What happened to the ladies of “Lost”?

Last week ABC’s Lost returned for six new post-strike episodes, and I was certainly ready to get back on the island. Last week’s episode (spoiler warning if you haven’t watched last week’s episode!) revealed that Sayid began working for Ben because someone affiliated with the dastardly Charles Widmore (whose British accent keeps going in and out) had murdered Sayid’s long-sought-after true love.

It was interesting to learn a little more about Sayid, and I do like his story lines, but after thinking about what happened, I realized that slowly but surely all of the female characters on Lost have kind of faded into the background. At this point the main plot seems to be about the creepy, manipulative Ben Linus and his mysterious battle with Charles Widmore. All the women on the show are now either pregnant, being a mother, or busy mooning over a man (or two).

Kate (Evangeline Lilly), who was such a kick-ass character in the first season, has become torn between two lovers as if she were in a soap opera (complete with false pregnancy scares!), and honestly, both Jack and Sawyer have become somewhat annoying this season. I still have a fondness for Sawyer (yeah, he’s smarmy, but at least he admits it!), but he seems to have been relegated to the role of a buffoon.

All photos by ABC/Mario Perez

What about the other ladies of Lost? Well, Claire (Emilie de Ravin) has been largely missing, and she never really had much to do besides take care of her possibly freaky baby. If the flash forwards are anything to judge by, she won’t have much to do in the future, either. Sun (Yunjin Kim) has triumphed over adversity in the past, but now her whole story line involves getting off the island so she can give birth (and possibly fearing for the mortality of her husband).

The French woman was just shot, and so was her daughter. Naomi from the freighter is dead. Shannon, who was annoying from the get-go, is long dead, and Rose never does anything but pop up to deliver a wise word as if she were the Oracle. I can see several possibilities for the re-ascension of women on Lost, though:

1. Kate gets a grip on herself and steps up again. Why is she ceding leadership to Jack anyway? She should be in charge!

2. Penny (Sonya Walger) actually gets to the island somehow and has a role beyond collapsing in Desmond’s arms.

3. Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), the other woman from the freighter, becomes less annoying to me and grows into a more influential role.

4. Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) gets some screentime again and begins delivering some answers about her the island’s fertility problems. Is it too much to ask that a story line revolving around women and fertility have a woman as one of its key players rather than simply as vessels for childbirth?

Tonight’s episode, "Something Nice Back Home," which airs at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, gives me hope that some of the ladies will be back in action at last. Here’s a screencap from tonight’s episode showing Juliet taking charge (at least that’s how I’m interpreting it):

I will definitely tune in (probably on DVR delay), because Lost has had some amazing storytelling in the past, and recent episodes have rocked. I just hope the women get back in the game soon.