Lost Round Table: “Happily Ever After”

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The only person who can make up for last week’s filler episode has returned! Join bloggers Bridget McGovern, Rajan Khanna, and Theresa DeLucci for this week’s Lost round table discussion. Was it the best episode of the season? Did you catch all of the episode callbacks in Widmore’s office? What makes Desmond the perfect weapon in the fight between Jacob’s people and the Man in Black? Spoilers and links ahead.

Theresa: FINALLY. It only took all season and an existential hobbit, but the people on Earth-2 are at last waking up to the fact that their reality is a lie. And Desmond’s going to show them the way. And since this is the last half of the last season I can say with 100% certainty that Desmond-centric episodes never, ever suck. Leave it to him to bring a turning point to the story.

But some many questions. Small ones first. Was this episode supposed to take place in one day? Why was Penny jogging? Wasn’t she supposed to be at her half-brother’s big recital? Was their meeting after that? And when Desmond shook her hand, fainted, and was back on the Island, why or how did Desmond return to the stadium with Penny? Was it a flash-sideways or can he travel between the realities? I think it was the former and if so it annoyed me a little that it didn’t fit with the rest of the episode’s structure, hence viewer confusion. But Desmond’s “I want to show them something,” made up for it. Also glad that Minkowski wasn’t dead in the driver’s seat, didn’t shoot Desmond, and that the limo didn’t explode killing them both. Poor Minkowski. He still works for Widmore, but he got demoted to driver. And procurer of “company” and somehow flight manifests. Now Desmond will have a list like Jacob’s. Oh God, is Desmond’s sacrifice going to be replacing Jacob as the MIB’s jailer?

The biggest question I have is “What sacrifice, Widmore?!” He said that there would be one, there would be an explanation, but we never found out what it was or heard Desmond ask about it. I’m wondering if there wasn’t a scene where this was discussed, before Desmond and Liz Lemon were ambushed by Sayid. And Desmond calmly going with Sayid is part of Widmore’s plan. Is Widmore trying to save Earth-1 or Earth-2? Would Desmond fight to protect the life where he and Penny are already married and have a child or the one where they just met and he has Widmore’s approval? I am so… Lost.

How does Widmore even know about another universe? Has he been talking with Eloise some more?

One more thing: If seeing your true love, in addition to near death experiences and electromagnetic energy, triggers these moments of remembering the existence of another reality, how come Kate and Sawyer never seemed to experience it in the elevator in “LA X”? Does that mean their romance is never meant to be? (I hope so.) Or did the writers just decide to go with this concept later in the season to come up with a way to tie up some love triangles? I’m hoping it is true and Desmond gets Sawyer and Juliet to go for that cup of coffee in Earth-2 to open their eyes. I don’t ship much, but I liked Sawyer and Juliet as a couple.

More answers lead to more questions. This freaking show. I love it. Hurley episode next week. HURLEY! FINALLY! This season is picking up at last.

Bridget: What an intensely satisfying episode—Cuse and Lindelof certainly aren’t messing around. Not only do we finally have both realities intersecting at long last, but choosing Desmond as the vehicle for the most significant revelations so far this season would seem to indicate that certain dramatic priorities are coming into play here. As much as I resisted paying too much attention to the fact that the previous two episodes centered around love stories, “Happily Ever After” made it abundantly clear that love and romance are not peripheral issues or mere distractions from the real action. Love is a powerful force, and not in a lame metaphorical way: it’s arguably stronger than a nuclear bomb, or a catastrophic electromagnetic event, and its persistence is stronger than perceived reality (first for Charlie and Daniel, and eventually for Desmond).

One of the reasons that Desmond’s storyline has been one of the strongest and most indispensable to the show is that, as a character, he embodies so many of Lost‘s essential thematic elements. He started out as a classical hero, Odysseus trying to find his way back to his Penelope, and has evolved into a kind of modern superhero, able to withstand massive amounts of electromagnetism and flash between worlds (incidentally, during the scenes with the generator, I was having serious Dr. Manhattan/Watchmen flashbacks). I won’t even get into the philosophical implications of his last name here (although the Humian connection seems more and more significant this season), but suffice it to say that he’s perfectly positioned at the crossroads of high romance and duty, physics and philosophy, science and the supernatural; Jack may be the show’s main protagonist, but I would argue that Desmond is its most integral character.

The episode itself was so filled with echoes and connections that it would take a whole post to detail everything, but like Theresa I was glad to see Fisher Stevens back as George (Minkowski)—I wonder if he keeps his Oscar in the limo? (Also, for those of you still interested in playing the name game, Hermann Minkowski and his theory of “spacetime” make a particularly interesting read). Also fun: Widmore’s mercenary nerds have a rabbit named Angstrom, which serves as a double literary/physics pun (it’s great whether you like reading Updike or measuring electromagnetic wavelengths, or both!). And finally, between the bottle of MacCutcheon, the painting of the sailboat and the other painting of a scale weighted with black and white rocks, Widmore’s L.A. office was like a tastefully appointed tribute to the Island reality, and yet he seemed to have no recollection of it—which brings me to a few questions.

Obviously Eloise Hawking/Widmore understands what’s going on in the sideways reality—if she’s not actually in control of it, she at least understands The Rules, since she calls Desmond in violation, like a traffic cop of the space/time continuum. But Widmore demonstrates no inkling that another reality exists, so once again I’m forced to wonder what the sides are here; who are Eloise and Widmore allied with? I can only assume that they’re on opposite sides, given Widmore’s behavior on the Island and Eloise’s desire to preserve the alternate reality.

I’m also wondering whether the characters who died on the Island but have been seemingly reincarnated in the other world are able to see through the manufactured reality more easily. Charlie and Faraday both saw through Earth-2 with relative ease—I wonder if that means that Helen, Alex and Charlotte and other casualties are also somehow less grounded in that reality. I have a feeling that all of these issues will come up next week in Hurley’s episode, assuming Libby shows up to continue the love/death/comforting-but-false reality thematic buildup.

Rajan: I agree that this episode was fantastic. I think it was my favorite to date. It told us nothing about the island mythos or Jacob, but it delved deeply into the nature of Earth-2 and it finally gave us the moment where Desmond’s significance comes into play. I was talking to a friend yesterday and she was saying how she really liked Desmond. And I was forced to reply, who doesn’t like Desmond? I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like him. As Bridget mentions, in addition to just being likable, he is tied into the very fabric of the show. Of course I’m worried as to what will ultimately become of him. Like Theresa, I worry about this “sacrifice”. He hasn’t had enough time with his family to have to give them up already, even if Earth-2 Desmond is about to start that journey. And will Earth-2 eventually go away? In this episode we’re given the idea that Earth-2 isn’t real, isn’t the way things are supposed to be.

I also got the Dr. Manhattan vibe from that scene with the electromagnetism.

As to other connections, I liked seeing Penny running in the stadium as a callback to Desmond running there when he first met Jack. I got all silly happy when Earth-2 Desmond met Penny and I agree that love in this show really matters. We were introduced to the concept of concepts a couple of seasons ago and it seems that love that be that force either through time or dimensions. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

As to where Eloise fits in, I always saw her, Faraday and Desmond as being this kind of connected group of people all tied into the more quantum physics side of the island and the time travel and so forth. Daniel obviously works at this through physics, but Eloise seems to have some kind of innate sense of how things work and what’s going on. To use a rather strange analogy, people like Ben and Widmore seem to know some of the island’s secrets, but they are more in the vein of Arthur to Eloise and Daniel’s Merlin. It’s not a perfect comparison, but they understand the almost magical side of things. It’s possible that Eloise gained some kind of insight into all of this during her time as leader. But maybe just being associated with Desmond and Faraday was enough.

Looking forward to Hurley next week (another character that everyone seems to love).

Lost-related links:

Cruel April Fools’ Day Joke. Who wouldn’t love a Dharma alarm clock?

Then there’s the inevitable Mark Pelligrino Lost/Lebowski mashup

Some awesome Lost character illustrations

The Good Old Fasioned Loverboys of Lost [Gawker TV]

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Chizine. She’s eagerly awaiting the return of True Blood. Well not so much the whole show, but at least Alexander Skarsgård in a tank top

Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Shimmer, GUD, and Steampunk Tales He lives in Brooklyn with his two cats, Chloe and Muppet.

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She enjoys David Bowie, roller coasters, and never having to hear Drive Shaft on the radio more than anyone probably should.


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