Kate goes to great lengths to save young Ben’s life, while Jack infuriates everyone by refusing to do anything to help.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Bobby Roth

Flashback

In 2005, Kate visits her friend Cassidy, with a less-than-one-year-old baby Aaron along for the ride. (Cassidy is the mother of Sawyer’s baby, and the woman who helped Kate covertly meet her mother, to ask why she turned her own daughter in. All of this happened before Oceanic 815 crashed on the island.) This is the first time Cassidy has seen Kate since the Oceanic 6 were rescued, and Cassidy’s very happy to see her. She’s followed the media coverage of the Oceanic 6, and knows Kate was one of those rescued. She asks what brings Kate to her door today, and Kate replies, “Sawyer sent me.”

Kate tells Cassidy the truth about the Oceanic 6 and what happened to them on the island. She gives Cassidy money to take care of Clementine, per Sawyer’s request. And she explains Sawyer’s sacrifice, when he jumped from the helicopter. Cassidy, still bitter about how Sawyer swindled her and refused to accept that Clementine was his daughter when she visited him in prison, calls Sawyer a coward, believing he jumped out of the chopper to run out on Kate. When Cassidy asks about Aaron, Kate tries to perpetuate the lie that he’s hers, but Cassidy sees through it, and asks why she’s lying about being Aaron’s mother. “Because I have to,” Kate replies.

In 2007, the familiar scene at the L.A. pier plays out from Kate’s perspective, and while Sun holds Ben at gunpoint, she exits in her car, with Aaron in the backseat. Aaron complains that he’s thirsty and needs milk, so she stops at a supermarket. Inside the store, Jack calls Kate’s cell, but she doesn’t answer. While she’s looking at her phone, Aaron disappears from her side. She panics, running through the store and checking every aisle. Finally she finds him with a friendly lady who’s helping him — a woman who strongly resembles Aaron’s real mother, Claire. Kate grabs Aaron and holds him tight.

The next morning, Kate takes Aaron to visit Cassidy and Clementine, who calls her “Auntie Kate.” Alone with Cassidy, Kate spills her guts, telling her that the other members of the Oceanic 6 are going back to the island, and that Jack says they were never supposed to leave. Kate then tells her about losing Aaron in the store last night, and that “as scared as I was, I wasn’t surprised.” She says she’d always expected him to be taken from her, because she took him herself. But she justifies her actions, saying that Aaron needed her. Cassidy corrects her: “You needed him.” She says that because Sawyer left her, she grasped onto Aaron to fill the void that Sawyer left.

That night, Kate goes back to the hotel where she and Jack saw Carole Littleton, Claire’s mother, meeting with her lawyer. Carole seems wary at meeting her again, and explains that she’s still confused about Jack’s visit the day before, when he was “going on and on about some person named Aaron.” Kate confesses everything, that Aaron is Carole’s grandson, and that she believes Claire is still alive on the island. She explains the Oceanic 6’s lie to Carole, telling her that when Claire disappeared on the island and left Aaron alone, she decided to keep Aaron herself. She knew that Claire would want him to be adopted, but Kate couldn’t bare turning him over to a stranger, feeling that she needed to protect him. When Carole asks her why she lied this whole time, and why Kate never came to her in the first place, Kate replies, “Because I needed him.” She apologizes and gives Carole a picture of Aaron, and then reveals that he’s asleep in a hotel room two doors down from Carole’s, where Kate has checked in. “I know this is a lot to handle,” Kate explains tearfully, “but when you’re ready, he’s waiting for you.” She says that she’s told Aaron that Carole is his grandmother, and that she’ll be taking care of him while Kate is gone. Carole asks Kate where she’s going. Kate replies that she’s going back to the island to find Claire.

Minutes later, Kate returns to her own hotel room where Aaron is sleeping, and while the two of them are still alone, she says an anguished goodbye and exits.

Now

Immediately following the events of “He’s Our You,” an unconscious Jin gets a call on his radio after being knocked out by Sayid, who’s disappeared into the jungle. It’s Phil, who says that Sayid has escaped; Jin reports that he was attacked by Sayid, before he spots young Ben on the ground. He checks on the boy, who’s gravely wounded but isn’t dead yet. “Please help,” young Ben whispers. Jin puts him in his van and drives.

At the Barracks, everyone is still cleaning up after the burning van tore through the facility. Horace rallies the troops, explaining that Sayid escaped, and what that means to the truce. Jack questions Horace’s words, and Horace bristles, asking Jack who he is and telling him that there’s no way Sayid escaped on his own. He had to have had help from someone in the Dharma Initiative.

Roger Linus approaches Kate on the sidelines and asks for help cranking a winch. Even though she’s in the motor pool, she has no idea what he’s talking about. The two of them commiserate over their respective sucky jobs, and Roger reveals his name to her, which of course she recognizes. Jin pulls up in his van and carries Ben into the Infirmary. Roger sees this and freaks out.

At Dharma’s Security HQ, Sawyer desperately checks through various video feeds from around the island, trying to find any sign of Sayid. Kate enters the building, tells him that it was Ben that Sayid shot. Sawyer warns her to keep quiet, and that she shouldn’t be in there. Horace and a crew of Security guys — including Jin and Miles — enter, and Horace asks who Kate is and what she’s doing there. Sawyer covers for her with a lie that he was trying to find out if she’d seen anything when Sayid escaped. She didn’t, so he dismisses her. Horace wants to see Sayid’s empty cell, and upon checking, they find a set of janitor’s keys are still in the open lock. Horace says there are only three janitors working for Dharma: Roger Linus, someone named Lilly, and the new guy, Jack Shephard. Sawyer says he’ll question the new guy, and leaves, taking Miles with him.

Outside, Sawyer tells Miles to grab Jack, Kate, and Hurley and keep them in a house, together. Sawyer explains that he doesn’t want them talking to anybody else, or things could spin even further out of control. Sawyer then goes to the Infirmary, where Roger is waiting outside on the same bench where Sawyer and Jin recently waited while Amy was in labor. Roger asks who did this, but Sawyer merely says they don’t know yet. Roger says he doesn’t know how Ben is doing, because Juliet ordered him outside. Sawyer offers to get an update for him, but before going in, he asks Roger if he has his keys on him. Roger can’t find them in any of his pockets.

Inside, Sawyer finds Juliet furiously performing emergency surgery on young Ben. She tells him that the regular doctor is at the Looking Glass station until Friday. Juliet takes Sawyer aside and quietly tells him that Ben is bleeding internally someplace that she can’t find or fix. He needs a real surgeon. He needs Jack. Sawyer leaves at once to retrieve the doc.

At a Dharma house, Miles loads his shotgun while Jack, Kate, and Hurley watch. Jack asks if they’re under house arrest. Miles says no, they can leave anytime they want, but he’ll shoot them in the leg if they do. He’s acting under Sawyer’s orders, he explains. Kate defends Sawyer as “just doing his job.”

Hurley looks at his hand with an odd expression on his face, and Miles asks what he’s doing. Hurley says he’s checking to see if he’s disappearing, like in the movie Back to the Future. He says that if young Ben dies here in 1977, then they won’t exist here because adult Ben is “the one who made us come back here in the first place.” Miles explains that it doesn’t work that way, that history can’t be changed no matter what. Sayid shot young Ben, he says, and that’s exactly what always happened. Ben didn’t die, “so the kid can’t either,” he concludes. Kate asks what if Miles is wrong. Before she gets an answer, Sawyer rushes inside, and asks Jack to come to the Infirmary, quick. But to everyone’s surprise, Jack refuses. Even if it means Ben dies, Sawyer can’t persuade him to go.

Moments later, Kate looks out the window and watches as Sawyer returns to the Infirmary and talks to Roger. She approaches Jack and demands to know why he won’t save Ben. Jack says that according to Miles, they can’t change anything. Kate counters that maybe history means for Jack to be the one that saves Ben. Jack reminds her of all that’s going to happen in thirty years, when they are captured by Ben. He says he’s already saved Benjamin Linus by operating on him once — and he did it at Kate’s behest — and he doesn’t need to do it again. Kate argues that this entire situation is their fault, because they brought Sayid with them when they returned. Jack says that the last time he was on the island, he spent all of his time trying to fix things. “Did you ever think,” he asks, “that maybe the island wants to fix things itself?” He thinks he was just getting in the way of that the first time they were here. Kate says that she doesn’t like the new Jack; she liked the old Jack better. He replies that no, she didn’t like the old Jack, either. She storms out of the house, ignoring Miles’ objections.

At the Infirmary, Juliet is attending to Ben when Kate enters, tells the nurse she’s a universal blood donor, and she’d like to donate blood to help Ben. Juliet draws her blood, and while the two of them have a moment alone, Juliet asks why Jack won’t help. Kate replies that she doesn’t understand anything Jack does anymore. Juliet asks if anything happened between the two of them off-island; Kate reveals that they were engaged.

Roger busts into the Infirmary, unable to sit outside and wait any longer, demanding to know what’s happening. Kate offers to sit with him, while Juliet works on Ben. Roger tells Kate that Ben stole his keys and set Sayid free. Kate asks why Ben would do that, and Roger replies simply, “Because of me.” He asks if she has any kids, and after a moment’s hesitation, she says no. Roger says he always thought he’d be the best father ever, but things didn’t work out that way. Kate asks about Ben’s mom, and Roger explains that she died giving birth. He says that in coming here to the island, he was trying to do what he thought his wife would have wanted, “but I guess a boy just needs his mother.” Kate is visibly shaken at these words. Ben suddenly goes into hypoxic shock, having great difficulty breathing, and when Roger freaks, Juliet orders him back outside again.

At the Dharma house, Hurley and Miles have an amusing conversation about the nature of time travel. Hurley has particular difficulty understanding how the fact that everything they’re doing right now is part of history. Miles repeatedly loses his patience with Hurley, until Hurley asks a question Miles can’t answer: when the castaways first met and captured Ben in 2004, why didn’t Ben remember Sayid as the man who shot him in 1977? “Huh,” Miles replies. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Outside the Infirmary, Juliet tells Roger that Ben is stable. She sends him to the Staff station for medical supplies, and he thanks her for everything she’s doing. Kate sits nearby, listening, and once Roger is gone, she looks to Juliet for the truth. Ben really is stable, Juliet says, but not any better, and she can’t fix him. Kate asks if they could take him somewhere in the submarine for treatment, but Juliet says it’s gone and won’t be back for months. Kate mentions time travel, and asks Juliet if Ben can really die here. Juliet says Ben is going to die, because “he’s in a medicinal situation that is not resolvable.” Kate says there must be something they can do, and Juliet is suddenly lost in thought. “Maybe there’s something they can do,” she says, referring to the Others.

Juliet and Kate secretly load young Ben into a Dharma van. Juliet wants to come along, but Kate tells her to stay here. She has a good life here, and being part of this will only wreck it. Juliet says Sawyer is going to come asking about Ben, and she’ll have to tell him the truth, but she’ll give Kate as much of a head start as she can. Juliet wishes her luck, and Kate takes off.

At the sonic fence, Kate stops the van. Ben fades, delirious: “Tell my dad I’m sorry I stole his keys,” he says softly. Another van approaches; it’s Sawyer. To Kate’s surprise, he says he didn’t come to stop her, he came to help her. He disarms the fence and carries Ben into the jungle. Kate asks why he’s helping her try to save Ben, and he says he asked Juliet that same question when Ben was first brought in wounded. Juliet’s answer was that she wouldn’t let a kid die, no matter what he was going to grow up to be. Sawyer says his reason is Juliet’s; he’s doing this for her.

At the Dharma house, Juliet barges in, angry, and asks Miles and Hurley where Jack is. They tell her he’s in the shower, and Hurley, observing Juliet’s agitated state, asks if Jack is “in trouble.” Juliet says she needs to talk to him, and asks for privacy. The two of them leave the house, and Miles is now considerably more interested in hearing Hurley’s thoughts about time travel.

In the bathroom, Jack gets out of the shower to find Juliet waiting for him. She’s angry, saying she needed him earlier when “that kid” was bleeding out, that he was a surgeon and she needed him and he didn’t help. Jack argues that “that kid” is Ben. Juliet says he’s not Ben yet, he’s just a kid. Jack says he’s sorry, but he can’t help her. Juliet says she’s not asking for his help, because he made it very clear he wasn’t interested in helping. She says that it’s up to two people who actually care now — Kate and Sawyer. Jack argues that he cares, that he came back here to save all of them. “We didn’t need saving!” Juliet shouts. “You came back here for you!” She asks him to tell her why. He says he came back because he was supposed to, and she asks what he’s “supposed” to do. When he replies he doesn’t know yet, she bitterly tells him he’d better figure it out.

In the jungle, Kate offers to carry Ben for a while, but Sawyer declines. She asks if it’s clue that young Ben was the one who set Sayid free, and Sawyer replies that “a kid will do almost anything if he’s pissed off at his folks.” Kate asks if that’s why he asked her to take care of Clementine, before jumping from the helicopter. He asks if she did as he asked, and she tells him of course she did. He asks about his daughter, and she tells him that Clementine looks like him when she smiles. Then Kate tells him Cassidy’s theory on why he jumped from the helicopter — that he was running out on her. “You and me would’a never worked out, Kate,” Sawyer says. “I wasn’t anymore fit to be your boyfriend than I was to be that little girl’s father.” She comments that he seems to be doing okay with Juliet. He replies that he “did a lot of growing up” over the last three years.

The Others suddenly emerge from the surrounding jungle and level weapons on them. One of them says that Kate and Sawyer’s presence here is a violation of the truce, but Sawyer cuts him off, demanding to be taken to Richard Alpert.

Some time later, Kate, Sawyer, Ben, and the Others finally reach Richard, who steps out of the jungle to meet them. He greets Sawyer as “James,” recognizes Ben, but asks who Kate is. Sawyer says, “She’s with me.” Kate explains that they’ve come to ask if he can save Ben. Richard hesitates. “If I take him,” he says slowly, “he’s not ever going to be the same again.” Kate asks what that means, and Richard replies that Ben “will forget this ever happened, and… his innocence will be gone. He will always be one of us.” Richard asks if they’re sure they want him to do this. Kate and Sawyer consider it, until finally Kate says yes. One of the Others steps forward and tells Richard, “You should not do this without asking Ellie. If Charles finds out…” Richard replies, “Let him find out. I don’t answer to either of them.”

Richard carries Ben into the jungle alone, until he arrives at the ancient Temple from which we’ve recently seen the smoke monster emerge and retreat. Richard accesses a door and takes young Ben inside.

At the Hydra station in 2007, adult Ben awakens to find John Locke sitting at his bedside. Ben is clearly stunned to see Locke alive. “Hello, Ben,” says Locke. “Welcome back to the land of the living.”

  • Sawyer asked Kate to see to it that his daughter, Clementine, received all the financial support she would need from her father.
    Question: What was the favor Sawyer asked of Kate? [4.10]
  • Kate decided to give Aaron to his grandmother Carole Littleton.
    Question: What happened to Aaron? Why does Kate no longer have him? [5.06]
  • Why did Kate change her mind and decide to go back to the island?
    Question: Kate decided to return to the island to find Claire, presumably to help Claire escape and be reunited with her son. [5.06]
  • It was always what happened.
    Question: Did Sayid change history by shooting Ben? Or was his attempted murder always what happened? [5.10]
  • Whatever Richard Alpert did to Ben inside the Temple altered him somehow, and erased his memory of the events leading up to his near-death.
    Question: If history wasn’t changed when Sayid shot Ben, then why doesn’t adult Ben seem to remember meeting any of the Oceanic survivors when he was a child? [5.10]

  • What exactly did Richard Alpert do to young Ben inside the Temple? Why did it cause Ben’s memory to be erased and his innocence to be lost?

Even the Evangeline Lilly critics out there — and there are many of you — have to admit that this episode featured her best work to date. The scene where Kate leaves Aaron behind is one of the most heartbreaking moments Lost has ever featured.

True to its title, “Whatever Happened, Happened” illustrates exactly how time cannot be changed. In essence, it boils down to this: just because the castaways have free will and can do whatever they want in 1977, doesn’t mean that events won’t unfold exactly the way history records.

I was fascinated at how very different Roger Linus was with Kate than what we’ve seen of him with his son. He was friendly, funny, and downright charming. Could it be more clear how much resentment he holds towards his son? And yet, his paternal instincts finally kicked in for real when he saw his son had been hurt. Perhaps this will mark the beginning of a change in the way Roger treats his son? We know that on the day of his death — which was also Ben’s birthday — he made a real effort to reach out to his son. Maybe this is his first step onto that path.

Jack actually made some decent, understandable points in his explanation to Kate about why he wouldn’t operate on young Ben. Though his first answer, that they “can’t change anything” regarding history, doesn’t wash, because it was one of them (Sayid) that changed things by shooting Ben in the first place. But the truth was what came out later with Juliet: like Sayid, he secretly hopes that Ben dying will prevent all of the terrible things Ben did to all of them. He was right about one thing, kinda-sorta… It was the island that “fixed” Ben, not himself or anyone else.

Jack’s line to Kate about how she didn’t really like the old Jack, after she claimed to prefer him over the new Jack, was all about what happened between the two of them and how their engagement ended badly. His obsession with being “Mr. Fix Everything” led to his downward spiral into prescription drug abuse, alcohol, and a need to control. And Jack wasn’t lying when he said this; the old Jack ended very badly, and it was only Locke’s death that pulled him out of it, helping him to change. It may yet turn out in the end that the new Jack is more to Kate’s liking, after all.

To clarify the timeline, this is how I believe Kate’s adventures off the island played out… Kate returned to the mainland with the Oceanic 6. She “adopted” Aaron. She received her settlement from Oceanic Airlines. She visited Cassidy and gave her money, fulfilling her promise to Sawyer. She was put on trial, amid a media circus, and ultimately acquitted. She and Jack made nice and moved in together. Jack asked her to marry him. Sometime during their engagement, Kate speaks to Cassidy on the phone regarding a meeting of some kind. (Maybe they were just getting together for coffee or something, and she kept it from Jack because Cassidy is linked to Sawyer?) Jack dopes up, Kate breaks off the engagement. Locke visits everyone as Jeremy Bentham. Jack tries to convince Kate to return to the island with him, she refuses at first, but eventually changes her mind because she knows Claire is alive and wants to reunite Aaron with his real mother. Sound good?

As the father of a small boy, the scene where Kate says goodbye to Aaron absolutely destroyed me. But I have to say, as sad as I am that Aaron is now separated from the only mother he’s ever known, I am really glad to see that Lost’s writers are finally letting Kate grow, change, and accept responsibility. Up until now, she’s just been “the love ‘em and leave ‘em” chick, running out on everyone she ever loved and anything resembling reliability. Here, at last, she’s taken responsibility for her actions, and made a choice that will change her forever: to go back and find Claire.

Now we know why she went back. She seemed like the least likely of all of them to ever return, so I had high hopes for the explanation on this one, and happily, it didn’t disappoint. Not only does it make perfect sense, it also gives her character new territory to explore. That’s an example of good writing, folks — serving the plot and evolving the character in a “two birds with one stone” scenario. Aspiring writers take note: this is how it’s done.

Can I just say how much I love that the return of the “love quadrangle” hasn’t led to melodrama so far? I love that Kate and Juliet are actually on the same side, I love that Kate and Sawyer haven’t stirred the pot, and I love that Sawyer and Juliet are remaining steadfastly and unapologetically steadfast to one another. I hope this can only mean that the writers are as disinterested in clichéd melodrama as we, the viewers, are, and they intend to take the “love quadrangle” into more interesting territory than unrequited pinings and secretly cheating partners.

Hurley and Miles’ conversation about time travel was one of my favorite scenes, and Hurley’s repeated confusion with it was undoubtedly the writers having a bit of fun with us, the viewers, many of whom have complained about the difficulty of understanding Lost’s rules of time travel. But they cleverly turned it to their advantage, verbalizing a question that’s been on many viewers’ minds — regarding Ben not remembering Sayid in 2004 if he was shot by him in 1977 — as a way of setting up the answer that was to come later in the episode. I also love that Miles and Hurley’s conversation ended with the two of them suddenly bonding.

Regarding that answer, apparently Ben’s memory will be altered by whatever happens to him in the Temple. Sure, this is an awfully convenient — and awfully sudden — plot point. But clearly something big is up with Ben and the Temple. What exactly happened when Richard took him inside is going to be the subject of much fan debate. It muddies the waters significantly about Ben’s devious ways: Is he bad because of the choices he makes as an adult? Because of the abuse he suffered from his father? Or because of the mysterious change he has now undergone in the Temple? Fans who love to hate Ben are probably going to cry foul at what they perceive as the writers trying to absolve Ben of all responsibility for his evil actions. But I say, let’s wait and see how it all plays out.

For now, here’s what we know. Richard’s taking Ben into the Temple will cause Ben to:

  • lose his memory of being shot, and (presumably) all of the events surrounding that action
  • lose his innocence, whatever that means, exactly
  • from now on, always be considered an Other

The big question on my mind is this. Remember Danielle Rousseau’s people Montand, Robert, and all those fellows that went inside the Temple earlier this season? And how they came back from that experience… different? Danielle believed they’d been infected by some kind of disease which changed them fundamentally, to the point that Robert was willing to shoot and kill his own wife and unborn child. Whatever you want to call it, it’s clear that exposure to the interior of the Temple changed the French people significantly. So now that Ben has been taken inside the Temple as well, will he be changed the same way that they were? If so, does that mean that the Temple made the Frenchmen into true Others? (And what would that even mean, exactly?) What we’re meant to believe from this episode is that the good, kind boy that was young Ben was changed into the devious, scheming, manipulative man that we know as adult Ben — by whatever is done to him inside that Temple.

This leads to all sorts of new questions. The most obvious being, what is the Temple? Is it the smoke monster that alters people inside there? How? Why? To what end? What does this mean for Ben? Is he not in full control of his actions? And what about Richard Alpert? I doubt this was his first time inside the Temple. It seems obvious that he answers to the island, the smoke monster, or Jacob (assuming all three aren’t one and the same!). So maybe he’s immune to whatever happens inside the Temple. Or maybe he underwent the procedure already. Or maybe Richard IS the smoke monster! Aaaah! One could go mad theorizing.

Whatever it all means… does this mean that Kate and Sawyer, in choosing to allow Ben to be healed and changed by Richard, are somewhat responsible for what eventually happens to the Dharma Initiative at the Purge? It’s a confluence of events, to be certain. A domino effect, that many of our characters will bear some responsibility for (most recently Sayid, for shooting Ben and starting all this). But it could be traced back further, to the Oceanic 6 leaving and returning to the island. Or even all the way back to Jacob, for ordering Locke to move the island — which adult Ben did instead. How much of it comes down to choice, and how much of it is fate? Perhaps when Lost’s endgame comes into focus next year, “fate vs. choice” will be revealed as the fundamental theme of the entire show.

When one of the Others told Richard that, in essence, “Ellie” and “Charles” would not be pleased that Richard took this action with young Ben, it was a confirmation of info we either already knew or suspected: Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore were, in the past, major players in the Others. Charles was their leader at one point, and it looks like Eloise held a position of similar power as well. This goes a long way to explain the two of them and their places in the world off the island. But it leads me back to a frequently-asked question from earlier in the season: were Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore ever a couple? And could that coupling have resulted in one Daniel Faraday? I hope we find out soon.

As much as I’ve been enjoying the trip back through time to the Dharma era, I’m very glad to see that Locke and Ben have reentered the larger picture. But for what feels like the gazillionth time, the episode left me wanting to know… Where in the world is Daniel? Where is Desmond? And where, oh where are Rose & Bernard?!?

Your turn.