Wednesday, April 01, 2009

5x11 "Whatever Happened, Happened" Review

Even though the episode aired on April 1, there was no fooling around in "Whatever Happened, Happened," the twelfth episode of the fifth season. More mysteries were revealed, a few solved, and Kate actually had something important to do for the first time this season! Meanwhile, we took a look at remorseful and remorseless workmen, Hurley's hardheadedness and a very cool ending scene which returned us to the present for the first time in weeks.

First of all, "Whatever Happened, Happened" is the best Kate-centric since "Tabula Rasa," if not before. Not because of the flashbacks, mind you; they were average at best. No, it was the on-Island story that really fueled this episode.

We started with a disgruntled Jin waking up after being mugged by Sayid, who takes Ben in a van back to the Barracks. This is pretty much all Jin does in the episode, and I'm quite sad he didn't get a bigger role. He's hardly done anything recently, and I would love for him to get a little more screen time. I don't want his survival to have been in vain.

We also saw some Roger/Kate chemistry going on during their interaction at the Barracks. While it may not be mutual, it was obvious that Roger was trying to make time with Kate. Poor guy -- he never had a chance.

But speaking of Roger, he was shown to be quite sympathetic in this episode, much more so than he had been in "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "He's Our You." He seemed much more like a person than a simple child abuser, and I have to say I liked seeing this soft side to the big meanie. Having said that, I think his explanation of his bad parenthood was quite lacking, and he didn't quite own up to everything he did. But, at least for this episode, he was a good enough guy who legitimately cared about his son.

On the reverse of that coin, there was a janitor who couldn't care less whether Ben lived or died. That was Jack, and he was my least favorite character of the episode. His insensitivity to whether or not a child lived or died, regardless of who the child would grow up to be, was shocking from such a usually emotional character. The shower scene with Juliet, though, gave him the reality shock he needed, hopefully. Her teary confronting of Jack was one of the highlights of the episode, and hopefully put him in his place about his sudden turn from science to faith.

You can't help but think of the irony presented over the course of the episode. Jack refused to help because of what Ben would become. However, his refusal to help was the entire reason that Ben became permanently one of the Hostiles, as Richard put it. Poor Jack.

While Jack was refusing to save little Benny, however, something much better was happening in that little Barracks house. Hurley and Miles had a Q&A session regarding time travel. Hurley was obviously playing the audience surrogate in this scene, asking the questions that some of the less mythology-oriented viewers were dying to know, while Miles shot down each answer with some sarcastic retorts. However, the questioning seemed to go on a little too long, and I began to feel like Hurley was being a little hardheaded about the entire situation, until he popped out that zinger about Ben not remembering Sayid. That's what I (as well as many other Lostpedians, I'm sure) had been asking all week long, and I'm glad we finally had someone else ask that question.

The answer to that question, however, was less satisfying. Richard simply chalked it up to Ben forgetting what happened as a result of being healed in the Temple, which I felt was a little bit of a cop-out. Richard was great in this episode, but that one line of dialogue made me want to slap myself. I can't see how else they could have explained that question, but surely they could have formulated something better than "he just won't remember."

Speaking of Richard, he had a line of dialogue with an Other that made me stroke my chin and look thoughtful. The Other (named in the press release as Erik) whispered to Richard that perhaps he should check with Ellie or Charles, to which Richard replied that he answered to neither of them. This short dialogue was interesting, not only because it implied that Ellie had some form of power within the hierarchy of the Others, but because it was implied that she and Widmore were both supposed to be above Richard, or at least in Erik's opinion. When we last saw Ellie and young Charles, they were both hotheaded young teenagers who were very low on the food chain within the Others. How did they get to the top? And how will they ultimately be overthrown by Ben?

After that short exchange with Erik, Richard just strode off into the jungle, holding Ben. A camera pan revealed that he was walking to the Temple, which we had seen before as the place where Montand lost his arm. He then goes in, leading us to wonder what exactly happens behind that stone doorway.

This then led in to the great cliffhanger at the end of the episode. In present time for the first time since "Namaste," we see Locke watching Ben come to in the Hydra infirmary, almost directly leading in from "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham." As Ben woke up and stared in shock at the living Locke, I couldn't help but laugh at his scared expression as Locke welcomed him back to the land of the living. To tell the truth, though, I really wanted Ben to play it off well, which he could have done easily by smiling with joy and telling Locke that he wanted for this to happen. I really think that would have been a better ending, and it would have restored a lot of the faith I lost in Ben during that fateful flashback in episode 5x07.

Well, another episode down, six more to go. This season is flying by, and I'm getting more and more excited for each episode
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