submitted on April 7, 2010, 7:15 AM
We finally have a breakthrough in our flash sideways story. I thought we might have to wait until next week for some insight when we get the last of our major characters flash-sideways' stories out of the way, but I should have known better with a Desmond episode stepping up to the plate.
In usual LOST fashion we were given answers in the most mysterious way possible, and vital information was withheld from us to be revealed at a later time, so that we can see some of the picture, but not everything. So let's try and piece together what we do know:
Epilogue? Well, those of you that were concerned that all of these flash sideways stories were an epilogue to the show's eventual end can rejoice, as that is most certainly not the case. Not to worry, the last five years of this show are still relevant, and are not going to be rendered irrelevant by the events of the series finale. No, instead this world is much akin to the world that Desmond was thrown into after turning the key in the hatch at the end of Season 2, which we saw in "Flashes Before Your Eyes". It's a reality, but it's a not quite right reality. The people in it, some of them have seen things, from another time, another place (our world), but don't quite know what it means, just that something about where they are now doesn't make sense. Charlie experienced this when he was close to death on the airplane. Daniel experienced this when he saw Charlotte, and later when he wrote down some complex quantum physics equations in his notebook. Desmond experienced this when he was saving Charlie from drowning, and also when he was having an MRI done on his head. We've also seen some possible instances of this happening in previous flash-sideways episodes. Jack meets Desmond on the plane, feels like he's met him before, he looks in the mirror, questions the appearance of his appendix scar. Kate almost seemed to recognize the stuffed animal orca toy that was in Claire's bag for her baby, since Aaron had that same stuffed animal in the real timeline. There are certain things in this world that seem to trigger a connection with our world, much like someone with amnesia trying to surround themselves with familiar things in their life to try and regain their memories. Desmond has traveled to this world (or a world similar to it) three times now. The first, he was brought back to the island after a swift swing of the cricket bat to the head. The second, he returned after shaking Penny's hand for the first time. Now, he seems to have gone back again, looking for passengers from Oceanic flight 815. What are his plans? How is this connected with Widmore's plans? What does this have to do with the Nemesis?
Eloise. I don't know about you, but I was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Eloise (Hawking) Widmore. In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", she was seemingly impervious to this other world that Desmond was in. Whatever her place was, she also knew of the world that Desmond had come from, she knew of Desmond, and his purpose, and what his destiny was to be. Desmond was trying to use the reality as a second chance, to correct his mistake and be with Penny, something that Eloise tried to put a stop to, talking to him about course corrections, and paths in life. Once again, we have Desmond stumble across Eloise's path, and once again it would appear that she knows more than everyone else. She immediately recognized Desmond even before he introduced himself, and seemed a little startled to see him. Instead of being upset at Desmond's news about Driveshaft, as everyone who knows her expected her to be, she passed it off as if it was nothing, no doubt trying to placate Desmond and keep him happy. And, once again, she attempted to interfere in Desmond's attempts to be with Penny, forbidding him to look at the guest list, and telling him to stop looking for whatever he's looking for. She told him that he has attained the thing that he wanted more than anything, the approval of Charles Widmore, something that was certainly a driving force in his life in our world. It would appear at first glance that Eloise knows who Desmond is, maybe even what his abilities are, and seems to be focused on making sure he heads down a certain path. Whether this path is meant to assist or divert Desmond in his ultimate goal, we don't know yet. But clearly Eloise once again has all the answers in this other place.
Catastrophic. This word was used twice in the episode, and no doubt intentionally. The first was when Widmore explained to Jin that Desmond is the only person that he knows that survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event. The second was when Daniels was explaining to Desmond what some of his equations meant, and talked about the need to release a huge amount of energy if there was something catastrophic was about to happen. So we have similar events, causing what appears to be similar results. The first time, it seems that only Desmond was affected. The second time, we're not sure. We've seen many people in the other world, including those that were at ground zero when the bomb went off, Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Miles (we haven't seen Juliet yet, but I figure it's only a matter of time). Are those the only people that matter? What does it mean that we've seen all of these other people (Ben, Locke, Hurley, Jin, Sun, etc.) in the flash sideways world as well? Is what we're seeing now taking place between the Incident and when Jack & co. wake up on the island in 2007? What are the consequences of this flash sideways world existing, or at the very least what are the consequences of people in the flash sideways world having visions of their lives in our world?
The Nemesis. So, we have a better idea of what this flash sideways world is, and how it plays into everything else that we already know in our world. But one big question that was not answered is what does this have to do with the Nemesis? Charles Widmore came to the island to stop the Nemesis from leaving (as far as we know). He believes that if the Nemesis were to leave the island, the lives of everyone he knows would cease to exist. And so he is there to prevent that from happening. To do this, he has brought Desmond with him back to the island, due to Desmond's unique experiences with catastrophic electromagnetic events. And what's the first thing he does with Desmond? He tests out Desmond's electromagnetic properties and sends him to the flash sideways world. So it would appear that the flash sideways world either has something to do with the Nemesis, or has something to do with how he's going to stop the Nemesis. Is that 'home' for the Nemesis? When he talks about getting off the island, going home, is that where he wants to be? Or is Widmore possibly trying to trap him in that other place? Widmore's looking for the other electromagnetic pockets on the island, is he going to attempt to release the energy from one of these pockets with the Nemesis nearby? Is Desmond to be used as some kind of bait knowing that he can survive the event? We got a big piece of the flash sideways puzzle this week, I think the relevance of this world and its relationship with the Nemesis is another one that we'll be getting in the coming weeks.
Let's get to some quick hits, shall we?
-Desmond on the plane in "LA X" had a wedding ring on his finger. The Desmond that we saw in this flash sideways was not married, and it was specifically pointed out that he was not married. In fact, Damon Lindelof was on Twitter last night and specifically re-tweeted someone's question to Damon asking about Desmond's wedding ring. Lostpedia has this marked down as a "blooper/continuity error". Trust me, it is no such thing. Desmond was married when we saw him on the plane. Not married now that he's off the plane. Hmm.
-I thought it a little interesting that the two people to give Desmond some insight into this "other world" when he was in his flash sideways were Charlie and Daniel, both people that died on the island. It doesn't necessarily mean anything, but something to keep in mind.
-I do have to give it up to the writers for consistently remembering the smallest details of this show and referencing them later on down the road. The flash sideways are just chock full of references to episodes past, and this was no exception. From obvious things like Widmore sharing his whiskey with Desmond, to more subtle things like Daniel showing up in a collared shirt and tie (because honestly, what else could you have him wearing?) Gotta love it.
-George Minkowski was the guy that helped Desmond get to the radio room on the freighter so that he could talk to Penny in "The Constant". Now he's also the guy that helped drive Desmond to the stadium so that he could meet Penny. Well done.
-I complained a bit last week about how the show sort of ruined Jin & Sun's "sparkle" or whatever you want to call it back in Season 3, and we never really got it back after that. I will say that Desmond and Penny sort of picked up the reins where they left off, as their relationship moments together are incredibly touching. I absolutely love the scene where they first meet at the monastery, and this scene in the stadium had that exact same feel to it. Really great stuff.
-That being said, what kind of judgment does Penny have not only running around an empty stadium at night, but when a strange man approaches her and knows her name, introduces himself, faints, then asks her out for coffee, she accepts without hesitation? I mean, I get that they're trying to play up the 'love at first sight' angle that Daniel brought up, but come on. Desmond at least deserves some pepper spray to the face there if nothing else.
-I couldn't help but think that the artificial electromagnetic chamber that Widmore had constructed had a similar feel to it as "Jacob's" cabin on the island.
-The flash sideways world kind of reminds me of the Matrix. You've got all these people, living out their lives, oblivious to what's really going on. Then you have people (Desmond, Charlie, Daniel) who discover this other world that exists separate from where they are, and are trying to find out more about it and/or get back to it. And you've also got an "Oracle", someone who has all the answers, knows what's going on, but is very mysterious in how she reveals this information (Eloise).
-Nice to see that Zombie Sayid is still a total bad ass when he wants to be. From his stealth infiltration of Widmore's camp via the water, to seriously coming up out of nowhere and killing a couple of Widmore's men with no problem, he may not feel anything, but he can still kill you in about three seconds if you're not careful.
-I'm still contemplating what Desmond's lackadaisical attitude towards Sayid meant. He seems to know what Charles wants from him, and yet he also had no problem heading off with Sayid when Sayid told him that Widmore and his men were dangerous. Could this be part of Widmore's plan some how? Does he want Desmond to end up with the Nemesis because of his unique abilities? Is that what Charles meant when he told Desmond that he would have to make a sacrifice?
-Isn't Dominic Monaghan the mysterious guy on Flash Forward? Now he's the mysterious guy on LOST too? I suppose it's better than being typecast as a Hobbit.
-Where do all these damn white rabbits keep coming from? I know that they're symbolic references to Alice in Wonderland, but seriously, it's like these things grow on trees. What happened to old fashioned science, with lab rats, like what Faraday used in his research?
Okay, I think that's all I've got for this week. I'm really looking forward to next week (and honestly, I think all the episodes from here on out will be super exciting), and I think we'll get a pretty decent number of surprising guest stars on the cast list if the teaser was any indication. It should be our last character-centric episode if my guess is right, and then...who knows. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next week.
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