Pardon me while I scrape what's left of my head off my living room walls. Last night's episode of Lost was exactly the kind of episode I love—with so much to process and think about, and just enough "What the?" moments to keep us perplexed for another week. "Happily Ever After" was a Desmond episode, which means we have a lot to discuss.
The greatest gift "Happily Ever After" gave to Lost viewers was the long-awaited tie-in of the side-flashes that have been puzzling us for so long. It may have come about seven episodes too late, but it's finally here—so thank Jacob or Man in Black or whoever else is playing God, because my patience was wearing thin with this "What If?" universe.
Of course it was going to be Desmond to make the breakthrough between the realities; we've seen him blow our minds in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant" with his consciousness-traveling, which he did again last night. Man, I love Desmond episodes... when ABC decides to sell out Lost for a remake in 2027, I hope Damon Lindelof Jr. or whoever creates it makes Desmond the focal point.
But back to the "alterna-reality." Charlie, during a near-death experience he suffered after swallowing heroin (you're doing it wrong), had a vision of a hottie blonde that we all assume is Claire, Charlie's unofficial Constant. Through that vision, Charlie became Desmond's super-cosmic, self-help guru and ended up convincing Desmond that there's more to everything than we're led to believe. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why Charlie steered Desmond's ride into the ocean, but whatever, it worked and Desmond had his own vision.
After that it was classic Lost mind-F'-ery as these two universes—once painfully separated and the force that drove away Lost fans this season—began bleeding together. I can't tell you how relieved I was when Desmond flashed to see Charlie's "not Penny's boat hand." Am I a little peeved it happened this late in the season? Yes, but "what happened, happened" and it's time to move on and look forward to the rest of the season. All is mostly forgiven.
While we still don't know exactly what the side-flashes are, the leading consensus in discussions taking place on the Interwebs is that they're there the characters' fantasy existences, in which their hopes and dreams are fulfilled—best-case/"What If?" scenarios where Jack has his son, Locke has his love, and so on. Earlier in the season, I suggested that all these side-flashes could very well not be as intertwined as we are lead to believe, and that we've been looking at several alternate timelines that overlap as much as fate and/or destiny would allow. And that my actually be the case (see next page).
But the best part of this whole thing is that the side-flashes now have meaning in the eyes of the viewers. We always knew they would end up to mean something, but after 10 episodes we didn't have much to go on. No longer are we being strung along with these tangential stories—the show is whole again, and doubters can let out a huge sigh of relief. Do it with me now... Phewwwwwwwwwwwwww.
One of the big clues in "Happily Ever After" was the lack of a wedding ring on Desmond's finger. If you recall, he wore one in the Season 6 premiere when he was on Oceanic 815 with Jack. So either Desmond was keeping the cougars at bay on the long flight, or we're looking at two different Desmonds, and hence two different alternate realities.
But whatever these different Desmonds and realities are up to, there appears to be one unifying theme: to lead Desmond to Penny. The Desmond-Penny tale is one of Lost's strongest, and a perfect conduit to massage along the idea that Lost and all its mysteries may be about *gulp* true love, whether that's what we want the show to be about or not.
Charlie just wants to find his blonde goddess, Daniel Faraday (welcome back!) wants his ginger-haired crush, and Desmond is after a mystery woman named Penny. And these are the three people in the alternate reality who have an inkling that there's something more to their life as they know it. So is true love what Lost is all about?
I'm guessing not, mostly because I'm a manly man and I don't want to think I was tricked into watching six seasons of a show that was all about lovey-dovey honky-dory. Love is definitely a big part of it, but it's simply a subset of the greater picture, which I'll sum up as fulfillment.
As for how the Man in Black and Jacob figure into all of this, I have ZERO idea. But that part of the show will work itself out in time.
Other notes from the episode:
-- Goddamn, Desmond and Penny are cute together.
-- Was Widmore purposefully awful to Desmond this whole time just so he would end up on the island? Did Widmore suspect that's what would happen if he entered the boat race?
-- Daniel Faraday seemed awfully informed about what's going on with a possible side reality. Ditto his mother Eloise. I wouldn't even be surprised if limo driver (and Charles Widmore employee) George knows a bit about what's going on. Remember, he did the whole consciousness jumping thing on the freighter.
Looking ahead: It looks like Hurley's the focal point of next week, and we'll probably learn a lot about his ability to talk to the dead. Remember, in this Lost universe, when people die it doesn't mean they're gone forever. In fact, there could be several "copies" of the deceased living in these other "What if?" universes. Some people believe that we are an amalgamation of several simultaneous existences; that when we die, only part of us actually dies while the rest of our being lives on... somewhere. And Hurley can talk to what's left.
There seems to be a split on Sun's aphasia as well. I said it was ridonkulous and belongs in a soap opera, not on a show like Lost. Others said "Duh, TIM! It's obviously because she doesn't know English in the alternate reality and her loss of speaking English is because the two realities are coming together." While that idea does hold some water, I just think it's silly.
Listen guys, it's okay for you to question some of the things that the show does. Lost isn't going to be perfect. It's a hell of a great show, but even the best shows have their problems. We're here to discuss both the highs and less-frequent lows while enjoying the ride to the end.
With inevitable huge deaths coming up, I asked for characters that you would like to see die. Most of you really want Kate to eat it, which is okay with me. It would be a pretty shocking death as she's the female lead, and her character has kind of run her course.
Also, a shout out to Hungry_Homer111 for the excellent (and lengthy) commentary. Keep it up!
"Happily Ever After": This is where things get tough. "Happily Ever After" was my favorite kind of Lost episode. A real thinker. There are now three episodes that can be arguably called the most important of this season (or even the series)&3151;this one, "Ab Aeterno," and "The Substitute." I'm going to place "Happily Ever After" as the third-best episode, but I really feel like the top three are interchangeable. So if you say "Ab Aeterno" is the best episode of the season, I won't argue with you. Ditto for "Happily Ever After." But I'm going to give the slight, slight edge to "The Substitute" simply because of the scene in Jacob's cave. I loved that.
1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "Ab Aeterno" Ep. 9
3. "Happily Ever After" Ep. 11
4. "Recon" Ep. 8
5. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
6. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
7. "Sundown" Ep. 6
8. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
9. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
10. "The Package" Ep. 10
11. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3