'Letters from the Flame': 'Lost' about 'Happily Ever After'? I have your answers
Tons of great questions from "Lost" fans came out of last week's Des-centric ep, "Happily Ever After." This week: questions about time travel, The Incident, Widmore's ultimate plans, and Penny's mother. This Q&A runs pretty darn long, so let's get right into it!
It seems that Desmond is just repeating the kind of experiences he had in "Flashes" and "The Constant". Therefore, am I assuming correctly that there are 2 Desmonds? And it seems that alternate Desmond isn't completely aware of the other timeline, but regular Desmond is fully aware of what he does and thinks on the alternate timelime. Is this correct?
Well, there are two Desmonds, but it's not the same kind of experience as in "Flashes" and "Constant." As I theorized in the chat before "Happily," those experiences were warm-ups, if you will, for the big event: keeping a little bit of the same consciousness in both timelines. "Flashes"/"Constant" showed an either/or scenario; "Happily" is more a "a little bit of both simultaneously." You might be correct that Island Des is now The Wisest Man in the Land, but all we've seen is a man that looks stoned or like he just had consciousness-altering sex. Sideways Des just knows this to be true.
Isn't Charlie going to be let down (just a little) when he finds out he's mostly dead in the other time-line (hot blond or not)?
Brian of the North
Absolutely not. "Lost" is definitely siding on the "better to have loved and lost" side of that philosophical question. Now, a "Lost" fan might not agree with that assessment, but the SHOW clearly does. The show is stating that even in the small chance Charlie and Claire meet in the sideways world, they cannot recreate what they had on the Island. The Des/Penny dynamic is only potent in that it harkens back to what WAS, not WHAT COULD BE. Why would the show support a world in which Charlie Hume no longer exists? He exists because Charlie Pace died, trying to save the woman he loved. Through his interaction in the sideways world with Des, he still can. And THAT is why the sideways story matter so damn much.
What is your position on what Widmore is up to on the island? He's stating that if his actions aren't successful then everybody will 'cease to be'. What do you think those actions are?
East Coast Andrews
I think he's being led by the nose by Eloise Hawking to unwittingly create the sideways world. I think he truly believes that people will "cease to be" because that's what he's told. The sideways timeline, however, can be stopped before its actual creation from the perspective of the Island folk, however. Thanks to unique electromagnetic energy, donkey wheels, and a host of other sci-fi tropes built into "Lost," Des exists as a figure that can see what has happened, before it actually happens. But saying "before it actually happens" only points out that time itself is a matter of perspective: all things happen simultaneously, more or less, but we as humans only possess the ability to see them sequentially. That is, of course, unless you get blasted with purple energy and gain the ability to see things from a unique perspective. A unique and miraculously special perspective, as Faraday might say. Speaking of Faraday...
Daniel thought he stopped a 'catastrophic' event by setting off the bomb - what if that event was a possible Man in Black escape in 1977? We know so little of how Daniel formed the Jughead plan, so maybe he got let in on the Jacob/MIB struggle somehow in Ann Arbor. What if the MIB would have escaped after the Incident if not for Jughead, and Daniel faced the same choice Desmond will face - in that he had to make a sacrifice, or else Charlotte and everyone else would cease to be?
I thought that "The Incident" and "The Loophole" were connected after watching "Happily," if only because I felt the Eloise/Man in Black collusion so strongly while watching. Here's a scene from "The Variable" worth watching again. Ask yourself this question: did Eloise just get finished talking with someone before confronting her piano-playing son? Who gave her this "job"?
Another connection: if you got the souped-up Season 5 DVD set, then you read The Letter of Truce between The Dharma Initiative and The Others. One of Richard Alpert's additions? "If the DHARMA Initiative digs or drills any more than ten meters into the ground, even in their designated territory, the truce is violated." Give Smokey's tendency to move underground, it's hard to imagine the Swan and the smoke monster as being somewhat related. Which means the Incident and the loophole might be somewhat related. Good times. Good times.
What is Des supposed to do now that he is on the island??? Will we go back in time with him and have him stop Jack and Co. from detonating that bomb in 1977??? Or will we see him stop Ben from turning that Donkey Wheel???
I am unsure if his most important work will happen on or off the Island. Might be equally important to show the Island people their sideways selves as it will be to show the sideways world that should be. Sideways Jack still doesn't have his father, but he DOES have a son. Sideways Hurley is the luckiest man alive. Imagine the Island versions being shown that possibility. Do they take it? And why would the sideways versions opt out of their lives? These are the types of interesting moral quandaries down the line, as the show as a very important question: What kind of life is worth living?
Are you sure Desmond is following Sayid blindly? Widmore might've given him brief instruction. Heck, he might've known Des was being targeted.
If he doesn't know what he's doing, then what the heck is sideways Des going to show the 815ers?
Not sure at all about Des' intent, but I'm pretty sure Widmore did NOT give Des marching orders to be captured: Zoe and Company were there when Des emerged post-Microwave of Mayhem, and Widmore seemed pretty shocked that Des was so willing to cooperate. Also, he has no knowledge of Sayid's whereabouts, in that zombie ninja assassins are often difficult to detect.
Sideways Des doesn't know, he merely FEELS. And that's enough with which to start. How he'll show people the other side? No idea. Chances are it won't involve him getting them all into a Hummer and driving them into the marina. The notion of "feeling" over "thinking" should apply to all theories about how these two timelines are going to resolve, by the way.
Side note: I can't tell you how many questions I get asking me to explain the quantum mechanics of future plot points, as if they expect an actual explanation from me. I don't mind saying I don't know how this will all work out, because there's literally no way of knowing. It's a show in which making a phone call can stop your brain from exploding. I can't explain it; I can just accept it emotionally after seeing "The Constant." The show makes up its own rules about these things, and almost always never violates their own internal logic. That's enough for me.
How some people can come this far and them claim the end game seems too fantastical to be believed is something that amuses me. That's why "Happily" worked so well for me: it put the sci-fi stuff on the back burner in favor of interpersonal dynamics. The idea that the heart will always win out appeals to me greatly, and it's why I referenced "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in my "Course Corrections" article last week. That's another nominally sci-fi story that's at its heart a romance. I love sci-fi, don't get me wrong. But I'm always above and beyond everything interested in watching human stories. And "Lost" is clearly interested in the latter above the former at the end of the day. The sideways stories will not be resolved by science. They will be resolved by acts of free will and love by the people we've grown to know over the past six seasons.
Should we care about who Penny's mother is and when Penny was born (in either timelines)? Or is that just a red herring at this point?
Charles Widmore has fathered two children with two women in two timelines. Since Eloise is always Daniel's mother, it's safe to assume that Penny's mother is also the same in both timelines. I feel like we HAVE to know this person already, although I can't decide if it's worth my time and energy to figure out who it is. Personally? I'm pulling for Carmen Reyes. Just so I can hear her say, "Why is there a dead Scotsman on my couch?"
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Photo credit: ABC