Kate and Sawyer had a moment... and I enjoyed it.
Among other things.
What always strikes me about Kate's 'fugitive' episodes is that they let you know she's this runaway fugitive, but she always risks her 'freedom' to save someone else. There's an ever-present dilemma between what she has to do to get away and what she knows is right and doing what's right seems to always win out in the end. She didn't have to go back for Claire, she certainly didn't have to go to the house with her, and without a doubt she should NOT have gone in with her at the hospital.
Kate could very well have dropped her off at the ER steps and driven away – a taxi driver fulfilling their fare. She even glances at police cars parked nearby and chooses to stay with Claire because she doesn't want this woman to have to be alone. A theme echoed on the island – no one should have to be alone, and maybe that's why she continually goes after Sawyer. If she didn't, who else would? Same reason she went after Locke at the hatch in season two. Same reason she always goes into the 'heart of darkness' after anyone. Jack's philosophy of 'live together; die alone' has been exemplified in no other character more often – and no other character, ironically, is hated more, than Kate.
Kate and Jack and Connections
There's always been this quote floating around Jater forums about Jack and Kate and it's always been attributed to JJ Abrams. I don't know whether he said it or not, but it's eerie that seasons later, the content is strikingly on target. It refers to them as being connected: that they have met before, that they were supposed to meet now, and that they would meet again in another life. It's romantically beautiful, this idea that some people are just destined to be together. So, while some would pass off Kate's watching Jack as she drove past him as mere recognition that this guy was the guy she snatched the pen from on the plane, and oppositely, his pause was the same, shipper or not, I think it's more than that.
The world slowed down (and by that, I mean the pacing of the scene) and some sort of recognition did take place, but it was more than just, "I saw this person on the plane." The elevator ride with "James" yielded exactly the opposite results – Kate's nonchalant staring at the ceiling, a few eye rolls, and a wry grin as she left. She encouraged the cab driver to simply run over Artz's stuff. The same way Jack recognized something in himself on the plane, I think they recognized something in each other and I'm curious to see where Kate's 'running' takes her in the next few side-flashes.
Kate, Claire, and Aaron
In the same vein of thought, Kate's rummaging through Claire's luggage didn't seem to click with her until she pulled out that stuffed whale – the same one a toddler Aaron held while she argued with Jack just before he left them in the normal timeline. Though I believe she would have taken the stuff back to Claire anyways, and she would have gone back and been there for Claire, there's something in her connected to Aaron as well. The mention of his name gave her pause, and the strong suggestion that Claire keep her boy were not just the words of a stranger.
Interestingly, because of what has occurred in the actual timeline, Kate is back on the island to get Claire and reunited her with Aaron. If Claire, in the alternate timeline, DOES keep Aaron and raise him as her own, will this somehow impact the actual timeline? Does it fulfill both of the psychic's visions, or is this WHY the psychic had two "visions" – one of Claire raising her own child and another of "a couple in Los Angeles" raising Aaron. More on that later.
Sawyer, Kate, and Juliet
Sawyer's happiest time, when he felt most complete and most compelled to be a better person, were his three years spent with Juliet. That he walked in a rage from the temple back to their abode in Othersville only to tear up floorboards and remove a single engagement ring should say a lot about where his heart truly lies. And the following scene with Kate is probably the most adult either of them have ever been with one another because those three years they spent apart allowed them both to experience and lose their true love.
Their talk on the dock, where Kate accepts the blame for Juliet's death and James looks past his anger at Jack and takes on part of the blame himself, shows a level of growth on both of their parts that they would never have achieved together. No more shacking up in tents or trading mix tapes in the sand like juvenile delinquents. Of course, the more they've grown, the more they've realized that they've grown apart. Where Sawyer throws his ring into the ocean and declares himself an island nomad; Kate breaks down – partially because of the conversation with Sawyer about Juliet, about how it didn't work out how they wanted it to, and about being alone maybe being a destiny in itself; partially because the man who gave Kate a diamond ring and asked her to marry him, their relationship didn't work out how THEY wanted it to and he's back in a temple fulfilling a destiny she's not sure she's a part of anymore – and is left to sort out her problems with a clearer understanding of what she stands to lose.
The Test, The Infection, The "Cure"
Last week I figured they were testing Sayid to see if he was inhabited by Smokey. Now we know, definitively, what being "Infected" means – to be 'marked' by the Man in Black. But what does it mean? Can he control you? Or are you just evil; the way small children are born innocent and then 'touched' by the sins of adulthood… and can one repent. The idea of repenting isn't new to Lost so it stands to reason that one who has been infected CAN be cleansed. Speaking religiously, will Echo's 'church' have something to do with it? And if it does, should we finally declare this a war between God and the devil himself? Or smaller minions playing a 'travel size' version of the same game.
What exactly denotes one who is 'marked'? And how do they become infected? What about HOW he was shot lead to it? What part did Jack play? Are we looking at his character all wrong? Some postulate that Jack is somehow related to the island, and the idea is that he's always been related to Jacob, but what if his lineage goes back somewhere sinister?
But if it did, would Dogen have leapt up to keep him from swallowing the poison pill? Or might the pill have had some other effect on Jack? I guess it depends on how much we trust Dogen.
Connecting the Side-Flashes
Recently I read a quote from Darlton saying the Side Flashes are more important than the Island stories. It might have been a joke, but, curiously, what if it's somehow true. What happens in the side flashes IS more important because, at some point, the two lines have to converge?
My theory on the imaginary timeline is that it is 'course correction'. Obviously you can't change something in the past. If they'd detonated the bomb and their plane had never crashed, they'd never have been on the path to be on the island to detonate a bomb, so another course – another timeline – was created to rectify the damage. Someone mentioned last night that everyone's characters, in both timelines, felt like they were MISSING something. I concur. They were missing a part of themselves. The eventual merging of their normal self and their alternate universe self might just be the cleansing ritual needed for those infected to become uninfected, and for those searching for their destinies to finally fulfill them.
Only time will tell.