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Evangeline Lilly as Kate Austen
|First appearance||"Pilot, Part 1"|
|"Pilot, Part 2"|
"Whatever The Case May Be"
"Born to Run"
"Exodus, Part 1"
"What Kate Did"
"There's No Place Like Home"
"The Little Prince"
|Sioux City, Iowa USA|
|Portrayed by||Evangeline Lilly|
Katherine Anne "Kate" Austen is a fictional character on the ABC television series Lost, played by Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly. She is the de facto female lead. In the original plot, in which Jack dies when the group finds the cockpit, Kate was to emerge as the leader for the survivors, motivating them to build shelter and begin considering life as permanent residents of the island. In the original description for Kate, she was a slightly older woman separated from her husband, who went to the bathroom in the tail-section of the plane. However, that idea ended up being used for Rose and her husband Bernard. Yunjin Kim originally tried out for Kate. The producers liked her but didn't think she was right for the part, so they wrote the role of Sun-Hwa Kwon for her.
Prior to the crash
Born and raised in Iowa, Kate is the daughter of diner worker Diane, and Sam, a U.S. Army Ranger and Gulf War Veteran, who taught Kate to track deer in the wild during her childhood. At an early age she befriended Tom, and together they buried a time capsule beneath a large tree. Kate's parents later divorced, and Diane married an abusive alcoholic named Wayne. As an adult, Kate returned to Iowa and took out an insurance policy on her mother's home before blowing it up with Wayne inside, which she confessed to her mother before disappearing. Diane called the authorities, where Kate was arrested and handcuffed behind her back at a bus station by Edward Mars. As he drove her to be processed, a horse in the road caused him to lose control of the vehicle and crash, allowing Kate to escape. Kate then confronted Sam, realizing that he was in Korea at the time of her conception, and Sam revealed that Wayne was her biological father. Sickened by her relation to Wayne, Kate continued her fugitive lifestyle, but remained determined to learn why her mother surrendered her to the police. Under the alias of Lucy, she met an out-of-luck con artist named Cassidy Phillips, who helped her confront Diane in a diner restroom, where Kate learned that despite Wayne's abusive nature, Diane still loved him. Before she left, Diane warned Kate that if she ever sees her again, she will immediately call for help.
Kate fled to Miami under the alias "Monica", where she dated and soon married a police officer named Kevin Callis. Following the wedding, Kate called Mars and begged him to stop looking for her, which he agreed to do, under the condition that she would finally settle down, something that Kate knew she was incapable of doing. After almost becoming pregnant and Kevin's purchase of two Oceanic tickets to Costa Rica for their honeymoon, Kate confessed her fugitive past and laced his drink with a sedative before disappearing. After months of traveling around the country under numerous aliases, license plates and hairstyles, Kate learned that Diane was dying of cancer, and decided to visit her. She reunited with her childhood friend Tom, who helped her dig up their time capsule, containing a variety of items, including his small toy airplane. Tom, now a doctor, arranged a meeting between Kate and Diane. As Kate tried to apologize to her, Diane started screaming for help, prompting Kate to flee the hospital with Tom. On her way out of the hospital Kate saw Tom in the waiting room. Kate told Tom to stay, but unknown to Kate, Tom followed her. A policeman opened fire on their getaway car, killing Tom and forcing Kate to flee the scene of the accident, leaving behind Tom and his childhood toy.
Months later Kate staged a robbery in New Mexico with several criminals to infiltrate a bank's safe deposit box, where the toy airplane was being stored, shooting the leader in the leg to prevent him from hurting the other customers and calling the police. She fled to Australia where, while sleeping in a barn, she was discovered by a farmer. Posing as a Canadian hiker, Kate worked on the farm for three months, saving her wages in a hole in the pantry. When the farmer caught her attempting to sneak away, he offered her a ride into town the next morning. During the journey however, Kate discovered that the farmer had learned of her true identity and notified Edward Mars of her whereabouts, in exchange for the $23,000 reward. Kate grabbed the wheel and crashed the truck into a field but instead of running, she helped the unconscious farmer from his vehicle, giving Mars time to pursue and arrest her. Escorting her to the airport in handcuffs, Mars briefed local security officers on Kate's fugitive past and revealed his locked carry-on case containing five firearms. Boarding the plane, he handcuffed Kate to her seat in the middle of the row, near the midsection of the plane. As the plane was bombarded with escalating turbulence, Mars was knocked unconscious by luggage from the overhead compartment. Kate stole the keys to the handcuffs and attached an oxygen mask to Mars before taking one for herself, as the plane splintered and crashed onto the island.
After the Crash
Having survived the crash, Kate discards her handcuffs and stumbles out of the jungle to encounter a wounded Jack, whose wounds she agrees to suture. That night, the two explore the inland area to search for the missing cockpit, accompanied by Charlie. The three discover the cockpit and Seth Norris, the surviving pilot. As they recover the radio transceiver, they are thrown into disarray by the arrival of the "Monster," whose rampage kills Seth. Kate returns to the beach with Jack and Charlie and later joins several survivors who accompany Sayid as he attempts to transmit a distress signal. Upon returning, Jack tells Kate that he knows she is a fugitive. She examines the injured marshal, only to be strangled. She asks Sawyer to kill him on her behalf, but he fails and only worsens Mars' condition, leading Jack to kill him. Later, after Jack discovers the caves, Kate decides to remain on the beach. She prepares to help Sayid locate the source of the looped distress call, but after Sawyer informs her of Jack being trapped in a cave in, she abandons her post to help. When Sawyer is being tortured by Sayid to find Shannon's missing asthma inhalers that they believe he has, he says he will tell her if she kisses him. After they kiss, he reveals he doesn't have them and Kate punches him.
When she discovers the marshal's case, she and Sawyer fight to gain possession, but she eventually asks Jack for help, who agrees but decides that they open the case together. She later informs Nikki and Paulo of its original whereabouts. Kate helps Sun with her garden, learning that she understands English. Kate continues to maintain a helpful attitude throughout the camp, as she joins the search party for the kidnapped Claire and Charlie, returning only with the latter. When Claire returns two weeks later, Kate also helps capture Ethan. Later, Sawyer seeks Kate's help in tracking a boar he claims to be constantly harassing him. Kate jokes about his predicament, but agrees to help nonetheless. They camp out and reveal truths in a game of "I Never" where Kate admits she has killed someone. Whilst in the caves with Jack, she is sent to retrieve alcohol when Locke carries a mortally wounded Boone. She becomes sidetracked when she discovers Claire in the jungle going into labor, and must deliver the baby without Jack's help.
Kate grows concerned over Jack's well-being, and drugs him in order for him to get some deserved sleep. However, Kate and Jack later discover that the key to the gun case is missing; they find Shannon holding Locke at gunpoint later in the jungle. After Rousseau arrives on the beach to warn the camp of the Others' imminent arrival, she takes Kate, Jack, Locke, Hurley and Arzt to the Black Rock, where they attempt to carry dynamite to the hatch discovered in the jungle. After the sudden demise of Arzt, Kate volunteers to carry dynamite in her backpack; she discovers that Jack switched her bag moments before handing it to her. Arriving at the hatch, Kate helps prepare the dynamite. Once the hatch door is blown open, she and the others peer inside.
Despite Jack's objections, Kate and Locke descend into the hatch, Kate entering first. Once inside, she is caught by Desmond, and tells her to tie up Locke, until he reveals Kate's criminal past. Kate is tied up, gagged, and locked in the food pantry, where Locke slips her a knife with which to free herself. Kate crawls through the air vents and arrives in a room with a computer, where she overpowers Desmond after Jack arrives. She accidentally damages the computer in the crossfire, causing Desmond to panic and flee. When Jack returns, Kate is placed on a rotation to enter the numbers into the computer. As she and Jack play golf one day, they encounter Mr. Eko carrying a critically injured Sawyer. The rest of the tail-section survivors also arrive, along with Jin and Michael. Kate stays with Sawyer around the clock while he slips in and out of consciousness. Jack makes her take a break and asks her to go get some food for Sawyer. While picking fruit Kate sees a black horse from her past. When she returns to the hatch she hallucinates that Wayne is channeled through Sawyer and Kate freaks out. Later she is sitting in the jungle when Jack finds her and angrily demands to know why she left Sawyer and the Hatch. She apologizes, over which he expresses scorn and doubt, and she becomes angry and says she is sorry that she is not a perfect and good as him. As she tries to leave he restrains her, and in a moment of confusion Kate kisses Jack, and runs away. She eventually returns to the Hatch to tend Sawyer, and partially confesses her crime to him. Sawyer finally wakes up, obviously hearing her confession but choosing not to judge her. Later Kate leads Sawyer outside where they both see her black horse. When Michael runs off in search of his son, Kate volunteers to follow him, only for her offer to be rejected by Jack. Determined to help, Kate follows them from a distance, but is captured by Pickett. After Jack refuses Tom's demands to hand over the guns, Kate is brought out and held at gunpoint to force the men to give up their guns. She later tries to apologize to Jack, but his reception to her is aloof. Sawyer offers a few words of comfort, telling her "not to beat herself up" and that he would have done the same thing.
Later, Kate finds herself a victim of a long con, conducted by Sawyer, in order to gain access to the armory's remaining weapons and the camp's medicine. When Claire's baby falls ill, Kate joins her on a trek into the jungle to seek Rousseau's help. The three head inland, where they discover the Staff station. Inside, Kate examines the locker room, where she discovers a box of theatrical props and costume, including a fake beard worn by Tom. Failing to find what Claire was looking for, Kate returns her to the camp. Sun confides in Kate when she learns that she is pregnant, who helps her come to terms with the sudden news. Later, Kate and Jack discover a mysterious and unnoticed food drop in the jungle. They return to the hatch, where hostage "Henry Gale" is exposed as an impostor. Later, Kate joins Jack on a trek back to where they encountered the Others. On the way, they fall for one of Rousseau's traps, and are momentarily caught in a net together. The two make camp, where Kate apologizes for kissing Jack. He says he isn't sorry that she kissed him, then an exhausted Michael stumbles out of the bushes.
Michael invites her to follow him to the Others' camp when he recovers, to which she accepts. However, upon learning that Ana Lucia has stolen Sawyer's personal gun, Kate, Jack, Locke and Sawyer rush to the hatch to find her dead, and Michael and Libby severely injured. All Jack can do is make Libby comfortable, and he orders Kate to go with Sawyer to retrieve the heroin from Sawyer's stash, using her to force Sawyer to reveal to Kate the location of the guns (which are also in his stash). Kate helps carry the two bodies to the beach, where she comforts Hurley over the loss of Libby. The next day, Kate, Jack, Sawyer and Hurley join Michael as they head for the Others' camp. On the way, Kate and Sawyer kill two of the Others who attempt to ambush them, causing Michael to reveal his true reasons for bringing them along. They are then ambushed, gagged, tied up and taken to a pier. Kate witnesses Michael leaving the island with Walt, while she, Jack and Sawyer are taken away with the Others.
Kate wakes up in a locker room, and is immediately greeted by Tom. After she showers and is forced to wear a dress, Tom takes her to see Ben. Ben informs her that the next few weeks will be unpleasant for her. She is then placed in a cage opposite Sawyer. The two are told to work for the Others, under the watchful eye of Pickett. When Sawyer rebels against the Others, one of the others, Juliet, holds Kate at gunpoint until he cooperates. Later, Kate climbs out of her cage and attempts to allow Sawyer to escape. Sawyer refuses to leave and finally reveals that there is no way off the island because they are on a different island than the one they crashed onto. The two have sex unaware that they were briefly caught by Jack on a surveillance camera. Kate is then forced to watch as Pickett is about to kill Sawyer, in revenge for his dead wife. When Jack contacts her via Pickett's radio, informing her that she has a head-start to escape, she and Sawyer lock Pickett inside the cage and run towards the beach. They encounter Alex, who gives them her boat in exchange for rescuing her brainwashed boyfriend, Karl. Upon arriving on the beach, however, Pickett holds them at gunpoint, until Juliet arrives and kills him. She contacts Jack once she and Sawyer are set to leave, and breaks down when Jack tells her never to return for him.
Upon arriving back on the main island, Kate is adamant that she and Sawyer head back to rescue Jack, to which Sawyer refuses. When arriving on the beach, she scolds Sayid and Locke for not bothering to rescue him, telling them that she owes Jack. She heads into the jungle, with the two in pursuit, and finds Rousseau, who agrees to help her after learning of Alex's status. The four trek into the jungle, where they discover the Flame station. They are greeted by Mikhail, who poses as an innocent surviving DHARMA member, but is exposed as an Other. Kate and Sayid take him hostage. Upon leaving the station that night, Kate witnesses its destruction. The four, along with Mikhail, resume their hike, eventually coming across a set of sonar panel fences. Kate suggests climbing over them to avoid the sonic barrier, and the four eventually arrive at the Others' barracks, where Kate is shocked to see Jack socializing with Ben and the Others. That evening, Kate approaches Jack, telling him that she'd come to rescue him. The Others quickly barge in and capture her and Sayid. Jack gently informs her that he's struck a deal with the Others to leave the island, to Kate's dismay. The following day, she is gassed and wakes up in the jungle, handcuffed to Juliet. The two bicker and fight as they are chased by the "Monster." They soon trap it outside the sonar fencing when Juliet unlocks the handcuffs. Kate finds Jack unconscious in one of the barracks, and apologizes for the trouble she caused. She returns to the beach with Jack, Sayid and Juliet.
Upon returning, Kate is still wary of Juliet, especially in Juliet's developing relationship with Jack. Later, she discovers Sayid with a satellite phone. She learns of Naomi's arrival, and of Juliet's true purpose for being in the camp. She breaks Sayid's word, and immediately informs Jack of Naomi's presence. That night, during a camp discussion, Jack and Juliet admit to being dishonest. Kate is then shown their plan to deal with the Others' kidnap attempt the next morning. However, after Karl arrives to warn then of the Others' imminent arrival, Kate travels to the radio tower with Jack and the majority of the camp. En route, Sawyer tells Kate that he's turning back to help the survivors on the beach. She offers to accompany him, but he tells her stay behind. Instead, Juliet goes with him, but before she leaves, she kisses Jack while Kate looks on in surprise. Later, Kate is getting a rock out of her shoe when Jack comes over and tells her that Sawyer didn't mean it, that he was trying to protect her. He tells her that that is why he asked her not to go back for him. She askes him why he is sticking up for Sawyer and points out that Sawyer would never do the same for him. Jack replies: "Because I love you" while Kate looks on, surprised. They eventually encounter Ben and Alex in the jungle, at which point Ben is taken hostage, while Alex is reunited with Rousseau. Kate arrives at the radio tower, where she witnesses Locke stabbing Naomi in the back. She watches as Jack makes contact with Naomi's freighter.
Moments after Jack and the group prepare to return to the beach, he and Kate notice that, whilst they weren't looking, Naomi's body has vanished. Kate goes to hug Jack as he sets off to find her, but instead steals the satellite phone from him and follows a trail of blood in a different direction from Jack. When the trail ends, Kate is ambushed by Naomi, who holds her responsible for attempting to kill her. Kate manages to convince Naomi that she and the rest of the group are innocent, and hands Naomi the phone when it starts ringing. When Naomi finally dies, Kate takes the phone and reunites with the group in the jungle by the cockpit. After a confrontation between Jack and Locke, Kate decides to stay with the former of the two, but questions Sawyer when he decides to go with Locke. While Jack and Kate sadly reminisce over Charlie by the Flight 815 cockpit, they come across Daniel, whom they believe has arrived to rescue them. The three wander the jungle in search for the rest of his team, coming across a pack containing a gas mask. After finding Miles, Kate and Jack find themselves at gunpoint until she takes them to Naomi's body. After a while, they are rescued by Sayid and Juliet.
Later, the six of them meet up with Frank and the helicopter. Upon learning of the location of the final team member, Kate accompanies Sayid and Miles to the barracks. Upon arriving, the three of them find the barracks deserted, apart from Hurley who is locked in a closet. Sayid, Miles and Kate are eventually captured by Locke. Kate decides to remain at the barracks, living with Claire, in an attempt to extract information from Miles. She arranges for him to speak to Ben, and sneaks him to where he is held. After being caught by Locke, Kate is told to leave in the morning. She spends the night with Sawyer and tells him that she isn't pregnant. They argue over his exaggerated show of relief, and Kate decides it's time to head back to the beach. Sawyer makes a remark about her being torn between him and Jack, and Kate slaps him before leaving. En route to the beach, she encounters Daniel and Charlotte, who knock her unconscious when she asks to look through their bag. Kate is found by Jack and Juliet, and follows them to the Tempest station to track down Charlotte and Daniel. Later, Kate tries to help Sun and Jin transfer to the barracks. When Sawyer returns with Miles and Aaron, she also takes over as Aaron's primary caretaker when Sawyer reveals that Claire has gone missing. They all board Lapidus' helicopter, Sawyer having decided wherever Kate goes, he goes. But as they travel back to the freighter a fuel leak is discovered, and after all the excess weight is thrown out, he makes the decision to sacrifice his own freedom so Kate and the others can live. He kisses her goodbye after asking him to do a favor for him back home, and jumps out. Kate cries as she sees he survived the jump and is swimming back to the Island. Later she watches in horror as the Island disappears, taking Sawyer with it.
After the Island
In "Eggtown", Kate goes on trial for her father's murder. She is later released on ten years probation, providing she does not leave California. Kate's mother, the prosecution's star witness, tries to reconcile with Kate, and then decides not to testify. It is revealed that she is raising a child, Aaron, who is actually Claire's son (see below).
As her trial progresses, her lawyer decides that, in lieu of Kate using her Aaron as a form of leverage, to call on Jack for defense testimony. Jack proceeds to fabricate claims of how Kate acted bravely and saved the lives of the Oceanic Six, demonstrating heroic self-sacrifice. Kate appears to be unable to handle Jack's testimony and asks that he stop. On cross examination, the prosecution asks Jack whether he loves Kate. Jack becomes emotional and tells the jury that he no longer loves her. After obtaining her plea deal, she leaves the court house through a back exit and encounters Jack waiting to speak to her. Jack tells Kate that he lied while on the stand, and that he still loves her. Kate invites him over to her house for a drink, but Jack declines, claiming he has to go back to work. Kate tells Jack that she knows he does not want to see the baby, but leaves the invitation open to him when he changes his mind. When she gets home, she is greeted by a woman, presumably, the nanny. She goes upstairs to her "son" and hugs him while calling him "Aaron", Claire Littleton's son. Kate now looks after the baby off the island, due to the strange nature of the cover-up stories the Oceanic Six appear to be spinning.
In "Something Nice Back Home", Kate is seen living in an established relationship with Jack, who is also acting as a surrogate father for Aaron, showing that Jack changed his mind about not wanting to see the child. Later, Jack asks Kate to marry him, which she happily accepts. After a series of strange events happening to Jack, he is seen starting to take pills and drinking. He later confronts Kate about her "errands" and after an argument, Jack leaves. In the episode, Kate is also discovered doing undisclosed favors for Sawyer, who "chose to stay on the island". It is this fact that pushes Jack over the edge, ending their relationship - despite the fact that Kate tells Jack that this favor has nothing to do with them and their relationship.
In "Through the Looking Glass", Jack and Kate's relationship is over, but after a series of calls from Jack, Kate agrees to meet him at an airport. Jack informs her of an unidentified person's funeral and she asks him why should she have gone. It is later revealed that the obituary is that of John Locke, under an alias of Jeremy Bentham. Jack then tells her that they need to return to the island. She grows furious with Jack, his drug-addled state and his need to go back to the island. She tells him she will not go back, and drives away. Sometime before this meeting with Jack, Kate has a vision/dream, where Claire appears, and warns her not to take "him" back to the Island "no matter what", presumably meaning Aaron.
Around seventy-five women of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages auditioned to be Kate. In the initial plans, Jack was going to die midway through the first episode, and then Kate would emerge as the leader. She was not going to be a fugitive, instead her husband was going to go to the bathroom shortly before the plane split in mid air, and she would remain adamant on the Island that he was alive. This ended up being used for Rose’s character. The producers were impressed with Canadian Evangeline Lilly's audition, as she displayed the confidence with vulnerability that they were looking for. As this was Lilly's first role, she had difficulty obtaining a visa to work in America. She was supposed to start on the first day of filming, but the schedule was rearranged to give her more time, and in the mean time, the producers began auditioning again in case the visa did not come through. However during one of the auditions, they got an email confirming that she had obtained her visa and could start work on the show.
Robert Bianco of USA Today praised Evangeline Lilly's performance in "Eggtown," saying that it was almost worthy of a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. However, Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger was unimpressed and does not find Kate to be a compelling character.
The character of Kate Austen (and by extension actress Evangeline Lilly) has made an arguable impact upon the world at large. In 2007, she was voted #1 Sexiest Woman on Television by TV Guide and made FHM's Top Sexiest.
Her influence is not limited to sex appeal: Spiritual website Beliefnet named her among the Top 10 Most Empowering Women on TV Today, along with fictional characters Betty Suarez (from Ugly Betty) and Claire Bennet (from Heroes).
- ↑ "Before They Were Lost". Lost: The Complete First Season, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. September 6, 2005. Featurette, disc 7.
- ↑ Bianco, Robert, (June 12, 2008) "Who Will Make Emmy Happy?", USA Today. Retrieved on June 13, 2008.
- ↑ Sepinwall, Alan, (February 21, 2008) "Gone Baby Gone", The Star-Ledger. Retrieved on February 28, 2008.