Sunday, August 7, 2011

"LOST" Fans and Kate Austen's Crimes


I have been reading a good number of articles about past "LOST" episodes - especially those that relate to the character of Kate Austen. This has led me to realize that a good number of fans tend to make excuses regarding her two worst crimes - the murder of her father, Wayne Jensen and her claim that Aaron Littleton was her son.

Many fans of the series have claimed that Kate had committed both of these actions out of some sense of non-existent selflessness. They claimed that Kate murdered her father, Wayne Jensen, to protect her abused mother from him. And they also claimed that she lied about Aaron being her son and kept him from his grandmother, Carole Littleton, for nearly three years in order to protect him and the island from the likes of the wealthy former island leader, Charles Widmore. And yet . . . the series has proven otherwise.

In a flashback featured in the Season Three episode, (3.15) "Left Behind", Kate told her mother, Diane Jensen that she had killed Wayne to protect her from further spousal abuse. Diane immediately sensed that Kate was lying and said so:

[In the bathroom, Diane cleans her apron and sees someone enter in the mirror.]
KATE: Hi, Mom.

DIANE: What are you doing here, Katherine?

KATE: You look good.

DIANE: I asked you what you are doing here.

KATE: I wanna know why you told them what I did to Wayne.

DIANE: I thought maybe you came cause you wanted to say you were sorry.

KATE: I'm not sorry. He hit you, he treated you like a dog, and you...

DIANE: You can't help who you love, Katherine. And for good or bad, I loved him. And you burnt him alive. You turned on the gas, and you lit a match. You murdered him in cold blood!

KATE: I did it for you.

DIANE: No. What you did, you did for yourself.
[Shrugs off her tears] I have to go back to work. Because you are my daughter, I'm not going to tell the two men sitting at the table who've been following me for the last month that you are here. But I swear to God, Katie, if I ever see you again, the first thing I will do is yell for help. Goodbye.

[Diane leaves, and Kate bursts into tears.]

It turned out that Diane was right. Kate had lied about her reason for killing Wayne. In fact, Kate finally admitted to herself the true reason why she had murdered Wayne in Season Two's (2.09) "What Kate Did"(island time):

[On-Island - Kate and Sawyer in the hatch.]
KATE: Can you hear me? Sawyer? -- Wayne? [Sawyer stirs.] I'm probably crazy and this doesn't matter, but maybe you're in there somehow. But you asked me a question. 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.

In other words, Kate had murdered Wayne, because she could not stand the idea of him being her father. I suspect that his abuse of Diane, the breakup of the Austen marriage and his occasional leers played a part in her hatred of him. But Kate harbored such a low opinion of Wayne that the idea of him being her father repulsed her. And she killed him because she could not face the idea of the both of them sharing the same blood. Or that she might be a lot like him. Ironically, many of Kate's actions - beginning with Wayne's murder - proved that she and Wayne shared a lot more than simply blood. Many fans, especially female fans, continue to cling to Kate's lie about protecting her mother as an excuse. Why?

Many of these same fans continued to see nothing wrong with Kate claiming Aaron Littleton as her son. Aaron was the son of a fellow castaway, Australian-born Claire Littleton. Claire had mysteriously disappeared in the Season Four episode, (4.10) "Something Nice Back Home", leaving Aaron behind. In a flashback featured in the Season Five episode, (5.04) "The Little Prince", Kate convinced the castaways' leader, Jack Shephard, to accept this lie, because she wanted to use Aaron as an emotion blanket after the traumas of leaving the island in the Season Four finale, (4.12-4.14) "There's No Place Like Home":

KATE: It's gonna take more than two nights for me to get used to sleeping in a normal bed. What are we gonna do about him? About Aaron.

JACK: I don't know.

KATE: I've been thinking a lot about him. Did you know that Claire was flying to L.A. to give him up for adoption?

JACK: No. No, I didn't.

KATE: I think we should say he's mine.

JACK: What?

KATE: We could say that I was six months pregnant when I was arrested and that I gave birth to him on the Island. No one would ever know.

JACK: Kate, no. You don't have to... [sighs] There's other ways too this.

KATE: After everyone we've lost--Michael, Jin, Sawyer... I can't lose him, too.

JACK: Sawyer's not dead.

KATE: No. But he's gone. Good night, Jack.

JACK: Kate... If we're gonna be safe, if we're gonna protect the people that we left behind, tomorrow morning, I'm gonna have to convince everyone to lie. If it's just me, they're never gonna go for it. So I'm gonna turn to you first. Are you with me?

KATE: I have always been with you.

"There's No Place Like Home" also revealed that Claire's mother, Carole Littleton, was alive and well . . . and unaware that she was a grandmother.

When Kate's plan to keep Aaron was revealed in "The Little Prince", most fans either ignored this revelation or expressed outrage over Ben manipulating Kate's fear of losing Aaron in order to convince her to return to the island. They preferred criticizing Ben for his con job and Jack for going along with Ben, than critizing Kate for selfishly keeping Aaron for herself and keeping him from his grandmother. Upon her return to the island, Kate eventually confessed to Claire that she had no business raising Aaron in the Season Six episode, (6.13) "The Last Recruit". Instead of accepting her act of redemption, a lot of fans expressed annoyance that Kate would make such a confession in the first place.

I find these fans' continuing refusal to accept the immorality of Kate's actions in regard to her father and Aaron rather curious. Does this refusal have to do with a high regard for the character . . . or Evangeline Lilly, the actress that portrayed her? My favorite character in the series was and still is Ana-Lucia Cortez. But unlike many other Ana-Lucia fans, I never made any excuses for her crimes. I have remained critical of her actions to this day. Even if the man she had murdered was responsible for the death of her unborn baby. But many fans use Wayne's abuse of Diane Jensen as an excuse for Kate to murder him . . . despite the fact that she made it clear that his abuse of Diane did not drive Kate to murder.

Recently, I engaged in a debate over Kate's reasons for murdering Wayne. When I pointed out that Wayne's abuse of Diane DID NOT drive Kate to the act of murder, I was accused of supporting the idea of Wayne's continued abuse of Diane. It was the most sickening and insulting excuse any "LOST" fan had contrived to defend Kate's actions. Are many of these fans so intent upon believing that Kate had every right to murder Wayne that they would resort to such arguments? Especially when the true reason that led her to murder had nothing to do with her mother? And what about Aaron? Why is it they feel that other than Claire, only Kate had the right to raise the toddler . . . instead of his grandmother? This inclination to make excuses for Kate's crimes continues to baffle me, even after "LOST" had been off the air for an entire year.

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