The characters all seem much happier -- or at least better equipped to deal with their emotional baggage, which in turn brings them happiness -- in the LA X timeline.

Their circumstances aren't so very different -- Jack is still divorced, Locke is still disabled -- but their attitudes -- their ability to accept something, learn from it, and move on -- are vastly better than those of their angst-ridden island alter-egos.

  • Jack is able to be the father he wants to be instead of turning into a replica of distant, demanding Christian.
  • Locke is engaged, seemingly has a good relationship with his father, has found a job that doesn't demean him, and even seems to have begun accepting that there are some things he can't do.
  • Hurley is the "luckiest guy in the world."
  • In the airport scenes, Sawyer seems awfully jovial for someone who was just tricked into murdering a stranger and deported -- nothing like the prickly, fight-picking Sawyer from the beginning of season 1.
  • Rose -- well, Rose seems pretty status quo, but then again, nothing ever seems to really phase her. She was content on the island, and she's contentedly living out her remaining time in LA with equal aplomb.
  • While Claire's adoption plan falls apart, it gives her a push toward realizing that she wants to raise Aaron -- a desire that has consumed her life in the island timeline. After she yells Aaron's name, she seems almost giddy with relief.

  • I'm sure people will argue that Kate is unchanged, but I disagree:
Kate says she is innocent, and we have no reason to believe this was a lie. When Claire asks her why she's on the run, she responds, "Would you believe me if I said I was innocent?" At this point, Kate has nothing to gain or lose by lying to Claire about her innocence -- Claire had already hidden Kate's presence from the authorities, showing Kate that she was willing to help her in spite of her guilt.
The America's Most Wanted clip shown at Comicon shows that Kate is accused of killing her father's plumbing apprentice, Ryan Milner, when she set a gas leak in her father Wayne's plumbing business with the intent of killing Wayne. Wayne had serendipitously left early that day, instead leaving Milner to finish up for the day while the gas leaked.
Though we have little concrete information about what happened that day, I wonder if Wayne intended to kill Milner and found that it would be easy to frame Kate for the crime. Wayne unapologetically beats his wife in the first timeline; it could easily follow that in the new timeline his character is capable of murder and framing the daughter who so clearly despises him.
Moreover, if each other character seems to have a slightly improved outlook in life, why would Kate be singled out?

I've started to wonder about the implications of this: what does it mean when one timeline is populated by content characters and the other is full of strife?

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