Lost

Season 6 Episode 11

Happily Ever After

7
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 06, 2010 on ABC
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Episode Fan Reviews (29)

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  • Lost is my constant!

    9.0
    In the review for "LA X", it was theorized that "the Incident" was associated with a quantum mechanical event, such that two realities were born out of a single timeline: the familiar "Lost Prime" and the flash-sideways "Lost X". While many possible explanations for the purpose of "Lost X" have been offered since that point, based on new information, one constant has been the theory that Desmond would be directly connected to it.

    While many of the characters have experienced time travel and exposure to the unusual electromagnetic properties of the island, Desmond is the one that was at the heart of the Swan Station implosion in "Live Together, Die Alone". And as seen in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant", this led to Desmond's consciousness being uniquely "unstuck". Desmond could see the future for a time, and stood outside of the rule that "whatever happened, happened".

    This episode confirms the assumption that "the Incident" was the cause of the split in the timeline. If there are details in terms of events before 1977 that seem to diverge and can't be explained by the lack of time traveling by the survivors, that's likely just side effects of the temporal connection to the electromagnetic anomaly. (OK, in reality, it's a bit of sloppiness from the writers, but that's not as much fun as coming up with a work-around!)

    And that seems to solidify the theory that "the Incident" had differing effects in each timeline. In "Lost Prime", the island remained intact, but those displaced in time were taken back to the moment of their departure (2007). In "Lost X", the island sank (at an undetermined rate, but slow enough to let most if not all of the Dharma Initiative members to leave), and Jacob never intervened in the lives of the characters.

    It was inevitable, just based on the information in "LA X", that the two timelines would ultimately connect. As stated in the review for "The Package", the progression of the "Lost X" timeline towards a reunion of the familiar characters who were on that timeline's Oceanic 815 flight has to have a purpose within the larger context of the story. This episode only drives home this notion.

    This episode provided an interesting perspective on the relationship between "Lost Prime" and "Lost X". Characters in "Lost X" are becoming more and more aware of the existence of "Lost Prime", during moments of transcendent personal revelation. In this episode, it's tied to two life-altering events: love and death. The emphasis is on love, but both Charlie and Desmond had their epiphanies during near-death experiences.

    The two are also not directly linked. Daniel recognized that he loved Charlotte, but there was no associated near-death experience. (And while one might theorize that Daniel's own unique mental state in "Lost Prime" could account for his insight, that's an exception that seems a bit too subtle, especially given how Desmond is in focus.) On the other side of the coin, Jack was the one person in "LA X" who seemed to have flashes of recollection of "Lost Prime", without the trigger of love. Yet, it's clear that the death of his father had affected him deeply.

    Yet it is interesting to note that the characters in "Lost Prime" don't have the same insights into the existence of "Lost X". The only character that seems to allude to it is Jacob's rival. But that is only in the form of temptation, so it's not necessarily a reference to "Lost X". A solid rationale would have to be provided to make that link.

    Desmond's unique state of existence may be that link. By the end of this episode, there is every reason to believe that he is aware of the "Lost X" timeline, just as Desmond X is aware of "Lost Prime". He now has a holistic perspective that the rest of the characters simply do not have. And that ties back into the speculation from the review for "LA X": if someone has to make a decision as to which reality will prevail, Desmond is the only one with the necessary perspective on both states of existence. Desmond may not be the one called to make a decision, but he may be able to trump it.

    It's fairly clear that the final battle is swiftly approaching. Possession of the Ajira plane (or, perhaps, the Widmore submarine) is the final goal. Jacob's rival put together a long-term plan to achieve the right set of circumstances to leave the island. Jacob constructed his own plan in counterpoint. This all involves the Candidates, and a few possible scenarios have been mentioned, particularly in the review for "The Package".

    Yet Widmore's gambit seemed apart from that. Now it's revealed that it has something to do with Desmond, the electromagnetic properties of the main island, and perhaps even a nuclear bomb. Because it seems rather likely that Widmore knows about the splintered timeline.

    In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Eloise Hawking made it very clear that Desmond had to resist the urge to alter the timeline, because if he did, "every single one of us is dead". This has been echoed by Jacob and Widmore this season more than once. But what does that mean? From a literal perspective, it could mean that Jacob's rival would utterly destroy all life on the planet. But it could also mean that Jacob's rival could wipe out the "Lost Prime" timeline in favor of one of his own preference. In essence, everyone in the "Lost Prime" timeline would cease to exist.

    Right now, Jacob's rival is telling the Candidates that he can give them what they want: the restoration of loved ones and a better life, a world where Jacob never brought them to the island. It's the exact opposite of redemption. But to the Candidates, that might actually sound like a good thing. "Lost Prime" has been harsh. The thought of a new world, where things turned out the way they "should have been", would have to be tempting, especially sight unseen.

    But Desmond is now aware of that other existence. On some level, he may still be connected to it. He knows, from direct experience, that the other universe is not perfect. If anything, he realizes (thanks to Charlie and Daniel) that as real as it may seem and even be, it's not where the "Lost Prime" survivors are meant to be. More than that, he knows that the two are intrinsically connected. In other words, it may be that wiping out "Lost Prime" in favor of "Lost X" would, in essence, destroy both timelines.

    Then again, it's a well-established fact that the producers and writers had no intention of exploring the "Lost X" timeline before they settled on the finalized plan for the sixth season. It was a late addition to the series, developed as a means of adjusting format to give the season a unique flavor. So while this approach gives the audience a perspective into this alternative reality, it's likely that the original treatment was more conceptual.

    It all comes down, as Jacob said in "Ab Aeterno", to finding someone willing to let go of the past, accept a clean slate, and take his place as caretaker of the island. It makes perfect sense that Jacob's rival would offer them a temptation of this magnitude. Widmore is in direct opposition to Jacob's rival, so it appears as though this is all part of Jacob's counter-ploy.

    After all, if Jacob contrived to have Oceanic 815 crash on the island, then he is the likely manipulator behind Desmond's lapse in the Swan Station (going back to the long-standing theory that the crash was not at all accidental). And who was directly involved in getting Desmond to the island? Charles Widmore. It all adds up. (That also serves to explain Libby's importance to the story. She facilitated Desmond's arrival on the island as part of Team Jacob. There's really nothing else pertinent to know about her.)

    So how might it all come together? Desmond knows about the other timeline. He knows that "Lost Prime" is the way things were supposed to play out; this is in direct line with Eloise Hawking's warnings in "Flashes Before Your Eyes". He can survive intense electromagnetic fields, such as exist on the island and are tied to the containment of Jacob's rival. And he knows that a nuclear bomb, in conjunction with such a field, can change the flow of time. And Eloise Hawking, someone intimately connected to Charles Widmore, knew all about the implications based on her possession of Daniel Faraday's journal.

    What if Charles Widmore, as part of Jacob's plan, is trying to stage a second, much bigger Incident? The producers have said that Zoe is key to the final resolution; as a geophysicist, she would be able to advise on where the second Incident would need to take place. If "whatever happened, happened", and "course correction" is intrinsic to the stability of the timeline, then it may all come down to mending the damage done by the first Incident. And it makes sense that it would take an event of similar magnitude to make that happen.

    The trick could be that this requires setting off the burst in the most potent electromagnetic location on the island, and it may be too strong for a normal human being to withstand. That's where Desmond comes into the picture. Eliminate the "Lost X" timeline, and Jacob's rival no longer has an alternative to offer to the Candidates. (In fact, it may be that Jacob's rival needs the "Lost X" timeline to exist for his escape to be fully realized. Eliminate "Lost X", select the Candidate, and the game is over for this cycle.)

    So a relatively logical scenario is now forming for the final resolution to the story. But there is one unusual aspect still to take into account. Desmond seemed altogether too happy to do what Widmore was asking him to do, which seems to be sacrificing himself (and therefore his life with Penny and little Charlie) to eliminate the "Lost X" timeline in which he was still destined to be with his true love. But he was also willing to go with Sayid, no questions asked. So what is Desmond's current motivation?

    Desmond has never been particularly secretive on the matter: his sole desire was always to be with Penny. As far back as "Live Together, Die Alone", the producers have been clear on the point that the Desmond/Penny relationship was one of the most important aspects of the story. So the audience can count on Desmond making whatever choice he feels is right with respect to Penny. It's not entirely clear what he took away from his experience in "Lost X", but it's certainly going to factor into the endgame.

    Overall, this was another solid and satisfying episode, confirming some of the speculation regarding the direction and nature of the story while promising that some of the more pressing plot threads will be resolved. This is effectively the end of the complication phase of the final arc; it's now a headlong rush to ultimate resolution.
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