Lost: Episode 4.5 "The Constant" Live Thoughts
Lost: Episode 4.5 "The Constant" Live Thoughts
Last week's episode of Lost ended with yet another jaw dropping shocker buried within a flash forward.  We learned that baby Aaron will eventually be under Kate's care, with Claire (Emilie de Ravin) apparently out of the picture for mysterious reasons.  The episode also answered the question of how Kate (Evangeline Lilly) managed to move on from her status as a wanted fugitive.  On the island, Jack discovered that the helicopter carrying Sayid and Desmond still hadn't reached the freighter, and Miles attempted to blackmail Ben for 3.2 million dollars.  The odd couple of Hurley and Sawyer almost took in a showing of the Olivia Newton-John "classic" Xanadu, but were spared at the last moment.

On tonight's episode we finally get to meet the untrustworthy freighter people.  As always, we'll be here throughout tonight's show updating with live thoughts.

Tonight's hour kicks off with the crew in the helicopter, who we didn't get to see at all last week.  Lapidus is trying to follow the coordinates given to him by Faraday.  They fly right into what looks to be a black storm cloud, and before we know it Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) is flashing back to his time in military boot camp.  He thinks his helicopter trip was a bad dream, so obviously he's time tripping again.  When he flashes back to the copter, he has no idea who anyone is or how they know his name.

Back on the beach, everyone is waiting for word from the chopper.  Jack (Matthew Fox) and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) are convinced that Charlotte knows more than she's letting on.  Daniel explains that Jack's perception of the amount of time the helicopter has been gone may not match up with how long it's actually been gone. There's more time wackiness going on.  Faraday warns that if that if the chopper flew off course there may be some side effects.

The helicopter lands on the freighter, and unfortunately Desmond still has no clue what's going on.  The freighter folks are immediately worried that Lapidus brought people from 815 to the boat.  Meanwhile, Desmond flashes back to boot camp and explains to one of the troops how he "left" during their morning exercise routine.  His time jumps are getting more confusing than ever.

The freighter folk take Desmond to sick bay since he continues to act a bit nuts.  They promise to bring him a doctor and lock him inside.  It turns out he's locked in the room with Minkowski, who is strapped down to a bed and looking quite crazy.  He asks Desmond, "It's happening to you too, isn't it?

Sayid (Naveen Andrews) wants to know what's wrong with Desmond, and he also wants to know how they managed to take off at dusk and land on the boat in the afternoon.  Sayid gives Jack a call and explains Desmond's issue, and Faraday immediately asks if Desmond was exposed to a high amount of electromagnetism or radiation.  Something like a giant hatch explosion, perhaps?  He says that some people can get a little bit "confused" when traveling to and from the island.

A doctor comes in to sick bay to give Minkowski a shot.  The patient screams about how all of them are going to get sick the closer they get to the island.  Could this be the same "sickness" that Danielle always talked about back in the day?  Desmond flashes back to boot camp again, where he sneaks into a phone booth to give Penny a call.  He explains his confusion to her and says that he needs to see her, but she doesn't care since he broke up with her and ran off to the army.

Sayid and Lapidus burst into the sick bay so Faraday can chat with Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) on the phone.  Faraday asks him what year he thinks it is, and Desmond says it's 1996.  He tells Desmond that when his next flash happens, he has to get on a train and go to the Oxford Physics Department to find him. Yep, past Desmond has to go track down '90s Faraday!  I have no idea what's going on, but I kind of love it.

Faraday gives Desmond a code that he can tell the 1996 version of Faraday so he'll believe that he's a time traveler.  Faraday also mentions that, when traveling to the island, some people become "off" by a couple of hours and others by a number of years.  Back in the past, Desmond goes to find a shaggy haired Faraday at Oxford.  He tells him that he's been to the future and slips him the code words, forcing a skeptical Faraday to believe his story.

Back in Faraday's classroom, he starts doing a test that includes exposing a rat to prolonged radiation.  He also doesn't put any safety material on his head while doing this, so it's possible all that radiation caused him to forget those playing cards last week.  After radiating the rat using the code given to him by Desmond, the rat runs through a maze perfectly.  He wasn't going to teach the rat the maze for an hour, but somehow it already knew exactly what to do.  It had also had some sort of future flash.

On the freighter, the surly crew members lock Sayid in with Desmond and take the phone away.  When Sayid calls Desmond by his name, Minkowski reveals his identity.  He also admits that the freighter would occasionally get calls that they were forbidden to answer -- calls from Penelope Widmore.

In the classroom, Desmond has just returned from a 75 minute blackout to the future.  However, to Desmond it only felt like five minutes.  Also, the rat has died from a brain aneurysm, making Desmond worry that the same thing might happen to him.  Faraday explains that the time jumps for the rat were taxing because she had no anchor -- no ties between both timestreams.  Desmond needs to find an anchor that exists in both the past and the future.  He immediately knows that Penny is his tie to both realities.

Also, let me just make an aside to say that this time jumping stuff is really, really tough to recap.  I'm doing my best to make all of this make sense, but time travel hurts my brain.

Minkowski explains that some of the equipment on the freighter has gone out, which he planned to fix before going mental.  The door to sick bay has also popped open, presumably thanks to "a friend" that Desmond and Sayid have on the boat.

At an auction in the past, Charles Widmore is participating in an auction to win the Black Rock diary.  He succeeds.  Desmond comes in and tells him that he needs to get in touch with Penny, so Mr. Widmore gives him her address.  On the freighter, Minkowski warns that another time jumper on the boat ended up dead due to the extreme mental stress.  I guess having an anchor is pretty damn important for time travelers.  Unfortunately the anchor-free Minkowski also keels over dead, and Desmond knows that it's only a matter of time before the same thing happens to him.

Desmond wakes up in the bathroom where he was talking to Mr. Widmore.  He goes to see Penny and she explains that she's trying to make a clean break from him.  She eventually lets him in and he tells her that he's going to need to give her a call in eight years.  She thinks he's kind of nuts, but she relents and gives him her phone number anyway.  Desmond commits it to memory and vows not to call her until eight years have passed.

Back on the freighter, Desmond still remembers the phone number. He dials, Penny picks up, and both of them are shocked and elated to be talking to each other again.  She says that she knows about the island and has been searching for him for the past three years.  Their love story is one of the best things about this show, at least in my opinion.  Penny says that she won't give up searching for him just as the battery in the phone goes dead.

In the final scene of the episode, Daniel Faraday is flipping through his journal on the beach.  He stops on a page that reads, "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant."  Is he a time traveler too?  I have no idea, but I do know that this was one mind blowing hour of television.


- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)

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