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Lost: Kate Austen

January 18, 2009

(Indulge me. As we near the Season 5 premiere of Lost, I’m going to run through the current crop of main characters. There are spoilers.)

She’s the leading lady of Lost, a tough fugitive killer whose pixie looks belie her iron spirit. From day one, she has been part of Lost‘s A-Team: good with a gun, fast, smart, an expert tracker, a reliable resource as the castaways struggled to survive.

The character of Kate was, at one point, intended to be the leader of the castaways. In the original Lost concept, the Jack character, the group’s doctor, was to die in the cockpit halfway through the pilot, and Kate was to assume leadership of the group. This version of Kate, though, was a middle-aged woman whose husband had gone to the bathroom just before the crash, leading to a subplot about whether he was still alive elsewhere on the island. Sound familiar?

After the decision to keep Jack aboard was made (known as the Michael Keaton Memo), Kate’s character was retooled, and once Evangeline Lilly (a Canadian) was hired, the character of Kate took shape. And that original concept was transferred to Rose and Bernard, popular supporting characters to this day.

Kate’s been through it all over the past four seasons: plane crash, kidnappings, chases, killings, waterfall swims with Sawyer, a love triangle … wait, is this a soap opera? Kind of, when Kate’s onscreen.

When last we saw her, she was one of the Oceanic 6, raising Claire’s baby as her own back in Los Angeles, and estranged from Jack and the others.

Highlights

  • Taking the gun from Sawyer in the pilot, then stripping it and giving Sawyer and Sayid each a part. That defined her right there.
  • That whole sequence on the beach, wearing a dress, eating breakfast with Ben.
  • Her flashbacks are among the most compelling, telling a tale of domestic woe and last resorts.
  • She met the mother of Sawyer’s kid! That’s Lost for you.
  • She’s Canadian. Well, the actress is. It still counts.

Problems

  • Why did she agree to go back to civilization? Knowing she faced a criminal sentence? What the … ?
  • She is monstrously unattractive.
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