Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Happily Ever After"

Episodes like this make me so satisfied that I've stuck with LOST through the ups and occasional downs, but it also makes me a little sad that it's almost over.  Time is really starting to run short; there aren't that many episodes left and a lot of story seems like it still needs to be told.  If this were any other show, I would be getting worried at this point, but since season finales are always top-notch, I think the series finale will be quite satisfying.

STOP READING NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!!!

Finally, the long-anticipated Desmond episode! With the actor's off camera troubles last year, I was worried that Desmond's role would be cut out completely this year much to the detriment of the overarching story.  Thankfully, for this and presumably several more episodes, we get our beloved Scotsman back!  It's quite amazing really to think that some of my favorite characters from the series were not introduced until the second season.  I can only imagine what LOST would have been like if Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje had never got "island fever."    But I digress.

With a Desmond-centric episode, you never know exactly what you're going to get, but it's guaranteed to be great.  I'll be the first to admit that I was very confused and frustrated the first time I watched "Flashes Before Your Eyes" during Season 3 but it's because it was such a jarring change to how off-Island stories were told up to that point in the series.  Since then, I've come to expect to be challenged by the storytelling devices.  Perhaps the most challenging thus far has been this season's flash-sideways device.  Many viewers, including myself, have questioned their purpose and are left to wonder if we should even care about that version of the characters.  I can now say that the answer is a resounding yes!

As usual there are several questions that arise from this episode but it seems that we also got a really huge answer regarding the nature of the flash-sideways.  All season long, the characters in the flash-sideways world seem to have moments of déjà vu or some sort of knowing glance at someone they've never met.  It's been subtle but they are there at some point in every episode (excluding "Ab Aeterno" of course).  There was nothing subtle about the moments of déjà vu for Desmond though, but that's to be expected for someone whose consciousness can travel through his lifetime.  Still this was a very different flash.  The effects of Widmore's electromagnetic field device forced Desmond's consciousness to travel into his sideways timeline.  

Desmond had three very important sideways encounters that indicate that he's not the only one who has been having what many viewers are now calling "bleed-through" from the Island timeline.  His first with Charlie got the ball rolling and made Desmond to start pondering true love.  What really shocked him was the flash of Island-Charlie's dying moment from the Looking Glass Station when it appeared that sideways-Charlie was about to suffer a similar fate.  Couple that with his vision of a happy life with Penny while he was in the MRI tube and things started getting really heavy for Desmond.  His second important encounter was with Eloise Widmore nee Hawking.  At first it was a normal enough conversation, but after Desmond heard the name Penny (Milton!) and wanted to know more, Eloise turned into the more ominipotent "Flashes Before Your Eyes" version of herself.  She certainly seemed to know more than she let on about what Desmond might or might not have been experiencing at that moment.  Before Desmond could leave the museum (Charlotte and Pierre Chang's museum of course), he had his third important encounter with Eloise's pianist son Daniel Widmore (!!).  Daniel saw a beautiful blue-eyed redhead eating a chocolate bar one day and knew that he was in love with her even though they'd never met.  That night, he dreamt a series of mathematical equations that only someone who studied physics for their entire life could conceive them.  And then the bombshell (zing!):

Imagine something terrible is about to happen, something catastophic, and the only way to stop it is by releaseing a huge amount of energy, like setting of a nuclear bomb....What if this--all this-- 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 Mr. Hume; I think I already did.

The flash-sideways just got very interesting.

Desmond's meeting with Penny at the stadium was perfect.  There she was running the stairs and I was half-expecting to see Jack running them as well so that we could come full circle from Season 2.  Although their conversation was very different from the highly emotional climax of "The Constant," I found it equally touching.  There is something about this couple that I find more compelling than any other romantic pairing on the show.  After their reunion in "There's No Place Like Home," I was sure the Desmond-Penny storyline would lose some of it's luster, but their meeting at the stadium was just as powerful if not more so.  After all, their handshake brought Desmond's consciousness back to the Island timeline and made a believer out of him.  He is on board now and he understands that to keep the life he has, he must fulfill his purpose on the Island.

There are a couple of things that concern me about his "destiny."  The first is that Widmore told him that he would have to make a sacrifice.  I am worried that his sacrifice might end up being similar to the one that Dogan had to make...something along the lines of having to forgo ever seeing Penny and Charlie again in order to save their lives.    My second concern is about Desmond's willingness to join Sayid without question even after he ambushed and killed some of Widmore's people.  Is this all part of Jacob's plan?  Is Desmond's destiny to defeat the Man in Black by appearing to join him?  Just when I thought that was it for the episode, we got a thought provoking sideways story coda.  Desmond set a date with Penny and then returned to the limo where he asked George (I loved seeing Minkowski get more screen time in this episode than he probably had in all his other appearances combined) to get him the passenger manifest for Oceanic 815....he needs to show them something.  Is this finally the beginning of the convergence of the flash-sideways with the Island storyline?  I think so although I'm not exactly sure how it will be accomplished.  I'm guessing that this newly imbued-with-knowledge Desmond has a plan to get all of the should-be-Islanders together in LA for a meeting...there's work to be done!

Great episode, maybe the best of the season for me although "Ab Aeterno" is certainly a strong contender.  LOST is living up to my expectations this far.  Sometimes I'd prefer more forward momentum, but as long as we get stories like we have recently, I'll be a happy camper come the May 23.

2 comments:

TL Ross said...

Great Post Wes! I really enjoyed last night's show as well. What will we do with ourselves after the last show!

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