What?... What?... What?... What?... What?!
Eloise Hawking knew for most her life that one day she would shoot her son. Unless Baby Daniel was at camp the day that Big Daniel was shot it's very likely that from time Eloise sent out the birth notifications she knew just what the death notifications would say. When she named her son Daniel she knew she was marking him - telling Death in a quiet whisper, "Take this one." When she took him to see H.G. Wells' The Time Machine at the retro theater she knew she was planting the seeds of his destruction and that one day he would be harvested. She wiped his snotty nose and helped him with his homework and paid for his college education in the same way that a farmer would feed his young pigs well in the hopes of fattening them up. She is Mother Death, the Nursemaid of the Dark Voyage.
Charles Widmore was in on it, too, of course, and perhaps it speaks to some origin of our species, some deeper human nature that fans are much slower to blame him for funding his research or inviting his son to the island. Or maybe it just speaks to the way the episode was constructed. But if you had ever thought Charles Widmore was heartless for not telling Daniel who his true father was or taking him to a baseball game or a yacht race (or whatever Widmores do) rethink that one. Some people don't like to make friends with their dinner before they kill it. There's a difference between heartlessness and just not having the heart.
One question stands out in my mind, though, and it should say something about the booming echo with which this pondering ruminates that it stands out even above the din of "Can Jack and Kate change history?" Why did she do it?
Obviously Eloise believed it had to happen. Her ability to do what needed to be done may fly against nature itself. It may make her something less than human. But even that doesn't imply that she's a classic murderer - that she had Daniel wanting someone to kill. She didn't seem to revel with Charles in setting him up to get knocked down like a yellow rubber duck in a shooting gallery. So why did she feel it was necessary?
One possibility - so easy that its unsatisfying lacking in zing - is that she believed in the "Whatever happened, happened" rule of time travel - Faraday's Law. But it's hard to believe she would have eagerly cooperated with it. Most mothers would have spent a lifetime scheming about how they could make absolutely certain they never shot their son, not helping history on its course with constant encouragement.
Did she want Jack and Kate's plan to fail? Did she want the bomb to explode, the energy to leak and the hatch to be built? The DHARMA to be purged? The plane to crash? Is she not just into matricide but genocide? Or does she believe something is at stake that outweighs the loss of hundreds of lives? Something like the end of the world? If Lost has a lot of Biblical parallels does that make her God, sending her only son to die for the sins of the world?
But that brings us back to the finale, and the bomb, the hatch and the plan to stop it. Is this mater Deus omniscient? Infallible? Does she truly know the purpose of everything? Can she look at the source code of the universe? Or did she throw it all away, only for Sawyer, Juliet, Jack, Kate and Hurley to hit the undo key? To become the re-creators?
What are your theories, reader? What brilliant theories can you tweeze out of the limited information we have? How many ways can you reassemble the pieces to make more and more new puzzles? Can you reach a consensus between you about what Eloise's damage is?
Find us on BuddyTV's Twitter account and blow us away with your genius, or comment below. We'll use the best of both in an upcoming article as we try to solve "The Variable" for X before next week's episode.
-Henry Jenkins, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)