Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stalking & Talking Ms. Hawking

This post was born out of necessity; there appears to be passionate debate about exactly who the mysterious Ms. Hawking is. The consensus is that she is Ellie, the female Hostile who was working alongside young soldier Widmore on the island during the 1950's. [note: it was revealed during the enhanced episode of "The Lie" that Ms. Hawking's first name is Eloise, but not confirmed on the show itself]

But let's take a step back and review what we DO know about her.

In Season 3, we first encountered Ms. Hawking interacting with Desmond in London during one of his flashes back in time; she worked at the store where he went to purchase an engagement ring for Penny ("Flashes Before Your Eyes").

Desmond choose a ring, but for some reason Ms. Hawking was adamant that he was not supposed to take it; that it was not his fate, because doing so would alter the course of the world (every single person will die if he does not crash on the island and press the button every 108 minutes).

Desmond was understandably bewildered, so Hawking took him outside and told him to look at a man wearing red shoes (yet another Lost literary nod to The Wizard of Oz). That man was suddenly killed in a construction accident; she wanted to prove to Desmond that it was that his fate to die and that the universe has a way of course correcting itself.

I also believe it is significant that Ms. Hawking was wearing an Ouroboros pin during her encounter with Desmond. I first became aware of this symbol when Scully got a tattoo of one on The X-Files (nerd alert). There are many interpretations of what it represents, but most versions of this symbol feature a snake swallowing its tail, illustrating return (to the island?) and the cyclical nature of life. However, Hawking's serpent is not doing so. The open nature of her Ouroboros may indicate her ability to travel back and forth in time without getting stuck.

Later on in Season 3 ("Catch-22"), we catch a quick glance of Ms. Hawking in a photograph with Brother Campbell at the Monastery where Desmond briefly lived.

At the end of episode 5.02 ("The Lie"), we witness Ms. Hawking working out equations on a chalkboard and archaic computer while a large pendulum maps out corresponding coordinates and determines an 'event window.'

It appears as if her workspace is beneath a church, and when she emerges upstairs from the underground physics lair, we are surprised to see Ben awaiting her arrival. Hawking seems to rank higher than Ben (at least off island), and is responsible for ascertaining the 70 hour time line for the O6's return to the island.

And now, I will completely contradict many of my previously posted statements and theories.

Fact? Eloise Hawking is Daniel Faraday's mother because...
  • She lived or worked at Oxford, where Daniel was a professor
  • She is proficient in Physics, his specific area of expertise
  • Daniel's lab rat was named Eloise
  • She appears to have the ability to travel through time, like Daniel
  • He may not have outright recognized her as his mother, but Daniel did say that she resembled someone he knew
At first I thought that Hawking could be Charlotte's mother, but then I remembered that Ben blurted out her family history after he shot her when she first parachuted onto the island. According to Ben, Charlotte's parents are David and Jeannette. It is interesting to note that Ben did not share any information about Daniel's family, however. If Daniel Faraday is Ms. Hawking's son, it is unclear whether Ben knew that at the time, or even if he knows in the present day.

  • Did young Ellie hook up with young Widmore? Are Charles Widmore and Ms. Hawking father and mother to both Faraday and Penny?
  • If Faraday is Hawking's son, why doesn't he have a British accent? He was a professor at Oxford but we don't know where he grew up (only that he 'fled' to the States after something happened to Theresa Spencer).
  • When did she leave the island, and why? If she and Widmore were expecting, is that why both of them left the island (so the baby would live)?
  • Could she and Widmore actually be siblings instead?
  • Has she been back on the island since that time?
  • Is Faraday ageless, like Alpert? If Ellie is his mother and she had him around 1954, he would have been 50 years old (give or take a few years, depending on when she had him) when he landed on the island from the freighter.
  • On the island, Ellie and Widmore were hostiles/others under Richard Alpert's what point does Widmore switch to the dark side (opposite Ben, and thus Alpert), and how does that affect his relationship with Ellie?
  • Is Hawking working with Ben because she wants to get Daniel off of that island?
  • Does Penny know whether or not she has any siblings? Does Penny know who her mother is?
  • Desmond and Penny are off to Los Angeles in search of Faraday's mother. If that turns out to be Hawking, they'll more than likely also encounter Ben. Given that Ben told Widmore he was going to kill will that play out?
  • Does Hawking know that Widmore 'changed the rules' by having Ben's daughter killed, and that Ben now wants to kill Widmore's daughter?
  • Does Widmore keep in touch with or still see Hawking? How does he know that she's in Los Angeles and know where she lives?
  • Is she able to predict or see anyone else's future besides Desmond? Does she know all about the pasts and futures of the O6? Did she visit anyone else in the past, to put them on the right path toward their destiny (like Abaddon urging Locke to go on the walkabout)?
  • Did Hawking arrange (via Brother Campbell) for Desmond to live/work at the monastery, to meet Penny there? Was she aware of his fate/destiny/role early on? Did she know that Desmond would be Faraday's constant?
  • If Faraday is her son, was he feeding her information about the island after his time travel there and back? Were they working together yet apart in time shifts to course correct the universe? Was he telling Widmore as well, given that he was funding his research?
1. Hawking is an island emissary. She is not on either Ben's or Widmore's "side," but represents the best interests of the island. As a young woman, she was on the island working with Alpert and Widmore to save the island from the detonation of the hydrogen bomb. As an adult, she is working with Ben to make sure that the O6 return to the island in order to stop the 'very bad things' occurring there.

2. Ellie is not Hawking, she is Danielle Rousseau. Same cantankerous countenance and penchant for pointing guns first and asking questions later.
There are endless explanations and theories about who Ms. Hawking is, who she is related to and how this will all unfold. I certainly don't claim to have the answers, but as I've said before - the fun is in the sheer speculation.



1Miletogo said...

I think Hawking is part of the island. Could she be one of the original inhabitants along with alpert? Maybe when people are forced off the island they start aging.

I don't think she is Danielle, it would have been too far in the past, unless there was a skip or the island slowed down her aging...

Like you said, it is late. Will need to contemplate this more.

Dora said...

Heh, I enjoy your comparison between Ellie and Danielle. Sadly I think if she were Danielle she would need to have the same slightly-insane French accent.

You raise some interesting questions, and I don't have answers to most of them. You do ask the question (your 2nd bullet) why Faraday doesn't have a British accent. I think question to ask, instead of why he doesn't have the British accent, is why he has that connection with Oxford. It's clear he's an American (hailing from Massachusetts the first time we see him - Masshole pride!), so why did he go teach at Oxford? I think that Widmore has something to do with it. We saw from the last episode that he does seem to possess some form of capability for familial love - perhaps he feels some sort of obligation towards Daniel? I think it's possible that Widmore mirrors Christian Shephard in that respect - he has his family (consisting of Penny and her mum), but also has an illegitimate child, that he also takes care of. Perhaps Ellie took her son to the States to raise him, and Widmore did his part by pulling Oxford's strings to give Dan a job?

Another interesting thing to think about is how Ellie turned from gun-pointing chick to island guru/time travel poobah. Perhaps it was what Daniel said to her - that he was from the future, that he knows that the bomb is rendered inert because 50 years from now, the island is still there. Namely, don't worry, you can't change the past (or the present, by that logic!) The universe has a way of course correcting itself! Could it be that she began to take an interest in the time travel - got involved, and in turn, got her son involved, who really, turned out to be the guy who got her involved in the first place? AUGH. It's like Daniel teaching Eloise (mouse version) the maze - if she knew the maze because he taught it to her in the future and then sent her there, then that means that after she came back, she would know the maze, and from every point thereon out, she would continue to know the maze. Thus, Daniel would never have been able to properly "teach" her, because for every point in time after she comes back from the future, she already knows the maze! So where did the knowledge come from? Loop! It's a similar paradox with Ellie/Dan, if what I said was true.

Which it probably isn't. It's like, 4 am here. I'm going to bed. Thanks for the blog post!

Anonymous said...

Wow, your Danielle theory shocked me a little. I like it!! It doesn't really match up with her story, but people never lie on Lost, do they? :)

I think it's consensus that Ellie = Ms. Hawking, but I really can't agree that she's Daniel's mom, and for the stupidest reason:

When Desmond came to Daniel with his "I know about Eloise" line, why would Daniel assume he was talking about the rat? A more reasonable response might have been "Uh, yeah, that's my mom, yo. A lot of people know about her." Especially if she taught at Oxford.

The points about him not having an accent and the time frame not being quite right are good too. Although I had previously theorized that Faraday is ageless... lol that's a whole other ballgame though.

So, yeah, I think all the Lost bloggers who think they're so smart figuring all this out will be in for a surprise when we find out who Faraday's mom really is.

I can answer one of your questions, though:
Is she able to predict or see anyone else's future besides Desmond?

Yes: the man with the red shoes :)

Ellen said...

I think that you have some excellent points Jo! I think that Ellie=Ms Hawking also. The clipped British accent, the short, sharp statements, I don't know, they just seem so similar...
I agree about the fun in sheer speculation!

maven said...

Great analysis, Jo. I also think that Ellie=Eliose Hawking. But I'll readily admit I'm was wrong if TPTB throw someone else at us.

I know she was toting a big gun, but it was strange that Alpert sends Ellie to take Daniel to Jughead. It's a pretty important item on the island at the moment, one would think that a bigger, stronger Other would take him (or at least a few Others to make sure he doesn't pull anything on them.)

And it's not necessarily so that Ellie could have had a child around 1954. Apparently, the actress playing her is 18 years old herself! I can see some years going by before Daniel is conceived, whether it's on or off island. The accent is a problem, but I guess if he spent anytime as a child somewhere other than England, that might explain it. Maybe they came to Oxford in his teens and that's how he came to be teaching at Oxford. I'm also intrigued that Penny and Daniel might be brother/sister or 1/2 brother/sister. I think everyone on this show is eventually going to be related to everyone else! LOL

WV: Sadnessi LOL

Capcom said...

Awesome post Jo! And lots of fun to think about too.

LOL, I thought of Scully's tattoo also when I saw her pin! And, the logo for Millenium. :-)

Hillary said...

My first thought was Rousseau until she spoke. I have something to say about her, but it came from interviews during the off-season and I don't want to violate your avoidance of these things. :)

Regarding Faraday's lack of an accent if Mrs. Hawking is his mom (which seems thoroughly plausible), perhaps he was raised in the states? Either with his mom, a non-Widmore father, or was adopted or something?

If Penny is Mrs. Hawking's daughter, I wonder if that would trump Ben's plan to kill her?

I like the Hawking/Widmore sibling theory!

Nurby said...

In regards to your comment:

"Does Hawking know that Widmore 'changed the rules' by having Ben's daughter killed, and that Ben now wants to kill Widmore's daughter?"

It made me start to think, is the rule that he broke is that you can't change the future in the past. Had Ben already been in the future with his daughter and he was currently in the past when Widmore killed her? And what does that mean for the future/past rules. Will we see that in the future all the sudden Sawyer has a scar on his foot that used to never be there?

Just my try at playing along :)

humanebean said...

One minor, but perhaps significant, correction to your details of Ms. Hawkings' backstory: when she talks with Desmond in "Flashes Before Your Eyes", she tells him that he must push the button on the island or "Every single one of US is dead". I recently rewatched this episode to get the quote right and was again struck by her emphasis on the word US. At the time, of course, we assumed that she meant everyone in the world.

Now, we have to ask ... who does she mean by US? I'm hardly the first to infer that the Losties must return to the island to repair whatever damage has been done to its time-space continuum. Perhaps this has been the goal all along? Whatever the 'incident' described by Dr.Chang consisted of, perhaps events were set in motion, manipulated by former Others now off-island, to bring our Lostaways aboard to resolve the damage. They left the island and thus prevented the repair from happening. Now, they've got to go BACK.

emzi said...

When I first saw Ellie in this episode, my initial thought was "It's Rousseau!". Simply because she was holding a gun and looked like she can kick ass!

But then she spoke with that British accent and my Rousseau theory went out the window.

Ellie has to be Daniels mother. And if Ms. Hawking's real name is Eloise then she and Ellie are one and the same.

I don't think Ms. Hawking has the ability to time travel. I think she knew all about Desmonds destiny because she'd met Faraday and co. in the 50s and they told her all about what had happened and about Desmond.

But we will soon see :)

Anonymous said...

I do believe that Mrs. Hawking is Daniel's mother. But I don't think Widmore is the father. I kind of think that her priest buddy is! Think about it; why would there be a picture of the two of them on the preist's desk if there were't a connection? But, because of the Ellie-Widmore island connection, that could be why Widmore is helping out Ellie's son with his experimentation--AND because he wants access to the island again too. But, it looks like Mrs. Hawking is not simpatico with Widmore anymore, because she is consorting with Ben Now.