A Wrinkle in Space and Time

7 Apr

This isn't what I signed up forrrrr!!!!!!

Looking back on my post from last week, where I ragged on alleged LOST fans for complaining about the risky story decisions the writers have been making this season, I feel I was a little harsh. Because, to be honest, these eleven hours of LOST’s final season haven’t been the mind-blowing perfection of television I was expecting. The show hasn’t gotten bad by any stretch of the imagination; but the creators are taking chances and doing new things and that invariably means missteps will be made. Before last night’s episode I was in danger of joining the anti-sideways camp. I still wonder if the season may have been better off without them, but thankfully last night’s stellar Desmond outing finally gave them meaning. I only wish the writers could have found a way to put this reveal four episodes earlier, because if they had, I would have been much more invested in sub-par flash-sideways like Sawyer’s, Ben’s, Kate’s and Jin & Sun’s. While the only one of those that was flat out lame was Kate’s, I still never felt any emotional investment when watching some of the flash sideways, simply because without any reference to where and how they exist, I was viewing them as fake. They weren’t a real place, just a re-imagining of the world we’ve come to know and love, and also felt kind of forced, as if the writers were too nervous to finally abandon their flashback formula once and for all.

But Desmond, LOST’s resident quantum leaping superhero, finally brought meaning to a device that was growing more and more frustrating with each week. While not quite as awesome as “The Constant” or even “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” “Happily Ever After” was still great and was a neat twist on the already-established mythos of Desmond Hume. Now we discover, that with enough electromagnetism blasted into his brain, Desmond’s consciousness can actually traverse dimensions. Even though the episode took place almost entirely in the flash-sideways ‘verse, I was constantly engaged, and was glad to see old characters like Charlie, Penny & Eloise Hawking make appearances (although did we really need George Minkowski, limo driver?). I especially liked the scene between Daniel Faraday Widmore and Desmond, especially the idea that Daniel was subconsciously aware of his plot to blow up the Island and the regret he now felt over it when confined to this bizarro world. Love appeared to be the reason our characters yearned for the old world. Charlie, Desmond, Daniel- none had love in the flash-sideways ‘verse, and while two of them died in the original timeline and things are pretty shitty over there as a general rule, they at least got to experience true love, if even for a moment. But death it seems, is what allows an individual to glimpse the other side- we saw this first with Juliet, who saw herself “going Dutch” with Sawyer as she died in his arms. Charlie saw Claire when he almost choked on heroin, and Desmond saw a glimpse of “not Penny’s boat” written on Charlie’s hand as he almost drowned. This seems to advance the idea of heaven or the afterlife, although Charlie, Desmond and Daniel seemed just as eager to come to the original timeline as Juliet was to pass on to theirs.

In any event, I am an awesome LOST predictor. I correctly guessed that Desmond would flash to the sideways world in a similar manner to the way he flashed to 1996 in “The Constant,” and theorized that the Oceanic 815 passengers would start be drawn together in the flash sideways universe and begin to grow aware of the other timeline. But the episode still left us with a lot of questions. After seeing a world where he and Penny aren’t together and little Charlie doesn’t exist, Desmond was ready and willing to help Widmore in whatever crazy scheme he’s cooking up. What is this “sacrifice” the old man speaks of; hopefully one that doesn’t involve death. Did Widmore know what would happen to Desmond when he performed his “test,” or did he merely need to make sure he could withstand such high Gauss levels so that Desmond can aid him in killing the Monster at a later date? And if Desmond is so gung-ho about helping Widmore now, why exactly did he readily follow Sayid, especially after the creepy Iraqi broke a dude’s neck? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I agree with some grumblers that it’s time A-characters like Jack and Ben stopped sitting around waiting for someone to tell them what to do, and went and did something. Although, I would like to point out that many of the series’ faults are amplified when one watches an episode a week. It may seem like Jack and Ben have been sitting around a campfire for three weeks doing nothing, but in the timeline of the show it’s only been a day or so. Next week looks like it will have Hurley stepping into a leadership position while communicating with dead guest stars such as Michael. I’m confident that from here on out, the show will blow me away. Now that we know there’s a point to the flash-sideways I’ll be more invested in them, and more curious to see where it’s all going.

One final thought: how cool are Widmore’s cronies? I like that they’re not big badasses like Keamy’s mercenaries or the Others- they’re just scientists that happen to carry guns. But at the same time, they seem more prepared and in the know than anyone who’s ever come to the Island, and I like that. Widmore needs to be depicted as a powerful figure, and his crack team definitely helps create that aura.

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