[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800" caption="Desmond has some fun with electromagnetism"][/caption]
Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final act of the final season has begun.
Does patience pay off? It does because we just got a huge progression in the tale of the sideways. Our characters are having vivid memories of their Island lives. Charlie saw his life with Claire as he lay dying on the Oceanic 815 Faraday felt love the first time he saw Charlotte as he walked in her museum and he had never met her but, that night as he slept, he dreamt about her and awoke to write a complex equation and Desmond kept seeing Penny throughout and began searching for her. In the end, he awoke from the electromagnetic event Widmore put him through with a sereneness about him and purpose. He asked Charles, "when do we start?" We don't know what Widmore told him. The next thing we saw was Sayid attack two of Widmore's men and allow Zoe to run. Sayid invited Desmond to come with him and Desmond said, "lead the way."
Desmond is, indeed, special as Faraday told us last year in "Because You Left." He is the connection between the sideways and the Island. This episode mirroed "Flashes Before Your Eyes" but mixed in a little bit of "The Constant" with some "Through The Looking Glass," "Further Instructions," "The Variable," "Man of Science, Man of Faith," and "Live Together, Die Alone." The two most important episodes to remember while thinking about "Happily Ever After" are "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant." Desmond was our introduction to time-travel (although Hurley teased it during season two). Desmind is OUR constant. He's been a man trapped by fate as Ms. Hawking told him in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." Desmond wanted to change things, to propose to Penny but Ms. Hawking told her that wasn't going to happen because his purpose was going to the Island and pushing the button so the entire world didn't go bye-bye. In this episode, he seemingly has full control of his destiny and it looks as if it will come down to choice in the end. Allow me to dive into an episode that didn't have one insignificant scene.
The opening of the Sideways story mirrored the opening of "what happened after Desmond turned the key in the Hatch" in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." No, Desmond wasn't on the floor surrounded by red paint. Instead, he stared at his reflection as he searched for baggage claim for Oceanic 815. Luckily, Hurley came by and directed him. As Desmond approached the baggage carousel (is that what it's called?) he found Claire trying to get her bags. He helped her and they talked. He asked about her pregnancy but apologized for asking since he was, you know, a stranger. They had a nice talk. Desmond offered her a ride but she wanted to take a taxi. Before they parted, he told her that her child would be a boy. NOW how would he know that? (I ask knowingly with a gleeful grin).
He found his driver, George Minkowski. Minkowski, if you recall, was the communications guy on the freigher and was the suffering from the sickness of mind time-travel and eventually died. He and Desmond bonded during that time. Anywho, Desmond was the right-hand man of Charles Widmore. Ms. Hawking (or Mrs. Widmore in this case) told Desmond, later at the concert set-up, that he got what he always sought: the approval of Charles Widmore. That's debatable but it's worth mentioning. Their scene was full of references to old episodes. The most symbolic part of the scene was when Widmore shared a bottle of McCutheon whiskey with Desmond as that bottle of whiskey represents the how beneath Desmond is to Widmore in the Island narrative. Widmore had a job for Desmond: get Charlie Pace, the junkie rockstar of Driveshaft, and take him to the concert where Daniel was going to mix classical music with rock n' roll.
Desmond did just that only Charlie walked right past him, across the street, and into a bar. Desmond caught up with him and they drank together. In the bar, we got additional context for why Charlie told Jack that he was supposed to die. On February 2, it seemed like a nod to fate, a nod to what happened in the Looking Glass station. But no, it wasn't. He told Desmond a story about love. We were misled to think that Charlie fell in love with Kate but, no, the marshal merely motivated Charlie to go to the the bathroom to get rid of his stash of heroin through swallowing. He told Desmond that he swallowed it and that darkness overcame him. In that darkness, he saw the most beautiful blond girl ("rapturously beautiful" is how Charlie described Claire). He loved her and it was like they had been together for all of time and would be together for all of time. Just as he was about to be engulfed in it, Jack saved him. The experience convinced Charlie that he was living in a reality that wasn't all real and he became suicidal because of his experience. Charlie became motivated to show Desmond the falseness of the reality in which they lived because he saw the truth. Charlie didn't believe that Desmond was happy with his life even though he was successful. Couldn't be. He didn't see the truth.
They left the bar and entered a car. On the road, they continued to talk. Charlie told Desmond that he'd show Desmond what he meant. Charlie grabbed the wheel and soon he and Desmond found themselves in the boat harbor where Desmond was shot by Ben in Island story. He escaped, surfaced to catch his breath and then went back down to save Charlie. As he attempted to open the door, Charlie opened his eyes and put his hand to the window ("Through The Looking Glass" parallel) and Desmond began having flashes of Charlie's death in the Looking Glass station. He did pull him out eventually. I think it's right to assume that Charlie experienced that experience as he lay dying in the airplane bathroom because he died with the thought that the love of his life and her son would fly safely away from the Island. I think Charlie definitely felt that.
At the hospital, the doctor was concerned about his head while Desmond was concerned about finding Charlie. The doctor wouldn't let Des find anyone without undergoing an MRI first to figure out if there's anything wrong with his head. At the MRI, he was given a panic button. Desmond was alarmed by the word button because of his history with buttons. He entered and saw flashes of his Island timeline that was all Penny. He saw every important moment including the birth of his son. He pushed the button. The doctor freed him and then Desmond went looking for Charlie. He ran into Jack while looking for Charlie. They exchanged pleasantries. Jack expressed incredulousness when he heard that someone from Oceanic 815 was in the hospital (shades of old man of science Jack). Charlie appeared, running through the hospital and away from nurses. Desmond followed him and, after descending a stairwell, cornered Charlie. Desmond immediately asked about Penny. Charlie was glad that Desmond had felt it. Charlie told Desmond that he wasn't going to play the show because it didn't matter, that none of it matted and that the only thing that mattered was that they felt it. Charlie told Desmond to find Penny. I think Charlie was the MVC of this episode. His characters seems to have set-up the final arc of this sideways narrative. Desmond echoed the words of Jacob in the bar as he talked to Charlie, "there's always a choice."
Desmond quickly updated Widmore on the Charlie news. Desmond was tasked with telling Mrs. Widmore. He went to the house and told her. She reacted kindly like she knew that it would happen but she grew perturbed when Desmond wanted to look at the list of guests. She told Desmond that he wasn't ready to find who he was looking for and that he had gotten the approval he sought for his entire life from Widmore. Her son, Daniel, listened to the entire conversation. Desmond left, entered the limo, poured himself a glass of alcohol and told Minkowski to just drive but Daniel knocked on the window and wanted to talk with Desmond.
Daniel talked about love at first sight and proceeded to tell him the story about Charlotte that I described at the start of the recap. He also talked about dream. Daniel then pulled out a journal which he wrote in after the dream: a complex quantum physics equation. He didn't know how considering he was a musician and not a physicist. It would take years and years of study but he brought the equation to a friend. Daniel learned that the problem was of a new reality being created as a result of something catastrophic happening, of a huge bundle of energy being released, like a hydrogen bomb being detonated (JUGHEAD!). Desmond asked Daniel does he want to detonate a hydrogen bomb. Daniel said he thinks he already did. Daniel asked about Penny, the girl he's been seeing flashes of and searching for. Desmond said that she was just an idea. Daniel said that she was not just an idea, that she was his half-sister and that he knew where and when he could find her.
Turns out that she likes to run up and down stairs in an empty stadium just like Jack and Desmond did in "Man of Science, Man of Faith." Desmond introduced himself after she confirmed that she was Penny and they shook hands. Also, that stadium was where Desmond saw Penny for the last time before his race around the world. He was the one preparing to run up and down the stairs.
And then he awoke in the Island timeline. Seamus and Zoe were stunned that he survived all of that electromagnetic energy. Not Widmore. He knew that Desmond would survive because he survived the Hatch explosion. He needed Desmond to be prepared to sacrifice for the sake of his wife and child. He needed Desmond to be on the same page. Desmond was game to do what needed to be done. He had purpose and he believed in Widmore. We don't know what Widmore told him or if Desmond saw something that we didn't see. He eventually wound up with Sayid as mentioned earlier.
And then we were back in the sideways. He had fainted upon shaking Penny's hand. He asked to have coffee with her. He made his case by saying he had just fainted in front of her. Penny was swooning. It was adorable. She agreed to meet him in an hour at a coffee shop. He went back to the limo, all smiles. Minkowski told Desmond that he would get whatever he wanted after Minkowski had asked Des whether or not he found what he was looking for to which Des said yes. Desmond had one request. He wanted the manifest for Oceanic 815 because he had something to show them. I think it's certain he possesses the knowledge of both timelines, both realities. We do not know what the plan is yet.
This episode has really brought a new level of meaning to the flash sideways. I followed the advice of Damon and Carlton so I didn't dive into much speculation. I noted the differences here and there but I mostly waited for the sideways to reveal themselves a little more and, now, we have some real information. New context has been given to the previous sideways encounters. I'm thinking of Kate and Jack specifically. They both shared looks outside of "LA X." I wonder did Jack and Kate experience or, rather, feel their other life experiences? Jack seems to have felt his other life but, like his encounter with Desmond, might be shrugging off as something insignificant. More than any other character (not counting the characters in "Happily Ever After"), Jack seems to have been remembering. As we are now in the third and final act of the season, we've gotta see more characters experiencing or feeling their other lives. I think I can see the ultimate conclusion of this show forming in the distance. I can see the various plot threads and narratives forming into what seems to be an extremely emotional and heartfelt finale.
The episode blew my mind. It's one of the great LOST episodes. I got goosebumps during various scenes. I had a lump in my throat during various scenes and I felt quite emotional as I realized the threads of the story are slowly being pulled together as this show nears its conclusion. I was overjoyed that the endgame really is going to focus on these characters that we've spent six seasons with. I'm excited. I'm ready.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse penned this episode and it was FULL of references to episodes past. So full that I'm going to wait until the "More Thoughts" section to detail every single one FROM MEMORY. I am a geek. I wrote an entry earlier today about my feeling that there would be some sideways revelations. I feel vindicated. I also argued for patience. Well, hopefully, people learn to settle down and just roll with the show with only 7 hours of the show left. But, anywho, let me dive into the central story of "Happily Ever After."
Time for MORE thoughts:
--This episode most clearly mirrored "Flashes Before Your Eyes" as I've stated. Here's the references I caught to that episode as well as all of the other references to past episodes:
Hurley was the first person to see Desmond in the airport after his conciousness shifted to the sideways. In "Further Instructions," Hurley was the first person to see a naked Desmond running in the jungle after he turned the failsafe key.
In "Flashes Before Your Eyes," Desmond can hear Claire calling for help from a mile away as she nearly drowns in the ocean. Desmond helps her with her luggage in baggage claim. The last time
Desmond was in a limo was "Live Together, Die Alone" where we also met Widmore for the first time. Widmore told Desmond that Des wasn't good enough for his daughter and asked him to leave without a trace. In this episode, Widmore got a limo and a personal driver for Desmond.
Desmond's task in this episode was keeping track of Charlie Pace. Of course, one of the big arcs of season three was Desmond trying and trying to prevent Charlie's death even though he knew the universe has a way of course-correcting itself. In this episode, Charlie was suicidal and hell bent on dying because of what he saw as he lay dying.
His dual conciousness occured in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant."
Desmond attacked Ben Linus and sent him into the harbor in "Dead Is Dead." Charlie made sure they went into the harbor.
I think everybody noticed the "Through The Looking Glass" parallel/reference.
The only other significant bar scene in LOST that I can recall off the top of my head is the scene between Sawyer and Christian in "Outlaws." The bar scene with Desmond and Charlie is pretty damn significant. Christian expressed regret that he couldn't pick up a phone to tell his son that it's allright. Charlie was obsessed with what we saw. Christian spoke about fate and destiny using the Red Sox. Charlie felt that he had witnessed his fate and destiny.
Desmond collapsed in a stairwell in "The Constant." I expected that would happen as he chased Charlie in the hospital but it didn't happen.
When Faraday knocked on the Hatch door in "Because You Left" and told Desmond that everyone was in danger and that he needs to find his mother, he awoke in bed with Penny. Penny asked him if he had a dream. Desmond said no. He thinks he just got a memory. In this episode, the characters dreamed these things they experienced but they aren't dreams at all. They are memories.
Desmond and Faraday spoke about constands and time-travel in "The Constant." We got a huge download of info in that episode. The same thing happened in this one with Faraday, once again, explaining complex stuff with simple terminology. I've missed Faraday. Jeremy Davies owns that role.
Widmore exposited the events of "Dead Is Dead" for the audience when Benny Linus shot Desmond. It's sort of a reference.
--Dominic Monoghan was great in this episode. My favorite scene of the episode is Charlie telling Desmond about Claire. I almost forgot how big a fan I was of the two of them together. The music was very moving and the way Dom Monoghan played it was outstanding. Dare I believe there's a happy ending for Claire, Charlie and Aaron together? That would make The Foot very dusty.
--I just re-watched the scene between Desmond and Ms. Hawking (should I refer to her as Mrs. Widmore?) and I believe she's just as knowing. She told Desmond to stop because he has the perfect life. Is she, perhaps, trying to prevent the sideways from maybe crumbling? Who knows. We shall soon see.
--I'm a big fan of Seamus. He seems like a nice fellow. He hesitated with maximizing the electromagnetic energy. He looked relieved that Desmond was okay. I'm a fan. I don't have much else. I also love the name. The name is a big reason why I'm a fan.
--I just re-watched the end when Desmond tells Minkowski, with clarity and purpose in his eyes, that he needs to show the people of Oceanic 815 something. Oh the goosebumps. The music is amazing. It's going to be an immense final 6 episodes and 7 hours.
--Sayid was pretty nice letting Zoe go. I imagine Zoe has an important role to play. I don't mind her. She's better than Ana Lucia.
--It was cool seeing another old Dharma project. There's no way Widmore brought that fancy contraception with him on the sub. Fun fact: electromagnetism was first introduced on the show in season one's "Hearts and Minds." Sayid theorizes about electromagnetism when trying to figure out the wonky compass.
--"Happily Ever After" is an episode that proves the creative masterminds always had a gameplan. Was it sketchy at times because of the fact that they are a network show? Sure. But it's been there. I have the quotes and podcasts to prove it. Don't believe me? Carlton gave away Tawaret IN THE "LIVE TOGETHER, DIE ALONE" REHASH PODCAST! Damon mentioned the possibility of flash-sideways in season four! Anywho, Desmond's specialness was introduced in "Furthers Instructions" when he first saved Charlie's life. His specialness became evident more so in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and The Constant." And then I've mentioned the other instances. My point: bravo, Darlton!
--This has nothing to do with the episode but I'm curious about what exactly was going on in that cabin that Jacob was not using.
--Widmore seemed taken aback when Desmond was on the same page with him. Could it be because HE HAS FLASHES OF THE FUTURE?!? Come on, Widmore! (I know he doesn't know that but he knew Des is special). I also failed to mention Desmond's beat-down of Widmore with an I-V stand.
--Desmond received two eyeball scenes. The first was when he awoke in the hospital bed. The second when he awoke...in a hospital bed in the sideways.
--I'm really excited to see how the two storylines will reconcile. I think it's going to be tremendous.
--Last night, Damon accidentally retweeted a fan's observation about Desmond's missing wedding ring and wondered if it's a result of the worlds bleeding into one another. Remember in "Recon" when Liam showed up to bail his brother out? Where in the world did Liam go? It could just be a case of Desmond beating Liam to the station. Also, last week, it sounded like Keamy told Jin he would freak if he told him what happened to the Island. Some people have opted to chalk that up to a sound glitch. But with the knowledge we got in "Happily Ever After" it might be very intentional.
--Henry Ian Cusick, Dom Monoghan, Sonya Walger, Jeremy Davies and Alan Dale were great. Damon and Carlton wrote one of the series best episodes (no surprise there). Jack Bender did an outstanding job. The ace team of LOST delivered yet again.
--Next week looks very, very good as well. It's gonna be Hurley's hour and it looks like some familiar people will be showing up.
TO THE RANKINGS!
THE OFFICIAL LOST RANKINGS
We decided to add Zoe to the rankings. I tried to add Seamus but no one even knows his name really so it's understandable. So Zoe enters the fray with just 7 hours left in the show. But besides that, there were pretty much no changes at all in either rankings. Save for Zoe and the usual switcharoo STEVE does with Widmore and Hurley, it's exactly the same as last week. Take a look regardless:
AFTER EPISODE 11
17. Man in Black
2. Man in Black