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"Whatever the Case May Be"

5 January 2005
Running time
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Centric character(s)
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Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"Whatever the Case May Be" is the twelfth episode of Season 1 of Lost. When Kate and Sawyer find a case on a dead passenger, Kate begins to act erratically, using whatever means necessary to get it away from Sawyer. At the beach, Sayid and Shannon begin to get close. Flashbacks in this episode center around Kate's involvement in a bank robbery in New Mexico.





Kate and Jason in the bank manager's office

A group of masked robbers breaks into a bank while Kate, under the alias "Mrs. Ryan," is applying for a loan to a senior employee named Hutton.

The robbers hold her and everyone else in the bank captive, threatening to kill them if access to the money cage is not granted. A man attempts to grab one of the robbers, forcing him to lose his gun, which slides over to Kate. Kate claims she is unable to use the gun, thus ending the insurrection. To punish her, another robber takes her inside a room, only to reveal that Kate is a participant in the robbery as well. The two kiss.
Kate opening the safety deposit box

To keep up the charade, Kate, known to Jason as "Maggie," asks him to hit her. Kate returns with a bloody face, and Jason pretends to threaten her life while demanding the cage's key from Hutton. Assured of the senior employee's reaction, Kate fakes an attempt to stop him, claiming that Jason will kill her anyway. However, Hutton agrees to cooperate in order to save her life.

Inside the cage, he then asks them to release Kate, after which Jason sarcastically reveals her trickery and points his gun to shoot him. Kate, having been promised that nobody would be hurt in the robbery, intervenes by shooting Jason in the leg as well as shooting his other two accomplices. She then demands from Hutton the bank key to deposit box 815, revealing that the customer key is with her. Obtaining the bank key, Kate opens the box, to find a yellow envelope inside.

On the Island

Sawyer, watching Kate's attempts to open the case

The episode begins in the jungle, with Kate in a tree picking fruit. After climbing down, she hears something moving in the bushes. Kate quickly throws a rock in the direction of the noise, hitting what turns out to be a stalking Sawyer. Sawyer comes out cursing and holding his knee where the rock hit, claiming he was only watching over her. They hear falling water nearby, and follow the sound to a waterfall spring. Sawyer takes his shirt off and rushes into the water, encouraging Kate to follow. After some frolicking, they swim to the rocks, climbing up and diving back in. Underwater, they spot two dead bodies from the plane, strapped into their seats. When they surface, Sawyer decides to dive again to check the passengers' belongings and Kate, disgusted at the thought of raiding dead bodies, follows to stop him. However, she then notices a familiar Halliburton case trapped underneath one of the seats. As both emerge from the water, Kate asks Sawyer to help her fetch the case, claiming it is hers. They dive back down, and Sawyer retrieves the Halliburton case after some struggle, and hands it to Kate. She seems puzzled at how to open it, leading Sawyer to realize the case is not hers, and takes it back to check her reaction. Kate acts indifferent and heads back to camp, leaving the case with him to avoid answering his questions about it.

Jack and Sayid dragging luggage away from the increasing tide

Back at the camp, the survivors are busy retrieving luggage from the crash that was washed onto the beach by the tide. Jack notes to Sayid that at this tide rate, the fuselage will soon be submerged, and advises that people should move to the caves. However, Sayid notes that many survivors are worried about entering the jungle, after Claire’s kidnapping. Jack then asks Sayid to take him to Rousseau to ask her more about the Others she talked about, but Sayid expresses his doubts of Rousseau's sanity, and debunks his own account of hearing the Others' whispers. As an alternative, Sayid agrees to try deciphering Rousseau's maps and notes, in the hopes of locating Claire and easing the suffering of the traumatized Charlie. Meanwhile, Boone lies to Shannon when she asks him about the time he spends with Locke, claiming that they are looking for Claire. He notes that both Shannon and himself are perceived as a joke among the survivors, but at least he is trying to contribute, while she is being "useless".

Sayid asking Shannon to help him translate the maps

At night, Kate sees Sawyer heading back to his tent with the Halliburton case. She waits for him to fall asleep, then slips in and tries to steal the case. However, Sawyer feels her movement and grabs her. Kate attempts to fight back, but fails, then demands the case from Sawyer who refuses.

The next day, Sayid approaches the sunbathing Shannon, asking her to help him translate the French notations on Rousseau's maps. Though she initially suspects it to be trick put up by Boone, she reluctantly agrees to help. Michael and Hurley pass by Sawyer and mock his failing attempts of picking the lock on the Halliburton case. Michael then suggests using force and impact to open the case. In the jungle, Locke and Boone continue their attempts to open the Hatch, using the axe Boone smuggled, while at the beach, Rose tries to help Charlie in snapping out of his depression by asking him to help her move her luggage.

Sawyer trying to open the Halliburton case

Later, Sawyer applies Michael's advice, by hitting the case on some rocks several times in the jungle, but the case still refuses to open. Frustrated, he climbs up a tree, and throws the case down, and again it fails to open. While he is still up the tree, Kate suddenly rushes in and picks up the case from the ground, then runs away with it. However, Sawyer soon catches up with her and gets the case back, then makes Kate a proposition. He promises to give her the case, on the condition that she tells him what is inside. Kate again refuses to talk, and lets him leave with it. Back at Sayid's tent, Shannon works on translating the map notations. She is disappointed to find the job involves math, and doubts she will be able to help.

As her last resort, Kate turns to Jack, who is at the caves, asking Sun about the herbs she is gathering to use as a medicine for headaches. Kate reveals to Jack that the Halliburton case belongs to the U.S. Marshal. When Jack asks about its contents, she adds that it contains 4 nine-millimeter guns with a few boxes of ammo, some money, and the Marshal's personal belongings. Kate then tells Jack that Sawyer now possesses the case and will soon open it and have the guns. She also reveals that the key to the case is in the buried Marshal's wallet. Jack suspects that Kate has hidden motives, and asks her if anything else in the case is of importance to her. Kate, however, claims she only fears the guns will fall into Sawyer's hands. The unbelieving Jack then tells her that he will only help if they open the case together, to which Kate agrees.

Rose comforts Charlie over Claire's kidnapping

Kate and Jack head to where Mars is buried, and dig up his corpse. Kate volunteers to reach in and get the wallet, and after obtaining it she jumps quickly out of the grave. When she opens the wallet, she acts disgusted to the maggots inside and throws it on the ground. Jack picks it up again, and looks inside but finds no key. Kate acts surprised, but Jack sees through her con, and bitterly praises her attempts to hide the key while distracting him. Jack then grabs her hand and demands her to open it. Kate opens her hand, revealing the key inside. Kate tries to explain but the angered Jack refuses and walks away with the key.

Meanwhile, Sayid finds Shannon's translation of the French notations to be of no sense, holding no relation to the written equations. Apparently, the notations added by Rousseau are a repeated rambling of references to moon and silver sparkled sea. However, it all seems somehow familiar to Shannon. Sayid declares that the time they have spent was a mistake. This causes Shannon to feel frustrated with Sayid and herself as well, and she leaves in tears.

Jack forces Kate to open her hand, revealing the key inside

Elsewhere, Jack approaches Sawyer and asks him for the case. When Sawyer initially protests, Jack threatens to take him off his medication, after inducing fear in him about the possible complications. Sawyer reluctantly hands Jack the case, and asks him if Kate revealed what's inside. Jack, however, lies and says no. Before giving him the case, Sawyer warns Jack that Kate is lying about whatever reasons she told him. Back at the caves, Kate and Jack open the case together, as he insisted. Jack is amazed to find that the contents are as Kate described, with the exception of a yellow envelope marked "Personal Effects", which he hands to Kate. Kate opens the envelope, and pulls out a small toy airplane. When Jack demands that she tells him the truth about it, Kate initially says that it belonged to the man she "loved", but after a struggle between them, she eventually cries out that it belonged to the man she "killed". While shocked, Jack takes the case along with the guns, and walks away.

Shannon singing La Mer to Sayid

That night on the beach, Rose continues to help Charlie come to terms with Claire's kidnapping. When Charlie questions her belief of getting reunited with her missing husband, Rose explains, "there's a fine line between denial and faith", which she feels is much better on her side. Charlie, in tears, asks her to help him, but Rose replies that she is not of such power, and then holds his hand while making a prayer for him. At the same time, Shannon approaches Sayid, and tells him a story of her French boyfriend's son, Laurent, who repeatedly watched a French dubbed cartoon about a fish (Finding Nemo). Apparently, the cartoon had a song with matching lyrics to Rousseau's notations. When Sayid asks her about the song, Shannon starts to sing Charles Trenet's La Mer. As she sings, Boone watches them in anger from behind a tree. Passing by them, Jack heads to the caves with the case, but stops to look at Kate who gazes at the fire with a face covered in tears. As he leaves, Kate starts to play with the toy airplane.



  • The title is a pun: "whatever the case may be" refers to both the mystery surrounding the Marshal's briefcase and the mystery surrounding Kate's past.
  • This episode features the first appearance of the second beach camp.
  • When the first camp is being washed away by the tide, Sayid describes the tide as changing too quickly. This is one of the earliest references in the show to time passing differently on the island. See also time dilation.
  • This is first time the toy plane Kate cares so much for is seen. It is later seen to belong to Tom Brennan who was Kate's childhood boyfriend and "the man she killed".
  • Finding Nemo, the movie Laurent may have watched repetitively in France "over and over" was released on DVD there on the 12th May 2004, just over 4 months prior to the crash of Oceanic flight 815. This may not have been enough time, as it seems that Shannon lived in Australia longer than that. Although the American version of "Finding Nemo" had "Beyond the Sea" as its final soundtrack song, and "Beyond the Sea" was based upon the French song "La Mer," they had different lyrics, and not simply the same lyrics using different languages.
    • Finding Nemo is about a fish trying to make his way to Sydney.

Production notes

  • Claire does not appear and Emilie de Ravin is not credited.
  • Jin does not appear in this episode.
  • Walt appears but has no lines.
  • This is the highest rated episode of Lost's season 1 on ABC with a total of 21.59 million viewers. It also marks the only episode to score highest ratings in a season without being the season's premiere.
  • The real-life behind-the-scenes reason for the "unusual tides" that are about to submerge the fuselage was that actual seasonal tides on the North shore of Oahu would have eventually flooded the shooting site for real, thereby submerging the fuselage set and causing an ecologial disaster. Therefore, an in-story reason had to be found for the survivors moving their camp to a different location. (Hearts and Minds audio commentary)
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 1 DVD.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Kate deceived Jason in order to get the plane, just as she attempted to deceive both Jack and Sawyer for the same reason. (Juxtaposition)
  • While Sawyer only wants to know what is in the case, Jack demands ownership and control of the case. (Juxtaposition)
  • While Kate simply used Jason to get the plane back, she also used Jack to get the key. It seems she is revealing to Jack the reason she was under arrrest ("It belonged to the man I killed!") but this is at best a half truth. Kate did not kill Tom (though she feels responsible) and she is not under arrest because of that. (Juxtaposition)
    • A metaphorical parallel is found here: Kate reveals her identity to Jason to be false, and also hides her true self from Jack.
  • Real-time events are spent trying to open the case, while flashback events detail Kate trying to get to the safe-deposit box, both of which happen to hold the same object. Kate opening up to Jack in the end of the episode also parallels them opening the case. (Juxtaposition)

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
  • Kate reveals her relationship with Tom Brennan to Jack. (Relationships)


Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

The Season 1 soundtrack includes the cue "Navel Gazing" from the scene where Kate and Sawyer take a swim in the spring.

Flashback timeline

  • This episode's flashbacks occurred between the ones in "Born to Run" and "Tabula Rasa". Born to Run's flashbacks occurred roughly two years prior to the crash. Tabula Rasa's flashbacks occurred in the three months leading up to the crash.

This article uses material from the "Whatever the Case May Be" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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