SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode airing April 6, don't read this.
Let me be clear: I don't have the foggiest ideas what direction the Lost writers are headed. I feel like my grasp on the timeline is so tenuous that I'm having vague flashbacks of my own: to the head-scratching and total puzzlement I felt in college algebra. But I understand just enough that last night I announced back to the television: "Oh, I like where you're going with this."
It appeared earlier that we were heading down a course of Anything Can Happen--simultaneously realities, and all that. Last night we began to have a vague sense that there may, in fact, be one course that is supposed to occur, and it will find a way to happen, regardless of how our interferences mess things up. My old Presbyterian heart loves this.
(Before I go any further, I have to give props to my friend Kathleen who watched the episode with me last night and stayed up late hashing all this through with me as we sat in front of the Lost message boards. Because we know how to par-tay.)
Last night we finally learned that Desmond is "special" because he is able to survive catastrophic electromagnetic events. We're not sure why he's able to survive these events (could it be all the immunizations he gave himself back in his hatch days?) Widmore has called him back to the Island in order to make a sacrifice (dear Lost writers: PLEASE DON'T KILL DESMOND) that will somehow save humanity. Before we can learn more, we screech over to the sideways reality.
Interestingly, Desmond is one of the few characters (maybe the only one) whose sideways reality is less desirable than his Island reality. He's alone in the world, and he doesn't have his Penny. (Of note: Did anyone else notice that when Desmond walked into Widmore's office at the beginning, there was an interesting painting on the wall? You can see the screencap here: it appears to be justice scales weighing the black rock and the white rock, though the design is curiously reminiscent of a cross.)
So far, all of the sideways flashes have shown that our characters have brief moments of memory or recognition, where they have a strong sense that they've been on another path before. Last night, Desmond, Charlie, and Daniel (HI CHARLIE AND DANIEL! We missed you!) took their memories to a much deeper level. Their flashes of awareness of their other lives are actually driving them to action. Interestingly, all three of these men find this recognition because of the women they loved in their Island life (Penny, Claire, and Charlotte, respectively). I love this, though it comes as no huge surprise--many years of listening to country music has assured me that love can build a bridge, between your heart and mine. *cheesy grin*
Hopefully we are about to see these three men move mountains (or islands, or dictatorial corporate giants) to reunite with the women they love, at all costs. NOT, however, if Eloise (Hawking) Widmore has her way, which brings me to another interesting point...
Eloise clearly knows what's going on. Her recognition of Desmond was unmistakable, and her "explanation" to him, although cryptic, made it clear that she wants him to abandon his search for Penny, calling it "clearly a violation". We do not know if the sideways Charles Widmore shares his wife's awareness of what's going (the episode didn't reveal this either way, but it makes sense that he would). If Eloise knows, then how does she know? Is it possible she engineered this entire thing as a way to save her son Daniel from being killed? Since she had access to all her strange Dharma knowledge and the Island's powerful forces, maybe she decided to harness them to change her son's future by changing his past (having him become a pianist instead of a physicist). That theory seems a little shaky to me, but it's the only one jumping out at right me now.
A few general wondering-ments raised by this episode (feel free to share your opinions):
- What kind of "violation" was Eloise referring to? Are these the same "rules" that Ben and Widmore have spoken of before?
- Does Widmore also know about the double realities, as Eloise does?
- What kind of sacrifice is Desmond going to be asked to make?
- Desmond is setting out to find the other passengers. Do you think they will all respond to the memory flashes with the same degree of certainty?