DocArzt and Friends Logo

“Happily Ever After” recap by Gatesy

By gatesy815,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 38

What would you have said if you were told that 80% of this episode would be set in the Sideways universe? Would you have got angry or sad or disappointed? Well if ‘Ab Aeterno’ was a big piece in the jigsaw for the whole series then ‘Happily Ever After’ is the missing piece of the season 6 story arc. What exactly are these Sideways flashes? Many ideas have been posited; an alternate reality; an epilogue to the Island story; the result of Jughead; the result of killing Jacob; the result of the Man In Black getting free; the result of MIB staying on the Island.  None of which appear totally accurate. But the clue to the mystery of the Sideways story was revealed in the title – it is meant to be a “Happily Ever After”. Except it’s not.

The episode starts with an eye opening – a common LOST beginning – but that image has more resonance when applied to Desmond; when his eyes open we don’t know if we are going to see a Flashback or Flashforward or FlashSideways or some other part of his consciousness. Desmond awakes to be greeted by Zoe and her boss – Desmond’s nemesis and Father-in-law, Charles Widmore. And he is greeted by the worst news possible (for him, of course; for us, it is awesome) – he is back on the Island. I loved how his face began twitch as he processed the news. The last time we saw Desmond fully alive and conscious he was handing out a beat down to Ben Linus and he picks up where he left off by delivering a drip-feed attack frenzy upon the bearer of bad news.

Desmond is here for a reason and the Island isn’t finished with him. No surprises there then. Widmore says there is no time to waste and the schedule goes out the window – “we need to fry Desmond Hume and we need to do it NOW”. The bunny in the cage knows what’s coming – he saw what happened to the last bunny in a cage on Hydra Island in ‘Every Man for Himself’. But ‘Angstrom’ (a clever shout out to John Updike and also a measurement of magnetism) is spared because Simmons gets BBQ’ed by an over eager member of Widmore’s team. Ooops. Charles insists on looking at the dead man and makes a mental note: “if I see you again you are probably the smoke monster or an island apparition from beyond the grave”. Next up is Des and he’s not keen on the charcoal look that Simmons is carrying. The purpose of this experiment is to see if he could survive another blast of fatal electromagnetism and then fulfill whatever plan Widmore has regarding the pockets of energy. Is Widmore set on a Faraday-like plan to blow up the Island….? Like father, like son I suppose.

Desmond awakes from his microwaving experience staring at his reflection in the baggage board for Flight 815 – but not after we have a strange, out of place shot of the clouds as viewed from the plane. Weird (I’m storing the thought of that shot for the future). He helps out bulging Claire and the ‘bleed’ between the realities continues to increase – he knows it’s going to be a boy. Then he is greeted by George Minkowski. I love the fact that Minkowski helped Desmond in ‘The Constant’ to stop his flashes and now he is helping him find the source of his new flashes. All of LOST’s characters are destined to connect, meet, fight and love no matter what reality they are in. Though in this world instead of being enemies, Desmond is Widmore’s right hand man; his most loyal employee. But the painting on Widmore’s wall – of the scales holding black and white stones, tells us that this Widmore is just as aware of the power games of the Island in this reality as he is in the other.

Desmond is charged by boss with babysitting Charlie Pace. Keeping him from harm is a task he tried to do before and we know how that ended in the ‘Looking Glass’. The conversation between Des and Charlie in the bar is, I believe, to be the most important yet of the Sideways story – matched only by Des’s meeting with Faraday later in the episode. Charlie tries to enlighten Desmond on the value of love; something the sideways Des knows nothing about. The ‘Happily Ever After’ of Desmond’s Sideways reality is called for the bluff it is. And Charlie seeks to enlighten the Scotsman  by explaining the ‘Happily Ever After’ he has experienced, if for only a moment:

CHARLIE: “I’m talking about spectacular, conscious altering love.”

DESMOND: “I wasn’t aware love looked like anything”

CHARLIE: “I’ve seen it mate….. I see her. A woman. Blonde. Rapturously beautiful. And I know her. We’re together. It’s like we’ve always been and always will be. This feeling, this… love.”

This is LOST’s ‘Happily Ever After’. Love. And if Sayid is going to find it with Nadia and if Richard is going to find it with Isabella and if Hurley is to find it with Libby then, as Desmond once said to Charlie, “you’re going to have to die”.

Whilst on their way to the Faraday/Driveshaft collaboration event (so glad we didn’t have to hear that) death-wish-Charlie decides to show Desmond what he was talking about and plunges their car head first into the dock. Seeing Charlie in the water evoked all those emotions from the Season 3 finale and then WHAM! Desmond glimpses into the Island reality. A concrete connection between the realities for the first time. My heart was pounding when that happened. And this time Desmond was able to save Charlie.

The next scene starts with a close up of Desmond’s eye. But it is not opening like all the other close ups of eyes we’ve seen before – his eye is already open. He has seen a glimpse of the truth. A small hint of the destiny that has been altered – by who or what we still don’t know – but his eyes have been opened and the life he knows won’t be same again. Yet just as we and Des are still processing this information the good doctor throws us a curve ball – “How about hallucinations?” – at this point I’m desperate to yell “NOOOO!”  – don’t explain it away; don’t forget the truth you’ve seen; don’t believe the scientific explanation – have faith!

Then off he goes to his MRI scan. This was a very clever scene – “You need the button… try not to panic or we’ll have to start over again all the way from the beginning” – a passing observer wouldn’t think nothing of this line of dialogue but for LOST obsessives this small line carries so many resonances – I’m enjoying how the writers are doing that loads this year. We get see another close up of Desmond’s open eyes and he sees into the other reality again; first of all Charlie and then Penny and then his son Charlie. Love breaks through the barriers of reality for Desmond as it broke through the barriers of time in ‘The Constant’. Penny and Des are meant to be – nothing can stop that. (And yes that makes me even more worried about Jin & Sun).

Des stops the MRI, desperate to find Charlie and lo & behold he bumps into Jack – who himself is already questioning the validity of the reality he sees. Then out of the magic box Charlie comes running down the corridor. Eventually Des catches him and Charlie tells him what’s what; don’t worry about me – you need to find Penny.

So off to break the bad news to Mrs. Widmore. I wasn’t surprised to see Eloise Hawking is actually Eloise Widmore – who else could it have been? Des drops the bombshell that wasn’t really a bombshell – everyone is happy that we don’t have to hear the “Chopin/You All Everybody” mashup. But as Desmond is walking away he catches the name Penny… Interestingly she has the surname ‘Milton’ – referencing John Milton the author of ‘Paradise Lost’ which, in his words, was written to “justify the ways of God to men” – a story full of religious imagery that delves into the topic of man’s free will versus divinely appointed destiny. Sound familiar?)

The first meeting of Des & Eloise in this reality was reminiscent of the first time they met during Desmond’s time travel in ‘Flashes Before Your Eyes’. Yet instead of Eloise pointing Des on to the course of his destiny she is trying to make sure that nothing here is altered, nothing is changed and there are no “violations’.(Amazing how one word of dialogue can send your brain theorizing!). Yet one thing is consistent between the two realities; Eloise is still trying to prevent Des and Penny being together and she takes great exception to his interest in the guest list and tells him in no uncertain terms to “stop looking”. She obviously knows something, maybe everything, about the different realities and she insists that Des should just enjoy his ‘Happily Ever After’. The most intriguing thing was that Eloise changed tack in her last words to Des – her instruction to stop was not one for forever – it was just that Desmond was “not ready yet”. What on earth does that mean? When will he be ready?

In to the limo and Des seeks solace where he has always found solace – in whiskey. But a knock at the window brings us the welcome return of Daniel Faraday. They talk about love – love at first sight. Daniel reaffirms to us that some people are meant to fall in love as he tells us the story of the woman with red hair who we know to be Charlotte. He also gives us more solid evidence of the bleed between the realities when he whips out his trusty journal to reveal pages of advanced quantum physics. When did this blurring of the realities begin? Straight after he fell for Charlotte. Love is the doorway between the worlds. It has power to open up our eyes to the truth. Once again Des needs to find his Constant – but not a Constant in time – a Constant in reality – a Constant in love.

“What if, this, all this, what if this wasn’t suppose to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason, we changed things?”

Daniel thinks he knows why this reality exists – he already set off a nuclear bomb. I’m still not sure if that is the definitive reason for the existence of this reality – I’m almost certain it will link more to the battle between Jacob and the MIB – yet how I don’t know.* Daniel knows where Penny can be found and he sends Des off to the stadium where he and Jack had a discussion about miracles and fate. Did we ever think “See you in another life brother” was going to be quite so literal?

One touch from Penny and Des faints – the connection with the other reality too much for his body and mind to handle. Back on the Island Des comes round and is now totally willing to go with Widmore’s plan. Though out of the dark of the jungle Sayid comes and entices the ‘secret weapon’ to hook up with Team MIB instead. A lot of people are saying ‘Why did he go with Sayid so easily?’ Well he did just kill two guys and he has a gun and he has no emotions and he is an ex-assasin and he is an ex-torturer and Des knows him and he asked nicely…. Do I need to go on?

When Des comes round in the Sideways he makes a date for coffee (where they’ll bump into Sawyer & Juliet going dutch – maybe) and he instructs George to find the manifest – but where in Season 1 we were concerned with who wasn’t on the manifest, now we are concerned with who was…. and Des is going to show them something…. love? Or truth? Or that “there’s always a choice brother”?

*One quick theory inspiring idea – we found out last week that MIB/Locke has an aversion to water and the first images of the Island this season were…. yep, submerged with water… Is this the only way for MIB to be killed… to drown him, and the Island, totally…. is that what the pocket of electromagnetism is for…. not to blow up the Island but to sink it??????

From TVFrenzy:

  • Mrs. Jack

    I got the feeling that Eloise and Charles are the orchestrators of the alt-verse. In this story line they have each other and their son. What parent who accidentally killed their child wouldn’t want to change their world?

    • MacCutcheon

      I thought the exact same about Eloise, but not so sure about Charles. He seemed to be more at odds with Eloise and in favor of restoring the original timeline.

    • naultz

      i am curious if charles and Eloise were on the island in this timeline as well. Roger Linus and Ben were on the island in the alt, that would lead me to believe that charles and eloise were too. maybe that is why they are so knowledgable about the situation.

    • Cody

      Where was the last place we saw Eloise? Knocked out in one of the underground temple (defacto home of smoky) hallways right? I could easily see that scene continuing to smoky making her an offer no mother that just killed her son could refuse.

  • LaFleur Me

    “Happily Ever After” is a fairytale – a theory from Nancy MacLaren (LaFleur Me)

    And just like a fairytale it has a moral, and dark undertones. Throw in a few evil mother/father -in-laws and there you have it. Every fairytale (the good ones, the originals not the Disneyfied ones) seem to require sacrifice of something to gain something -you could say they are all Faustian deals. For example; The Little Mermaid gives up her life, her species to marry the man of her dreams. In the original it doesn’t work out that well for her -her new legs feel like pins and needles every time she walks. Legs instead of fins was not the life she was “supposed” to have.

    I haven’t read any blog entry to date that discusses what, for me, was the most significant line in the episode; Eloise telling Desmond that his new insight is a “violation”. Of what? What are the sorts of things that can be violated; truces, treaties, trust, agreements basically -or we could call them deals. With the devil? With Jacob?

    It seems to me that in regaining some prior knowledge Desmond has broken some kind of contract – but was it one he entered into or was entered into by someone else? What if a deal is made on island that our Losties can have their loved ones back -the ones that have died – IF they move to the Sideways reality and forget the Island all together? What if this was done to gain – or re-gain control -of the Island for one Mr. Widmore. It seems Eloise is a meta-thinker and knows all the realities and the players- perhaps Widmore does to.

    Desmond is important because he has proven to be able to move from one reality to another with no side effects (well, once he got his Constant) and so he is the messenger for Widmore. He can tell the Island Losties about their whole new world -convince them to take it -abandon Jacob and the Island Forever.

    Let’s look at our Sideways stories so far –
    Jack: Jack feels extreme guilt over the death of Juliet. Yes, she probably is David’s mother and Jack agrees to the bargain to save her life. His deal -he is alone.

    Locke: He is not only alive but so is Helen. And his father. His deal is that he must stay in the wheelchair. I couldn’t help but think he doesn’t call Jack because he knows that “violates” his deal somewhere deep inside.

    Sayid: Nadia is alive! Just not with him. Hey, a deal’s a deal.

    Kate: Clueless – but let’s say before the end Claire is dispatched -wouldn’t she make a deal for her to live -and for Claire to have Aaron? Her consequence is always on the run.

    Ben: Obvious -the 2 people he feels he killed -his father and Alex are alive, healthy and with him. His deal -no power for the Benster.

    Jin and Sun- again who dies on island and who makes the deal to save them? TBD.

    Desmond – I believe Desmond sacrificed to get Charlie back. After all it was his cockamamie “vision” that caused Charlie to sacrifice himself. Perhaps he agreed to sacrifice one Charlie for another?

    I also wonder that if you are already dead on the Island and can’t make the “deal” and it may gets made for you are you really contractually required to keep it? The past visions and feelings comes to Charlie (dead), Faraday (dead) and now Des (oh oh – tears coming?) Charlie and Farraday are the ones to actually “violate” the deal by telling Des and exposing him to the truth. Can they break a deal they never made?

    Why would Widmore -or anyone -want them gone from the Island? Good question. But the other important line of the season; Jack’s “Nothing is irreversible” seems to be in direct opposition to the Widmore’s take of “what happened, happened” (re-iterated last night by Eloise. ) In order to keep control of the Island and it’s power Widmore- or someone – felt they had to control the “variables” (ie: our people) so they wouldn’t change what had happened (for some reason that Nuke was supposed to go off- why else would Eloise push her son into Physics when she knows it will kill him) . But they forgot one very important part of the equation = the “Constants” – ( true love.)

    I think LOST is trying to tell us that love conquers all. That it is the one constant in our lives -that people die, get cancer, fall inside a plane, get shot, drowned , “smokeyed” or time-traveled to death -but the love remains. It transcends. Now that is a true fairy-tale ending.

    • gusteaux

      Nicely done, Nancy.

      • Jamaste LeFleur

        I dig your mind and where it’s going Nancy. I had thought of something alomng the lines, but nowhere near as coherent and elaborate as the lines you’ve just lay down before us. My only problem is this: So when they make the deal in 2007/08 on the Island they transmigrate to day one of their lives and start over and then by the time 2004 come the relaities start to bleed onto one another because this was the moment of the crash the Island reveal, etc. Because to me there’s a very specific reason we are not just Flashing Sideways but also Flashing back with each Flash. Our People are in present time, after Nadia’s death, Locke’s funeral, Aaron’s being 3 years old etc. Which means Jughead or no Jughead they’re in 2007/08. Now the Alterna People are living their lives in September 04, mere days after the Non-Crash. Why would that be? After “Happily Ever After” I had the feeling that the Alterna people are gonna do something important, make a move – and I think they sort of have to for the naysayers finally regard them as of some importance, and whatever Alterna Des does to wake them up and make their move will influence Lost Proper and tip the escales in favor of teh Castways. I don’t think Jacob and MIB are pure black and white, good and evil, they’re more like the yin-yang symbol, where there’s some white on the black side and vise versa, and because of that I don’t neither will win and conquer all, but the castways the people who the audience care fo the most and have been invested in for 6 seasons will make choices, sacrifices and those will be the determinant when all is said and donde. Jack is not a follower, and neither is Sawyer, and these two will have a lot to say before the show is over I’m sure. Maybe people will strike a deal. But I think it will be more about their actions and how they choose in on their destiny or not. Again Destiny/free will. Giving everything up on a Faustian deal doesn’t seem to me like a good end game for the show. I think the faustian deal was made when they chose to detonate Jugghead, when Ben killed Lock and then Jacob, etc.
        But in the end is gotta be about our main characters and not some Deus Ex Machina solution, deals granted by some superior forces.
        And I agree with you, love and sacrifice will be the main themes, this is after all, the coolest and most resonant of fairy tales

    • Hear, Hear!

    • Frogurt’s Arrow

      They aren’t deals per se, they are faustian bargains. In which you get your wish but at an unexpected and unexplained price.

      But you got the dealmaker wrong. There is only one entity that has thus far promised to bring back loved ones. The Man in Black. This is his and perhaps Eloise’s doing, but likely not Charles.

      I posted a variation on this theory yesterday on another forum.

      • kspear

        That’s not exactly right.

        Jacob made a deal with Dogen.

        His son keeps his life in the AltVerse, but in return, Dogen will have to stay in the LostVerse, stuck on the island, guarding the temple.

    • Wanda

      Presumably the violation refers to the rules. Ben and Widmore have referenced the rules: Widmore ordering Alex’s death was a violation of the rules. As have MIB and the young blond boy (“you know you can’t kill him”).

    • LnGrrrR

      Exactly what I was thinking Nancy. Kudos.

  • taco

    What about the fact that Desmond saw Sayid in the water last week at the end of 6.10? Did he know, even when talking with Widmore, that Sayid would show up one way or another to do something Sayid-like?

  • Nitpicking here but an angstrom is not a unit of magnetism, it’s a unit of length. One angstrom is 0.0000000001 meters 😉

    • BigBrutha

      But it is used to measure radiation wavelengths.

    • grasspike

      angstrom is used as a unit to measure the wavelegnths of Electromagnetic radiation. Exactly what Desmond was exposed to in episode and was used correctly by the blogger

  • gatesy815

    Proved wrong and then right…. The story of my LOST obsessions!

  • Dharma Chameleon

    *One quick theory inspiring idea – we found out last week that MIB/Locke has an aversion to water and the first images of the Island this season were…. yep, submerged with water… Is this the only way for MIB to be killed… to drown him, and the Island, totally…. is that what the pocket of electromagnetism is for…. not to blow up the Island but to sink it??????

    What if the EM is keeping the island a float somehow and Desmond shuts it down somehow thus sinking the island?

    A floating island would also be easier to transport.

  • Dharma Chameleon

    Is it possible that Widmore and Desmond had a conversation after he asks Charles, ‘when do we start?’ Maybe Charles told him that he has to go with Sayid to the MIB for some purpose?

    I also liked Penny’s last name Milton. I couldn’t recall if her last name was Widmore in the main timeline.

    • Wanda

      Yes, Penelope Widmore.

  • gatesy815

    I like the floating island theory…. Penny’s name was definitely Widmore before… Milton is a great choice of name – though I’m surprised they so overtly referenced ‘Paradise Lost’.

  • Frogurt’s Arrow

    According to the Jorge Garcia Geronimo Jack’s Beard podcast, Penny’s name was different in the script and changed later. He said what the script name was but I can’t recall offhand. It wasn’t Widmore but it didn’t sound like a literary or scientific reference but just a regular name.

  • Ament

    As far as we know Desmond woke up after shaking Penny’s hand, call it an awakening. He knows his purpose now, and yes going with Widmore would help him as in to what he needs to do next, but more importantly going with Sayid will bring him to the others which is where the awakenings will begin.

    After Desmond fainted he got up and knew Penny, not like before he fainted where he SENSED he knew Penny or the idea of Penny, he actually knew who this woman he never met was which is the 1st moment our originals are coming too. This is misunderstood by people but technically we didn’t see what lead up to that awakening moment and immediately asking Penny to go for coffee. What that was is a scene, not a flash, at least not yet. This is where he woke up and knew whats next. He is the first where Demond-A fully understands Desmond-B exists therefore he reaches this higher plateau of becoming Desmond-AB keeping both sets of memories and no longer hating Widmore, because he lived to see a caring Widmore as well as the bastard Widmore.

    With this in mind my endgame theory falls a lot on Desmond and how he is failsafe key (which i know has been mentioned) that absorbs the enormous amount of energy the island holds giving him control. His mind and body would become one with the island allowing him to control time and movement while in this universe. Picture a camera zoom back down to the underwater island, swing around the statue’s foot, down the hatch window, to newly constucted sphere room in which all you see is Desmond sitting in a catatonic state because he moved himself back to where he awakes from fainting. He doesn’t need to worry about the lives of candidates because he will wake them up.

    Ever notice when ever we see the scale of black and white, it’s always balanced? What if it’s not balanced but actually equal! Meaning Good vs Good or Evil vs Evil and NOT Good vs Evil. If we were told that both sides are dark, then why need either one. Of course we need a replacement for a fallen side to a scale, but only if just one side has fallen, what if we take the stone off the other side…we’re back to equal or balanced. Therefore no need for a candidate to replace and start the cycle of MIB Vs MIW bringing the the term “It only ends once” to light.

  • spacebender

    “Love is the doorway between the worlds. It has power to open up our eyes to the truth. Once again Des needs to find his Constant – but not a Constant in time – a Constant in reality – a Constant in love.”

    So profoundly and clearly expressed — thank you for another outstanding recap!

  • Artie Deco

    When I read “Would you have got” in the second sentence, I stopped reading. I don’t see a point in reading something if a writer can’t be bothered to use proper English, and Gatesy’s articles have tended to be filled with such errors. Someone should really copy-edit his/her work before it is published, as such sloppiness makes his/her work much less professional.

    • What the…?

      “I don’t see a point in reading something if a writer can’t be bothered to use proper English, and Gatesy’s articles have tended to be filled with such errors.”

      Poor sentence structure, misuse of punctuation and the pot calling the kettle black.

      • Drew G.

        The sentence you quoted is punctuated just fine, and you’re missing his point by calling him on his sentence structure–he’s not the author of this article. Weak or sloppy writing in a follow-up comment is no big deal. Weak or sloppy writing in an article is a very different thing.

    • The Dharma & Greg Initiative

      I just wanted to remind everyone that this is a LOST forum and not a dissertation. Set aside your snobbery for a few minutes and see what your fellow fans have to say. If you are taking this so seriously that you cannot even enjoy a good theory, you might as well not waste your time watching the show about time travel, alternate realities, smoke monsters, and floating islands.

  • The Mantis


  • The Mantis

    Something that always bothered me, Desmond NEVER gave Claire Charlie’s “Top 5 list” after he drown in the Looking Glass station. That ever bug anyone else?? The beginning of this article reminded me of that.

    • kspear

      Not yet, anyway 😉

  • gatesy815

    Thank you Artie Deco and others for pointing out my grammatical inadequacies. I was not fortunate enough to receive a particularly good education, so thank you for reminding me of that fact. If I could write proper then I would. But I is limited in my intellyjence.

    • Annie

      That’s a very immature response, gatesy. You’ve published articles here, and as such, you should care about the writing skills you put out there on display. Being obnoxious about it doesn’t change the fact that your articles are weak and simple compared to other writers’, or that they’re in need of proofreading. You should take more pride in your work, and not act like a jerk to those offering their comments. If you can’t take the criticism, you don’t belong in the spotlight.

      • Artie Deco

        What Annie said. (By the way, Annie–where the heck have you been? The writers seem to have completely forgotten about you.)

  • Sheryl

    gatesy815 – I love your thoughts/recaps and look forward to them every week. Though this is coming from someone who ‘was not fortunate enough to receive a particularly good education’ myself, does?/will? this still count? 😉

  • gatesy815

    Thanks Sheryl!

    Annie/Art Deco – I am more frustrated by my typos and sloppiness than you are. TRUST ME. I have a full time job and a family with three young children which means I am often finishing the recaps late at night and I can’t polish them to the standard I would like. Like you I have a fascination and obsession with LOST – I love it and I love writing about it – even if what I offer is not up to the usual journalistic grammatical standards – I am sorry if that ruins my recaps for you – it is simply fun for me… and I’m sorry if you felt as if i was being ‘obnoxious’ with my light hearted response… I know many take these blogs very seriously but I am using this as part of my enjoyment of the final season and to engage with the wonderful fan community that surrounds this show…. and I certainly don’t deserve a ‘spotlight’ – only this amazing story deserves that…. I hope you can enjoy the remaining recaps, however weak and simple they maybe!

  • The Dharma & Greg Initiative

    Gatesy FTW!1