Sometime I envy those people who have the will power to wait the season out and catch it all on DVD. After episodes like last nightâ€™s, the wait between installments can seem endless. It must be nice to just sit down and catch them all one after another. Alas, I lack that restraint.
That said, thereâ€™s also something to be said for being left hanging. When a show is this drenched in mystery and atmosphere, taking a spell to sift through it all and come up with our own theories about whatâ€™s really going on is part of the fun.
Readers of my regular post know that I am prone to offer my wild interpretations of the various mysteries before us. And last nightâ€™s episode offered up a veritable cornucopia of evidence to support my crackpot theories of time travel and altered dimensions. It appears, I may not be too far off course. Iâ€™ll get into that below.
Last note. Iâ€™ve been keeping everyone up to speed on the ever changing schedule that ABC has sketched to fill out this season. Now it appears as if we have it set in stone. ABC will air the first eight episodes straight (we just finished # 5 so we have 3 more weeks left). Theyâ€™ll then take a one month hiatus and will be back in mid-April to air the remaining 5 episodes.
All right. On with the show.
1.Â Â â€˜The Constantâ€™ is all about time-travel. Picking up the thread established in last seasonâ€™s Dezzie ep, â€˜Flashes Before Your Eyesâ€™, this episode further explains Desmondâ€™s post-meltdown precognitive abilities. It appears that blinding purple light and massive doses of electromagnetic energy has rendered Desmond a time traveler. In Flashes Before Your Eyes, we saw Desmond returning to pivotal moments in his life â€“ with the subtle difference in the introduction of Miss Hawking, the kindly old jewelry store owner who busted through Desmondâ€™s 4th Wall and explained to him that even though he was reliving past moments, he was powerless to change them â€“ meaning he was pre-destined to arrive on Fantasy Island.
2.Â Â So it was established that Desmond had taken a trip through time. Last night was devoted to explaining how and why it works. And with all the various theories of time travel that pop-culture has ladled out (Terminator â€˜Bubblesâ€™, flying Delorians), I think this was the most simple and elegant. Itâ€™s not the person (the physical entity) that travels. Itâ€™s the consciousness â€“ the soul. What this does is eliminate those pesky time paradoxes that always occur when you posit dropping a person from one time to a past moment. What happens if you run into yourself and how do youÂ not remember running into yourself and how does that not drive you insane? Writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof come up with a clever end-around. Your conscious mind vacations in your own body â€“ shutting your past consciousness down while you take control of your own shell. Nice and neat. No doppelgangers running around making a mockery of things. Just your past self temporarily in possession of future thoughts. And if you think about it, thatâ€™s a neat explanation for psychic behavior. If your future consciousness temporarily relocates to your past brain pan, once it departs it may leave behind wispy remnants of future thought â€“ or â€˜flashes before your eyesâ€™ â€“ also explaining dÃ©jÃ vu.
3.Â Â Of course, in this episode we also learn that Desmond is not the only time bandit. Weâ€™re introduced to George Minkowski (Fisher Stevens) who frankly departed a lot sooner that I thought. Of course, his appearance was crucial as it demonstrated the stakes for Desmond. Minkowski verbalized what Faraday had cryptically warned Frank – that if you strayed off course on your approach to or from Lostralia, weird things could happen. Minkowski says that he and another crewman made an ill-fated approach to the island and got their brains fried as a result. Without a Constant, Minkowski was pinballing back and forth through past and present selves and his brain was melting down â€“ much like poor Eloise the rat. So, the stakes were clear for Desmond. He needed a Constant.
4.Â Â This led to his search for his true love Penelope which brought back her evil Dad, Charles Widemore. And that brings up another theory weâ€™ve been tossing around on this site. Widemore has greater stakes in this island than has been revealed to date. If you notice, the item he was bidding on (and won) was a painting of The Black Rock and its accompanying shipâ€™s log. As we know, the Black Rock is currently landlocked on the island. How the log made it to the mainland is unclear but its obvious why Widemore wants it. That document must contain clues to the whereabouts of the island. Also, of note, the auctioneer mentions that the ship was commissioned by Alto Hanso. From The Swan orientation tapes, we know the Dharma Initiative was kicked off by Alvar Hanso (my guess, a descendant of Alto).
5.Â Â We also learn that Penny has been calling the freighter even though Charlie warned that it is not her boat. When Penny makes an appearance later in the episode she says â€œI know about the islandâ€ which we know she knows because she had those guys in that Antarctica research station looking for the island, as revealed in the Season 2 Finale.
6.Â Â So hereâ€™s my theory. Itâ€™s not her boat, itâ€™s her Dadâ€™s. Penny is hunting for Desmond. Charles Widemore is hunting for the island. I think Charles Widemore is a rival of the Hanso Foundation â€“ that Dharma was charged with exploring and protecting the island (making Ben a â€˜shades of greyâ€™ good guy) and Widemoreâ€™s group is looking to find and exploit it (making him the true villain.)
7.Â Â Of course, in order to prevent Desmond from suffering a similar fate as Minkowski and Eloise, he had to locate his Constant, Penny. I was most impressed that during an episode so heavy on the heady sci-fi stuff, that we got a genuinely touching romantic moment between Penny and Desmond as he reached out across time and space to connect with her on Christmas Eve 2004 â€“ as promised. With mere moments to spare, the two echoed their proclamations of love. Through it all, this show follows that constant of Desmondâ€™s real-world desire to be reunited with his fair Penelope â€“ to complete his Odyssey. It was a nice moment in a series brimming with them.
8.Â Â Add Daniel to the time warp trio. The closing moments show Daniel referring to his journal â€“ where he found the passage â€“ â€œIf anything goes wrong, DesmondÂ Hume will be MYÂ constant.â€ This nicely ties everything together. Obviously Dan would experiment on himself leaving him with the need for a Constant. He knows he runs into Desmond at Oxford and in his trips he appears to be heading to the future â€“ meaning he knows heâ€™s been to the island before. This ties two prior scenes together. The sequence where Charlotte was quizzing Dan about which cards he remembers and the first time we met the characters, when he was crying at the site of Oceanic Flight 815 yet couldnâ€™t explain why. Like Minkowski, he had knowledge in his head that his present self couldnâ€™t fully process.
9.Â Â So what does all this mean and how does it tie to the Dharma Initiative â€“ who we theorized are experimenting with either teleportation or time travel or both (the Tunisian polar bear). What if Dharma glimpsed the future and are now working overtime to insure that certain events either occur or donâ€™t occur. This harkens back to Benâ€™s proclamation that â€œWeâ€™re the Good Guysâ€. Maybe heâ€™s right. Maybe heâ€™s charged with preventing some future calamity as a result of knowledge gleaned in their travels.
What do yâ€™all think?