Thursday, April 8, 2010

(34) - Penny's Boat?

Welllll I didn't think there'd be a better episode than "Ab Aeterno" until the season finale, and of course, I'd be wrong. "Happily Ever After" is the episode. The one where we finally, finally see what this alternate universe is supposed to be. Before that, let's deal with some past predictions:

  • Desmond aka "the package" is actually the Desmond from the alternate world
    • Ehhhh false. Whatevs.
  • Desmond wasn't on the plane in the premiere. He was skipping through universes.
    • Well we're led to believe that this isn't true. But I'm not sold. Check below.
  • Alternate Universe consciousnesses will be coming to the Island
    • Possibly. Still not sure where Desmond's head is at, but we'll see.
Ok, let's get "Happily Ever After." This is another long one, as this episode is the benchmark for the rest of the season.

1. Widmore kidnapped, drugged and brought Desmond to the Island because he is the only person known to have survived a massive electromagnetic explosion. Desmond obviously flips out and starts beating Charlie-boy with the IV stand. After being restrained, Charles tells Desmond that the Island wasn't done with him yet, and that he's going to need to make a sacrifice. What has Charles ever sacrificed? Oh nothing, just his tenure on the Island, his marriage, his son who was shot by his own mother, other than that nothing at all. Widmore needs to make sure he can survive that explosion again, so they need to test it out. They accidentally fry another member of Team Widmore before Desmond, who sees the after effects of the explosion. He tries to get free, but Widmore flips the switch before Desmond can get free and hopes Desmond is able to survive. What follows is truly, amazing.

We are flying through the clouds. My first thought was that his consciousness was rebooted ala after the hydrogen bomb explosion, and he was going to be on Oceanic 815 with everyone else. Instead what we got was a reflection of Desmond (the first of TWO reflections), staring back at himself, but the camera refocuses and we see he's trying to find the baggage claim for his flight (or is he? check the bullet point below). Hurley confirms that it's on carousel #4. As he's waiting for his bag he tries to make small talk with Claire asking about her baby, who seems taken aback by the questions. But she's nice enough to make small talk as Desmond helps with her bag. As they're leaving Desmond offers her a ride (huh? why?), but she says she can take a taxi, after which he tells her it's a boy.  So what does this mean? Keep reading.

2. Desmond finds his driver, and who it be? Old George Minkowski, the freighter electronics officer who once got too close to the Island and went crazy from his conscious constantly time travelling. How apropos, don't you think? Desmond, the one guy in the world (maybe one of two -- Faraday?) who's mind can withstand the Island's electromagnetic force, being driven around LA by the best example we've seen of the effects of said electromagnetic force. George is extremely talkative, and apparently has the hookup. He can get anything Desmond wants or needs, including some ladies of the night. He only asked about that because he noticed he wasn't wearing a ring. Huh? But wasn't he wearing a ring on the plane when we saw him the premiere? What gives? My take:
  • There is one version of Desmond, but he can skip through realities. When we saw him on the plane in the premiere there was only one Desmond, and at that moment he happened to be on the plane. He was "in flux" after his gunshot from Ben. Widmore grabbed him when he was in the current reality. Desmond's consciousness changes depending on what reality he is in, without Desmond knowing the change. When Widmore fired up the machine to test it on Desmond, it awoke his other consciousness and placed him at the LA airport (NOTE: I do not think Widmore is aware of other realities. He might be aware of the possibility of other realities, but I do not think he believes they exist). Wasn't he staring at his reflection in an odd way? Almost like, what am I looking at? Where am I? So, Desmond was on the airplane, and Hurley and Jack did see him, but he wasn't on the plane the entire time. And due to his "in flux" consciousness after Ben shot him, his alternate life was also "in flux." So when he was on the plane, he was happily married to whoever it may be (most likely Penny). That marriage wasn't a fixed thing. When Widmore created Desmond's second consciousness, his in flux consciousness became stable in the alternate universe, without a wedding ring. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's my best explanation.
3. George drives Desmond to see the boss. Mr. Charles Widmore. In this alternate reality, Desmond has earned what he has always wanted (according to Eloise, more later) -- Charles Widmore's approval and affection. He even shares his 60 year old scotch with Des, who he deemed unworthy in another life. Desmond is Charle's go-to guy, the "best, fix-it man," as Eloise says. His current task: babysit a spoiled, druggie rock star who was arrested on Oceanic 815 and make sure to deliver him to his wife's fundraiser, where their son, a musical genius, was going to combine classical music with modern rock. Playing the parts:
  • Rock Star -- Charlie Pace
  • Wife -- Eloise Hawking
  • Son/Musical Genius - Daniel (Faraday) Widmore
No problem, says Desmond. Consider it done. He drives himself to go pick up Charlie at the police precinct (which is weird, because every other scene he's being driven around by George). As he approaches the front door, we see reflection number TWO for Desmond. He gets closer and closer to the reflection, a little foreshadowing I presume. Let's talk about the reflections for a second. I haven't really mentioned them in depth yet because I thought they were a too-obvious ploy for the audience to say, "Oh s/he's staring at her/himself!!! They must know about the alternate universe!!" But now we have Desmond's reflectionS. With a capital "S," because he is the first person to have two reflections. Why is this significant? We weren't sure at the moment, but by the end of the episode we understood. The rules do not apply to Desmond. At the end of the episode he understands this. He knows what he has to do. More later. I'm going to come back to the reflection angle in a bit, because there was another reflection which my mouth dropped at.

4. Charlie immediately walks across traffic to a bar to grab a drink. He clearly does not care about his life. Desmond follows him, says one drink, and then he's out. What follows is a nice, eye-opening conversation. Charlie tells Desmond the story of the plane and how he choked. How he got spooked by the Marshal on the plane, went to the bathroom to swallow his drugs, and at that moment the plane hit turbulence, and he choked. And he was losing consciousness, or, was he merging consciousnesses? He described a vision of a blonde, rapturously beautiful, and he knew her, and he loved her, and he felt safe with her, and just as he was about to embrace her (Claire? Virgin Mary Statue), Jack and Sayid "saved" his life. He had felt true love, mind bending and altering love. The kind of love that makes you never want to leave it, the kind of love that only exists in movies. But he can't quite get Desmond to understand, who chalks it up as nice poetry. Desmond gives Charlie a choice to stay or leave, but it wasn't actually a choice. 

They're driving along, driving along, DriveShaft's hit comes on the radio, "You All Everybody," when asked Desmond says that it's good "for what is is." Charlie says he feels bad for him, for his life, Desmond's response, "Why? Because none of it's real?" Whaaaat?? He's obviously referring to Charlie's mind altering experience with love, and how that is truly real, and that Desmond's material wealth and possessions are "fake," but what a question. "Because none of it's real?" None of it is real. THIS reality was never supposed to happen. Good one Desmond. 

Charlie proceeds to give Desmond a choice, but just like his choice, it was never a choice. He takes the wheel and plunges the car into the depths of the ocean. Desmond tries to free Charlie but needs some air, and then goes back down to try and open Charlie's door.  And then the strangest thing happened. How it happened I am not sure. It couldn't have been Charlie's other conscious switching universes, because he is dead in the current timeline, maybe it was the Island? In any case, Charlie lifts his left palm and holds it up to the window, just like in the season three finale "Through the Looking Glass," when he found out the freighter wasn't Penny's boat, wrote NOT PENNY'S BOAT on his hand, and held it up to the glass on the door as Desmond was trying to pry it free. That was when Charlie died. And BOOM - the link was created. The sound dropped, and we heard the loudest silence we've heard on the show. Flashes before Desmond's eyes, and he wasn't quite sure what he was seeing. And as quickly as they came, they went away, and Charlie passed out. Desmond obviously saved him, and then woke up in the hospital. 

Desmond tries to get up to see Charlie, to ask him questions, but the doctor said the CT scan was inconclusive and he wasn't going anywhere until "we find out what's going on inside your brain." Umm good luck Doc. No one has any idea. Desmond heads to the MRI room, where the technician explains to Desmond that if there's any problem, to "push the button" (ala the Swan Station), and then Desmond goes in for his MRI. The machine turns on and it sounds like the countdown clock from the Hatch being reset to 108:00. Then it gets loud, and then the sound drops again. The MRI has triggered the alternate universe consciousness, and Desmond gets more and more flashes of his "real" life. Charlie, Penny, baby Charlie. He slams on the button, gets out of there and goes to find Charlie. Charlie cannot explain what he saw it or why, but he says the only thing that matters now is to find Penny. Charlie isn't playing the concert because nothing matters now, except finding his love. And with that, Charlie is gone, hopefully returning in the finale.

5. Desmond explains what happens to Charles, who is upset with how everything went down, and says that he, Desmond, is going to have to explain to his wife what happened. And according to George, Mrs. Widmore is not a pleasant lady. If she doesn't get her way, you will get dead. Desmond approaches her, she turns around, and her mouth and eyes drop for about a millisecond, because she recognizes who he is immediately. Apparently, even though she's in another reality, she still knows "everything." More on this in the next paragraph. Also, check out what she's wearing on her dress: two parallel lines with stars in each line, but both at different parts of the line. Hmmm, alternate realities? Two Desmonds? Anyways, they have their chat, and to Desmond's surprise, Eloise is fine with Charlie backing out at the last second. "Rock stars bring a certain, unpredictability." "What happened, happened." (The episode "Whatever Happened, Happened" aired in season five when Kate tried to save Young Ben Linus from Sayid's gunshot wound). Not a big deal at all. Strange. As Desmond is leaving, he hears the guest list being read aloud, and who should he hear, but none other than "Milton, Penny (solo)." He tries to see the list, but Eloise intervenes and begins to get angry. She kicks everyone out and begins her explanation.

Eloise says that Desmond needs to stop. That someone has clearly affected the way he sees things. That what is happening is in fact, a violation (part of the rules?). That whatever it is he thinks he is looking for, he needs to stop looking for it. He doesn't need this list because his life is perfect, and that he has attained the one thing he has always wanted -- her husband's approval. And when questioned how does she know what he wants, her response: "Because I bloody do." He cannot see the list because he is not ready yet. Eloise really is all-knowing, in both universes. This happened in the season three episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes," when we find out what happened to Desmond after he turned the failsafe key and imploded the Hatch. Eloise has now had to explain herself twice to Desmond, in two different realities. What is he not ready for? Merging the universes, in my opinion.

6. Desmond is in the limo, drinking, and tells George to just drive around. He's depressed that he might not ever find out about Penny Milton. Cut to outside the limo, looking at the window where Desmond is sitting. We cannot see in because the windows are tinted. We see a reflection approaching the window, but we can only see the outline of who it is. We cannot make out the face. Daniel (Faraday) Widmore cannot see his own reflection, and neither can we. What the hell does that mean? So not only do we get TWO reflections of Desmond, but we get a reflection of Faraday which we can't even make out. Does that mean his alternate universe consciousness is dead? That would make the most sense. Or is it deeper than that? He had the same mind bending and altering experience that Charlie had when he was at the museum and saw a redheaded woman eating a chocolate bar. Obviously Charlotte, and the chocolate a nod to what she told Faraday as her consciousness was going back and forth between time periods, and he told her that she wasn't allowed to eat chocolate before dinner. So maybe, we cannot see his reflection because he knows about the other universe?

In any event, he begins to explain to Desmond that after he saw Charlotte, that night he wrote in his notebook a very advanced, quantum mechanics equation, that only someone studying physics their whole life could have known. We know in the other timeline Faraday was a renowned physicist, so after his encounter with Charlotte, thoughts from his other consciousness downloaded into his own consciousness. He tells Desmond, what if all of this, this whole life, we weren't meant to live this life. That we had some other life. He goes further, saying that what if the only way to stop something very bad from happening was to set off a massive amount of energy, ala detonating a nuclear bomb. Faraday says he doesn't want to set off a bomb, but believes he already did, in another lifetime. Why is he telling Desmond all of this? Because Desmond asked about Penny, his half-sister.

7. And where does Desmond find Penny? At the stadium where he was training for his race around the world, where he first met Jack, where he told Penny that he was leaving her to prove to her father that he was worth his daughter's love. He approaches her, asks if she's Penny, and goes to shake her hand, and at first touch, the sound drops again, for the third time, and Desmond awakes back on the Island.

He survived the electromagnetic explosion, again. Widmore knows he's ready. He extends an arm to help Desmond up, and Desmond takes it. And before Widmore can even attempt to convince Desmond to help him, Desmond says you said I was brought here to do something important. Well let's do it.

Zoe and two Team Widmore members are walking with Desmond, and Zoe is questioning the quick turnaround. She said they "fried his brain," when Sayid pops out of nowhere and takes down the two goons, and tells Zoe to run. Sayid tells Des that these people are bad and that they have to leave, to which Desmond easily agrees. I'm not sure what to make of this. I don't think Team Widmore is bad, I just think they have a different agenda. Plus, Sayid has no soul. So we can't trust him.

Snap back to sideways Desmond, and he has collapsed on the ground. Penny jokes she must have quite an effect on him. He asks her for coffee, and against her better judgement she agrees to meet him in an hour. Penny + Desmond = Awesome.

Desmond goes back to the limo, and finally makes a request of George. To get him the flight manifest of Oceanic Flight 815. Why? Because he has to show them something. LOST!

8. Predictions!

  • There was only one version of Desmond, and he was "in flux" between the two universes until Widmore tested him on the Island. When that happened, the alternate reality Desmond became a constant.
  • Widmore is unaware of the alternate universe, and just wants to use Desmond to stop Evil Incarnate so he will be able to live forever
  • Desmond is going to be able to present all the losties with a choice of which reality they would like to live in: Alternate or Actual. Then he will be able to merge both consciousnesses into a super-consciousness in whichever reality they choose. (Stealing this from Doc Jensen: BOTH consciousnesses will have to want to merge, otherwise it will not be able to happen)
  • Claire and Sayid will be unable to merge consciousnesses because they both have no souls
  • Desmond is the key. He will is the "star" in both realities that can make this possible.

Way too long, apologies. Hurley next week.

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