I will admit that I got emotional at the end of this episode, not only because of Desmond and Penny's new path, but because it is all actually starting to make sense to me. Those factors, coupled with the fact that I've been in denial about how I am going to feel after the series finale, struck a cord I was not expecting.
My favorite episode of all time is Flashes Before Your Eyes. While the majority of LOST fans seem to favor The Constant (which I did love as well), I feel as if Happily Ever After is the perfect companion to Flashes. Without a doubt, this episode will make my top 5 list in the end.
Without further ado, it is time to crash our collective consciousness into the ocean to stir up a variety of Lost emotions and memories together...
When Charlie was describing Claire, his words could have easily been applied to Desmond describing Penny or Sawyer describing Juliet:
"A woman. Blonde. Rapturously beautiful. And I know her. We're together. It's like we'd always been and always will be. This feeling, this love..."
The Boy is Mine
It definitely stood out when flash sideways Desmond told pregnant Claire that "it's a boy" at the airport in LA. Among other ways that connect them:
- Aaron has been described as 'special' and we know that Desmond is
- Desmond saved Aaron's life (along with Charlie's) when he created the golf club contraption on the beach to take the lightning strike that would have hit the metal roof of Claire's tent
- Desmond had a vision of Claire and Aaron being rescued on a helicopter
- Desmond was with Aaron when he and the rest of the Oceanic 6 left the island
The Casimir Effect
In the Orchid orientation film, Dr. Chang (as Dr. Halliwax) alludes to the casimir effect. In the interest of time, allow me to refer you to a brief yet illuminating article about it in Scientific American. What stands out about that concept now is that refers to MIRRORS facing one another in a vacuum. Perhaps there is a scientific explanation to the flash sideways after all.
In addition, in the film Dr. Chang warns that metallic objects must never be placed in the vault. In tonight's episode, Widmore's team made sure to have Desmond remove all metal objects on his person before exposing him to the coils...as did the hospital tech before Desmond underwent and MRI (MAGNETIC resonance imaging).
Of course, we also must consider Chang's statement about the attempt to "shift the test subject" ahead in time, followed by the reveal that the test subject will seem to disappear for a moment. Sound familiar?
Let's not forget about the white rabbit in the generator room as well (appropriately named Angstrom, for the unit of measure for electromagnetic radiation wavelengths). I direct your attention to this bonus Orientation film with Dr. Halliwax:
And by the way, it seems as if the number 15 on the rabbit is inverted, making it 51. The name Austen is number 51 on the lighthouse wheel. Coincidence?
It is fascinating that Desmond's Constant is Penny, and her half brother Faraday's is Desmond. I was surprised that Faraday didn't flash back to the island during his chat with Desmond (to reveal a never-before seen...scene), because Desmond flashed back there as soon as he touched Penny's hand. Someday I'll have a firm grasp on Constants, Variables, Rules and Candidates. Right now, however, I remain blissfully confused and exhausted contemplating it all.
Now we've seen Sayid, Desmond and Charlie at Jack's hospital in the flash sideways world. Given that Claire is due any minute and that a pregnant Sun was just shot, I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm hoping to see one Juliet Burke working there as an OB/GYN.
By the way, when they quickly showed an empty wheelchair, my first thought was that Locke was there getting a consultation with Jack...
Darkness Has a Hunger That's Insatiable
I am curious why Sayid spared Zoe. It isn't as if he hasn't killed a woman before (Elsa, The Economist) and he knows that Zoe is working for Widmore...who Sayid believes is responsible for Nadia's hit-and-run death.
One of my favorite moments in this episode was the MRI technician giving Desmond a "panic button" and asking him to try not to press it because "we have to start all over again from the beginning." I appreciated the obvious nods to the Swan hatch button and the consequences of both that hatch's implosion and Jughead's detonation there.
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop
There were many goosebump-inducing moments throughout this episode, but when Penny tells Desmond to meet her at a coffee shop - my first thought was that they will run into Sawyer and Juliet. If you recall, as she was dying in his arms, Juliet seemed to flash sideways and mumble something about getting coffee and going dutch...
Faraday's conversation with Desmond was beyond momentous, and may just be the first real evidence that Juliet was right..."it worked." The detonation of Jughead in 1977 changed things, causing the flash sideways:
"Imagine something is about to happen, something catastrophic, and the only way to stop it from happening was by releasing a huge amount of energy...like setting off a nuclear bomb. What if all this wasn't supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life, but for some reason - we changed things. I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb; I think I already did."
When Desmond asks for the flight 815 manifest and ends the episode with "I need to show them something," I wonder when and how he will manage to do so in the remaining few episodes and hours left of Lost. I have a strong feeling that many of these crossed paths will experience their island memories while gathered in one place for a special occasion. Perhaps, somehow, someway - that location will be the wedding of Locke and Helen...
Freedom of Choice
When Desmond told Charlie in the flash sideways that "right now you have a choice" and that "there's always a choice," I was reminded of notLocke's conversation with Sawyer earlier this season (The Substitute). Referring to Jacob, notLocke told Sawyer that "choices you thought were made were never really choices at all. He was pushing you to the island."
Additionally, in Flashes Before Your Eyes, Hawking told Desmond that "your path is to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, you do it because you're supposed to."
That Faraday and Charlie know one another in the flash sideways further fuels one of my longstanding and favorite theories....Faraday programmed the Looking Glass station security code with a song specifically for Charlie.
Let's Make a Deal
I don't know about you, but I hope we find out what the "Australian deal" is that Widmore and Desmond referred to. Desmond was returning from Sydney after "closing a deal for the boss," so whatever happened...happened. I can't help but think back to what Hurley said in S4 (The Shape of Things to Come), that "Australia is key" to the game.
LOST Book Club
The reveal of Penny's last name (Milton) was a highlight. As I mentioned in my Ab Aeterno article a few weeks ago, in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, the devil travels to a new world...confronting death, sin and chaos along the way. It is also worth noting that Milton focuses quite a bit on Adam and Eve. Is this our first clue that the skeletons in that cave on the island are Desmond and Penny after all?
Love is All You Need
I thought it was brilliant that both Charlie and Faraday used the heartstrings to stir Desmond's memories of the island. Charlie appropriately described it as "consciousness-altering love," which is certainly appropriate in all cases.
File under: feelings, nothing more than feelings. Charlie also illuminates the fact that "all that matters is that we felt it." As does Faraday:
Faraday: "It happened to you too, didn't it? You felt it."
Desmond: "I don't know what I felt."
Faraday: "Yes you do. You felt love."
Desmond: "That's impossible. I don't even know if she exists. She's an idea."
Faraday: "No, she's my half sister and I can tell you exactly when and where you can find her."
I look forward to the pay-off from everyone's Mirror Moment in their flash sideways, and that their emotions are going to be crucial to the flash sideways/island timeline convergence.
Although he does seem to more than glance at his reflection in the court house door, that was one of Desmond's two Mirror Moments in S6. I love the fact that it took place right before he meets up with Charlie, who shows him a memory from the island and sets off an interesting and potentially dangerous chain of events.
Desmond also had a Mirror Moment in the Oceanic flight board at the airport.
Widmore: "Your talent is vital to our mission."
Desmond: "I understand. When do we start?"
Is Desmond the secret weapon who will finally defeat the Man in Black? Is his immunity to both the 'rules' and cataclysmic electromagnetic events the key to saving everyone and the island?
In the flash sideways, we discover that Penny's last name is Milton. At this point in the game, is the identity of her mother relevant? Regardless, I'd love to find out who else Widmore sired a child with...and if she's anything like Eloise Hawking.
When Widmore told Desmond that "I'm going to ask you to make a sacrifice," I started to worry about Des' fate, future and destiny. After all, when the island is finally done with Desmond, perhaps he has to die. Boone was "a sacrifice that the island demanded." Charlie sacrificed his life because he believed that Desmond's vision about Claire and Aaron getting rescued on a helicopter would come true. Locke had to sacrifice his life in order to convince the Oceanic 6 to return to the island.
In the flash sideways, Widmore raised a glass to Desmond's "indispensability" too. Doh!
Man of Science, Man of Faith (S2)
Desmond met Jack for the first time while running at the stadium featured in tonight's episode. "See you in another life, brother," turns out to have been a premonition after all.
The last word uttered in this S2 season premiere was "You?" when Desmond sees Jack for the first time since running into him at the stadium off island. In this episode, Desmond says the same thing after seeing Widmore for the first time on island.
Live Together, Die Alone (S2)
Penny showed up to confront Des at the stadium. In this episode, Desmond goes to the stadium to meet Penny for the first time...again.
When Locke refused to stop pushing the button down in the Swan hatch, he told Desmond that "It's a lie, it's not real. None of it is real!" In this episode, when Charlie tells Desmond that he doesn't actually have it all and isn't happy, Desmond responds with "why, because none of it is real?"
Flashes Before Your Eyes (S3)
Desmond goes to Widmore's office to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage, only to have Widmore ridicule and belittle him. His attitude toward Desmond is quite the opposite in the flash sideways in tonight's episode. And while in the S3 episode, Widmore tells Desmond that he isn't worth a sip of the $60 MacCutcheon whiskey, in this episode he shares a glass of the good stuff with him. Visually speaking, there was also a parallel between both episodes - Widmore's model sailboat. Desmond's lingering gaze at it in this episode harkens back to his race around the world (sponsored by Widmore Industries), which landed him in a storm that marooned him on the island.
Desmond runs into Charlie outside of Widmore's building in London in a flashback to the mid 1990's. He says, "I know you. How do I know you? Where do I know you from? You're Charlie. It was in the hatch. I remember seeing you. There was a computer, there was a button. We were on an island. It was real, I remember. This all happened before." In tonight's episode, Charlie stirs Desmond's memory of when they were on the island together.
Desmond met Eloise Hawking for the first time during one of his flashes. He also meets her for the first time in tonight's episode, and she certainly recognizes him.
While at the monastery, the following conversation took place between Desmond and Brother Campbell:
Desmond: "Moriah is the mountain where Abraham was asked to kill Isaac."
BC: "And yet God spared Isaac."
Desmond: "Well one might argue that God need not have asked Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place."
BC: "It wouldn't have been much of a test. Perhaps you underestimate the value of sacrifice."
Later in that same episode, Desmond said that "I was supposed to leave everything that mattered behind; sacrifice all of it for a greater calling."
In this episode, Widmore is asking his son (in-law) to make a sacrifice. And, referring to Daniel Faraday, reminds us that "my son died here for the sake of this island."
Through the Looking Glass (S3)
Charlie died after drowning in the Looking Glass station, but not before writing Not Penny's Boat on his hand to alert Desmond to the freighter danger.
In this episode, not only does Charlie describe "slipping into the abyss" as he recalls his overdose and falling in love experience on the flash sideways flight 815, he crashes Desmond's car into the ocean and puts his hand up to the window in the exact manner he did in the Looking Glass. That triggered Desmond's memory of watching Charlie die.
The Constant (S4)
On the freighter, Dr. Ray checked Desmond's eyes with a flashlight after he returned from flashing back. In this episode, the doctors checked his eyes with a flashlight after he returned from flashing back as well.
Minkowski was the communications officer on Widmore's freighter. He was instructed to avoid Penny's calls to the ship. When the freighter got too close to the island, Minkowski experienced side effects and his consciousness appeared to travel in time like Desmond's. Right before he died, he helped Desmond get in touch with Penny. He said "I can't get back" and died...because he didn't have a Constant. Of course in this episode, he transports Desmond to meet his Constant.
In his flash back in time, as instructed by Faraday, Desmond visits him at Oxford. Faraday tells Desmond that "you can't change the future." It is also revealed that Faraday has experienced "prolonged exposure" to radiation and that he is able to "unstick" his rat in time; he sent her consciousness into the future. Faraday also introduces us to the concept of Constants. In this episode, Desmond proves that he is immune to prolonged exposure to electromagnetic rays and that his consciousness also travels back and forth from the island to the flash sideways. And he meets Faraday, who believes that they perhaps "changed things."
Eloise Hawking told Desmond that "the island isn't done with you yet." Widmore told him the same thing tonight.
When Jack asked what happens if he can't convince the rest of the Oceanic 6 to get on Ajira flight 316 with him to return to the island, Hawking tells him that "the result would be unpredictable." In this episode, Hawking tells Desmond that "unpredictability comes with the territory."
The Variable (S5)
Young Charlotte tells Faraday that "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner," which is what older Charlotte said to him before dying in This Place is Death. In this episode, Faraday talks about meeting Charlotte at the museum in the flash sideways...and she was eating a chocolate bar.
I absolutely loved how many teases they inserted into this episode, making us think that Widmore was going to reveal that Charlie was his son ("you are aware that my son is a musician?"), that Charlie was about to describe Kate as the love in his vision, etc.
Eloise Hawking's use of the word 'violation' caught my attention, as it seemed to reference the infamous 'rules' that do not apply to Desmond:
"I want you to stop. Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. It is in fact a violation. So whatever you're doing, whatever it is you think you're looking for - you need to stop looking for it."
It seems to me that the rules do not apply to Hawking either. She appears to be the only person who is aware of Desmond's life before, on and after the island. When Desmond asked how she knew what he wanted, her terse response was "because I do" and then "you're not ready yet."
The Scales of (In)Justice
On the wall in Widmore's flash sideways office, there was a painting of the scales with a black and white stone on each side...a very cool nod to the scales in the cliffside cave on the island and to the inside joke between Jacob and the Man in Black.
According to Widmore, Desmond is "the only person in the world who has survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event." So that is what Faraday meant when he told Desmond that he was "uniquely and miraculously special." Widmore did not seem to know this about Desmond before he crashed on the island, and since Faraday was dead when Desmond returned three years later...I am curious to find out how Widmore gleaned such information.
This Mortal Coil
I find it odd that Widmore's team revealed that their magic box of magnetic coils had not been run in 20 years, because 1987 does not seem to be a significant year in terms of island activity. The Dharma purge was in 1992. So 30 years (1977) would have made more sense, given the time travel and jughead detonation.
I have no idea whether or not this is the plan, but I am quite excited by the possibility of trapping the Man in Black (in notLocke form) in this magic box. Imagine flashing back to the man he used to be...
Whatever Happened, Happened
Hawking utters this phrase to Desmond in tonight's episode. Her son Faraday's usage of it in the past (all in S5) is now quite important, given what we witnessed tonight:
- "If we try to do anything different, we fail every time. Whatever happened, happened." (Because You Left)
- "Doesn't matter what we do; whatever happened, happened." (LaFleur)
- "Can't change the past, can't do it. Whatever happened, happened. But then I finally realized - I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, I forgot about the variables." (The Variable)
Then again, last week notLocke uttered a present-tense version of the same thing to Claire, "whatever happens, happens."
According to Jacob (The Incident), "it only ends once; anything that happens before that is just progress." What if Desmond's actions in the flash sideways (showing fellow 815 passengers how to access their memories of the island) cause the two worlds to finally converge? Thus, it really does only end once...
Should we read anything into the fact that his CAT scan was "inconclusive?"
The return of Fisher Stevens was a pleasant, welcome surprise. Minkowski's mysterious behavior as he drove Desmond around in LA was strikingly similar to Matthew Abaddon when he drove Locke from location to location. Both Minkowski and Abaddon worked for Widmore.
I seriously hope to have time to re-watch Happily Ever After again before next week, because I know that I've missed several key points in this spectacular episode.
Please note that next week, my initial analysis of the next episode will be delayed until Wednesday. Trust me when I tell you that it will be worth the wait, because I have a pretty exciting surprise that will prevent me from writing it up on Tuesday night...stay tuned for details.
If any of you know someone who goes by the name Shoes McCourt, please let that person know that they won my Lost t-shirt contest with CafePress! I am still awaiting contact information from them.
Also, if you're interested, I have a Lost post on AOL TV that looks at four of the many unresolved mysteries that may or may not be answered by the series finale.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through these thoughts and theories. As always, I encourage and appreciate constructive feedback in the Comments.
Because we only have a few episodes left, and I have a large stash of Lost goodies left to give away, I've decided to give out one item per week to fellow fans. To be eligible, all you have to do is a leave a Comment after each episode. I will randomly pull a name each week and announce a winner in the following week's post. Up for grabs this week: a TeeFury shirt called "Desmond's Replacement" (see above for graphic)!
Good morning, good afternoon and goodnight.