Episode recap in 150 words: On the island, Widmore puts Desmond in a deadly electromagnetic box. He survives and decides to help his nemesis before Sayid convinces him to go with him. In the flash-sideways, Des is Widmore’s unattached assistant and friend. Widmore orders him to fetch Charlie Pace for his family’s benefit concert and while doing so, the singer crashes their car into the water. While underwater, Des flashes to the “Not Penny’s Boat” scene and both he and Charlie felt something. Des goes to Widmore’s wife, Eloise, to break the news that Driveshaft will not be playing and gets curious when he overhears the name Penny. Eloise warns him to stop looking, but her pianist son Daniel has felt something as well. Daniel tells Des where to find Penny, who is his half-sister in Flash-Sideways World. Penny and Des meet at the stadium and then Des starts a quest to understand his connection with the rest of his Oceanic 815 fellow fliers.
Now onto the good stuff. What an episode! We saw many familiar faces in the flash-sideways. The Widmore family of Charles, Eloise, and Daniel as a happy little family, Penny with the last name Milton, George Minkowski, Jack, Hurley, Claire, and Charlie all made an appearance. And we got a lot of information to chew on.
What is Widmore planning that he needs Des to go near the electromagnetic pockets? I am still betting that he is going to send his son-in-law to release the energy, which will sink the island and send the castaways to the lives we have seen featured in the flash-sideways. I am not sure Widmore knows the intended consequences of sinking the island. I am assuming that action will release Smocke, and therefore evil, into the world and I know he does not want that. But maybe it will just destroy him? The flash-sideways do not seem ridden with malevolence, but I am betting it will kill Smocke or trap him elsewhere.
Nonetheless, Faraday basically spells it all out: he says that if something catastrophic were to happen, it might be derailed by releasing a ton of energy, like it setting off a nuclear bomb – which he thinks he already did in some other life. He says, “What if this isn’t our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason we changed things.”
About those mysterious flash-sideways. This is the first time we have seen a character definitely recognize his island life. We have seen flashes of acknowledgment or at least confusion but no confirmation. But now that we know that the island stuff has not been erased from the characters’ subconscious, we can take what is becoming the “Lost” mantra, “What happened, happened,” seriously. Charlie seems to have some other knowledge about their previous lives or at least an unbelievable calm about the weird situation. Hawking also knows something about the situation, evidenced by her vehement denials of Des’ questions and her insistence that he back off. She even calls his questions a “violation.”
Her use of the term “violation” leads me to believe that everyone has made an agreement (similar to the Oceanic 815’s cover up) to forget their island experiences, be reset in life, and get something they want. I wrote a few weeks ago about the theory that the survivors have made a deal – perhaps with Widmore or Smocke – to receive their principal desire, but it did not turn out like they wanted. Could the show be giving us a huge lesson in “Be careful what you wish for?” Anyway, we have seen evidences of this: Sayid got Nadia back from the dead, but as his sister-in-law; Kate was free, but still pursued by the authorities; Sawyer lived a respectable life as a policeman, but was still haunted by his parents’ deaths and the original Sawyer; Jin and Sun are a happy couple, but unmarried and hated by Mr. Paik. And in Des’ case, Hawking explicitly explained, “You have the perfect life and have managed to get what you want the most, my husband’s approval,” but he does not have Penny. The title of the episode, “Happily Ever After,” seems sarcastic then. They got their “happily ever afters” but it is not what they really want.
Let’s face it, none of the characters were happy in their lives before the island. And the Oceanic 815 were still unfulfilled after leaving the island. The flash-sideways have proved that they are discontent in these lives too, even with their biggest wish granted. They seem happiest on the island.
Sure, there are Others and polar bears and Black Smoke Monsters, but the island gave Jack a chance to shine as a leader, Jin and Sun the opportunity to reconnect as husband and wife, and Hurley a release from his curse.
Funny how that is possible on an island inhabited by evil that needs to be kept from the rest of the world. I have mentioned the possibility of the island being Eden. Everyone certainly seems happy enough to make that true. But what is the larger message? The world offers no happiness? We need to free ourselves from worldly concerns to be happy? Or at least buy a ticket from Sydney to LA and hope to crash on the island?
There were many interesting comments during the show that should be taken note of. Desmond (in response to Charlie’s comment that he feels sorry for Des because he thinks he has it all but he does not) says, “Why? Because none of this is real?” In the electromagnetic box and in the hospital Des is asked if he is wearing any metal or carrying any keys. Desmond says to Charlie in the bar, “There’s always a choice, brother.” Later, Charlie tells Des, “This doesn’t matter, none of this matters, all that matters is that we felt it.” Eloise Hawking repeats that good old phrase we know and love, “What happened, happened.”
In her conversation with Des, Hawking also interestingly tells him that he is “not ready yet.” Does this mean that, following some approved order of events, the flash-sideways Oceanic 815 will reunite in their other lives?
We now know that people are remembering their island experiences in the flash-sideways. The question is do they remember their flash-sideways on the island? Despite the pairing of the scenes of Des passing out, I do not think so because my theory holds that the flash-sideways have not happened yet. Also, I do not think Des would so whole-heartedly agree to help Widmore if he knew that doing so would propel him into a life without Penny (yet) and his son. But then why did Des decide to help Widmore? What in the electromagnetic waves convinced him?
Widmore’s geophysicist employee Zoe asked him that exact question but Sayid intervened before we got the answer.
Finally, let’s talk about love. That appears to be the thing connecting the characters to their past lives. The thing that makes them “feel it.” Charlie talks about the all-consuming love he felt when he saw Claire. He called it not just love, but also “truth.” Will the loves, the constants, of each of these characters be the thing that draws them back into their true lives? Faraday too felt the love of Charlotte when he saw her at her museum.
And Desmond felt the connection to Penny (so much so that he fainted when they touched! Awkward.). I am theorizing that the whole point of the show is love. Awwwww. But seriously, what is the thing missing from everyone’s lives that will give them the happiness they so desire? Love. The love they found on the island more specifically.
Now for the big question: who will make Kate “feel it,” Sawyer or Jack? Or Aaron? Or someone else?
Keep sending me your thoughts and theories!
See ya in another week, brotha!