Hello my dear friends -
As I'm sure you've already guessed, I--like millions of other people--love love LOVED "The Constant." I would rank it as my #2 favorite episode of the series (with #1 remaining "Walkabout," Locke's first flashback--you know I gots ta stay true to my main man!). We can now state with conviction that there are two things in this world that are certain, besides death and taxes: Locke-centric episodes will always be awesome, and Desmond-centric episodes will also always be awesome.
I was unfortunately slightly spoiled going into "The Constant"; I knew that it was going to be about Desmond, but thankfully I didn't know anything else. When we saw right away that this wasn't going to be a "normal" set of Desmond flashbacks like the ones in "Catch-22" and "Live Together, Die Alone," but rather another head-trippy round of apparent time-traveling like in "Flashes Before Your Eyes," I shouted out at the TV: "YEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!" Right then, only minutes into the hour, I was sure that the episode was going to rock.
It was going to rock like the helicopter rocked as Frank diligently tried to hold it steady on the correct bearing, despite the approaching storm. Frank succeeded in finally getting his new crew to the freighter, but not before Desmond experienced the "side effects" that we later learn Daniel had known about. All of a sudden, Desmond wakes up in his old military barracks, and then seconds later when he's back in the helicopter, he no longer recognizes Sayid. This prompted me to yell, "HOLY #@#*$(#%@!!!!!" at the TV. How's that for the first five minutes of the show! When the "BOOM" sound rang out and the commercial break started rolling, I just sat there, stunned.
Since this episode was unusual in that the real-time events and the flashes melded together, I'm going to attack it as chronologically as possible. I have a few general thoughts (including the latest audio podcast debrief) that come after the scene-by-scene analysis , and then I've also added some additional commentary on "Eggtown" at the end.
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?
DOES ANYBODY REALLY CARE (ABOUT TIME)?
Since Frank is perhaps the furthest thing there is from a gorgeous blonde, he wasn't able to pull one over on Sayid, who immediately noticed that the time of day went from evening to the middle of the afternoon in an instant once the helicopter broke through the storm.
SAYID: What's happening to Desmond? Your friends know what's wrong with him.
FRANK: Well if they do, they're not sharing it with me.
SAYID: Then perhaps you'll share how we left in the helicopter at dusk and landed in the day.
FRANK: Listen. I don't know what's happening to your buddy, alright? But you gotta trust me when I tell you this. I am here to help you.
However, even though at this point it is not entirely and utterly clear what day it is on the Island (vs. the freighter), the respective dates are definitely not too far off from each other. Desmond and Sayid helped clue us fans into the date on the freighter by noticing the calendar in the communications room, which indicated that it was December 24th, 2004. On the Island, it is widely believed to be Day 96, which would be December 26th. Either the timeline that fans have established for the Island is wrong (Lostpedia has it blown out in extreme detail here), or there's an up-to-2-day differential between the two locations. And no, I wouldn't expect that Sayid would know exactly what day it was supposed to be on the Island, so I don't think that December 24th would've jumped out at him as being wrong.
If you think that I can possibly even begin to explain what is going on with all this, then I am sorry, but I have failed you miserably. I have no idea what is going on anymore. If there's not a difference in the dates on the Island vs. the freighter, then I don't know how to explain the time lag that Daniel noticed in his experiment, much less the delay there appeared to be (to those on the Island) with the helicopter reaching the freighter. If the dates are two days apart, then I'm even more dumbfounded, because I don't see what would be so significant about that (I thought if there was going to be a time difference, it would be in years, not a few days). My confusion only intensified after Daniel Vintage '96 entered the picture, but I'll get to that later.
'CAUSE I GOT FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES
Once on the freighter, Desmond is whisked away to the sick bay by two new faces: Keamy and Omar. On the way, they mention that they know they must still be in the South Pacific because their last stop had been Fiji. I got the sense that these guys, while concerned that Frank had brought Flight 815 survivors back, weren't outright "bad." In fact, one of the things I was not expecting at all was how downright civil the freighter crew was.
After Desmond is locked in the medical hold, he proceeds to have another episode, which again brings him to his time in the military. After he snaps back from this latest flash, he is stunned to hear another man in the room (who is strapped down to a bed) whispering, "It's happening to you, too, isn't it?"
I was surprised when we found out that poor guy was none other than George Minkowski. Obviously Regina, who we have yet to meet, wanted to keep Minkowski's deteriorating state from the crew who went to the Island. After explaining what he believed caused his fragile condition, George also tells Desmond and Sayid that someone had recently destroyed the freighter's communication with the mainland, and then took them to see the damage for themselves. The most obvious suspect for "freighter sabotagouer" is of course Ben's mole.
TIIIIII-I-IME, WHY YOU PUNISH ME?
But I'm skipping ahead, now aren't I? Before Desmond got a chance to chat with his fellow time-jumper, Frank (who I'm so glad is turning out to be a good guy) comes down to the medical hold with Sayid and they manage to keep the other freighter crew members at bay while Desmond talks to Daniel on the phone.
It becomes immediately obvious that Daniel knows exactly what is happening to Desmond... so much so that he digs out his journal and tells Desmond that the next time he has a flash, he must get himself to Oxford and find Daniel Vintage '96. At this point in the show, I was literally bouncing up and down on my chair and clapping. Too insane! Too insane!!!!
DESPITE ALL MY RAGE I AM STILL JUST A RAT IN A CAGE
Unfortunately, I didn't like (love) '96 Daniel as much as I like (am obsessed with) Island Daniel. He was a little bit meaner, didn't you think? Maybe it was his grunge hairdo. Everyone was angry back in those days. At least he still was rockin' his tie. But seriously, something major must happen to him over the next eight years that will soften his personality a bit. At least we now have a better idea as to why he appears to be suffering from short-term memory loss on the Island... he never donned any protective head gear when he ran all of his experiments on Eloise.
[DAN puts on a special coat.]
DESMOND: What's that for?
DESMOND: Do I get one?
DAN: You don't need one. For prolonged exposure, I do this twenty times a day.
DESMOND: So what do you put on your head?
DAN: (chuckles) Yeah.
Des becomes frustrated by Daniel's apparent lack of interest in helping him, so he not-so-gently reminds the professor that they both end up on an Island together, and that Future Daniel specifically told him to come to Oxford. Daniel's response: "Why would I go to an island?"
That question, while not that big of a deal, at least proves that Daniel, in 1996, was most likely NOT involved with Dharma/Widmore/Abaddon/or whatever organization is leading the Island mission he joins in the future. They most likely find out about his experiments and subsequently recruit him--at least that's my guess for now.
ALL MIXED UP, DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, NEXT THING YOU TURN AROUND AND FIND THE PERSON IS YOU
Poor Des wakes up again on the freighter, and stares into the mirror, bewildered by his own unkempt long hair and haggard appearance. "I look like bloody hell, brotha!"
I should not be joking about this scene, though, because I actually thought it was one of the saddest of the night. Could you imagine staring into the mirror and seeing yourself aged eight years--looking about as far from a clean-cut military dude as possible? And on top of it, you're in the bottom of a ship in the middle of nowhere with some guy who you don't know (although he knows you) and another freak tied down to a bed who claims to understand what's happening to you. And all you recognize is your ex-girlfriend who's in a photo that's randomly in your pocket, and you can't figure out why your shirt appears to have no buttons so as to expose your bare chest for all to see?
Admit it, you'd be scared. Maybe not about the shirt because you feel like you look damn good in it, but otherwise, you'd be scared.
This is the scene where Minkowski finally introduces himself, and then goes on to say that he used to control all communications to and from the ship, and that he was told to never answer any of the calls that recently started coming through from Penny. Further, he reveals that it was only two days ago that someone destroyed the equipment that had been used to communicate with the mainland. What didn't make sense to me was how George would know who Desmond was, if he never actually answered any of the calls from Penny. How would he know Des was Penny's boyfriend... how would he even know Desmond's name? Perhaps the Captain briefed him on the Penny's background or something. But at least we now know that the freighter team was aware that Penny had located Desmond and was also searching for the Island, even though they did not want to help her in any way. We also know that Penny must have known enough about the freighter to find a phone number for it... which means that it could possibly be a ship that is ultimately under the control of Widmore Corporation (more on that idea later).
As Sayid begins to think up a plan to escape from the sick bay, Minkowski points out that he and Desmond "must have a friend on the boat," because the door is now mysteriously open. The friend is obviously either Frank or Ben's mole. I'm guessing the latter, since Frank was supposedly getting a smack-down from the captain (and probably wouldn't have felt the need to do his good deed anonymously).
While on the way to the communications room, George says that he and another crew member, Brandon, wanted to see the Island, so they took a small tender out into the ocean on their own. Shortly thereafter, Brandon started acting strangely, so they turned around and came back. Brandon then died, and Minkowski started having his flashes. He seemed to think that the freighter will eventually make it to the Island, and then then "this" would happen to everyone.
In the next Oxford flash, Desmond sees that Eloise has died. But Daniel is more concerned about the fact that Des claims to have been gone for only five minutes in the future, whereas his body was actually zonked out in Daniel's office for about 75 minutes. Des is like, "Yeah, but what about the dead rat, brotha!?!?" Daniel explains that he believes Eloise's brain short-circuited--that an aneurysm killed her. He thinks the only way to prevent this same fate from befalling Desmond is for Desmond to find "a constant"--something that is present in both time periods of his life that he's flipping between. This constant will serve as his mind's anchor, and will prevent him from becoming "unstuck in time" (a shout-out to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five) like his pet rat did... which will also hopefully keep him from dying. Desmond knows that his constant can only be Penny.
IT'S GONNA TAKE MONEY, A WHOLE LOTTA SPENDING MONEY
As Penny had hung up on Desmond the last time he called her and had since changed her phone number and moved (anyone else getting the impression Des was a stalker?), our favorite Scotsman had no choice but to track down her dear old dad, who will forever be "Caleb from The OC" to me. Desmond found him doing what mega-rich people like to do... bidding on random stuff for ridiculous amounts of money at snooty auctions. But in this case, what Mr. Widmore was bidding on was quite interesting. It was the journal of the first mate from the Black Rock--the ship which is now in ruins in the middle of the jungle on the Island. You can refresh your memory on everything the auctioneer said about the Black Rock ledger here, but what I think is most important is that the diary had been kept in the Hanso family up until the auction in 1996. Its last owner was Tovard Hanso (who we can only assume is related to Alvar Hanso (CEO of The Hanso Foundation, backer of Dharma) and Magnus Hanso (believed to be the great-grandfather of Alvar, and possible commander of the Black Rock, and most likely buried on the Island, according to the Hatch Map).
The Hansos had the ledger in their family for nearly 150 years... why were they giving it up now? Was there nothing of importance in it or something? And why was Widmore after it?
Regardless, we now know that Widmore had the ledger in his possession for about five years before Desmond entered the Widmore-sponsored sailing competition in 2001, during which Des ended up on the Island. I have always had a sneaking suspicion that perhaps Widmore wanted Desmond to end up on the Island. Let's not forget that Libby was the one who gave Desmond the sailboat (claiming it was her "late husband's"), and you know something totally fishy was going on there. Could she have been working for Widmore? I'm now wondering if Widmore is perhaps in a race against Hanso and Dharma for control of the Island. Thinking about all this stuff has made me quite positive that we'll probably see Libby again at some point in perhaps someone else's flashback. She was at the mental institution with Hurley, too... something's just not adding up about her.
Back to the old rich white dude... did anyone else besides me think it was not only really bizarre, but also kind of gross, that Desmond was talking to Penny's dad while he was at the urinal? Why'd that have to be the setting? Couldn't they have been walking down a hall or something? Maybe it was meant to underscore the fact that Des never felt like he was good enough for Mr. Widmore, so the only time he could get his attention was while the businessman was otherwise occupied going to the bathroom. All I know is that it was weird. But in the end, Mr. Widmore did in fact give Desmond Penny's new address.
This struck me as extremely strange, too. Why would he do that? If you wanted some guy away from your daughter, would you give him her new address? I think not.
Now I'm launching into Conspiracy Theory Mode. Remember when Desmond first met Penny, back at the monastery? She came to pick up wine and he helped her load it into her truck. Could that have been a chance encounter? Sure. But when you consider the fact that the head monk had a picture on his desk of the very same mysterious lady who Desmond encountered during his first bout of time-jumping (Ms. Hawking), it seems a bit more suspicious. While I do honestly believe that Penny loves Desmond, I can't help but wonder if Mr. Widmore was involved in setting up that initial "chance" encounter between the two. If Mr. Widmore was associated with Ms. Hawking, who knew that Desmond would eventually end up on the Island (as well as time-jump), and who also seemed to be familiar with the ability herself, then perhaps Mr. Widmore knew that it was critical to be able to follow Desmond's life closely. If his own daughter got involved with Desmond, it would be the perfect way to keep tabs on his whereabouts.
However, why then would he intercept all of the letters Des wrote to Penny during his time in prison, or try to pay Des off to stay away from Penny down the road? That part doesn't really fit in with my theory. Maybe after a while he figured that he could keep track of Desmond on his own or something. Which would explain why Mr. Widmore showed up in person when Des was released from incarceration.
Penny may have eventually put all of this together and then launched her own search for Desmond, unbeknownst to her father.
One last thing on the Mr. Widmore: Matchmaker Theory... in "Flashes Before Your Eyes," when Desmond encountered Ms. Hawking in the jewelry store and she freaked out when he actually went through with buying the ring, they had this exchange:
DESMOND: I don't know what you're on about.
MS. HAWKING: You don't buy the ring, Desmond.
DESMOND: How do you know my name?
MS. HAWKING: Well, I know your name as well as I know that you that don't ask Penny to marry you. In fact, you break her heart. Well, breaking her heart is, of course, what drives you in a few short years from now to enter that sailing race -- to prove her father wrong -- which brings you to the island where you spend the next 3 years of your life entering numbers into the computer until you are forced to turn that failsafe key. And if you don't do those things, Desmond David Hume, every single one of us is dead. So give me that sodding ring.
So maybe if Mr. Widmore and Ms. Hawking are in cahoots (which once again is only a theory of mine, not anything that's been substantiated on the show yet), it's not necessarily for an evil purpose. Maybe they both honestly believed that if Desmond didn't fulfill his destiny on the Island, the world would end. And maybe Mr. Widmore was afraid that if Des got back together with Penny, he wouldn't get to the Island... so he did everything in his power to make sure that didn't happen.
WAIT FOR ME, PLEASE... WAIT FOR ME.
ALRIGHT, I GUESS THAT'S MORE THAN I SHOULD ASK.
Things become a bit more frantic on the freighter, when Minkowski starts bleeding heavily from his nose (just like Eloise had done before she died), has a seizure, gasps "I... can't... get... back," and then keels over. By this time, Desmond's nose is also bleeding. You must believe me when I say that I was about to have a seizure myself at that moment--I was so freaked out that they were going to do away with my #2 man. My mind was racing--thinking of reasons why The Powers That Be would or would not kill him off.
With both Sayid and Desmond realizing that it was indeed critical for Desmond to reach Penny (though Sayid probably figured he was enabling a "dying wish" for his friend, rather than actually saving him), Sayid flipped back into MacGuyver mode and miraculously repaired the freighter's phone line. (I had to laugh when they had initially entered the room and there were cut cords everywhere... each time Sayid "fixes" something they seem to up the ante for him.)
We then see Desmond's next 1996 flash, where he arrives at Penny's new home and pleads with her to give him her phone number--and swears that he will only use it in eight years, on Christmas Eve, 2004. Curiosity got the best of Penny, and she complied with his request.
TIIII-II-II-IME IS ON MY SIDE, YES IT IS
Finally, we came to the climactic scene where Desmond made the call to Penny in real-time. It is a damn shame that The Powers That Be couldn't have found a way for this episode to air on Valentine's Day (rather than airing the one where Sayid, uh, kills his girlfriend), because when Desmond finally got through to Penny--who confessed that she'd been searching for him for the past three years--well, that scene must've melted even the coldest of hearts.
I was SO SCARED when the phone kept ringing and ringing... at first I was wondering, "WHY THE HELL ISN'T SHE ANSWERING?!?!" Then when they cut back to 1996 and Desmond was walking in the street outside of Penny's house, I was having all sorts of heart attacks and thought, "Oh, good God, he's going to get hit by a car and then real-time Desmond is going to disappear." Moments later, during the emotional Desmond and Penny reunion call when they were both yelling "I love you!" back and forth into the phone, I was positive that Desmond was going to collapse and die. I know I wasn't the only one who was worried about all of these scenarios! It's a good thing none of them came to pass, because I would've led the attack on and subsequent sit-in at the writers' offices. I did re-watch the scene again later and enjoyed it a bit more when I knew it wouldn't end in tragedy.
Instead of a morbid ending, we received confirmation that Desmond has been "cured," as he once again recognized Sayid.
SAYID: I'm sorry, the power source went dead, that's all we have.
DESMOND: Thank you, Sayid. It was enough.
SAYID: Are you alright now?
DESMOND: Aye. I'm perfect.
Damn straight, you're perfect, brotha!
This is the point in time when I started cheering and clapping and bouncing up and down on my chair again. But thanks for taking five years off of my life while getting me to that point of elation, Damon and Carlton--you bastards.
EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY I WRITE THE BOOK
HOLD ON A MINUTE! The show had one more scene left.
In the last few seconds, we see Daniel sitting alone on the Island, flipping through his journal. He finally gets to the page he's been looking for, which reads: "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant."
So this proves that Desmond did in fact meet Daniel back in the day. We have already witnessed Daniel's memory issues, so perhaps that's why Daniel didn't recognize Desmond when they met earlier on the Island. I don't know why Daniel wouldn't have thought his snazzy tie could be his constant (because he said it just needs to be a thing that you care deeply about that's around in both time periods...), but whatever. I guess perhaps it was a different tie, which is unfortunate. As for Desmond? I have no idea why his current self (before getting in the helicopter) wouldn't have remembered the strange events that took place in his life in 1996, which included meeting Professor Faraday. And what about when Penny tracked Desmond down at the stadium right before he left for the sailing race in 2001? I believe we saw their entire conversation in "Live Together, Die Alone," and she didn't say anything like, "So... um... are you still planning on calling me on Christmas Eve, 2004?"
There are a lot of little scenes like that which don't really make sense now that we know that Desmond's mind has traveled back and forth in time more than once. I personally don't care if they ever "explain" all of the little inconsistencies--I think we're way beyond the point of being able to expect answers to the multitude of questions this show has raised over the course of its run so far. As Cuse (producer) himself said last summer at Comic-Con: "Ultimately there are mysteries about the world of the show that will always remain mysteries, that's the nature of life, the world, and that'll be part of the show, so I can't imagine we'll come to a conclusion where every question you have, every mystery will satisfactorily be answered."
That's called "setting expectations," folks! I don't need those explanations to enjoy the show, though--it's supposed to be escapism, right? It is for me, at least. So far, my favorite episodes have been those in which the things that go down are beyond the realm of scientific possibility, so I'm not complaining.
I REMEMBER WHEN, I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER WHEN I LOST MY MIND...
THERE WAS SOMETHING SO PLEASANT ABOUT THAT PLACE
If you're anything like me, after "The Constant" ended, you just stayed put in your seat for a little while and tried to process everything that had happened over the course of the hour. And then you gave up but still went to bed happy after such an uplifting episode.
Now that I've had a few days to work through everything, I came up with an assortment of confusing questions and thoughts related to this last installment of the story.
From the little I've read on the message boards about this episode, I know that most people won't agree with me here... but I can't help but feel like "The Constant" provided us with some much needed closure on the whole "time-travel" question (whereas most people feel like it opened a new can of worms). Here's what I've deduced from both of Desmond's episodes that dealt with his consciousness jumping around:
- Only those who have been previously exposed to large amounts of radiation and/or electromagnetism will be affected by the time-jumping phenomenon when they approach or leave the Island. Therefore, I don't think any of the other Lostaways will start having Desmond-like flashes of the past or future. This episode wrapped up Desmond's time-jumping storyline completely. He is cured now and isn't going to be having any more flashes of the past or the future (unless perhaps he does try to return to the Island, which there's currently no reason to do). All that's left for him now is a face-to-face reunion with Penny. If Sayid, who was crawling around with Jack in the bowels of the Swan hatch, which he believed to be built over a radioactive site, wasn't affected when he left the Island, then I highly doubt anyone else from Flight 815 is going to be. Locke was definitely exposed to the craziness that ensued when Des turned the fail-safe key, as he was also in the hatch at the time, but since I don't think Locke is going to leave the Island (at least of his own will), I don't think I have to worry about him experiencing the side-effects.
- While I don't expect that there will be any more time-jumping by other characters, it still doesn't rule out the possibility of a time loop. A time loop would mean that the characters are living and re-living a certain period of time over and over again--like in the movie Groundhog Day. It's not the same as time travel. Desmond's time-jumping can easily exist within a time loop. The key to breaking the loop is for the characters' consciousnesses to realize what's going on, which would propel them to take different actions than they've done in the past. I have always maintained that if a time loop is occurring, then some characters (like Locke) are more in tune with what's going on than are others (like Jack). I will admit, however, that I'm less convinced of a time loop than I was even just a few episodes ago.
- I am positive that Ben is not time-jumping via his mind like Desmond was. Ben is physically leaving from and returning to the Island. Why else would he have all those passports? If only his mind was traveling, he wouldn't need them. Nor would he be able to make use of his huge stash of money, or his luggage, et cetera. I'm pretty sure that Ben has figured out a risk-free way to come and go from the Island. If he has never been exposed to radiation, he wouldn't encounter any difficulties in his travels anyway.
- There is a slight chance that "the sickness" Rousseau thought her crew had caught on the Island was actually them becoming "unstuck in time" like Minkowski. However, she indicated that they caught the sickness after being on the Island for two months... whereas it seemed to affect Minkowski, Desmond and Brandon immediately.
- One last comment on what I deem to be the closing out of the time-jumping storyline... I think it's important to remember what the producers said about the overall timeline in a special podcast they did last fall. "Daphne" in the transcript below is a fan who called in with a question. [You will also see in the Podcast Debrief section that they essentially repeated all of this same logic again in the podcast which aired last week.]
Daphne: As far as the fast-forward goes that we saw at the end of Season 3, is that a definite occurrence that takes place? Or is that something that is one possible future that could very possibly be changed, if Jack makes it back to the Island, to maybe be able to change whatever happened?
Carlton: You know, we're not big fans of the idea of multiple futures, and... I think that it kind of robs the story of its stakes, in a certain way. So, you know, we're working very hard to kind of, basically, maintain "the future is the future," and it's not... we're not gonna go back and sort of recast the future by affecting events in the past, and then all of a sudden having a completely different future.
Damon: Yeah you know, we're not saying that, you know, time, and space-time, and the ability to sort of travel through time is not gonna continue to be a motif on the show... but sort of everything we have to say about um, you know, what the effects of time traveling are, is in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." You know, specifically in the scene between Desmond and Ms. Hawking. The rules that she basically explains to Desmond are the rules that we basically live by in the writers room [e: the rules she explains are that you can't change the future... and if you try, you will fail, because the universe will always "course correct."]. But, you know, basically the future is fixed and...
Carlton: And not... and not parallel futures.
Damon: That's right. It's, you know - Jack and Kate ARE going to get off the Island, and he is...
and he is... he IS gonna grow a very large beard, and...
Carlton: And buy a RAZR phone.
Damon: Yeah, all those things are gonna happen.While many people know that the producers have stated that any time-jumping will not alter the future, and while Daniel specifically also stated that (just to remind us viewers) in "The Constant," some fans simply refuse to believe it. I am not one of those fans. I think we have no choice but to believe what the producers said above (and again in the latest podcast), and to just accept that not everything is going to make perfect sense after Desmond's time-jumping... but in the whole scheme of the show, the things that don't fit together perfectly aren't that significant anyway.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
SGT: What's the matter, Hume? Did you not hear me?
DESMOND: I'm sorry, sir. I was...I was having a dream, sir.
SGT: You were having a dream, were you? And what were you dreaming about, that it took you so sodding long to get to your mark?
DESMOND: I was in a helicopter, sir. And there was a storm, sir. And I don't remember the rest, sir.
SGT: Well, at least it was a bloody military dream.
DESMOND: Um, sorry. Are you Daniel Faraday?
DAN: And you are?
DESMOND: Um...sorry, I'm Desmond Hume, and um...I was told I could find you here. I think I've...just been to the future.
DAN: ...the future?
DESMOND: Yes. Uh, I spoke to you there, you told me to come here, to Oxford, to find you, you said you'd help me.
DAN: Why didn't I just help you there, in the future?
DAN: Why would I put you through the headache of time travel, you know? You know what I mean, it just seems a little...unnecessary.
[Minkowski is injected, and immediately relaxes.]
RAY: (to Desmond) And how are you feeling?
DESMOND: What the bloody hell is going on?
RAY: I understand, you're disoriented.
DESMOND: You're not gonna stick me with that, brotha!
[Minkowski collapses head-first onto a table in the communications room. Sayid stares at him.]
SAYID: (to Desmond) After your call, someone needs to tell me precisely what is going on.
PENNY: What's to say you wouldn't call me tonight or tomorrow?
DESMOND: I won't call... for eight years.
OFFICIAL LOST AUDIO PODCAST ON "THE CONSTANT"
[I will forewarn you before I transcribe some of the very teeny spoilers they mentioned.]
I listened to this podcast (held with producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof) after I finished writing this post so that it would not influence my original thoughts on the episode. As you will see, they covered a lot of the questions I had been wondering about.
They began by confirming that they will write five new episodes this season (instead of the eight they had planned before the writers' strike). The three hours we're missing from Season Four will be added to Season Five and/or Six.
They said that writing "The Constant" (it was Carlton and Damon who wrote this one) was extremely difficult: "Like the hardest New York Times puzzle." When they tried to explain it to others on the production team, everyone got really confused.
Next, they repeated their stance on time-travel...
Damon: Just a quick side note about the way we deal with time-travel on the show. We are very paradox-averse. That is to say, when our characters are time-traveling, nothing they do can change the present or the future which you have seen. Which is different from the conventional Back to the Future time-travel story template.
Carlton: Or Heroes. For us, we don't want the audience to not be invested in the flash-forwards. It would be pretty meaningless if they were a changeable reality...
Damon: (interrupts)--Well, as far as time-travel goes. As far as time-travel goes, definitely not changeable.
[I got the sense that Damon was trying to cover a bit on what Carlton had said.]
Carlton: There won't be a different Jack popping up in an alternate reality that is different from the one we established.
They then summarized by saying that there are not multiple universes or multiple timelines or parallel universes that exist for the show's characters. "The rules" Ms. Hawking spoke of about universe course correction were also repeated.
Then guess what? They actually said, "We're sure we're going to get questions like, "So when Penny visits Desmond at the stadium, does she know about when he visited her in 1996?" And to that we just say, refer back to 'Flashes Before Your Eyes.'"
That answer really doesn't make any sense because Penny remembering or not remembering in 2001 about the conversation in 1996 doesn't seem like it is really a course correction-worthy event or something that would cause a "paradox." I think it was their way of saying, "We're not going to cover the small questions like that--deal with it." Which is pretty much what I guessed when I talked about this subject earlier in the post. They moved off of the topic by saying, "More on destiny later in the series."
Next up, they spoke about the fact that, depending on who you talk to, there are either zero, one or two spots left open on the list of the Oceanic Six. They said that some people think that Ben and Aaron are two of The Six. "But Ben wasn't even on the flight!" "But technically neither was Aaron." "Well, he was, but he was in utero." And then they squabbled back and forth for a while. They did say that they will eventually confirm who The Six are just so that there is absolutely no confusion, and that they will do so soon. But not in this podcast.
They ended with a question and answer session as they usually do. Below, there are some minor spoilers... they just confirm high-level things that we will or will not see in the remaining few episodes before the hiatus. If you would rather not know, skip to the next bold heading...
Q: Where are the Others? We know that Richard and Cindy are off somewhere. Will we see more of Penny and her father? Will we get another Ben flashback?
A: You will learn exactly where the Others are. And you will learn why we haven't heard from them. We will see more of Penny and her father.
Q. Does it matter who the two are that Jack said initially survived the crash but then died, since that was all a lie anyway? Is it the Oceanic Six or the Oceanic Eight?
A. No, it doesn't matter whose those two were. It is the Oceanic Six.
Q. Is the site of the polar bear skeleton in Tunisia one of the "special places on the Earth?"
A. (They didn't completely understand the question, but the response was...) There are certain special places on the Earth and they relate to our show. The dig site in Tunisia is one of them, and another is Ayers Rock in Australia, which we visited in "S.O.S." [e: This is the place Rose and Bernard visited to seek out a healer when she learned she had cancer. He spoke of spots on the Earth that have special healing powers.]
Q. What was up with the card game Daniel was playing? Does the Island cause memory loss? Did Daniel suffer a head injury on his way to the Island? Or did he have a pre-existing condition?
A. They're definitely testing to see whether or not the Island affects memory. It is possible that Daniel suffered a head injury, but more possible that he had a pre-existing condition.
Q. There is a rumor going around that we will find out that Ana Lucia's boyfriend, "Danny," was Daniel Faraday. Can you confirm or deny if this is the case.
A. I can deny. They are not the same person. [e: THANK GOD.]
That was it. And that's all she (meaning I) wrote about "The Constant."
ANOTHER VISIT TO EGGTOWN
I watched the "enhanced" episode of "Eggtown" before "The Constant" aired and thought I'd comment on a few of the information bubbles that popped up during the replay:
- When Locke and Sawyer were playing backgammon, they reminded us of when Walt and Locke first played backgammon shortly after the crash, and how Locke asked him, "Do you want to know a secret?" I had always assumed that Locke told Walt that he used to be in a wheelchair... but now since they're bringing this up again, I'm not so sure.
- They mentioned that the book Sawyer was reading was not only about a fugitive on a deserted island, but also about "a machine that can re-create reality."
- Xanadu was described as "the story of an unusual place where dreams come true."
- The food drops were mentioned... it said that they came on "a regular basis," but didn't connect them to anything going on in any of the hatches.
One thing I noticed on my own when I watched the episode again was that Locke didn't seem the slightest bit fazed when Kate told him about the conversation Miles and Ben shared. She mentioned the $3.2 million and all Locke said was, "Hmm," almost dismissively. It makes me wonder if he knows more about Ben than we think he does.
The latest Lost Video Podcast from ABC is an interview with Evangeline Lilly (Kate) about "Eggtown." For all of you who wondered if Kate's Aaron at the end of the episode was really, definitely, positively Claire's Aaron... it has been confirmed: he is.
Finally, shout-out to reader "cgicgi," who reminded me of an eerie scene from Claire's first flashback, "Raised by Another." It's actually the opening dream sequence, and in light of the twist at the end of "Eggtown," it seems like a prescient warning:
[Shot of Claire's eye opening. We hear a baby crying and see Claire looking around. She sits up and she isn't pregnant. She hears the baby cry, gets up and walks into the jungle to find the baby. We see Locke sitting at a table with a lamp, tarot cards, a table runner, and crystals. He's dealing the cards [but we can't see what they are]. We hear the sound of a sword being unsheathed. There is wind and motion in the trees.]
[Locke looks up and has one black eye and one white eye. We hear the baby crying and see Claire running through the jungle. She sees a crib and goes to it. It has a mobile with Oceanic airplanes hanging from it. There is shaking and a sound of the what the airplane might have sounded like when it was crashing. The planes on the mobile start spinning around, at least one is broken. There are a bunch of blankets in the crib. Claire starts digging through them and comes to a pool of blood. Her hands are all bloody. She starts screaming.]
When the episode aired, I remembered thinking that what Locke said in the dream didn't really make sense, because Claire hadn't given Aaron away. Yes, she was going to once she got to L.A., but that didn't happen. Now I can't help but wonder if the writers put that line in there knowing that Claire would eventually have to part with Aaron in the future.
There you have it. I think it's safe to say that the next episode is not going to be able to hold a candle to "The Constant"! At least Locke's back.
Until next time,