I’ve never researched something for this stinkin’ show as much as I did for this ridiculously long post. My sincere apologies on the length, but I just couldn’t cut out the transcripts.
In my opinion, Kate is one of the biggest remaining mysteries on the show. There HAS to be a connection between “What Kate Does” and why it preceded “The Substitute.” There is no way the writers would unintentionally order the episodes and clues within them, no matter what we viewers felt like after watching them. Kate’s name and number not appearing on the wall was an essential “missing” piece of “The Substitute” clues. A few logical options as to why:
1) Smocke/Nemesis didn’t show Sawyer as to manipulate Sawyer’s emotional response to the questions. Lets see… it would seem that “At some point in your life, James, probably when you were young and miserable and vulnerable. He came to you, he manipulated you, pulled your strings like you were a puppet. And as a result, choices you thought were made, were never really choices at all. He was pushing you, James. Pushing you…” So, perhaps “he” (Nemesis) simply thought he could keep Sawyer from thinking about Kate at that point and get Sawyer to follow him.
2) Kate’s never been a candidate despite the fact that we saw an interaction with her and Jacob when she was going to steal the lunch box that would eventually become her time capsule.
3) Kate has a different role in the sides and therefore is factored into a different part of Jacob’s equation. Kate is a variable in a totally new and significant way.
I’m going with option #3. (The manipulation by Smocke in #1 is evident no matter what.)
So the quick answer is that Kate is the variable and she will have some ultimate power to lead and nurture the actions of the remaining Losties (or “Candidates” now) and prove to be a reconciling force between the sides that are shaping up. Sawyer vs. Jack and possibly Jin vs. Sun at the very least. (After all, Claire is now the last one we see with Jin and she is ‘claimed’ for the other side, according to Dogen.) So if you want to be done reading now, go ahead and move on.
However, to me this quick answer doesn’t do justice to the mystery that she has been for five seasons. I went to the transcripts of all the Kate-centric shows for refreshers, and pulled a few scenes out that really struck me as important.
(From “What Kate Did”)
In the backseat of the cop car Mars says,
MARSHAL: It’s a long drive back to the arraignment, you comfy? [He laughs.] Why now?
MARSHAL: Nice, corn fed farm girl like yourself — no history of violence, straight A’s, no record, couple of speeding tickets… I just got to wonder, why’d you kill him now? [Kate doesn’t respond.] Oh, right, yeah, don’t tell me. You wouldn’t want to incriminate yourself, not after you were so smart planning it. That jury back in Iowa sure ain’t going to get hung up on pre-meditation. And a gas leak, come on, it’s — it’s amateur hour from top to bottom.
KATE: Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out.
MARSHAL: I do have you all figured out.
KATE: You don’t know anything about me.
MARSHAL: White trash mom divorces dad, starts up with some guy who’s a drinker. Then he knocks her around a little bit, she marries him, because, you know, that’s what happens. And then this drunk, this Wayne, he moves into your house, and you get to lay there every night and listen to him doing your mom right there in your daddy’s old bedroom. And even that wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t beat her up all the time. But she loves him. She defends him. If that don’t make a person want to kill somebody I don’t know what does. But the question is now, why now? Why after all these years did you just decide to blow poor Wayne up? He come knocking on your door late at night?
KATE: He never touched me.
[Suddenly there’s a black horse in the road and the car crashes into a pole. The Marshal is knocked out and Kate grabs the keys to the cuffs. He tries to stop her but she kicks him out of the car and starts driving off. She sees the horse standing there looking at her, and then drives off.]
She says, You don’t know a thing about me.
Which reminded me that she has a back-story that we haven’t seen yet. (Which also reminded me of Richard. Hmmm.)
Kate said that her dead love, Tom Brennan knows why she runs and we never really saw it.
YOUNG TOM BRENNAN: You always want to run away, Katie.
YOUNG KATE: Yeah, and you know why.
So apparently Kate had no criminal history prior to blowing up Wayne’s house and at a young age she already had an inclination to run away.
Which made me consider what would make a young child want to run?
Hold that thought while I explain where I come from next. On my last post about what we learned from What Kate Does, I made mention of some soul-type connection between the Sideways timeline characters. Which reminded me of the “Reincarnation” anagram that we saw last season on Ben’s “Canton-Rainier” van. I’m not familiar with how it works, beliefs, the history and therefore implicit clues that could be in this anagram, but I know that “Flash Forwards/aka Hoffs Drawler” was somewhat helpful in our understanding of storytelling devices of seasons past. My point: perhaps I should consider that reincarnation could have a little value to some overall understanding of what is going on.
So I did some limited reading (more like skimming) about reincarnation on good old Wikipedia (as I said, I know very little) and something caught my attention.
Apparently studies have been done on children who had claimed that they had memories of people who were dead as proof that these children were reincarnations of someone else. (Children have been just a bit important on this show…no?)
Which then made me think that perhaps Kate, as a child, had a vision of someone she once was, in another life. And as a kid, that would spook you and perhaps be the very thing that you share with your childhood best friend-turned-sweetheart. Perhaps it was a vision of her as a criminal or someone who had done something awful or was in an awful situation. Would that vision be enough to create this fear and innate need to run that would shape her life?
It has been evident that she is always running away from something, from being caught, and this has been a huge arc to her storyline. It has seemed like she is running away from herself, and maybe that’s exactly what we have seen and will see play out in more ways than one. She has been afraid of who she will become, or to put it another way, she has been afraid of a different version of herself. The poetic part of this season is that we are seeing “a different version of herself” in the non-crash Sideways timeline, but she still has evidence of being a “runner” in that timeline. So we are still missing a crucial part of the story, but maybe some of this explains why she is such a critical variable to Jacob’s equation.
Now take note of this interaction with Sawyer from “What Kate Did”:
KATE: (To Sawyer, who has started channeling the ghost of dead Wayne) “You asked me why I — why I did it. It wasn’t because you drove my father away, or the way you looked at me, or because you beat her. It’s because I hated that you were a part of me — that I would never be good. That I would never have anything good. And every time that I look at Sawyer — every time I feel something for him — I see you, Wayne. It makes me sick.”
(Does this not sound eerily familiar to Dogen’s explanation about Sayid’s infection, and how there is a darkness growing in him…?)
Is it possible that when she confesses to Sawyer that she did it because she didn’t want his (Wayne’s) darkness in her and she would never be good, it’s because a part of her has always been running from who she saw herself to be in a past life? So killing Wayne was a way of making that darkness happen (self-fulfilling prophecy) and it also was a way of her trying to distance herself from what she was afraid she would become. And even more, it is the essence of the “free-will co-existing with destiny tension” theme. She finally does something that actually forces her to run rather than accept what she had become. In one timeline (815 crashes) when she is caught, the black horse appears on the road causing the accident with Mars, which makes it possible for her to escape again. Then she ends up on the island, where she is given ‘tabula rasa’ and confesses why she killed Wayne and she encounters the black horse again. Yet she continues to run. So either she really is “born to run” or we’re missing something. Yet no matter what…we are seeing that Destiny course corrects.
Which brings me to another thought that I can’t shake about Kate and “Destiny”.
We have been giving two memorable lines about Destiny in past seasons.
(From “The Variable”)
ELOISE: Daniel… do you know what destiny means?
ELOISE: Destiny means that, if one has a special gift, then it must be nurtured.
ELOISE: Your gift, Daniel, is your mind–a mind that is meant for science, mathematics. And it’s my… job to keep you on your path.
BEN (from “Cabin Fever”)
BEN: Those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you’ll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen… because, destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.
Which brings us back to Kate. She’s been a bit fickle, no?
Destiny, The Fickle Bitch = Kate
We have seen the back and forth of Kate before. Kate chooses the beach over the caves with Jack. Kate left Jack once while Jack sacrificed himself and stayed with the Others. (“I Do”) Kate stays with Sawyer at “New Otherton” nearly making babies. (“Eggtown”) Then, she went with Jack to leave the island, while Sawyer sacrificed himself to get her off the island by jumping out of the helicopter. Then of course, Kate and Jack post-island didn’t work out because of Jack’s jealousy issues tied back to Kate’s relationship with Sawyer.
A subtly recurring theme that exists within their triangle has to do with sacrifice. We have seen Jack and Sawyer seemingly sacrifice themselves for Kate to survive. By the looks of their relationships currently, the ‘love triangle’ is dissolved. At this point, Kate is free in a certain sense, and it would appear based on her behavior/conversations in “What Kate Does” that she knows that she is free from either of them. Free in one way, yet still indebted to them.
Both men have sacrificed to save her. Both men are now primed to follow opposing sides. Now she is the ultimate variable. She believed her purpose for returning to the island is to find Claire and ensure that Claire raises Aaron, something that we can say has happened as portrayed in the Sideways timeline. After all of this, I don’t think she is ‘resolved’ yet.
I wouldn’t be surprised that instead of Kate CHOOSING Jack or Sawyer, she in fact will have to sacrifice herself for one of them. Beyond Jack and Sawyer, and looking at the remaining Losties on the list, Kate has influence (therefore power) over all of them. She is probably the most trusted non-leader Leader among Sayid, Hurley, and Sun & Jin, which gives her the unique role and ‘special gift’ of being able to nurture them along their paths, similar to how Eloise saw herself.
It will ultimately depend on who she believes and trusts the most, which includes herself (and at risk of sounding simple and/or dramatic) and any version of herself she takes into account. It will truly come down to her choice as the variable, and it will be her ultimate, destined act of redemption.
(From “The Variable”)
DANIEL: I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, I forgot about the variables. Do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack? Us. We’re the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny.”