Your mythology-free 'Lost' review: Kate and Sawyer's anger

Last night’s episode was entitled “What Kate Does,” and what Kate does as a character on Lost is provide the show with a number of things. She’s been a strong, sexy protagonist who has contributed to the series’ most enduring love triangle, at least until Sawyer fell commitedly in love with Juliet. She’s also been one of the series’ action heroes — good at slashing her way across the island; good at eluding the law in flashbacks, -forwards, and now -sideways.

What fuels Kate is her anger. Now, I know there are a lot of Lost fans who don’t like the character of Kate, who put down Evangeline Lilly’s acting as one-note. But I suspect that what Lilly has been asked to do many times with Kate is to play her as closed-in, guarded, shut-down — to rein in the character’s emotions and to let seething anger burn out through her eyes like Superman’s (Supergirl’s?) heat vision. In other words, I think Lilly gets a bad rap.

Last night, however, I was completely absorbed in the way Kate’s anger had subtle changes. When she took over that L.A. taxi, Kate had her ruthless-criminal anger working; when she says, “I’m wanted for murder,” you believe this woman, who can be so adorable that she can withstand Sawyer’s nickname of “Freckles,” is entirely capable of killing someone.

Similarly, you could say that Sawyer’s single expression throughout last night’s episode — sullen rage — was also a tediously one-note performance. I’d say the opposite: That Josh Holloway did a fine job of reminding us that this is a tough guy who’s going through one stage of grief, who just lost the love of his life, the one woman who made him feel vulnerable again. Now you can almost see Sawyer willing himself to grow a new, hard shell over his most tender feelings. He never wants to be that vulnerable again, and one way to do that is to go excessively macho, to bolt, to flee, to run through the jungle with a gun and bark at people, including Kate.

I don’t want these mini-reviews of Lost to run too long, so I’ll just add a couple of other bullet points about last night:

• I think my favorite Lost character is Ken Leung’s Miles; when he told Jack last night in the Other Others cave, “We’ll be in the food court when you need us,” I almost fell out laughing. I always gravitate toward the sarcastic, poker-faced guys who relieve the tension in an action show.

• Which is also why I loved Rob McElhenney’s appearance last night, as did my colleague Annie Barrett. When he cut off some verging-on-long, expository dialogue by yelping exasperatedly, “Is this a press conference?” — well, again, a laugh goes a long way to carry me across much of Lost‘s entertaining mumbo-jumbo.

How about you? Thoughts on Kate and Sawyer?

Follow @kentucker

For more: ‘Lost’ recap: Staying connected


Comments (207 total) Add your comment
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  • Tricia

    We’ll be in the food court when you need us.
    I love Lost humor

    • harry

      Totally ha ha ha ha!!!

      • Stephanie Tanner

        Miles is great. Jack and Kate are horribly awful – everytime they are on screen the show devolves into a bad soap opera and it is excruciatingly boring. I look forward to shows about ANY other character but them. Juliet had more strength than Kate and a FAR more interesting storyline. Next week’s episode hopefully will be better. My hope is they do something like the Star Wars Prequels did with Jar Jar, just quickly write them off. Say they went to Hydra or Baltimore, whatever.

      • me

        omg stephanie how can you say such things? i hate when I hear that – they have been central characters since the very beginning so I guess you have been watching a soap opera havent you? ugh. THIS IS NOT HOW ALL LOST FANS FEEL.

      • Stephanie Tanner

        @me – I have never liked the Jack-centric or Kate-centric episodes. My favorties are Swayer, Ben, Locke, Sayid, Hurley, Miles, and Juliet. They all have something in common : Personality and Charisma. Juliet and Sawyer’s realtionship was not shoved down our throats but subtle and sweet. Instead of Kate and Jack I would have been happier if they kept Charlie.

      • jodipo

        oh god, Juliet was the most boring, one trick pony of a character I have ever seen. Kate is not only hotter, but actually has a story behind her attitude. Juliet was just blah cause she was a nothing character. I for one am glad she is dead. now if they would only kill off sayid

      • RRgop

        OMG Stephanie I totally agree with you. Every second Kate is on screen is painful to watch. I couldn’t even make it through the full episode the other night. She is like a really bad comic book hero. I wish they would kill her off already.

      • EM

        Anyone who thinks Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet was anything less than amazing must have missed “One Of Us”. And her horrifying scenes at the end of the Incident. And her delivery of one of the most powerful lines of the series: “I hate you”.

      • bbwlovers

        Where’s the food court?

      • Madam_P

        I agree with Stephanie Tanner — I can’t stand Kate either. She’s an idiot who can’t follow the simplest of instructions and always ends up getting everyone else in trouble. And Jack is Mr.-Always-Right who won’t ever even remotely consider anyone else’s input. Ugh. Can’t stand to watch either of them.

    • Kaiulani

      So glad somebody finally mentioned the food court line. It was a classic!

      • bbwlovers

        The Nightman pins my arms down and we become one – thats the smoke monster

    • murley

      i am glad to have one of my favorite character’s (and half of my otp – miles and hurley) recognized for his brilliance. miles has definitely become a fave of mine on lost and the food court line was my laugh out loud moment last night.

      • Susan

        I also liked his earlier line to Sayid: “Hugo has taken on a leadership role…So that’s exciting.”

    • Erin

      I love how his sarcasm was so subtle you almost didn’t catch it. I died laughing though.

      • Gabe

        Subtle? He’s dripping in sarcasm.

  • ary

    Please keep up the great reviews, Ken! It’s nice to have a balance between all-out crazy theory recaps and character-oriented thoughts.

    • rerun

      All-out crazy theory? Who on EW would possibly do that? Love me some Doc and love me some simple stuff.

    • Tricia

      I totally agree. While I enjoy reading Doc Jensen’s over-long recaps, I often get lost (or bored) by his deep thoughts and theories. Reading this gives me an idea of what went on in the episode, but doesn’t leave me mind-boggled.

      • Daniel

        Exactly

  • Anon

    Mac was awful.

    • Charlie

      I completely agree. He was miscast.

      • murley

        i think it was hard because his mannerisms and tone were so close to mac that i kept feeling like it was actually MAC on the island.

  • Yes

    Conversations between Miles and Sawyer during the intervening years must’ve been hilarious.

    • Q

      Can you imagine the nicknames Sawyer must have busted out over the years?!?

      • Stacie

        Haahahahahahaha!

    • Mo

      I thought it was precious how in the last episode Miles looked so hurt that Sawyer had only asked him to stay behind so that he could talk to ghost Juliet. Those guys must have become friends over their years working at Dharma – I wish we could see some of that. And about Kate, I’ll take her because I love Lost as it is and couldn’t figure how it can be improved, but she’s not one of my favorite characters. She just started bothering me in one of the first few episodes when she was all flirty and horny like two days after the plane crash and the deaths of all those people. Sorry, that character struck a wrong note with me then.

      • rerun

        I heart Kate. When u see her off island, you finally get a chance to see how gorgeous she is.

      • murley

        i loved the moment when sawyer asked miles to stay behind feeling heartwarmed by the bond they no doubt shared and my throat caught when miles called sawyer “boss”. i then shared miles’ crestfall when sawyer revealed why he asked him to stay behind.

      • Andrea77

        I thought last nights show of Lost was weaker than last weeks but still good! I like juiet and sawyer together though very sweet :) Now come on what’s up with Richard never aging and claire? ohhh and the guy in black?

      • Rob

        I never really had anything agaisnt Kate and I find the hating of her surprising. Regardless I think richard is the man. There is so much mystery around him. It’s intriguing.

    • popculturehaiku

      Another reason why a dramedy series about those three years skipped during “LaFleur” is my fantasy “Lost” spin-off.

      • elsie

        haha YES, featuring the hilarious antics of that crazy fanatical henchman, Sideshow Phil!

  • Cindy

    I agree with you on Lilly, Holloway & there performances. In the mumbo jumbo of Lost it’s the characters & performances that ground us. To say you dislike a character or actor that much I feel is to not ‘get’ the experience. On a lesser show maybe, but not this one. Not at this stage of the game. And thank you for writing a review about what impacted you in this episode, instead of writing 10,000 words on everything under the sun. Yes Doc Jensen, I’m looking at you…

  • psyche

    I don’t watch Sunny, but I enjoyed that sarcastic guy… right up until he actually looked like he might shoot Jin (our TV love had to end there). I have a tolerate/hate relationship with Ms. Freckles, so I thought it was funny that someone in an expendable role (see storm trooper/terry pratchett’s guards/random guard) got to dislike Kate and tell her off on the principle that she once butted him in the head with a gun. Which is appropriate given how often she is violent around people who get in her way.

    Overall a mixed episode… B/B+. No way it can be A-grade without Faux Locke and Ben.

  • the truth

    Wow! A review of “Lost” that didn’t run 8 pages?! I love you, Ken Tucker!

  • Anna

    I hate Kate because she’s a selfish, whiny brat. Jin asked her last night, “Who do you care about, Kate?” As far I can see Kate only cares about herself. Even when she’s trying to help out it’s really only about her. Her back-story is also, by far, the most ridiculous and least compelling. There’s nothing wrong with Evangeline’s acting other than she appears bored at times. She just got stuck with the worst character on Lost.

    • Lindsay

      Agreed.

      • wino

        its a bit frustrating that the writers make her so wishy washy just for the sake of the stupid love triangle. its seems they are leaning to a jack/kate pairing (she ran to him first in the season opener when he and sawyer laid hurt in the jungle)…however, i wish they hurry w. the plot. at this point, jack deserves better

    • Frank Anderson

      I also agree with you 100%!

      This is simply a case of a fine actor with a horrible character. Kate is more like a three note character. 1- screwing things up. 2- getting angry when people get angry at her for screwing things up. 3- apologizing for screwing things up.

      As far as the love triangle goes- the writers really need to get over this weak story. It is just their way of having a ‘will they or won’t they’ Cheers type BS.

      Most of us quit caring who Kate ends up with the moment Juliet became a real person.

      I loved thus write up, though! Ken is one of the least consistant writers on this site, but when he is on he is brilliant!

      Great job, Ken!

      • Gabe

        How many times has she been caught on the show? Maybe a dozen different times?

      • The Damn Triangle

        The producers have said the Sawyer-Kate-Jack traingle will have a large presence in this final season. I REALLY hope that it has an important part in the overall mythology, and isn’t happening because they think the public loves it and it needs to be addressed as much as the other mysteries that need to be explained. Maybe, like pushing the button, Kate’s choice determines if the timelines come together, or if the world collapses!

        Personally, I’d like to see Jack and Sawyer together, but it seems THAT is not what will ever happen, unless we have another alternate Brokeback Island timeline…

      • Madam_P

        Spot on, Frank Anderson. Good assessment of Kate’s character.

    • Susan

      Agree! Her character is unbearable.

    • kate

      I agree, Evangeline Lilly is a fine actress. It’s Kate the character who stinks like the dead Dharma folk.

      • me

        DISAGREED.
        she climbs trees!
        she follows tracks in the jungle!
        she’s smokin’ hot even with ACTUAL SH*T IN HER FACE!

    • Andy

      This is the most spot-on description of the character of Kate I’ve ever seen. She’s selfish, manipulative, annoying, and has to stick her nose in places it doesn’t belong. Seriously, she freaks out when a lawyer comes to her door asking for a DNA sample, but has no problem giving Aaron up to a total stranger (Grandma Littleton) because he wandered off in the supermarket? Lilly is a great actress, but her character is poop.

      • Madam_P

        Another great assessment of Kate. I have no criticism of Lilly as an actress, but the character of Kate is selfish and annoying beyond belief. (or “poop”, to put it more succinctly… LOL.)

  • Shaun

    I agree with your take on Lilly, she is quite fierce given the right material. Please keep up your reviews! I love Doc Jensen and all, but I don’t always have time to read his 8 pages, lol!

  • RK

    But what about the whale? And Greek gods? And anagrams? And the Bible?

    • Cindy

      I totally tried to read Doc Jensen’s review, which DID leave me TOTALLY LOST – just, LOL. I’m like, ‘There was a whale?’

      • Holly

        I think he meant Aaron’s stuffed toy whale… but yeah, my eyes just glaze over during his recaps.

        Hate Kate. Hate, hate, HATE. Especially the way they handled her backstory. They were setting her up to be this criminal mastermind (A US Marshall chases her to Australia, she sets up ridiculously complex bank robberies, her mom was bloody terrified of her, when she went to visit her mom there were like ten police officers waiting for her, etc.) but in the end, she’s just some dumb hick who blew up her dad. Fail.

  • Michael

    What is everyone talking about? Evangeline Lilly acts wonderfully as Kate! She really gets the balance between strength and vulnerability, and she’s been a fave of mine since the beginning. I wasn’t aware there was so much animosity towards her.

  • Nick B

    Ken, I love these little reviews you’re doing. I also like Doc Jensen’s recaps, but your reviews are a nice treat to balance Doc’s sometimes headache-inducing ideas (and I say that with the utmost appreciation of Doc’s column). I hope you continue these throughout the season.
    And I very much agree with you about Kate. I’ve never understood all the hate projected towards the character and Evangeline Lilly. I think Lilly is a great actress. She has consistently impressed me with her performance on Lost. Kate is one of my favorite characters. I’ve always found her episodes very absorbing and compelling. I loved seeing her interactions with Claire in the Sideways world, and with Sawyer in the Island world. I loved seeing this change come about her when she opened up Claire’s bag and found all the baby stuff. I always hear Kate-haters calling Kate very selfish. On the contrary, she did something very selfless in this episode (and in many episodes in the past). Knowing cops were after her, she went out of her way to take Claire to the adoptive parents house, then to the hospital and even stayed with her there. And her scene with Sawyer on the dock, well, that was just heartbreaking. Bravo to both Lilly and Holloway for those performances.

    • Dory

      Agree with you 100%

    • Daniel

      Agree too

      • me

        here here

      • sean

        I LOVE KATE!!!! jack on the other hand….

    • Rob W

      And she’s Canadian!Seriously,seeing Evangeline and Emilie De Ravin together is breathtaking,because they both have incredibly beautiful eyes-Evangeline’s green and Emilie’s piercing blue.

      • bedtimeforbonzo

        Ditto.

        Great mouths, too.

  • Mitch

    You need to get your head out of your ass Ken, just like Doc Jensen. Give me a break. For 6 seasons now, we have seen Kate pull the same crap over and over again. There’s a reason she is despised. It’s because she sucks, just like last night’s episode.

    • me

      real mature

    • weezfreek

      @Mitch Think about what you are saying: “the same crap over and over again.” That’s a theme of LOST. The idea of destiny and fate, and whether or not we can escape fate. Maybe it’s not God that determines our fate, but our character flaws (i.e. Kate doing the same crap over and over again).

  • crispy

    It’s not so much that I hate Kate herself. I hate that the extent of her island story is: I love Jack, I love Sawyer, no I love Jack, NO IT’S SAWYER.
    Make up your damn mind, woman!

    • me

      but excuse me if im wrong, doesnt that happen all the time in real life? i know of many people who have found themselves attracted to two people at the same time and struggling to make up his or her mind

      • crispy

        Not really. Usually only in badly written vampire novels.

  • Q

    I’ve always been a little meh on Kate, but last night she was good. That moment on the dock, right after Sawyer threw away the ring – TV shows like to show people tearing up, but they never show someone just CRY like that. I’ll admit it, I was crying at home at that moment, and I was totally moved, impressed and stomach punched by Kate also sincerely crying. Because you would be in that moment. So kudos to Lily for that performance – brave and engaging.

    And I agree about Miles. Lost writers are skilled at mixing humor into the drama – if you read Hamlet, Shakespeare did the same thing. Punctuating drama with comedy amps the impact of both. Plus I love Hurley and with Charlie gone, he needed a sidekick.

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