Kate episodes are problematic, and this one is no exception: We're not entirely buying her selfless surrender of Aaron and plan to "rescue Claire." Especially since after de-adopting Aaron, all Kate has done is darkly boink Jack, mess with the marvelous Sawliet, rescue Boy Ben, and flirt with his abusive father. On a little detour from your rescue-Claire mission, ain't you, Freckles?
Bright points include the funniest (yet most helpful!) time-travel conversation in forever and the bizarro logic by which Sayid and Jack are ultimately responsible for Ben's twisted nature. We're not saying it's good to let little boys die, but if the side effects of the cure are "loses innocence," "remembers nothing," and "becomes evil cult leader," I might reconsider my mission.
Jin finds Boy Ben shot through the heart, but it's not too late. (Sayid, did you miss "make sure he's dead" day in assassin school?) Jin speeds the boy to Dharma Hospital while Kate flirts with Roger.
Flashback. Kate on the mainland, cuddling teeny-tiny baby Aaron, singing to him quite sweetly, and visiting Cassidy — Sawyer's ex, mother of Clementine, and the one from “The Long Con,” for all you people without encyclopedic memories. "Sawyer sent me," says Kate.
The Book of Kate: Nose-Wrinkling, Shit-Stirring, Baby-Loving Vixen of Ambiguity
Flashback Continued. "Sawyer? So that sonofobitch is still alive?" Cassidy pooh-pooh's Kate's wad of cash for Clementine, then goes crazy with intuition, sensing Kate's Sawyer issues and figuring out Aaron's not hers. It's interesting Kate confessed the true crash story to Cassidy, and ridiculous that she kept this relationship from Jack (to whom she was engaged, right?). But then, if she told him, there'd be no paranoid drama to eat like cake.
Dharmaville 1977! Kate visits Sawyer, agitated about Boy Ben, but Sawyer says to keep her yap shut. When Horace appears, he realizes Sayid was released, and Janitor Jack is a suspect, so Sawyer heads off. On the way, he asks Roger for his (missing) keys, tipping both off to Ben having released Sayid.
Meanwhile, Juliet's operating on Ben, untroubled by saving–Baby Hitler concerns. When she asks for a "real surgeon," Sawyer runs to get Jack, who is under Miles's house arrest with Kate and Hurley. Hurley is wriggling his fingers, trying to figure out if now that history has changed, he's going to disappear. Nope, says Miles, not the way it works; also, Ben's gonna live! But when Sawyer asks Jack to save Ben, he refuses. If Ben's gonna live anyway, why should he be the one to save him?
Of course, Kate gets all yappy about how Jack HAS to save Boy Ben. Jack's not having it, and he brings up the past, which is to say, the future: back (forward) when Kate begged him to save Ben so that he wouldn't kill Sawyer. Now, Jack's on the "I can't fix everything" train, while Kate's still aboard the "I criticize you no matter what you do" trolley bus.
Juliet nurses Ben, likely catalyzing the crush that will cause him to stalk her into season four. During blood-donation girl-talk, Kate tells Juliet that Kate and Jack were engaged on the mainland and yadda-yadda quadrangle. Roger bonds with Kate by lamenting his bad parenting, including acts of no less than twelve hours before. This is actually kind of interesting, given Kate's history with her shabby stepdad. Ben has a brief crisis that scares no one.
Hurley and Miles have an extended, insane, philosophical conversation about how they've already had this extended, insane, philosophical conversation. Miles explains that they all CAN die, because this is their present, not their past — which causes Hurley to freak out over the fact that oh yeah well then why wouldn't Ben remember the person who shot him as a kid? Huh, says Miles, never thought of that.
Roger thanks Juliet for saving the son he's abusing. And Juliet suggests a weird possibility to Kate: Maybe there's something the Others can do. Christ, people, is no one even mildly conflicted over the fact that Ben will grow up to kill your hunky evil lover (Juliet) and trap you in cages with hot Southern men (Kate)? Also: blow up freighters and commit Dharmacide?
Dr. Betty and Veronica Freckles load Boy Ben into a van and Kate drives off to save him.
Flashback! Showdown on the marina, and Kate's mad at Jack for dragging her there. Oh jeez, now we're gonna see what happened to Aaron. He wants milk, then a juice box; she ignores a call and suddenly Aaron has disappeared, and we really can't take scenes like these. Panicked, Kate finds him holding hands with a Claire look-alike. False alarm! Ish.
"Tell my dad I'm sorry I took his keys," Ben tells saddened Kate. When Sawyer drives up, Kate assumes he's there to stop her, but no.
Flashback! Kate brings Aaron to Cassidy's house, where Kate obsesses about the supermarket. Scared as she was, she wasn't surprised — why would she expect him to be taken? Because YOU took him, Kate, says Cassidy. Cassidy says it was all about Kate's needs and how Sawyer broke her heart, and hey ladies, that's not exactly how we remember the Kate-Sawyer story, but anyway.
Back to Kate and Sawyer. Everyone except Jack shares the belief that "no matter what he's going to grow up to be, it's wrong to let a kid die," and Sawyer's doin' this for Juliet (while conveniently impressin' Kate with his sad eyes).
Juliet confronts shirtless Jack and the two have it out: She's mad he doesn't care about Boy Ben, he says he came back to save them, she says she's been happy for three years, he says he came back because he's supposed to, she wants him to figure out why, quadrangle etc. (Jeez, how was Jack supposed to know they were in Dharmite bliss, not tortured by Jacob's four-toed polar bears?)
Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer analyze his chopper-jumping motives. "You and me woulda never worked out, Kate," says Sawyer, noting that he was no more prepared to be her boyfriend than to be Clementine's dad. But he's grown up in the past three years because SAWLIET 2gether 4ever, PLEASE! stop talking, Kate and Sawyer, and go your separate ways. Also, we thought you jumped from the chopper because it was too heavy: Admit it, you're in love with Hurley!
Scary Others appear.
Flashback! Kate visits Claire's mom, who's prickly suspicious about Jack's half-spilled Aaron beans. Kate explains that Aaron is her grandson and Claire is alive and Kate lied. Her excuse: "I needed him." Then she ditches the toddler and tells the grandmother she's off to find Claire, stopping on the way to cry over his adorable sleepy head (touching, despite our Kate hate).
Kate and Sawyer bring Ben to Richard. "If I take him, he's not ever going to be the same again. He'll forget this ever happened and his innocence will be gone. He'll always be one of us. Still want me to take him?" Okay, what? There's a brief Otherly whisper session that includes a mention of Charles and Ellie finding out, then Richard hauls Ben into the temple.
Flash-forward! To wounded Ben lying on a cot, confronted by Revived Locke. "Hello, Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living."
What We Know Now
• Something Otherly happened to Boy Ben, but hey, he's alive.
• Everything that is happening has already happened, and they can die, maybe.
• Kate is Goofus, Juliet is Gallant.
The Wha? Factor
• The Marvelous Sawliet, Miles, and Jin have been in Dharmaville for three years, and they've never discussed the "should we kill Baby Hitler" issue?
• Since when did Sawyer break Kate's heart? Talk about changing history!
• Is it really such a bad thing to lose your innocence to Richard Alpert?