"Whatever Happened, Happened"

JANUARY 13, 2011

AIRED: APRIL 1, 2009

Proving once again that when they stick to their formula, Season 5 works, “Whatever Happened, Happened” is a pretty solid episode for this massively uneven season, and that has nothing to do with the fact that it’s a Kate episode (and/or that she looks GREAT in her 2007 scenes – I say again, she cleans up nice). Finally depicting what led her to decide to join Jack and the others in returning to the island, it’s both an emotional and an “answers” heavy addition to the season.

And not just answers pertaining to Kate. Once again acting as the audience surrogate, Hurley flat out asks how they can be in the past but not remember it, prompting an exasperated Myles (which I guess is “Miles”, with an “i”, but screw it, I like the “y” version better) to simplify it as best as he can. And I do agree it makes sense (though it’s hard to explain with words – I think it’s just one of those things that requires someone to think “fourth dimensionally”, as Doc Brown might put it), until Hurley presents the ringer – why doesn’t Ben remember them, if this stuff always happened? Of course, that’s what the temple is for, which is just a really lame deus ex machina, in my opinion, but at least they covered their bases instead of just saying “ah, fuck it”, like they did with most of the show’s unanswered problems (i.e. the people shooting at the Island group from the outrigger a few episodes back).

But back to my lady, Evangeline does really good work here. The scene where she talks to Claire’s mom is heartbreaking, and even though her actions on the island don’t really jive with her plan (if her primary goal is to find Claire, why hasn’t she even asked Hurley or Myles if they had seen her?), I liked that reveal, and the whole process of coming to realize that she couldn’t be Aaron’s mother (the grocery store scene, for example). Solid writing and acting all around.

I also enjoyed seeing her with Cassidy. I would have liked a moment where Cassidy was like “Holy shit, you know Sawyer too?”, but her theory on why he jumped out of the chopper actually makes sense, and adds another layer to their little triangle. And the scene where Kate tells Sawyer about Clementine (again, why isn’t Sawyer surprised that they had actually known each other?) is quite touching – Holloway’s baffled and sort of puppy dog-ish expressions are wonderfully odd to see on the guy.

Another good confrontation is between Jack and Juliet. First, it’s hilarious that she doesn’t even give him any privacy (nor does she seem too interested when he steps out of the shower, presumably nude – either she’s really pissed or Jack’s got nothing down there), but it’s also one of the few scenes that they’ve had alone together in ages. Considering how much of S3 was built around their growing relationship, it’s a bit odd that they never really had any one-on-one time in S4 (apart from a few conversations about the Freighter Folk), and this is obviously the first time they’ve had a scene to themselves in S5. Wish it went a bit longer, but I love that Jack seems to be admitting to himself for the first time that he doesn’t know what to do.

And while I hate the subplot about Ben being shot, I liked seeing Roger being sympathetic for once. It’s easy to just think of the guy as a jerk, but if you put yourself in his shoes, you’d probably be a mean drunk too. And unlike Phil or Radzinsky (and now Horace) he doesn’t treat our heroes (in this case, Kate) with suspicion when they reveal that they’re not sure what they’re doing there, even though it’s pretty sad that Kate can’t even work a one lever device (she can figure out the difference between Boone and Sawyer’s “tracks” but not how to move a lever up and down?). And I actually feel bad for him when he finds out about Ben – it’s the most dad-like we’ve ever seen him.

So to sum up: an immensely satisfying episode, big on character moments and even answering a few questions without being too retconn-y or confusing. I was wrong through – this isn’t the one where Jack just shrugs and goes around cleaning chalkboards. I guess it’s in the next episode or so. Our hero!

Where are we?

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