Season 5 Episode 14

The Variable

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 29, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
997 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

On the 100th episode milestone for the series, the time of reckoning has begun when Daniel Faraday comes clean regarding what he knows about the island.

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  • Best Lost Episode

    For me, this is the best Lost episode. Chilling through the bone flashbacks of Faraday, and many many answers.
  • Amazing episode in which is moving and revealing.

    The Variable is one of the most revealing episodes of LOST as well as one of the saddest because one of my favorite characters, Daniel Faraday passed away. Although i know that Faraday isn't forever gone because i think that they are going to course correct so that they never went back in time which will bring Faraday back to full health, it was still quite moving to see him die from a gunshot wound from his own moms gun. The things that were revealed are that desmond is okay, Widmore is the one that staged the fake plane crash and Faraday is Widmores son. The Variable has set up for quite an exciting final 3 episodes and is yet another fine example of how great this series is.moreless
  • Faraday's return to the Island marks a venture into Hostile territory; Sawyer's lies begin to fall apart; Ms. Hawking visits Desmond and Penny at a hospital.

    Hm... My thoughts about this episode's storyline are a bit mixed. The acting was great -- particularly, Ms. Hawking, and Charles Widmore. I also enjoyed Kate and Jack's scenes, as well as Juliet. The main character for this episode was Faraday, and Jeremy Davies seemed to deliver a pretty good performance.

    The episode was exciting, and filled with some interesting events. We learned of Faraday's parentage, and of his relationship with former lab assistant, Theresa. We also (finally!) saw his touching scene with Little Charlotte, which was very sweet and sad.

    However, Faraday's death has left me thoroughly confused. I usually have questions after watching a new 'Lost' episode, and I'm sure I will see a more clear answer before long... However, this particular question will need quite a great answer. What was the point of Faraday's storyline!? I mean, his whole life was orchestrated by his mother -- including his arrival on the Island -- simply so he could die at her hands? What noteworthy accomplishments did he make along the way? ...Did I miss something, here?

    Apart from the confusion, I enjoyed this exciting, intriguing episode. I particularly loved Miles's scene with his father, who didn't believe Miles was actually his son! LOL

    I can't wait to see what happens with Sawyer & Co. now that their lie has fallen apart.moreless
  • A Daniel episode.

    I love Lost. It is the best drama on TV, possibly of all time, and even five years in it is still excellent TV. But enough with all these twists and turns. How are they going to explain Daniel dying? They said that they were in the present now (1974) but then why would they care about stopping the plane crash in 2004? And who would be on it? A 65 year old Jack?

    This certainly was a disappointment for the show's 100th episode. It was pretty much what you would expect this season, and did not feel special at all.moreless
  • At its 100th episode and Lost still does not fail to deliver!! :)

    Someone slap me. Wow what was that? That was my most exciting television experience of my life. LOL!

    Truly epic and breath-taking. At its 100th episode and Lost still does not fail to deliver.

    But did Daniel had to die? Why why? Just when his character was getting much better. Killed by his own mother was definitely lost's one of the best twists ever.

    This season rocks. We're getting a lot of answers. Now we know for sure that Desmond IS the reason for the crash. WOW! I can't believe that the Oceanic 6 can change their future. But i'm sure they wont be able to. Because we watched 5 seasons for nothing? PLEASE NO! Watching Jack and Kate in action next week will be awesome.

    10 out of 10, 5 stars, season's best!!!!moreless
Sarah Farooqui

Sarah Farooqui


Guest Star

Alice Evans

Alice Evans

Young Eloise Hawking

Guest Star

Wendy Pearson

Wendy Pearson

E.R. Doctor

Guest Star

Sonya Walger

Sonya Walger

Penny Widmore

Recurring Role

Alan Dale

Alan Dale

Charles Widmore

Recurring Role

Nestor Carbonell

Nestor Carbonell

Richard Alpert

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • The password to deactivate the fences is 1-4-1-7-1-7.


      4 and 8 are two of "The Numbers".

    • The Numbers
      Young Daniel counts 864 beats on the metronome, or, the sum of the numbers times 8.

    • During the shootout Jack blows up a barrel full of petrol by shooting it so that they can get away. Despite popular theory a barrel full of any flammable substance will not explode when shot. The only way it could have possibly blown up is if a second shot had been fired that perfectly went through where the first one hit to cause a spark and ignite the petrol. As Jack clearly only fired one shot at the barrel that couldn't have happened.

    • Goof: Graduation ceremonies at Oxford University take place at the Sheldonian Theatre. This is not what was pictured in the background after Daniel graduated.

    • Daniel wears a jumpsuit with the name of "Joe" and job description of "Constructor".

    • The music Daniel is playing on the piano, both as a child and an adult is Chopin's "Fantaisie-Impromptu", which also was used as the basis for the song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", which was a hit both in the early and mid 1900s (1918 and 1946). The title of the adapted song may refer to the futility of what Dan's trying to do.

    • In the continuation of the scene from "Confirmed Dead" in which Daniel reacts to the news of the faked Oceanic Flight 815 crash, Daniel's hair is shoulder-length, whereas in that episode, he has short hair.

    • Widmore moves over a copy of a WIRED Magazine to sit on Faraday's couch. JJ Abrams guest-edited a recent edition of Wired, issue 17-05.

    • The revelation that it was Charles Widmore who staged the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 had been also given the previous week in the recap episode "Lost: The Story of the Oceanic 6".

    • In this episode we learn that Eloise Hawking (Fionnula Flanagan) is/was one of the Others. Coincidentally, Fionnula Flanagan starred with Nichole Kidman in a 2001 movie called "The Others."

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Daniel: You knew. You always knew. You knew this was gonna happen and you sent me here anyway.
      Young Eloise: Who are you?
      Daniel: I'm your son.

    • Daniel: What's more important right now, how did you get back here? To 1977?
      Jack: What's going on?
      Miles: Don't look at me. I just carried his luggage.
      Daniel: Jack, how?
      Jack: Uh...we were on a plane and then...
      Daniel: Who told you to get on a plane?
      Jack: As a matter of fact, Dan, it was your mother.
      Daniel: And how did she convince you, Jack? Did she tell you it was your destiny?
      Jack: Yeah, that's exactly what she said.
      Daniel: Well, I got some bad news for you, Jack. You don't belong here at all. She was wrong.

    • Daniel: Hey, James.
      Sawyer: Welcome to the meeting, twitchy. Good to see you again.

    • Hurley: That dude in the closet, I thought he worked for you. Can't you convince him it was all like a misunderstanding?
      Sawyer: I punched the man in the damn face, Hugo. What am I supposed to say? My fist slipped?

    • Daniel: I need you to order the evacuation of every man, woman and child on this island.
      Chang: Now why would I do that?
      Daniel: Because that man is on a stretcher as a consequence of the electromagnetic activity that your drilling unleashed down here.
      Chang: Which is now contained.
      Daniel: It's contained down here, but in about six hours the same thing is going to happen at the site for the Swan station. Only the energy there is about thirty thousand times more powerful, Sir. And the accident ... it's gonna be catastrophic.
      Chang: That is utterly absurd. What could possibly qualify you to make that kind of prediction? Hmm?
      Daniel: I'm...from the future.

    • Young Charlotte: I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner.
      Daniel: (sighs) It's OK, sweetheart. I won't tell.
      Young Charlotte: My name's Charlotte. What's yours?
      Daniel: I'm Daniel. I'm new here. Listen, do you know doctor Chang?
      Young Charlotte: Uh huh.
      Daniel: Yeah. Hopefully, really soon, doctor Chang is gonna ask a bunch of people to get on the submarine and leave the island. When he does, you and your mommy, you're gonna have to leave. In case what I do doesn't work, you cannot be here, you have to leave. I tried to avoid telling you this, I didn't think I could change things. But maybe I can.

    • Faraday: In about four hours, the DHARMA folks at the swan work site--they're gonna--gonna drill into the ground and accidentally tap into a massive pocket of energy. The result of the release of this energy would be catastrophic. So in order to contain it, they're gonna have to cement the entire area in, like Chernobyl. And this containment--the place they built over it--I believe you called it "the Hatch." The Swan hatch? Because of this one accident, these people are gonna spend the next 20 years keeping that energy at bay... by pressing a button... a button that your friend Desmond will one day fail to push, and that will cause your plane--Oceanic 815--to crash on this island. And because your plane crashed, a freighter will be sent to this Island--a freighter I was on and Charlotte was on and so forth. This entire chain of events--it's gonna start happening this afternoon. But... we can change that. I studied relativistic physics my entire life. One thing emerged over and over--can't change the past. Can't do it. Whatever happened, happened. All right? But then I finally realized... I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, I forgot about the variables. Do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack?
      Jack: No.
      Faraday: Us. We're the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny. I think I can negate that energy under the Swan. I think I can destroy it. If I can, then that hatch will never be built, and your plane... your plane will land, just like it's supposed to, in Los Angeles.
      Kate: And just how exactly do you plan on destroying this energy?
      Faraday: I'm going to detonate a hydrogen bomb.

  • NOTES (7)

    • The original broadcast date of the episode was coincidentally president Obama's 100th day in office. ABC aired Obama's press conference for the event immediately preceding the episode.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Australia: May 13, 2009 on Network 7
      Norway: May 20, 2009 on TVNorge
      Finland: June 4, 2009 on Nelonen
      Latin America: June 8, 2009 on AXN
      Denmark: June 26, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Czech Republic: July 6, 2009 on AXN
      Spain: July 9, 2009 on FOX
      Belgium: October 5, 2009 on VT4

    • Music:
      "Fantaisie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, op. posth." - Fréderic Chopin (Daniel plays the middle section of this piano piece as a boy and again in 2004)

    • Although credited, Naveen Andrews ("Sayid"), Michael Emerson ("Ben"), Yunjin Kim ("Sun") and Terry O'Quinn ("Locke") didn't appear in this episode.

    • In the american broadcast of the episode, the show's intertitle was suddenly placed among stars, with a Starship Enterprise soaring through the "O" as part of a promotion for J.J. Abrams (co-creator of the show)'s new film Star Trek.

    • A Daniel-centric episode.

    • This episode is considered by the producers of the show and ABC as the official 100th episode of LOST. Exodus Part 2 from Season 1 is an 80 minute episode, the same length as two full episodes, and is now considered as two full episodes, bringing Season 1's episode count to 25 total.


    • Memento: Daniel saying "I have this condition..." is very similar to main character Leonard Shelby's mantra in the 2000 movie Memento.
      In the movie, Leonard is unable to make new memories and doesn't remember people, places or things. He ends up telling and retelling people "I have this condition" even when he just left them minutes ago.

    • Slaughterhouse-Five: Daniel crying at the television is reminiscent of Billy Pilgrim's memory loss and random tears in the book Slaughterhouse-Five. Also, Daniel uses Miles in an attempt to convince Dr. Chang he is from the future, which is similar to Billy Pilgrim using Montana Wildhack to convince his daughter he had been to the future.

    • H.G. Wells: Sawyer refers to Daniel as H.G. Wells, a famous science fiction author known for his works "The Invisible Man", "The Time Machine", and "The Shape of Things to Come".

    • Daniel mentions Chernobyl.
      The 1986 Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear reactor accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. It is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.

    • Hurley: You guys were in 1954? Like... Fonzie times?
      This quotes alludes to the show Happy Days, which ironically had its original run 1974-1984.
      It seems more likely though that Hurley was referring to its setting, which was that of 1950s life in America.