Though last night's episode wasn't as exciting as Lost's season premiere last week, it still offered interesting revelations. Just like the last book of the Bible, it looks like "revelation" is one of the themes of the show's final chapter.
Before we get into "What Kate Does" (the episode's title), let's take a cue from Lost and jump around in time for a bit. First, it was pointed out on one fan site that last week's episode gave us a glimpse of Desmond's apparent wedding ring.
The question is: Does Penny even exist in this parallel universe to be his wife? And if not, then who is?
Secondly, in season two (when Michael was trying to get Walt back from the Others, leading him to incessantly and annoyingly say, "My boy! They took my boy! I'm trying to get my boy!") Michael was given a list of names that he needed to lure back to the Others' camp, and disguise it as Walt's rescue mission. Could this be identical to the list that was hidden in the ankh?
The only names missing from the list—of the castaways who are present on the Island in 2007—are Sayid, Jin, and Sun. However, the latter group were a part of Walt's rescue mission, of their own volition, as they took Desmond's boat as part of a sting operation, cooked up by Sayid and Jack.
Lastly, there's the van that Ben was driving around L.A. as he was trying to get the band back together in several episodes of season five. Printed on the side was: Canton-Rainier, the supposed name of a carpet-cleaning company.
Like the funeral parlor that held Locke's body (Hoffs/Drawlar, an anagram for "flash forward"), Canton-Rainer is an anagram for "reincarnation."
Which brings us to Sayid, who has risen from the dead...not necessarily a good thing. For one thing, as Sayid was dying in Hurley's lap in last week's episode, he said, 'Wherever I'm going," meaning his afterlife, "it will be very unpleasant." So what exactly is the deal with Sayid? Hurley, per usual, is the voice of the audience when he asks Sayid if he's a zombie.
And while Sayid says that he is not a zombie, he doesn't really seem too sure.
Is anyone else sick of Temple life? After waiting all these seasons to get a glimpse at the spiritual core of the Island, I'm already annoyed with it and the dirty, barefoot hippies who live there. However, the religious symbolism of what's been going down in the Temple is heavy, man. Obviously dunking Sayid in the water was supposed to be some sort of baptism/rebirth thing. And now that his torso wounds are healing so quickly, he's looking more and more like Jesus.
Also, there's a lot of original sin and redemption going on. Sayid, who was a torturer in his (last?) life, is now being subjected to the same sort of methods he once used, as if his sins are being turned against him. Meanwhile, Jack, was offered a chance at redemption—in the form of a deadly pill he was supposed to give to Sayid—by trying to end a life, rather than save one.
And the sins and redemption and everything else that goes on in the Temple is being orchestrated by Dogen, the apparent leader of the Temple crew.
His name is a reference to Dōgen Zenji, a Zen Buddhist teacher. Dōgen's big thing was "oneness of practice-enlightenment." Some of his teachings and writings are particularly applicable to this episode:
To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever.
You know what else is interesting about Dōgen? This:
As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth. If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages-undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment-find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?
Anyway, back to the Temple, Dogen had some revelations for Jack:
So Sayid is "claimed" (could that mean "possessed?") and "infected." Is this the same infection that claimed Rousseau's group? What we do know—or so Dogen says—is that it's the same infection that has claimed Claire. Let's talk about Claire, Kate, and Aaron. The three of them seem to be tied together, no matter which universe they are in.
Let's go "through the looking glass" to the parallel universe, where Oceanic 815 has successfully landed in L.A. Kate carjacks a cab with Claire in it. But this is a slightly different Kate. She doesn't seem as concerned as she once did with the well-being of her fellow man.
She also seems to have some kind of flash of recognition for Jack. This most likely has a lot of meaning and it reminded me of when Jacob popped up in the pre-Island lives of the castaways, reading Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge.
Pieced together, could these be clues that these parallel universes will at some point converge? And could the whole "rising" aspect be a hint about reincarnation? Perhaps this alternate timeline is not so much an alternate timeline as it is a new lifetime. Could this be the reincarnation of the castaways?
Anyway, after rooting through Claire's bag in the mechanic's bathroom, we get a glimpse of the old Kate, who has a clear sense of right and wrong, despite her willingness to break the law. Among Claire's possessions, she finds a stuffed whale.
In the other timeline (or universe or whatever) Kate was the one who gave Aaron the stuffed whale, as seen in season four.
In this new timeline, Kate was able to accomplish what she actually set out to do in her original timeline: Reunite Aaron with his birth mother. When Claire goes into false labor, Kate brings her to the hospital and helps her come to the decision that she should raise her baby. Two big things happen here. Number one:
The date on Claire's ultrasound is October 22, 2004. One month after the original Oceanic 815 took off and subsequently crashed on the Island.
Ethan! And this time he's using his real last name (Goodspeed). Just like in the first timeline, Ethan is a doctor who is sympathetic to Claire's situation. However, in this new timeline, he doesn't want to stick her with needles if he doesn't have to.
So, what else? Well, it's not always sunny in Otherland, as Aldo taught us.
After he's a jerk to Kate and then Jin, he gets shot by Claire:
Claire seems to have taken over Rousseau's job of being the crazed mountain woman with messy hair, rigging booby traps and toting a rifle, whose child was taken from her. But is this really Claire? Or is she claimed?
And what could that mean for Aaron, if Kate manages to actually find her in this universe?
So many questions, so few answers.