The LOST episode "What Kate Did" gave us the background material that revealed what Kate's criminal past was all about. But we are still questioning who Kate actually is. By that I mean, who is this girl who reacted to an abusive step dad (who was really her father), whose mother put the creep above her own daughter? Is the girl who is now a prisoner of her misdeeds a good or bad person? What could poor Kate have been if she had better circumstances in her life? And what are the internal obstacles that hinder her from figuring out how to find her true self and start over in a better way on the island with her own Tabula Rasa?
In many ways Kate is a lot like the character Aldonza, in Cervantes' "Don Quixote", and also in the play "Man of La Mancha". Aldonza is a village peasant girl of rough repute, but she is not ignorant. Her station in life has made her defiant of her position and street wise. Between the lines we can tell that she doesn't feel that she has any choice in what kind of life she gets to live, no matter how smart she might be, and it makes her bitter and mistrustful. I see a lot of Aldonza in Kate. She learned savvy skills from her Army step dad, and she is very brave in the face of challenges. Kate is also pretty good at reading her fellow castaways in some episodes. But something went wrong in her life and when it comes to raising herself above the circumstances she fell into, she seems at a complete loss as to how to do that.
Many times LOST bloggers have discussed what it is that Kate actually needs (in the way of a partner) to lift her out of her past. Does she need a Sawyer type of guy who is on to her bad side, loves her anyway, and treats her like an equal? Or does she need what it once looked as if Jack might be able to give her -- a kind of affection and appreciation that would lift her up from her depths and make her want to be a better woman? I think that although Kate needs to pull her own self up by her bootstraps and decide what kind of person she wants to be, she could also use a little prodding about now. Sometimes we all need a Don Quixote to see the best in us and to help us realize that we don't have to be what we were born into, or worse yet, what other people say that we are. We can be whatever great person that we want to be. Especially in God's eyes, we always have the choice of redemption, which is a major theme of LOST.
Maybe Kate's black horse vision is a reminder to her of her strong inner self. Of the Kate that existed before things in her life got turned around for the worse. Giving her the feeling that maybe she can still be that brave and strong mare once again. If Jacob controls Smokey and the visions, did he sense this about Kate and send the horse as a token of a Don Quixote type of inspiration to her? Kate needs someone in her life to tell her that a person can be much more than the worst mistake they ever made. Mother Teresa taught that the way to get someone to be their best self, is to treat them as if they are. That's what Don Quixote did for Aldonza, to inspire her to transform into the sparkling persona of Dulcinea, the ideal. That's what Kate needs.
UPDATE: My nephew hated the medieval image that I previously had for this post, because it had nothing to do with LOST or space. So, I changed it to this thoughtful shot of Kate immediately post-crash which I have always liked.