Lost – ‘Happily Ever After’ – 6.11

I write this latest dispatch to you in desperate times. No – I’m not talking about my April Fools-related shenanigans that took advantage of my real-life jobless concerns and desire to feed and clothe my kids for a cheap, shameless laugh. 4/1/10 has come and gone and my own personal Christmas, as I like to call that day, won’t come around again until the Earth completes its second to last rotation around the sun at which point, come this time next year, I’ll likely be apologizing for faking my own death or marrying Heidi Montag or some other wackiness.

Well, that’s not entirely true. My assumption is that after last week’s fake-out, where I cried foul, shrieking to the heavens that the sky is falling while also running home and taking my ball with me (and any other cliche I can think of) – I likely lost about 98% of my readership, meaning my little joke is likely on me. Oh well – it was nice run while I had it. Anyway, if by some luck, you have found your way back here, make sure you inform any of your compadres that the shop has reopened and I have learned the error of my ways. The last thing I’m gonna’ do is leave you all in the hands of my webmaster Sean, who’s apparently still crushing on the notion of 90’s dreamboat Chris O’Donnell as The Boy Wonder to really, truly devote any ounce of his brain cells towards properly dissecting the rich, labyrinthine plotting of our beloved pop-culture fantasia – Lost.

And that’s where we now find ourselves. Lost… and found. I’m here to see this show off. I started posting my thoughts and theories back in 2006, when we were just kick-starting Season 3 – and I aim to send the show off with a proper salute. As always, I encourage y’all to fill in any blanks I may have missed or at the very least, let us know who you find Hot or Not on our fantasy island. Ever since Juliet left, I’ve been left wanting.

With that said, let’s get Lost.

1.   I mentioned last week that I had a sneaking suspicion Desmond was the “package” Widemore ordered, when he described it as a “who” and not a “what”. After all, Henry Ian Cusick has been listed prominently in the credits since the Season 6 opener meaning the producers weren’t going to waste our intrepid time traveler on that blink-and-you-miss-it cameo conversation with Jack. So, it was just a matter of time before Dezzie popped up and as soon as he arrived at the tail end of last week’s episode, I knew we were in for a satisfying hour. Desmond’s episodes are always in lock-step with Locke – they’re always heady with the mythological beats and they always plumb the emotional depths that are so core to this tale.

2.   Therefore, ‘Happily Ever After’ serves as a fitting ending to the themes posed in Desmond’s last great story, one of the series best hours – ‘The Constant’. In that one, we followed Desmond on his journey through time, a pilgrimage kick-started when he turned the fail-safe key in the hatch and sucked in countless volts of electromagnetic energy – a concentrated blast of power that should have killed him but only served to illustrate Eloise Hawking’s assertion that Desmond is both special and key to the island’s mysteries. That event sent his consciousness on a warped trip through his life – only one where he was fully cognizant of the fate that would befall him later on in life. That was a brave episode that did a great job in drafting Lost’s version of time travel – that it’s not so much a physical journey, but one rooted in the mind. And it made it crystal clear that Desmond is special as was memorably demonstrated in the emotionally cathartic moment when Desmond reached across space and time to cold call his lucky Penny on Christmas Eve and pledge his undying love – thereby planting the seeds that would eventually reap his rescue and reunion with his beloved.

3.   It’s worth noting that in Homer’s Odyssey, the hero follows a world-spanning journey across the sea in pursuit of his beloved Penelope. I’ve always said that at its core, Lost is about these characters and ultimately is a story about love. Penny and Desmond’s bond is the key to it all – and based on what was revealed in this episode – that may be the uniting force needed to stave off whatever dire fate the Man in Black has planned for the world entire. More on that in a moment.

4.   So, ‘Happily Ever After‘ begins with Desmond waking in Charles Widemore’s makeshift science lab, safely ensconced on Hydra Island. As we have 6 episodes left until the finale, Charles doesn’t dance around facts – coming right out and telling Desmond that he was kidnapped from his hospital bed (where we last saw him after taking a bullet from Ben when that bug-eyed bastard went gunning for Penny to even the score with Charles.) Desmond is told that he is special  – having been the only person to survive a massive blast of electromagnetic energy – and that it would be easier for Charles to show Desmond where he fits in the grand plan, versus simply telling him about it.

5.   Charles Xavier….errr Widemore, marches his makeshift X-Man over to the science lab to show him a little experiment he and the evil Tina Fey have whipped up, but before Desmond can chase the caged white rabbit down whatever wormhole its headed, we get a quick demonstration of the defunct DHARMA tech. With one red shirt fried, Widemore decides to hell with the bunny and simply throws Desmond in the box to see what happens. After all, it was only a few hours ago that Smokey was sniffing around the sonic fence threatening imminent war so there isn’t much time to waste.

6.   And that’s when Desmond is served up a second blast from the past. Only – where the first time Desmond was sent spiraling backwards to the key moments in his life, with his contemporary consciousness aiming to change the past in order to avoid the island and keep Penny in his sights, this time Desmond is sent to that alternate timeline – and over the course of his trip, we would get some fairly conclusive evidence that these sideways trips have not been a waste of time, they do have meaning, and they may in fact hold the Happy Ending that our Lostralians deserve. I’ll explain more as I continue.

7.   We open on Desmond standing in LAX, where he has a very quick run-in with Hurley who points Desmond in the direction of the luggage carousel, and a chance meeting with the very-prego Claire. In that meeting, we get yet another deviation from the original timeline we knew. Way back, when we first got Claire’s back story, we found that in a consultation with a sham psychic, Claire was informed that she was having a boy and that she could be the only one to raise her child. The psychic seemed convinced that if she didn’t, dire things would occur. He also tipped her to the fact that she was having a boy. In the alternate timeline, Claire claims that she doesn’t know the sex of the baby – although in one of the first glimpses of deja vu – Desmond seems fairly convinced that she should expect a boy. These little flashes would continue.

8.    Desmond is met at the gate by a helpful limousine driver, George Minkowski (Fisher Stevens) and once again, a face from the past has been recast. George was the dude on the freighter who Desmond and Michael confronted and soon learned was “unstuck in time” in Season 4. He has been the radio operator and when they encountered him, his brain was fried – apparently a result of getting too close to the island without following those precise coordinates required to get there. He shared a similar fate with Faraday’s research assistant and ultimately, the same time travel that Desmond survived, ended up frying Minkowski’s brain. But in this alternate time line, George is Driving Mr. Dezzie on a meeting with his boss, the surprisingly chummy Charles Widemore.

9.   In Widemore’s  office, we learn that Desmond and Charles are on great terms – as Penny has never entered his life. Desmond Hume is the right hand man to Charles – getting him whatever he needs – which at the moment includes bailing out the drug-addled Driveshaft founder, Charlie Pace, who is currently locked up with the LAPD after his unfortunate balloon mishap aboard Flight 815. While in Widemore’s office, Desmond stares longingly at a very familiar sailboat, and we spy a curious painting of scales balancing white and black rocks. This may be an alternate version of events but elements continue to bleed through both times.

10.   After Desmond procures Charlie, the two have an interesting conversation over drinks where Charlie reveals the first hint that these two timelines we have been following are indeed completely connected. There have been some haters on the Internet who feel all this sideways stuff has been a colossal waste of time, simply employed by the writers to mark time as they tick the minutes off towards the finale, but I’ve always felt there was a purpose. Sure, it’s been a slow burn, but as we learned in this episode, necessary too – and finally we’re beginning to spy the connective tissue. And Charlie’s tale of his final, fleeting moments on Earth – where he spied the other side and with it, true love, only helped illustrate my theory. This whole series has been about the random interconnectivity between people – the strange ties that bind us – the fact that no matter which way the die is cast, there are certain unavoidable connections that will come in to play one way or the other. Charlie has never met Claire in this life, but for one blissful moment he knew her completely – he felt her deeply – he loved her always. And it’s that haunting passage that transports Desmond further down the rabbit hole.

11.   And the wheel of time rotates once again, placing Desmond in the similar circumstance of helplessly watching Charlie drown. The moment when Charlie turns his head – ready to accept his fate while pressing his palm against the glass finally shatters the tenuous bond between both worlds. In that instant, Desmond sees through to the other side. ‘Not Penny’s Boat’. And with that flash, he is now on a mission to find the true love he’s never known.

12.   At the staging grounds for Widemore’s party, Desmond seeks out Widemore’s wife, looking to give her the bad news that Driveshaft won’t be delivered in time for her big festivity. We learned early on that Driveshaft was booked to play on stage, alongside Widemore’s musician son. Knowing that Faraday is the son to both Charles and Eloise Hawking, it appears in this life, he followed his pursuits as young piano protégé (shades of Jack’s son) and never chased his temporal dreams.

13.   This meeting with Eloise was key because it neatly mimicked a scene in ‘The Constant.’ In that episode, Desmond met Eloise who at the time appeared to be the kindly proprietor of a jewelry shop. When she correctly intuited that Desmond was about to take actions that would change his time stream, she stepped out of her role and acted the part of cosmic crossing guard, telling him exactly what he could and could not do. That moment is repeated here when Desmond attempts to track down Penny Milton’s identity, thereby forging that connection between the two disparate timelines. And in that moment, Eloise drops her guard and gives Desmond the slightest peek behind the curtain. She makes it clear that he is not ready to make that connection nor meet that woman – not in this life anyway.

14.   But lurking out there is Desmond’s Constant, the musician Daniel Faraday, who drops another bomb. He tells Desmond a tale of a dream he had – of a woman that he is absolutely obsessed with – a very familiar red-headed museum employee (Charlotte). Though he barely knows her, he feels a burning desire to be with her. And that love, creates another connection to another world – waking Daniel in the middle of the night with complex theories which he scribbles down, without any inkling as to how his brain could arrive at something it takes a physicist a lifetime to accomplish. For the third straight time, we see that love finds its way.

15.   And though he is not supposed to muck with these disparate timelines, Desmond is influenced by Daniel, and does indeed find his fair maiden – running up the same steps that once upon a time, in another life, Desmond shared a chance meeting with Jack Shepherd. A meeting that Desmond concluded with the prophetic salutation “See you in another life, brother”.

16.   It is Penny’s touch that sends Desmond back to Hydra Island, seemingly cognizant of what has happened to him. Though he was only out for a few seconds, he has lived another lifetime. And in that other lifetime, he directs George to get the Flight 815 manifest as he has something to show his other passengers.

17.   So, while Widemore may believe Desmond is the key to bottling the dark genie and saving the world entire, Desmond also now holds the key in both timelines to unite the two. To bridge the gap.

18.   My feeling is that ultimately one of these timelines will die (or will be ‘bottled’) and another will live on as the sole remaining ‘Constant’ time line. Desmond will help Widemore end one because in this alternate sideways universe we have now been giving a glimpse at the ‘Happy Endings’ that await most.

See you next week for Episode 6.12, ‘Everybody Loves Hugo’.

[tv 5.0]

Comments now closed (11)

  • Great job as usual. #17 so the manifest is the key? do you think the fainting but re-awakening is significant? It seems like the way they showed it to us, he touched her, fainted, now on Hydra, ready to go but as soon as Sayid took him he reawakened on the other timeline and is now down that path, and that as long as he follows Sayid, he continues his Penny courting timeline path which may be bad? crossing the streams bad???

  • No – The manifest isn’t the key. That’s just gonna’ help Desmond track down the people he needs to talk to. I think he’s planning on doing something very similar to what Charlie did – show them the light, so to speak.

    Love is the key though. So when he touched Penny, he suddenly switched back.

    As for why he’s following Sayid – I think he aims to end that timeline and plans to toss himself at MiB all Lord of the Rings, ring in lava, style. I believe that he believes that the island timeline with MiB is the wrong timeline and that if he can close the loop there, then he’ll live on “Happily Ever After” on what we have believed to be an alternate timeline.

  • So – where once Desmond could travel through time, now he can switch ‘planes’ and pop back to an alternate time line. And it’s in that time line, where he is just meeting Penny, and where Charles isn’t trying to kill him, and where Desmond likely will never go to the island, that Desmond wants to live one life only.

  • what a great episode last night!! i loved it……charlie was all crazy, but his eyes when they flashed back to the “not penny’s boat” scene, they were so sad, and it reminded me of how much he loved claire, and how happy they were on the island before charlie died.

    i can’t wait to see where this goes…..we were thinking of having a LOST finale party – want to come? 🙂 sean, aunt sharon – you’re invited too! 🙂 lol

  • It’s on a Sunday night too – which is great. May 23rd. I’m there for the DHARMA Beer.

  • Now that I know you are not depressed, I’m back to not commenting 🙂

  • Ed, nice job as usual. I wonder how Widemore is planning on using Desmond. I would assume his ability to withstand an electromagnetic blast. They want Jin to help them find the pockets of Electromagnetic power on the Island. I would think the plan is for Desmond to get MIB near/into one of those pockets as that will “kill” him. Although it appears that he not fully told what he needed to do he know enough when Sayid jumps the two he is with to go with him. Should be interesting when he meets up with MIB to see where that goes. I am glad Desmond is going to be very involved down to the end. He has always been my favorite character along with Hurly. So I am looking forward to next’s week episode as well.

  • Thanks Ed. I get it. But now, is Desmonds desired timeline the right one? So the alternate one is “right”? It feels like Island Time is the correct one once MiB is gone of course….

  • I think Desmond feels the alternate time line is sort of like a “do over” timeline. So – he needs to kill MiB in one in order for the “Do Over” to kick in and reset everything – minus the island and minus the MiB. For instance, he gets to meet Penny there without all the drama and pain he suffered in the original timeline.