Desmond’s life has not exactly been a fairy tale. But I always like Desmond-centric episodes.
I’ll discuss this and other ideas from tonight’s episode below.
Links and miscellanea
- Long-time Lost supporter Jimmy Kimmel will host a special following the series finale of Lost.
- Think Geek has a very cool (and very geeky, of course) DHARMA Initiative alarm clock based on the Swan hatch’s infamous countdown clock.
- Lost Slapdown, part 9:
Observations and speculations
- The episode’s opening shot shows an eye in extreme close up, as we’ve seen so many times before, but this time it’s Desmond’s eye. And he’s back on the island, but he doesn’t know it yet.
- Widmore shows up to tell Desmond that he was shot by Ben Linus, and that Penny and little Charlie are safe, somewhere. He also explains—provoking a violent reaction from Desmond—that he’s brought Desmond back to the island and that “the island is not done with you yet,” a repeat of what Eloise Hawking told Desmond in the Lamp Post Station at the end of last season.
- The action moves to the Generator Room, where dorky looking Team Widmore member complains about not being ready for the test. He has a white rabbit (a familiar Lost motif) in a cage. This particular rabbit’s name is Angstrom, probably a reference to Anders Jonas Angstrom, a Swedish physicist who studied, among other things, terrestrial magnetism.
- The “test” has to do with generating an “E. M. field,” an electromagnetic field. Simmons gets fried during the test, but he had the manner of a redshirt anyway, and no one seems overly concerned about Simmons, least of all Widmore.
- After Widmore’s men tie Desmond to a chair inside the electro-magnetic experimentation shack, one of them asks Desmond, “You don’t have any metal on you, do you? Keys, change?” This question is repeated later in the episode before Desmond undergoes an MRI in St. Sebastian Hospital in LA-X. The shack is something like a giant, lethal MRI, in a way.
- Widmore tells Desmond that, in addition to being forcefully subjected to the electro-magnetic forces that just made Simmons look like the charred remains one typically finds in a Driver’s Ed film, Desmond will later be asked to make a sacrifice. What this sacrifice is, exactly, isn’t clear. My guess would be that he must give up his life with Penny and their son, Charlie.
- Widmore says, “My son died here, for the sake of this island.” In case you forgot (and I almost did), the son being referred to here is Daniel Faraday, son of Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking. He also tells Desmond that unless he helps (by agreeing to make a sacrifice), “Penny, your son, and everyone else will be gone, forever.”
- A little later, Widmore tells Jin that Desmond is “the only person I am aware of in the world who has survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event. I need to know that he can do it again. Or we all die.” Apparently, Widmore’s plan involves setting off another purple sky incident, with Desmond at its center.
- As the experiment proceeds, we see a “white out” like the one we saw ending season five.
- In LA-X, and at LAX, Desmond interacts with Hurley and Claire. As Desmond tells Claire that he thinks she’s having a boy, I’m pretty sure we can see Cindy, the flight attendant (and, on the island, former Other and newly recruited member of the Black Team) wheeling her luggage.
- George, the driver is none other than George Minkowski, the communications officer from the freighter. He’s much more laid back in this iteration. But then, he’s not suffering from fatal, island-induced nosebleeds.
- It’s not terribly surprising that Desmond is working for Widmore in LA-X. Still, it’s somewhat jarring to see these two characters on such good terms.
- A couple of interesting items in Widmore’s LA-X office: first, a painting showing a set of scales balancing white stones and black stones. We saw just such a set of balances in Jacob’s sea cave. Second, there is a model boat that reminds us of the Elizabeth, the sail boat that Desmond got from Libby and sailed to the island.
- In LA-X, the Widmore clan is more or less intact, with Daniel (f/k/a Faraday) Widmore working as a musician rather than a scientist. Recall that Eloise Hawking required Daniel to give up music knowing that Daniel needed to devote his life to physics and mathematics so that he could play an important role on the island, all the while knowing that his fate was to be shot and killed before her eyes.
- In Widmore’s office, Widmore cracks open the 60-year-old MacCutcheon’s scotch and pours a glass for Desmond, telling him, “Nothing’s too good for you.” This is the opposite of what Widmore tells Desmond in the episode, “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” where Widmore tells him that he is unworthy of drinking his whiskey because he’ll never be great.
- Incidentally, there really is a California Superior Court called the “airport courthouse,” but it looks nothing like the one where Desmond goes to collect Charlie.
- Charlie’s behaving strangely. We come to find out that his apparently suicidal actions have to do with some seriously existential doubt in the reality of the LA-X world. Charlie believes that in some other reality, he is in love with a beautiful, blonde lady (presumably Claire), and that when he almost died choking on his stash during the Oceanic 815 flight, he was given a glimpse of that other reality.
- I found it amusing that Charlie, when he’s telling his story to Desmond, refers to Jack as a “sodding idiot.”
- Desmond tells Charlie, “There’s always a choice, brother,” which is similar to either something Not-Locke said, or something Jacob said in a recent episode (possibly both).
- When Charlie causes Desmond to drive his car into the harbor, the scene is eerily reminiscent of Charlie’s death scene at the Looking Glass, even before Desmond starts to hallucinate.
- Do we know the doctor who attends to Desmond after the accident?
- I liked that before Desmond is put in the MRI, he is given the “button.” Desmond, it seems, is doomed to be always pushing buttons.
- Jack’s line, “Wait, he was on our plane, and now he’s here in the hospital?” was kind of funny. Just a little bit.
- Charlie, running through the hospital in a patient gown because of existential panic is kind of funny, too.
- When Desmond arrives at the site of the charity event to inform Eloise Widmore that Drive Shaft’s bassist is not going to be able to make it, Daniel Widmore is playing Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor,” the same musical piece that Jack’s son played at his audition in Jack’s LA-X flash sideways.
- There’s something about Eloise. She always seems to know so much more about what’s going on than those around her. This was the case when we first saw her on “Flashes Before Your Eyes” (episode 3.08) and also when she instructed the Oceanic survivors on returning to the island in “316” (episode 5.06). In this episode, Eloise again seems more lucid than the other characters. She seems to be aware of the alternate timelines and the implications of Desmond’s interest in Penny.
- Penny is listed on the guest list as “Milton, Penny–solo.” Daniel (Faraday) Widmore refers to Penny as his “half-sister.” So who is “Milton” (other than the English poet of which I wrote about a few weeks back)? Who is Penny’s mother, and why has she not taken her father’s surname?
- Eloise is not at all bothered by the fact that Drive Shaft won’t be attending her event. “What happened, happened,” she says, repeating a line used earlier this year, also the name of an episode last season.
- Eloise (Hawking) Widmore tells Desmond, “Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation.” Apparently, there are rules which govern the LA-X universe, and someone–in this case, Charlie–has violated those rules. Where did these rules come from? Was there some sort of deal entered into by the people who exist in LA-X?
- Eloise also gives a clue to the secret of the LA-X existence: Desmond has the one thing he wants most of all, Mr. Widmore’s approval. But the only reason he would want it is so that he can have Widmore’s blessing in marrying Penny. LA-X universe appears to be full of monkey’s paw scenarios, where the characters are granted their wish, but at the cost of something dear to them. Desmond has Widmore’s approval, but not Penny. Sayid has Nadia safe, but cannot ever be intimate with her. Etc.
- When Eloise tells Desmond that he’s “not ready yet,” that’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Does she mean that he’s not ready yet to find out about Penny? Or that he’s not ready yet to understand why he can’t know about Penny?
- In LA-X, Daniel still has the skinny tie, but he chooses to further accessorize it with a really dorky fedora.
- Daniel proceeds to tell Desmond about how he fell in love with Charlotte Lewis at first sight, though he doesn’t name her. The museum she works at is apparently the same one for which Eloise Widmore is putting together a charity event. Daniel is also able to deduce, because of his genius, that in some other possible universe, he has already detonated a nuclear bomb. Man, wish I was that kind of smart.
- Daniel mentions that when he first sees Charlotte, she’s eating a chocolate bar. She was also eating a chocolate bar when Charlotte, the child, met the crazy older man Daniel on the island in 1977.
- All of the main characters, each of the main Oceanic survivors who have had a flash sideways, plus Charlie, Daniel and Desmond in this episode, have felt the vague deja vu that signals this LA-X universe as being not-quite reality. That feeling is coming more into focus now, especially with what we learned tonight. And maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with love.
- Desmond meets Penny in the same stadium that he met Jack, only this time it’s Penny who’s running steps. When Penny shakes his hand, he faints–and we cut to the Island, where Desmond gains consciousness. The two events appear to be inter-realted. Desmond is the only character who seems capable of these kind of intertwined flashes, as we’ve seen before.
- When Desmond awakens on the island following Team Widmore’s eletro-magnetic experiment, he seems filled with a sense of purpose, and willing to follow fate. He doesn’t particularly mind if he’s following Widmore or Sayid–he’s at peace with his fate in either event.
- No one snaps a neck like Sayid. And Black Smoke Deadened Sayid seems incapable of recognizing the irony of a man who has just murdered another man with his bare hands saying, “These people are extremely dangerous.”
- Desmond asks Minkowski to get the Oceanic 815 flight manifest and when Minkowski asks him why, he replies, “I just need to show them something.” Some antecedents would be nice. Show who what? Show the Oceanic 815 passengers something? It seems so.
I enjoyed this episode, probably more than I would have expected if someone had told me that 95% of it takes place in LA-X. Still, I’d like to get back to the island and find out what Desmond will be doing there, and what Team Widmore is really up to. One way or another, we’re going to find out in the remaining episodes.
What did y’all think of this episode? Worthy of Desmond?