This week on LOST, Desmond yet again finds it difficult to keep his consciousness where it belongs, and we learn a little bit more about what makes him so “special.” We’ve got lots of theories, so check them out and leave your own in the comments (remembering the rule of no spoilers for unaired episodes!).
Assuming we’ve all pieced our brains back together, what did everyone think?
CARA: It seems that Desmond’s phrase “See you in another life, brotha,” has taken on a whole new meaning. I’m having trouble imagining how this wasn’t planned all along … and that absolutely delights me. I now see the Desmond-centric episodes Flashes Before Your Eyes, The Constant, and Happily Ever After as a trilogy. I’ll discuss this more below, but basically this final installment had the least cool title but was no less awesome overall.
SALLY: This was one of the moments where some things snapped into place for me, conceptually anyway. It was like when I got to Deathly Hallows and saw the relevance of all these moments from the previous 6 books and was just in awe of JKR and her talent. I really liked the episode.
SADY: See? I have like no patience for the Desmond and Penny love story. It kind of makes me barf. It’s soooo repetitive, and living on a boat with a baby is sooooo boring to me, and I get sooooo irritated whenever it’s presented with big swelling music as HE GOT HER PREGS + THEY ARE ON A BOAT + THEY ARE PROBABLY DOIN’ IT IN TIME WITH THE MOTION OF THE OCEAN, FEEL SOMETHING ABOUT THIS LOST VIEWERS, but Desmond’s episodes? Always interestingly structured. Always plot-advancers. And in this one the Desmond and Penny thing was, like, crucial to that! Like, more than just icing! Well-done.
CARA: Sady, I must say that your Des/Penny bashing makes me cry. Because DESMOND + PENNY = TRU LUV 4EVA. Hater.
SALLY: Seriously Sady, way to be a downer! Let’s see how long this friendship of ours lasts now!! *threatening look*
CARA: Random notes that don’t fit anywhere else: the scene where Desmond started beating the crap out of Widmore with his IV pole was one of the funniest and most perfect scenes this series has ever done. Desmond rarely gets in on the show’s violence, and I was pleased to see him do it in such a ridiculously awesome way. The only thing that made me laugh harder was when Desmond was put in the MRI machine and given a button that he wasn’t supposed to press. Oh, and Sideways Everybody needs to stop getting sent to the hospital, because I’m tired of looking at Jack’s ugly face.
LAUREN: I swear St. Sebastian’s is the only hospital in L.A.
In the last couple of seasons the show has abandoned it’s “hard” sci-fi foundations for fantasy, and even as someone who isn’t a huge science fiction fan, I tend to like the eps that have some kind of science-y basis over the ones that hinge on ghost whisperers. Hardline sci-fi nerds can fight me on whether Lost is true science fiction, but I far prefer electromagnets and secret underground bunkers full of unidentified scientific equipment to the power of love — so basically I ignored the Desmond-Penny romance this ep and focused on how being named a constant matters in these imaginary time traveling, sideways universe story lines instead. This makes me a poor sample for TV female audience studies; the only people I ship is me and Sayid.
The big reveal of the night was the confirmation that the two realities are most definitely connected. Any thoughts on how? And why did Widmore’s experiment send Desmond to the sideways world, instead of into his own past like when the hatch exploded?
SALLY: I think it sent him to sideways world because of his ability to snap in and out of time. I think he’s the key here because of all of his special powers. My guy is convinced that one of the realities is purgatory, but I doubt that. I don’t have any awesome ideas of what it actually is though.
LAUREN: Here’s how I’m making sense of it right now: Back in season two, Ben and Locke had a conversation about a metaphorical box that could produce anything you wanted if you wanted it bad enough. In this week’s episode, Eloise Hawking gave Desmond a big ol’ hint when she told him that he had what he’d “always wanted,” which was Widmore’s approval. This tells me that sideways world is the realization of what the Losties always wanted, or thought they wanted. Thanks to dramatic irony, we the audience know that Sideways World is a catch-22 because in the realization of what they longed for they lost everything that made them who they are in Island World. Or in other words, “be careful what you wish for,” especially on a time-traveling island made of polar bears, hot bodies and electromagnets.
I’m still thinking that Sideways World is what happens if MiB wins over Jacob, although with the emphasis on the word “choice” this episode, I’m leaning to the “war” on-island being more of an ideological war than a physical one (will good win over evil? or will the Losties choose having been on the island over wiping it from their lives altogether?).
CARA: I really like the idea of the “magic box” coming back into play. I thought that was a plot point that was getting dropped forever.
JILL: That’s basically what I was thinking. The Bizarro LA is what happens when Smokey gets off the island. The writers have made it pretty clear that there is no definitive good/evil, even though they play with those concepts a lot. So Bizarro LA is, yes, what everyone always wanted — and for some of them it’s better, and for some of them it’s totally fucked.
SALLY: See, I was thinking that too, except I don’t see it for most of the characters. Jack has a son so he can work out his daddy issues, but that’s all I can find. Sayid doesn’t have Nadia which is, as far as I know, the only thing he’s ever wanted. Locke always wanted to be adventuresome and independent, but he doesn’t have that. I have no idea what Claire really wants, or Kate for that matter other than to be with that guy she loved (thanks, LOST, for the depth of your women characters). I always got the sense that Hurley just wanted a normal life, not necessarily a life without bad luck.
Could it be the opposite for some people? Could it be that the island somehow gives them what they want?
Because Sayid did end up with Nadia once he got off the island. Locke got his adventure and independence on the island. Claire got to raise her baby on the island. Sawyer got to kill the man he felt was responsible for killing his parents. Oh, Sun and Jin wanted a baby which they had with the island scenario, but off the island there’s a chance that’s not happening. Kate’s life is messed up either way I guess. I don’t know… this doesn’t jive with me. Something seems off.
LAUREN: The way I’m looking at it is that Jack wanted a functional father-son relationship (and you know my feelings on how that actually played out in sideways world, but whatever), Locke wanted to be with Helen, Sawyer wanted respect and legitimacy (or possibly something to do with Juliet’s well-being), Sayid wanted his beloved alive and well, and I have no idea about Kate or Claire or Ben. But the point is that they wanted these things, or thought they wanted these things, but to undo life as it was turned out to be equally unfulfilling — as with sideways Desmond last night, who Widmore said was “blessed” because of his lack of family, children, and commitments. Now, we know that Desmond was only fulfilled because of his relationship with Penny. I think his story arc last night is setting the stage for the rest of the show — we are going to see our Losties unite consciousness of island world and sideways world, and ultimately decide whether *cough* it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. (Sorry.)
CARA: I’d say that Claire wanted to be with Aaron again, and Ben wanted Alex to be alive and to have a good relationship with her.
LAUREN: Good call.
SALLY: Well, I shall continue to ponder this… But all of that said, I do agree with you that the sideways world is related to the MiB/Jacob struggle. Perhaps MiB touched all of them in this world rather than Jacob touching them.
CARA: SUDDEN THEORY. What if shuffling everyone’s lives around by giving them “what they wanted” is the evil that so many have threatened MIB would inflict on the world? I mean, isn’t getting what you want only to find out that it’s not what you want the classic deal with the devil? And what if when they warn that “the world would cease to exist,” etc., what they mean is that this world, the reality they’re living in now, would cease? And what if the way to defeat the Man in Black is not to kill him, but to undo his work in that other reality — to right it again, like Desmond seems to be attempting?
SALLY: Hmm, I think I like this theory of yours.
In the sideways universe, Desmond was highly respected by Widmore and saved Charlie’s life. What’s the significance of these close parallels and major changes?
CARA: One thing I found really interesting is how in our regular universe, Desmond could see into the future and had visions about things to come. He shared them with Charlie, and of course they had a huge impact on Charlie’s life. In the sideways universe, Charlie saw into the other universe and had visions about things that had already happened but been forgotten. He shared them with Desmond, and they had a huge impact on Desmond’s life.
LAUREN: Good catch — I didn’t even think of how Desmond and Charlie had a reversal of roles this episode. I kept thinking of Charlie as our manic pixie dream elf who was babbling on about TRUE LOVE for no reason, until I recalled that Penny was Desmond’s constant.
JILL: The fact that Charlie didn’t die was pretty telling. The writers have said that the two universes will converge at some point — I took that to mean that if you die in one universe, you probably die in the other (as much as people CAN die on the island). The fact that Charlie didn’t drown… no idea what it means, but I like it.
SADY: See, I thought the “I was supposed to die” line from Charlie, earlier in the season, was supposed to be some sort of You Can Never Escape Your Destiny thing. But now, it’s clear that in the sideways-world, nobody really HAS a destiny: Sun & Jin won’t have their magic baby, Claire won’t lose Aaron and replace him with Skull Baby, Jack will get to be a douchey father with random good moments, and not just have a random father with random good moments, etcetera. So Charlie not dying, when his Terrible Fate was so constantly stressed, is a big part of showing us that Destiny/Jacob is no longer a part of the picture.
That said: no matter what reality he’s in, Charlie still seems kind of stupid! He does not seem to get that, by dying, he may be able to see the Angelic Face of Claire for like 2.5 seconds, but in both this reality and the next, he would not actually be dating Claire, because he would be totally dead. The whole C&C Music Factory he’s pulling for is more likely in the sideways world, where they are both alive. Whereas the only way for Charlie and Claire to continue their relationship, in the reality he is so totally enthused about, is for her to somehow fish his corpse out of the ocean and turn him into her very special Skull Boyfriend. Although, knowing Claire…
Sideways Faraday has things figured out, and actively sought out Desmond to discuss them. Is the Faraday-Desmond connection somehow related to Faraday’s old note that Desmond is his constant?
CARA: There are a huge number of parallels between events in this episode and events that occurred in both The Constant and Flashes Before Your Eyes.
From The Constant: Minkowski is present for both of Desmond’s experiences flashing back and forth. Faraday is the one who understands what’s going on, explains the situation to Desmond, and encourages him to get in contact with Penny. And Sayid “saves” Desmond from Widmore and his people. From Flashes Before Your Eyes: Desmond meets with Widmore in his office. After he leaves Widmore’s office, he meets Charlie and Charlie gives him a hard time. He then goes on to meet Eloise, who tells him about what he’s “supposed” to do and tries to keep him away from Penny.
There are likely other things I’m missing, but the fact remains that all of these things are purposeful and I think they’re all pretty significant as well. These episodes were all written to go together. The main difference seems to be, if Eloise was correct that Desmond wasn’t supposed to find Penny, that he actually changed something this time around.
SALLY: And this is what struck me because Eloise has usually worked to make sure things stay on track. I mean, she even set the wheels in motion to make sure that she would still kill her own son in the past! Perhaps she is merely trying to protect this reality and have it run its course, and she knows that Desmond meeting Penny would make him change his mind, which is, of course, what happens. But, I don’t know, Desmond doing that seemed equivalent to Faraday making sure the bomb was set off on the island. Hopefully it works out better for Desmond than for Faraday.
LAUREN: Did anyone else give the side-eye to the fact that Faraday figured out the sideways reality by waking up and drawing an equation? Because if I woke up and drew an advanced physics equation that I saw in a dream, I would either assume it was the Chantix or, like Faraday, that I’d seen it somewhere before. Like, oh, MATH CLASS.
CARA: But Lauren, it was a SUPER ADVANCED equation. Also, Faraday knows things. And likes discussing the possibility of detonating atomic weapons no matter what universe he’s in.
SADY: I would just assume my equation was wrong! It would be like the time I tried to write a short story after having read it in a dream (I HAVE DREAMS. DREAMS ABOUT READING THINGS, OKAY) and figured out like two sentences in that in my non-dreaming life, random words slammed together with no regard for structure are, like, wayyyyy less fascinating. Also, can we discuss what a huge dork Faraday still apparently is, in Sideways World? “I wish to conduct an experiment! My experiment is to merge classical music with rock!” So, like, you want to recreate that Metallica album with the orchestra? “Close! But I have a far worse idea! For the groundbreaking rock band I have chosen for my experimental music project is… DRIVESHAFT.”
Also, Driveshaft is still seriously the worst band to ever record music, no matter what reality they’re in. It’s been several seasons since we were all subjected to the infamous eight bars of “You All Everybody,” and I had nearly forgotten it, but oh my God! With repetition, The Only Song Ever Recorded By Driveshaft just gets WORSE AND WORSE!
SALLY: Sady, that’s it, INTERVENTION! Put down that Haterade and come back to the lovely land of LOST. “You All Everybody” is clearly one of the best songs ever. Psh.
Just like when Desmond met Eloise for the first time in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” she seems to know exactly what is going on, and doesn’t want to change it. How? Why?
SALLY: I think Eloise is special in a different way than, say, Desmond or Faraday, but still just as special. It’s as if her mind has the ability to see much more than what everyone else can see. Not so much that she’s a mind-reader or a psychic, but that she’s somehow able to tap into various timelines and realities and see how they connect. If we go with Faraday’s definition of time travel with the paths and whatnot, then she’s the one who can see which path people are going to take, at least to a certain extent. My theory, anyway.
CARA: I was just thrilled to see Eloise! And her hair was HUGE! I totally want her to show up at the island, too, because even though I hate that she keeps trying to keep Des and Penny apart, she is totally badass.
SALLY: I loved her huge hair!
LAUREN: Sally, I agree with you that she seems to know more, or see more, than the others can, but I can’t figure out why or how! For a minute, too, I thought that sideways Widmore would have some special insight. He didn’t, of course, so I was COMPLETELY SHOCKED when Eloise turned to Desmond for the first time and had that look of surprise and recognition. Brill!
After seeing this episode, Eloise is going to be a seminal character. I think she may be an orchestrator more than she is an observer.
SADY: Yeah, Eloise freaks me the hell out. Like: I have theories that she’s way more magic and creepy than either Jacob or Flocke. Eloise might be God, I’ve decided. And she will fix you with her cold stare, and YOU SHALL KNOW HER DIMINUTIVE OLD-LADY WRATH. I want to like her, since I’m fond of having female characters that aren’t sexy young ladies with boyfriend/husband/baby troubles, but actually, in that conversation she had with Desmond, I was TERRIFIED. In a way that I haven’t been since Locke’s David Lynch dream sequence in Season One, with the bloodied-up chanting Boone.
When Desmond woke up, he agreed to go with Widmore. Then when Sayid attacked Widmore’s people, Desmond happily went along with him. What is Des up to?
CARA: No clue, but at the risk of over-emphasizing a theme, can I just say that Random Ninja Sayid is super hot? Ahem.
LAUREN: Random Ninja Frogman Zombie Killer Sayid is way hot. This will be my last reference to Sayid’s hotness in this blog post. I’M ICING IT DOWN, LADIES.
CARA: Quite the change in position, Lauren! But on a Sayid-related note that has nothing to do with this hotness, I’m intrigued by him freeing Desmond. Did MIB at some point tell him to do that? It’s possible, but I don’t know when it would have happened. The reason it interests me is because swooping in and saving his friends is classic Sayid. Getting Hurley after Locke/”Bentham” died is one such example, and of course he significantly protected and helped Desmond in The Constant. It makes me hopeful that our old, beloved Sayid really is still in there somewhere.
SALLY: Back to the Desmond going with him thing – this REALLY confused me, like REALLY. Was Desmond just pretending to care about Widmore’s plan when he really just intended to do his own thing? Maybe that’s why he then up and left with Sayid? I’m confused…
LAUREN: Sayid was doing recon for Smokey, for nefarious purposes, I’m sure. I also think Desmond knows what’s up — or what’s at stake — in both worlds even if he doesn’t understand the big picture yet. I just wish we knew what was going on.
SADY: You know who’s hot? Random Driver Dude Fisher Stevens. AM I RIGHT LADIES. (SPOILER: No. I am not right. But there is Fisher Stevens! Creeping me out, again, also!)
In the sideways world, Desmond also says that he has to show something to the passengers of Flight 815. What else is Des up to?
CARA: It seems pretty clear that he wants to show them the other universe, but how he plans on doing that and to what end, I have no idea. It does seem that Desmond is still unstuck in time, as he woke up on the island, then woke up again in the sideways world and asked Penny out. The passing out and waking up indicates that we’re not just seeing a flash sideways like in every other episode, but that the two are still actively connected. I’m curious to see how that plays out.
SALLY: I got the sense that some things clicked for Desmond when he met Penny. Perhaps he wants to show the passengers how they’re connected – introduce Charlie to Claire and whatnot.
LAUREN: I also think Desmond (and maybe Faraday?) is going to be integral to the rest of the characters in sideways world realizing that they know one another from another life, brother. In regular world, I think he’s going to be integral to convincing everyone to make the right choice, whatever that is, presumably whatever Jacob is offering over whatever MiB is offering.
SADY: Actually, this was another scene that scared the crap out of me! First, because Fisher Stevens is creepy, and everything was a little too quiet, I thought Fisher was going to assassinate Desmond at Widmore’s command. It seriously felt like one of those, “now that the character is happy, and talking about his happiness, and there is no music on the soundtrack, let’s surprise you by killing him” scenes that TV shows and movies often do. But also! We’ve kind of established that the only way for people to see into the other reality is to have a near-death experience, or maybe even die. Is Desmond seriously going to kill everyone on Oceanic 815?
CARA: Well Desmond saw his other life when he was in the MRI machine, and I don’t think that he was about to die when he saw NOT PENNY’S BOAT on Charlie’s hand, either. But in terms of spin-offs I would watch, the My Name Is Earl-inspired show in which Desmond does not rectify a prior misdeed for a different wronged person in every episode, but instead tries to KILL a different person to show them their other life in every episode, is definitely near the top.
Widmore said he needs Desmond to make a sacrifice. What kind of sacrifice, and why?
CARA: I don’t know, but I’m worried. With all of the other characters, I’m pretty open to a wide variety of endings. I want Sayid to receive redemption, but I’m okay with even him, my favorite character, either living or dying. I’d ideally like Hurley to live, and I want Sun and Jin to get back together. But other than that, the thing I want, the thing I really, really want, is for Desmond to go back home to Penny and actually live Happily Ever After. I don’t know how, and they can get us to that point however they want. But Desmond’s entire storyline has been about Penny, and if she loses him to this stupid ass island … I will be so crushed. I really don’t want to believe that the writers will do that to us.
LAUREN: No. Clue. Whatever happens, happens.
SALLY: I’m with you Cara, my one hope for this show is that Desmond & Penny will live happily ever after with kids and a yard and whatever other stereotypical things come with happy endings. I don’t think that Desmond’s sacrifice involves death, but I’m not really sure what else it could be. =(
LAUREN: Okay, I’m going to make a prediction, right or wrong. Desmond’s “talent” is being able to withstand electromagnetism, SO he is either going to be asked to stay on the island indefinitely to keep track of Smokey, or he is going to have to sacrifice his life by carrying out some electromagnetic-related act. Anyone want to go out on a limb with me?
SALLY: That sounds good, actually, and makes sense considering the awkward way in which they introduced the pylons last week.
SADY: Oh, Desmond is so dead. After this episode, I feel like EVERYONE is totally dead. However. Except for Eloise and Fisher Stevens, for they will outlive us all.
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