Monday, March 03, 2008

S4Ep5 - "The Constant" Subtraction of Years From My Life

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.


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.

Frank completely avoided answering the question. Combine what Sayid noticed with what Daniel began to explain to Jack and Juliet--"Your perception of how long your friends have been gone... it's not necessarily how long they've actually been gone"--and it seems a little more certain that time is moving at a different pace on the Island (and not just by 31 minutes) than it is elsewhere.

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.


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.


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!!!!


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?
DAN: Radiation.
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.

After Desmond provided the needed data for Daniel's experiment, we see Eloise finish a maze like a pro... a maze she's never been in before (and more curiously, never technically gets trained for "in the future," since she dies). Most importantly, we learn that during the brief moment she was catatonic, her consciousness was traveling into the future. This is key to what's been going on with Desmond--both in this episode and in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." He was never time-traveling in the Back to the Future or The Time Traveler's Wife sense... his physical body never went anywhere. The super-jolt of radiation and electromagnetically-charged power that hit him when he turned the fail-safe key somehow enabled his mind to hijack his consciousness at another point in his life, while his body stayed put.

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.


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.


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.

The producers later confirmed that "every single one of us" does mean "everyone in the world" (some people thought she was only referring to time-jumpers, or a certain subset of people).

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


[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."


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.]

CLAIRE: What's happening?
LOCKE: You know what's happening.
CLAIRE: But I don't understand. Why --?

LOCKE: He was your responsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now.

[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,
- e


Di in RI said...

Great write-up!
I am still so confused about the time jumping... but I guess I can accept it and move on to all the other mysteries!

Anonymous said...

Daniel mentions that these wierd time travel occurences happen if you are subjected to rediation. That little scene where he puts on the lead vet but no headgear shows that his long term exposure to radiation will come back to haunt him. That is why he lists Desmond as his constant. Also when they first introduced him and he was crying about the airliner crashing and he doesn't know why shows that he has relived this before. He is sympathetic because he has met the survivors and grows to like them and he is experiencing the same time travel and has no idea what is happening to him at the time.

You never did mention the dunce known as Jack and how he hears a juicy tidbit from Daniel at how time is not the same and jack the bafoon just stands there and never questions it or asks more questions. Hello? Earth to Jack!

Just a theory but the two people that Jack said died and made up the oceanic 8 may be Walt and Michael. Somehow they may have been lost trying to get off and ended up being found dead when the other six make it off of the island.

SAM I AM said...

first of all your write ups are really awesome.

there was to much info in this eppy to even begin to comprehend. but here are a couple of thoughts and questions i had when i originally watched it.

that whole des scene meeting 96 version of dan was exactly like marty mcfly meeting with doc brown. (the BTF trilogy are my fav movies so i got a kick out of it.)

Why do you think widmore left the sink on in the bathroom? i thought that was very strange. Do you think there was any signifigance?
I def think that widmore is behind EVERYRTHING. i dont know how they will tie it all together but i truly think hes the man behind the scenes when its all said and done. (maybe thats him in the casket, but that wont make much sense cause nobody was at the funeral and hes famous)
I think its time for a walt and or michael appearance.
when do you think the numbers will make a return?

Surly said...

Ouch. My head hurts.

I thought Locke's "hm" was hilarious, like it was too left-field to process before he got to the main business of kicking Kate's butt out of New Otherton.

I kind of took it as a little comic relief. But I didn't take it to be an indication that he expected it.

And of course, out of all of that writing, I only choose to comment on that one Locke-related snippet. Myopic much? Sigh.

surfmadpig said...

"we see Eloise finish a maze like a pro... a maze she's never been in before (and more curiously, never technically gets trained for "in the future," since she dies)."

wow, i didn't catch that. although i've seen the episode twice now (absolutely the best episode of lost so far imo), i can't remember if the desmond-out-for-75-mins scene occurred after the rat did the maze or before, cause if it was after, perhaps Daniel could have taught it during that time to do the maze? hm.

dy said...

I, too, and totally confused by the apparent 'time difference' between the island and elsewhere. You said at the beginning of the post that time moves more slowly on the island. But Jack et al said it had been a day since the helicopter took off. In 'reality' we see it did only take them 20 minutes to get to the freighter. Doesn't that mean time is moving more QUICKLY on the island? What seemed like a day is only 20 minutes elsewhere, right? Or was there just some warp that moved them days forward (and to afternoon) when they left the island? My brain is hurting thinking about this.

Also, J had had a theory, or something to think about, regarding Desmond and his visions of the future & Charlie dying... can you infer anything about how fast time is moving by looking at how close together Des' flashes are? Either Daniel or Minkowski mentioned they get closer and closer together. Maybe we just realize we are seeing the progression of Desmond's flashes.

Craig said...

Ok, there is a lot to say here about your thoughts. I hope I won't totally hijack the comments and take up too much room, but I'm not making any guarantees.

It's interesting that you say that this episode is the one behind Walkabout as your favorite. I'm not sure what it is, I hear people talk about Walkabout all the time, and I know that it was a great episode, but for some reason that one didn't stick with me in the same way as several others. I think it probably means that I need to go back and watch my Season 1 discs again. Interestingly enough, when I think back to season 1, the episodes that have the biggest impact are the pilot and the finale.

I actually got into a discussion with some other people online before the episode about how Desmond and Penelope is the definitive relationship in this show. Despite all the other romantic relationships: Jack and Kate, Charlie and Claire, Kate and Sawyer, Juliet and Jack, Sun and Jin, Locke and Boone (just seeing if you're paying attention), it's this one that is the special relationship that must work. (Also after tossing around a few "shipper" names a la Jate, Skate, Jacket and TomKat, it was decided that Deselope is the proper way to refer to them.) Desmond episodes are wonderful from a plot perspective, but it's his love for Penny that elevates it to near perfection.

I did think the reference to Daniel's memory loss and its potential causes in this episode was very interesting, but we also saw from his 1996 attire (and the screencap you have above) that one of the things he used to know, but has now forgotten is that the super skinny tie went out in the 80's. He knew that in 1996, but he forgot it just like he did with Desmond.

I'm fairly sure that we were supposed to assume that Eloise learned the maze during the 75 minutes that Desmond was gone. We know she died, but we don't know how long ago it was. (This is what I'm telling myself at least to keep from being confused about it.)

Right now, until we learn that there really is a difference of 2 days between the freighter and the island (especially since all evidence has pointed to the island being behind the time of the freighter rather than ahead), I'm going to assume that it is December 24th in both places. I find it very easy to believe that there is confusion over two days in the fan-assembled timeline. If it is two days earlier on the freighter, then these are some seriously magic phones they have that call two days into the future or past depending on how one looks at it. My thoughts on the time dilation is more along the lines of it is not the existence on the island or off it that is the issue, but rather the coming and going. Think of it as a moat, but rather than being full of man-eating alligators, it has time-altering effects. To cross said moat safely, you have to use the drawbridge, conveniently pointed out by Dr. Faraday. Also, along the lines of this weird effect of leaving the island, back in Live Together, Die Alone, Ben told Michael to follow a heading of 320 and he would find rescue. Now, Daniel tells Frank that he has to follow 305 (which he did...mostly). I think there may be something important there and I have an entire crackpot theory based on this. It's just too bad it won't be true, because I never have any clue where they are going next.

Yes, it was disgusting that Des had to talk to Widmore at the urinal, but Widmore said, "walk with me" and then went to the bathroom to humiliate Desmond. It's the same reason he gave Des Penny's address. He knew how angry she was at him and thought it would humiliate him even more.

I'm assuming that the freighter guys were upset that Frank brought someone from 815 back because they had received a similar pep-talk to the one Naomi got from Abaddon. "There were no survivors of 815." Emphasising not that he believed that, but that she was to work as if there were no survivors.

I'm sure there are a million other things that can be said and that need to be said, but I have taken up far too much room in your comments and I should probably do some actual work.

Ian said...

Another great write up e. But here's a pretty good explanation of why Desmond and Daniel couldn't have recognized each other at first meeting on the island. Because at that time they had never met. Technically their fist meeting at Oxford happens in the future. Until Desmond has his 2004 flash on the freighter and goes to Oxford to meet Daniel, that event didn't exist in either of their pasts. Same with Penny & Desmond's meeting in 2001. Now that Desmond has made some changes in the past, those memories may exist in all of their pasts. Same question of why Doc Brown and Marty McFly would meet in the 80's and Doc wouldn't remember him, until Marty goes back in time and meets him in 1955. The Doc would then remember him, and of course he'd also know to wear the bullet proof vest.

My guess is that Daniel was flipping through his journal because he knew SOMETHING would be there, but I don't think he knew what. That entry in the journal probably didn't exist until Desmond had his flash and met Daniel in the past. Kind of like Marty's fading photo.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Aaand my posts don't make sense, so I'll repost. The equipment in the communication room were meant to communicate with the outside world, and not with the island.

Abby said...

Good write up. Great episode. .. How did Des know where to find Widmore? How on earth did Des know that Widmore was at a snooty auction?! I'm sure this is just something we have to go with in the plot, but it's odd...

Ian said...

"How on earth did Des know that Widmore was at a snooty auction?!"

I'd assume if he called or went to his office, he could find out where he was one way or another. Wouldn't take anything magical for him to find him.

Anonymous said...

Love reading your recaps, e!

I think IAN is right on about the time travel - his consciousness is moving around so he's changing the past that in turn in some way changes the present.

The reason Penny didn't mention the upcoming phone call when she saw Desmond at the stadium is because he didn't ask for it yet. He doesn't ask for it until his 2004 consciousness goes back to his 1996 consciousness. So 2001 Penny doesn't remember...but from 12/24/2004 on forward Penny does! And will remember it as a 1996 memory.

Same reason 2004 Desmond doesn't remember Penny's phone number. Although he asked for it in 1996, he hasn't really asked for it yet! But after his consciousness shifts to 1996 and back again, then he remembers.

Crazy, but actually makes sense in a whacked-out way.

Anonymous said...

RE: Eloise J Rattington

If Desmond had been gone for 75 minutes, Daniel could have taught her the maze before she died. I'm thinking that he would know that would be important to do in order to keep the future intact.

However, I wonder how he taught her a maze she already knew??? Probably didn't take long. :)


Anonymous said...

If Desmond could be Daniel's constant then why couldn't Daniel just be Desmonds? Why couldn't Desmond just go find Daniel and then all would be well? I know there was that comment about there being some emotional connection but how emotionally connected is Daniel to Desmond?

Josh said...

Hey e,

I don't think you missed any days between the boat and the island. You see the freighter calendar should have been marked 12/26, which corresponds to island time. The reason it wasn't marked as such was because, as you mentioned, the communications room was sabotaged TWO DAYS prior on 12/24. Well, now that everything is destroyed in there - there's no reason for anyone to go in there and there is no reason for anyone to mark off the calendar.

Similarly, I feel like there were communications experiments going on (or an inside person) who was using the calendar to mark an estimate of island time - in days. I contend that freighter time is much different than that calendar suggests.

Anyway...I think this explains the date inconsistency. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

"'re not scared about the shirt, because you know you look good in it..." ha ha, good one E, and oh, so very very true. Great review, and I LOVED The Constant, it's going to be hard to top that one. Thanks.

BeefJello said...

Anonymous wrote: "If Desmond could be Daniel's constant then why couldn't Daniel just be Desmonds? Why couldn't Desmond just go find Daniel and then all would be well? I know there was that comment about there being some emotional connection but how emotionally connected is Daniel to Desmond?"

I responded: Daniel is now emotionally connected to Desmond for two reasons at least. Number one Daniel saved Desmonds life and number two (and more importantly) Desmond provided Daniel with the ever important settings for his 1.21 Gigawatt / Flux Capacitor time machine!!! Anyway...future Daniel (as far as he remembered) didn't have anything invested in Des, but Past Daniel needed Des to complete his experiment.

Nick said...

It was nice to see a very good episode that dealt with a confusing topic (I'm not saying I understand it all, but it was a good ep).

I'll take this moment to reiterate what I've said since Season 2: The final "explanation" for everything will likely be disappointing, because we have people like e trying to figure it out ahead of time.

The "payoff" in the series finale will be seeing the characters we've grown to love find peace / return home / etc.

If you didn't like this ep because (1) you didn't like / agree with the time travel stuff, and (2) you don't care about Des and Penny, then I think you're probably going to be disappointed with the rest of the series.

Like any TV show, the characters are the most important thing. We're going to have to suspend disbelief (a lot?) and root for our favorite characters.

Lula! said...

Another great write-up, e, as always. Thanks! It's been 4 days and my head is still spinning over "The Constant," so I won't even begin to get into my thoughts/assumptions about all the time travel theories. (But like just about every other sane person involved in our Lost world, I did love this episode.) What I will say is that when I came home this afternoon, I had the latest editions of People, Entertainment Weekly, AND TV Guide (with Elizabeth Mitchell & Naveen Andrews on the cover--YES!) waiting on me. Promptly putting them aside, I ran to my laptop and pulled up your site...'nuff said. Wahoo!

Anonymous said...

When the helicopter was heading into the "storm", did you not think of "The Final Countdown" with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen?
One of my favorite "time travel" movies!

jill said...

Great write-up e. Keep it up.

So the time shift seems simple to me.

Anybody who questions why circa 2001 Penny didn't ask if Des would call in 2004 needs to also ask why Desmond 2004 couldn't remember the phone number he was told in 1996.....UNTIL his consciousness shifted to 1996 and back again.

jdd said...

I missed the original airing of the episode this week because of travel - but having the window between viewing and your post narrow was a nice side effect. :)
SO - I completely forgot about Ms. Hawking until your post (how do you remember everything?) and I noticed in your post that the pic of Ms. Hawking with the monk (?) you posted has the same background location as where Desmond met Daniel Faraday in 1996 - "the outdoor hallway at Oxford". Take a look - what do you think?

Anonymous said...

e--awesome job, as always!

When my husband and I heard the podcast, we had a moment of fear. At one point, as you noted in your write-up, Carlton says,

"when our characters are time-traveling, nothing they do can change the present or the future which you have seen."

The part where we freaked out is the "nothing they do can change the present or future WHICH YOU HAVE SEEN." We're worried that this is the writers' "out"; in other words, they have just given themselves license to change any event in the present or future that they haven't shown as of yet.

I just re-read the prior paragraph and realize that it is confusing! Here is an example: In "The Constant," Desmond has changed the future by meeting up with Daniel, as is evidenced by the entry in Daniel's journal that wasn't there before (we thought that Daniel appeared to be searching for the entry to confirm that Desmond had successfully found him at Oxford in 1996). But since they had never referenced this part of Desmond's life on the show before (we never SAW these scenes of him in 1996), it is something that can be changed. Same thing with the scene with Penny; Desmond had never had the conversation with Penny at her house in 1996 for us to see, therefore, it was something that the writers could have affected change in the future (she knows he will call in 2004 because of the conversation in 1996).

Does this make any sense? We're mainly just concerned that they have created an easy way out of explaining all of the mysteries.

Though we're probably needlessly worrying since it's hard to believe Damon and Carlton would take the easy way out, I wanted to know your thoughts.

By the way, this is my 2nd favorite episode of Lost ever, my ultimate favorite being last season's finale.

Thanks, e!

--another e

Anonymous said...

As always, a great write-up! Your blog is becoming more and more popular, (I know I've recruited some fellow Losties for ya!) This was fave epi ever! I was soooo bawling like a baby when Des and Penny connected. I agree with the person who said that time moves FASTER on the island. If you think about it, a clock would have to be really spinning to make 2o minutes (heli ride to freighter) seem like a whole day. But freighter time and real world time must be the same for the 12/24/04 connection to happen. So it's just island time that is off. (I think) I too like Daniel-science geeks rock!

Anonymous said...

LOL at your "rat in a cage" Smashing Pumpkins props!

Deivit Tustei said...

About the time-lag, many people theorize that there must be some sort of barrier around the island (like a donut) in wich time goes slowly (or faster, whatever LoL). And its only inside this "donut" where the time is different. That would explain why they can make calls between the island and the freighter in "real-time", I mean, when they call each other with a satellite phone, they are able to have a normal conversation (if time ran slowly/faster inside the island, they wouldn't be able to talk normally). I figure that phone waves can jump over the "donut".
Yes, that sound weird, but what's not weird in Lost?

Craig said...

Ok, so I've been thinking about the day 96 vs. day 94 thing pretty much non-stop (because I'm obsessive like that, and even more so when it comes to Lost), and it lead me back to the enhanced episodes. In the enhanced episodes, they say specifically what day it is in TTLG, Economist and Eggtown. In all of them, it lines up with a 94 day timeline. It seems that whether it is a mistake in counting days (which I can't find in the timeline, but probably has more to do with me than anything else) or a mistake by the writers, it seems that it was supposed to be day 94 on the island and the freighter when Des called Jack and then Penny.

I guess we'll know for sure if they're all giving each other Dharma toilet paper and ranch dressing for island Christmas in this week's episode.

cgicgi said...

@Deivit Tustei: I like the donut-theory, a satellite-call would not cross the donut, as it goes earth->satellite->earth and thus jumps over the donut. BTW: a sub could dive below the donut!

Does anyone else think that the globe in Daniels lab looked weird?

Anonymous said...

Hi e,

Long-time reader, first-time commenter.

Love your write-ups!

Firstly, I have to agree with the "donut" theory. I believe the time shift only happens when traveling through the (energy field? wormhole?) around the island. Some think it could take the people from the island to a different time zone, which explains the change in the time of day Sayid questioned Frank about. I think the writers took pains to make it as clear as possible that there is no discrepancy between the date on the island and the date on the freighter. The phones probably work in the same way as when you call a different time zone. The sun may be setting in the east, but in the west it can be mid-day while you talk to your mom; (or listen to her message on your machine, as the case may be).

I too wondered how you can teach a rat to run a maze that it already knows how to run. This is a teeny tiny paradox, but I think we'll just have to let it slide. Daniel had the best of intentions, after all!

Something occurred to me while I was laughing at your comment re: Daniel's tie being a possible constant for him. What if a meaningful object could be your constant? Something given to you by a loved one that you could carry around in your pocket all the time. Maybe a black or white stone? If you knew you might become "unstuck" in time, you might take a precautionary step, no?


Anonymous said...

Desmond's story has always been my favorite of all the Losties so naturally I LOVED LOVED LOVED "The Constant"!

I just recently discovered your blog via a link on the Dark UFO site and wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. Keep up the good work!

jill said...

Although I also discovered e on another site, I now read only Long Live Locke! (really appreciate that it is free of spoilers.) do you think Jack knew his consciousness would be jumping when he took the black/white stones? I much prefer a story line that doesn't involve a lot of consciousness/time jumping.
Although I loved The Constant, I think a large theme of consciousness jumping gives the story line a HUGE realm of possibilities that I find boggling and a bit too overwhelming to enjoy.

But we'll see. I'm hoping that the conscious jumping is confined to a small number of people, ie: not the Losties. Wouldn't there be periods of the Lostiest being "out of it" if they were conscious-jumping? Or maybe the powers that be are not showing those moments....

SAM I AM said...

We need you response to our questions...(im going crazy here)

e said...

Hello everyone -

Sorry I haven't been responding... my dog has been in and out of the vet since I posted the latest write-up, and he takes priority--even over Lost!

As he is back from a minor surgery and snoring away on his bed, I will now attempt to address some of the comments. Unfortunately I don't think I can respond individually this time around, so here are my thoughts on some of the major issues raised by you guys:

Widmore leaving the water running - This is something I admit to totally blanking on in my post. I DO think it has significance, but I can't figure out why just yet. It makes me more certain that even if he's not behind EVERYTHING, he's at least more involved than perhaps we thought he was before. Maybe he knew the water would trigger a flash?

The passage of time - I have since edited my post to read that "time moves at a difference pace on the Island" (rather than more slowly)--because as DY pointed out, with the helicopter stuff, it appeared to be moving more quickly, but in Daniel's experiment, the clock on the Island was a half-hour behind the one on the freighter... so I think that was still stuck in my head. Now I would say that the pace of time is perhaps always changing on the Island. That may explain why Frank was told to fly at 305 degrees, whereas Ben told Michael to keep the boat at 320 degrees when he left the Island.

Also, I'm more and more convinced that the timeline on Wikipedia is wrong, and that, despite all the weird difference in the pace of time as noted above, both the freighter and the Island are at Dec 24, 2004. Someone told me that in the last three "enhanced" episodes, the pop-ups stated that it was Day 94 (not 96) on the Island, which would end the controversy. Somehow I missed those pop-ups.

We know it MUST be Dec 24, 2004 off of the Island, or else Penny wouldn't have been expecting Des's call nor would she have had the Xmas stuff out in full force. And while Sayid is good, he's not good enough to enable a phone to call backward or forward in time, so it must've also been 12/24/04 on the freighter, too.

Therefore, I'm tentatively drawing a conclusion that, as mentioned by Craig and a few other commenters, it is indeed 12/24/04 in the real world, on the ship AND on the Island, but there's some weird fortress around the Island that affects the pace of time, and that also makes time APPEAR to be moving more slowly or quickly at different points. That has to be the case, or else Jack wouldn't have thought it had been over a day for the helicopter to reach the ship. HOW IN THE HELL they are going to explain all of this, I have no clue, but I'm already amused about the categorization of their options: ridiculous, more ridiculous, or utterly and completely and insanely ridiculous. I hope for the last kind.

Des's flashes - I believe Des's flashes of the future (like the one with Claire) were completely different than the ones on the freighter. The former were caused by the radiation from the hatch when the key was turned, and he described them as just quick flashes of scenes (and we got to see some of them, too). It wasn't like his mind actually time-traveled to the future, but more like premonitions. Whereas after he left the Island, his mind actually took a little trip back in time. On the ship, the closer they got to each other signaled that he didn't have much more time before his mind was going to implode.

Dan/Des's memories of their meeting - I agree completely with Ian's comment about why neither of them could remember the meeting until the current date in 2004, so read his comment! It reflects the general consensus on the boards as well and is an explanation used in other shows/books/movies on this same subject. Shows how much I know!

Communication room - Yes, I was wrong about that too... the wires cut were for the mainland comm only... I have since edited my post.

The entire series - Believe or not, I do agree with the post by Nick that in that anyone who is expecting some huge surprise in the final, final, final episode of the series in 2010 is setting themselves up for a fall. It's kind of my "job" to report theories, but believe me, when I hit on one that I feel is very possibly what could be going on, it makes me sad in a way, because I like the element of surprise better. And I personally have re-set my expectations for the show since the earlier days... I obviously do care about the characters or I wouldn't spend 14 hours a week writing about them (and not getting paid to do so!), and so I do think the very end will be a little anti-climactic. But that is fine with me if everyone I care about on the show ends up OK and, more importantly, at peace.

The podcast - I wouldn't worry about the producers throwing in the "we have seen" bit. They were definitely more concerned with making it clear that TIME-TRAVEL was not going to be able to alter the future... which leads me to believe that something else could. They have said so many times how they don't want to "cheat" the audience, so I really have faith that they're not going to make some far-flung explanation using the "but we said "what we've SEEN!"" excuse.

The similarity of the arches at Oxford and Ms. Hawking's pic - I am pretty sure they copped to just using the same background (photoshopping) and that it didn't mean anything. They've done this sort of thing before (used the same set props) and it confuses the hell out of everyone. If I remember/find where I saw that, I will post about it. But my memory is seriously WAY worse than Daniel's, so don't hold your breath. Maybe I'm time traveling and don't even know it? Sweet!

More on time-travel - I still don't think the other Losties are time-traveling and that they're just not showing us the moments where they zonk out. That would be called "cheating," too. Plus, why would ALL of them suffer the side-effects? But I do still think that something is going on with Jack taking those stones. Since they've pretty much ruled out physical time travel, I no longer think it's he and Kate in the cave, but there's still something critical about those skeletons, dammit.

OK, for those of you actually reading these comments, don't complain when I post on Thursday (before the next ep) pretty much cutting and pasting everything I said into the new post! ; )

- e

Anonymous said...

To expand upon cgicgi's comment. I believe Ben was using the sub to avoid the donut and thus exposure to possible temporal anomalies.

Anonymous said...

Jill- I don't know who may or may not end up using the stones as constants. I was thinking to myself that I would want a "constant" that could be a bit more portable than a human being (no offense to Penelope!). There is clearly no way Jack could have known about any time shiftin' when he picked them up. Maybe he'll give them away. I just thought I'd take a stab at why the stones and the skeletons may be important. The producers have said that the skeletons are there to show that they were headed in a certain direction from the beginning.

I also don't think there will be some HUGE revelation at the end of the show. I'm happy enough with the story as it unfolds.

Thanks for the answers e!


Anonymous said...

I started reading your spins on LOST at the beginning of Season Four and I think you are amazing!

I enjoy reading your theories because I watch the show alone and it really helps to hear someone else's ideas; the way they are put together, in chronological order - with corresponding photos; it really helps me remember things I might easily have forgotten if I did not have the benefit of your writing.

I don't think that your sharing your ideas are any kind of "spoiler" because you don't know AHEAD of time what will happen! Don't worry about anybody saying that it spoils anything, your comments actually ENHANCE the watching of the show.

I really appreciate your taking the time each week to write your thoughts and refresh our memories on each item you think of as being important. Thank you!

Katie Kat said...

I just have to say that since I found you on Dark UFO's site, I have just fallen in LOVE with your analyses! Not only do you get to the good points, you are funny and make the frustrating part of LOST (when it gets all time continuum / quantum physics s**t on us) not so... frustrating!

I just wanted to delurk and say thanks! I always look forward to your posts!

PitzLives said...

e --

Good stuff! Love the write ups, keep up the good work!

As far as Ms. Hawking's picture from the monestary goes, it almost appears to be the same setting as in Charlie's first flashback -- when he and Liam make the promise to break-up the band whenever Charlie decided it was time. I believe the scene was in the garden of a church where Charlie was giving his confession. Obviously, the picture was photoshopped, so you may be right in the assessment that the location is insignificant. Just an observation.

ImissEcko said...

Fantastic write up as usual. One question I had is from the conversation between Des and Widmore. Widmore tells him, "I'm not the one that hates you Des." Who does then? Is Widmore a pawn in larger scheme? Also, when Des calls Penny, she asks him what freighter, what island? Then later says, I know about the island (convenient interference). And the freighties know she is calling and were told not to answer. How did she get that number and are the two people in Antartica from Season II finale tied to the freighter? Any thoughts?

Julie G said...


Widmore was talking about Penny. Penny is the one who hates Des (at that moment).

The donut theory makes perfect sense! mmmm donuts

Anonymous said...

E. I hope your dog is doing better and thanks being a great dog owner and taking care of him/her first. Can't wait to read your next writeup on tonights episode.

Anonymous said...

About Des being a constant. It has to be Des for Daniel. Daniel says it must be something present in both times. Since the preference seems to be for a person, otherwise Daniel's notebook would work. Des literally is the only person that will be a constant in 1996 and 2004 for Daniel. And, he didn't remember to look in his notebook for something since he didn't have the memory until he sent Des to meet him in 1996.

Anonymous said...

"Locke-centric episodes will always be awesome, and Desmond-centric episodes will also always be awesome."

I must disagree here. I think Locke's Season 3 centric (Furthur Instructions) was one of the worst flashbacks in the history of the show. I'm sorry, I love Locke, but this flashback did nothing for anybody, including his character.

Anonymous said...

E. For the episode "The Other woman" Her name was Harper Stanhope. I Looked up the anagram for it and found the Pharaoh Serpent which is in egyptian myth about a shipwrecked sailer. here is the story.

The Pharaoh Serpent of Harper Stanhope is related to egyptian myth about the shipwrecked sailer.

The Shipwrecked Sailor
When Pharaoh Amen-em-het ruled Egypt in about the year 2000 BC he brought peace and prosperity to a country that had been torn by civil war and rebellion for nearly two hundred years. During his reign adventurers and traders went on many expeditions to the south - either up the Nile through Nubia and even as far as Ethiopia, or along the Red Sea and out into the Indian Ocean to the mysterious land of Punt, whence they brought back jewels and spices and other treasures.

The Royal Court, whether, it was in residence at Thebes or Memphis, was thronged with ships' captains and the leaders of expeditions, each with a tale to tell - and each anxious to win a commission from Pharaoh to command some royal venture on the strength of his past achievements.

One day such a wanderer stopped the Grand Vizier in the palace courtyard at Thebes, and said to him, 'My lord, harken to me a while. I come with costly gifts for Pharaoh, nor shall his counselors such as yourself be forgotten. Listen, and I will tell you of such adventures as have not been told: Pharaoh himself - life, health, strength be to him! - will reward you for bringing to his presence a man with such adventures to tell. I have been to a magic island in the sea far to the south - far beyond Nubia, to the south even of Ethiopia. I beg of you to tell Pharaoh that I am here and would tell my tale to him.'

The Grand Vizier was accustomed to such appeals, and he looked doubtfully at the wanderer and said, 'It seems to me that you speak foolishly and have only vain things to tell. Many men such as you think that a tall story will win them a commission from Pharaoh - but when they tell their tale they condemn themselves out of their own mouths. If what you have to tell is one of these, be sure that I shall have you thrown out of the palace. But if it is of sufficient interest, I may bring you before Pharaoh. Therefore speak on at your own risk, or else remain silent and trouble me no more.'

'I have such a tale to tell,' answered the wanderer, 'that I will risk your anger with an easy mind. When you have heard it, you will beg me to come before Pharaoh and tell it to him - even to the good god Pharaoh Amen-em-het who rules the world. Listen, then:

'I was on my way to the mines of Pharaoh in a great ship rowed by a hundred and fifty sailors who had seen heaven and earth and whose hearts were stronger than lions. We rowed and sailed for many days down the Red Sea and out into the ocean beyond.

'The captain and the steersman swore that they knew the signs of the weather and that the wind would not be strong but would waft us gently on our way. Nevertheless before long a tempest arose suddenly and drove us towards the land. As we drew near the shore the waves were eight cubits in height and they broke over the ship and dashed it upon the rocks. I seized a piece of wood and flung myself into the sea just as the ship ran aground: a moment later it was smashed to pieces and every man perished.

'But a great wave raised the board to which I clung high over the sharp rocks and cast me far up the shore, on level sand, and I was able to crawl into the shelter of the trees out of reach of the cruel, angry sea.

'When day dawned the tempest passed away and the warm sun shone out. I rose up to see where I was, giving thanks to the gods for my delivery when all the rest had perished. I was on an island with no other human being to be a companion to me. But such an island as no man has seen! The broad leaves of the thicket where I lay formed a roof over my head to shield me from the burning midday sun. When I grew hungry and looked about for food, I found all ready for me within easy reach: figs and grapes, all manner of good herbs, berries and grain, melons of all kinds, fishes and birds for the taking.

'At first I satisfied my hunger on the fruits around me. And on the third day I dug a pit and kindled a fire in it on which I made first of all a burnt offering to the gods, and then cooked meat and fish for myself.

'As I sat there comfortably after an excellent meal I suddenly heard a noise like thunder. Nearly beside myself with terror, I flung myself on the ground, thinking that it was some great tidal wave come to engulf the island: for the trees were lashing as if at the breath of the tempest and the earth shook beneath me.

"Moving towards me I saw a serpent thirty cubits long with a beard of more than two cubits."
'But no wave came, and at last I cautiously raised my head and looked about me. Never shall I forget the horror of that moment. Moving towards me I saw a serpent thirty cubits long with a beard of more than two cubits. Its body was covered with golden scales and the scales round its eyes shaded off into blue as pure as lapis lazuli.

'The serpent coiled up its whole length in front of where I lay with my face on the ground, reared its head high above me, and said: "What has brought you, what has brought you here, little one? Say, what has brought you to my island? If you do not tell me at once I will show you what it is to be- burnt with fire, what is it to be burnt utterly to nothing and become a thing invisible. Speak quickly, I am waiting to hear what I have not heard before, some new thing!"

'Then the serpent took me in his huge jaws and carried me away to his cave, and put me down there without hurting me. Yes, though he had held me in his sharp teeth he had not bitten me at all; I was still whole.

'Then he said again, "What has, brought you, what has brought you here, little one? Say what has brought you to this island in the midst of the sea with the waves breaking on all sides of it?"

'At this I managed to speak, crouching before him and bowing my face to the ground as if before Pharaoh himself.

'"I sailed by command of Amen-em-het, Pharaoh of Egypt, in a great ship one hundred and fifty cubits in length to bring treasure from the mines of the south. But a great tempest broke upon us and dashed the ship upon the rocks so that all who sailed in her perished except for myself. As for me, I seized a piece of wood and was lifted on it over the rocks and cast upon this island by a mighty wave, and I have been here for three days. So behold me, your suppliant, brought hither by a wave of the sea."

'Then the serpent said to me, "Fear not, fear not, little one, nor let your face show sadness. Since you have come to my island in this way, when all your companions perished, it is because some god has preserved and sent you. For surely Amon-Re has set you thus upon this island of the blessed where nothing is lacking, which is filled with all good things. And now I will tell you of the future: here in this isle shall you remain while one month adds itself to another until four months have passed. Then a ship shall come, a ship of Egypt, and it shall carry you home in safety, and at length you shall die in your own city and be laid to rest in the tomb which you have prepared.

'"And now I will tell you of this island. For it is pleasant to hear strange things after fear has been taken away from you - and you will indeed have a tale to tell when you return home and kneel before Pharaoh, your lord and master. Know then that I dwell here with my brethren and my children about me; we are seventy-five serpents in all, children and kindred. And but one stranger has ever come amongst us: a lovely girl who appeared strangely and on whom the fire of heaven fell and who was turned into ashes. As for you, I do not think that heaven holds any thunderbolts for one who has lived through such dangers. It is revealed to me that, if you dwell here in patience, you shall return in the fullness of time and hold your wife and children in your arms once more."

"...if what you have said to me happens indeed, I shall come before Pharaoh and tell him about you, and speak to him of your greatness."
'Then I bowed before him, thanking him for his words of comfort, and said, "All that I have told you is true, and if what you have said to me happens indeed, I shall come before Pharaoh and tell him about you, and speak to him of your greatness. And I will bring as offerings to you sacred oils and perfumes, and such incense as is offered to the gods in their temples. Moreover I shall tell him of all the wonders of this isle, and I shall sacrifice asses to you, and Pharaoh shall send out a ship filled with the riches of Egypt as presents to your majesty."

'The king serpent laughed at my words, saying, "Truly you are not rich in perfumes - for here in this island I have more than in all the land of Punt. Only the sacred oil which you promise me is scarce here - yet you will never bring it, for when you are gone this island will vanish away and you shall never more see it. Yet doubtless the gods will reveal it in time to come to some other wanderer."

'So I dwelt happily in that enchanted island, and the four months seemed all too short. When they drew to a close I saw a ship sailing over the smooth sea towards me, and I climbed into a high tree to see better what manner of men sailed in it.

And when I perceived that they were men of Egypt, I hastened to the home of the serpent king and told him. But he knew already more than I did myself, and said to me, "Farewell, brave wanderer. Return in safety to your home and may my blessing go with you."

'Then I bowed before him and thanked him, and he gave me gifts of precious perfumes - of cassia and sweet woods, of kohl and cypress, of incense, of ivory and of other precious things. And when I had set these upon the ship and the sailors would have landed, the island seemed to move away from them, floating on the sea. Then night fell suddenly, and when the moon shone out there was no island in sight but only the open waves.

'So we sailed north and in the second month we came to Egypt, and I have made haste to cross the desert from the sea to Thebes. Therefore, I pray you, lead me before Pharaoh, for I long to tell him of my adventures and lay at his feet the gifts of the King of the Serpents, and beg that he will make me commander of a royal ship to sail once more into the ocean that washes the shores of Punt.'

When the wanderer's tale was ended, the Grand Vizier laughed heartily, crying, 'Whether or not I believe your adventures, you have told a tale such as delights the heart of Pharaoh - life, health, strength be to him! Therefore come with me at once, and be sure of a rich reward: to you who tell the tale, and to me who brings before him the teller of the tale.'

So the wanderer passed into the presence of the good god Pharaoh Amen-em-het, and Pharaoh delighted in the story of the shipwrecked sailor so much that his chief scribe Ameni-amen-aa was set to write it down upon a roll of papyrus where it may be read to this very day.


Anonymous said...

Read this paragraph about the serpent and how in the fourth month a ship will come to rescue them and take them home so they can die there.


'Then the serpent said to me, "Fear not, fear not, little one, nor let your face show sadness. Since you have come to my island in this way, when all your companions perished, it is because some god has preserved and sent you. For surely Amon-Re has set you thus upon this island of the blessed where nothing is lacking, which is filled with all good things. And now I will tell you of the future: here in this isle shall you remain while one month adds itself to another until four months have passed. Then a ship shall come, a ship of Egypt, and it shall carry you home in safety, and at length you shall die in your own city and be laid to rest in the tomb which you have prepared.


Surly said...

I think Locke's Season 3 centric (Furthur Instructions) was one of the worst flashbacks in the history of the show. SO TRUE! I think it actually muddied the waters quite a example of very terrible writing when they were just treading water. The writers did a lot of building up of Locke's shamanic qualities when they had nothing better to do...qualities that, now that the story has ramped up again, seem to have abandoned him entirely. Anyone else completely frustrated by "The Other Woman?" Is Locke now nothing more than Ben's butt boy? Is he really that stupid? HELP! E! Renew my faith!

wanders said...

For all the Mary Worth fans out there, e, I just wanted to point out that it looks like we might get a Mary Worth flashback this month!!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog.

I have only one thing to add/dispute to this post.
You wrote something about how if Sayid hadn't experienced any side affects on the boat then that could mean all the other losties wouldn't as well because they all were hanging around the radiation.

Well if I remember correctly when Desmond turned the fail-safe key at the end of season 2 the sky went purple and everyone on the beach was "exposed".

The only people who were not on the beach or in the hatch were Kate, Michael, Walt, Sawyer, Hurley and Jack because they were captured on the dock with the others. Sayid, Jin and Sun were also off the beach on the sailboat. So it could be possible that because they were not around the radiation when the hatch exploded that they were not exposed like Desmond was. We have yet to see anyone other then Des, Sayid and Michael leave the island. Perhaps if we saw one of the other losties who was on the beach leave the island we would then see if they were affected like Desmond was.

If that makes sense.