Season 4 Episode 5

The Constant

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



  • Trivia

    • Goof: When talking to his student in Oxford (just moments before meeting Desmond), Faraday mentions "the concept of 'original', the opposite of derivative". The opposite of derivative is called "primitive", not "original".

    • Southfield's, the organization holding the auction, is an anagram for "shifted soul." This reflects the way that Desmond's mind or soul, was "shifted" through time.

    • The dog seen at Oxford university when Desmond finds Faraday is the same dog used for the picture in Jacob's cabin. This is Lulu, pet of episode director Jack Bender.

    • According to the calendar on the wall, as well as Desmond, the real-time events of this episode take place on Day 94 (Christmas Eve), two days after Sayid, Desmond and Frank left the Island.

    • Frank is told by Daniel to follow a bearing of 305, which is a Northwest direction. In "I Do", Mr. Eko's stick had the inscription "Lift up your eyes and look north - John 3:05".

    • In "Confirmed Dead", Ben said that Charlotte earned her doctorate at Oxford, which is where Daniel was teaching in this episode.

    • Daniel said that while Desmond was in a catatonic state in his room at Oxford, 75 minutes passed. Desmond perceived the same amount of time as 5 minutes.

      Widmore's auction number is 755


      15 is one of "The Numbers".

    • The Queen's College, Oxford, doesn't have a physics department.

    • The helicopter is in flight to the freighter but the RPM and oil pressure gauges, seen while viewing Daniel's map taped to the instrument panel, both read zero which indicate the engine is turned off.

    • The majority of the notes on Daniel's chalkboard and notebook are (introductory) notes on Special Relativity and General Relativity, with a small amount of quantum mechanics scattered in. The Schrodinger's equation for the time evolution of a wave function is missing the Hamiltonian operator.

    • Outside Penny's house, in 1996, Desmond passes a parking fee collection machine. The type features a solar panel on the top that powers it. These were not introduced nation-wide in the UK until 2002.

    • When Desmond is first seen in the military training doing push-ups, it's raining extremely hard. However, according to the soldiers's strong shadows, it's actually a very sunny day.

    • The demolished audio mixer prop that Sayid takes out of the rack to look at, is actually a RadioShack SSM-1850 home mixer.

    • Faraday says he will do an autopsy on the mouse but an autopsy on an animal is actually a necropsy.

    • The phone number given has a Wimbledon area code, while the address given is in Chelsea. The correct area code for her flat would be 351 or 355.

    • George Minkowski is played by Fisher Stevens, an actor who starred in Early Edition. This show centers around a temporal anomaly: tomorrow's newspaper exists today.

    • In physics and chemistry, the Faraday constant is the amount of electric charge per mole of electrons. The Faraday constant was named after British scientist Michael Faraday, and is widely used in calculations in electrochemistry.

      F = 96 485.3383(83) coulomb/mole

    • When Penelope gives Desmond her number in the past, the writers made a mistake as the local area codes '0207' and '0208' were introduced in London after this date.

    • The owner and seller of the Black Rock ledger was named Tovard Hanso, who possessed the same last name as both Magnus and Alvar.

    • The first betting for the Black Rock's first mate journal is 150.000 pounds. 15 is one of the Numbers.

    • There where no "Flash Backs" or "Flash Forwards" in this episode. The viewers perception followed Desmond as his conscience travelled back and forth through time.

    • Numbers: The number that Daniel tells Desmond to tell him in the past for the machine frequency is 2.342.
      Daniel also tells Desmond to tell him the device must oscillate at 11 hertz; 11 = 23 - 8 - 4.
      The betting number for the book Mr. Widmore buys is 2-3-4-2.
      Penny's apartment number is 4 23. Penny's apartment number can also be read as to be containing 42.

    • The auction number of the Black Rock diary is 2342. 23 and 42 are two of the numbers.

    • After Desmond tells his dream to his superior, his superior orders everyone to be in the yard in 4 minutes, instead of the usual 8. 4 and 8 are two of "The Numbers".

    • We found out that the Black Rock ship, which was found on the island, set sail from Portsmouth, England, on March 22, 1845. The ship was on a trading mission to the Kingdom of Siam and later was tragically lost at sea.

    • The difference between 1996 and 2004 is 8. 8 is one of The Numbers.

    • This is not the first time that Fisher Stevens, aka George Minkowski, has experienced time travel. He also starred in the 1985 time travel movie My Science Project.

    • Clues from Season 4 bonus material "Find 815 ARG":
      Penny's number '(020)7946 0893';
      Penny's address '423 Cheyne Walk';
      'Queen's College, Department of Physics and Southfield', where Daniel teaches;
      'Camp Millar', where Desmond did his military time.

      Also, Oscar Talbot refers to the journal being auctioned in Chapter 5 of the Find 815 ARG.

  • Quotes

    • Written in Daniel's diary: If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant.

    • Desmond: Penny?
      Penny: Desmond?
      Desmond: Penny, you answered.
      Penny: Des, where are you?
      Desmond: I'm on a boat, I've been on an island. Oh my God! Penny, is that really you?
      Penny: Yes, yes it's me.
      Desmond: You believed me. You still care about me.

    • Desmond: I know it's going to sound ridiculous, but please Pen, I need you to listen to me.

    • SGT: You were having a dream, were you? And what were you dreaming about, that it took you so sodding long to get to your mark?
      Desmond: I was in a helicopter, sir. And there was a storm, sir. And I don't remember the rest, sir.
      SGT: Well, at least it was a bloody military dream.

    • Desmond: I'm sorry, how is a rat running through a bloody maze so incredible? Daniel: What is incredible is I just finished the maze this morning. I'm not gonna teach her how to run it until an hour from now.
      Desmond: So you, you sent her to the future?
      Daniel: No, no, no. Her consciousness, her mind.

    • Minkowski: I'm George Minkowski. I'm the communications officer. Before they strapped me down here, all the calls to and from this boat came through me, in the radio room. And every so often, I'd get this flashing light on my console. An incoming call. We were under strict orders never to answer it.
      Desmond: So? What's that got to do with me?
      Minkowski: Those calls came from your girlfriend. Penelope Widmore.

    • Daniel: Oooh, you're back. And you were out almost seventy five minutes.
      Desmond: Out?
      Daniel: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. You just, woof, you went catatonic right in the middle of a sentence. I had to carry you to the chair. So, I take it you were, you were in the future again?
      Desmond: Aye.
      Daniel: For how long?
      Desmond: I don't know. Five minutes. Why does this keep happening?
      Daniel: Well, in your case, I'm guessing that progression is exponential. Each time your consciousness jumps, it gets harder and harder to jump back. I would be careful crossing the street if I were you.

    • Desmond: I know this doesn't make any sense, because it doesn't make any sense to me. But...eight years from now...I need to call you, and I can't call you if I don't have your number
      Penny: What?
      Desmond: Look, Penny, just give me your number, and, and I know I've ruined things, and I know you think things are over between us, but they're not. If there's any part of you that still believes in us, just give me your number.
      Penny: And what's to say you won't call me tonight, or tomorrow.
      Desmond: I won't call for eight years. December 24, 2004. Christmas eve. I promise. Please, Pen.

    • Penny: I'll find you, Des--
      Desmond: --I promise--
      Penny: --no matter what--
      Desmond: --I'll come back to you--
      Penny: --I won't give up--
      Both: I promise. I love you.

    • Desmond: I love you Penny. I've always loved you.

    • (In Daniel's lab in 1996)
      Daniel: All right, this, this future version of me, uh, he, he referenced this meeting, right? Obviously. So, so I would remember you coming to Oxford, right? I would remember this here right now.
      Desomond: Actually, um, no.
      Daniel: No.
      Desmond: Maybe you just forgot.
      Daniel: Yeah right. How would that happen?

    • Jack: Alright. They took off a day ago. Why haven't we heard from them?
      Charlotte: I'm going to tell you again, as I've been telling you all night, doctor. I don't know! You heard the same thing as I did when we called the boat. What makes you think I know anything?
      Juliet: Because you're not worried.
      Charlotte: Excuse me?
      Juliet: Your boat's forty miles off the coast, and it should have taken them what, twenty minutes to get there? So why aren't you worried?
      Charlotte: Should I wring my hands together and whisper a prayer on their behalf?

    • Frank: We're almost through it. I see daylight!
      (Desmond begins to unbuckle himself)
      Sayid: What are you doing? Desmond! Are you alright?
      Desmond: Who are you? How do you know my name?!

    • (The helicopter begins flying into a thunderhead.)
      Sayid: Why are you flying directly into the thunderhead?
      Frank: Why don't you just sit back and let me do my job, huh?

    • Daniel: I think Eloise's brain short-circuited. The jumps between the present and the future, she eventually...she couldn't tell which was which. She had no anchor.
      Desmond: What do you mean "anchor"?
      Daniel: Something familiar in both times. All this. See this? This is all variables. It's random, it's chaotic. Every equation needs stability, something known. It's called a constant. Desmond, you have no constant. When you go to the future, nothing there is familiar. So if you want to stop this, then you need to find something there, something that you really, really care about that also exists back here in 1996.
      Desmond: This constant...can it be a person?
      Daniel: Yeah, maybe. But you have to make some kind of contact. Didn't you say you were off on a boat, in the middle of nowhere? Uh, who are you calling?
      Desmond: I'm calling my bloody constant.

    • Daniel: You can't change the future.

  • Notes

    • This episode is Executive Producer Carlton Cuse's favorite of the series.

    • This is the second episode where "time skips" are featured, and the first where they happen to someone other than Desmond.

    • The dog seen at Oxford university, when Desmond finds Daniel, is the same dog used for the picture in Jacob's cabin. This is Lulu, Jack Bender's pet.

    • This episode features only two original survivors of Flight 815 (Jack and Sayid), the fewest of any episode to date.

    • This episode was nominated for Emmys for "Outstanding Cinematography For A One Hour Series" and "Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (original Dramatic Score)".

    • International Air Dates:
      Belgium: September 15, 2008 on VT4
      Denmark: March 21, 2008 on Kanal 5
      United Kingdom: March 2, 2008 on Sky One
      Ireland: March 3, 2008 on RTE Two
      Sweden: March 12, 2008 on TV4
      New Zealand: March 19, 2008 on TV2
      Norway: April 2, 2008 on TVNorge
      The Netherlands: April 13, 2008 on Net 5
      Czech Republic: May 4, 2008 on AXN
      Spain: May 29, 2008 on FOX TV Spain
      Italy: August 11, 2008 on Rai 2
      Lithuania: October 7th, 2008 on LTV
      Macedonia: November 15th, 2008 on A1

    • This episode took place on December 24th 2004, Christmas eve.

    • This is the fourth episode without the "Flash-Back/Flash-Forward Sound".

    • Though credited, Daniel Dae Kim, Emilie DeRavin, Evangelline Lilly, Harold Perrineau, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Ken Leung, Michael Emerson, Terry O'Quinn and Yunjin Kim do not appear in this episode.

    • First on-screen appearance by Fisher Stevens as "George Minkowski".

    • A Desmond-centric episode.

  • Allusions

    • Back to the Future

      The scene in which Desmond convinces the 1996 version of Daniel Faraday that he is from the future by reciting information that only Daniel himself would know is reminiscent of the scene from this movie in which Marty convinces Doc that he is from the future by telling him how he came up with the idea for the Flux Capacitor.

    • Desmond said "I'm not here, this isn't happening". Those are the opening lyrics of the song "How To Disappear Completely" by Radiohead.

    • Primer:

      In this movie, two young scientists discover a way to send themselves back in time. As they repeatedly toy with temporal paradoxes, though, they find that their experiments are riddled with side effects, including bloody noses.

    • The Remarkable Case Of Davidson's Eyes:

      In this short story, a man sees a different reality/time after an incident during a thunderstorm. The story references "a kink in space" that allows the man to remember a dream concerning a ship and an island inhabited by penguins in the South Seas.

    • The plot is similar to the episode "War Without End" of Babylon 5:

      Several of the main characters enter a temporal rift in space. When one of them (Captain John Sheridan) loses his "time stabilizer" device, he is said to be "unstuck in time". He disappears physically and travels into the future. Later when he briefly reappears, the character Ambassador Delenn, played by Mira Furlan (Danielle Rousseau), gives her own time stabilizer to him. She then becomes "unstuck in time" herself.

    • The plot is similar to the episode "All Good Things" of Star Trek: The Next Generation:

      Captain Picard is shown in three different timelines. He becomes "unstuck" in time, like Desmond and Billy Pilgrim. Also, Desmond's trip to contact Daniel at Oxford is reminiscent of Picard's trip to visit Data at Cambridge.

    • The plot is similar to the movie Je T'aime, je T'aime:

      A man is sent back in time repeatedly by scientists, he seems to have only a vague understanding of where he is or where he came from. When he returns to the future, he is comatose. They also first experiment on mice.

    • The plot is similar to the novel The Time-Traveler's Wife:

      A man with a "Chrono-Displacement" genetic disorder unpredictably experiences time travel. The novel's conflict centers on his wife, the daughter of a wealthy family, coping with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. The protagonist finds that his time travel is aggravated/triggered by stress. A central theme, unlike many other time travel stories, is that it is not possible to change the past or future.

    • The plot is similar to the tv show Quantum Leap:

      Sam Beckett leaping to various points in time, usually constrained within the period of his own lifetime. In some cases, the time-traveler was able to get in contact with characters of his own past, resulting in a predestination paradox. Each episode of Quantum Leap featured a scene where the time traveler sees his reflection in the mirror and is surprised by his appearance.

    • After the auctioning of the Black Rock ledger, some of Charles Dickens's belongings are placed up for bidding. Desmond himself has a deep relationship with Dickens's novels since the telling Our Mutual Friend is supposed to be the last novel he wants to read before he dies.

    • Sayid: How are we going to get out of here?
      George: Uh, through the door?

      The same exchange was said between Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams in the 1978 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

    • This plot line is extremely similar to the book Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut, about a man in the army who has become unstuck in time and lives through the past present and future during WWII.