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The One – 6.11 “Happily Ever After”

By Fishbiscuit,

  Filed under: Lost Recaps
  Comments: 99

The story of Desmond has its own mythology. There is an order to the HumeVerse. There are things we can predict will happen.

Like lights flashing before eyes.

Unexpected magnetic side effects.

Weird Science.

Extrasensory phenomena.

Alcohol consumption is much encouraged.

Preferably of McCutcheons – LOST’s very own fictional brand of antique Scotch whiskey that is as precious as liquid gold.

It wouldn’t be a DesBack without a big splashy appearance by that old battleax Charles Widmore.

And if an episode is about Desmond, then that can only mean one thing: Charlie is in trouble.

Of course, the most indispensable common element of all DesBacks is … Penny.

Who, as always, has a spectacularly consciousness altering effect on our Desmond.

It’s pretty typical for Desmond to end up splayed out unconscious in his episodes. In fact, I think it’s required that he spend a part of each of his episodes dead to the world.

Usually it’s because his consciousness is taking an unscheduled road trip. In Desmond centric episodes, time is typically telescoped, so that while Desmond spends only a few seconds or minutes passed out, his mind gets to take a very extensive trip into some very freaky territory. This episode was no different. As the White Witch of the Des-o-Sphere accurately described things, “It’s about Time.”

Sometimes, his consciousness travels back in time, as in Season Three’s Flashes Before Your Eyes, where he turned the failsafe key in the Swan Hatch.

Subjecting him to his first “catastrophic magnetic event”. Which he survived with flying colors.

He lost his clothes, but it was a small price to pay for the mind altering experience of taking a trip back to his 1996 self and learning new things about the life he’d already lived.

In The Constant, there was a different twist. This time Desmond’s 1996 consciousness came forward to the future … or the (then) present, however you prefer to look at it. Remember that?

It was extra added confusing. 1996 Desmond was living inside 2004 Desmond’s mind on the freighter and didn’t know WTF was going on until Daniel figured out 2004 Desmond could pay a visit to 1996 Daniel and together they managed to knit the two moments in time together and save Desmond’s mind from exploding.

All thanks to Desmond’s once and forever Constant.

In this episode, magically entitled Happily Ever After, Desmond’s consciousness really expanded. He is proving that in fact it’s true that “Only fools are enslaved by Time and Space.” – a clue that was right there for anyone to see, if only they’d known to reverse the audio on the brainwashing video and listen for it.

Desmond’s consciousness has been liberated. He’s no longer limited to traveling along the consciousness of his own life, in his own timeline, he can now transmigrate into the existence of a totally different version of himself, living a totally different life, in a totally different time and place than he ever lived before.

You may ask yourself, how do I work this?
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house….

– Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

Desmond’s mind can now go anywhere. Anywhere in time. Anywhere in space. Anywhere in any reality or dimension. All he needs is the right kind of electromagnetic force field and he becomes the portal between worlds. It’s utterly groovy. What we’re watching, I think, is the Neo-fication of Desmond. Or maybe it’s the Birth of a Superhero. Desmond’s specialness is triggered by magnetic shitstorms, but only because a magnetic shitstorm is the thing that made Des special in the first place. This is what happens to normal people in the Hydra Island Chamber of EMF Horrors.

This is what happens to Desmond.

It’s in the long tradition of comic book heroes. Think “intrinsic field subtractor”, if you’re looking for a reference point.

Is Desmond the Dr. Manhattan of the LostVerse?

Desmond episodes have more than just their own mythology and cast of characters. They have a certain look and feel to them. Maybe it’s the higher density of Easter Eggishness that creates the unique aura. The great LOST pastime of playing polypopcultural I Spy reaches its apex in Des-centrics.

“I remember when I was a kid — my dad was a huge Beatles fan, as am I — looking at the album cover for ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ and seeing all the things that were in there,” says Lindelof, who thought “if you could do the same kind of thing for a television show — where people had to kind of pause it and say, ‘What do you think this meant?’ — that would be really cool.

Click on the album cover if you want to see where Darlton borrowed their egg hiding techniques from. The Beatles were nothing if not eclectic. You can find everyone from Shirley Temple to Snow White to Ghandi, Carl Jung, Lewis Carroll, Einstein, Lenny Bruce, Mae West, Lawrence of Arabia … and that’s just for starters. In Flashes Before Your Eyes, when Desmond first sat down in Widmore’s office, the painting behind him was also rich in cultural flotsam.

It makes me nostalgic for the old days when LOST still felt like an open book. When it still felt possible that something like Buddhist polar bears might be the key to it all. I guess it was inevitable that, as the series winds down, as an endpoint must be reached, our symbolic pool is being drained and we’re left with something a lot more cut and dried. Apparently, the last symbol standing will be … a scale.

A scale just like the Monster had in his cave. A scale balancing black stones with white stones.

If your head isn’t hurting from being pounded so hard with the Binary Stick, maybe this will convince you. On one side of Widmore’s office, the painting has a black frame.

On the other side, the painting appears again. With a white frame.

Do you get it? Can you miss it? A scale. Balancing Black and White. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the cold, hard fact that all these many seasons of murky ambiguity were a set up to a denouement that may have been shoved in our face right in the Pilot, Part. 2.

As simple as that solution would be, we’re still blundering our way towards it, if that’s in fact where we’re headed. It’s all still about as clear as mud, but Season Six is starting to congeal into some kind of final form. We can all navigate the landscape now.

Mirrors.

Phantom OtherTwins of each character populating the shadow world of OtherLOST.

Matthew Fox making his weekly quarter million dollar cameo. This week Jack dropped the funniest line of the night. Who woulda thunk that in Season Six Jack Shephard would become the comic relief?

“Hold on. He was on our plane? … And now he’s here? … In the hospital?”

I can’t help but notice that things do seem to be circling more and more around the hospital where Jack works. Sayid is there now visiting his brother, Nadia’s husband. Claire is presumably going to return shortly to pop out Aaron. Sun just got shot in the belly. And Charlie can’t have gotten very far without his pants. He’s probably still around there someplace.

St. Elsewhere was another show whose ending was highly anticipated and much debated. It was set in a hospital. I never really watched it, but I know one thing about it. It ended with the revelation that the whole story had happened inside a snowglobe being shaken by an autistic child who had been a minor character on the show.

It’s almost the prototype for a fuck-it style of ending a story. It’s just a way to shut the book without having to bother to write a real ending. I’m starting to wonder if this might not be the road LOST is also going to go down, although maybe not quite as abruptly. If you’re interested, you can follow my reasoning below, but be forewarned: I’m not paid to pimp out the greatness of LOST. I’m not trying to sell a book or a magazine about LOST. I’m just a fan like anyone else, trying to finish the puzzle that I started, trying to figure it out. I reserve the right to make my own judgments about the quality of the story they tell in the end. That’s where I’m coming from, dear readers. Take it or leave it, because you know what they say. There’s always a choice.

This week we learned that OtherDaniel – who has never been to the Island – “remembers” how he launched the plot to set off the bomb on the Island he’d never been to, creating the existence he is now living in, which he is only living because he never went to the Island where he set off the bomb. He is remembering a life he never lived but which had to have happened, because it created the life he is currently living. At least I think that’s what he was saying. It’s always difficult to say with LOST, but there’s been an element of strange loopiness ever since we started down the timespace traveling road.

“not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive “upward” shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one’s sense of departing ever further from one’s origin, one winds up, to one’s shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop.”

For a story that has been everchanging, the goal of a fixed ending is beginning to feel like an impossible dream. Every week it gets curiouser and curiouser, less tangible, less intelligible, more …


and …

and really, really …

But we know that it will indeed end. Somehow. And soon. When it finally does end, Desmond – the character who is defined by his fixed and permanent Constant – will have to play a pivotal part.

Desmond is the only non Season One character that has ever captivated my imagination. Maybe that’s because technically he was a Season One character, if an offstage one.

The chapters in the book of his life are well known to us. He’s always been seeking something.

He’s tried everything. Praying.

Drinking.

Soldiering.

Voyaging.

He became one of the magical Island’s mythical prisoners.

He was LOST’s Odysseus, the man of the sea, having mind altering adventures all on his relentless journey home towards his constant – the faithful, longsuffering Penelope.

When Desmond and Penny’s story ended in Season Four, it felt premature. Since then, he has seemed a peripheral, nearly irrelevant figure within the everweaving tapestry of LOST. But with this episode, he returned to center stage.

In a way, Desmond Hume is an anomaly.It’s almost like he’s been a concurrent parallel reality the whole time he’s been in the story. He has not been involved in most of the major adventures in the story, didn’t crash in Flight 815, never met the Smoke Monster, wasn’t captured by the Others, didn’t live in Dharma, wasn’t an O6 celebrity. He has never physically time travelled. Except for his daytripping consciousness, hIs life has been on a linear path since the beginning. He has existed mostly on the fringes of the plot.

But in other ways, Desmond is a nexus for all of LOST’s most important themes and plotlines. Although he has not personally time travelled, the mysteries of time travel have been mostly revealed to us through him. He embodies the theme of romantic love at its most idealized and perfect. He bears the name of David Hume, the great Enlightenment philosopher who taught that fate and free will are not inconsistent with one another, but interdependent. And while he isn’t a candidate in the same sense as the six uncrossed names on the Monster’s cave, he is so exceptional that he may be far more vital than any of them in the end.

Of course we’ve got more than a mere Desmond to deal with now. We’ve also got to consider OtherDesmond. Like all of Season Six’s OtherPeople, he’s different but also the same as the Desmond we’ve known.

This version is a super successful globetrotting dealmaker for the great and powerful OtherWidmore. In Flashes Before Your Eyes, Charles Widmore used a bottle of McCutcheon’s scotch to demonstrate to Desmond just how little he thought of him.

He appeared to pour them each a drink, but ended up pouring only one and drinking it alone, explaining to Desmond that, no offense, but his existence was worth less to Widmore than a spitball of distilled barley mash. Charles Widmore made no secret of the fact that he held Desmond Hume in utter contempt.

Things are quite the opposite in OtherLOST. There Charles holds Desmond in high regard. He considers him indispensable.

A point is made to show that OtherDesmond not only gets his own glass of precious McCutcheon whiskey, he even gets a hug!

To complete the comparison, in case you were somehow missing it, OtherCharles loudly proclaims that “nothing’s too good” for OtherDesmond.

OtherDes may be a power player, but he still seems like a really nice guy. He’s polite, friendly and not at all condescending to his underlings, despite his elite social stature. Sure, he’s kind of a slave to Charles Widmore, but he seems satisfied with the perks.

When he meets up with OtherEloise, she reminds him that he now has the one thing he always wanted most – the respect of Charles Widmore. It’s a very odd thing to say, actually. Sure, Desmond and Widmore have always had a contentious relationship.

But how did Eloise know that? Isn’t she meeting Desmond for the very first time? With that remark, a window creaks open on the possibility that Lady Eloise may bear more responsibility for the existence of OtherLOST than we’ve imagined. She makes it sound like Desmond has been given some kind of reward. Like someone decided what it was he wanted most and then created a world where he could have it.

It’s true that Desmond once craved Widmore’s approval. In fact, as we saw in Flashes Before Your Eyes, Widmore’s contempt was what sent Desmond into the tailspin that landed him on the Island. But how could you create a wish fulfillment existence for Desmond and not include Penny? And why position him in a world where she’d be right under his nose the whole time and then expect him not to find her?

Eloise made it pretty clear she wanted Desmond nowhere near Penny. She was probably right in guessing that once these two crazy kids found each other again, something was going to kink up her little utopia. But why does Eloise think Desmond is “not ready yet”? Why is finding Penny, or even asking about her, a Violation? A violation of what code, what rulebook? Is this OtherWorld a kind of Matrix? Is Eloise the Oracle?

Neo: But if you already know, how can I make a choice?
The Oracle: Because you didn’t come here to make a choice, you’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it.

Eloise is the Queen of Cryptic. She obviously knows far more than she’s letting on. And she’s a control freak par excellence. She knows all the rules.

She also seems to know that Desmond is “The One.” In 316, she told him that he might think he was free, but “The island isn’t done with you yet.”

In Happily Ever After, her OtherHubby Widmore tells Des the very same thing, word for word. This couple may not be any kind of advertisement for the glories of true love, but they sure do seem to have their fingers in every interdimensional pie.

We first met Eloise in Desmond’s centric, Flashes Before Your Eyes. She was the lady selling rings. Even then she was trying to keep Desmond and Penny apart. She told him he should not buy the ring, that he must not marry Penny. Instead he must plod back into the life he’d already lived, making no changes, until he landed back underground in the Swan Hatch, pushing that infernal button until his soul died inside him. With the now familiar apocalyptic warning: ” If you don’t do those things, Desmond David Hume, every single one of us is dead”, Mrs. Hawking had promised Desmond that the only great thing he would ever do was push that bloody button.

“You don’t do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you’re supposed to.”

Des still has to do whatever he’s supposed to do, however unpleasant and even tragic it may be, because otherwise it means … Oblivion? Extinction? Armageddon? Dunno. It’s still not clear. But the point is that Desmond has to do what he has to do, or dire consequences are sure to ensue. That’s a constant. (Also, it rhymes.)

Now unbeknownst to Desmond, or to anyone else back in our original storyline, his two nemeses were inextricably linked. They were Others together back when they were just a couple of kids in love themselves. Eloise, who we’d previously seen wearing the pin of the Ouroboros

was seen in this episode wearing a flashy little bit of jewelry

that looked very much like the kind of thing the Others burned into Juliet’s back the time she “violated” their rules.

The most important thing about Widmore and Eloise’s connection was this guy. Their pride and joy, their only begotten son.

In OriginalLOST, Daniel was given the name of Faraday. Why? We will never know. It was probably a quickie way of cuing us to his electromagnetic purpose within the plot. But why did his Mom choose it? It wasn’t her name. It’s hard to get into the head of the woman we formerly knew as Eloise Hawking.

She’s the one that tore her budding piano genius away from his instrument and pushed him towards his brain frying mastery of quantum physics, apparently all so she could manipulate his life to the point where he could time travel back to when she was pregnant with him, so she could shoot him dead and kill him … and then go and give birth to him. Original Eloise made Mommy Dearest look like Mother Theresa.

But OtherEloise has been given – or has stolen – a second chance with her bouncing boy. She learned her lesson. In her alt reality lifeboat existence, she nurtured his musical gifts, she married his father, and their boy was allowed to thrive and grow into a coddled, pampered rich kid tickling the ivories while living in their swank gilded cage. It’s entirely possible that this entire universe of OtherLOST is nothing more than Eloise’s elaborate attempt to make up for all her wrongs and finally give her child the life she’d always wanted for him.

It was inevitable that Daniel and Desmond’s stories would collide. After their partnership in The Constant these two will be forever linked. Naturally, since they’re in Mirrorland, Daniel first appeared to Desmond as a reflection.

Although we were told OtherDaniel was a musician, he seemed remarkably unchanged. Same skinny tie and untucked shirt. Like a uniform. Only since he plays piano, now he gets a goofy hat!

Other icons of Daniel’s history were scattered about the episode. Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu – the piece we saw him practicing as a boy.

The same piece David Shephard played for his audition to conservatory.

A white lab animal. This one named Angstrom. (Book alert! See John Updike.)

Clever names for doomed test subjects are part of DesBacks. Who could forget Daniel Faraday’s dearly beloved Eloise?

OtherDaniel still carries his trusty notebook. He confessed he’d been spending time staring at a chocolate eating redhead at the museum – obviously the floozy known as Charlotte Lewis, last seen shagging Detective Ford’s brains out on a blind date – and just the sight of this ethereal creature had inspired him to an almost out of body experience, where he was able to scribble down this diagram proving …

that he, Daniel NotFaraday, had somehow invented a way to create a new universe through the miracle of nuclear fission! And they were all living in it now!

He’d prevented the still unexplained “catastrophic incident” by detonating a bomb to “release all the energy”. Sorry, but I still can’t tell if the creation of this brave new world is supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing. Hell, I don’t even know if the catastrophic incident was prevented and that’s why we have OtherLOST or whether we have OtherLOST because they failed to prevent the catastrophic incident! Come on, admit it. You don’t know either, right?

But I’m pretty sure, after OtherDaniel’s speech, that we are meant to think that what Daniel felt for OtherCharlotte was a blinding kind of pure distilled love, so powerful that he had a savant like flash and this brilliant dimension busting mathematical formula just splashed out of his head. At first I didn’t get this, because to be honest with you, the whole Daniel – Charlotte thing never seemed to be all that. For me, it was one of those dull side non-romances they scatter around on LOST, one of the devices whose primary purpose seemed to be killing off the extraneous womenfolk.

It seems a little over the top to call them one another’s “true love” or to credit them with Daniel’s momentary burst of inexplicable genius. It’s not like Charlotte is even Daniel’s constant, right? Because, we all know who that is.

And lord knows, OtherCharlotte does not seem to be pining for the geek who’s stalking her at the museum.

So what is Daniel talking about when he describes this mind altering love he feels for Charlotte? I think he’s talking about her.

The little girl who couldn’t eat chocolate before dinner, the child who grew up to die in Daniel’s arms, the child that inspired him to invent a way to link Imaginary Time with Real Space

so he could create a new timeline where she wouldn’t have to die. And now, even though his mind can’t connect the dots, OtherDaniel is remembering that the reason he found a way to blow up the world was the love he felt back then, in a time when he was someone else.

That brings us to the Constant part of every Desmond episode. The love part, the Penny part. As we know too well, Desmond and magnetic objects are not a good mix. Desmond being strapped into the claustrophobia chamber like Hannibal Lector may have been the scariest scene in the episode.

Once again, he was a prisoner trapped in a magnetically charged enclosed space, with nothing but a button to push.

“Magnetic events” are the catalysts for Desmond’s mind travel and this time his mind traveled, not in time or in space, but into another … dimension. Or something. Whatever separates parallel coexisting universes. I couldn’t find it on google, so I can’t say what they call it, but when Desmond’s mind is magnetized, it can topple even that barrier. The sequence of honey infused images that flashed before Desmond’s eyes in the MRI machine flooded his memory with Penny-ness.

How they met, loved, lost, found one another, how together they created a beautiful child. OtherDesmond was seeing Original Penny and little Charlie through Original Desmond’s eyes, and yet somehow it was as if he were remembering his own past experiences. Which he couldn’t have done, since he’s lived his entire life in OtherLOST.

That set him off on his quest to reconnect with his interdimensional constant. When he found Penny again, even though technically she wasn’t the woman in his memories at all, it was like the perfect eHarmony meet up. Just like they describe on the ads. They were already perfectly matched across all 29 Dimensions of Compatibility.

It was cool to see them return to the site of the famous stair jogging scene between Jack and Desmond in Man of Science, Man of Faith.

The place where we got our first ever glimpse of Desmond Hume.

We just have to accept that OtherPenny, despite being completely alone in a vast, dark football stadium, put out her hand to the stranger who surprised her, rather than, I don’t know, a police whistle or a canister of mace. Maybe that was also the power of Love. She felt his aura and knew he was “the one”.

Even the way he passed out like a sack of flour didn’t diminish his charm in her eyes. Most women would have gone for the cell phone panic button by this point, but Penny just waited patiently for him to resume consciousness and ask her out on a date. For coffee. Naturally. “Coffee” has become the new codespeak for “let’s hook up in OtherLOST.”

They arranged to meet in an hour at the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose. Just for the record, and as a pretty cute point of interest, it seems that there is no coffee shop at the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose in L.A. There is a little shop there, however. An antique shop. Named, oh so appropriately, Thanks for the Memories. I just want to say this is maybe my favorite Easter Egg of the season. Touche, Darlton. Very clever.

After finally finding the Penny that he didn’t know he was looking for, Desmond was a changed man. Right away, he got his man Minkowski on the job of locating the manifest of all Oceanic 815 passengers. You know, because that’s part of the standard job description for L.A. limo drivers.

Why does Desmond only want to show his big secret to the other passengers of Flight 815? How did he make that connection? And why does he want to show it to them, assuming of course that he’s able? What does he expect that to accomplish? Does he think this window into a concurrent reality is the kind of revelation all of them want to know about? Or has he had some other kind of epiphany that he is convinced they all need to know about?

That question brings us to the sequence that was, for me, the heart of the episode.

Both of the guys giving Desmond advice from the lovelorn in this episode were musicians. Like OtherDesmond, OtherCharlie seems to be much more successful at what he does. In Greatest Hits, Charlie remembered when he and Liam heard their song on the radio. It was one of the greatest moments of his life.

But in this episode, Charlie is jaded to success. In OtherLOST, Driveshaft isn’t a one hit wonder. They’ve hit the big time.

In the hierarchy of the DesmondVerse, Charlie’s role is Jester. However, of all the escorts Des ran into on his little timespace adventure this week, I think Charlie spoke the most truth.

“I am better than art thou. I am a fool, thou art nothing.” – King Lear

Charlie also spoke to Desmond about the power of love. He described a near beatific vision of a blonde whose very presence engulfed him in a state of pure rapturous bliss. I can see why Jeff Jensen got the sense he was talking about his heroin filled Virgin Marys, because it sure sounded more like a drug induced euphoria than like any kind of earthly love between human beings. But I’m pretty sure we were meant to assume he was talking about Claire

– who he never even noticed was right there on the same plane with him –

but the description he gave didn’t sound like he was describing a person. It sounded like he was describing … Nirvana.

NIRVANA:n. In the Buddhist religion, a state of pleasurable annihilation awarded to the wise, particularly to the wise enough to understand it. – Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary

Charlie seemed to be describing a near death experience, a feeling so transcendant it doesn’t exist in this mortal realm.

And of course one of the things we need to remember about Charlie is that in the only reality we’ve ever really known him in, he is, in fact … quite DEAD.

Death is the actual endpoint of all of our journeys, a destination none of us are going to be able to avoid. The entire underwater sequence brought me back to Season Three in a big way. It really hit home to me, in a way the rest of the episode did not.

For one thing, the whole underwater experience seems like it’s going to become increasingly relevant. Underwater is where this whole thing seems to be headed.

But I also loved this sequence because it reminded me of how much LOST used to make me feel. I have to confess I’m one of those fans who has felt that, ever since Darlton began to write towards their end date, the show’s abandonment of its earlier character driven storylines sucked a lot of the heart out of the show for me. I’ve heard the endless crowing of the fanboys that Seasons 4 and 5 have represented a refined acme of all that is best about LOST. But sorry, I just can’t agree.

Watching the water crash through the windshield, just like it had crashed through the portal of the Looking Glass hatch …

reminded me of how much more emotional investment I had in the stories and the characters back then. When Charlie died, it felt real. It was a true loss, just like death is in the real world. Charlie’s death meant something. He died for love. He died a hero.

He made a choice to die. And he bore the consequence of his choice. The ultimate consequence. Death.

“Reality means you live until you die. The real truth is nobody wants reality.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Watching him play Frogger with the L.A. traffic, it looks like Charlie wants to get back to that state as soon as he possibly can.

But Desmond presents Charlie with a choice. He can keep drinking or he can leave the bar. Sounds simple enough. However, as Charlie says, and as is so typical of LOST, it’s not much of a choice. Charlie has the choice of a luxury hotel, piles of money and the undying gratitude of the ominpotent King Widmore … or he can just go to hell and try and score a fix on a corner somewhere. Seems like a no brainer. But that’s assuming that Fried Charlie still has a brain. Charlie scoffs at the idea of choice. And he’s actually got an excellent point.

One of the continuing frustrations of LOST for me is the disjointed and inconsistent way they’ve presented us with the idea of Choice. Free Will. How much choice did any of the characters ever have over their initial fate of being dumped out of the sky onto LOST Island? How much choice do they have even now, as an entire OtherWorld of different choicemaking swirls around them, just outside their dimensonal perceptions?

Charlie returns the favor to Desmond and presents him with an even more Hobsonian choice. He can get out of the car or he can be “shown” the thing that Charlie knows.

As he once asked Mrs. Hawking “Why would I ever go to an Island?”, Desmond asks Charlie “Why would I get out of the car?” Just as Charlie chooses to make his choice for him.

“You don’t do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you’re supposed to.”

I think it all comes back to another old school LOST Easter Egg, one of those we’ve lost sight of over the years: Enlightenment Philosophers.

David Hume, 18th century Scottish philosopher, and namesake to our own Scottish timetravelling mascot, grappled with the dilemma of determinism vs. free will. Ultimately he decided that free will was not incompatible with a fate-based view of the universe, because in his view, the only way a person could make an actual “free” choice was if they knew ahead of time what the consequences would be. In other words, unless cause and effect were fixed and immutable, a person would be unable to evaluate the potential consequences of his actions and would therefore never have any basis on which to make a choice. In Hume’s philosophy, it’s the consequences of our choices that make them free. Without consequence, choice is meaningless.

This, I think, is the dilemma we are presented with by the alternate parallel reality of OtherLOST. The way I see it, there are two possible outcomes in front of us. Either the Sideways World is a false world, an illusion, as both Charlie and Daniel implied, and must be destroyed. Or the Sideways World will become the ultimate reality.

Let’s take the second possibility first. Perhaps OtherLOST is the clean slate we heard talked about as far back as Season One’s Tabula Rasa. Maybe all of them will die on the Island – which seems ever more likely each week – and thanks to Desmond’s discovery of the powers of “spectacular, consciousness altering love”, all of their consciousnesses will just time trip over to the fresh shiny new world where they can get a spectacular, consciousness altered do-over. They’ll be allowed to pack up only the schmoopiest of their memories, the ones drenched in honey colored memories of blissful, rapturous love, and armed with that battery pack of Twu Wuv, they’ll live out the rest of their existences in a better, happier place. A place without magical mystery Islands and course corrections and warring gods and tropical polar bears. A happy ever after befitting the fairy tale title of this episode. That would be nice I guess. A kind of bland, lifeless denouement to my way of thinking, but it fits with a St. Elsewhere snowglobe kind of ending. I think it’s possible. Anything’s possible with this freaking show.

But here’s the problem with it. It’s also a world without Consequence. It’s a world where it doesn’t matter that Sawyer killed an innocent shrimp seller. It doesn’t matter that Kate was the only mother Aaron ever knew. Or that Sayid shot a 12 year old kid for the crime of who he’d grow up to be. It doesn’t matter that Locke went on a mad odyssey sacrificing his life trying to be special. It doesn’t matter that Jack and his Dad crisscrossed time and space trying to hunt one another down and thrash out their daddy issues. Hurley’s numbers don’t matter. It doesn’t matter that Sun and Jin made a baby girl together, who is growing up somewhere in Korea, waiting for her mommy and daddy to come home. None of it matters. All the consequences of all the choices just get brushed into the trashpan and everyone starts over fresh, as new people, making new choices. But if consequence is an irrelevance, then what meaning will those new choices have? What is the point of Choice without Consequence?

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
– Philip K. Dick

Charlie tells Desmond that the vision he had of Claire was real. It was the truth. Is that so? Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not in the literal sense that we may be understanding it. As I noted, there was little in Charlie’s orgasmically ecstatic speech that sounded like human love the way we experience it here on earth.

It’s easy to idealize love, but the transcendent love Charlie is describing happens in the realm of deep Zen meditation, not in the bedrooms and kitchens and streets and parks of our workaday world.

The best that most of us can ever hope to experience in our human relationships is a love that transforms us, that makes us better people. The kind of love Charlie died for.

The kind that Sawyer felt when he jumped from the helicopter. The kind that Kate felt when she left Aaron behind to find his mother.

The kind of love that has consequences. The kind of love that has meaning precisely because of all the blood, sweat and tears that’s invested in it. The kind of love that requires sacrifices.

What sacrifice is Charles Widmore referring to when he says he intends to ask one of Desmond? Is he asking Desmond to help save the world that his little boy lives in? Or is he asking him to help destroy it – and little Charlie along with it – so they can all hop-skip over to OtherLOST?

I think I’m finally starting to figure out why children have always been such an important feature of the LOST story. By far the most striking difference betweeen this season’s two universes has been this one.

Some might argue that another Charlie Hume can be effortlessly conceived in an OtherLOST scenario. I think the science of genetics would beg to differ with that theory, but that’s beside the point. The creation of David Shephard is proof that not everything is interchangeable between our two worlds. There is no David in Original LOST and there never will be. And if OtherLOST is a false “reality” that must be collapsed, then the blue eyed prodigy is going to disappear instantly, in the blink of an eye. And if he lives, then Ji Yeon, Charlie Hume, even poor unwanted little Clementine … all get sucked into the vacuum of nonexistence. However this thing ends, there are consequences involved.

Perhaps David is the clue we need to keep our eyes on then. It forces us to ask ourselves what is the nature of our own reality? Of our existence as separate individuals, each of us a unique and irreplaceable human being. Are we just the inevitable cellular results of our own encoded DNA? Or is our essence contained in the sum total of our experiences? Of what we’ve thought and done. Of who we’ve loved, hated, lost, found. Most of all, can we ever be separated from the consequences of the choices we’ve made?

And the moral of that is: Be what you would seem to be, or if you’d like it put more simply: Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. – The Duchess in Alice in Wonderland

In true reality, the kind we all have to live with, this isn’t a question. We never ever get the chance to escape the consequences of our choices. In point of fact, those consequences are what our existence is all about. It’s the only thing it’s about. We may all indulge in juvenile fantasies of erasing the past, but the option to escape reality is one none of us will ever have. Most of us spend our lives distracted by the simulacra of the material world, unable to see the underlying Truth behind our existence. Most of us spend our lives living in some self created version of Plato’s cave.

That’s why I think the metaphor of the Matrix is such a powerful one for this season of Lost.

But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.

For all the fantasy of its setting, the Matrix presented us with a choice as profoundly real as the one the Buddha wrestled with in the years before time. Will we stay asleep in this world or will we awake to reality?

My friend, what are you?
Are you a god?”
“No”said the Buddha.
“Well, then, are you a wizard?”
“No.”
“Are you a man?”
“No.”
“Well, my friend, then what are you?”
The Buddha replied,
“I am awake.”

LOST is also a fantasy, and maybe in the end, that’s all it will be. Maybe fans will be satisfied with a synthetic and sentimental end, such as many interpreted this episode to be pointing at, an ending where “spectacular, consciousness altering love” – at least as experienced by the male halves of the three psuedo-couples in this episode – buys them a free pass out of reality and into an up and running OtherVerse where none of their misbegotten choices will ever haunt them again.

Hell, I’m ready for anything in these last few episodes. Certainly all doors are still open. There’s still time for ancient Egyptian sailors to disembark on Hydra Island. Or for unicorns to come flying in and carry all the Candidates away on their backs. Who knows? Eloise might pull off that hair helmet and reveal that underneath it all, she’s been an alien being all this time.

Or maybe they’ll just reveal that OtherLOST was nothing more than one last entertaining diversion. A place for everyone who doesn’t really exist to have one last curtain call. A Bohemian Rhapsody for the Zombie Season.

That might be fun, right? It would certainly be Spectacular! If slightly less than Consciousness Altering.

Nothing can stop each of us from having our own personal preferences. Speaking for myself, the only thing I ask from any fantasy is that it have a metaphor within it that I can apply somehow to the world as I know it. In The Matrix, Neo has a choice. He can take the blue pill and go back to sleep, or he can take the red pill and Morpheus will show him “how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” Personally, I’m hoping Desmond chooses to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

As OtherWidmore tells him, he is a man without attachments. Were we meant to take the obvious implication from that, that poor OtherDesmond had no love in his life and was to be pitied for it? Should we be assuming that non-attachment is a bad thing? Both Christ and the Buddha taught that freedom from worldly attachents was the essential first step to any kind of enlightenment.

Widmore seems to be prepping Desmond for some final battle with the Smoke Monster, a battle that his magnetic superpowers make him uniquely qualified to wage. At the end of the episode we see that Desmond is more than willing now to cooperate. What has happened to him? What did that last gargantuan struggle with the EMF Beastie do to him?

There’s no saying, but he seems to have attained a Zen like state of Enlightenment. In both worlds. He agrees to work with Widmore.Then he turns around and leaves just as easily with the impassively murderous Sayid.

It’s like he knows now that there’s no point in reasoning any of this out, because he’s seen the ultimate truth.

OtherDesmond seems to have had the same revelation. He needs to find the other 815-ers, not to tell them anything, but to show them. This “show, not tell” mantra is repeated throughout the episode so many times that I think it’s wise for us to pay attention to it. But once everyone has understood the thing that Desmond is about to show them, what choices will that leave them? Will they choose to abandon the world of reality and hop aboard the spaceship of perpetual fantasy? Or will they stay put and discover the thing that is real, the thing that is true?

Make truth your island.
Make truth your refuge.
There is no other refuge.

From TVFrenzy:

  • xray

    Eloise named her son Daniel Faraday because that’s what his name was when she first met him (and killed him).

    • Wanda

      dunno, that’s a loop like Locke’s magic compass.

      • DeSelby

        …and Locke being special, and Locke being the leader of the Others, and Locke dying so someone could use he death to tell him he had to die, and Jin stopping Rousseau from going down the hole, and Eloise giving Faraday his journal, and Eloise telling Faraday he was meant for science, and Eloise saying they all had to go back to the Island, and Ben coming evil, and someone building a well because there was a rope there, and Faraday causing the Incident by trying to prevent it, and Faraday telling Charlotte not to come back to the Island, and Hurley saying the Numbers, and Empire being the best Star Wars movie, and the Terminator being created using a piece of technology from the future…. If you just sort of embrace the logic the show makes a lot more sense.

        • xray

          Amen, brotha (or sista).

  • Frogurt’s Arrow

    I highly doubt Desmond is being asked to destroy either universe. He might be asked to travel from one to the other though, and that might involve his death and anyone who goes with him. To me that’s a safer, more likely guess.

  • Handsome Smitty

    Wow.

    But…

    I don’t see how there are “no consequences” if Sideways© becomes the “happy ending” of Lost. We’ve seen Sun and Jin endangered. We’ve seen Jack struggle to save (or to build) a relationship with his son. We’ve seen Ben not give in to his desire for “importance.” We’ve seen Hurely…well, helping others see the good in things, see their limitations (or rather Rose did, in his steed of course). Kate and Sawyer’s consequences are yet to come, but for sure they will come. Charlie has again been “saved,” although this time maybe he won’t have to sacrifice his life to redeem a drug habit that hurt no one but himself.

    There are certainly consequences in Sideways© and more will come that we can’t imagine.

    And if somehow someway all the Losties die to make Sideways© a reality, then I’m for it.

    And if all but one die – that one to become the new Jacob – and we move on to the next “Loop” in Island-Life, then so be it.

    Like St. Elsewhere it’s been a wonderful journey. SE had it’s beloved Peter turn into a monster and Lost has had it’s monster (Ben Bad Bad Ben) turn into a beloved…teacher. Both shows are and could never miss hitting a wrong note. Nothing is perfect.

    That’s the “consequence” of life, I suppose, of buying into pop-entertainment to provide a deeper meaning for one’s life.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

  • Handsome Smitty

    Okay, now that that’s been said….

    Who the hell is Eloise!!! She, like Des, is one of the most compelling characters, and certainly the most mysterious and unexplained.

    Hopefully the light gets shown on her before the end!

    • Seabiscuit

      Maybe she’ll turn out to be the ghost of a housekeeper who died of tuberculosis in the 1800s.

    • Frogurt’s Arrow

      She’s a woman who killed her son by accident and as such would probably agree to anything to get him back, that’s how I see her. I have hope and expectation she will turn out to be critical and somewhat explained.

      • Aldo lover

        Eloise is a sexy cougar.

        • Frogurt’s Arrow

          Hah, well you and I have different tastes. I prefer Alice Evans – 1970s Eloise. Smokin’.

          • Drew G.

            I’ll take 1954 Eloise, thank you. Good Lord, she was hot.

        • Handsome Smitty

          Yeah, I’d like a chance to depoof that hairdo, brutha’!

          • Aldo lover

            1950’s Eloise is pretty hot too. If only I could time travel and hook up with each version… Okay this is getting weird, I’m done.

    • Wanda

      It would be nice to find out what Ellie and Charles were doing on the island in the 50s, aside from battling the US Army. Ironic that the woman who killed her son has been appointed (or appointed herself) time cop, to order Desmond around.

      • Jack’s Sidekick

        She probably got screwed into having the same abilities with time he does. She’s been there, done that and now she has to guide him, though she might hate it.

      • JohnnyC666

        I think the reason Eloise and Widmore seem to know everything is that is their pennance, like Sayid and Richard. They also made a deal (maybe for her to not have killed Daniel) and so this is what they had to do to make that happen.

  • BostonBonnie

    Desmond will bring balance back to the Island (or back to the Force for us Star Wars fans). I believe that like the yin-yang symbol, good and bad, light and dark, black and white live together in one vessel. Neither is complete without the other. I first thought of an old Star Trek episode during the season 5 finale and I haven’t been able to shake it. Happily Ever After brings this image clearer in my mind. The episode is about a world at war. It’s the black/white people against the white/black people. When we were first introduced to Jacob and the MIB I couldn’t help thinking about the two halves of us all. There are no purely good and purely evil people; we all possess shades of good and evil within our souls. The game these two are playing is much like the war from the Star Trek episode. How they became separated I don’t know but I believe it is Charles Widmore’s mission to re-unite them. Maybe I’m being too literal here, let me sum up to say that at the very least I believe that both Jacob and MIB need to stay on the Island together. Somehow through his ‘specialness’ Desmond will re-join Jacob and the MIB. Maybe it will be a physical re-joining through an electro-magnetic field? Maybe it will be a psychological re-joining thus trapping Desmond as the new vessel and banishing him to the Island to save the world as he knows it. Only Desmond can survive the EM incident, therefore all our other Losties will be goners for sure. Because Desmond has made contact with his constant he is now privy to both realities just like he was in the episode The Constant after speaking to Penny. He wants the 815 manifest because he now knows their collective past on the Island as survivors and wants to re-awaken their minds to the other reality. They’ve all got work to do. Most likely they all have to be willing participants of what’s to come.

  • Kirk Soren

    Often these screencap excursions are fascinating, fun and you hate when they end.

  • Ed-Mars

    Anybody seen DD and MoniquE around? Aren’t they fighting today? Oh well…

    • MoniquE

      DD probably liked it, that’s why he didn’t have anything to say about it. LOL!

      • dd

        The review was bland. It didn’t say anything that wasn’t obvious to anyone who doesn’t need their hand held.

        • JJ

          Ah there you are. As predictable as ever lol

          • dd

            Cool. And this review was predictably remedial.

        • JJ

          LOL of course it was because you’ve already made up your mind to hate it before even reading it.

          It’s become your thing. And god knows you’re not going to let it go when it’s getting you so much attention.

          • dd

            I read it and then decided it wasn’t very interesting. I am fair.

        • LnGrrrR

          Hm… if you think they stink… no need to read!

      • Handsome Smitty

        I suspect there’s only one thing dd likes…can you guess what I’m thinking?

        • bplenc

          you know what i think? you guys keep saying we cant watch Lost blindly like fanboys/girls and just think everything on the show is great.

          well, that is how I feel about recaps/reviews of the show – if i dont like it, i can say it. i thought this recap was more than just bland, IT WAS AWFUL. THE WORST. PAINFUL. LIKE SHE HAD A GUN TO HER HEAD WHEN WRITING IT.

          is that ok everyone? F*CK.

          • dd

            I didn’t really understand FB’s fanboy jab when she said “I’ve heard the endless crowing of the fanboys that Seasons 4 and 5 have represented a refined acme of all that is best about LOST.”

            That’s a bluntly stupid statement since fanboys and everyone else seem awfully divided in their perception of these seasons. All I heard from the nerds I know is that they hated Season Five and that Season Four just wasn’t the same.

            Who are these fanboys (fanboys as a cohesive and identifiable group)? Are they just people who disagree with FB and then face goofy accusations?

          • Christine (faraday’s constant)

            Can someone tell me why fanboy/fangirl is so insulting? I’ve been hearing that word thrown around for awhile as an insult and it makes no sense to me.

        • dd

          What is it that you’re thinking?

      • Ed-Mars

        Ah there you are 🙂

        To be honest, I don’t see any negativity in this recap. I really liked the Dr. Manhattan mention btw..

  • joe_bones

    i always assumed eloise married a guy named faraday who adopted daniel before they ended up divorced.

    • Aldo lover

      I like this explanation, I was thinking the same thing.

  • Bezmina

    Great Recap Fishy, my heart just sang at every classic Descentric element, none moreso than when he saw his Penny though, I damn near smiled my own face off!

  • Funback Joe

    Fish, you seem to be swallowing a whole lot of LOST reluctantly. I’d hate to have to watch this show with you.

    You have recently decided to take the mantle of disgruntled reluctant fan, and it doesn’t come across well. I don’t mind criticism, but at this point you sound like someone who doesn’t even LIKE the show. Your patience is being tested, and you sound bitter about the whole thing, and probably the fact that a large portion of your life has been given to it.

    While I agree that we don’t know a huge amount yet, I contend that we still have an entire trilogy of movies’ worth of time left to explain it. Plenty of time. Be confident in the show, be happy, and try not to sound so smug.

    Cheer up! Enjoy the ride!

    • bplenc

      thank you Funback Joe! this racap is utter trash.

      this review is even worse than the last – please FB, if you haven’t liked the show since season 3, please stop writing about it!

      Doc, can just about ANYONE right recaps on your site?

  • MoniquE

    This was a great review, maybe the best one yet. As always the best review anywhere online. I think it’s great that you remember the meaning behind Desmond being named after Hume and how you tie it back into that philosophy. I hope you are right and the writers don’t wimp out on a meaningless ending. I get what you mean that people are more than dna. You can’t just hop into a body that looks like yours and make that your own human experience. Desmond and Other desmond are not the same person, even if they do trade memories. And great point about the kids in the different worlds.

    I am always so amazed at how shallowly Lost fans think about the show. I get the feeling that of those fans that are left they’ll take any ending and call it great, but I hope the complex issues from the past seasons aren’t all brushed under the rug in favor of something feelgood and stupid.

    I can’t figure out when Charlotte and Faraday became icons of true love. Or Claire who didn’t care one bit when Charlie died. Desmond and Penny are true love and a great love, but the other two? It’s like a slap in the face to the greatness of Desmond and Pennys story. They can’t pretend in this last season that every couple we ever saw on Lost is just another Desmond and Penny.

    • DharmaDave

      I would not call Charlotte and Faraday “the icons of true love”. I actually got the impression that Charlotte never really had the same interest in Dan that he had in her.

      But I do think it has been firmly established in the show that Dan was in love with Charlotte enough to dedicate three years of his life in Ann Arbor to figure out a way to chance the future so that Charlotte would not die, and he risked and lost his life trying to make that plan a reality.

      Also, while Charlie and Claire’s love story might never had the same mythic elements as Desmond and Penny, and while Claire’s reaction to Charlie’s death might has seemed muted to some, we do know, it was the idea of Claire and Aaron being rescued that made Charlie accept his fate and die, in the hopes of obtaining rescue.

      So while the couples might not have done it for you, I don’t think it is fair to criticise the show as pretending that the love these men had for these women was just as important as Des’s love for Penny is to him, when the show has firmly established that.

      Maybe thier love stories weren’t told as well, but it was certainly established that Charlie loved Claire and Daniel Loved Charlotte enough to Sacrifice thier lives for them.

      To ignore that is to ignore the what is shown of the show, becuae it odes not suit your personal preference.

      • MoniquE

        Ok I get that. So what you’re saying is that it’s how MEN feel that defines true love. Women are just the objects that inspire them to be great. LOL, I guess that fits with Lost.

        At least Eloise is getting more interesting. I wonder if it was her love for Daniel that created the whole make believe world and now she wants to keep Desmond from figuring it out because he might burst the bubble she made.

        • DharmaDave

          LOL. I have fought it, but when looking at the facts, Lost does seem to tell its story through its male characters, way more than its female characters. Whether that is inherently a bad thing, I don’t know, and while the focus on the male character doesn’t necessarily relegate the female to an object in my opinion, the fact that this pattern does exist, does shows that lost certainly has more interest in telling the story of its male characters and telling Lost’s story through its male characters way more that doing so through it’s female characters. So while I do think Lost has written strong female characters who are intersting in their own right, the constant focus on the male characters does seem to force the female characters (as well written as they are) to serve as the motivation of the male characters rather than driving the story themselves.

          As for Eloise, I totally agree. Remember, Eloise was in on the plan to detonate Jughead so that she would avoid killing Daniel in the 70’s. So if Eloise is aware that of the MTL in the Sideways, then she must think that it worked and this is the life that was created from her helping Jack detonate the bomb

    • bplenc

      monique, you would defend FB if she committed mass murder !

  • Gerry Jackson

    I just want to say, out of ALL of the recaps I read each week…Fishbiscuit’s is the ABSOLUTE BEST!! Thanks for all your time and hard work that you put into these. See ya in another life brotha.

    • bplenc

      ha!

    • meems

      They are! They’re insightful, fun to read, clever, funny, and interesting. I know FB is a true fan, but she can also evaluate the show thoughtfully.

      Yeah, WHO is Eloise?

  • ghanima

    Eloise, oh Eloise. Never happy with Des, no matter the year, or the dimension.

    Although, considering that any older version of Eloise we meet in Lost is an Eloise that has known about time travel and the possibility of an alternate future from the day she shot a man who turned out to be her fully grown unborn son and a stranger promised her it would all be OK as long as she helped him detonate a bomb to reset everything, which she did, and the immediate consequences for people on the island at the point of detonation is still a little unclear- the point is she’s had a long time to think about this, possibly to read the journal of the man she murdered, the one with her handwriting in it. She was also the leader of the Others at the time, which earned her a pistol whipping from RIchard, so she may have had some idea of the importance of the island.

    I honestly have no idea what is up with Eloise in Flashes Before Your Eyes, I have no idea how she knows EVERYTHING all the time, but the fact that OtherEloise wants to keep Desmond away from her family seems to fit with a mother who got her Happily Ever After and doesn’t want anyone to spoil it.

    PS. “Killing off the extraneous womenfolk” totally agree! Although at least she didn’t walk into a bullet like Shannon, Libby, Ana Lucia, Colleen, Alex, Danielle…

  • The Mantis

    Love the comparison the The Matrix. At the end of the episode I immediately thought about Neo at the end of the movie, and saw the same aspects in Desmond. The zen-like awakening and understanding of who he really is.

    • The Mantis

      Sorry, “to the Matrix”

  • dp2

    FB, despite your lingering skepticism and the ever-present Skate-ness (though I admire your ability to subtly work it in for an episode in which neither of them appeared or ever got mentioned), your recaps and the NeverSeenLost guy are the only recaps I look forward to anymore (I do still skim Jensen’s rambling novellas at some point during the week). I really appreciate the show’s cinematography after viewing your articles.

    • dp2

      I should add that the DDoniquE-driven aftermath is also a high point of the week.

      • Ed-Mars

        Yes!! DDoniquE are very entertaining!

        • Christine (faraday’s constant)

          *seconds this*

      • dd

        I think the conflict is boring; However, I am interested more in the reaction to these reviews than the actual reviews.

        Maybe I’ll use Monique’s tactic of creating a fictional identity for an opponent and just run with it for everyone’s entertainment. It is very disconcerting that she takes all of this personally.

        • Cody

          I dont even read FB’s reviews, I just jump straight to the comments because its actually more entertaining.

          I better duck, I feel a shot from monique coming for saying that.

  • Drew G.

    I agree, fishbiscuit’s recaps are always the best. Those who trash her work will never make any sense to me.

    • bplenc

      and those that always defend her will never make sense to me. they are basically essays on why she hates the show so much. HATE.

      • JJ

        I just don’t understand why some people who disagree with/dislike her opinion take it so personally. She doesn’t hate the show. How anyone who has read her recaps can come to that conclusion is beyond me. Sure, at times she’s confused, frustrated, and disappointed. Haven’t we all felt these things at one point or another?

        But each one of her recaps, to me, is a labor of love from a devoted LOST fanatic. Maybe you should go to her blog and read all the work. Or not. Just a suggestion.

        • bplenc

          JJ she says above that she really hasn’t like the show since season 3 – SEASON 3 !!!!!

          • MoniquE

            She didn’t say that. She just said she preferred the character development in the early seasons. When I read your first comment, I suspected you didn’t read the post, cause it didn’t seem like you would be able to understand it. Now I see I was right.

          • me

            in comes Monique for the sweep!

  • Fandango1

    Excellent recap, Fish! I used to read several recaps after every episode, but now I’m down to three: Alan Sepinwall’s, for an intelligent and different POV; Ack’s for the humor; and yours for the thoughtful whole-show context in which you place each new episode for me. I’m sure you spend a good deal of time and effort on each recap – first in reflection and analysis, and then on crafting the recap’s text and selecting the pics to illustrate it. I have always appreciated that, but never more so than this season.

    I find that I am growing increasingly restless and impatient with this season, and it reassures me that you are feeling a little of the same. Speaking only for myself, I have disliked a few episodes this season, and this was one of them. However, your recap for each of those episodes has elevated it for me and led me to find more satisfaction in a second viewing. I’m impatient for a better understanding of the relationship between the two universes and find it difficult to invest in the characters in the new one. I’m hoping the eventual resolution in the finale will make a rewatch of the whole of S-6 more enjoyable.

    After rewatching “Happily Ever After”, I feel it’s not all that important that Claire never returned Charlie’s feelings for her to the same extent, or that Charlotte never loved Daniel. What both “awoke” to, IMO, is the difference in themselves when they had known what it’s like to love someone deeply. What they miss is experiencing the world with a heart changed by love. What they hell that might have to do with how the show – if it has anything to do with it at all – is still a big question mark to me.

    I think the show had more heart in previous seasons than it seems to now, and perhaps that’s why I’m less inclined to think deeply about making connections and finding context for myself. So thank goodness I can look forward to your recaps of upcoming episodes to help me makes sense of it.

    Thanks again for all your hard work!

  • JJ

    “Right away, he got his man Minkowski on the job of locating the manifest of all Oceanic 815 passengers. You know, because that’s part of the standard job description for L.A. limo drivers.”

    LOL I found this strange and hilarious. “Uh Mr. Humes when I said if there’s anything I can get for you, I meant a cup of coffee”.

    • Aldo lover

      Yeah it is kind of strange to ask a limo driver for a manifest of the Oceanic flight. However because Minkowski also worked for Widmore, I assume he has resources the average limo driver would not.

      • JJ

        I don’t know man, I don’t see the limo driver being given access to all these resources by Widmore. It’s a stretch.

        • naultz

          he doesn’t have “as much access” as widmore, but I bet he can access more than the average limo driver.

  • I’ve really enjoyed these recaps up until the last couple of weeks. At this point, it doesn’t matter what I want out of the show – it matters what Damon and Carlton want. They’ve had this idea in their head for quite awhile; to berate it repeatedly just strikes me as a slap in the face to the creators. Sure, we all have wanted LOST to do something, or be something, but its obvious now that we’re going to get the story THEY want to tell. I am perfectly content to see how they’re going to end this thing.

    • bplenc

      alas! here here !

  • DharmaDave

    FB’s posts are always controversial. And I for one respect and appreciate the time she takes in writing her recaps. As always when you put something out for general consumption you have to prepare yourself for feedback, be it positive or negative. And when you are posting something to an audience who are at least 95% adoring fans of the subject matter, and your post expresses some negativity towards it, you should most definitely expect a lot of negative feedback.

    Her recaps, imho, are always well thought-out; she has amazing recall, and is very good about catching many of the instances of mirroring in Lost. All the quotes and pictures that she uses are awesome. And her articles are a very fun read, as well as generate a lot of fun to read comments.

    On the downside, she has a skate bias that can be kind of annoying for people who do not worship at the alter of Sawyer’s abs. Some of her criticisms of the show come across as not valid criticisms of what is being presented on the show, but a failure in the show to follow a direction that she expected or predicted. She complains that the show has gotten away from character driven material in since S4 and S5, just seem off to me as I feel S6 has been all about these people’s characters. The sideways world, imo, has shown in all of these characters, the true nature of these people. I know that one could argue that these are not the same people, but I think the sideways world has shown the true nature of all of the Lost characters and who they are and what makes them tick. These are the exact same people, with circumstances slightly tweaked.

    I came in to read this post, 100% expecting somewhat of a mea culpa from FB, after her rather strongly worded post last week regarding the Package and the sideways world storyline. I think Happily Ever After, showed the relevance of the sideways world and the architecture of how the sideways world will be framed for the rest of the season. It was a beautiful episode, and only raises my expectations of what this season is and how it will all end. The fact that after watching this episode, FB’s does not have some hope that Lost will have a satisfying ending makes me think that she has become so entrenched in her own expectations, she is missing out on the story that is being told and the merits that it has, separate from her own expectations.

    Those are just my humble opinions, and I will continue to read these posts as they are enjoyable, even though I am sometimes disappointed in the contents. Which, I guess, is how FB is viewing Lost these days.

    • bplenc

      thank you.

    • Christine (faraday’s constant)

      I agree with this comment in it’s entirety. I actually pictured a giant altar in the shape of Sawyer’s abs while reading this, though. Like a bunch of Skaters showing up and sacrificing copies of Watership Down and Of Mice and Men, not to mention cans of Dharma beer. I don’t know if that’s a weird visual to have, but I just saw it and thought I’d share.

      • NickJ

        Very interesting point. But you know everyone has their bias or favorites. Take Doc Jensen, whose recaps I really enjoy, he is a HUGE Juliet fan and I see his preference for her coloring a lot of his commentary on the story (specifically when he talked about how her presence was all over Sawyer’s episode this season. Which I did not see). I’ve got a buddy in my lost group that can’t read Doc’s recaps because he dislikes Juliet so much. Go figure. I also find a lot of the folks who are huge proponents of the sideways being a happily ever after story are also big on the whole idea of Juliet and Sawyer having some kind of happily ever after. Fish may have a skate bias but many other recappers inject their own biases into their color commentary. And frankly I enjoy that. Someone on here a couple of weeks ago mentioned the relationship biases were just another kind of theory and I couldn’t agree more. I always find it interesting that Fish’s detractors focus on her love for Skate. Makes me wonder if they are invested in the opposite of what she likes. And full disclosure – I was always a fan of Jack and Kate.

        • MoniquE

          That’s a good point about Doc Jensen. I read his reviews even though I find his extreme Suliet shipping to be annoying. I agree it also colors his love of the sideways world. He’s a bigger shipper than Fish is right now. Does he get insulted for that also?

          • dd

            I think his reviews are insulted because he writes ten page reviews that don’t say anything to anyone who pays attention while watching LOST. Like FB, he relies heavily on wikipedia and strains to make connections to even the most trivial of aspects of the narrative in an exhausted attempt to unlock a story that relies heavily on omission as a story-telling device.

      • MoniquE

        I actually pictured a giant altar in the shape of Sawyer’s abs while reading this, though. Like a bunch of Skaters showing up and sacrificing copies of Watership Down and Of Mice and Men, not to mention cans of Dharma beer. I don’t know if that’s a weird visual to have, but I just saw it and thought I’d share.

        I think it’s a weird visual to have in connection with this review. If you were picturing Sawyer’s abs while reading this, you must be a hundred times more obsessed with Sawyer than Fish is. This review was about Desmond in more detail than any other I’ve seen. I don’t know what you’re talking about with that Skate stuff.

        • Christine (faraday’s constant)

          I’m actually not Sawyer fangirl at ALL, I was referring to the sentence referring to the temple of Sawyer’s abs, because it made sense to me. I’m very visual in my thought process and I actually pictured it. Sawyer wasn’t even in this episode at all, and there’s a couple screencaps of him in an episode he’s got nothing to do with. I thought it was an interesting point.

          Also, if I were a Sawyer fangirl, I’d be HIS constant.

          • Abigail

            She also included screencaps of Jack, David AND a (fake?) Morpheus. She must be a “fangirl” of theirs as well. Also, to be fair, the last time I saw Charlotte onscreen she was getting down with one Mr. Ford. So, it’s more relevant screencap than the one with Jack. I really don’t understand what’s the issue about her mentioning Sawyer. Nor why it’s wrong for her to be a Sawyer “fangirl.”

          • Ashley

            As a Sawyer fangirl I’d like to thank you for sharing that image with us, Christine. Though I’d like to request that all attendees show up sans shirts. I mean it’s only fitting considering the graven image we’d be worshipping in front of.

          • DharmaDave

            I think the point is that she has a skate bias, which she is clearly entitled to have, as she is not an impartial documentarian, but a recapper of a TV Show. But while, she is entitled to have it and most recappers of lost have some sort of bias, as they are just fans afterall, sometimes the words she uses can be slightly offensive and she can come across as condescending or even insulting to fans of other pairings.

            While she has not done this in the above recap, she has in the past referred to fans of Sawyer/Juliet as being Necrophiliacs (sp?) and implied that anyone who does not see Sawyer and Kate as end game simply is either willfully ignorant or just not paying close enough attention to the show.

            Then in this recap, she implies that Faraday was not in love with Charlotte (or at least does not have a love like Des/Penny and Sawyer/Kate) even though the show showed the lenghts Daniel went to in order to change the future to prevent Charlotte’s death. From what I am hearing she feels that there is no ship like the ship she is sailing. If you get my meaning.

            Which still is all well and good. But I do feel that since she puts her posts out there for teh general public to comment on, then I can feel free to comment on the fact that I feel her Skate bias sometimes gets in the way of her enjoying the show. As NickJ said above, he sees a pattern of Suliet shippers liking teh sideways world as it is a way for Sawyer and Juliet to end up together, FB’s hatred of the sideways can easily be argued to be for the same reasons.

          • MoniquE

            “even though the show showed the lenghts Daniel went to in order to change the future to prevent Charlotte’s death. ”

            I guess you didn’t read the review either. Seems a lot of the haters don’t bother to read and rather talk about “from what I hear”.

            It said right there that Daniel did what he did to prevent the little girl Charlotte from dying and that was where the love came from.

            I think a lot of the haters, like NIckJ said, want to find fault because they are also shippers. But there really is no explanation why they read them just to bash them. It’s kind of deranged. I can understand first timers but these people that come back week after week just to bash seem like crazy people. Do you keep eating the same foods that make you throw up? It makes no sense, unless you get a kick out of hating.

          • DharmaDave

            MoniquE,

            I do not hate FB’s recaps. I wrote a pretty extensive post, only a little bit above that had a lot of very complimentary things to say and I said how much I do enjoy reading them. But I do not think that means I can not critize some of her ideas or disagree with her.

            And why would she have to come up with some convulted explanation of Dan trying to save little girl charlotte, if she was not trying to imply that Daniel’s love for adult Charlotte was not so great.

            I guess Juliet and Sawyer fans are necrophiliacs and Charlotte and Dan fans are pederasts.

            Not trying to bash. Just giving an opinion. I guess if you don’t like my opinions you can just skip the DharmaDave comments, unless you also like eating the same food that makes you throw up.

          • MoniquE

            @DharmaDave. The way I understood it she was trying to explain what kind of love Daniel felt because obviously Charlotte didn’t love him the same way and she isn’t looking for him in the AU. There’s no way Charlotte and Daniel are true loves like Desmond and Penny. It’s not even close. Daniel is going to a museum to stare at Charlotte while Charlotte is scoring with Sawyer in the sack. I think there’s a distinction there. I’m more surprised by the people who think Charlotte and Daniel belong anywhere in the same breath as Desmond and Penny.

          • DharmaDave

            I can get that. I did say in an earlier post that I never really got that Charlotte had the same feelings for Dan that he had for her. But I don’t think that that means that Dan did not love her in the same way that Des loves Penny. It just means that Charlotte did not love Dan in the way that Penny loves Desmond.

            I, personally, can buy that Dan’s feelings for adult Charlotte, would make him have the same epiphany that Des had, I don’t think love has to be requited for it to be real or powerful.

          • Christine (faraday’s constant)

            @Ashley, You win at life.

            And the David idea is actually a very good one. I actually really like these recaps. And I never said it was wrong to be a Sawyer fangirl, I just said the visual was a funny one to me.

        • NickJ

          DharmaDave – I see what you’re saying. I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a bit here. It’s possible that a Skate shipper could also easily argue that the sideways world is a world where Sawyer and Kate find their happily ever after without having to be torn apart for three years. And they could argue this with hard evidence on what has been shown so far this season. I’m not saying this is true or not but seriously we could, validly, argue about all of these relationships until the cows come home. I just don’t see a reason for anyone getting so bent out of shape about her bias for Skate unless you happen to have a vested interest in something else. I’m not bashing you either but emotions sure do tend to run high about this topic and it makes me wonder if her detractors are not as caught up in the romance of the show as they accuse her of being. But, no need for us to argue, you do have insightful posts and I will certainly not skip them.

          • DharmaDave

            I think anyone who watches lost and says they have no interest in the love stories is lying. The love stories are a lot of the emotional backbone of lost, and an episode like the last one, would not have been so good with out the love story of Desmond and Penny, which is why it is so highly rated among the fans. Even the geeked out “fanboys” have a heart.

            Of course I have preferences and some relationships work for me and some do not. There has not been a romantic relationship on the show that, imo, does not have its merits. I did really like Sawyer and Juliet together, that is true.

            And I do not begrudge FB of her Sawyer/Kate shipping. Or Doc Jensen of his Juliet/Sawyer shipping. Although I am sure that it can cause some eye rolling from people who are not fans of those relationships.

            And that is really all it is, some eye rolling on my part. And if you go back and read my initial post, that was a very small part of my critism of FB’s current recap. My main critism, was that it seems to me, and is just my opinion, that she seems so entrenched in her own expectations and desires for the show that she is failing to appreciate the story that is unfolding.

            I admit to having a slight preference for Sawyer/Juliet, but I do not want the sideways world to become the main time line so that they have a chance at being together. i actually got a hint that they were implying in the last episode that the sideways is a lie, a fake, a distraction. Maybe it is a beutiful lie, but a lie none the less. And if that is the story that Lost is telling and it is told in the same emotionally resonant way that lost has, I will be happy even if it means that Juliet and Sawyer going dutch for coffee is just a pretty lie too.

          • NickJ

            Fair enough. And I happen to agree with you about the sideways world. We’ll see how it all plays out.

  • Christine (faraday’s constant)

    OMG I WAS SO HAPPY WITH THIS EPISODE.

    Dear Lost Writers,

    Thank you for bringing back my two favorite characters, and making me understand what the Sawyer fangirls feel when Sawyer centric episodes come on. If they don’t die again, that would make me very happy. Give them a chance to find their great loves again. Charlie needs to find Claire and share some imaginary peanut butter and raise his Turniphead, and Faraday needs to meet Charlotte and have chocolate before dinner. Hopefully they can all meet and mix the peanut butter and chocolate together and make some awesome emotional Reese’s peanut butter cups. Or at least have the interdimentional jam session of a lifetime.

    Sincerely, Christine (faraday’s constant)

    I think the Daniel Charlotte thing was a very real romantical connection, and it’s personally my favorite relationship on the show. It wasn’t all in everybody’s faces, but you could definitely see it in Season 4 and it intensified in season 5. It was just as good as the big name shippers (Skate, Suliet), but in a more subtle way. They never had a bear cage moment or a “Do you still have my back” line, but they did have a connection. Other than this, I really don’t have a shipper opinion.

    I don’t think it’ll boil down to unabashed love, but rather, connections, love ones or otherwise. Connections that follow you through timelines and dimensions. Like, Desmond and Penny’s connection is important, but so is the Desmond Charlie and/or Faraday conenction too. There might not be Penny love there, but the connection is there. Skate is important, but so is Kate’s relationship with Jack, because her Jating furthers connections.

    • me

      oh christine *swoon*

    • Ashley

      Nice. Everyone’s got preferences and opinions about each relationship. And you’re absolutely right about it’s all about the connections. They are ALL important. And let me throw this out there to blow your mind – I’m a MAJOR Sawyer AND Faraday fangirl. My two favorite characters!

  • Backedbob

    I’m very intrigued by that “Other’s Symbol” that was branded to Juliet and Eloise is wearing…

    How can she Know every-thing…every-time..
    She is a very strange(“Desmond”-like)value in the equation..
    I believe she may have made a deal with MIB…Or Jacob “touched” her…(lol)
    Don’t know about Charles though… Him and MiB have the same taste in “Art”…

    RealCharles want’s RealDesmond to do something special including a sacrifice..
    He made RealDesmond switch between Real Time and Imaginary Time.
    OtherEloise was not happy to see RealDesmond snooping around.
    That makes me think that Eloise and Charles are not on the same camp.

  • On FB being confused about the depiction of Free Will on this show: Free Will is the idea that you have the right to choose salvation or damnation. Nothing more, nothing less. Moderns have turned the idea of Free Will into something more all encompassing of the human experience and that, I think, is what leads to the confusion. If you apply the older, simpler, Biblical/Paradise Lost view of Free Will to Lost then I think it makes a lot more sense. That’s just how I read it, anyway.

    • MoniquE

      Who said she was confused? I think free will is a complicated subject and that people have had theories about it for many centuries. Your definition means it’s only a christian religious concept. I don’t think that’s correct. I think it has a lot more complex meaning than that. Otherwise it would only have meaning to traditional christians and that’s not true.

      • Abigail

        MoniquE, I actually think you’re agreeing with Ryan and are both defending FB. He says there is a simpler way to apply the idea of free will to LOST and I understand what he means. I wonder what his definition of Moderns mean, but I imagine he means non-biblical explanations and theories. He is correct in saying the biblical idea of free-will was choosing salvation over damnation. Who are we to say that is or isn’t the way the writers are using the idea of free will? Maybe it’s the more complex philosophical idea of free will or maybe it is as simple as damnation versus salvation.

      • Who said she was confused? She did. From under the picture of Desmond and Charlie at the bar:

        “One of the continuing frustrations of LOST for me is the disjointed and inconsistent way they’ve presented us with the idea of Choice. Free Will.”

        She rightly points out that the show is inconsistent and thus “confusing” in its portrayal of Choice and Free Will. I was offering up a simpler way of looking at it. Framing Lost’s approach to Free Will in a Classical context helps to make sense of it. Obviously the characters had no say in coming to the Island BUT they have choices on it. The principle choice, I would argue, is choosing salvation or damnation. As Abigail says this could be the way writers are approaching the idea of Free Will on Lost.

        You are right Monique, Free Will is a complicated subject. Abigail asks in the post below what I mean by “Moderns” and by Moderns I mean me, you and every thinker who mused on this subject after the Early Modern period (or Renaissance). After (and during) the Early Modern period people like Erasmus, More, Luther, Montaigne, Ficino, Pico etc. took hold of the concept of Free Will and it gets a lot more complicated than simply choosing salvation or damnation, especially after the Enlightenment. Again, I was offering up a simpler way of looking at Free Will in terms of its applications to Lost. This isn’t a “Christian” way of looking at Lost it’s using a Classical or Formalist approach. That’s all I was trying to convey.

        • On a separate note: Thanks for trying to straighten that out for me Abigail and thanks for advancing the discussion Monique! It makes sense to me that the writers are approaching Free Will this way but I could be, and probably am, totally wrong. The writers like to cross breed many different ideas on subjects important to the show (like time travel) to produce something mostly original (not thoroughly original but different enough from the show’s influences), so I’m prepared for some kind of Hume-Augustine-Schopenhauer Free Will fusion or something. That said I’m excited to see how this all shakes out. This is apropos of nothing but the proliferation of scale images on the show seems like a deliberate plea for balance in the world of Lost, but how do you achieve balance now that Jacob is dead? Is it as simple as replacing him? But if he is replaced does he “win” whatever game he’s been playing with the MiB for god knows how long? And if he wins what does that mean for the characters we’ve come to love? *sigh* I will miss this show…

          • Dharma Chameleon

            Your discussion of restoration of balance and possible victory for Jacob has inspired me to propose the following theory.

            The famous dialoge on the beach between MIB and Jacob has always stuck in my mind.

            I think we can accept that what was said is indeed accurate as there is no need for deception between the two of them. “It only ends once, the rest is just progress.”

            This combined with the W&P’s suggesting that there will be a definitive ending, leads me to believe that Jacob will not be replaced.

            In order to preserve a happy TV ending, MIB will in the end gain compassion for humanity and finally be convinced that humanity is not inheritantly bad.

            Think of the Q’s (in Star Trek TNG) judgment of humanity with a favourable outcome.

            So Jacob doesn’t win the battle of keeping MIB on the island but, wins the war by converting MIB.

  • LnGrrrR

    Bravo Fishbiscuit! An awesome post, with both interesting thoughts and hilarious pictures. Thanks!

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