Not a peep out of Daniel in Whatever Happened, Happened. Sigh. But we sure found out a lot about Kate, and most of it cast her in a more sympathetic light than she's been in for a while. I pretty much figured that Sawyer's whisper to Kate on the chopper was about Clementine, so it wasn't a huge surprise to me to see her show up on Cassidy's doorstep, but that little reunion was nice nonetheless, even though Cassidy is exceedingly bitter. I thought her analysis of Sawyer's helicopter heroics was pretty harsh, though it does seem as though there was some truth to it. Sawyer didn't exactly deny it, did he? But I'm glad Kate and Cassidy kept in contact; Kate really needed a friend she could confide in, and she was able to get to know Clementine and report back to Sawyer with news of his daughter. I think New Sawyer would probably be a great dad; it's a shame he's probably not going to get that chance with Clementine.
It was sweet to hear Kate singing Catch a Falling Star to Aaron, knowing what the song meant to Claire. Fellow professional liar Cassidy could see right through Kate's lie about Aaron being her son; makes you wonder who else might have been suspicious. The woman in the grocery store looked a lot like Claire, which freaked out an already panicked Kate. That was a scary scene, since I figured that one of the following had happened to Aaron: Kate had left him with someone (presumably Cassidy or Mrs. Littleton) or someone had abducted him. It was starting to look like the abduction theory would win out. Dropping Aaron with his grandmother seems like a good idea, though that was an awful lot to dump in the poor woman's lap at once. "You have a grandson! And your daughter might be alive, so even though you don't know each other at all, you get to take care of him while I go look for her. Did I mention I have no idea how I'm getting back?"
Finding Claire is going to be awfully complicated now that Kate and Claire are three decades apart from each other. I suppose the search won't start in earnest until next season. But I'm glad that's why she went back. It seems so much nobler than simply wanting to return to Sawyer since Jack broke her heart. Still, Sawyer isn't exactly off the table. He claimed he was only helping her with Ben for Juliet's sake, which reminded me of Jack sticking up for Sawyer in the season three finale because he loved Kate. I think Sawyer was telling the truth about his motivations, mostly, but he also couldn't stand to leave Kate alone and in danger. It was pretty foolish of her not to accept Juliet's offer of help. Considerate, probably, but still not too bright. But in this episode, I think for the first time since season three, Sawyer called Kate "Freckles," and that can't be a good sign for the longevity of his current relationship...
So why was Kate so determined to save Ben? Was she, like Hurley, considering all of the staggering time-space continuum consequences? No, I don't think she was. I think that she, like Juliet, couldn't bear to stand by and let a kid die, even if that kid was Ben, and I think her conversations with Roger made her feel all the more sympathetic. Because Roger was ever so much more likable in this episode. Yes, he was veering laughably close to hitting on Kate; can you imagine those two as a couple? But the point is that we saw him actually carrying on a civil conversation with somebody, and we saw him deeply remorseful for the mistakes he had made as a father that drove Ben to break Sayid out of jail and try to join the Hostiles. I tend not to think of Roger as being terribly bright, but he really hit the nail on the head with figuring out what happened to Ben. It made me wish that Jack had just burst in there and saved Ben's life again. If he'd done that, maybe the future would have changed, but for the better; maybe Ben and Roger would have healed the rift between them and Ben would stop being so desperate to leave and would have developed into a much more grounded person. Roger and young Ben both seem ready to make amends at this point.
But now it seems that history is indeed repeating itself. Richard seemed reluctant to take Ben and turn him into a Hostile. The loss of innocence he spoke of must be the first step in creating the Ben we all know. With such a dramatic change in demeanor, it didn't surprise me that much to hear that a loss of memory would be involved, though to what extent? Will he only forget the shooting, or will he forget everything that happened to him in the first twelve years of his life? Maybe, for instance, he honestly believes that he was born on the Island. What if, by the time Ben returns to the Dharma Initiative, the castaways have moved elsewhere? Maybe he has no memory of their interaction at all, and they actually were the strangers to him that they seemed to be in season two. I think that him remembering them in the future would set up all sorts of interesting possibilities, but I suppose it would be simpler if he just forgot the whole thing, or rather had his memory modified to exclude certain people and events. What about Annie? In 2004, he knew that the doll she gave him was a birthday present. Did he remember the circumstances under which he received it?
I'm excited about the prospect of another Ben-centric episode next. The previews certainly seem to imply that we're getting one. I presume that we'll see what befalls little Ben in the Temple, perhaps as a flashback from modern-day Ben; maybe we'll see the 1977-era Hostiles but not the castaways, though I'd think we might see him return to the village, since we know that has to happen. Might we see some familiar faces among the Hostiles? Mr. Friendly, perhaps, for one? Richard mentioned Charles and Ellie, who presumably is Eloise Hawking. Both of them are evidently in positions of authority. What if Charles' exile occurs at this point, as a result of what Richard does to save Ben? Could that be possible? And knowing he can't get back at Richard, who seems to be immortal and indestructible, Charles instead sets his sights on Ben? And where does Penny fit into all this? She must have been born by now; I figure she must have been at least in her early twenties when she and Desmond met, and that was in the early 90s. Is she on the Island?
Speaking of Penny, I imagine we'll also find out how the big show-down with Ben went down. Of course, I'm hoping that Ben came calling but before he could do any damage, Desmond beat him up and sent him packing. That may be overly optimistic, however. Here's hoping it's not. Ben episodes are always fascinating, and with the promise of Smokey, I think we're going to get a hearty helping of mythology with Dead Is Dead. I'm guessing the title refers to John, but it could also refer to Ben, I suppose; what if Ben isn't healed but resurrected in that Temple, making him and John even more alike? Or maybe we'll finally get a little insight into Christian. At any rate, I'm guessing that once John finds out Ben's got a date with Smokey, he's going to be too intent to see that confrontation to get in the way. I suspect that he'll insist on tagging along with Ben for the big trial, though I'm not sure how much he'll actually be able to see. Could this be curtains for Ben Linus? After all the scrambling to save his life in the past, will he get pulverized in the future?
There was a lot of pretty heavy stuff happening in this episode, so I'm glad that we got the moments of levity with Miles and Hurley. I love how Hurley was raising all of the objections to the time travel premise that we have been. The reference to Back to the Future was the perfect way to kick things off. The debate was a great way for the writers to lighten the atmosphere while admitting, "Yeah, we know this is a lot to swallow..." And Hurley presented some pretty convincing arguments for their being able to change the future, though by the end of the episode, I was leaning towards Miles' camp. I see now that the season finale is called The Incident, which is interesting, since that seems to have been the event that necessitated the pushing of the button in the Swan hatch. The season three and season four finales had a lot of parallels; I'm guessing season two and season five will as well. But we've still got several episodes to go before that happens. In the meantime, any chance of seeing Rose, Bernard, Vincent or Daniel again? And is Jacob going to finally show up, or will we have to wait until season six for him to make an appearance? The questions are still piling up, but for the moment, I'm content with the promise of more Smokey...