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Rate and Rant – LOST 5.14 – The Variable

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Lost
  Comments: 64

This Daniel-centric episode of LOST promised answers, did it deliver? Jump ahead to find out.

Eloise is Daniel’s mom. We knew that.  What we didn’t know was that she had dedicated her life to making sure Daniel was focused like a laser beam on science.  Unless you read the spoilers, then Eloise was determined to keep him away from science; must have been an episode from a parrallel dimension. I think we always knew or at least suspected much of what we learned in this episode, it was definitely one of those that made me wish – personally – that I was not a hard core fan that kept my mind on this show so much.  That said, the execution of it all was superb and it seems like the overhanging arc is whether or not Daniel’s mission to change the future will come to fruition through Jack and company.  Time will tell.

As always stay tuned for the onslaught of analysis that only DocArzt & Friends can deliver.

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From TVFrenzy:

  • Kawnar

    I cant believe they killed off Faraday.. that was my favorite character..

    but to me, it was my favorite episode of all time! the fact that Daniels mom knew she would kill him, and she HAD to guide him to his death was GENIUS! I didnt see it coming..

    great! GREAT! episode! 🙂

    • RosellaVattene

      No no.. killing faraday just can’t be true.. It was my fav char as well!
      ..and ol’ damned boring Sayid still hangs around, damn it!!!

  • Keys777

    Faraday cannot be dead. His voice appears in the video that was released over the summer, the video in which Pierre Chang warns of the upcoming Purge. Because Chang is not yet convinced of the future in this episode, that video has not been filmed yet, so Faraday must live to film that video.

    • Mr_Rob

      right but is that video cannon? i really hope hes not dead

    • RandomZombie

      I don’t necessarily think that Faraday is dead, but the producers have said that they consider those videos “sort of partially canon,” so we can’t really base much on them.

      • lockeheart

        Daniel was a musicigan. Maybe he cant be dead because he has to program the Looking Glass code to Good Vibrations. Damn i wish we would have heard some beach boys in this episode. Great episode though definitly on my top 5

      • Clickjaw

        I don’t know about “sort of partially canon”, because every one of those Comic-Con videos ends up in the show, which would make them very much canon. Therefore, I don’t think Faraday is dead.

        • neoloki

          No. The video before season 4 with Chang and the 2 number 15 bunnies was NOT in the show. Comic-con videos are not cannon, only what appears in the show.

          • OmegaSora

            Oh yes it most certainly was. Why don’t you rewatch last season’s finale, particularly the scenes at the Orchid

    • he is as dead as a door nail. hes dead. D-E-A-D DEAD. hes dead.

  • Iwantmykidneyback

    Daniel is dead, his mom made it happen, Widmore is his dad, Daniel experimented on himself, and he planned on blowing up Jughead. I can’t see any scenerio in which detonating a hydrogen bomb could help the island in any shape or form. I only see the island being destroyed. I WANT TO KNOW MORE!!!! and if they can prevent the incident from ever happening, what happens to the 1977 losties? Is it a back to the future thing? Or do they get flashed to 2007 and there are two sets of them?(the ones on the island and the ones that would land in LA) Amazing episode!

  • Andy W.

    This episode had some big problems. For instance, why the heck would Kate want to prevent the plane crash? She’d go to prison for murder!

    • Vital10

      I don’t think its a problem, I think those types of things will come up next week. They may even decide not to change the future. This episode is the setup for next week and the finale.

      • lockeheart

        good point vital10. But am i the only one who thinks that it is obvious that these losties arnt going to change a darn thing. Everything is going to happen like it has always happened. Yeah, maybe the humans can act as varibles to change their destiny in a very signifigant way, but they are forgetting about the most important variable; the island. The island has been course correcting and doing all the things it needed to do to get all these people where they need to be, how is everything going to get mucked up now. I guess, to me it just feels like these people are doomed for failure like daniel said in the premiere episode [if you try to change the future no matter what you do, you will fail”] Im thinken the losties will make it back to present but nothing will end up changing.

        • DarthBubba

          Yes, but first we will get at least one episode in which those whose lives would be worse if the plane never crashed argue with those who want to get off the island.

      • JJStrange

        Especially since the previews are VERY deceiving!

  • Cecil

    I was very underwhelmed by this episode.

    Maybe I’m missing something but…

    If they blow up Jughead and negate the Swan…

    1) 815ers detonate the bomb so
    2) Oceanic 815 never crashes so
    3) 815ers never go back in time so
    4) 815ers never detonate the bomb so
    5) Oceanic 815 crashes so
    6) 815ers go back in time so
    7) 815ers detonate the bomb so
    7) Oceanic 815 never crashes

    Is this not paradoxical? I think I’m still on the “Whatever Happened Happened” train. Daniel states “you knew this would happen” regarding his mother killing him… and it seemed like she knew SOMETHING unpleasant would happen when she told him to go to the island. So, him going on his quest for Jughead and to kill the Swan ALWAYS happened, so she ALWAYS killed him, and I think we’re still cool and completely on track. I think everything is still happening as it did. The bomb was never detonated, the plane always crashes.

    Did that make sense? Feel free to discuss with me, I’m not really sure if I know what I’m talking about.

    • Dolce

      I’m still on that train too. In fact I’ll take it a step further. Dan always cracked and went back on the w.e.h.,h. mantra in grief over Charlotte. Theorizes that they( the 815ers/”variables”) can affect the future, comes up with his well thought out solution of detonating a hydrogen bomb near an inexplainable power source that can kill people simply through proximity, convinces Jack and Kate that it will work before his mommy shoots him, giving Jack all the info he needs to carry out this plan after Danny dies, and in doing so, causes the incident. Dan causes the incident through his madness and sets everything in motion that he thinks he will be able to prevent. And Jack gets to look like the douche again because he is the one that will follow through with Dan’s plan.

      And if there is a question as to Dan’s madness, you DO NOT walk into the realm of a group known as THE HOSTILES alone ponting a gun at people unless you’ve lost a little bit of your grip on reality( even Lost reality ). Just my opinion, we’ll see how it plays out over the next 2 weeks. Great episode. Solid 9.

    • That was essentially what I got out of his death scene. That his mother always knew what was going to happen to him. I’m also still with the “Whatever Happened, Happened” crowd. Remember free choice (by strict definition anyway) simply means you have the “right” to choose salvation or damnation. Even if the Losties are playing out the predetermined moves of an elaborate chess game they are still the ones ultimately making the choices, not someone else. By that I mean their mind is not being made up for them.

      What’s really interesting is how for some characters the Island is salvation (John, the Others) and for others damnation (Jin, Sun, Desmond). If Jack blows up the the bomb does that hurt the Island or does that “save” it in a sense from the dangerous concentrated release of its own pent up energy? Would Jack performing this action be him choosing salvation or damnation? Which one does he think it is? I don’t have the answers to those questions obviously but I think it’s interesting to speculate about.

      You were really underwhelmed by this episode? Think about this for second: How heartbreaking must that have been for Ellie to know that she would kill her own son AND see him grow up. Obviously that can’t happen in real life but that has to be unimaginable internal pain. I don’t know if that increases your enjoyment of the episode in retrospect but I felt it was a really fascinating emotional angle that permeated the whole thing. I enjoyed this episode a great deal but to each his own of course.

      • Dolce

        “How heartbreaking must that have been for Ellie to know that she would kill her own son AND see him grow up.”

        That sort of adds to my point above.

        If there was ever an opportunity for someone to change whatever happened from happening, would this situation not be it? The anguish a mother must feel knowing that one day she would kill her own son, and having the intelligence and understanding of the sciences involved with time travel, the unqueness of the island, and other factors, would this not be the time to act if possible?

        Unless she new that it could never be changed.

        Or that it should’nt?

        Maybe Dan has to die for the greater good, and even if it could be changed, and her shooting Dan could be prevented, maybe she knows it should’nt.

        Imagine the torment she has been through and, still having to let the things that are supposed to happen, happen. Especially if the results of changing anything would be worse than what would happen if you decided to prevent yourself from killing your own child.

        • DarthBubba

          Greater good or not, paradox will still make them all ride the train the same way every time. . .so there’s nothing she could have done anyway, even if she tried something would get in the way.

        • lol @ greater good… A blind person could “see” that Ellie Hawking is not “good” the bitch is wicked and thats it…. dull people…

    • Samuel

      It’s a contradiction I hope they address. I thought the same thing when daniel said he was going to detonate the bomb, that if he changes the future and the freighter never comes than how could he have detonated the bomb in 1977? He would have never gone back in time to be there to detonate the bomb and everything would just play out like it did the first time. The fact that they are there on the island means that they do not change anything, the plane crashed and the freighter arrived.

    • Muad’Dib

      That’s exactly what I told my girlfriend last night. This whole idea reminds me of a short story by Phillip K. Dick (a huge Lost influence) called “A Little Something For Us Tempunauts.” It’s about this exact situation – whether or not to maintain a time loop, and if it is even possible to break out of one. Dick comes down on the side of “No. Whatever Happened, Happend.” It’s a very interesting story that may have relevance to Lost. Check it out if you can.

    • coheed 2113

      i agree completly because it might be present time for the losties, but the island is in 1977 so everything that leads up to the 815 crash happens because it happened in the past regardless if the losties are there or not

  • Jalocke

    Or they actually do change it all… imagine how much of a mind twist that would be? Imagine how absolutely crazy that would all be? Season 5 ends with the plane landing in LA, and season 6 starts with them getting off. But now they realize things arent quite right. Theres something they need to do, they need to get to that island, and they need to figure out what they need to do.

    I don’t think it’ll happen, but it sure would be a mind twist wouldn’t it?

    • neoloki

      I was thinking the same. What a mind frak! Season 5 ends with oceanic 815 landing in LA. Talk about writing yourself in a corner.

    • adam118

      “Theres something they need to do, they need to get to that island, and they need to figure out what they need to do.”

      Dude, that’s how this season started. It’d be like if they found a bunker, not a hatch, with radioactive energy, instead of magnetic energy, and instead of entering numbers on a computer, you need to sacrifice a chicken every 108 days, instead of 108 minutes, in order to contain the built up energy.

      Bizarro world!

  • Adam

    I don’t think that anything they do will change anything. Them crashing on the Island was the best thing that ever happened to them. “we could prevent the misery we went through” when they crashed or whatever. The crash was the best thing that could have happened to them. From what I’ve seen their lives kind of sucked to begin with. Why would they want to prevent that. They learned a lot about themselves and the people they were with. The hostiles saw them in the 70s and then one day in 2004 they just happened to crash on the island. Why else would the others have treated them the way they did. They were part of the dharma initiative and they magically appeared on the island almost 40 years in the future. I just think that they are more important than the others. They are the only ones that “benefit” from the properties of the island. They come to the island and completely influence both the history and future of the island. I dont think most of the others can do that. Maybe that is why they are so “hostile” towards them. I dont know…

    • tonymcnitt

      I have a feeling they’ll figure that out…and realize that if they change the events so that everything is course corrected, that their lives will go back to being what they once were, which isn’t as good as it is now, despite the events they are in…Jack might try to intervene and change things according to Daniel’s journal but I’ll bet Locke steps in and tells him not to do that and Jack, this time, decides to listen to Locke since Locke is now God of the island…that way, Jack can have his arc.

      • lockeheart

        good point tony. I wonder if we could possibly get a locke appearance in the 70’s. Maybe even as soon as next episode. How sweet would it be to see locke complete is island skipping time tour with a stop in the 70’s to save his people. Not to mention the juicy conversations he could have with richard about the future.

      • neoloki

        But Locke is in 2007 and Jack is in ’77. How is Locke going to convince Jack of anything?

    • jon

      What about the people that died. I would argue things didn’t work out so well for them.

  • Adam

    Why would they want to prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes is what I meant in the first part of that big rant…

  • funkyassbass

    NOO! I hope Daniel isn’t dead.

  • Adam

    I mean if they change everything that happened, the last 5 years of lost would mean nothing. That would suck. Those things had to happen otherwise the history of the island would be completely different. I dont think thats a good thing.

    • neoloki

      Actually, it would be the most unique event ever to happen on tv; but I don’t think it will happen because although the idea is tremendous where would they go (the writers) from their? Go back to the Island again? I don’t think so.

  • Cecil

    I think that them changing the past (future?) and having the 815 crash erased would be the biggest let down bar none I will have experienced in any fictional work. As others have said, where really do you go from there?

  • tonymcnitt

    Pretty great episode, definitely a lot of setup for the last few episodes of the season. I absolutely love it everytime Radzinsky is on screen. Just knowing that he shoots himself in the head eventually makes his wackiness all the more amusing and sadistic…

    I have a question paining me and it has been for so long…it is definitely not regarding anything in “The Variable”:

    Remember back in the earlier part of this season when Locke, Sawyer, Juliette etc… were canoeing to the other side of the island to go back to the Orchid? Well, during that portion of events they were shot at from a “mysterious shadowed crew” on a different canoe about 200 yards away or so. Well, we still don’t know who that was shooting at them right? Or did I miss that reveal? Does anyone have any thoughts or knowledge as to whether or not they are going to let that come about again? I listen to the podcasts and they NEVER address it and NO ONE EVER ASKS that question. Although the Podcasts have been disappointing all season because they pretty much joke around more now than they used to and people ask the dumbest questions that are almost entirely not Lost related. Anyway…

    Great episode, and I hope someone gets my question answered? Or appeased to some degree…

    • sonofabitch

      “I absolutely love it everytime Radzinsky is on screen. Just knowing that he shoots himself in the head eventually makes his wackiness all the more amusing and sadistic…”

      I’m starting to believe that it wasn’t a suicide, but that Kelvin Inman just got so fed up with an even older and more bitter Radzinsky (it would be about 20 years later, right?) that he blew his brains out and just lied to Desmond about it. How and why the hell did Kelvin get there anyway? Hard to grasp a scenario where the DI can recruit someone and send them to the island without Ben/The Others knowing he was there pushing the button (“that silly button” according to Ben no less). Also, Widmore was banished from the island post-purge which was supposedly 1992. That’s 12 years before the crash, so what’s with all the talk that he’s been looking for the island for 20 years? And who’s this Jacob fellow : ) ?!?!?

      • I would MURDER Radzinsky day 1… MURDER. hes such an ass.

    • lockeheart

      Tony, they havent mentioned anything else about the people in the canoes in a sense that they have never directly shown or stated it. It is shown however that the 316ers had a couple canoes, so it is probably as sure as hawking was faradays mother. Id be willing to bet that we will see that scene go down through the eyes of the 316ers by the end of this season. The big question now is who got shot.

      • AxMan

        My guess is Lapidus gets shot.

      • Ed Holden

        Also, I bet they stole the Zodiac. It was missing from the beach when Locke, Sawyer, Juliette etc reached it. That’s why they took the outrigger canoe. Also, one of the outriggers contained an Ajira water bottle, so everything is pretty much adding up nicely … except who got shot.

      • ghanima

        It was raining, right? And we are in a post-316 time frame? I’m rooting for a scenario where the 77’s one and all have returned to ’07, are in pursuit/flight from, presumably, the other side in whatever war is supposed to be coming, in canoes/Zodiacs. The flashers flash into the middle of the fight, fire back, then flash out, and Sawyer has unknowingly managed to shoot…. his future self.

        Future-Sawyer stares from his bleeding arm to the empty ocean, realization dawning on his face, “Son of a b-.”

    • Dolce

      It can be almost certainly assumed that it is Illana and Bram with Lapidus in tow. Lapidus andSun leave in canoe one, heading for the main island. Ben and Locke leave in canoe two ( after Ben shoots Caesar ). Illana and crew commence chase to main island in canoe three. Canoe one gets to main island, landing at Pala Ferry dock, and Sun and Lapidus head to Dharmaville, where they encounter Chritian Shepard. Canoe three ( unseen by us, the audience at this point ) arrives in hot pursuit of the killers of Caesar, hit 815 beach, and start looking for the crew of canoe two, probably heading off into the jungle leaving canoes two and three on the beach alone ( where the obviously neglected for years 815ers camp is ). WWhhhhooooossssshhhhh! Sawyer, Dan, etc. time flash to 3 years after they arrived ( approx. 2007-2008 ) on island originally ( 2004 ) and find abbandoned canoes 2 and 3, complete with Ajira Airlines brand water ( left by Ben in canoe 2. They take one of the canoes to get to The Orchid quicker than by travelling on land. After they set sail ( oar? ), Illana, Bram and the “Shadow of the Statue” crew emerge from the jungle, find one canoe missing, see it on the horizon, and pursue, thinking it’s Ben and Locke ( Caesar’s killers ). Shootout ensues, and at the perfect moment,WWhooooooossssshhh! Sawyer and crew time flash out of harm’s way, leaving Illana and crew ( yet unseeen by us, the audience ) in a “wtf, did they just disappear?” moment.

      Hope that made sense and helped.I’m gonna hit “submit comment” now and hope I don’t regret it. Here goes…..

      • Dolce

        There could be a continuity error here though, as we see Ben and Locke land at Pala Ferry dock also and, clearly canoes 2+3 are at 815 beach. Maybe that will be adressed.

      • Jacobi

        Actually, you forgot one thing: Lapidus went BACK to Hydra Island. So the 316ers would have the two canoes to take to the 815 beach.

        • Dolce

          Good point…confusing.

  • cpjon446

    Don’t know if this will happen, but Richard could take Dan to the temple to be healed…then he and Ben will be island-brothers or something.

    Good episode, loved Juliet’s reaction to Sawyer’s use of the freckles nickname to manipulate Kate into taking his side.

    Chris in Fort Worth

    • elephant in the room

      I also hoping he is healed by the island if the bomb isn’t detonated. There has to be something more with the Mrs. Hawking & Widmore deal and them making such a big deal about the island having such healing properties. Sure his memory was healed but id little Ben can be healed from a gun shot, why not Faraday?
      I really don’t want to see a plane land in LA, I’m hoping they don’t course correct.

  • Jacobs Lather

    Here’s what’s still bugging me: What does it all mean? I guess, what’s the “point” of everything? Of the entire story of the survivors? I just have this feeling that there is more to the story than what it seems. Obviously Widmore has referred to the coming “war,” and clearly he and Ben have some long-standing feud over the island that is bigger than the Losties. So then all this business about Daniel stopping the incident and keeping them from crashing…that’s just kind of a red herring, right? I mean, preventing the crash ISN’T really the endgame, is it? If the whole story ends up being about them trying to stop the plane from crashing to stop all the “misery” they’ve been through, etc, won’t that be a major letdown? Again, I just have this nagging question at the back of my head: What is the point of the entire show? Anyone feel the same way?

    • lockeheart

      I definitly see where your comin from. I think that trying to prevent these events and change the futrue truly is a red herring and these people wont end up changing anything. This definitly isnt the end game though. I think the end game will somehow invovle jacob and how he is affiliated with the island. After all, given all the variables, jacob and the island is the factor that has and will always course correct and make sure all these things happen. That will truly be the end game. I also beleive that next season will be drasticly different because everyone will now be living in the present, including widmore, ben, hawking, etc. Meaning that anything could happen.

      • drgerke

        I agree friend, I can’t imagine the writers would want to negate everything that’s happened so far on the show. Presumably they themselves will cause the incident (i think its pretty safe to assume its gonna happen given the title of the finale) Otherwise wouldnt the present be completely different for locke and co, dharma still on the island or something? I cant believe the writers would do anything to cancel out the massive amount of character development thats happened so far.

        • DRich

          Exactly! It makes me feel like they’re wasting my time by having the characters believe something that the writers have said they wouldn’t do. So why waste our time with the survivors trying to negate the whole story. Because we know that’s not going to happen. And worse, if it does happen everyone will be pissed off. I am so confused/disappointed. And I feel like only the finale can help me.

      • drgerke

        On the other hand, it does puzzle my why people seem to get ‘pushed’ in the right direction all the time. Why on earth would this be necessary if whatever happened happened?

        • ErasedSlate

          Remember in flashes before your eyes, Eloise is surprised that Desmond changes what he was supposed to do. He was supposed to put the ring back and chicken out, instead he resolves to marry Penny. If Eloise doesn’t put him back on the path, then no one will be there to turn the key. Desmond has the power to change the past after he turned the key. The “Variables” are the two that have died. One is Desmond (when turning the key), the other is Locke.


    After seeing Oxford Graduate Dan tonight, I decree that Lost night is to be henceforth known as Wacky Wig Wednesday.

    • Dolce

      Funny. Does anyone else want to punch Josh in the face?

      • DarthBubba

        Yes, f##k that guy!

  • DRich

    Is it just me or is anyone else completely underwhelmed by the revelations of this season and whole dharma arc in general. The ajira folk are cool, the shadow of the statue = cool, john and ben, always cool. But as far as why they are in 1970 and now supposedly not meant to be there is very boring. I’m tired of Jack being all sad because he’s a janitor. Nobody likes Kate anyway, Hurley is a big ball of not important. Sawyer hasn’t been able to be sawyer. And Sayid is off chillin in the jungle. Season five has almos,t with the exception of a couple episodes, been a waste of my “time.” But I can MAKE time (*sigh* be more corny daniel)

    • Jacobs Lather

      I pretty much agree. I mean, I’m willing to reserve judgment until the whole show is in the can, but I definitely feel like after Season 3’s mindblowing “We have to go back, Kate!”, the result of them actually *getting* back has been tremendously underwhelming. Sadly, all this sitting around doing nothing after getting back on the island really undermines the tension and mystery that was season 4 and the first half of season 5. I guess that’s why I feel confused and disappointed: they made getting off the island the most important thing…until getting *back* was the most important thing (wow!)…and now…what exactly *is* the most important thing? It seems like the series ended when they got back to the island and now all the characters are just hanging around going, “Are we still rolling? Uh…”

      Anybody remember The Truman Show, where Truman manages to outsmart the producers and get on a bus–and then suddenly the bus driver has to buy improvise to keep the ruse going?

      • Phil is Jacob

        Dude, you got the point about S5! It was anticipated by Jack’s “We have to go back, Kate!” in the dark.. and ends up with our heroes sleeping and doing nothing!
        .. FARA CANNOT BE DEAD!!!!….

  • Patrick

    season 5 is great.

    end of story.