The Worst Characters in The Best TV Shows: Kate Austen, LOST

Here’s what you need to do, Kate. Keep your mouth shut and stop asking questions. – Lost

The following post will have spoilers.  If you’ve finished all six seasons of LOST, or if you have no desire to ever watch, read on.  If you haven’t watched it yet, and have somehow remained unsullied, you might want to wait.  You’ve been warned.

I love LOST.  Have since the very beginning.  I’ve been known to hang up on friends when LOST returned from a commercial break, and plan events around the show.  I drove out to Moose Jaw to watch the series finale with my BFF, and I cried.  Like a baby.

But no matter how much I love the show, I will always, till the end of my days, despise Kate Austen.  And I am not alone.  I’ve stumbled across websites listing the many reasons Kate Austen sucks.  Some of my examples may be found on such lists.  But, as Julie Andrews once said, “Let’s start at the very beginning.”

Season One

In the first season, we are introduced to the characters and given gentle shoves toward the “good ones”.  Kate is one of those people.  In fact, she was meant to be the main leader.  Jack Shepherd was meant to die in the series premier and Kate was to take over.  Thank the everloving script gods that changed.  Not that Jack was a totally righteous dude, but he’s better than Kate.  Marginally.

Scenario the First:

Jack is caught in a cave-in.  Kate is galavanting in the jungle, no doubt “saving everyone”, and Sawyer was tasked to tell her.  Except, she mouthed off, because she’s smart at everything, and Sawyer neglected to tell her till much later.  During the time of her ignorance, Michael – who is an engineer or architect or something – has been trying to find ways to safely remove the good doctor from the rubble.  Meaning, he’s trying to make sure their efforts don’t cause more harm.

I guess architects are kind of like doctors that way.

When Kate finally does find out, she runs to the cave, and is aghast that people are trying to find the logical, most responsible way of getting him from the cave.  “What are you doing?  Dig!” she says, dropping to her knees and clawing away the dirt and rubble.  The rest of the people in the cave look at each other, say, “oh, that’s what we have to do.  Dig the guy out,” and they too help.  It should be noted, it’s Charlie, and not Kate who actually saves the day.  Score one for a coked-up rockstar.

Scenario the Second:

Michael, Jin, and Sawyer have been working on a raft.  Despite all of Jack et al’s running into the jungle, in the first season, it is Michael who really does the most to try to get off the island.  There is only enough room for 4 people: Michael, Walt, Jin and Sawyer.  Sawyer has bought his way on the raft.  Jin and Sun have been fighting, mostly because Sun knew English and dishonoured Jin.  Kate marches up to Michael, “I’m going on the raft.”  That’s right folks, she has done nothing to help, and barely acknowledges the man, but thinks she gets to dictate the passenger list.  Kate wants on the raft so she can escape the inevitable jail time she will have to serve because she killed her father.  Not surprisingly, Michael says, “thanks but no thanks.”   Suddenly, right before they’re about to set off, Michael gets sick.  It’s deemed to be intentional.  Poison.

No toilets on the raft, and only so many leaves.

The first one to blame is Sawyer, but wait, with Sawyer off the boat, here comes Kate.  But no, this isn’t suspicious at all.  Why would Sawyer poison the man who holds his ticket off the island?  We discover that through some tricky manipulations, Kate helped Sun learn if you melt the plastic from a driver’s license and put it in a water bottle, the person who ingests it will get sick. Nice of her, isn’t it?  But her plans are thwarted.  Sawyer has none of her wheedlings, and exposes her true nature.

Too bad he doesn’t stop loving her.  That would make things way easier.

Season Two

Scenario the Third:

Walt has been taken by the Others.  He’s got abilities we don’t actually find out about.  Mostly because the actor grew too fast.  The other rafters have been left abandoned in the water.  They make it to another side of the island.  They meet the Tailies, and Ana-Lucia – who, thankfully only has a one-season arc. Michael takes off after Walt.  Michael comes back.  Michael takes off after Walt.  Jack goes after him.  He takes Locke and Sawyer with him, but despite Kate’s pleas, “I’m really good at tracking, way better than anyone else, because I’m a girl”, he tells her to stay.  She doesn’t listen.  She gets caught.

I totally meant to get caught, guys.

And because she got caught, they had to give up their guns.  Good tracking, Kate.

Season Three

Scenario the Fourth

Sawyer likes Kate. Kate likes Sawyer. Jack likes Kate. Kate likes Jack.  Jack meets Juliet.  Juliet is an Other, but the good kind.  Juliet likes Jack.  Kate sleeps with Sawyer.  Jack sees it on a camera.  Jack likes Juliet.  Kate feels spurned.  Really Kate?  You can’t have both.  Either have cake, or eat it.

Man flesh is smeared around Kate Austen’s mouth.

Not only does Juliet suffer, because for some reason Jack can’t quit Kate, but Sawyer realizes he’s just a tool for her angry release, and let’s face it LOSTies, Sawyer is a much better person than Jack is.  Kate doesn’t and never will deserve him.

Season Four:

Scenario the Fifth:

Here’s where things get tricky.  After the Oceanic Six get off the island, Kate is arrested.  Don’t forget, she killed people.  We don’t know it yet, but she has Aaron, Claire’s son.  We’ll get back to that.  The evidence against Kate is overwhelming.  She is recommended to take a deal – a certain amount of years in jail.  Beats the alternative.  A bajillion years in jail, but no, Kate will not do jail time.  Why not Kate?  You’re guilty, a hundred times over!!  But for some reason, her jail time hinges on her mother’s testimony.  And her mother wants to see her “grandson” which Kate won’t allow.  So the mother decides to recant.  Kate gets off, scott free.  She killed at least 3 people, and the only time she spent in jail was while the trial was going on.  Double-you Tee Eff.

We can at least take comfort she did spend some time in a cage.

Scenario the Sixth:

The survivors have managed to find their way on a boat.  Michael’s there! Yay!  A tonne of C4 is there!  Boo!  Here comes Frank et al in the helicopter!  Sun won’t get on the helicopter until Jin is with her.  Kate assures her, promises her she’ll find him for her.  Sun believes her, trusts her, and goes on the helicopter.  Kate doesn’t get far before she’s stopped by Jack.  “Hey, we’ve got to go.”  “Okay.”  WHAT?  No, “Wait Jack, Jin is down there, I swore to Sun I’d find it for him.”  Just “okay.”

For all we know, Jin really was buried there.

It’s only because Sun is a better person than Kate is that she didn’t come and put a bullet in Kate’s head.

Season Five

Scenario the Seventh:

Claire has disappeared, leaving her son Aaron behind.  When the Oceanic Six get rescued, they decide they need to lie about everything that had happened over the last 100 days, and because there’s a baby with them that wasn’t on the plane when it crashed, and the only other female survivor is Korean, Kate says Aaron is hers.  Okay.  It’s fine, because they don’t know yet that Jack is Claire’s half-brother.  So Kate takes Aaron, uses him as a tool so she doesn’t do jail time, and raises him.  Until three years pass and lawyers come to her door demanding a DNA test.  Someone is on to her.  She panics – as the guilty do, and enlists the help of Jack. They find out the lawyer that approached her is the same lawyer who is helping out Claire’s mother, who has told Jack the truth about Claire.  Kate gets Jack to tell Claire’s mom they didn’t mean to lie, blah, blah, blah.  But Claire’s mom has no idea who Aaron is.  Someone else is on to them.  Then, they get word they need to go back to the island.  Kate will have none of it.  She goes to the store and promptly loses Aaron.  While she is running around looking for him, she sees him walking with a woman, who from the back, looks an awful lot like Claire.  Naturally Kate really freaks out and begins to have a conscience.  She then takes Aaron to his real grandmother, tries to explain away her selfish behaviour.  “I needed him”.  That’s her explanation for maintaining the lie, even when she knew of a blood relative.  She needed him.  Sure, people who kidnap children, it’s okay, so long as you “need” the kid.  No big deal.

I read The Deep End of the Ocean; I know how this works!

And then Kate has the nerve to hand the kid off to the grandmother and says, all heroic-like, “I’m going to bring back your daughter.”  Right Kate, you’re not actually the hero.  You just want to assuage your own guilt.  “Rescuing” someone doesn’t make what you did less bad.

Scenario the Eighth:

For reasons which are too lengthy to explain, the people who are left on the island when the Oceanic Six leave move through time and end up in the ’70’s.  So when the Oceanic Six return, most of them end up in the ’70’s too.  Guess who’s a kid back then?  Ben!  Sayid shoots him, but doesn’t outright kill him.  Wee Ben finds his way in Juliet’s operating room.  Kate sees him all bleeding and junk and decides it’s her responsibility to save him.  Keep in mind, folks, this gaffer grows up to be a manipulative psychopath.  So, she gives her blood (good think they’re the same type), and when Juliet tells her the Others can help him, Kate decides to drive him out to Richard.  So off she goes, and with Sawyer’s help (sent by Juliet), they give WB to Richard, who warns them he’ll never be the same again.  To wit, this is the incident that makes him the nutter he will be in 30 years.  Wee Ben’s father is naturally beside himself.  Kate then takes it upon herself to console him – even though she met him 2 seconds ago.  And because Kate can’t keep a secret, unless it’s the fact she’s killed a bunch of people, Roger gets suspicious.

Smooth move Ex-lax.

And because she just can’t butt out, Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, and Mile’s soft, cushy life is turned upside down.  Way. To. Go.

Season Six

Scenario the Ninth: 

Ben has successfully been manipulated by The Man in Black who looks like John Locke (who Ben killed) and has killed Jacob.  TMiB is now on a rampage.  He wants to leave the island, which at the moment is merely corking his evilness.  It’s a metaphor people! TMiB has been a father figure to Jungle Claire.  Turns out she didn’t disappear outright.  She also didn’t forget she has a kid and folks, she is pissed.

Kate and the others (not to be confused with Others) find their way to a temple which can withhold the barrage of the TMiB.  Or can it?  (It can’t.)  There’s events and goings on, but ultimately, people need to leave.  But Kate won’t, because she needs to make sure she and Claire are okay.  As if a, “you took my baby, used it in a pawn to get out of jail, but it’s okay because you’re only sorry you can’t get rid of your guilty feelings” is going to happen.  So once again, missions are sabotaged because it’s all about Kate.

Scenario the Tenth:

The good guys need to get from the Main Island to Hydra Island.  There’s a sail boat that’ll do the job quite nicely.  Sawyer is leading this mission and who’s the first person he turns to?  You guessed it: Kate.  Sawyer: “What do you know of sail boats?” Kate: “I know enough”.  Really?  I mean, really Kate?  What do you know of sail boats?  You’re from the freaking mid-west.  Where in the world, between the murdering of your step-father (who was actually your real father), getting your first love killed, ruining EVERYTHING on the island, stealing a baby, and using said baby to get out of jail did you find time to learn about sail boats?

No caption required.

I get it.  You’re insecure about yourself and that’s why you need to do all these things.  It’s okay; a lot of people are insecure about a lot of things, but Kate, you, and you alone are the reason we can’t have nice things.

And now you’re going to be in The Hobbit.  I swear Kate, if you ruin that too, the smoke monster just might be knocking on your door.

I’m watching you.

Except, not really, because you’re a terrible actress.

Photos taken from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.



  1. I love Kate still. I can’t imagine watching an amazing TV show and hating one of the main characters. How is it possible to continue watching?

    And seriously…no matter if she “needed” the child, or whatever else she said, what did you expect her to do? Leave Aaron on the island and hope Claire eventually finds him?

    • No, but she gets all pissy with Jack about Aaron when he is actually related to the kid. By rights, Aaron should have been given to Claire’s mom right away, but as Kate admits, she kept him for selfish reasons, per the norm.

  2. Kate is not going to be in The Hobbit. Evangeline Lilly is, and she’s a good actress.

  3. Kate is one of the worst characters in television history. She ruins the show.

  4. Just finished watching Lost (I know I’m late to the party because the show has been over for years)…and have to say thank you for pointing out the obvious facts of this poorly written character who was soooo painful to watch.

  5. Thank God someone sees this. Kate is a sociopath. She has shown numerous times that she will manipulate anyone to get what she wants. Yes, she is brave. Okay, she has one good quality. But she’s still a sociopath and not good enough for Jack or Sawyer, who I can’t believe actually still want her. Well, I can believe Sawyer because I think he feels a kinship with another “outlaw” and doesn’t realize how deeply Kate is disturbed. But Jack’s kind of… well…. prissy, so wtf? Anyway, my husband and I cringe whenever we rewatch and she’s onscreen. And I tried to convince myself that Evangline Lilly is okay, just an actress, but if you watch interviews with her, she’s still smugly pleased with herself and frankly, a little freakish at times. She also lies a lot. So two strikes!

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