Season 4 Episode 5

The Constant

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 28, 2008 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (147)

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out of 10
2,313 votes
  • Simply mind blowing is all I can say.

    I'm a huge fan of any storyline involving time travel, but this episode was pure genius. Once again Lost has delivered an episode full of amazing writing, dialogue and entertainment. Each scene kept me glued to my seat, right up until the climactic phone call at the end. The idea of jumping Desmond back ad forth between time periods is an amazing way to keep the audience wanting more. Reminds me of how The Lord of The Rings books would jump between each groups storyline from chapter to chapter. It'll be hard to impress me any better from here on out.
  • Consider my mind blown.

    What can I say? Best episode ever. Desmond's and Penny's story is one of the most touching love stories ever. The phonecall is probably the most emotionally moving scene of this show to date. The back and forth scene changing was so intense and so great... I can't praise Jack Bender and the episode editors enough for this.

    The whole episode was an excellent, and I mean EXCELLENT mixature of human emotions, character development, and that typical Lost confusion that makes you go "wtf" all the time.

    This episode overtook Flashes Before Your Eyes in my books. Perhaps because this episode covered much more ground than FBYE. It's funny that, if you look at it, there was barely any action, and the whole episode took place in very limited locations, yet it feels incredibly fast paced and action packed. Daniel's character is further explored, and now he's officially my favourite frightie, although Frank is very cool too, he seems like a good person. But Daniel... he's borderline genius and crazy, and that's just awesome. The ending... Desmond being his constant? Wow. Well... makes sense, but I didn't see that one coming, even though I should have. Obviously, Desmond was very important to Dan, because through him, he finally proved the existance of time travel. I never thought I would write that down in a review of a Lost episode... wow.

    I'm somewhat speecheless right now, so excuse me for the sloppy and short review. This episode hit perfection, and there's barely any TV episode that can put up a fight with The Constant.

    Maximum respect to the cast and crew.
  • Seriously....This was one of the best if not THE best LOST episode ever!

    WOW! The complexity and geniality of this episode is hard to describe. The one whose mind did not get completely blown away by this...well they just didn`t understand a thing. :D
    It`s a Desmond centric. Desmond`s episodes are always so mind blowing but this one: WOW. This is my favorite all time lost episode, even better than Through the looking glass.
    Time traveling, this is just brilliant and the way this was executed was so perfect. The momentum and intensity of the episode was overwhelming. The "constant idea" was amazing. Nothing big happened on the island but who cares LOL. Looks like Dan also have the problem and his constant will now be Desmond.
    Also, looks like someone on the boat helped Sayid and Desmond.... clearly, Ben`s spy. I think (just a thoery) it`s Michael. And yeah, little of Jack, no Kate, none of that ANNOYING love triangle, just the most believable Lost love story: Desmond and Penny. So, that was an Epic episode...time traveling is even more exciting that flash forward. Last week was a kinda letdown but this week was THE best Lost episode IMO.
    At the very start of the episode, I had a cup of tea in the hand, I was about to drink it.....I end up drinking it some 15 minutes after the episode:D
    Anyone who are rating this episode less than 9, I respect your opinion but hell...you`ve got a problem and you are simply impossible to please.
  • This episode will go down in history as one of the best episodes to be ever created for television.

    A lot of shows I've watched over the last, let's say ten years. There has never been an episode more special than this one. This is also the first 10 I've ever given!

    Okay, maybe that sounds a little bit over the top, but it's not. The story of this episode is about Desmond. We've seen his 'lost-story' for about 2 years and he has grown to be my favourite character on the show. His and Penny's lovestory is one of those few that aren't that 'over the top' or 'cliche' or whatever you want to call it.
    This episode builds up into a climax that's not only stunning, but also beautiful.

    Besides this, I love where lost is going with this season. People who complain about Lost being Scifi... just face it! You've seen enough right? Time travelling, time differences, monsters.. and everything has a connection (that ofcourse has still to be established).

    I'm sure when Lost is gone after 6 season it'll go down in history as psychologicaly brilliant.
  • This is definitely the best episode of Lost for me.

    This is definitely the best episode of Lost for me. The story of Desmond and Penny is just brilliant. Just beautifully crafted and edited storyline. Works perfectly with the entire theme of Lost. I was mostly a skeptic about Lost. I didn't watch the series because I kinda thought the writers were making things up as they went. Well, that might be true but when it comes together in an episode like this. Its brilliant. I can understand why Lost is a great series. And yes, there are episodes that just frustrate you and many loose ends. Once in a while, it just come together so good, its worth all the anticipation.
  • I Love You Penny...

    This entire season I have had to wait for the second viewing of an episode in order to give it a fair grade - there will be none of that for this epsiode. This episode is everything that you could ever want in Lost. It had everything that you could ever ask for so let us begin the breakdown.

    To begin with - the only critism that the episode has gotten so far is that the beginning started off too out there and mysterious and the begining really dragged? It was because of the mystery and confusion at the beginning of the episode that made the pay off at the end so great. I really thought Desmond might die in this episode when he was calling Penny and Im so happy that I have stayed spioler free to this point. Loved the introduction to the boat - we get to meet two of the passengers on it and its clear that they do not want Oceanic 815 members on their plane at this point. There is alot more to be uncovered on this boat right now, but I loved the pacing of the boat portion of the episode. Everything in the episode mattered and I dont even think that I would consider this episode a flashback as a whole. I would consider it a time travel episode. I should also mention that Desmond episodes have yet to be bad. Live Together, Die Alone was among the top episode on everyones LOST list up until Through The Looking Glass. Flashes and Catch 22 were both amazing episodes in season three and now we have this one as well. Loved the way they really got the beach involved in this episode, I thought Locke and company needed a bit of a timeout anyways. Jack and Juliet were on the beach, but the main action was with Daniel Faraday who sends Desmond to see him at Oxford. There was a lot of scienece and time travel in this episode but Damon and Carlton were able to write it so well that I could understand the entire episode when it was all over with.

    I have never been a big fan of the "Happily Ever After" storyline, but I loved the entire scene when Desmond finnaly gets a hold of Penny in the present time. I have enjoyed watching that love story devolop and its so much better then anything Jack / Kate / Sawyer have ever given to the show. There is something so real about it that it really makes me anticipate them getting to see each other soon. Overall, one of the best episodes of Lost ever and after 135 votes it is being given the proper respect that it deserves. Flashes Before Your Eyes was a fantastic episode and is rated too low. Now that people understand whats going on I hope the constant settles down at the 9.65 range. Obviously I would want it to be a 10 but I don't think thats anything that could ever happen on this site. Amazing episode.
  • When Desmond and some others were traveling back to the freighter on the helicopter, they go through the barrier and Desmond starts having flashbacks that could severely effect him. Desmond has to find his constant before it is too late.

    I thought this episode was very well written. This episode revealed a lot about what the island does to some people. It shows how the island is a very mysterious place. When the episode ended with Daniel opening his notebook and flipping through the pages to find that on his page was written, "If anything happens, Desmond Hume is my constant" was a great way to end the episode. It shows a lot about the things to come and how if he ends up having the flashes he would have to find Desmond. This episode wasn't an episode that answered many questions about past things but it will about things to come in next seasons.
  • If I'm going to berate them when they do poorly, then I must praise them when they do well. They have constantly been getting better and this was outstanding. Episodes like this is why I watch Lost! I actually give this one a 12.

    One quick non-sequestor, the actor who played the ships doctor was also the hidden witness in Eli Stone. Anyway, this episode had Desmond "unstuck" in time. A term I first heard used in Sliders to explain why Jerry O'Connel and his brother left the show. After leaving the island, Desmond's consciousness jumps back and forth through time ala Captain Picard in "All Good Things". The only difference is Desmond is going to die if he doesn't find a "constant" something or someone he cares about in both time frames, 1996 and 2004. There is another person going through the same thing but it was obvious he was going to die. I liked him having to go back in time to find Daniel. Then Daniel and Desmond in the office were excellent.

    While Desmond isn't a survivor, it seems his character and story are an essential linchpin into what is going on. Also, the effects of the island on the space-time continum are awsome. It explains why the others went by sub and you had to be unconsious for the experience. Desmonds jumping, finding Penny and making the call were extremely well done and expertly acted! I was feeling for both of them. The scene where he's asking for the phone number had me screaming, "Just give him your number!"

    Then the call. Extremely well done! Extra bonus points for making something obvious still worth watching! But what really got me was in the end, Daniel rifling through his book and having the Desmond as his constant notation.

    Lost is back on track with a vengence! I can't wait to see what happens next.
  • One of the best LOST episodes ever.

    The Constant, a Desmond centric episode.

    Desmond begins to time travel (?) to and from 1996 and 2004 while flying towards the freighter. He experiences unusual side effects and forgets everything post 1996 and his time in the army. Daniel Faraday is probably the only man who can help him.

    Wow! Just wow! The Constant is one of the best episode ever written for TV, this is one superbly produced and edited episode of LOST. It is just that amazing. It just proves that LOST is one of the best shows ever to grace the small screens. The final five minutes, the telephone call, that scene ranks as one of the best scenes in LOST.

    If you are not watching this show, you are really missing something. Forget Heroes, Prison Break, CSI, Grey's Anatomy, forget everything, this decade is going to be remembered for one TV show, and that is LOST.
  • Lost is best when it is weird and this is arguably the weirdest episode of the lot and in my opinion, arguably the best episode ever.

    This episode was the epitome of Lost and what it brings to the viewer. As I said in the summary, Lost is best when it is weird and this episode created a whole new plethora of weird. From flashbacks and flashforwards to having to relate between the two or you're going to die...this episode has the lot. Unfortunately it's the man that always has his brain messed with stuck in the middle of it. Desmond Hume is one of the best characters in Lost in my opinion and this is a true statement to how strong his own storyline is, not to mention how everything that has happened to Desmond and is still happening ties in with all of the islanders' fate. The ending was phenomenal and the inclusion of Daniel Faraday in the story is excellent. He's the best character out of the new cast and quickly becoming one I hope to see more and more. Best episode of Lost since season 1 in my opinion. Truly what makes this show great.
  • It will make your head ache and your heart yearn

    There were a couple of reasons to look forward to a Desmond-centric episode --- there seems to be more in his past worth learning about, and because he's not a member of the Oceanic survivors, there's no way we can know what his future holds. Plus the writers always seem to put a little extra into writing his episodes. But even knowing all that can't really prepare you for 'The Constant', simultaneously one of the most mind-bending and heart pulling episodes the series would ever do.
    We've had a hard time getting to know Desmond's story because the writers have been using the flashbacks to tell it to us in reverse order. Essentially though, this episode is the companion to the Season 3 classic 'Flashes Before Your Eyes'. In that episode, we saw what happened to Desmond when he turned the failsafe key that blew the hatch in the second season finale. In that episode, his present day consciousness seemed to carry over to the past when he was still living in London with Penelope. He kept having flashes and we couldn't tell if he had traveled back in time or whether his life had flashed before his eyes. Now it turns out, it was more the former than the latter. None of this is apparent at the start when the helicopter carrying Sayid and Desmond finally flies back to the freighter, but they end up hitting some bad weather. Something happens and Desmond's consciousness travels back to 1996. (The viewer has a hard time telling this because there is no whooshing sound indicating the typical flashback or forward, which means much like in 'Flashes', this is really happening. Desmond loses his memory and appears to be back in the Royal Scots Guard, just slightly after he breaks up with Penny. He doesn't know what's happening to him, and neither does anyone else. And when they finally get to the freighter, no one seems interested in helping him, even though they've already seen it happen. And everybody on this boat, with the exception of Frank seems very creepy, even the doctor who is trying to treat him. Of course, their idea of treatment is drugging him and locking him up, along with a man named George Minnkowski, who we heard of in some of the previous episodes, but never saw. Somehow whatever's happening to Desmond is happening to George, and it's not looking good.

    Back on the island, everybody is glad to hear back from the freighter, but no one has any idea what has happened to Desmond. Someone does have a clue--- and oddly enough, it's Daniel. (Before this, we once again witness the prime example of nobody on the island ever asking any questions. Daniel asks if Desmond has ever been exposed to electromagnetism or radiation. The viewer knows that's exactly what happened in the Season 2 finale, but on the beach, Jack and Juliet just shrug their shoulders and go "Wha?" Of course, it doesn't help that the main people who know are still with Locke.) Daniel's attempt to solve the problem--- which involves the sat phone, and a rather massive attempt to reconnect --- involves him going to Oxford in order to meet up--- with the 1996 version of himself, and telling him about Eloise, who we will learn is one of Daniel's white mice. (We're not going to find out the significance of that name for awhile.) Daniel is not that hard to convince, surprisingly, because he seems to have devoted his work to figuring out this problem. He then says that Desmond has somehow become unstuck in time, and then gives an explanation as to what may have happened. In 'Flashes' his consciousness traveled backwards in time, but his corporeal self did not. Now it appears that his 1996 consciousness has traveled back to the 2004 one, and because of this he no longer has any memories of what has happened on the island. (As to why Daniel didn't remember this little side trip when he came to the island in the first place, well, Daniel's experiments involved a lot of radiation, and as we see in 1996, he never really thought about how to protect his head, which probably explains why he was such a mess when we first met him.)

    If you're still able to follow all this, then you've clearly been watching Lost very closely. I have, and I still was barely able to keep up with the science of this. But then the science has always been of peripheral importance to me--- I care more about the human element. And this story has that in spades. In order to keep himself anchored in the present, Daniel tells him that he needs a constant, and as anyone who watches this show knows, that's Penny. And even though Frank claims he never heard of Penny, George has--- there are strict orders that no communications from Penny are to be allowed to go through tot he island. (This is actually a pretty big hint as to who really sent the freighter out to the Pacific in the first place.)

    Naturally, this involves another visit with Mr. Widmore again, who is no less disdainful of Des than he was in 'Flashes Before Your Eyes'. While were meeting him, we get another pretty big hit about the island--- Mr. Widmore is bidding on the journal for the Black Rock the slaving ship that somehow ended up in the middle of the island loaded with dynamite. Widmore seems very intent on getting that journal. It's hard to believe he would help Desmond in the first place, but he clearly believes this is more cruel to let Penny tell him that she's forsaken him. (He doesn't know his daughter very well, either.)

    The two scenes near the end of the episode, in many ways, represent the bottom and top of their relationship. Penny clearly thinks that Desmond has gone round the bend, but nevertheless gives him her number and promises that she will not change it before 2004. He then makes the call, there is a long pause--- and then Penny's there. The scene that follows is one of the most moving in Lost's history--- arguably the best since Jin and Sun were reunited in the middle of Season 2. Frantically, each tries to get all the information they can over this choppy connection, finally swearing eternal devotion and the promise that they will find the other. If nothing else, this proves that Desmond is different than the survivors of Oceanic 815--- he has something to hold on to, something that has not broken him, something that makes him want to be saved. When he manages to anchor himself, he has something to live for--- which is more than many of the people of the island can say.

    But Desmond's connection to Penny is not the only one that is important. Daniel knows that he is now connected to Desmond, and in his journal, mixed around a mess of equations and numbers is a telling phrase--- "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant." The two men know nothing about each other, but they've formed a link that will last them a lot longer than their time on the island

    'The Constant' is an example of how brilliant a great show can be when all of its cylinders are firing. There are many great shows that can find a way of exercising the brain and the heart. And even though it's not a holiday episode, it feels more genuine as a Christmas episode (it takes place on December 24) than the most saccharine of holiday shows. One of the high points in the series, for sure.
    My score:10
  • Strange Temporal Case of Desmond Hume

    This episode deserves to figure in all viewers top 10 list. First Henry Ian Cusick performance as Desmond is astonishing and he was even nominated for an Emmy. Since his first appearance in season 2 he keeps growing on us and after watching The Constant it's impossible not to like him. Second Sonya Walger is perfect as Penny and in fact she reminds of Renée Zellweger. They excel in genuine roles and her relationship with Desmond seems so real that anyone can easily relate to their story. The phone scene should even make you cry considering how emotional the characters get. Moreover even if it's pure fiction the writers managed to make us believe in it. And the most impressive thing is that it seems there's no temporal paradox like in Back to the Future. Daniel Faraday even explained time travel to Jack and Juliet, well in his own nerdy way. But the real candy in this episode are probably the perpetual flashbacks between 1996 and 2004. The two Desmond seem so different, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And it's not just how they look but more about how they act. The military scenes even reminded me of Full Metal Jacket. Let's also not forget the surreal scene at Oxford University.

    So to sum things up, this is a must see. One thing I'm sure of is that The Constant will be remembered as one of the most fascinating Lost episode. It was perfect from the story, directing, writing to the characters. It's definitely the kind of cult episode you'll watch over and over.
  • How can i even describe this episode!?

    This one is exactly why i watch Lost. If someone was to try and begin watching the series with jumping even a few episodes it would be very very hard to catch up, and this episode exactly proves that. A man who jumps time 8 years to the past and back with the risk of his brain short circuiting, just amazing. Now what i don't understand is how Desmond continued to live in the past with the knowledge that he'd already been to the future, or did destiny fix that problem? The great thing about the show is that they out out an episode like this one just in time, right after a couple of twist and 'story-wise important' episodes, comes a 'Constant' that just blows your mind.
  • A Desmond-centric episode.

    Let me just start out by saying that all things considered, I thought that this episode was absolutely amazing. I thought that the Desmond's flashbacks were very interesting and very well done. I've always thought that Desmond was very interesting character, and this character only made me even more interested in him than I was before. This episode also made me become even more interested in the characters Daniel and Charlotte and what exactly they know about the island. I'm really glad that they were heavily involved in Desmonds's storyline. All in all, in all I thought that was a very well written, well acted and well made episode of Lost from everyone involved, and I can't wait to see the rest of season four of Lost.
  • Holy crap. THis episode definately goes down as a Lost classic.

    Very seldom to I give an episode a perfect score, but this week's episode of Lost fits perfectly into that classification. Sayid, Desmond, and the Pilot fly the helicopter through a thunderhead which I believe is struck by lightning. THis forces them off the coordinates that Daniel gave the pilot, and causes Desmond's conciousness to start moving through time. Daniel explained earlier to Jack that if they are knocked off the coordinates he gave them, that there would be side effects, and that's exactly what happens to Desmond with the future and past travels. His time travels are almost identical to what happens to BIlly Pilgrim in the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five.

    Not only do we get to see Desmond traveling between the two years, perfect editing by the writers and directors, but we also are slowly shown more of the secrets of the island. It's obvious that Daniel knows more than he is saying, and he tells Jack just enough to explain that time is different on the island. THis was explained a little last week with the rocket launched from the boat to the island, but now we are given more detail, which just wets our appetite for wanting to know more. Season four has definately been one of the best season's so far, and it's good to see that Lost is getting back to the roots of it's first season. Once again Lost has me completely hooked. On another note, we also learn the history of the shipwrecked Black Rock which Danielle led the Oceanic survivors to in season one. It was explained that it was lost at sea, and we know that it is shipwrecked on the same island with the survivors of Oceanic FLight 815. I was wondering when we were going to find out more about that ship, and the writers have brought it back finally.

    Great episode. Hope the Lost writers keeping giving us such splendid episodes. Next week's episode is looking good for sure, and I will be tuning in certainly.
  • Much is revealed in this poignant, powerful, and revealing Desmond-centric episode. Possibly one of the best episodes ever, this episode will amaze you.

    To say that this episode is "Exactly Why I Watch This Series" is an understatement. Just about every positive comment in the classification box can apply to this episode of Lost. It very well may be the best episode they have had thus far. It was exciting, revealing, touching, and it held your attention. I was getting irritable during the commercials, it was that good.

    The episode started with Desmond and Sayid heading to the freighter with Frank via helicopter. Frank explains that Daniel told him he must maintain an exact bearing to and from the freighter, this includes flying through a fierce thunderstorm. The storm knocks them off bearing slightly which causes Desmond to travel back in time to 1996. This happens several times throughout the episode. At this point Desmond is still in the army and is aware that he is moving between 2004 and 1996. The crew of the freighter (who is displeased that the survivors are on the boat) takes Desmond to the sick bay where he finds George Minkowski strapped to a bed. George is also going back and forth between times.

    Frank lets Sayid use his phone to contact Jack and company at the beach and explains Desmond's situation. Daniel is able to help Desmond by arranging a meeting in the past at the University in the UK where Daniel works. Daniel explains by veering off course, Desmond's conscious is going back and forth between time periods, if he doesn't stop this, he will die. The way to stop it is by having a "constant" something that is in common in both periods in time; Desmond uses Penny as his constant. He calls her at one point and she rebuffs him, he tries to call again, but her number was disconnected. He gets her address from her father who is bidding on a journal from the Black Rock! We also find that the owner of the Black Rock was an ancestor of Alvar Hanso! Desmond tracks down Penny and promises that he will call her on Xmas Eve of 2004 if she gives him the number. After George dies, Sayid is able to rig up a phone and Desmond contacts Penny as promised. After a touching moment and an exchange of "I love you's" the battery dies. Desmond who had previously had amnesia in 2004 is able to recognize Sayid again, the constant is established, and Desmond lives on. It cuts back to Daniel who is looking in his journal at an entry that states something to the effect of using "Desmond Hume as his constant".

    This episode had everything; it was paced extremely well, excellent direction, and perfect cinematography. The rapid flashbacks and flash-forwards may confuse or overwhelm some, but it was a great plot device and was absolutely perfect for the episode. The acting was top notch with Henry Ian Cusick putting on an Emmy worthy performance as Desmond. You could literally feel his emotion, his despair, desperation and his true love for Penny. Naveen Andrews was wonderful as always and used Sayid's stoic nature to good effect; his performance was purposefully scripted to be underscored and was very powerful. Fisher Stevens was outright creepy as George Minkowski, which was a really nice touch. The episode was also incredibly revealing with the admissions of time travel, the link between Widmore and Hanso, the idea that Daniel and Charlotte know more than they are letting on (though Daniel does give more info, he is ok in my book-Charlotte needs shot). It was also good to see Desmond and Penny speak; it was an emotional scene that likely made many people misty-eyed.

    Overall this was an amazing episode; enough cannot be said about it. This is how Lost should be done; it carried you throughout a spectrum of emotions and was interesting from start to finish. It was an episode I hated to see end. Kudos to the cast, crew, and writers for such a phenomenal work-easily some of the greatest television I have ever watched.
  • Did you notice the Black Rock Reference???

    Bet you didn't notice the Black Rock tie in.... Loved this episode. By far the best episode of the series. Revealed more about the entire series than any other episode. By the way did anyone notice that when Desmond goes to the auction they are selling a portrait of the Black Rock, the ship that ran ashore on the island. Coincidence? I think not.

    This series is only getting better. It has so many levels that it exists on and it really make you think. Although it did get just a little bit "Back to the Future (Flux capacitor) when Desmond goes to the university to talk to the Past Faraday (you gotta love that name, what an ultimate inside joke, or is it???)

    Too bad there aren't any other shows on TV that even come close to LOST. Oh, well, at least we can still be lost for another 20 or so episodes.

    Amazing! Gave it a 9.9 because I only saw one iffy edit, other than that, what a job they did putting this one together. Outstanding!!!
  • The Constant proves that the writers of LOST are not afraid to take risks, that jumping the shark is not necessarily a bad thing, and that no matter what your opinion is on the concept of time travel, it makes for some awesome storytelling.

    This episode, in a nutshell, sums up Lost and why I love it. It's as interesting, exciting, dramatic and as damn cool as you could ever ask a television show to be.

    Using a similar plot device to the series Finale of 'Star Trek : The Next Generation', this episode deals with a fantastic plot-device crafted by the writers known within the fiction of the show as 'Consciousness Time-Travel'. The character of Desmond finds himself 'unstuck in time', essentially meaning his consciousness is sent hurtling between the present and the future versions of himself. This strange phenomenon, seemingly brought on by the mysterious time-distortion properties of the Island, makes for some excellent storytelling relating to Desmond's character. As well as explaining the origins of his premonitions last season, the time travel element within this episode helps us further explore the greatest romantic relationship of the series; his love for Penelope, a past girlfriend whom he had split up with during his prior time-traveling romp, last seasons mind-blowing 'Flashes Before Your Eyes'.

    The Constant is remarkable in that it somehow manages to tell an excellent stand-alone story, filled with plot, drama and emotion, whilst also bursting at the seams with dense exposition, character development and an excellent narrative. This neat little package is compliment by a significant step in the over-all, unfolding story-arc for the series, and honestly each time i watch 'The Constant' I am simply amazed that the writers managed to fit all of this into one single, 42 minute episode.

    A fine example of why I can't get enough of Lost, and easily one of my favorite episodes of the series so far.
  • The best episode of the season to date

    Ever since his introduction in "Live Together, Die Alone", the producers have noted that the romance between Desmond and Penelope Widmore was at the heart of the Lost mythology. This episode continues to explore the truth behind that statement. For all that the survivors of Oceanic 815 experience the oddities of the island, Desmond's fate has been wrapped around them for years, and his story sheds light on several long-standing mysteries.

    His connection to the Widmores, for instance, has led to important revelations about the Hanso Foundation and the man behind the infamous Dharma Initiative. This episode connects some important dots. The Black Rock, the landlocked ship known to the survivors since the first season, now becomes a source of information about the island and its effects. A navigator's journal was found in Madagascar seven years after the disappearance of the Black Rock, and that navigator was a man named Hanso.

    The journal is eventually purchased by Charles Widmore, a businessman with ties to the Hanso Foundation, and one would imagine that the approximate location of the island was mentioned within its pages. This continues to add fuel to the flame of the theory that Widmore, who sponsored the race that eventually led Desmond to the island, intentionally wanted him trapped there to keep him from Penny. How he is treated moving forward should put the matter to rest.

    Regardless, all the suggestions still point to Widmore, the remnants of the Dharma Initiative, and elements of the Hanso Foundation as the authority behind the "rescue" expedition. One would also assume that Matthew Abbadon's organization is a part of that overall effort. Certainly they knew enough about the island (again, probably from the journal) to include Daniel Faraday on the team.

    Daniel's background in fringe physics, as expected, tie into the odd temporal properties of the island itself, stemming from the powerful electromagnetic source below the remnants of the Swan Station. This ties directly into the events of "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and begins to explain, to some degree, Desmond's ability to predict the future. Because he is "unstuck in time" (thank you, Kurt Vonnegut), Desmond's consciousness is not anchored to normal perception.

    For example, during the third season Desmond in the "present" was seeing possibilities of the future, all surrounding the fate of Charlie. What happens in this episode seems to be related, though in a more generalized manner. In this case, Desmond in the "past" becomes entangled with the physical presence of Desmond in the "present". Both situations appear to stem from an induced separation between conscious mind and physical body.

    In fact, this could explain Daniel's memory issues. Desmond points out that Daniel has been conducted his experiments with time without a shield over his head. Perhaps the net effect of the radiation/EM field exposure has been a dissociation of his memories. He wouldn't necessarily remember meeting Desmond in the first place, despite the warning in his own journal. Desmond is now important to Daniel beyond his field of study; it could get very interesting if Daniel is forced to choose between Desmond and the true goals of the "rescue party".

    Henry Ian Cusick delivers another powerful performance, easily handling the difficulty of the material. His devotion to Penny has always been apparent, but this episode goes a long way towards demonstrating her own dedication to him. Whatever might have happened in "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Penny still trusts Desmond enough to overlook his rather stalker-ish behavior. Their phone conversation is one of the most emotional moments of the series, and it is very well earned.

    So much time is spent on Desmond that the rest of Team Shepherd barely gets any screen time. The exception is Sayid, who continues to get the kind of attention he's deserved for quite a while. Sayid's loyalty to Desmond is effectively portrayed, and it shows how dedicated Sayid is to his friends and allies. It's also good to see his previously-established technical skills applied to the situation.

    Similarly, Juliet continues to support Jack and his authority on the island, especially with the new arrivals. Daniel doesn't seem to be much of a problem, since his personal goals often appear to override his more nefarious orders. Charlotte, on the other hand, definitely treats the survivors as a threat, and her attitude communicates the dubious nature of her real mission as surely as the behavior of the crew on the "rescue boat". The stage has definitely been set for conflict in the very near future.

    This episode is the latest evidence of the writing staff's renewed sense of purpose. The narrative has been moving forward at a measured but substantial pace, and now that the format has been expanded to include flash-forwards and other unusual perspective changes, the conventions of the series are no longer an impediment. In fact, this season has shown a very strong start, possibly better than any start to a season since the beginning of the series. Hopefully the post-writers'-strike episodes will maintain the same quality.
  • A great episode.

    " The Constant " is a great episode that firmly entrenches the use of time travel in this show. Desmond is one of my favorite characters of those that were not introduced in the first season. I had never considered the possibility of a person's consciousness traveling back and forth through time rather than their physical self so it was good to see such an innovative plot device uses to help flesh out his character. The story also helps us get to know Daniel Faraday a little bit more and explains what happened with George Minkowski back on the freighter.
  • The best of this season so far.

    This episode has all the ingredients for "Lost" at its best: a script by Lindelof and Cuse, direction by Jack Bender and focus on one of the more compelling characters. In a season where even the episodes considered misfires are still really good, this episode shines even more. Although a flash forward with Desmond would've been at least interesting, his back story still has plenty of life in it, not to mention his time travels allow the creative team to divert from the standard flashback formula.

    Desmond's story since gaining his power has earned comparisons to the Kurt Vonnegut masterpiece "Slaughterhouse Five". In that, the protagonist becomes "unstuck in time" (a phrase dropped in this episode), catapulting through various events in his life with no seeming logic or progression. Desmond experiences similar phenomena, although it jumps back and forth from a linear 1996 storyline to the present action. "Lost" also incorporates another level of tension, where the conscience bouncing back and forth needs to find a constant to hang on to or else face deadly consequences.

    Desmond's unstuck travels through time are terrifically put together. The abrupt changes mid-sentence (or mid-word) to dead silence or vice versa really nailed the disorientation Desmond suffered throughout the episode. While the director, writers and cast deserve high marks, the editing deserves it as well (hopefully they'll get Emmy recognition).

    Since Charlie's death, some have wondered what that meant for Desmond's flashes. Presumably he would have flashes of other events, but this episode gives Desmond something new and interesting. Assuming the flashes were similar to the unsticking (the flashes were presumably incomplete as the future isn't written), Desmond avoided major problems because Charlie was his constant through most of them. Although he avoided death in this episode, it's still possible that this could happen again, maybe when Penny comes close to the island. Penelope and Desmond's love story is everything the Kate/Jack/Sawyer triangle wants to be but isn't. Look no further than that gut wrenching phone call on the boat. None of the love triangle moments even comes close to this one. Even multiple viewings hasn't diminished how moving this scene is. Unlikely the triangle, Desmond and Penny's love and separation are at the heart of the "Lost" story. I couldn't care who Kate ultimately picks, but if Desmond and Penny don't end up together, I'll be seriously upset.

    While I initially was puzzled over Desmond's decision to stay behind, his reasoning is obvious: he wants to know their connection to Penny. Naomi had their photo when she parachuted on island and used that to gain the trust of the survivors, but what exactly was their reasoning for this strategy unless they knew they had contact with Ben and assuming he is their target? Minkowski explains that Penelope contacted the freighter. This could imply that the freighter was originally sent by her after all, but Abaddon's people changed the agenda. That could explain why she didn't know Naomi.

    The freighter's a lot smaller than it was made out to be. It was probably unrealistic to have a big freighter on a TV budget. The crew, therefore, must be small. Originally there were at least 11 people (the freighties on island, the doctor, Minkoswki, Omar, Keamy, the Captain & Regina), but there are likely more.

    It's been theorized for weeks that Michael and presumably Walt are on the boat as well, with Michael being Ben's inside man. If that's the case, it wouldn't be a far stretch to presume that Michael is Sayid and Desmond's "friend", unlocking the sick bay door so they can go to the communication center. It would also make sense that Walt sabotaged the equipment. This ties in with him setting the original raft on fire. He never wanted to get off the island, so now that he is he's going to do everything in his power to keep the freighter from going forward.

    Between Minkowski and Desmond, this episode may begin to explain the "sickness" Rousseau alluded to back in the eighth episode. It should also be noted that the substance Minkowski was injected with looks like the vaccine Desmond took while in The Swan. Since The Swan was on top of all the electromagnetic activity, it would make sense to protect the inhabitants from "side effects". There is also the question of whether the rest of the crew will be subject to it, since Brendan and Minkowski went on a solo mission to see the island. Frank make it there and back and he appears fine.

    There's also the question of how it'll affect Locke. He's the only other person who was close to The Swan when it im/exploded who is still alive, but the only effects he's had was a renewed sense that the island's power was real. It'll be interesting to see if he becomes "sick" should he leave, perhaps as a reluctant member of the Oceanic Six.

    Daniel's character gets some major development, explaining some of his odd behavior. Considering his exposure to radiation and electromagnetism, they are setting him up as a possible counter to Desmond. This may explain Charlotte's card game and his inexplicable crying when learning of 815's "fate" in his flashback. He may be in an upcoming event that was upsetting (not hard to believe with all the harbingers of doom) and hurled back with no memory. This may ultimately be what motivated him to join the freighter crew.

    It seems that Widmore may know a bit about the island's mythology. At the point where Desmond jumped back his journey may be getting started, as he's first obtaining a potential piece of island mythology: a journal, owned by a member of the Hanso family, by the first mate of the Black Rock (some of whom theorized was forever young Richard). Buying it for such a high price shows he'll go far to learn about the island. He may also know the truth about what's happening to Desmond and that, combined with his distaste for those lower in class than he is, fuels his animosity. That could be why he left the water running, which was a pretty odd behavior.

    The time discrepancy between on-island and off-island is revealed and it turns out that it wasn't too far off. The island is only a few days ahead according to Lostpedia, although official sources appear to be retconning that unfortunately. However, it should be noted that the bearing Frank followed was 305, 20 less than Michael's. Veering slightly off was likely that catalyst for Desmond's problems. It's possible that going at the bearing Ben advised will ultimately explain Walt's aging.

    Otherwise, the show's focus is only on a few other characters. Sayid proves to be a strong support for Desmond, likely because he's in a similar situation with his long lost love Nadia (not explaining her in Sayid's flash forward may be telling). It's interesting to see him as compassionate compared to the cold blooded killer he'll become at Ben's service. Frank also has some good scenes as the castaways ally (possibly the "friend") on the boat. It's certainly interesting to see that the freighties on island, besides Miles, have been sympathetic, considering what happens to the Oceanic Six.

    Overall, this was the best episode yet from a season that has been hitting all the right marks. The A-Team (as TV Guide calls them) of Bender, Lindelof and Cuse crank out another superb episode and Henry Ian Cusick (one of the many gifted performers on "Lost") knocks it out of the park. While it was a self-contained episode, no Oceanic Six reveals, it still moved the story forward with some great character development between Desmond and Daniel. The stage is certainly set for even more amazing stuff down the road.
  • As Good As It Gets

    An absolutely incredible episode that has found its way into my Top 10 Episodes of All-Time. Everyone knows the whole revelations about this episode and who it focuses on (Desmond), so, instead of just repeating those facts, I will try to voice my opinion on WHY this episode was so incredible; It was an episode that answered some questions while opening a slew of new ones (a perfect example of why LOST is the best show currently on TV), the entire episode had me on the edge of my seat, it was interesting to me that Desmond thought it was the year 1996, which, being that 'on island' it is the year 1994, that leaves an 8 year difference, and 8 is one of the famous numbers of the show. But the most interesting thing to me is why Daniel had Desmond as his 'Constant.' Does this mean that Daniel HAS ALREADY experienced time flashes/amnesia and similar things that Desmond and Minkowski have experienced? I suppose time will tell, but this episode is outstanding.
  • Best Lost Episode Ever Hands Down. Bad news? Show went more scifi, all the people who only watch dramas just realized they are watching a sci fi show. lol, i am serious.

    Well it doesnt get much better than this, action, science, reveals, love, penny (hot), boat, etc. All I can say is WOW. Ok so we now know the island has to do with time for sure, so are there conciousness there or is it them, who knows. Bad news is that to the american idol/suvivor crowd watching lost because "its cool and on an online and jack/kate are hot"
    are now scratching their head trying to figure out how they didnt notice they were watching a sci fi show. hopefully this wont hurt losts ratings too much cause they did it in a way that was just awesome. I am going through the biggest lost withdrawls ever, i need like 6 more seasons!
  • Mind blowing installment. I have never been as excited about Lost as I am now.

    This episode picked up right where The Economist and Eggtown left off, Sayid and Desmond have left in the helicopter with Frank. Until now we had no idea where they were as it had been reported by someone on the ship that they were not yet at the freighter.

    Desmond suffers from an abnormal flashback as he and Sayid are on their way to the freighter, and he begins to relive moments during his time with the Royal Scots. If this isn't bad enough, he finds himself flashing back and forth between 1996 and the present, unable to remember where he belongs. Unstuck in time, Daniel Faraday calls Desmond on the sattelite phone and helps him by instructing him to find him in the past.

    When he discovers that in order to stay alive, he needs a constant,to find something that he can hold onto in both the past and the future, he begins to search for Penny, leading to one of the series most emotional moments with Desmond claiming that he needs to call her in eight years. Meanwhile, on the freighter, Desmond tries to find a way to contact Penny leading to a teary reunion between the two over a dodgy phoneline. Desmond finds his constant, and it appears Daniel Faraday finds one in Desmond.

    This episode was incredible. Every second was exciting and the ending was one of the series' most memorable scenes ever. It is nice that this series can keep us captivated without a massive 'cliffhanger' and can make us cry without killing off one the series regulars. A perfect example of how amazing Lost has been, and what incredible things are yet to come.
  • TRUELY AMAZING EPISODE!! One of the best episodes of Lost!

    Excellent episode. The time-traveling thing was great! You can speculate much when you see this episode, like this one:

    "The island is the key to the time travel. Entering the atmosphere at different bearings is what causes the mind to jump into different time periods, and Daniel is the person who has unlocked that mystery....also (and this is my thought here), this could be the reason we see him crying when he sees the footage of the Oceanic plane crash - he hasn't been there yet, but his mind has already experienced the events and is causing him to have an emotional response to the footage. To me, that denotes that things don't turn out so great. More evidence: Hurley -He mentions to Sayid that they can hear music from "another time."

    Jack..in the future - talking about his father being alive? Is he having flashes? When he tells Kate they have to go back - Does he mean back to the island? Or back in time? Hmm

    Sawyer even said something is season one that has always stuck with me -To Kate: I made this wish four years ago.

    The whispers and hallucinations are a result of traveling into and being trapped in the doorway between worlds (which is the island). This is why they envision people and things that are not there -voices that are not real -they are all things that the islands atmosphere "receives" from other times because it is traveling between. It is a tesseract."

    This theory is VERY good, but lengthy, so I really suggest that you all read it for yourselves so we can discuss...it gets into Danielle's crew members - remember, they had the sickness?; Claire's psychic seeing events from an alternate timeline, etc. Also, it includes a line I'd forgotten about where Ben tells Locke that the island is hidden "even from God."
  • this episode was on of the best episodes of Lost until now.

    One thing that makes this episode so special is the time-line theory,it really makes this episode exitting and makes it so thoughtful,it makes the viwers think about every move in it...

    when dezmond returnes to past he makes some changes but at the last scene when faraday looked at his papers he found that note about dezmond that he wrote in 1996,taht means whatever you do in the past it wont change the feuter but it will help making the very future that you are living,meaning no one can change the future...
    this is one of the theories in the time stuff but there is another one that tells the way of changing the future by making a change in the past,but this one is irelivant in the show.
  • How to break the boundaries of our reality while still having the engaging restraints of another, Lost makes sense of the island and one of it's main couples by creating a tour-de-force which justified it's own lack of sense.

    Which, by the way, is replaced with consistency and a big 'woah.' This episode compares very favourably with 'Flashes before your eyes, justifying the time element with the eponymous 'constant' giving the flashback something to work towards, it's far more watchable than most. And since it's not a flashforward, there's no dancing around nouns that haven't been revealed yet.

    It's also nice to see an example of Sayid's virtue after his last appearance was rather dark, and Daniel Faraday, who we still don't know much about, is sublime and an immensely substantial characterization. I'd argue that he's exactly what Lost needed.

    The dialogue is great, and a few very fine performances compound on this. Centrally, that Desmond and Penny are in love is now believable, and therefore that they need to get back together is imperative. Handy, seeing as we're supposed to care about it. There is a section where they are torn apart and it manages that wonderful dramatic combination of uplifting and heartbreaking. Penny's more incredulous scenes towards Desmond also give her a lot more weight that she didn't have.

    I'd also like to give kudos to Henry Ian Cusick and the editing team for making the jump between timelines seem that bit more tangible. The move between scenes looks and feels connected.

    It's quite simply far more easy to be invested in this show when it's like this.
  • 10. Amazing episode that plays around with time better than any any show or movie I've seen in awhile

    For many, The Constant is the best episode Lost ever produced in its six year long run, and it certainly is one of the best. For me, however, there are better episodes, mostly because this episode is focused mainly on one select group of characters, where other episodes were able to put the same amount of surprises and talent into an episode that focused on everybody. However, don't let my nitpicking detract from how great the episode is. With this episode, Lost shies away from flashforwards and flashbacks, instead combining the two in an odd pairing of Desmond's memories with the events going on inside the freighter and on the island.

    Upon watching the episode for the first time, I didn't appreciate it for what it was. By the time I got to the end, I was a little confused, mostly because Lost had rarely dabbled in time travel up until this point, and the whole idea of Desmond's 1996 self being sent to the 2004 self and having to interact with 1996 Faraday while the 2004 Faraday gave him instructions sort of sent me reeling. However, a second viewing reveals all sorts of previously unseen easter eggs. This is the beginning of Lost's descent into science fiction, their segue-way into a new genre.

    Desmond was superb in this episode, and the writing gave him a lot to work with. I've always been a fan of Desmond's flashbacks. His relationship with Penny has always been a way to counter-balance the constant flip-flopping between Kate and Jack and Sawyer. Desmond and Penny's inability to be with one another stregthens the power of the scenes and in this episode, we see the show use this idea to its full potential.

    While I felt this episode (I mentioned this before) didn't add much to the overall plot of Lost, it did act as the best stand-alone episode of the entire series. At this point, we didn't know that the Oceanic Six would be jumping around in time, living in the 70's and helping contribute to some of the events that they heard about in the 21st century.. this was a complex yet highly entertaining episode filled with great acting and writing.

    Watching Desmond grow more and more desperate to find his constant gave an urgency to the episode that made it even better, and the quick cuts from past to present day helped perfectly create an atmosphere of chaos and confusion. This was just an all-around great episode of Lost, and one that I still remember as a stand-out years later.
  • Extremely good episode

    Probably my third favorite episode after "Ab Aeterno" and "Happily Ever After". I love how the relationship between Desmond and Penny unfolds. For once, we had an episode that was just pure science fiction/ science fantasy. A fun time travel episode. It's interesting how Minkowski doesn't survive the "trips" because he lacks a constant and how Desmond finally finds his. This is a wonderfully nice showcase on true love, unlike what seems to be happening with the Jack/ Kate/ Sawyer triangle. These three seem to be constantly going into and getting out of relationships, while Desmond and Penny seem to have a true love of the sort that only some on the island find.
  • In a great but bleak season, we receive a ray of light and hope in the season's masterpiece.

    This show surprises more and more everytime, we have good episodes almost always, but somehow, when an episode is Desmond-centered, the bar goes up, first with Live Together, Die Alone and then with the groundbreaking Flashes Before Your Eyes and now this one, The Constant is a masterpiece of writing, acting, directing and storytelling, another risk taken and another success.
    The Constant, in the most twisted way you can imagine, continues Desmond's odyssey, this time, on the way of the freight, his mind starts to travel through time, all due to some reasons explained in the episode, giving us the samrtest episode of the season and arguably the most beautiful and best moment of the whole show.
    Highly recommended.
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