My apologies in advance, but I have to treat this more like the start of a thread than a full-blown, down-the-rabbit-hole blog. My quick take on "Whatever Happened, Happened," is that it's an episode about mothers and fathers mixed with some Ben mythology and one of the most enjoyable freak-flag waving, nerdy conversations to date.
Let's start with the nerd stuff. Miles and Hurley go back and forth debating ideas about how the time-travelling phenomenon actually works. It reminded me of the chess games Hurley and Sawyer used to play when they bunked up in season four. Hurley checkmates Miles with the query: why would Ben (then posing as Henry Gale) not recognize Sayid when the castaway tortured him in the Swan? After all, Sayid shot young Ben?
Well, we eventually get the answer to that question.
"If I take him, he will forget what happened, and his innocence will be gone."
Hmm. So what you're saying is that if I give you Ben, you'll fix his body but corrupt his soul? Or in chess terms, we're trading our pawn for a rook.
During the dying-Ben handoff to Alpert, we catch wind of one of The Others' mention of Ellie and Charles, our potential king and queen pieces.
Richard, of course, doesn't answer to either of them. So who does he answer to?
As for mothers and fathers:
* Kate and her concern and eventual handoff of Aaron
* Roger Linus and his concern and eventual losing of Ben
* Cassidy and Clementine
* Carole Littleton and her taking of Aaron
* Sawyer's line, "a kid will do almost anything if he's pissed off at his folks."
Throughout the show the role of parents has been a paramount player. Just last episode we were given a glimpse of how Sayid became the natural killer he is thanks to his father. Christian Shepard seems to be Jacob's right-hand man. Kate returned to the Island to find Claire, most likely because she's Aaron's mother. This can go on and on, from Hurley's paternal relationship to Locke's daddy issues.
Point is, "Whatever happened, happened," hit us with a heavy dose of parenting and offspring issues. But that's not what's going to get people talking at the ol' water cooler. And by water cooler, I mean Twitter. And by Twitter, I mean "hey, we have a Twitter account worth checking out."
The two parts, no three parts of the episode probably worth chitchatting about are:
1. Ben's handoff to Richard and the Ellie/Charles reference
2. Kate's motives: Altruistic? Is she trying to sincerely help a kid? Is she trying to be the mother her mom never was? Is she the woman behind the men; the one making the decisions they won't?
3. Miles' and Hurley's discussion about time travelling.
4. OK, there are really four. Locke's line: "welcome to the land of the living."
No smarmy literature references today ... let's just get to some Lost talk.