Typing Faster

February 10, 2010

Lost and the Ever Annoying Kate

Filed under: Kvetch, Lost — petertypingfaster @ 12:26 pm

That’s right Losties. I hate Kate Austen. Can’t stand her. She’s one of the most boring characters on Lost. Her backstory is soporific, her chemistry with co-stars non-existent, and the entire idea of a Kate-centric episode drives me up the wall.

Alright, maybe I don’t feel quite that strongly, but that’s the general gist of my feelings.

And I’m not alone!

Ah, Lost. Back again, perplexing as ever. Last week’s season premiere introduced a parallel reality (dubbed “flash-sideways”) in which Oceanic 815 lands uneventfully at LAX and our characters continue as if they’d never been marooned on Lost Isle. Outlandish, but the gambit has already paid off: by reminding us that fundamental to the series’ resolution is the redemption of its ensemble. And nowhere is this clearer than with Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), our troubled, troubling heroine.

Kate’s faults are legion: she’s an admitted murderer who’s also a moralistic prig. She spent years passing off another woman’s child as her own. She pings and pongs between heartthrobs Sawyer and Jack, seemingly at random. Make no mistake: for Lost to conclude successfully, its writers must solve the problem of Kate.

Kate’s intrigue began to erode once producers revealed her crime: the murder of Wayne, her loutish father. In Lost’s moral universe, homicide does not a villain make; nearly every character, from sanctimonious Jack to gentle Sun, has shot to kill. Kate’s motivation, however, felt curiously neutered. She explained, “It was because I hated that [Wayne was] a part of me. That I would never be good, that I would never have anything good.” But nothing in Lilly’s performance has ever suggested the desperation that would make such a choice believable. We never saw the flashback that truly would have rendered Kate vivid: not the murder itself, but the moment she decided to murder.

Such gaps might not be so irksome if Lost’s creative team didn’t continue to insist on Kate’s magnetism. But once Sawyer fell for Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Kate’s charms felt especially limited. Sawyer’s new relationship was mature, complicated, a genuine partnership. Heightening its poignancy was Mitchell, beautifully evoking Juliet’s clenched pain — and hard-won bliss. In her shadow, Kate just seemed restless.

Last week’s premiere underlined how little Kate has grown. “Sideways” Kate, safely in Los Angeles, escaped the marshal tagging her — but now, we weren’t urging her on. If Kate’s propensity to screw herself over via emotional shortcuts is her most relatable quality, her refusal to face that flaw keeps pushing viewers away.

Couldn’t of said it better myself!

And don’t even get me started on Jack…



  1. I couldn’t agree more about Kate n Jack. I don’t understand why the screen writers, who are incredibly gifted in so many ways, seem to believe that Kate and/or Jack are heroes. I am antagonized by each of them. I sigh with regret when I realize an episode will be about either one. I am currently watching the old episodes on DVD (got too ‘lost’ after missing episode three and four when the series first began even though I thought the concept especially intriguing). There are far TOO many Kate or Jack episodes. The episode where they flash forward into the future and are so happy together with Kate’s ‘son’ Aaron is nauseous.

    Comment by Patricia Lee Rivero — April 19, 2010 @ 3:47 am

  2. I cannot agree more with petertypingfaster & Patricia. Probably the most infuriating part about Kate for me is how she basically steals Claire’s kid and acts supposedly selfless (raising him “FOR Claire”) when we know it’s all about her and her motivations. And the show doesn’t really penalize her for it. In fact, we’re shown that Claire has gone totally crazy and therefore ‘would have been incapable of taking care of Aaron’ anyway.

    Most of the episodes I just pray that Kate gets struck by lightning. I know that it’s not gonna happen, because she was clearly one of the main characters right from the start, but she’s really easy to hate. And while Jack is still annoying, I can still relate to him more, because his upbringing and background are explained much more and are more believable anyway.

    Comment by anonymous — May 12, 2010 @ 12:30 am

  3. For a long time, I thought I was the only one to hate ‘Kate’…

    Comment by Joris — December 5, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  4. Most of my past dislike of Kate had stemmed from many of the fans’ tendencies to excuse her crimes, while condemn other characters for theirs. But if I must be honest, most of the characters in the series were a bunch of douche bags. Including Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Locke, Charlie, Ben and God knows who else.

    Comment by Rosie — March 31, 2011 @ 11:47 am

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    Comment by more twitter followers — May 2, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

  6. I found Kate difficult to watch too. But I just finished watching the episode in which Kate refuses to side with Jack when he wants to fulfill Daniel’s plan to detonate the bomb. This, I just realized comes after she has the conversation with him about negating everything that has happened and sees that as a result she and Jack will have never met. To my mind this is the thing that makes her leave him and go back to find Sawyer and Julia and have them try to stop Jack. She would lose control of and manipulation over Jack if he is successful. It is all me…me…me…: there is no consideration of the validity of Jack’s argument or real concern over the others on the island.

    Comment by Jeanette — March 21, 2015 @ 10:22 am

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