Thursday, April 8, 2010

LOST - Episode 6.11 - "Happily Ever After"

Now we know what the sideways world is.


And who better to explain it than Daniel Faraday Widmore, our twitchy Physics geek/pianist:

"Okay. Imagine something, something terrible is about to happen. Something catastrophic, and the only way to stop it from happening is by releasing a huge amount of energy. Like setting off a nuclear bomb...[W]hat if this wasn’t supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason, we changed things? I don’t want to set off a nuclear bomb, Mr. Hume. I think I already did."

So, the Sideways world is a consequence of Jughead detonation. Okay...but we sort of knew that already. Daniel just gave us the how. But compound that with this little nugget from Dan's mom, Ms. Eloise Hawking Widmore, and we get a wider lens from which to view events:

"I don’t know why you’re looking for anything? You have the perfect life. On top of it, you’ve managed to attain the thing you wanted more than anything - my husband’s approval."
Does this mean then that everyone lived “happily ever after” when they entered this alternate universe – they got their hopes and dreams?

Desmond got the respect and love he always wanted from Widmore.

Hurley got lucky.

Jack got to resolve his father issues by breaking the cycle with his own son.

Locke has a good relationship with his dad (we think) and can receive the love of Helen.

Ben got to do right by Alex.

Rose got to be with Bernard.

Claire gets to raise Aaron alone.

But what about the others? What did they get?


He still got to be tortured knowing that he could never be with Nadia because of his crimes against humanity. He wasn’t able to walk away from violence, no matter how much he wanted to.


He is still angry, bitter, and possessed with a need to exact revenge on the man who fucked up his childhood family.


She’s still running, still afraid of settling down. This time, though, I believe she didn’t kill anyone. Running just seems to be her destiny.


His boss wants him dead for sleeping around with Sun. He doesn’t seem to get the respect he always sought, much like Desmond did from Widmore.


She always wanted love and happiness, and gets neither. The man she wants to be with has a bounty on his head and then she gets shot in the womb.


He wanted love and acceptance, and only has it in a vision of the Island reality. Tangible, but out of reach.

I went into “Happily Ever After” with the feeling that it would be quite the ironic title, and I wasn’t let down by this theory. The title presupposes that the sideways world is a world of happy endings, and now we see that this just isn’t the case. This reality is keeping each of the castaways from achieving true redemption in their Island storyline. For some – like Desmond and Charlie – this redemption is in the form of love. For others – like Jack and Locke – its in the form of dealing with daddy issues.

In "Ab Aeterno," Jacob told Richard that people were being brought to the Island in an attempt to see that they are not corruptible. They are given the freedom to make their own choices, completely tabula rasa. To gain true redemption, they will each have to make the best choices for themselves and others without regard for the past.

This means the sideways world is a cheat. Faraday puts it in perspective by showing that while the bomb worked in resetting events, this new reality is more like a band-aid on the gaping wounds of the Island reality. The issues in the Island reality still have to be resolved.

How will they resolve them? I can’t wait to find out.

Jin and Desmond

Some are wondering why Jin is needed by Widmore to watch the Desmond experiment. Obviously it has something to do with Jin being privy to the Island’s electromagnetic hotspots, which Widmore will need Jin’s help in finding, but there is a more thematic reason as well.

Jin and Desmond have very similar conflicts. Both are seeking the respect of the father of their respective wives. Jin wants Mr. Paik’s respect, and even though he sells his soul to the man, he still can’t get it. He can’t even get it in the sideways world. Desmond is in the same boat, just as he was on the freighter with Jin during the season 4 finale, trying to earn that which he can’t have.
They have been paired this way, I believe, as a foil for each other so that we may see both sides of the temporal coin being flipped here. We need to see that there is hope in Desmond’s story just as there is despair in Jin’s. Yet, I can see them having to work together at the end of the tale to save each other in both realities.

Eloise Hawking/Widmore

What was up with her hair? She looked like John Cleese when he used to wear a wig to play magistrates and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Is it just me, or are bad hairpieces/wigs a running joke on LOST?

Nonetheless, there is something special about her. She was the first one to identify Desmond’s inherent “specialness” back in season 3’s “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” and as it is said, “takes one to know one.” She is the keeper of the Lamppost Station and is the only one who understood her own son’s role in the time travel developments of season 5.

What does it mean, though? I’m going to go on a limb here and speculate that she met Jacob and was given a gift of prophecy. I’m also going to speculate that with this gift she knew Daniel would need to die, and she sent him to his death and aided in the detonation of the bomb so that way she could have him back and give him the life she always wanted for him as her only child. This is why she didn’t want Desmond to see the guest list at the party. She knew that the moment he found out about Penny it was only a matter of time before her own dreamworld would be put to an end. She is selfishly holding on to the sideways world to keep Daniel all to herself.

Desmond’s Mission

It’s been interesting that gathering people has been a running theme on this show since the beginning when Hurley tried to put together a census. Since then, there have been list after list meant to bring characters together for a special cause or purpose, whether it be Ben’s list at the end of season two that gave him Jack, Kate and Sawyer, or whether it be Locke’s list of the Oceanic Six to bring back to the Island.

Brotherhood, fraternity, teamwork, and love are what the show has been about since day one, and that’s how it is going to end. Desmond will need to gather everyone together: Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sun, Jin, Michael, Walt, Boone, Rose, Bernard, Sayid, Charlie, Frogurt, Arzt, Claire, and Locke (no doubt I’m missing someone). This is how they will save the world, because doing so is a group effort. It’s a combination of powers and cultures. Fortunately, for Desmond, they’re all in Los Angeles.


I’m in love with this show right now. Last night’s episode was very powerful for me because it showed the power of love in the lives of these characters. It’s interesting that we’ve spent all these years talking about the Jate and Skate triangle (then the Suliet quadrangle), but don’t pay enough attention to the beauty that is to be found in the love relationships of our other characters:

Locke and Helen are such an astounding couple because of the way they complement one another. She brings out the goodness in him.

Charlie and Claire are fun – the perfect rockstar couple. They fight and bicker, but make up in big ways.

Rose and Bernard are real. I think most of us want to be like them when we’re older.

Desmond and Penny are pure, consciousness altering, love. Watching Desmond track her down at the stadium was fabulous. The subtext of their conversation was powerful and moving, most certainly. It made the sideways world seem clearer than ever, especially as it relates to why characters have done peculiar things, from Claire going off with Kate or Sawyer letting Kate get away at the airport. The feelings these characters have for each other in the Island reality are spilling over into the Sideways world, and while they can’t articulate it, they are giving into it.

And that is just awesome.

Desmond is indeed a “constant.” He has pulled us out of the reality-jumping we’ve been doing this season and grounded us firmly in both worlds. What a remarkable power. LOST just keeps getting better.

Great Posts Worth Reading

The following writers have been putting out great stuff all season long, but I wanted to put a spotlight on their work in case you wanted to read more about this episode.

"Welcome to the Closed Time-Line Curve" by DocArzt

Doc puts out a really cool theory for the remainder of the season -- how the Sideways world will connect to Evil Locke by way of electromagnetism.

"Up in the Air with Desmond Hume" by Todd VanDerWerff

This guy's been posting on the LA Times TV Blog for a long time and he's always very succinct and informative. At least once a week he culls the net for the funnest tidbits about LOST on-line, from funny videos to cool theories, etc. In this blog, he reviews the current episode, while also saying something especially important about fandom.

"Desmond Delivers: The Latest Internet LOST Theories" by Michael Alan Connelly and Alexandra Martell

This is a weekly post on the "Vulture," the culture section of New York Magazine. These writers find the most intriguing theories and compile them for you

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