Final Conclusions About Kate ♪
"I saved you a bullet!" --Kate Austen
This week, I'm doing something a little bit different for my "Final Conclusions" blog series, in that the topic I've chosen to write about is not one of the show's interesting mysteries. In fact, this is a topic that I thought for sure at one time that I'd laid to rest and swore I would never bring up in my own blog. But it turns out that I gained a whole new perspective on this subject during the series finale, so I feel like it at least deserves a mention.To be clear, yes, I was one of the Kate-haters. And I know there were plenty of others besides me. But I've since then realized that "hate" is a bit too strong a word to describe my feelings about Kate. If I truly hated Kate, then I would've cheered when she got shot by Widmore's people at the submarine in "The Candidate", which I didn't. I had a lack of respect for Kate, that's for sure, and what I hated was basically the excessive screen-time devoted to a character that I had zero interest in. In fact, it wasn't even until the end of Season 5, when some Lostpedia bloggers started asking, "Who's your least favorite character on the show?" that I realized how much I disliked Kate. What happened next was that instead of figuring out my true reasons for not liking Kate, I simply thought about all of the individual things that Kate had done on the show that annoyed me, and I tried to pass them off as my actual reasons for hating Kate, even fooling myself. (For those interested, I've provided links to those blog entries below.) Well, that didn't fly at all with the people who liked Kate. They pointed out, rightfully, as I now realize, that a list of less-than-perfect things that a character has done is a silly reason to hate a character, and that I seemed to be holding Kate to a different standard from other characters who have also done plenty of less-than-perfect things. But at the time, I had no interest in defending my reasons beyond that, since I wasn't trying to change anyone else's opinions. So I simply went on hating Kate, and every time someone asked why people hated Kate, I would provide a link to those most infuriating Kate moments, and I left it at that.
Now, you may have noticed that so far in this particular blog entry, I've been referring to my Kate-hate in the past-tense. The new perspective that I mentioned earlier came at one particular moment during the final episode. It's the moment when Kate suddenly came to Jack's rescue by shooting the Man in Black and delivered her best one-liner of the series, "I saved you a bullet!" Believe it or not, that's all it took for me to gain a new-found respect for Kate. And while it may seem odd that one single moment like that could completely change my opinion of a character, the fact that it was odd was what made me understand my prior dislike of Kate a lot better. What I realized was that it wasn't the things that Kate did that made me dislike her, it was what she didn't do.
Throughout the entire series up until that moment, Kate never did anything to make me think that this is a character I should care about or root for. Jack was the doctor who reluctantly stepped up as the camp's leader and got things done. Locke proved his excellent survival skills early on. Sayid was the kick-ass soldier who was also good at fixing electronics. Hurley and Charlie provided comic-relief. Sawyer took a while, but he eventually stepped up out of his selfish mode and did what it took to protect his fellow survivors... and yes, I pretty much didn't care about Sawyer until that time. But Kate, on the other hand, pretty much seemed to just get in the way. Sure, she wanted to help and had some good intentions, and I'm sure that the Kate fans could point out plenty of "good" things that Kate has done, as well as explain how her troubled past affected her choices on the Island. The fact is, I couldn't identify with Kate, and Kate never did anything that really impressed me or made me want to get emotionally invested in her, so I simply didn't care about her background or her motives. As time went on, any screen-time devoted to Kate's character development felt like a waste, and by the time we got to the episode "What Kate Did" in Season 2, I no longer cared what Kate did. When it comes to LOST, I'm not interested in analyzing characters, I only care how a character's presence affects my enjoyment of the show. So once I realized how annoyed I was with Kate in general, it simply became fun to rant about all of the annoying things that Kate had done on the show. Sure, all of the other characters have had their moments of failure, but they had redeeming qualities that made their flaws forgiveable. In my mind, Kate didn't. Until The End.
So now, with my latest attitude about Kate, I'm glad that she made it off the Island, and I would like to think that she helped Claire reunite with Aaron and then went on to live a normal life, perhaps after serving a light jail sentence for violating her probation. When I go back and rewatch old episodes, I will still probably skip most of Kate's flashbacks and make fun of her idiotic moments, but I won't complain about her overall presence on the show. And for those who wish to still debate the quality or morality of Kate's actions or to analyze her character more deeply, I probably won't get involved. Everyone has their opinions about a character, and I've now stated mine. I feel like I can now truly put this issue to rest, and I consider this to be one more topic I can cross off my list.
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