"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, Hutton 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 she has the customer key. Obtaining the bank key, Kate opens the box and finds a yellow envelope inside.

On the Island

Day 21

Sawyer watches Kate's attempts to open the case.

In the jungle, Kate is 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. He 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. 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. He 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.

The survivors 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.This is the first hint that something is special about it. Jack notes to Sayid that at the rate the tide is rising, the fuselage will soon be submerged. He says people should move to the caves. However, Sayid notes many survivors are worried about entering the jungle after Claire’s kidnapping. Jack 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, fails, and then demands the case from Sawyer who refuses.

Day 22

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. At the beach, Rose tries to help Charlie snap out of his depression by asking him to help her move her luggage.

Sawyer trying to open the Halliburton case.

Later in the jungle, Sawyer follows Michael's advice by hitting the case on some rocks several times, but the case still refuses to open. Frustrated, he climbs up a tree and throws the case down; 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. Sawyer soon catches up with her, gets the case back, and makes Kate a proposition. He promises to give her the case, on the condition 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.

Rose comforts Charlie over Claire's kidnapping.

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 says she only fears the guns will fall into Sawyer's hands. Jack, skeptical, then tells her that he will only help if they open the case together, to which Kate agrees.

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 because of 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 she open it. Kate opens her hand, revealing the key inside. Kate tries to explain, but the angered Jack refuses to listen and walks away with the key.

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

Meanwhile, Sayid finds Shannon's translation of the French notations to be of no sense, asking if she's sure, 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.

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, but with the addition 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. Shocked, Jack takes the case along with the guns, and walks away.

Rose and Charlie pray near the campfire.

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.

Shannon singing La Mer to Sayid.

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.
  • 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."
  • This episode features the first appearance of the waterfall, which would appear again in "Exposé" and "316".
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes

  • Emilie de Ravin (Claire Littleton) does not appear and is not credited in this episode.
  • Malcolm David Kelley (Walt) appears without speaking 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 the highest rating of a season without being the season's premiere.
  • The 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 ecological 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.
  • Most of the cast get a wardrobe change in this episode.
  • The underwater scenes were not filmed in Hawaii, but instead in a tank in L.A. (The Beginning of the End audio commentary)

Cut material

Jack tosses Sawyer a Snickers.

  • The script called for the episode to open on Kate's eye, showing her distressed rather than nonchalant, reacting to Claire's disappearance and Sayid's news. She would have worn a sports bra and "tasteful" underwear while swimming, deliberately downplaying the scene's sexuality, and the briefcase's retrieval would have preceded the title sequence as part of the teaser.[1]
  • Kate's scene stealing the case from Sawyer's tent would have run slightly longer. After butting Sawyer, who then offered the chance to further "play rough," Kate would have quipped, "Not tonight. You have a headache."[2] Later, when she grabbed the case after he dropped it, Sawyer was to rappel down to her using a vine.[3]
  • Rose would have recruited Charlie's help by referring to the wreckage she was dragging as "a counter top in the gourmet kitchen I'm planning."[4] Right after Charlie asked whom he ought ask for help and the camera cut to Ed Mars's grave marker, Kate would have told Jack, "Never figured you for the religious type."[5]
  • Kate's first conversation with Jason would have included dialog clearly identifying her as his superior.[6]
  • The case would have contained a Snickers bar in addition to its other contents.[7] At the end of the episode, Sawyer would have asked what Jack found in the case, and Jack would have tossed the candy bar to him.[8]
  • Shannon's final conversation with Sayid would have drawn out the revelation of the lyrics' origin slightly longer. Shannon would have described Finding Nemo and then mentioned the movie's cast, and Sayid would have shown no recognition either time.[8]

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • When viewing with English subtitles, the subtitles say the deposit box number is 850, not 815.
  • During the scene towards the end, where Shannon explains the song lyrics to Sayid, Shannon's wrap changes positions many times between shots.


Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

The Season 1 soundtrack includes the cue "Naval Gazing" from the scene where Kate and Sawyer take a swim in the spring. It features a variation on the main theme. This episode also introduces a motif that plays during many of Kate's scenes throughout the series.


Recurring themes

  • During the bank robbery, Kate pretends to be an innocent bystander. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Kate turns on some of her partners during the bank robbery. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer and Kate find two dead bodies from Flight 815 at the waterfall. (Death)
  • Kate digs up the dead body of Edward Mars, and tries to conceal the discovered key from Jack. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Kate reveals to Jack that she killed the man she loved, the man who owned the small airplane inside of the case. (Relationships)
  • The safety deposit box is numbered 815. (The Numbers)
  • Shannon mentions that Rousseau has been on the island for 16 years. (The Numbers)
  • When Shannon asks Boone where he's been going, she says he has been leaving early and returning late for the last 4 days. (The Numbers)
  • Rose gives a prayer to the "Heavenly Father" in order to help Charlie. (Religion)
  • Boone lies to Shannon about why he and Locke are spending so much time in the jungle. (Deceptions and cons)

Cultural references

Literary techniques

  • While Sawyer only wants to know what is in the case, Jack demands ownership and control of the case. (Juxtaposition)
  • At the start of the episode, Kate appears to be a victim in the bank robbery. It is then revealed that she is working with the robbers. (Plot twist)
  • Sawyer tells Michael he should find himself a runway. Ironically, there is actually a runway being constructed on Hydra Island. (Irony)
  • During the bank robbery, Kate demanded that no one gets hurt, but Kate later shoots three men. (Irony)

Storyline analysis

  • Kate reveals her relationship with Tom Brennan to Jack. (Relationships)
  • Kate plots a bank robbery in order to get to a safety deposit box. (Crimes)
  • Kate also claims to have killed the man she loved. (Crimes)

Episode connections

Episode references

  • Because of her previous work translating the French distress signal, Sayid asks Shannon to help him translate the maps he took from Rousseau. ("Pilot, Part 2")  ("Solitary")
  • Kate and Jack discuss digging up the Marshal to get his wallet. ("Tabula Rasa")
  • Jack threatens to stop Sawyer's medication for his stab wound. ("Confidence Man")
  • Jack asks Sayid where he can find Rousseau, as well as referring to Sayid "hearing something" in the jungle. ("Solitary")
  • Locke and Boone make their way to the object they found buried in the ground. ("All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues")

Episode allusions

  • Sun overhears the conversation between Jack and Kate, though they don't realize she can understand what they're saying. ("House of the Rising Sun")
  • Kate ends up on top of Sawyer yet again. ("Confidence Man")

External Links