Hello my dear friends -
Several of you have written me with various expressions of awe and wonder regarding "Flashes Before Your Eyes." I will second those who loved the episode - anything trippy like that I am going to enjoy. Plus, I love me some Desmond, so I was bound to like whatever was on the screen that revolved around him.
But I must forewarn you before you start reading this write-up... if you think that I can possibly explain with any level of certainty WHAT THE HELL happened in this episode, you might as well stop reading now. I am just as confused as everyone else. While I am always stressed out when creating these write-ups because of the time pressure, I have never been outright INTIMIDATED to write one like I am now. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are literally thousands of different takes on this episode, and because I, unlike Desmond, AM enslaved by time and space, I need to just stop reading different fan theories or I'm never going to get this thing posted. That being said, I have scoured the boards and pulled together the main theories, and doing that did help me to at least understand what MIGHT have been going on. I'm left with the belief that we need at least one more Desmond flashback to be clear as to what actually transpired. If you have another idea as to what happened or have heard of another credible theory that I missed, by all means, please leave a comment at the end of the post.
THAT. JUST. HAPPENED!
Hands down, the biggest debate raging on the boards is whether or not Desmond's "flashback" was real or a dream. I hesitated putting this topic upfront in the write-up because it is so massive, but basically everything else in the episode hinges off of your interpretation of what Desmond's "flashback" actually was (and from here on out I'm still going to call it a flashback even though it might not have been, and I'm dropping the quotation marks!).
Here is something to consider as we dissect the episode: Entertainment Weekly asked Damon Lindelof, one of the executive producers, to give them a ten-word hint about Desmond's episode (before it aired), and his answer was: "Riddle me this — When is a flashback not a flashback?"
Hmmmm, very enlightening... NOT (yes, I liked Wayne's World, deal with it)! All we clearly know from that lame hint is that this was not a "normal" flashback - meaning that it not was purely a memory of something that had happened in the character's past as it actually happened.
Another hint from the producers was in the recent cover story in EW that I linked to in the last write-up: ...they would be employing a flashback technique "in a way we never have before and never will again."
On to the arguments of what exactly it was that we watched for the majority of the episode...
DREAM ONNNNN, DREAM ONNNNN!
The people taking the "dream" stance believe that everything that happened in the flashback was just bits of Desmond's memories all jumbled together. They essentially disconnect the flashback from Desmond's new ability to see flashes of the future. In their argument, the flashback was just a dream, the future visions are the result of him turning the key and getting zapped, and that's that.
Here is the supporting evidence from the dream-teamers:
- Since Lost has never had a flashback that was just a dream before, this fits with the producers statement above.
- Desmond specifically alludes to it being a dream (Ms. Hawking = thrift shop woman):
DESMOND: This isn't really happening, is it?
MS. HAWKING: Sorry?
DESMOND: I've had a concussion. You're my subconscious.
MS. HAWKING [amused]: Am I?
- This flashback incorporates tons of "memories" from the island: the polar bear in Widmore's painting (and the buddha and the Namaste from the DHARMA video (written backwards at the top of the painting)), the 1:08 on the digital clock, the sound of the countdown beep eminating from the microwave, the "delivery for 815," "Make Your Own Kind of Music" being played at the pub, and even Charlie!
- If Charlie really had had that encounter with Desmond in the past, he would've recognized him the first time he saw Desmond on the island.
- Ms. Hawking stated: "You may not like your path, Desmond, but pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do." Therefore this MUST just be a dream because we all know that Desmond rocks, right?
- At the end of the episode, when telling Charlie what happened to him after he turned the key, Desmond did not say "I went back in time," he said: "When I turned that key my life flashed before my eyes. And then I was back in the jungle and still on this bloody island. But those flashes, Charlie -- those flashes -- they didn't stop." The dream-teamers interpret that to mean that Desmond knows he didn't really time travel, he just had a wacky dream that mixed his past and his present together, and now he's seeing flashes from the future.
WE'RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD...
More evidence that it was all a dream... As has been mentioned in the past, there have been several nods to The Wizard of Oz throughout the series. This episode gave us one of the most obvious - the guy in the red shoes getting killed by the collapsing building. If you remember Dorothy's experience in Oz, it was compiled of people she already knew from her life - the farm hands were the Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and the Tin Man, the Witch was the mean Mrs. Gulch, and so on. So the dream-teamers interpreted Desmond's "flashback" to be just a jumbled memory of his past mixed with his current situation on the island. The fact that he can now see clips of the future was something that resulted from his turning of the key, but the "flashback" was neither an actual memory nor the result of time travel, it was a trippy dream mixing in memories of the island, similar to Dorothy's.
The people who believe Desmond's flashback was real are split into at least three different sub-factions: 1) those who think Desmond actually did time travel, 2) those who think that Desmond did not necessarily time travel, but that he has REALIZED after turning the key that he is living a span of his life over and over again (or in other words, he is in a time loop), and 3) those who think that there are multiple parallel universes and by turning the key, Desmond had or still has the power to go in and out of them.
SORRY Y'ALL, DES AIN'T NO MARTY MCFLY
I hate to do this, but I'm just going to shut down the "time travel" faction here and now. The reason being is that time travel in its purest sense is when someone goes back (or forward) in time and then there may actually be physically two of them - like when the young Marty McFly (aka Calvin Klein) saw his older self and vice versa in the Back to the Future movies. Or like in The Time Traveler's Wife . Or like in lots of other books and movies about time travel. There were clearly NOT two Desmonds. So he did not time travel in the strictest sense of the term. Plus, he didn't have a time machine like a DeLorean or a phone booth a la Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, so isn't it OBVIOUS that there was no time travel??!?! Yes, I realize that I'm acting like I'm an expert on this. Why I'm acting like I know what I'm talking about here shall remain one of e's many mysteries...
Also, on a much more somber level, the producers said in an interview during Season One that there wasn't going to be any time travel. Granted, they also said that there wouldn't be anything on the show that couldn't be scientifically explained (hellloooo, Smokey tossing Eko all around and killing him...??), so who knows how much we can trust that past statement.
"THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT"
On to the time-loopers... As you know, I have been a proponent of the Time Loop Theory for quite a while, having stated as recently as the last write-up that I thought the skeletons found in the caves in Season One are actually Jack's and Kate's. For many, this episode seemed to narrow the time loop evidence down to only Desmond. I still think that a time loop could be affecting everyone - but I think that Desmond may be the only one that REALIZES it at this point.
The evidence the time-loopers draw from is fairly simple... Desmond is not time traveling because there is only one of him, but when he turned the key and saw not only flashes of his past but also of the future, he realized that he was living part of his life (if not all of it) over and over again. The easiest explanation is that Desmond has only gone through ONE brief time loop, and it happened when he turned the key. It can be illustrated as follows - credit to Sledgeweb for the helpful drawing:
What the drawing above shows is that Desmond's loop was only that short matter of days in which he had the chance to propose to Penelope. If the key-turning was what enabled him to go into the loop, then he most likely has only gone through the loop once. While he was disappointed to be back on the island after he woke up from that hatch implosion, it wasn't like he was completely exasperated (as he most likely would be if he had gone through the loop 100 times already). Also, in the flashback, it seemed like he was just realizing what was going on. Whereas, if he had gone through the loop several times, like Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day, it would be old hat.
Finally, when he wakes up from the hatch implosion, he says:
"Please, let me go back. Let me go back one more time. I'll do it right. I'll do it right this time. I'm sorry, Penny. I'll change it. I'll change it."
If he had gone through several time loops, he would KNOW he was going to go back again. In his pleading speech above, he says "let me go back one more time," which to me seems like something he would only say after it just dawned on him what had happened (that he just went backwards in time, that he COULD have changed things... which is what he was just realizing when he got hit in the bar and switched back to the present).
Additionally, consider the double-meaning of what Ms. Hawking says when Desmond enters the jewelry store:
MS. HAWKING: Never done this before have you?
[Camera reveals Desmond in a second hand shop.]
DESMOND: Is it that obvious?
MS. HAWKING: I can always tell the first-timers.
So what does this all mean for his future flashes? This is why some people think that he must have gone through several loops because he has supposedly "seen" Charlie die two times. Which is a good point! However, for the future flashes, I'm not sure if Desmond has to have actually experienced the events, or if he is just "seeing what could happen." His exact words were: "When I saw the lightning hit the roof, you were electrocuted. And when you heard Claire was in the water you -- you drowned trying to save her." It's fairly vague... so I'm not sure if he was his present self and simply saw two different flashes of the future where Charlie died, or if he actually lived through those two scenarios and is now "remembering them from the future." I hope at this point all of you are pausing and realizing how hard it is for me to attempt to explain all of these crazy-ass theories and scenarios?!!?
ONLY EXTREME NERDS NEED APPLY: THE MPU THEORY
This is where we separate the proverbial men from the boys. The Multiple Parallel Universe Theory - or, The MPU Theory from now on. I think this theory can be best illustrated by one of my top five favorite movies, Sliding Doors. You most likely didn't see it, even though it is Gwyneth Paltrow's finest work, in my humble opinion. The premise of the movie is this... in one scenario, Gwyneth misses the subway train she was trying to catch. In another, she manages to squeeze into the train car. Two parallel lives of hers unfold, showing how differently her life turned out in each because of that one small difference. It can also be called the "What If?" theory. What if you went to another college? What if you took that other job offer? What if you didn't marry who you married? What if you never frickin' started watching Lost? THEN YOU WOULDN'T HAVE A HEADACHE RIGHT NOW, that's for damn sure!
The interesting thing in Sliding Doors (spoiler ahead, so skip this paragraph if you want to rent it - highly recommended...) is that even though Gwyneth's lives took drastically different paths, some major things ended up the same, and the overall point of the movie was definitely one of "whatever is meant to be, will be." This is right up there with the "destiny/fate" argument made by Locke throughout the series. Shout-out to CM for seeing this with me in the theater way back in the day!
I highly suggest you read The MPU Theory in its entirety so you can see exactly how it relates to Lost. As well as to just be amazed by the author's attention to detail and thoroughness. I actually do not agree with some of the finer points of the theory, but overall, I do think it could be very possible that what is going on in the show is that there are several parallel universes and that the island exists in a "nexus" of sorts - where some of the timelines may intersect when the key is turned. Desmond jumped out of his current "life timeline" and into another one, and in that one, he did keep the ring despite Ms. Hawking's warning (at least for a little bit). We don't know what happened after he got hit in the bar, but The MPU Theory would have you believe that he eventually woke up in the bar and then perhaps went and asked Penny to forgive him, and now that Desmond is living happily ever after. A very similar, prominent theory is the Black Hole Theory, which you can read here (scroll down a little bit until you see the "Do Black Holes Explain it All?" heading). And yet another similar theory is that the island is on a ley line. Take your pick!
Sorry that this is kind of a hodge-podge, but below is additional evidence to support either the Time Loop Theory, The MPU Theory, or both:
- Time Loop: Some of Desmond's responses to Jack when they first met in the stadium now eerily make more sense:
JACK: What do you know about sprains, anyway?
DESMOND: I was almost a doctor once.
DESMOND: You must have done something worthy of this self-flagellation.
JACK: I told her -- I made her a promise I couldn't keep -- I told her I'd fix her and I couldn't. I failed.
DESMOND: Right. Just one thing -- what if you did fix her?
JACK: I didn't.
DESMOND: But what if you did?
JACK: You don't know what you're talking about, man.
DESMOND: I don't? Why not?
- Time loop: The brooch the jewelry store woman was wearing was the Ouroboros - a snake devouring itself. Some interpret this symbol to mean "the vicious cycle." I like to associate it with another one of my favorite movies, The Neverending Story. Awwwww, yeah - Atreyu, Bastian and Falkor - rock on wit' yo' bad selves! To me, this is a hint that things are happening in a loop.
- Time Loop: Consider the deeper meaning of Penny's words to Desmond near the end of the episode:
DESMOND: It's all happening too soon -- you moving in. You're painting rooms; you're changing things. I don't even like red. Why would you leave your flat, your expensive flat...
PENELOPE [slapping Desmond's face]: Don't do that. Don't you pretend you don't care. And don't you dare rewrite history.
- MPU: This one is going to be hard to explain because it is so strange. But I tested it out a few times (with four other witnesses)... and... a few full minutes after Desmond wakes up in his apartment with the paint splashed all over him, you can faintly but clearly hear Charlie yell "Get him off of me!" Now, what does that prove? It could be an audio-editing mistake (highly unlikely with this show which is KNOWN for embedding backwards and hidden audio clips). But some people think that it is proof that Desmond fell into a parallel universe where time is moving at a different pace. So, stay with me here... Desmond turned the key and was transported back to his apartment, about 7 years prior. However, back on the island, a few days had passed, and Charlie is now tussling with Desmond in the sand and screams out the cry for help. Since present-day Desmond is now jumping between universes at different points in time, he hears Charlie faintly and then is pulled fully into the past (which is why he doesn't hear anything like that again during the flashback). I know I didn't explain that one that well, but Charlie's voice is definitely there. If you still have the episode, it is a little bit past when Penny gets on the floor with Desmond, chiding him about needing to be more careful (it is not immediately after Desmond wakes up, that's why it's weird).
- MPU: Desmond has said "See you in another life, brotha!" twice now. Once to Locke before he went to turn the key, and once to Jack in the stadium. Some fans think that he literally meant "ANOTHER life" - as in, another parallel life.
- Both: When we first see Ms. Hawking in the second-hand shop, many fans noticed that she is surrounded by tons of different clocks, and they are all pointing to different times.
- Both: When Desmond first sees his professor friend, the professor is talking a student and he says: "Your thesis is a bit neat. The wild card part which is unpredictability -- run the same test 10 times -- you'll 10 different outcomes. It's what makes life so wonderfully..." then he gets cut off. But they didn't just randomly have him say that for nothing!
- Both: Desmond's flashback took place at least 6 or 7 years BEFORE the plane crashed on the island. He still has to join the Royal Scots (the office he passed in the episode), go to jail, train for the race, go on the race, and then spend three years pushing the button before the Lostaways find him. That is why Charlie wouldn't have necessarily remembered Desmond from their brief encounter (debunking the Dream theory). As a side note, I would guess that this would then have to be BEFORE DriveShaft became famous. Which is why I got a kick out of Charlie's "And this is why we don't do drugs!" line when he thought Desmond was insane.
- Both: Desmond uses the exact same wording as Ms. Hawking did when talking to Charlie:
MS. HAWKING: Because it wouldn't matter. Had I warned him about the scaffolding tomorrow he'd be hit by a taxi. If I warned him about the taxi, he'd fall in the shower and break his neck. The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die. That was his path just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.
Back on the island, Desmond says to Charlie: "I've tried, brother. I've tried twice to save you, but the universe has a way of course correcting and -- and I can't stop it forever. I'm sorry. I'm sorry because no matter what I try to do you're going to die, Charlie."
- Both: Here is what the producers stated about this episode: "It'll either blow people's minds or chase them away for good." Now, let's be realistic - If Desmond's flashback was all a dream, it might make a lot of people mad, but that certainly wasn't going to blow anyone's mind. However, a time loop or an MPU would have the power to do either. I think the producers wanted people to know that the show is now going in a fundamentally different direction, and they just threw the stake down with this episode.
OK, now that I have covered the main theories about what Desmond's flashback actually was, we can move into some of the smaller questions raised and observations made during this episode.
SHE WAS ACTUALLY AN OTHER!
The jewelry store woman... she was freaky, no? This is not the first time that actress has played a creepy role - she was the maid in The Others. Her name on Lost is "Ms. Hawking," which many people think is a shout-out to Stephen Hawking (whose book was showcased briefly on the show last week when Aldo was reading "A Brief History of Time").
The people who believe Desmond's flashback was a dream deem Ms. Hawking to be inconsequential, because to them, none of it was real in the first place. But for those who think that Desmond's flashback actually happened, it is actually harder to explain who she is (not to mention her behavior) than it is to explain the MPU Theory! Everyone else in Desmond's flashback acted "normal," however, Ms. Hawking actually acknowledged what was happening to Desmond - that he was living part of his life over again. She knew what was SUPPOSED to happen, and was very upset when he tried to change things. And by the way, if you assume that what Desmond experienced actually happened, then she must be a real person and not some figment of his imagination (as in, "his subconscious") because she actually bought chestnuts from the vendor. Thanks to JB for pointing that out... I had been convinced she was like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense until I saw another character besides Desmond interact with her. There are many theories on who she is, but I must admit that none of them are really moving me. The two main guesses as to who she is are:
- She may just simply be someone who has also experienced what Desmond is now experiencing (time-jumping), so she is confused and worried that things are not going according to the usual plan... Remember her "I can always spot a first-timer" line. She may have no other significance in the show than that. When she says "And if you don't do those things... every single one of US is dead," she may literally mean everyone in the world, because she believes that keeping the electromagnetic force contained on the island is actually "saving the world." She may also mean that all fellow time-jumpers will die, because they will somehow be caught in between universes.
- She may be an Other or someone working for DHARMA who has a vested interest in ensuring that Desmond ends up on the island pressing the button. I think this is the most likely scenario, because how else would she know so much about Desmond's life? If she was just a fellow time-jumper, she wouldn't know all of the details about his relationship with Penny, the boat race, or the island. In this scenario, when she states that "every single one of US will die," she may mean everyone, but she may also mean just the people on the island, or just a certain sub-set of people. The way she emphasized "US" seemed too blatant to me. She could've just said "Everyone in the world will die!" which would've been more dramatic, but she specifically chose to say "every single one of US will die," so I think there's something to that.
One last point I wanted to bring up before moving on from Freaky Lady is that I was confused by why she was so upset that Desmond was doing something different this time around. It kind of goes against her whole "the universe will eventually course correct" speech, now doesn't it? If she really believed that all outcomes are pre-determined, why did she make such a fuss when Desmond kept the ring? She should've been confident that he would end up screwing it up somehow (which he did, but that's beside the point). It makes me think that she was just bluffing, and that she knows that free will does exist and that people can change their paths if they know they're being given the chance to do so. She did the whole "guy with red shoes dying" bit just for dramatic effect, to really scare the crap out of Desmond. But in the end, it was like she was trying too hard to prove a point that technically she shouldn't have to prove.
Which leads us to the second-most hotly debated topic on the boards...
IS THE HOBBIT REALLY HEADED FOR THE GREAT BIG SHIRE IN THE SKY?
I have to admit that I thought I was awesome about mid-way through the episode. After the guy with the red shoes was squashed and Ms. Hawking gave her "course correct" speech, I paused the Tivo and said arrogantly to my friends, "So do you get what this means?!?!?"
"Do you get what this means IN THIS SHOW?!?!?!"
"It means that Claire is totally going to die - Desmond keeps trying to save her!"
Ooohs and aaaahhhhs. Oh e, you are so smart. I was thinking to myself, 'it's like I write this show sometimes.' Well, color me fooled at the end when Des did the ol' switcheroo and told Charlie that it had been him he'd been trying to save all along. How great was that?
I am not kidding when I said that this was the second-hottest topic on the boards. I pasted in some of the comments in the last section of this write-up so you could get a flavor for the sentiment out there. There are definitely some Hobbit-haters, that much I'll say. Then there are the romantic people who think that Charlie can't die because of his blooming relationship with Claire and his buddy-ness with Hurley.
I do not think Charlie is going to die, but it's not because I am a delusional LOTR fan, or kidding myself about his role on the island or in the show. I think he won't die because if he dies now, that that will be the equivalent of the producers saying "That's it, we are showing you our cards - there IS NO FREE WILL FOR OUR CHARACTERS. EVERYTHING IS PRE-DETERMINED." I think this episode was meant to fool us, just as Ms. Hawking was trying to fool Desmond, into believing that fate cannot be altered. This has always been one of the main themes of the show - you've got your Jack and the Free-Willers, and you've got your Locke and the Destiny & Faters. If Charlie does die, it will not be until the series finale. But seriously, who would write a show where the main message is, "You are not in control of anything in your life"? I have to believe that they want to show to go out on a more positive note than that. So I think something will happen to prove that Desmond is not doomed to a life of misery, and therefore I definitely do not think that Charlie will die.
I BET YOU MISSED *ALL* OF THIS...
As usual, there were a ton of little things in the show that were cool simply because they were clever, or because they were possible hints. As they don't fit into any neat category, I will just start listing them all out:
- The book from Sawyer's stash:
I personally think that Laughter in the Dark is just a red herring, and doesn't really mean anything for the show. Except that perhaps the producers are Police fans and are excited about the reunion tour?
As one fan so astutely put it, these lyrics sum up the book (this happens to be my favorite Police song, too - bonus!):
It's no use
He sees her
He starts to shake, he starts to cough
Just like the old man in that
Famous book by Nabokov
Now at least I know what book Sting was talking about! How useful.
- Charlie's middle name
Here is what is written about Hieronymus Bosch, who seems to be the only famous Hieronymus: (latinized; also Jeroen Bosch or his real name Jeroen van Aken) (c. 1450 – August, 1516) A prolific Dutch painter of the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of his works depict sin and human moral failings. Bosch used images of demons, half-human animals and machines to evoke fear and confusion to portray the evil of man. The works contain complex, highly original, imaginative, and dense use of symbolic figures and iconography, some of which was obscure even in his own time. He is said to have been an inspiration for the surrealist movement in the 20th century.
A similar sounding term is "Heuronymous machines," which appear in an Indian text called Jantar Mantar. It alludes to these machines as self-hypnotic devices that can raise the mental powers of a human being by many orders of magnitude.
Alas, some people on the boards looked at Charlie's middle name a completely different way (and probably the way it was MEANT to be interpreted!):
"Can't help but notice the word heroin in Hieronymus, maybe a scramble for "Heroin's Yum?"
- Special Tunes
I *loved* these catches!
1) The song playing on the radio when Desmond is dressing is "Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLachlan. Tell me about it, sista! I have not confirmed this, but one person on the boards said the part of the song that's playing is: "Oh you're a beautiful... a beautiful f-cked up man." True dat! Also, note that this song came out in 1997, which meshes with my theory that this flashback was 7 years before the plan crash.
2) The song Charlie is singing on the sidewalk is "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Many people have always joked that DriveShaft was modeled after Oasis (two screwed up British brothers, etc.). However, the hilarious part, in light of Desmond's speech to Charlie at the end of the episode, is that Charlie was singing the part of the song that goes, "And maybeeeee, you're gonna be the one that saves meeeee......" I LOVE IT! As a side note, this Oasis album was released in 1995, and since it wasn't on the radio but rather performed as a cover, that also fits with the timeline mentioned above.
3) The song in the bar, "Make Your Own Kind of Music," was of course the Hatch Theme in the opener to Season Two. There is a lot of contention that this song was chosen to illustrate that people do have control over their destiny and can choose to do whatever they want to do.
- Drink up, boys!
OF COURSE the whiskey that Charlie, Hurley and Desmond so enjoyed had to be symbolic for something... It was "MacCutcheon's" whiskey, and in real life, MacCutcheon was an amateur chess player that beat the current world champion in 1885 by... using a new opening move. I think that ties into the theme of the episode quite nicely! How do they FIND this stuff?
- More connections
Remember way back when, to Claire's first freakadelic flashback? When we met her mean boyfriend who ended up leaving her after she became pregnant? Remember his paintings? How did one end up in Widmore's office?
Since, once again, this flashback most likely happened seven years before the plane crash, and Claire's flashback was just months before the crash, the only explanations are:
1) It was a production error
2) Claire's boyfriend was making knock-off paintings
3) Widmore ended up selling or giving away the painting, or perhaps he died and it was an inheritance? The last we saw of Widmore was before Desmond went on the sailing race, which was about 4 years before the crash, so who knows, he could have died and was possibly related to Claire or her boyfriend, so they collected the painting afterward.
- Blink and you'll miss it...
Big props to the viewers who caught the ever-so-suspicious array of logos surrounding the soccer field during the televised match Desmond and his friend were watching at the pub. Even HD viewers could barely make them all out, but my boy humpy was able to grab a pretty clean shot. Just trust me that the following logos are or were somewhere around the soccer field: Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack (where Hurley worked), The Hanso Foundation, Bubbies (diapers that DriveShaft made the commercial for), Kronos (don't know what this is, but Chronos is the God of Time), Oceanic Airlines, and of course, Apollo Candy Bars. I've gotten past the point of caring whether this sort of "easter egg" even means anything, I'm just content with thinking that it is cool and that the creators are clever.
- I am... from... The Future!
Another great catch by the HD peeps:Desmond's paint can seemed to be "Future" brand paint? I have never seen that at Home Depot, what gives?
- Enough with the paintings
Above I covered the fact that the painting in Widmore's office was the same one as in Claire's boyfriend's studio. Other people pointed out that the painting in Desmond's apartment also bore a striking resemblance in style to the polar bear painting in Widmore's office. The apartment painting seemed to have hatch-counter-like hieroglyphics in it, too. People assumed that perhaps as they were so similar, that they were both painted by Penny (which could be an explanation as to why they were at both Desmond's place and her dad's). But we do not have confirmation that they are by the same artist, it just seems like stylistically they are extremely similar. And to throw more confusion into the mix, they also look similar to the infamous hatch mural. I figured it out! There's just one dude that they hired to create all paintings that appear on the show!
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
When Desmond David Hume was first introduced on the show, I mentioned that his namesake, the philosopher David Hume, was known for his musings on how free will and fate are entirely intertwined, and how you can't have one without the other. Just wanted to remind you all of that!
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
In continuing with one of the major themes of the series, Fate vs. Free Will, I now think that the writers are setting Desmond up on the "Fate" side of things. However, he is still very different from Locke in that Desmond is resigned to the fact that he just can't do anything about anything. Whereas Locke is interested in understanding what the universe has in store for him, and then pursuing that with gusto, no matter if it is even something as simple as, say, pushing a button. Now that Locke's brief lack of faith resulted in the disaster that was the hatch imploding, you can bet that he is going to come back full-force on the Fate Train. However, Desmond just seems hopeless about his lot in life. They may be doing this to give credence to the notion that Desmond is supposedly "a coward." The interesting thing is that Desmond is still obviously trying to be proven wrong about how "you can't change it"... because why else would he still be trying to save Charlie?
This leads to something else I've mentioned during Season 2... there is a theory out there that this whole series is actually about Desmond. Kind of like how you learn that the Star Wars series was actually all about Anakin Skywalker much later, when you had originally thought it was about Luke. Follow me? Some people compare the plight of Desmond to that of Odysseus in Homer's The Odyssey... going through trials and tribulations (many taking place on a boat, and on islands, and with monsters...) all just to get back to his love... Penelope. Some have gone even further to speculate that the skeletons in the cave are NOT those of Jack and Kate, but of Desmond and Penelope - who finally are together forever. Morbid? Yes. But very much still possible. Let's not forget that we know from the Season Two finale that she IS trying to find him.
While we're on the subject... WHY is she trying to find him? If you piece together this latest flashback with his first, you know that Desmond does join the Royal Scots, gets kicked out and thrown in jail, wrote to Penny that entire time, but she never knew it because her evil father (Widmore) intercepted the letters. He then decided to enter Widmore's sailing contest to "win back his honor," was given his sailboat by Libby, and during his training, Penny tracked him down at the stadium (right before he first met Jack). He told Penny he would be entering the race and that he would return in a year. Also, at that point, Penny was engaged to someone else. After that, somewhere between three to four years passed between the race itself and Desmond's time on the island before the Lostaways arrived. When we saw the flash of Penny being woken up by a call from the dudes in the arctic who detected the electromagnetic anomaly, we can only assume that it is the present day (at that point, late November, 2004). So why has she been tracking him this whole time?
The guess is that Desmond, during one of his time jumps, somehow got a note to her about what was going on, and gave her direction as to what she should be looking for. That is why I think there has to be at least one more Desmond flashback, to piece that part together. However, if she is Widmore's daughter, she probably already knows that her dad is evil, and could've figured things out on her own. But I prefer the "he left her a note from beyond" theory!
I ADMIT IT, I AM EASILY FOOLED
I need to send a huge shout-out to JB, my brother, and my dad for helping me think through the massive amount of information I had to process in creating this write-up. My family was all together this past weekend, and we re-watched Lost and then talked about everything that possibly could've been going on. My mind would've surely exploded had it not been for their help. I also have to admit to being freaked out by a pretty lame trick. For quite a while now, the clock on my parents' stove has been stuck at 2:17 (long story). All of the other clocks in the house are right, so it really doesn't matter. But there I sat Sunday morning, just beginning to piece together this write-up, and as I gazed out across the kitchen, my eyes fell on the stove clock. It was now 1:08. I'm sure my eyes must have widened, and I know for a fact that my blood definitely ran cold for about 2 seconds. I turned to my brother in the next room, "Did you change the clock?!?!?!" Unfortunately for him, ee is the worst liar EVER. He started laughing, "Uh... no. But I think Dad did."
Ha, ha, very funny. You had me for a few seconds. It actually bothered me that it remained on 1:08 though (and will until someone changes it again). What can I say... I think it is OBVIOUS that this show gets to me...
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
[Charlie and Hurley follow Desmond into the jungle to meet with Sayid and Locke.]
CHARLIE: What happened?
LOCKE: Eko is dead.
SAYID: We found his body in the jungle -- buried him yesterday.
CHARLIE: How did he die?
LOCKE: The island killed him.
[Back on the London street.]
DESMOND: You're Charlie.
CHARLIE: Yeah, name's on the sign. [referring to a homemade sign at his feet]
[We see flashes from the island: Inman in his environmental suit; Desmond holding the key; Inman dead with blood on Desmond's hand; Desmond running; the timer with hieroglyphs displayed; "system failure" displayed on the monitor; the execute button; the computer crashing to the ground.]
DESMOND [slightly crazed]: Who -- they -- they. It -- it was in the hatch. I remember seeing you. There was a -- there was a computer. There was a button. We -- we were on an island.
CHARLIE: We are on an island, mate. This is England.
DESMOND [a little more crazed]: No, it was real, man. I remember.
CHARLIE: Hey, alright. [to the crowd] This is why we don't do drugs.
HURLEY: Hey, do you know any songs about drinking and fighting and girls with one leg?
CHARLIE: Well, girls with [Desmond joins in] one leg and a heart of gold!!
[Charlie helps Desmond over to a tree near his tent.]
DESMOND: You're a good man, Charlie. Listen, I'm sorry I tried to strangle you, alright?
WISE WORDS FROM THE BOARDS
- This episode was old school Lost. Meaning, it rocked!
- But this whole situation was just pretty darn weird, even for Lost. It's like The Butterfly Effect, but with better actors.
- Holy crap, it is like Final Destination mixed with Groundhog Day mixed with the Truman Show!
- Hands down the best episode of this season. It left me with the same sort of chills that I felt during the best of the previous seasons. Loved the little touches throughout Desmond's flashback that connected him to the island, the microwave sound, the boat, the painting with the bear and man... Totally amazing episode.
- Well, that was a nice little mindf-ck of an episode. So was that in his head or did the magnetic discharge really get him unstuck in time a la Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse 5?
- I think Claire's bangs are a metaphor. Like she can't see what's in front of her. You know, 'cause of her bangs.
- Hobbit is going to die? Seriously? Without me having to offer my first born as payment?
- Now that Desmond has delivered the sweet, sweet news of Charlie's impending doom, I am more in love that Scottish loser than ever!
- Who gave Claire the bangs she was rockin'? Especially since Kate the hairstylist was on her way to back to the island.
- On the whole, what a brilliant, brilliant way to play with their form, as well as giving us a nice love story for Valentine's Day.
- ...and a mighty cheer erupted across the land, the moment Desmond uttered that final line!
- Guess Charlie was supposed to die back in Season One? And now the series is correcting itself?
- That was an especially wonderful episode, and I laughed aloud when Desmond said Charlie's gonna die based on the enormous cheer I imagined crossing the nation's living rooms.
- Hey Desmond! So does Kate end up with Sawyer or Jack? (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)
- Desmond should be cloned and distributed to women everywhere.
- And potentially dead Charlie is a gift from the gods. Just shut him up for good. His voice is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. I don't know if the dead Charlie news was better than the fact that Kate wasn't on this one at all.
- Do you think Charlie will die when Sawyer finds out that Charlie raided his stash?
- Benry, Fionnuala Flanagan and Clancy Brown are all going to try TOGETHER to kill me in my dreams tonight. This show has the freaking SCARIEST people on it!! I want to HIDE! So. Much. Evil.
- Sounds like reincarnation, living the life over and over until they get it right.
- If things ran concurrently, no two paths would cross. But if the the island were a place where these timelines intertwined or wrapped or touched or whatever... you'd see shadows of other lives. You might hear whispers from other timelines.
- Did Dezzy leave a McFly-to-Dr. Brown letter for Penny back in the day? Is that how she knew to look for him? If that's the case, I know how Charlie will die. LIBYANS!
- What if you'd met a different girl, or moved somewhere else, or turned left instead of right? In my original theory, somewhere out there in the spaghetti strands of time, there's a universe where "exactly" each one of those things happened. So what if the island represented a type of nexus for these timelines, drawn there and bent around the strange magnetic fields HANSO came to study?
- I really like the free will vs. fate theme, assuming that's what's going on here. Unless they end up going with fate, of course. Because fate is bullshit. At least one person upthread pondered why Des would go through the motions of fulfilling his "fate" rather than taking a shot at changing things with Penny. I think it goes to the ultimate reconciliation of fate and free will, which Desmond has realized. Of course we have free will. But ultimately, we are who we are, and the choices we make are consistent with our nature, regardless of circumstance. So in the end, "fate" is what we make it. But since "we" are always "us" the decisions we make and actions we take will always result in the "fated" outcome. We can't escape ourselves. No matter how many chances we have.
- Time is limited to the relativity of the finite. The infinite does not experience time linearly, and thus, is exposed to all time at once. The infinite has no beginning and no end, so if Desmond were able to escape the linear time-space continuum, he would experience the infinite. In that space, he would experience all time together as one, since Desmond himself would have no end and no beginning while being within the infinite. Whether or not this is what Desmond experienced is still up for debate. This notion of a finite being touching the infinite was very well expressed in "12 Monkeys", in which Bruce Willis' character starts to experience things from different times at the same point and time in space after enduring time-travel. Characters from his past and future all collide in what he perceives to be the present. The result of this (in 12 Monkeys) is insanity, as the finite brain cannot handle the multiple dimensions of time as represented by the infinite.
- New theories have emerged relatively recently that actually take what would have been considered "extraordinary" science fiction in the past and is now being taken seriously. Multiple universes for example. Also, the idea of there being three dimensions is being questioned in favored of 11 dimensions. Then, of course, Universal String Theory has been all the rage in recent years. Basically, Lost seems to be taking cutting edge scientific theories that are legitimate and putting its own spin on it - but there's enough real credence to support what TPTB have asserted if they choose to go that route.
- The LOST Companion Book is going to be 28,000 pages long. Read it all, and you will automatically earn a PH.D in philosophy. And physics.
2/21/07 - Stranger in a Strange Land - They are promising three huge answers in this episode - do you believe them? The U.S. preview, and the very different Canadian preview
2/28/07 - Tricia Tanaka is Dead
3/7/2007 - Enter 77
3/14/07 - Par Avion
There you have it, folks! Oh, my head!