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"Born to Run"

11 May 2005
Running time
Production code
Centric character(s)
Written by
Directed by

Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

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

"Born to Run" is the 22nd episode of Season 1 of Lost. The episode is also known as "Time Capsule" in the Japanese market. With news that the raft must leave at once to avoid changing winds, Kate decides that she needs to be one of the passengers, attempting to steal Sawyer's spot. Meanwhile, suspicion abounds after Michael's drinking water is tampered with. Flashbacks in this episode focus on Kate reuniting with Tom after learning about her mother having cancer.





The woman arrives at the motel

A young blonde-haired woman pulls up at a motel. The license plate on her vehicle says Nebraska, but the woman quickly changes it to an Ohio plate from an assortment stashed in the trunk of the car. Grabbing a towel and shampoo from the maid’s cart, the woman enters a room that has just been made vacant, adding a "Do Not Disturb" sign. As she showers, she is revealed to be none other than Kate, as the blonde-hair products run off her hair in the water. Moving to the main office, “Joan Hart” picks up a letter expected for her. As Kate reads the hand-written note in the car, she begins to sob uncontrollably.

Kate at the hospital

At a hospital, Kate walks down the hall carrying a large bouquet of flowers. She poses as a delivery girl, asking to see Diane Janssen. On her way to the room, she sees a sheriff, and uses the flowers to cover her face. Kate leaves the hospital without giving the flowers to the patient she wanted to see. In the hospital parking lot, Tom Brennan gets into his car, only to be surprised by Kate who’s hiding in the back. She tells him that Diane is dying of cancer, and that she needs his help.

At Tom’s house, Kate looks at the family photos on the refrigerator as Tom speaks to someone on the phone about needing to book the MRI scanner. After finishing his phone call, Tom talks about his son and wife, and Kate seems upset at the thought that Tom is with someone. He promises that Diane will get a scan in the next few hours, so they have a little time to kill until then. In the moments that follow, Kate comments about whether “it's still there.” Though Tom is reluctant, Kate insists that they may never have this opportunity again. The pair drive out to a bare cattle field, with a huge tree engulfing the landscape. Here, they count their steps from the tree and begin to dig.

Opening the time capsule

Some time later, Tom offers Kate a beer as they continue their dig, before they manage to hit metal. Kate pulls out a box, and inside the time capsule are a number of childhood objects, including a red baseball cap, baseball and Tom’s favorite toy airplane. They also find a tape recording, which they play in the car. Recorded in 1989, young Tom and Kate comment on how they will be married when they find the capsule in the future, and also about running away together. During this, young Kate additionally mentions that Tom “knows why” she always wants to run. The tape is stopped, and in that moment the two kiss. Pulling away, Kate apologizes as Tom says they’d better get to the hospital.

Kate runs again

At the ward, it becomes apparent that Kate just wanted a moment to see Diane in private before her surgery, and so needed Tom’s help to do this. With that final time alone together, Kate is reunited with her mother and apologizes for everything she has put her through. However, instead of a warm greeting, Dianne screams for someone to help her. Kate runs from the room, but is grabbed by a security guard, whom she dispatches by hitting him with his own walkie. Tom finds her, and the two head for his car. The police, however, have already created a barricade to prevent her escaping. She shouts for Tom to get out of the car, but when he refuses, she drives straight through, clipping the police car and experiencing heavy fire from the sheriff. Though they manage to escape, it is not without cost, as Kate realized that one of the sheriff’s bullets has hit and killed Tom. With little time, Kate is forced to run from the car, leaving both Tom and the toy airplane behind.

On the Island

Arzt explaining about the winds shifting

Out by the sea, Kate plays with Tom Brennan’s toy airplane. Her train of thought is interrupted by Charlie, who talks about Drive Shaft and how the raft will save them all, meaning he can make millions on his comeback gigs. As they watch some of the survivors working on the raft, they witness an argument sparked by another survivor, a man named Dr. Arzt.

Arzt tells the group that monsoon season is coming, meaning winds will change southwards towards Antarctica. As the raft needs to head north to reach shipping lanes for a chance of rescue, it means the raft must leave immediately to avoid nature turning against them. The news hits everyone hard, especially Kate, who chases after Michael. She wants a place on the raft, contesting Sawyer’s spot, and tries to present herself as a better candidate. Michael, however, won’t allow it. He says that the raft is full and that Sawyer bought his passage fairly by giving crucial supplies for the first raft’s construction.

Jack sees the Hatch for the first time

Meanwhile, Sayid leads Jack into the jungle, and with Locke, they let him in on their secret. The Hatch has now been partially dug up, and the three decide that they need to discuss what to do next.

Sawyer begins to complain about some of the organization and planning going into the raft, irritating Michael. He mentions that maybe Sawyer isn’t the right man to come with them, considering he knows virtually nothing about sailing or survival at sea.

Further down the beach, Kate is burning the picture off Joanna's passport so that she can use it should the raft be successful and the group is rescued. Sawyer arrives, having ascertained from Michael that she was after his place on the raft. He tells Kate that he knows she was the Marshal’s prisoner on the plane, and that she will be captured if rescue arrives, but her secret is safe with him and she will not take his spot. He starts to leave, but as he goes Kate adds that if she wants his spot, she’ll get it.

Walt helps an unwell Michael

Walt passes Michael some water as they work on the raft. They talk about what they’ll do when they get rescued. Suddenly, Michael stumbles, collapsing and ordering Walt to get Jack. Walt finds Kate and Sun, and Kate takes up the pursuit to find him. At the Hatch exterior, Jack and Locke talk about how to open it. Sayid disagrees, however, pointing out that there is no handle on the Hatch door, suggesting that perhaps it was never meant to be opened from the outside. As the group heads back, Kate catches up to them, telling Jack about Michael's collapse. After examining him, Jack concludes that there was something in his water, and finds residue of a substance in his drinking bottle, suggesting foul play.

When Jack checks up on his patient, he inadvertently reveals the truth. A livid Michael immediately suspects Sawyer. However, Hurley also accidentally reveals to Locke that Kate was the fugitive, causing he and Jack to argue again about keeping secrets from each other on the Island.

Claire gives Charlie a haircut

Meanwhile, Charlie plays his guitar to Aaron as Claire cuts his hair. He offers Claire a place to stay in Los Angeles when they get rescued. At the caves, Kate inquires after Michael, and asks whether his place on the raft is now open. Jack accuses her of poisoning him, and in disgust Kate leaves. At the other end of the caves, Walt finds Locke changing bandages on his leg. He wants Locke to know that he didn’t poison his father (as he knows that Locke is aware that he burnt down the first raft). When Locke grabs Walt's arm, Walt suddenly stops, telling John not to “open that thing,” much to Locke’s confusion.

At the beach, Michael blankly tells Sawyer that he’s off the raft, accusing him of poisoning him. In retaliation, he openly reveals to the entire group that Kate was the fugitive on the plane. He comments that Kate only cares about herself, and would go to any length to escape. Kate admits that she was the criminal, but denies poisoning Michael. He won’t listen, however, reinstating Sawyer as the fourth passenger. Everyone moves out, leaving Kate alone with the toy airplane, the symbol of her past.

Sun admits to Jack what she did

Later, the raft is hurriedly being put together to set sail as soon as possible, as Jack approaches Sun. He tells her that he knows she is behind the poisoning, and that she had intended to poison Jin rather than Michael. Sun admits everything, she did not want Jin to die at sea, and so just wanted to make him temporarily ill so he would not go. Jack tells her that her secret is safe, but that she needs to say goodbye as Jin will be going.

As night falls, Sawyer finds Kate, telling her that he’s back on the raft and will set sail tomorrow. He says he only did what he had to do in revealing the truth, as he couldn’t afford to lose his place. Kate asks why he needs to be on the raft so badly, and he replies that there is nothing on the Island worth staying for. Kate drops her hard exterior for a moment, and tells Sawyer to "be safe" as he leaves.

Kate by the campfire

Walt and Michael sit by the raft, and Walt reveals that he destroyed the first one. He says that he didn’t want to leave at first, but Michael isn’t too mad. He suggests that they can stay if Walt wants, but his son adds ominously that they "need to go." Meanwhile, Sun finds Kate, telling her that Jack knows, but not about her part. It turns out that the poisoning was Kate’s idea all along. Sun adds that Kate was only trying to help her, but the look on Kate’s face suggests another agenda. Sun says that she always thought as a child that meeting the man she loved would make her life happy forever. As Kate stares out into the dark, she adds "Yeah, me too."



  • The time capsule Tom and Kate dig up is in a New Kids on the Block lunch box that she is seen stealing in "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2."
  • Despite Arzt's claim in this episode that they were on the cusp of monsoon season, the amount of rain seen in future seasons is significantly less than in this first season. The producers addressed this issue on the podcast, stating "Arzt is an idiot."

Production notes

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • When Kate is confronted by Sawyer in front of the other survivors, her hair changes positions - especially on and off of her shoulder - throughout the scene. It continues briefly after the flashback where Tom Brennan is killed.
  • When Kate is digging up the time capsule, the car is a later model BMW E34 525i (hence the grill is wide). Later on in the chase scene the car suddenly switched to a narrow grill style seen in earlier E34 models and then moments later switched back to the wide grill right before she wrecks the car.

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
  • The idea of Kate always running is reinforced in this episode. (Isolation)
  • Tom and Kate buried the time capsule on 8/15. (The Numbers)
  • Kate and Tom Brennan kiss in the car, and remember their young relationship. (Relationships)
  • Walt warns Locke not to "open that thing", presumably the Hatch, despite never being shown to know about its existence. (Premonitions)  (Parapsychology)
  • Sayid tells Jack that a hatch without a handle was perhaps "never meant to be opened from the outside". (Fate versus free will)
  • When Kate saw her mother in the hospital, she called for help just like she said she would in "Left Behind". (Parent Issues)
  • When speaking to Diane, Kate apologizes for everything she has ever put her through. (Redemption)
  • Tom is killed as a result of Kate's attempts to escape. (Life and Death)  (Relationships)
  • Sun reveals that she was the one who poisoned the drinking water in an attempt to prevent Jin from heading out on the raft, which was later implied to be Kate's idea originally. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer revealed to the entire camp that Kate was the fugitive on Oceanic Flight 815. (Secrets)
  • Walt reveals to his father that he burned the first raft. (Secrets)
  • Hurley complains there are too many secrets among the survivors: "How am I supposed to keep straight who knows what around here?" (Secrets)
  • In her attempt to escape, Kate and Tom are involved in a car accident. (Car accidents)
  • Kate learns that Tom has a baby son named Connor. (Children)

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Psycho. The opening scene is a clear reference to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". The movie is about a blonde woman on the run who drives into a motel. The motel room and the shower scene in the episode resembles the movie very much and even the music is similar to the horror movie.(Movies and TV)
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Kate's alias, Joan Hart, is the name of the main actress of this series, in which Beth Broderick (Kate's mother) played Sabrina's aunt. (Movies and TV)
  • "Born to Run". The episode's title refers to the famous album and song by Bruce Springsteen (1975) which in a way mirrors Kate' story. Also, it features the line "Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist" which can be read as a reference to kids being in danger on the island. (Pop culture references)
  • Star Trek. Sawyer refers to Jin as “Sulu”. Hikaru Sulu is a Japanese character in the original Star Trek series. Daniel Dae Kim has played two different Star Trek characters during his career, although neither were related to Hikaru Sulu. (Movies and TV)
  • Survivor. Sawyer asks Michael if he is going to vote him off the raft. Survivor is a popular reality television game show produced in many countries throughout the world. In the show, contestants are isolated on a remote island and compete for cash and other prizes, while voting each other off. (Movies and TV)

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • As is a theme in every Kate-centric episode, we see that she will do anything to run away, including suggesting Sun's poisoning of Jin, attempting to steal Joanna's I.D., attacking security officers, and leaving Tom either dying or dead.
  • Off the Island, Kate persuades Tom to get an MRI scan for her mother so that she can see her one last time, which leads to Tom being killed. On the Island, she tries to convince Michael to give her Sawyer's spot on the raft, which, indirectly, leads to his poisoning and to Kate's shame as the whole camp discovers her status as a fugitive. (Juxtaposition)
  • Charlie's comment about them becoming famous after they get rescued eventually comes true with the Oceanic Six. (Foreshadowing)

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost

Episode references

Flashback timeline

  • According to the Marshal in "Exodus, Part 1" Tom was killed two years before the crash. This would presumably put the flashback in Born to Run in the year 2002.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Born to Run/Theories
  • How does Walt know about the hatch Locke is trying to open?
    • Why does he warn him not to open it?

This article uses material from the "Born to Run" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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