Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LOST: "Happily Ever After" Reflections

Widmore has brought Desmond to the island to do something important. We still don't know what that is. He's also got to "sacrifice" something, but we don't know what either. I hope it doesn't mean he dies or he never sees Penny again. When last we had seen Desmond and everyone, he was in hospital and Widmore was talking with Eloise about Faraday. I wonder if Eloise told Widmore to bring Desmond to the island. He seemed to regurgitate her words "the island isn't done with you".

Widmore says that Desmond is the only one to have survived a catastrophic EM event. I suppose he's referring to the implosion of the Swan. But what about Locke and Eko and Charlie? They were there in the hatch. It didn't effect them any? Or is he the last one LEFT to have survived, since those three are all dead?

When we saw that chamber with the generators all made of wood and the wooden chair inside, for a moment I wondered if this place had anything to do with the cabin. Like maybe the invisible Jacob was trapped HERE, and the generator made him appear for that brief second in the other location. Perhaps also that would have some connection to why you could not bring modern objects into the cabin. But the two probably are not related.

The generator looks like the iris of a giant eye. I wonder if this was intentional.

Desmond seems to actually travel to the sideways universe, like in "The Constant" or "Flashes Before Your Eyes", altough it's much subtler than those times. I wonder why Des is so complicit now. Now that Desmond is with Sayid, was that all part of Widmore's plan, or does Des have his own island agenda now? Also, we know he fainted in the sideways universe when he woke up on the island. So is this like the Constant, and does that mean he has passed out with Sayid now that we saw him back there? Or was that sideways-Des waking up?

I can't imagine what Widmore's plan is...

A number of things are once again turned on their heads in this flash-sideways. Desmond works for Widmore. We know why he was in Australia; it was a business deal. Minkowski also works for Widmore, which isn't a stretch. But Desmond doesn't know Penny here. Didn't people say he had a wedding ring on the plane? What could that all mean? It's interesting that Daniel did get to become a musician, and is raised as a Widmore. With all the variant surnames though, it's confusing as to how people are connected in our universe. Even if Widmore had nothing to do with him, did he have a father? His mother's name was Hawking. His name was Faraday. Did Eloise have a revolving door of men? And it seems Penny is here named Penny Milton (unless it's a different Penny, which I doubt). I guess that means we learned the surname of her mother, or perhaps it's her stepfather's name here. It's also interesting that Daniel knows they are related in this universe.

It was so good to see Charlie again! Too bad DriveShaft aren't going to play at the party. But then, couldn't they play without a bassist, or is that just tactless? The band don't even know about any of this, do they? I mean, Charlie isn't the whole band. We saw Liam at the station looking for Charlie a few episodes ago. Where's Liam in all this?

The Charlie/Desmond relationship is a little reversed, but also kind of the same. Here Charlie WANTS to die because of a flash he saw. He tries to convince Desmond he has to see this too. There's even another near drowning. Charlie's actions are a little like Soran in Star Trek Generations, doing anything and everything to get back to that feeling, his Nexus. Now Desmond has flashes of his other life too.

When Charlie first told the story about the blond woman he saw between life and death, I thought maybe it was Juliet. Maybe she was a connecting thread and that's the reason she was still alive in "LA X" and knew it worked. But as the episode progressed and ended up being about personal love, it seems clearer that it was Claire he saw. Daniel was after Charlotte, Des is after Penny, so it makes sense Charlie saw Claire. I also thought it was funny that when he started his story about "the woman", he began with looking over at Kate. Is this a little nod to Dom and Evie's previous relationship?

When Desmond was in the MRI machine, I was positive that that would be the thing that sends him back to the island. But surprise surprise, it just caused flashbacks.

Charlie tells Desmond "This doesn't matter. None of this matters." That's pretty much exactly my issue with the flash-sideways. And apparently, this is where the show is going. That the flash-sideways DON'T matter, and they have to be toppled. Honestly, I expected Desmond to somehow be able to end all that this episode, but it hasn't happened yet.

Eloise tells Desmond that he shouldn't be looking into things that don't concern him. Both she and Charlie suggest that he has everything he's supposed to want, but isn't happy. The episode wants us to believe that the sideways world is a fairyland where everyone gets the thing they wanted. To a point that's true. Jack never lands on the island. Desmond has the job and Widmore's approval. Charlie's band never broke up. But what about Locke, who's still in a wheelchair? What about Kate, who's still a fugitive? What about Sayid, whose brother married his girl? So that explanation seems a bit pedestrian to me. Maybe it's only relevant to Desmond.

And yet again, Eloise seems to have perception beyond the world as it is now. We are clearly shown that Desmond does in fact have memories from his other life. Is this just because other Desmond is somehow there occupying his mind? I'd say no. Charlie had a flash of Claire. Daniel had a flash of Charlotte and quantum equations he would not have otherwise known. This tells me that all the previous instances where people like Jack and Kate had moments of recognition were REAL. But this universe doesn't want them to believe that, they are supposed to just believe this is the only world. When Des told Claire her baby was a boy, was that a guess or did he really remember? Anyway, Eloise (I keep wanting to type Ms. Hawking, but she's not that in this universe) knows that Desmond has ideas of some other world and she knows he shouldn't. She says he's supposed to keep his place. This is similar to the conversation about the ring in "Flashes Before Your Eyes". Unfortunately, it seems the mystery of how she knows all this stuff will never be answered. I worry that the best answer we'll get was when she said, "Because I bloody do!"

The discussion with Daniel about the nuclear bomb seemed a little too neat for me. Okay, he didn't know these equations. And Okay, some physicist friend (and don't all reach people have quantum physicist friends?) told him it involved a massive amount of energy, like a bomb. To me, that's a big leap to go from that to saying "I think I already blew up a nuclear bomb". We the audience know he did, but it seems like connecting the dots for us a little too obviously. I don't know that the character would have been able to make that kind of a leap.

Also, since its 2004 here, it seems the sideways people have perception not just across universes but across time as well.

I like the parallel of Desmond meeting Penny while SHE's running a tour de stade. Not only is the scenario a flip of when he met Jack, but the whole image is even something of a mirror image. Here, Des is on her left, and she's running to the right, whereas with Jack it was the other way.

Odd how just her touching him woke him up on the island. It would also really seem the two experiences are connected because he fainted with Penny. Desmond has a kind of Captain Picard "The Inner Light" experience in this episode; he's blasted with energy, then lives another life in a matter of seconds.

I wonder what Desmond's plan now is with those from the plane. Does he have to gather them all up for one big action? Is he going to just go after principals, or will he be chasing down some of the socks too like Steve and Frogurt?

Does Desmond now have some kind of island plan that involves both working with Sayid on island AND finding everyone else in sidewaysland?

I liked this episode pretty much. It worked better for me than The Constant, though it played some similar beats. And it bore resemblance to "Flashes Before Your Eyes", only in that episode the mechanism never made sense to me. Nothing flashed before his eyes; he went back in time! That's not the same. So I felt like "Happily Ever After" succeeded in making the most sense of either of those. The title seems to suggest that the sideways world is supposed to be "Happily Ever After" but isn't. It reminded me of the song that originally closed the musical "Company" which included lines about how married life was "happily ever after, ever ever ever after... in hell." That sort of sums up the sideways universe. It's a happily ever after in hell (metaphorically speaking!). The one problem with this episode is that for all it said and did, it was very much set-up for another episode. We didn't really learn any more about Widmore's plan, we don't know what Desmond's going to do next, or how they connect. It was one long move to get Desmond from here to there. I hope it was worth it, or that will sour this episode for me.

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