Lost: Down the Hatch – Mommy dearest
“The Variable” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Last Cake Standing: Bronwen, Courtney, Mary and James had out-baked Elisa Strauss (no sock monkey for you, babe!) in the last surprise wedding cake elimination. Darn shame there, ’cause Elisa’s super cute. This time, the twist came about in teams – Bronwen and James (Team Smiley) were teamed up against Mary and Courtney (Team Emotion) in designing superhero cakes. Everyone was seeing green, as they all pulled eco-heroes out of their creative butts – all except for James, that is, whose Captain Beachtowel was the best of the bunch. His idea might have been the best, but it wasn’t Bronwen’s idea, so that meant that almost none of it got used. Queen bee much, missy?
Anywho, Team Emotion combined their ideas and crafted a well-sculpted, glow-in-the-dark homage to fireflies, hippos and toxic sludge, while Team Smiley crafted a thong-clad man in a cape that rotated on top of a giant, phallic tower, complete with a single, enormous ball at the base. I wish I was kidding. Team Emotion took the prize easily, and Bronwen and James were forced into a 30-minute cake decorate-off. Bronwen won. Duh.
And I believe that just about catches us up. (By the way, check out the Lost 100th episode cake, made by Duff’s Charm City Cakes over at Jorge Garcia’s blog! It’s awesome.)
This week, on Lost: Alright, listen up – I know I’m not going to win any popularity votes here, but looking back on this week’s episode just left a bad taste in my mouth. I know, I know, it’s full of all my favorite things – Juliet, temporal theory, big twists, Jack getting shot at – so I should be happy, right? And, yet, somehow I just wasn’t. There were too many frayed ends dangling out there, too much history happening far too quickly and not fitting into four seasons’ worth of carefully laid-out continuity. I will say that upon further thought and some much-needed reflection, I have come around a bit. We’ll get to some of that later, after the recap, but for now let me just say that even though I wasn’t completely thrilled by the 100th episode, it did manage to do one thing that every successful episode of Lost must: make me think. Moving on …
We open in the emergency room, in 2008. Desmond’s just been shot by Ben, and he is rushed toward surgery while Penny is left outside with baby Charlie. She’s understandably worried. In this time of crisis, Eloise – old Mama Time, herself – shows up to give comfort. She admits to knowing Desmond and tells Penny that this is her son’s fault. Penny gets a bit agitated at the thought of this woman being Ben’s mother, until Eloise straightens her out and tells her that Daniel Faraday is the man she meant.
Back in 1977, Dan steps off the sub and greets Miles, just like we saw two weeks ago. We find out that Dan’s been hanging out back at Dharma HQ in Ann Arbor. Not a bad way to spend three years, I suppose. He’s come back to the island because he just saw the picture of the new class of ’77 – Jack, Kate and Hurley. Miles takes Dan over to Jack’s house, where Dan proceeds to tell Jack that Eloise Hawking is basically full of shit and so is Jack for believing in a “destiny.” Hold it, Dan, we almost had the old jackass going and now you had to go and ruin it.
Flashing back, now, or forward, as it were (don’t you love time travel?), to when Daniel was a boy, we see him at the piano. He’s not half bad. A young Eloise Hawking comes into the parlor, stops the metronome, and asks young Dan how many beats the metronome has made since it started. 864, he replies. This, his mum says, is why he has no time to waste on music – he must occupy his brain with math and science, and hone his skills. This does not make young Dan very happy.
“Mum, I’d like you to meet my cauliflower, err, I mean, girlfriend, Theresa.”
Let’s get the other flashbacks out of the way, too, shall we? It’s Dan’s doctoral graduation at Oxford, now, and he has himself a girlfriend – Theresa Spencer, whom he’ll later turn into a temporally-displaced vegetable. Mum wants lunch alone and Daniel is peeved that she’s rude to his girlfriend. Being a momma’s boy, though, he relents. At lunch, he tells her that he’s received a grant from a wealthy industrialist. Charles Widmore, of course. She gives a gruff glare, then hands him a gift before leaving. He opens it. It’s the journal, blank for now, with an inscription.
“… even if I accidentally shoot you in the back. Hugs to you. <3"
It’s 2004-ish now, and Dan is watching the news conference telling the world that Oceanic flight 815 has been found at the bottom of the ocean. He’s sad. We saw this last season. What we didn’t see was Chuck Widmore coming to call. They shoot the shit about the usual stuff: how Dan didn’t mean to turn Theresa into a stunted vegetable, how his memory is full of more holes than swiss cheese, how Chuck wants Dan to go to this Island on a big steamer full of insane mercenaries so he can eventually go back in time and set things straight. Charles also admits to Dan that he faked the whole Oceanic wreckage. Charles adds that the Island could also heal Dan’s riddled memory, to which Dan remarks that he sounds like his mum. It makes sense to Charles because he and Ellie are old chums. I’ll just bet you are, bub. Chums with benefits.
It’s not much later and Dan is playing the piano again. He’s come full circle, playing the same song he did as a child. Eloise enters and he tells her about the job offer. She says he should take it. He asks if this would make her proud, and after a little bit of hesitation, she says yes. Dan agrees to go, and as we shall soon see, that’s not going to work out too well for either of them.
Back in 1977, Jack goes over to Sawyer’s bungalow to tell him Dan has returned. Sawyer shows off the shit he’s gotten into in the meantime – Phil is tied up in the closet. Jack doesn’t ask what sort of crazy party Sawyer and Juliet were throwing.
Ahh, the old “I’ll carry around this big heavy thing and look important” disguise. Tell me, dear readers, why did Dan need to keep a low profile when he ran directly up to Dr. Chang not two minutes after he had knocked into him, and Chang was nonplussed? Why did Dan need to act on the downlow to begin with? Just one more reason why this episode felt a bit whacked.
Over in a well-run patch in the jungle of mystery, Miles and Dan arrive at the Orchid. Pierre Chang is there, and Dan follows him down into the Orchid sub-basement. We can recognize this scene – it’s where we started back in episode one of this season. Dan bumps into Chang and checks out the damage from drilling so near a large source of electromagnetic energy. Dan soon runs up to Chang and tries to convince him that he needs to order the evacuation of everyone on the Island. In six hours, says Dan, someone at the Swan is going to take a pick axe to a world of hurt. Chang thinks he’s full of crap, so Dan pulls out the “I’m from the future” card. This doesn’t work too well, either. He probably should have told Chang how he came up with the idea for the flux capacitor, but whatever. Dan decides to unleash his ultimate trump card: he tells Chang that Miles is his son. Of course, Miles denies it, so Dan is back to square one: nobody leaves, everything go boom.
Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley and Jin all get together at Sawyer’s bungalow to discuss their options. They can either get the hell out of dodge on the sub, or head off into the jungle to start from scratch. The group is split, and soon they are interrupted by Dan, who has this crazy idea of going in search of the hostiles so he can reunite with his mum. Jack wants to help, but doesn’t know how to get to the Hostiles’ camp. He asks Kate, but Sawyer wants Freckles to stay. This doesn’t sit too well with Juliet, who eagerly gives Kate the code to the sonic fence, basically in the hopes that the bitch will go off and be eaten by Ol’ Smokey or taken hostage for good by the Others. Good for you, Juliet.
Sawyer, you miserable bastard. You made her cry. C’mere, baby, I’ll comfort you.
While Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley and Jin start packing up to leave for the beach, Jack and Kate are off on one of their wacky adventures with Dan in tow. They head to the motor pool to get some guns – you know, because every mechanic worth their salt keeps an arsenal in the garage. This ain’t the South, people. (I’m from the South, I can say that.) On the way, Dan spots a little red-headed girl and it’s about the time that he has that little talk with young Charlotte. He tells Jack and Kate to go on and he’ll catch up, then proceeds to be that creepy, scruffy guy that hangs out at the edge of the playground and offers candy.
He gets down on bended knee, and Charlotte says that she isn’t allowed to have chocolate before dinner – the very thing she said before she kicked the bucket a few episodes back. Dan assures her that he won’t tell. Then McWeepy breaks down and gets a bit creepier and tells her that she is going to have to get on the sub with her mum in a couple of hours so they don’t asplode. He really wanted to avoid telling her the whole thing, but he can’t help himself because he thinks he may be able to change things. Dude, if you really wanted to “change things” then you could have just not had the conversation in the first place and seen what happened. If Chang’s going to order an evacuation, she’s probably going to get on the sub and be safe and … whatever. This part just seems lazy and dumb.
“Hello there, stranger. Let me proceed to tell you how much I love chocolate.” What are they teaching these kids? No wonder the Hostiles win.
Dan soon catches up to Jack and Kate and they’re in the middle of raiding Uncle Al’s Auto Stop and Gunnery Shop when Radzinsky and a couple of his lackeys show up in a Dharma bus. Someone had the bright idea to give the physicist a pistol, so we all know how this goes …
“I’m totally not holding a gun, especially in plain sight where you can see it. No, this is one of them new wrenches. We were just going to try and fix an engine, or, failing that, blow a hole in it.”
“Dude, ow! Time out, time out … seriously. Ow.”
“Jeebus, we’re being shot at! Kate, you run out there and get taken hostage while Dan and I escape in this here jeep!”
Poor form, Jack. There are eight-year-olds on Xbox Live right now that could take out your kneecap with a rusty six-shooter and a blindfold.
And they all die in a fire. Just kidding, they miraculously escape in an open-topped vehicle that’s parked 50 yards from Radzinsky & Co. Um, yeah. I don’t know. It IS the late ’70s, after all. Starsky & Hutch were doing stranger things on television, I suppose.
Jack, Kate and Dan arrive at the sonic fence and Kate shuts it down. Jack looks at Dan’s wounds and tells him he has just a scratch. Whew, that was close. Sure am glad Dan didn’t get shot or something. Anyways, while they’re waiting, Dan has to have a little speech on basic temporal theory, reminding everyone that even though they’re all in 1977, this is basically their present and their future is unwritten, and blah blah blah Miles covered all this a few weeks ago, and I covered it in, oh, early 2008. So, yeah, we got it. Thanks.
Back in Dharmaville, Juliet and Sawyer are packing up when the alarm goes off and the goon squad shows up. Radzinsky wants to know where the hell LaFleur has been, and then hears some scuffling going on somewhere in the house. Radz finds Phil bound and gagged in the closet, and immediately surmises that something fishy is going on. He and his men in black force Juliet and Sawyer to the ground at gunpoint.
Back in Hostile territory, Jack, Kate and Dan have taken a breather at a creek. In other words, it’s time to have a deep discussion before they run into the Hostiles, because otherwise you’d probably want to hightail your asses onward before the whole Island is engulfed in electromagnetic hell. Ahem. At any rate, Daniel proceeds to lay it all out for Jack: In a few hours, someone at the Swan is going to trigger a massive electromagnetic pulse that will cause mass devastation. As a result, Dharma will build the Hatch and enable a failsafe protocol that involves having someone push a button every 108 minutes. Desmond will ultimately end up down there and one day forget to push the button, at which point a large electromagnetic pulse will be released that will force Oceanic 815 down onto the Island and eventually lead to all these temporal shenanigans.
Dan used to harp on and on about whatever happened, happened, but now he’s changed his tune. He knows about the constants in the temporal equation, but has forgotten about the variables, which are the people. He now thinks they might be able to change things because of their actions and free will. Gee dude, you just came up with that after all these years? Oh, and get this: Dan wants to change things at the Swan by preventing the “incident.” And how does he want to do this? By detonating Jughead, the hydrogen bomb from 1954. Let that roll around in your head for a couple of seconds – he wants to stop a pulse of electromagnetic energy with a pulse of pure, atomic death-on-a-stick.
Whooo, somebody pour that boy a big, tall mug of crazy.
Back in 2008, at the hospital, Penny is still grief-stricken about Desmond, and she can’t believe her ears when it comes to Eloise. Yes, Daniel Faraday is Ellie’s son. Penny asks Eloise if Des is going to be alright, to which Mama Time replies that she doesn’t know. She also remarks that it’s the first time in a long time that she doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Penny soon receives good news, however, and she and Desmond are reunited.
Here, Desmond is telling Penny that he is never going to leave her, because he promised. Hooray! There are still some characters that I can actually care about on this show.
Outside the hospital, Eloise is approached by Charles Widmore. Of course. He asks how Desmond is doing and Eloise says fine. She also tells him that his daughter’s in there with him. Chuck basically says that he’s had to sacrifice his relationship with his daughter over these years. This doesn’t sit too right with Eloise, and she says that he has no idea of sacrifice, since she had to send her son to the Island to get … wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Chuck remarks that Daniel is his son, too, and gets a slap upside the head. So … I guess we all knew there was another Widmore running around somewhere, and Daniel was as good a candidate as any.
And now, back in 1977, Jack, Kate and Sawyer have finally arrived at the Hostiles’ camp. Dan doesn’t wait, and trots right into camp, shooting up the place. Richard comes out and confronts Dan, whom he seems to recognize. Dan wants to see Ellie, and he wants to see her right that instant. Just as Richard is about to talk Dan down, a shot rings out. Dan looks down to see a bloody hole in his chest, and he slumps to the ground. Behind him is Eloise Hawking, holding a rifle. She leans over him, and he gasps with breath: “You knew this was going to happen, but you sent me anyway.” Eloise wants to know who the hell he is, and with what might just be his dying breath, he tells her that he is her son.
“Rose … bud.”
Whew, crazy episode. As I said earlier, a lot of things that were happening in this episode just weren’t sitting right with me. I fully admitted that having Eloise ultimately shoot Dan was a nice bit of temporal-based irony that ultimately saved the show. The very small, but very welcome, appearance of Desmond and Penny warmed my heart and reminded me why I care. The rest of it, though – not so much upon first viewing. However, after jotting down my concerns and doing a bit of backlogging, I’ve reconciled a few of those. Before I get down to some temporal dissection, a look at Dan’s notebook and a healthy fashion discussion about the snazzy new “evil” Dharma jumpers, I’d like to cover some of the things that were bothering me, and the possible solutions that make it all a little more palatable. Some of you may have had the same concerns, and I hope my thoughts will help ease your troubled minds, as well.
Thing the one: What the hell is up with the timing of the “incident?” All indications up to this point have pointed to the incident occurring in the early to mid-80s. Granted, no specific time has been mentioned in the show for when the Incident occurred, but we’ve all been speculating since around season two. The Swan orientation film was the first to mention the Incident, and we soon learned that the button protocol was instituted because of it. There’s even a significant incident mentioned on the blast door map, and it pinpoints the “incident” occurring in 1985.
“Hey Ethyl! He’s got that damn blast door map out again!”
Now, in this episode Dan tells us that the Hatch was built because of the Incident. If that’s true, then the Incident seems to be occurring about five to eight years too soon.
However, upon further reflection there is one saving grace for this particular timeline: the Swan computer, also known as The Button. That computer is an old Apple II, which was introduced in 1977, so it’s entirely possible that Dharma set up the new Swan protocol with the venerable Apple II at the helm. Something still doesn’t feel quite right, deep down in my gut, but I’m willing to give the powers that be the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Thing the two: Everything seems to be happening too fast. For three years, Sawyer and Co. were hanging out with the Dharma Initiative and everything was hunky dory. Now, with in a couple of weeks of Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid being back, all hell has broken loose. I know that Jack and Kate are hell on wheels, but give me a break.
When they first showed up, Sawyer went over to the Flame where Radzinsky was building a model of the Swan from proposed blueprints. Within a few episodes – a matter of a week, maybe two – we’re to believe that construction of the Swan had already begun in earnest, including a huge, underground geodesic dome. Why the model, then, Radzinsky? Oooh, it has haunted my brain for the past few weeks.
And then, I realized how completely oblivious I was being. The model was probably for the orientation film. Many of you probably already thought of this, and maybe I missed something in a previous episode (it happens, I can’t catch EVERYTHING), but it finally made sense as to why he was building that architectural model, besides the obvious “hey cool, let’s get that on film” factor. So my mind was eased a bit by that, which is nice.
Thing the three: Charlotte. I mentioned it in the recap, but Dan pretty much negates his whole mutable timeline theory when he talks to Charlotte. He even tries to explain to her that he wanted to avoid it, but he couldn’t and now he wants to try and change things. Well, you just didn’t change a thing, dude, because you were the scary older guy that she told you about right when she died. Try going over to her and not getting all weepy and just say, “Hey, Dr. Chang is going to want everyone to leave, so go find your mommy.” Now, granted, he loved the woman, so seeing her as a child is bound to bring back some traumatic memories of her dying in his arms but c’mon. The whole set-up just seemed to culminate in a cheap payoff. At least that’s my opinion, I could be wrong.
There are more, but let’s move onto something more constructive, something like …
TIME IS ON MY SIDE, YES IT IS
Well, Dan, way to switch your temporal theory on us in mid-stream. You went from preaching static timeline theory straight on to divergent or mutable timeline theory. I’ve covered the specifics of these particular theories ad nauseum over the past two years, so if you want to read more about them, you can check them out in the analysis for “He’s Our You” and in last season’s “The Other Woman.” What I do want to look at is how the future for the Oceanic Survivors could look depending on the theory.
There is nothing specific in Daniel’s monologue this week about the Variables to indicate which of the two alternate theories he may believe can take place, but the safest would be divergent timeline theory. Within the confines of this theory, the future of the Oceanic survivors that we have come to know and love would involve a branching timeline that shoots off and offers another outcome after 1977, if Daniel, or Jack and Kate, are able to change something in the past. Their individual futures where the plane crashed, they survived, etc. would still exist, but in an alternate, branching timeline from this one. They were all able to travel back to this particular spot on the timeline because the event causing the branch had not transpired before this moment in 1977.
In the graphic above, the original timeline is represented by the branch that includes 2004a. In that timeline, Oceanic 815 crashed because of Desmond, etc., all because the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) occurred. The Oceanic survivors traveled back to before the EMP from this particular timeline, setting them up to potentially change the outcome and create a new branch.
This new branch would be represented by the timeline marked 2004b. That branches off when the hydrogen bomb was detonated, preventing the EMP. Now, if our survivors manage to pull something like that off and are able to travel back into the future, they will have to travel along the timeline for 2004b, eventually appearing in an alternate timeline where Oceanic 815 never crashed. There would be no paradox, because a timeline where the survivors did crash and did travel back in time existed prior to this branching timeline. Is this cooking your noodle yet?
This drink recipe continues a very important theme for this week’s Down the Hatch: Cake. Happy 100th, Lost! As my gift to all of you, I present one of the most delicious recipes in my personal collection …
Get out your party hat and throw all the ingredients together in a shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake senora. Strain into a shot glass. Gulp. Mmmmm, cake.
Okay, look at it another way: raise your hand if you’ve seen Terminator 2. Just about everybody, okay, good. Let’s pretend that Terminator 3 never happened (not a film review, it’s actually quite good, but for the sake of argument). Now, within the confines of that movie, Skynet sends Robert Patrick back to try and kill John Connor. John Connor sends Arnold back so that he would be protected. Now, in the course of Robert Patrick and Arnold’s struggle, both Terminators were destroyed, along with the parts for all the terminator technology that Cyberdyne was using to develop Skynet to begin with. Once that happened, an alternate timeline branch was created where Skynet never came into existence and the terminators never came back, etc. Got it? Go back and watch T2 if you need to. It’s okay, it’s a good way to spend 2.5 hours.
Now, with mutable timeline theory, things get sticky. In this theory, if the survivors were able to change things and the EMP never went off, which later led to Oceanic 815 crashing and them subsequently traveling back in time, then the timeline of 2004a would be destroyed, and “rewritten” as 2004b. If that were to happen, the survivors would be erased, as well, rebooting the timeline and, quite possibly, resetting everything to zero. It could cause a new timeline to develop where the Oceanic survivors never existed in the first place, or it could create a causality loop where the alternate timeline can never really exist, so the timeline reboots to the original setting, the Oceanic survivors crash again, go back in time again, and another set of outcomes become available.
This causality loop would occur every time that an action took place that changed the past, possibly for infinity. Got all that? Don’t worry if you don’t – it would be absolute suicide to subscribe to mutable timeline theory, or at least if you followed it logically. My fear with the writers diverging from static timeline theory (ie,”whatever happens, happens”) is painting themselves into a corner, or forcing the general public to swallow yet another convoluted time travel theory. Sure we’d have some fun over here, but the general audience would be left scratching their heads all through fifth season.
Personally, I think that Dan is wrong, and no one is able to change what has been set in motion. I could be wrong, though, as we have a whole other season to wrap all this up, and I’m not quite sure what crisis the survivors will face before the end.
THE MEN IN BLACK
Okay, can someone, for the love of Juliet, tell me how Radzinsky and his goons were suddenly able to raid Johnny Cash’s closet?
Seriously, where did these jumpers come from? Did I miss something in a previous episode? It’s entirely possible that I did what with all the lack of sleep. Did they get dark jumpers just so we would feel a tinge of evil? And who are these ruffians with Radz, anyway? These are all burning questions that keep me up late at night.
I’M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THIS IN MY BLOG
Okay, we got to see the origin of Daniel’s journal! Granted, we only saw its birth and none of the important stuff, like how in the hell it’s all filled in, what, exactly is within its contents other than random, insane writings on space-time, the Orchid, etc., and who put all of that into writing in the first place.
As for who filled it in, I’m sure that it was mostly Daniel. There’s a reason he was given that journal in the first place by his mum. He used it to keep track of his experiments, as well as his many forays into the temporal unknown. It was probably a way for Daniel to keep track of the many events he came across during his experiments with temporal flux. He admits in this episode that he tried out his experiments on himself before he did so with Theresa. I’m imagining that Daniel’s experiments caused him to “leap” through time, much like Desmond did in “The Constant.” Daniel was able to see forward and backward along his lifetime, even seeing some events transpiring on the Island, and making appropriate notes. One evidence of this is the marking for the Orchid in his journal. This leaping is also probably what taught Daniel about the importance of a constant, which he passed onto Desmond in order to save his life.
It’s important to note that when Daniel first sees the journal, the pages seem empty and it’s brand new, except for the inscription from his mother. So it seems that a former theory of mine – that the journal was Ellie’s, passed down to Dan – may not be true. It is possible, however, that the journal was taken by Ellie after she shot Dan, and she may have added additional events and notes to it over the years. I imagine that it’s this very journal that allows her to know what’s going to happen through the years. How it’s filled in with such great detail is a bit of a mystery, however. Unless Daniel saw just about everything during his leaps, there would be holes that are almost impossible to gap. For instance, in “The Constant,” Desmond meets Eloise for the first time in the jewelry shop. Eloise knows that Desmond is going to be there, and sets up the meeting so that she can steer him back toward his “destiny” with the button.
In a sense, Ellie has been acting like a bit of a timecop throughout much of the series. She steered Desmond back to his path, made sure that Jack and Co. got back to the Island so they could travel back to 1977, and even sacrificed her own son by sending him to the Island because that’s just the way it’s supposed to happen.
AND A COUPLE THINGS MORE
1.) Daniel may not be dead. He got shot in almost the same place as young Ben, and they’re even closer to the Temple, this time around. Would that be a huge copout? Probably. Would it make a lot of sense? Hell yes, if even just for the sake of consistency. Which means, of course, that it probably won’t happen.
2.) Speaking of electromagnetic pulses, do you know what else emits EMPs? Detonated nuclear bombs. Jughead had a leaky casing. The Hostiles had to do something with it. Bury it, perhaps? More than likely. Dharma digger go boom. Voila, one hell of an EMP. Just something to think about.
And that’s about it for this week. There’s a lot more rattling around in my head, but I’m too frazzled to prattle on about it. Sorry for getting cranky about this week’s episode; I’m just used to such high quality from Lost that I get a little grumpy when something doesn’t sit right with me. There are still three episodes for the creative team to really ramp things up and take us back to formula, and I’m looking forward to it as much as any one of you.
Oh, and before I sign off, remember:
Get shopping for your official Down the Hatch swag by typing the numbers into the command line of your Dharmatel relay computer, or by simply clicking this handy link right here.
Won’t you help us provide for future hobos? At the least, I’d like a sandwich. Just one sandwich. Is that too much to ask?
Thanks for reading and until next time, keep thinking those good thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, write and tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I completely agree with you that this episode was a bit off. I thought the same thing when watching it, but until I read your recap, I wasn’t sure if it was just me.
I think the episode was too paint-by-numbers. It’s like Dan had to hit certain points in his life by the end of the episode – kid Dan, college, crying during the plane crash, meeting Widmore, going down to the wheel, talking to Charlotte – and the writers had him travel to those points in the most boring and forced way possible. It just all felt so forced and unnatural, like they had a lot of info to cram in the episode and they didn’t know how to do it. I definitely think they are rushing things right now.
Dan’s 180 really bothered me too. I don’t really understand why he would be so sure of things before and then suddenly decide that they can change things now. It makes no sense. I hope the writers, at least, stick to the original theory and that whatever the Oceanic crew does from here on out to try to change the past only ends up making the original events from the past happen (like with Ben getting shot and Kate saving him, which makes him the Ben they all know and hate).
Definitely a shaky episode, but a good recap by you. Here’s hoping they get things back on track for 101.
Thanks, man… I’m glad I’m not going crazy. I agree with what you said about the progression of Dan – it’s sort of how I felt meh about the whole Miles story. We’re just now getting their flashbacks at a time when we should already know more about them, and the writers are rushing us through because it’s time to move along. I dunno, I just wish there were 24 eps in a season again, so we could have some decent development. Of course, that would also require some non-laziness…
As for the temporal theory, I think my little tidbit about Jughead might come into play… after all, and EMP is an EMP, no matter where it comes from, right?
Well, another great read. I also agree about the episode, as a matter of fact I’ve felt this way about most of the season (accept for the Ben and John focal episodes). My fear was that once they seperated the two groups we would end up with LOTR The Two Towers type of feel where you care more about one side of the story verses the other story – if that makes any sense.
Once again (perhaps you are caught in a timeloop too) DTH is the best LOST analysis to be found around. Here are some of my trashy thoughts:
1. Desmond is the ONE and only Variable who can change the past, future, etc because of his Altered State. Dan tried to be the Star and cause as much chaos in the timeline as he could in “The Variable” but ended up on the wrong end of a gun in the hands of his mum. And Dan is dead. Boy, are we ‘hobos bummed. (like Raymond Dees in “Millennium” episode 522666, costarring Terry Quinn and Sam Anderson)
2. Nuking the island is nuts. What was Dan thinking? First, it wouldn’t work and could have done a Death Star number on US all. Perhaps Ms. Hawking knew if Dan went through with his nukey plan “it would be the end of US all.” But she also knew that wouldn’t happen because she knew she would have a hand in Dan’s end. (creepy) ALSO Dan had to know it was impossible to get more than a few off the island before the “Incident.” I’m thinking that he did know, that his EMF-apocalypse-now talk was a set-up for Dr. Chang to get Charlotte off the island – safe from the DI purge- which keeps the original timeline intact. (Charlotte was very young when she left the island. Guess he figured it would let her live longer)
3. If the EMF-Swan Incident occurs years later, then what is the “Incident” that occurs in five hours?
I’m thinking it is something that changes the timeline, and that something involves Desmond.
4. When that Incident occurs, where in time and space would the Oceanic survivors flash back? How about flight 815 landing safely in LA? That would be a nice homecoming for Charlie, Ana Lucia, and the other “dead” LOST castmembers. Of course that allows time for a whole season for the writers to tell us why that is was a bad idea and why they have to go back…again. (I’m thinking it involves a “522666” storyline – KABOOM)
I gotta believe that Dan is wrong. Why? Simply because Michael couldn’t kill himself. The island’s mysterious ability to force things to happen in a certain way isn’t the island’s at all – it’s time! Michael had a job to do so he couldn’t kill himself. I still believe that this explains all the bizarre coincidences we spent the first three seasons of flashbacks piecing together, too. They all had to get to the island, not for the island but because that’s the timeline.
For this to make sense, I think we need a future jump paralleling our current past jump. I haven’t quite worked it out yet, but somehow the timeline ahead of everything we’ve seen gets tangled up to set everyone on this course. I hope that the remaining season demonstrates that, no matter what people want, they have to reach a certain future outcome. And I think that Mom Hawking was signaling this by sending her son on the freighter instead of saving him.
I liked this episode better than Hoth, though. I understand that it was a here-to-there episode, but it didn’t feel off to me…
But a few picky bits still bug me:
– What exactly is Radzinsky’s position? Where did his goons and clothes come from? Why does he have authority over seemingly everyone?
– How does Radz go from being grumpy bossman to pushing the button? I think this will be fun to watch!
– If the incident is a major major disaster, why is the hatch so intact afterwards? I think it’ll be much less exciting than we think!
– Why was dan crying? We’re told it was because it was a sad thing, but I think there’s more to it. I bet he KNEW about the flight and the passengers somehow but forgot about it!
– Mrs H. sent her boy on the freighter. How did she suppose he would end up in 1977? How much did she know? I love the idea that the journal tells her everything!
– What’s the deal with Richard and company? He seems to always surround himself with ridiculous hotheads who go around killing folks but there seems to be some taboo about killing, too…
And one point from way back when that just came into my head: Why do the hostiles demand that the DI folks bury their dead? Is this somehow related to smokey? Or Nikki and Paulo?
Absolutely love your recaps and theories chap.
Just to correct you though. Eloise met Des in the jewellery shop in the episode ‘Flashes Before Your Eyes’.
Hope all is well.
Hi Chris, long time reader, first time poster. I have question……
In the episode where Big Chucky W came to Faraday and asked him to join his swash-buckling Frieghter team, the camara panned to a magazine which I didn’t get time to see the title – I think it may have be Wired?
Anywho, I wasn’t too worried ’cause I knew that Down the Hatch would do all the work for me and tell me what it was.
I don’t wanna sound like an ungrateful so and so, cause I love your post and you put a massive effort in – but did you have any idea what it was a reference too?
Thanks man – love your work
CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE!!!!
GD – absolutely correct, my bad. Your no-prize is in the mail. 😉
The Baxter – That Wired was from August 2003, and was the Superpower Issue that dealt with the real possibility of invisibility, time travel and all sorts of other formerly-fringe science related topics. It was an awesome issue – I remember it greatly. You’re right, I should have mentioned it, but there’s too much to cover! You can read most of the articles in that issue here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.08/
Joelle – I know what’s on your mind, darlin’. Biiiig wink.
Lostfan, Foskett, John Scott – I’ll be back to cover the big topics very, very soon, don’t worry.
You know it, Chris!
John – Thanks man! I really appreciate it.
1) I have to agree… Dan tried to muck around with things and paid the price. I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen and if they are going to be able to change things, but Charlotte died despite Dan’s actions before, she’ll probably end up dead because of those same actions now. Whatever has happened, happened…. or not, depending on how crazy the writers are. 🙂
2) I’m not so sure that nuking the Island won’t work… in fact, they may pull it off. However, I think that if it does happen, it was supposed to happen, and the EMF pulse is all part of the side effect.
3) That timing is still a bit whacked, but I can see this incident being the BIG one, and the other one on the blast door as being a separate incident entirely.
4) Not a bad theory, actually… a wrinkle in time that needs to be smoothed out.
Stephen – That’s got to be one of the best explanations I’ve heard: Christian said the Island wasn’t done with Michael yet, so he couldn’t die until his “destiny” was fulfilled. Same goes for all the others needing to be on the Island… Great thinking!