In every season of Lost, the last episode before the finale is usually a big breath before diving in. It sets up a lot of the action that will take place at the end, and it’s mostly concerned with moving pieces into place. Those episodes have an uphill climb, since they are generally a lot of setup and not a lot of payoff. That’s true of “Born to Run,” but like most season one episodes, it’s more concerned about character relationships than about the actual events in the episode. There is a fair bit of setup regarding the launch of the raft (including the first appearance of Arszt), and Locke finally comes clean to Jack about the hatch. But in the end, it focuses most of all on Kate, and I think it suffers as a result.
The problem with Kate’s flashbacks in season one have been that we still don’t know exactly what transpired to send her on the lam. We find out in season two (I think), but that’s really too long. The circumstances of her criminal career have some sympathy built into them, but when we don’t know her motivations, everything about her seems unsympathetic. It’s a pretty major miscalculation, and it also dogged “Whatever The Case May Be.” Essentially, the knowledge of Kate’s abusive father is the one sympathetic thing in her entire background. So far, we’ve mostly seen her be a horrible person. She selfishly throws herself into people’s lives, gets them to do things for her, and winds up leaving a ton of collateral damage. Obviously, there are no saints on Lost, but everyone, from Locke to Sayid to Charlie to Jack, has some aspect that makes us understand why they do horrible things. Kate’s behavior merely looks selfish and manipulative, with no redeeming quality at all. The only thing that salvages this quality is that Sawyer isn’t taken in by her ploy to manipulate her way onto the raft. If that move had worked, this episode could probably be written off entirely.
And am I the only one who thinks that the plan to poison Jin so that Kate could get on the raft seems a little…well…flawed? I know that the characters in Lost aren’t exactly known for easy-to-follow plans, but this one has a lot of different places where it could go wrong, and nothing in it was compelling enough to overlook that. I don’t mind Sun being responsible, but having Kate be the one to convince her to do it? Seems like one twist too many for me, and as twists go, they’ve done better.
But in the end, it moves things along. Even if Kate seems thoroughly unsympathetic, at least Sawyer doesn’t fall for it. And if the plan is complicated, then it makes sense that it didn’t work. It still isn’t nearly as good an episode as “Tabula Rasa,” but at least it has something to do with anything, unlike “Whatever The Case.” Mostly, I’m just excited to see pieces moving into place. We’re in the home stretch. Time for the final move of the season.
- I like Walt’s premonition that Locke shouldn’t open the hatch, but I think it might be a non-starter of a threat. I’ll have to get back into season two before I can decide if that’s true.
- Lost is rife with bad parenting, so it’s nice to see Charlie and Michael learn to be decent dads, even if it’s in unusual circumstances.
- Everyone sure got over Boone’s death quickly, didn’t they?
- The episode kind of thumps us over the head with the “Kate has to run” thing. Several characters actually say something to that effect. It reminds me of the Charlie’s “moth” metaphor earlier on.
- I like that Locke’s main threat to Jack is that he doesn’t feel the need to do what Jack tells him. Everyone uses their discretion on the Island!
- I’m going to be out on vacation next week, so I’m taking a break from Re-Lost until I get back. Join me again on June 28th for “Exodus Part I.”