LOST: “Happily Ever After”

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

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?

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35 thoughts on “LOST: “Happily Ever After”

  1. I loved that when the put Desmond in the MRI that it actually made MRI-like sounds (not like on House, e.g., where they’re always whisper silent).

    Nice to have a lot of Charlie in this episode, too (even if he was suicidal).

  2. Great episode. They seem to be going a direction more complicated than LA X being simply the timeline that happens after the on-island stuff plays out. I’ve always thought the “Flashes Before Your Eyes” episode where Eloise knew what was going on with Desmond’s time jumping was pretty interesting, but in danger of going unexplained. It seems they’ve just doubled down on that particular strangeness so I’m guessing this means we’ll get some idea what that is all about.

    It is starting to feel like there are not nearly enough episodes to finish this off.

  3. It is starting to feel like there are not nearly enough episodes to finish this off.

    You said it, man.

  4. It appears that Desmond is some sort of lightning rod for electromagnetic forces. And when he is subjected to those forces, his consciousness is able to travel to different times and alternate timelines. How this will help Widmore’s plans for the coming battle with the MIB, I don’t know.

    I found it interesting that in LA X time, Daniel came to believe that he set off the nuclear bomb in the Island timeline, when of course, he didn’t: he was killed by his mother before he had the chance. Apparently his insight of the other timeline didn’t include that little tidbit.

  5. I found it interesting that in LA X time, Daniel came to believe that he set off the nuclear bomb in the Island timeline, when of course, he didn’t: he was killed by his mother before he had the chance. Apparently his insight of the other timeline didn’t include that little tidbit.

    True, but it was Daniel’s idea. Jack never would have thought it up on his own.

    What I thought was interesting was that LA-X Daniel is so regretful about Operation Jughead when but for the detonation, LA-X Daniel wouldn’t even exist.

  6. I think Widmore needs Desmond to do something that would put anyone else in danger – so maybe he wants him to survive it, or just long enough to do whatever needs to be done.

    Hubby thought the experimental shack looked like the cabin that was called Jacob’s, but only Smokey seemed to use.

    Thanks Greg for the bunny reference – when we watched last night, I said “no worries, there’s this great blog I read and he’ll have the reference.” 🙂

    More later!

  7. Don’t also forget the looking in the mirror scene that he been included for every LA-X character this year. I believe it was the first moment when Desmond was shown in the LA-X world when looking into the TV screen that showed the arriving flights. Clearly the whole Through the Looking Glass elements are playing out in the alternate reality.

  8. Of course Charlie was the first to figure that something was up because Charlie is awesome! I loved that he called Jack a “sodding idiot”. Now I just want to know how the alt-reality, Smokey/Jacob, Dharma and Jughead all fit together. It’s hard to imagine they have time to wrap all of this up. Eloise seemed to be living with the knowledge that this was not the life that she was meant to have. She has her son, alive and well. Will we see a showdown between those who choose the alt-reality and those who don’t? Do they have a choice, brother?

  9. I’m now wondering if it’s not the Looking Glass, but looking into your own – or someone else’s – eyes.

    I may be singing the same old tune if I’ve mentioned this here before, but more than ever I’m thinking of the 1970s movie “Heaven Can Wait.” The background is that Warren Beatty is a football player who dies before his time, so the angels agree to find him a new body. While he’s waiting for an athlete, he’s temporarily placed in a millionaire’s body, and he meets Julie Christie and falls in love. Then the angels tell him they’ve found a football player’s body for him – but he won’t remember a thing. Warren tells Julie something to the effect of, “if you were to meet a stranger and saw something in their eyes, you’d know what to do, right?”

    And sure enough, the movie ends with Warren as a new person meeting Julie, they look into each other’s eyes and they connect. And it happens in a stadium.

    So to me, that’s the bridge between the realities – love. Daniel, Charlie and Desmond all experienced it, and I think Jack and Kate did too at the airport when the taxi pulled away.

    And my bet is that when we finally see Desmond and Penny having coffee at Sweetzer and Melrose, Sawyer and Juliet will be there too.

  10. I noticed in the previews for other shows that Lost cast members are already being deployed elsewhere. Of course we knew about V, but I wasn’t aware that Penny and Charlie were in Flash Forward (not a show I’ve actually watched).

  11. I’m hoping that Desmond’s sacrifice will ultimately be that he has to give up the LA X life for the main timeline. I mean everything is working out just right for him there, and so it would be a lot easier to just say “Fine, I’ll take the good life where things are just a little off” rather than agreeing to go back to the life where he’s faced a lot of terrible things (but had a lot of amazing experiences too). I’m having a hard time figuring out how this all fits with the Flocke/Jacob story, other than that Widmore wants to destroy Flocke…mostly it’s how does the “people are inherently good/evil” mythology of Flocke/Jacob fit with the Desmond time traveling stuff?

  12. It is starting to feel like there are not nearly enough episodes to finish this off.

    I’ve felt that way all season. I have a feeling there are going to be many unanswered questions – especially about Widmore and company. And I bet we never get Charlie’s baptism fetish answered.

  13. The moment when Charlie put his hand on the window of the submerged car was great, but it was even better when it flashed to “not Penny’s boat” That just gave me chills!

    I found myself saying “Penny!” when she appeared. =)

    “Are you saying you want to set off a nuclear blast?”

    “No, I think I already did.” (Faraday has such great delivery.)

  14. Wow, dang good episode. It’s like reading the 7th Harry Potter book, when years of build-up begin to pay off 🙂

  15. LT sez:

    I’m hoping that Desmond’s sacrifice will ultimately be that he has to give up the LA X life for the main timeline. I mean everything is working out just right for him there…

    Funny, I got the opposite impression. His chats with Charlie seemed to indicate that Desmond’s LA X life was empty — devoid of love, meaning, or anything significant. Although he was nice, hard working, successful, etc. he seemed to just be going through the motions. He didn’t begin to get fired up until Charlie drove the car into the water, and really took off on a quest after the vision in the MRI. By the end of the episode, Desmond — in both timelines — seemed to be a changed man: a man on a mission.

    I think the two events in each timeline (the MRI in LA X and the EMP at the Hydra station) has linked Desmond’s consciousness with his “other self.”

    Some time ago, someone posted the theory that the two timelines will merge as part of the end-game to this series. I’m beginning to agree, and I think by the end of last night’s episode, Desmond knows that, too, and more importantly, he knows how to do it.

  16. Great episode. This might be common knowledge, but this was the first time I was certain about the sound of the black smoke. It’s an MRI machine. Rose, who would have had MRI experience as a cancer patient, said in the first season that she recognized the sound the monster made, but couldn’t quite place it. Makes me think the MIB/Smokey is electromagnetic energy. Dark energy?

  17. Ahna, I noticed that too, and I like that idea.

    I agree completely with Mudhead re: Desmond.

    Clark, I’ve always thought the Aaron/baptism dream thing from Charlie was more of an exploration of recurring themes(faith, redemption, saving the children, etc) than a question needing to be answered.

  18. Anha,

    so if you are right and Desmond is immune to EM, then he could be invincible to Smokie too.

  19. Funny, the giant “MRI hut” didn’t blow off Desmond’s clothes like blowing the hatch did. Sorry ladies.

  20. Hi Everyone….I tell you my mind is completely BLOWN as I have been reading all sorts of reviews, thoughts and theories from last night’s episode but also for the finale of my favorite show. Thanks to everyone who posts…I love reading what everyone is thinking and how it will all play out.

    I just wanted to write about something that my daughter brought to my attention. I know that people have discussed Eloise’s brooch in the past and last night she had on a new one. I kept freezing the scene as I knew it had to mean something and that is when my daughter said she just watched a you tube video of when Juliet was branded (which I had totally forgot about) and what would the branding symbol be—-very much the look of the ‘sunburst’ design in Eloise’s brooch from last night. Mean anything? Maybe not but maybe……

    Can you tell I am all about the details….just something I thought some might enjoy…especially those of you that are also about the little things that could possibly connect all of this stuff (although I am not saying brooches will connect the two worlds but still an interesting detail–well to me).

    Here is the link to the video on You Tube so you can see the symbol on Juliet and then if you have last night’s recorded..go back and see the similarity….Enjoy

  21. Desmond episodes are the few Lost episodes that really drive the Sci Fi aspects of the show. Looking back, all of his episodes are transformational to the story.

    Season 2 SEASON OPENER — We learn that the Hatch is occupied and that there’s a button to be pushed. We see the training video of marvin Candle/Halliwax

    Season 2 SEASON FINALE — We learn of his arrival to the Island, of Charles Widimore, or Penny and her desires to find him at all costs. He blows the hatch.

    Season 3 FLASHES BEFORE YOUR EYES — We see that he can bounce back between timelines and retain a separate memory. We meet the mysterious Eloise Hawking, which hints at some greater power at play with the island.

    Season 3 CHARLIE AND ALL THE VISIONS OF HIM DYING — the universe course corrects. Can’t change the past, etc…

    Season 4 THE CONSTANT — great Sci Fi episode where we learn that you need a “constant” to keep you grounded when your conscious is bouncing around *** THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT METHINKS *** We also are introduced to Daniel Faraday’s efforts. We learn that Widimore knew of his talents and was VERY interested in this science…which explains A LOT about his efforts and plan from last night’s episode.

    Season 5 — We learn that Desmond is “different” and that the same rules don’t apply to him that apply to others. He is able to get info in the past and immediately have recognition of that in the present day. Another BIG point, which explains a lot about last night.

    Season 6 — Happily Ever After — This is the final piece and will provide the catalyst for the end of the season. Desmond looked pretty self aware and seemed to have a purpose after he woke up from his latest flash. Whatever he realized, whatever he processed, he now knows how to apply that to the island. He now understands his purpose.

    That’s just my ten minute synopsis of Desmond-centric episodes. He is the writer’s favorite plot device, to drive the story along.

    ** Back to my point on THE CONSTANT ** Des’ constant was Penny. Charlie’s constant seems to be Claire. Faraday’s seems to be Charlotte. It looks to be tied to a love interest.

  22. Hayes: Faraday wrote in his journal last season that Desmond was his constant. I think that may be why he sought Desmond out in the LA X timeline, and told him about his own revelations.

  23. Mudhead…yeah, I know, and that’s a hole in my theory. But, clearly last night when both Faraday and Des met up, there was no “connection” that one might expect. Charlie had it. Des had it with Pen. Faraday had it when he saw Charlotte.

    It’s possible that Faraday was wrong on that point…

  24. Charlie never needed a Constant. He never time traveled. I think it’s more about strength of emotions. Love especially love like Charlie was talking about would have a very strong impact and it makes sense that it would be one of the first things to “break through”. This isn’t time travel anymore. This is about split realities or even split conscience.

  25. I’m with you Rose. I do think the concept of constants was a one-time thing, a theory of Daniel’s that even he eventually said wasn’t quite right because he had forgotten the variable human element – which we are perhaps now seeing is far more important.

  26. Can someone explain why Widmore thought his wife would freak out if Driveshaft didn’t make it, but then she didn’t seem to care either way? Did I miss something?

  27. She was manipulating her husband to ensure Desmond was in the right situation. Clearly she, rather than her husband, understands what is going on. Although it also appears she didn’t want Desmond to meet Penny yet.

  28. I sure hope they explain a bit on what makes Eloise so darn different…omniscient…or SUPER island.

  29. She had an affair with the smoke monster when she was on the island and they’ve been in cahoots ever since.

  30. I’m just wondering how they are going to sew this all up with the remaining episodes.

    It’s a really fun ride … but I’m starting to think they might not be able to explain everything.

  31. Eloise tells Desmond he’s not ready, yet he seems quite ready once he’s back in island time after fainting in front of Penny in LA-X time. But Eloise specifically didn’t want him looking for Penny. So, does he think he’s ready when he really isn’t? Or did his conversation with Daniel, which occurred after he spoke to Eloise, do something to get him ready?

    On the bigger picture, I think there’s a major course correction going on. In previous episodes, we were given reason to think that the course of time (the universe?) could not be altered, regardless of attempts to change things during time travel to the past. Other than the detonation of the bomb, most of the things time travellers did in the past were relatively minor, and the course corrections could be made without much fuss. But the detonation was big. It created a timeline that diverged significantly from the one that had occurred without it. (Instead of a rock being thrown into the river, a mountain was dropped in it’s path.) Desmond, apparently, will play a large role in this course correction.

    I don’t know how the Jacob/MIB dynamic plays into this, other than that they are somehow the instruments of the universe through which its forces are transferred, particularly to humanity, and that the island is the focal point of those forces. I can’t see how the mechanics of it can be described any more specifically than that at this point.

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