Saturday, April 10, 2010

Season 6, Episode 10: "Happily Ever After"

So who else was scooping up their brains after this one? Desmond-centric episodes have a way of blowing minds on a consistent basis, but they also tend to offer some of the most important pieces to the Lost puzzle. "Happily Ever After" was no different. If anything, it seemed that literally every single line of this one was loaded with clues directing us to where we are going in this final run to the end. But in trying to decipher all those clues, I found myself spiraling into a land of confusion. That said, I'll try and keep it simple below, but at this point I think you know that probably won't be the case.

Did anyone else notice that there was no "previously on Lost" breakdown this week? If there were to be one, I suspect that we would have been shown scenes from season three's "Flashes Before Your Eyes," which followed Desmond's initial adventure with being "unstuck in time" after turning the Failsafe key in the Hatch and surviving the catastrophic electromagnetic event. Maybe we would have seen how, in one of the flashes, Widmore denies his request to marry Penny, and then takes a swig of 60 year old MacCutcheon Scotch right in front of Desmond's face, claiming that it he'd never waste such an expensive luxury on a man that is never be worthy of his approval. Next we'd likely get a snippet of his first interaction with Lost "time coach" Eloise Hawking in the jewelry store while picking out a ring for Penny. Instead of encouraging him to buy the perfect ring, Eloise tells him pointedly that he will do no such thing, and that if he doesn't forget about her and go to the Island to push the button, that "every single one of us will die."

Next, we would have been reminded of a few important scenes from Season four's "The Constant," where Desmond's conscience once again travels through time after leaving the Island off the wrong bearing. We'd see him meet the Freighter's communication officer, George Minkowski, who is suffering from the same fate as Desmond due to overexposure to electro-magnetic energy.

We'd learn that if Desmond didn't make a connection with his Constant, that he'd soon die, just as Minkowski does later in that episode. Then we'd see possibly the most heartwarming ending of any Lost episode; the scene where Desmond connects with Penny by phone from the Freighter on Christmas Eve, and is able to both establish his Constant and express his undying love for his true soul mate.

They didn't show us these reminders because by now we should know that Desmond is special and always has been. Somewhere in that brain of his, he has had the answers to the mysteries of this show and I think he finally realized what he needs to do next at the end of "Happily Ever After." But how did he get to that point? And what makes him so special in the first place?

Clearly, Desmond's ability to successfully bridge the gap between the Sideways and the Island world is going to be very important as we hit this final stretch of the series. While other characters have had only a "sense" of another life and moments of eery deva vu, Desmond straight up sees his other world. Moreover, as he flashes back and forth from the Sideways to the Island towards the end of the episode he seems to remember what he's experienced in each dimension. This is key, because moving forward he'll be able to pass on vital information to our characters between worlds. At the end of the episode, you'll remember that he passes out at the stadium after shaking Penny's hand. At that moment, we see him waking up in the Island with a sense of calm and a clear purpose. He's then taken by Sayid but knows that he will bring him to the others, which is likely exactly where he wants to go. Similarly, after waking up at the stadium he knows exactly what he needs to do next. He asks Minkowski for the flight manifest so that he can "show" the rest of our characters the truth. In both worlds, he wears a serene smile that is a mix of astonishment, excitement, and confidence. He has the answers that we all want.

But what answers will he provide to the Losties? What does he want to show them? Because going up to someone and saying, "hey, so get this: you exist in a parallel world where your plane never crashed. You're living a life that is kind of the same but a little different. Jack - you have a kid; Hurley you're super lucky; and Sayid - well, you're still kind of the same, sorry man." For the Island folks this bit of info may be more than a bit unbelievable, but I don't think the same would be true for the Sideways characters. We've gone over the moments of clarity that the Sideways characters experience...Jack in the airplane bathroom, Sun in the hallway mirror, Kate and Jack's longing stare at the airport, etc. These people have a feeling that something is up but they can't quite explain what it is they are feeling. Is something missing in their lives? Are they letting opportunity pass them by? Do they unconsciously yurn for something more, just like Desmond did before being enlightened by Charlie? In these cases, having an encounter with Junior Time Coach Desmond might help them put it all in perspective. But before Desmond can guide our Sideways characters down the right path, he needs to first know what it is they are looking for. Well, what better way to find that out than by heading straight to the source...our Losties on the Island. Armed with the desires of the Island characters, Des will be able to "show" the Sideways crew the truth.

"I've seen the truth"

Speaking of revealing truths, it's interesting that the characters that show Desmond the way in his Sideways are characters that no longer exist on the Island. Minkowski, Charlie, Faraday - they guide Desmond along the path to enlightenment. Their deaths on the Island somehow give them a stronger sense of realization that the Sideways is not their true world and that something more real is just beyond their grasp. But what's troubling for them is that their existence in the Island world is no longer attainable. Unlike Desmond - who is very much alive in both worlds - they cannot bridge the gap between the two due to their deaths on the Island. This again, is what makes Desmond special. He likely shares this ability to "see" the Island world with these characters because he should have died in the hatch implosion, but did not. (Add a hefty dose of Electro-Magnetic energy and you got yourself a dimension hopping hero). Instead, as Widmore says, he's the only person in the world to have survived such an event, and in return he's granted the ability to see and live in both dimensions.... and this ability is very troubling to a certain person who seems to have similar capabilities: Eloise Hawking.

Desmond's interaction with Eloise in the Sideways was extremely interesting. If you watch closely, you can see that upon his initial introduction to her, Eloise is for an instant startled and unsettled. She quickly regains her composure and is able to shrug off the bad news that Driveshaft won't be appearing at her ball after all ("whatever happened, happened.") However, once Desmond inquires about Penny after hearing her name being called off the RSVP list, Eloise's tone and attitude change drastically. All of a sudden we hear her utter lines that seem to refer to something larger than the current situation: "I want you to stop. Someone has clearly affected the way you see things, and this is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation. Whatever it is you think you're looking for, you need to stop looking for it." Eloise is inferring that someone has broken the "rules" if you will, and that Desmond has been shown the truth. This is of course the case, seeing that Charlie opened Desmond's eyes to Penny's existence and another life during the car crash scene. She continues her tirade by reinforcing that Desmond has all the things he's ever wanted at the moment - the approval he receives from Widmore, the unattached lifestyle he currently enjoys, etc. These are things that were given to him to shield him from what he truly wanted but never even knew: Penny's love. Clearly, Eloise is aware that if the two ever meet an even bigger violation of the "rules" will take place. And case in point, the moment Desmond shakes Penny's hand later in the stadium he wakes up in the Island, knowing what he must do next. The connection is made, and it means trouble for Eloise, but why?

I think that Eloise in some way has the same capabilities as Desmond, meaning that she can bridge the gap between realities. However, unlike what Desmond is setting off to do - which is to essentially open the eyes of our characters to the truth and incite possible change - Eloise is of the opinion that change is bad. She follows the rules, and guides her pawns with rigid structure. A part of me even thinks that she may not be all that "good," and that she's working for the wrong side, either knowingly or not. Someone, or something, has created this Sideways reality with care, and has given our characters the reality that they think they want. She reinforces to Desmond that he has everything he always wanted, but we know that is not entirely true. As mentioned above something critical is missing for everyone, and keeping them in the dark to such knowledge is of critical importance to Eloise. Moreover, I tend to think that Widmore is actually helping Desmond come to his realization and could be himself violating Eloise's mission. Why else would he literally send Desmond to the ball if that was the only place that he'd be able to get a lead on Penny? Also, when looking back at past episodes, Widmore - while under the veil of "hating" him - has always helped Desmond along his path: he orchestrated the sailboat race that initially brought Des to the Island; he unbelievably gave Des Penny's phone number in the "Constant," which allowed him to finally get in touch with her from the Freighter and save his life; and this week he led him straight to Charlie and Faraday, both of which opened Desmond's eyes to the truth. If he were on Eloise's side, why would he defy her so blatantly?

It's almost Widmore's found his own special player in Desmond, and that now he and Eloise are battling on opposite sides of the Time Coach wars...Eloise wants the status quo, while Widmore/Desmond will fight to reveal the truth, and at least give our characters a shot to truly live "Happily Ever After."

To be honest, the more I think about this week's show the more I get confused. Clearly the lines between the worlds is blurring, and it will continue to do so as we move forward. But so many questions remain: how does all of this affect Flocke's mission? What is Widmore's true intent? Does he feel that being able to bridge "worlds" is key to winning the war? Which reality is the true world? Will our characters need to make a choice of one over the other in the end? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing's for sure, "Happily Ever After" will be an episode that will likely be even better to re-watch when this whole shindig is over...and I look forward to that.

Tid Bits

First off, I freaked myself out this week. Not sure if any of you guys noticed, but when searching for a Desmond picture for last week's recap, I settled on the pic below, which I simply thought was cool and certainly evoked memories of one of Desmond's big moments on the show. In no way did I know that almost the same image would be recreated this week in the chilling underwater car scene with Charlie and Desmond. But maybe my Sideways self knew something I didn't.....

A painting in Widmore's Sideways office was a not only a scale, but a scale with white backgammon chips on one side and black on the other. The writers really wanted to get that image across, huh?

The MRI scene was pretty interesting. Obviously the electro-magnetic energy in the machine acts as a catalyst and triggers more flashes for Desmond, but the most interesting line of the scene came from the technician himself when describing the panic button: "try not to push it, otherwise we'll have to start all over again." For years on the Island, Desmond did just that...pushed the button, reset the clock to 108, and essentially stayed stagnant in his incredibly structured life. But the first time he does not push the button, he survives the blast and everything changes. And instead of being essentially stuck in time, he instead is able to move through it. If everything was a loop before that moment, Desmond was the one that broke it wide open, and allowed for our story to truly begin.

Alright kids, let me know what you think. Pretty much any theory could be the right one at this point. Till next week......


Blogger The Lifeguard said...

I'm mostly curious about Eloise, how she came to know all this shit. Her younger self didn't seem to know shit. Now she's all existing-between-alternate-realities and talking about "the rules" and shit. Seems to me she may be even higher up on the totem pole than Jacob and MIB. I wonder if she may be their mother, although that wouldn't make much sense whatsoever.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Oh man...I just got a horrible image of old-woman eloise birthing a plume of black smoke. Is that wrong? Yes, it is very wrong.

I second your curiosity, Vin. Although maybe the simplest explanation at this point would be that she picked up Daniel's work in quantum physics/time jumping stuff after she killed him in 1977 (wooops!) Maybe she uncovered a way to access dimensions herself. After all, she seemed to know her way around the Lighthouse station at the church...

4:27 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

I recently rewatched 'Live together, die alone" and i noticed a couple things about the last scene in it. (I had to do my own analysis on this one since this episode aired in the old days when we didn't have lost notes to turn to). The writers draw our attention to how significant this scene is symbolically by making it the first scene in the series that we see present, not past events that are off the island. I may be looking too deep into some of this, but screw it, this is Lost. The first thing i want to point out is that there have been three big electromagnetic events in the series (desmond typing the numbers in late in 2004 to crash the plane, the "incident", and the failsafe key being turned by desmond) and then three big clues about MIB vs jacob and what the show is about (walt and locke playing backgammon right after the crash Desmond caused, MIB and Jacob talking on the beach in the scene immediately following "the incident", and then this chess scene at the end of season 2 following the failsafe key being pulled)
In this final scene two russians are playing a game of chess.
Henrik: "I crush your defense, and that is the last you see of your rook"
Matthias: "All part of the plan my friend"
Henrik: "Ah. Then your plan must be to lose"
The rook is a very important chess piece that can move any number of spaces vertically or horizontally, but cannot move diagonally. Matthias is on team Jacob, and the rook is Jacob himself. The sacrificing of the rook represents Jacob sacrificing his own life, which is "All part of the plan". The significance of Jacob being a rook is that he can move anywhere in the Island world (we have seen him on the island and all over the world), but he cannot move diagonal (between the island world and flash-sideways world, as far as we know since we have not seen him in the flash-sideways world). If Jacob is the rook, i would say that Desmond is the bishop (can move diagonal between worlds) and Jack is the king. He is the king because he is going to replace Jacob. Here's the evidence I see in this single scene of why: Biblically, when Judas betrayed Jesus he needed to be replaced among the 12 apostles. Who replaced him? Matthias . And then what connects this Matthias character to Jack? Jack IS Matthias. If you watch that final scene there is a huge resemblance between Matthias and Matthew Fox. Some people I have talked to think that Len Cordova (the actor IMDB credits as playing the role of Matthias) simply looks like Jack a lot. But look at this picture . If that is not Jack then that is his damn identical twin. Even if that is not Jack/Matthew Fox and is in fact Len Cordova (though I think it is Matthew Fox) there is no way it is a coincidence that the producers hired an actor who looks so much like him. That's my analysis of this two minute scene. Here are some questions. Could the candidates all be apostles? If Jacob is Judas (the betrayer of Jesus) does he do what he does to make right some sort of wrong he did earlier in his life? Also, do you see significance in the fact that right after they detect the electromagnetic event happening Matthias stands up and knocks the whole chess game over?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Wow, BH, that is some GREAT analysis! I remember the discussion around how Matthias and Jack looked alike when the episode aired, but your further evidence tying the two together is good stuff. I tend not to go towards the Biblical route when trying to figure all this stuff out (I'm not saying that they don't clearly reference biblical events in the show, but I don't think that the end will literally be a biblical event in and of itself), but I can appreciate the analysis. Thanks.

4:53 PM  

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