world.

Sayid’s Passport
Last week, I claimed Sayid’s Sideways storyline didn’t appear to have any deviations from Island Sayid’s history. That’s not true. Sharper eyes that mine have pointed out to me that former Iraqi soldier and torturer had an Iranian passport. I’d be surprised if it’s a continuity error. Does Sideways Sayid have a whole new nationality in the Sideways world? Might this be a fake passport for some manufactured identity he’s using? Something to track.

I neglected to mention last week that The Temple’s English-hating master continued Lost’s tradition of naming characters after notable deep thinkers. Dogen = Dogen Zenji, the 13th century Japanese Zen Buddhist master, founder of the Soto School of Zen. I’m no Zen expert, but my understanding is that Dogen emphasized the practice of sitting in silent meditation. But he put even more emphasis on the idea that there should be no distinction between daily living and spiritual discipline, that they should be integrated in a kind of lifestyle/mindset of constant, moment-to-moment enlightenment seeking, or what Christians might call “ceaseless prayer.” In doing so, “the Truth appears, there being no delusion. If you understand this, you are completely free…” How much of this might get reflected in the Lost matrix this season? We shall see.

A new name for Fake Locke
David Skidmore in Murfreesboro, TN writes: “Please use the phrase Locke-ness Monster in your write up. Pretty please? My friends are trying to settle on a name for the Lockes beyond Flocke, Alterna-Locke, Beached Locke, etc. We have a contest going and if you validate this and give me a dash of credit it would be the checkmate I need.” David, feel free to declare victory! From now on, “Locke-ness monster“ it shall be! (But I must tip my hat to my “Totally Lost” pal Dan Snierson, who coined this phrase for me weeks ago.) Also a big shout out to Adam B. Vary’s father, from whom I am swiping “dirty hot tub” to label The Other’s polluted magic spring. Look for the new jargon to make their first appearances in my recap of “What Kate Does,” posting tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for other stuff to do in advance of Lost tonight, there’s my Doc Jensen column, or the new episode of “Totally Lost” below, complete with guest appearances by Matthew Fox, Terry O’Quinn, and Michael Emerson, whose cryptic comments about the Sideways storyline have had Lost fans buzzing all day. Check it out—and come back here right after the episode to start the conversation about “What Kate Does.”

[ewbrightcove “65621671001”, “65670578001”, “525”, “365”]

Photo Credit: Mario Perez/ABC

Comments (108 total) Add your comment
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  • crispy

    I think Adam Vary’s father is onto something. That does look like a hot tub. Maybe it’s some sort of… Hot Tub Time Machine.

    • Jane

      Can we take it a step further? How about instead of Locke-ness Monster we call him the Locke-less Monster?

      • firemanmatch

        More action, end the flashbacks, last season had no flashbacks and it was the best one

    • Ted

      You also missed the fact that Desmond was reading OUR MUTUAL FRIEND on the airplane. he did say that was the last book we wanted to read before he dies

      • crispy

        No, he wasn’t. It was another book I can’t remember, but it’s been discussed thoroughly in the other columns.

  • Angie

    On Jin and Sun, I don’t think there’s any significance to Sun being called “Ms. Paik.” In Korea, women do not take their husbands’ last names.

    • Emily

      BUT, Sun has been going by “Sun Kwon” all along. I always thought that was weird, since you’re right that Korean women don’t take their husbands’ names, but for whatever reason, that was what she’s been called until now. I don’t think the writers would change what they call her for no reason.

    • Melanie

      yes, but in the show they have always referred to married Sun as Sun Kwon

    • Megan

      In the episode in which Sun pays off Jin’s mother, Jin distinctly calls his new bride “Mrs. Kwon” several times. She has always gone by Sun Kwon since marrying. I think it’s significant.

      • ptahcha

        perhaps that’s just the English translation, but not always reflective of proper cultural reference?

    • t.g. pierson

      I think more importantly, does Sun even know English in the Flash Sideways?

      I’m really loving the new stuff being thrown at us this final season.

  • TomC

    When Jack is trying to revive Charlie on the plane, he looks for a pen. I wonder if this is a callback to the pilot, when Boone suggested doing a tracheotomy on Rose, and Jack sarcastically told him to go find a pen.

    • BA

      I thought that too!! I nice little throwaway, I thought!

    • Anthony

      I thought that too but it’s also the pen that Kate steals so she can get out of her handcuffs

    • ebola

      I totally thought that too

  • megan

    Great column…I didn’t notice Desmonds ring either. I also didnt notice what the custumes lady called Sun. I did notice Sun’s bad wig though! Can’t wait for tonight:p

    • SirLizard

      What exactly is a “custumes lady”? Is that a female customs officer who only examines people who are transporting costumes?

      • kidkopf

        Snippy. Unnecessary. You frequent boards, you get incorrect spelling and bad typing. Deal, brutha.

  • texaslas

    It was probably mentioned somewhere, but one of the first things I took notice of at the temple was that there were young children running around. Anyone else catch that? No fertility issues @ the temple? Or something else?

    • crispy

      The two kids at the Temple were the ones from the tailie section that were abducted by the Others in season two.

    • anotherAngie

      Were those not the Tailies children who were kidnapped by the Others after the crash? I assumed so, because the Australian flight attendant was with the group, and she was also kidnapped.

    • Emily

      It was Zach and Emma.

      • Mike

        Actually, there was another child other than Zack and Emma — you see him running to some lady (I can’t remember for sure when it was — it was either right as they are first bringing Jack & Co. into the Temple for the first time, or right after Hurley tells Dogen that Jacob is dead and he runs out to get everyone prepared). In any event, there is at least one other young child at the Temple besides Zack and Emma.

  • Paul

    I can’t believe I haven’t read this somewhere, but technically we don’t know that these are “flash sideways.” For these events to be happening side-by-side, both would have to be happening in 2007 or in 2004. 2007: Ajira flight lands; Sawyer/Jack taken to temple; Fireworks shot from temple as warning; Richard sees fireworks from beach just before he sees FLocke.

    If these are truly flash sideways, then the flight-that-doesn’t-crash is actually happening in 2007.

    But what if the bomb caused everyone on the Island to warp forward (Sawyer/Jack/Kate) or backward (Flocke/Richard/Lapidas) to 2004? At the very least, the timelines are 40 or so days off. Why? We saw the hatch has already been exploded. Two explanations: 1) These aren’t flash sideways. 2) A complete reset of both timelines, which would have altered the Island’s history in ways similar to the other timeline in ways we haven’t learned yet.

    Bottom line: We can’t assume the two timelines are happening in synchronicity.

    • Renee

      The producers coined them “flash sideways” on Jimmy Kimmel.

      • Hydra

        What if they’re only flash-sideways’s for now, but the no-crash-flash-sideways is actually a flash forward? Maybe somehow the people still in the island world end up resetting time again, “properly” this time so that the plane really doesn’t crash. In other words, the season will end with where the flash sideways time-line begins…

    • Adam

      The sideways term refers to it being a parallel dimension. The flashes stand outside time.

      • Emily

        That’s why the episode had a space between LA and X. In comics, alternate worlds are sometimes called Earth X.

      • Paul

        I’m all for parallel universes. But for Darlton to call them flash sideways in that context is not exactly being very descriptive.

  • Amanda

    I’ve started calling FLocke/the Man in Black “Smokey the Locke.”

  • CrazedDrScott

    Do we ever see Sayid’s passport in the original timeline? Didn’t the US government make it so he could get back to the US, so maybe they gave him a fake Iranian passport?

    And when was Penny born? Is it possible that she was supposed to be born after whatever happened to The Island, so in this timeline she may have never been born?

    • katie

      I think that Penny and Daniel Faraday are both nonexistent in this sideways time line. That is assuming the island sunk and everyone died when the hydrogen bomb went off. So that means Widmore and Eloise didn’t live long enough to have kids.

      • Fran

        Penney had all ready been born and Charles had her off-island

  • jmm782

    Please please address Cindy saying “they were on the FIRST plane with me, Oceanic 815,” and shed any light you might have.

    • Mark

      I would assume they are aware of the Ajira flight that landed on the runway The Others had Kate and Sawyer building on the smaller island and that this would be the 2nd plane, making 815 the first flight.

      • mscisluv

        Definitely – the first plane is Oceanic 815 (in 2004) and the second (2007) is Ajira 316.

      • Mojomatic

        But… Oceanic 815 was the second plane to crash on the island, at least that we know of.

        The first was the Nigerian drug plane with Mr. Eko’s brother, which crashed several years before 2004.

  • Mark

    Still no mention of Kate not taking the Marshall’s briefcase after beating him down in the ladies bathroom. /sad

    That has to mean something, right?

    • Q

      I also noticed this – it had her special airplane toy in it in the original timeline, right?

  • Paul

    JMM: There was a second plane to land on the island that the Templetons probably knew about: Ajira.

  • kat

    Just FYI, Fishbiscuit is a woman. It’s sort of sad that she’s so often assumed to be male.

    • Matt

      And I bet you assumed Bernard was a white man the whole time too, right? Fishbiscusit comes off as a name a man would choose, that’s all there is to it, and it’s condescending and insulting to think otherwise. As was the horrible article we were linked to where because Juliet died, the producers were accused of mysoginy.

      • kat

        Wow, defensive much? Bernard is a) a male name, and b) referred to as ‘husband’ which is masculine. So yes, I was expecting him to be male. I had no expectations for his gender. Bernard is also fictional and is therefore controlled by a group of writers who can write things that are specifically intended to go against are assumptions if they want, even if our assumptions are perfectly logical.

        All I meant by ‘sad she’s so often assumed to be male’ is that the majority of Lost bloggers are men. Women certainly do it too, but not as many. It’s therefore a little sad to me when people assume one of these women writers are men, just because. And I fail to see how Fishbiscuit comes off as inherently masculine.

        Furthermore, while I don’t necessarily 100% agree, the Fish wasn’t just saying sexism because Juliet died. She was talking about fridging, which is the act of killing off a female character purely to provide motivation or emotional pain for men (basically making their suffering and death all about the men in their lives). As I said, I’m not sure I agree 100% in Juliet’s case, but they did drop all of her backstory in favor of making her a love interest for Sawyer (pretty much her only story last season) and then they killed her off. It’s certainly suspect.

      • littlegypt

        Wow, sorry that Matt freaked out on you there, Kat. I agree with you 100%. It IS too bad that lost bloggers are assumed to be men.

  • liza

    Hey Doc–thanks for the shoutout to Fish, but, FYI, she’s a woman.

  • Stacie

    DOC- I still say the fake Locke should be called Non Locke. I mean the word even rhymes for those out there that enjoy that kind of thing. :)

    • Devil

      “Non” & “Locke” don’t rhyme. Non & Lon would rhyme. Nocke & Locke would rhyme. Things that “kinda sorta sound similar” or have one common vowel sound in the middle do NOT necessarily rhyme. I’m amazed how often people will think something rhymes when it does not.

  • CH

    The hilarious ackattack LOST recaps are calling Fake-Locke “Mocke,” and that’s now my go-to name for him. Love it.

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