I don’t know who Daniel Faraday’s mother is. I also don’t know when he was born, if he has kids, if he knows Charlotte from some other time period, if he’s related to Charlotte, if he’s related to Charles Widmore, if Ellie, the annoying gun-toting Other, is his mother, if he was born on the island, if this is his second time on the island, if he’s still working for Widmore, what exactly he did to Theresa, or what his overall motivations are. Daniel Faraday is a mystery. A big, wonderful, bearded, twitchy mystery. In only the first three episodes of Lost’s fifth season, Mr. Daniel Faraday has shown himself to be a huge part of the Lost story. Which makes me wonder: When was the character of Faraday concocted by the Lost writers? Guessing what the Lost writers have had planned since early in the series and what they’ve made up on the fly has always been a fan pastime, but it is especially important in the case of Faraday, because he’s basically the character embodiment of the whole time travel aspect of Lost.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have stated that they’ve had the ending of Lost locked down since near the beginning of the series. Given recent events, one has to assume that this ending, in some way or another, involves time travel. It’s become the crux of the show, and is likely going to be the key to unlocking the mysteries of the island. Faraday, all his personal connections to the island aside, provides a very necessary story purpose – he is the only character who understands (at least somewhat) time travel on the island, and therefore acts as the conduit for that information to the audience. Faraday is a functional character, and it brings up the possibility that Lindelof and Cuse did not have Faraday’s story planned out from his introduction. The intertwining relationships that we’re now aware of – between the Widmores, Desmond, the Faradays, Charlotte, Theresa and Ben – existed outside of Oceanic Flight 815, but have been brought to a head because of Oceanic Flight 815.
For right now, I’ll say that it is to the Lost writers’ credit that I still have no idea what exactly is going on or where this story is going. The time traveling by the survivors left on the island is a very convenient story device in a lot of ways. It almost feels cheap. Lost requires a suspension of disbelief, like all science-fiction, but how coincidental have these time leaps been? Locke gets the flash and wakes up right as Yemi crashes his plane. He has the meeting with Alpert, who is somehow aware of the time leaping, and gives him the compass. Another flash allows Faraday to give Desmond that message. The last flash gave Faraday the opportunity to save the island by telling the Others what to do with the Hydrogen bomb. It also let viewers in on Charles Widmore’s past, and gave Locke the opportunity to give Alpert the compass back. Too many coincidences, right? I mean, in the whole history of the island, which has to be really, really old, what are the chances they travel to these specific time periods, so bunched together in the overall chronology of the island?
The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that there is a specific rhyme and reason for when the flashes are taking them. The island, maybe, is bringing the time travelers to different points in the island’s history for specific purposes, where they have to accomplish specific tasks. But, then you have Faraday and Marvin Candle saying that the future cannot be changed, that no matter what, everything will be the same. If that’s the case, then what’s the point? Are we really saying that, had Faraday picked up a gun, shot at the H-bomb and detonated it, that the island would be the same in 50 years as it was when 815 crashed?
Time travel, when studied in such an in-depth and complicated manner, opens up a huge can of worms. Lost already had enough loose ends, but now I see no way in which every one will be tied up in a little bow. The more actions the time travelers take in the past, the more open-ended questions will appear. It doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it – Lost is dealing with time travel, a device used so often, in new and interesting ways – just that I’m as baffled as ever at how the whole story will play out.
So, back to my man Daniel Faraday. Who is his mother, and why is she important? My colleague John Kubicek seems to believe that Mrs. Hawking is actually Mrs. Faraday. I don’t believe this to be the case. It’d be too obvious, first off. And, how would Widmore know her address, especially if Hawking is working with Ben. Hawking could be undercover for Ben with Widmore, feeding him bad information, but Widmore is a man who covers all his bases. There are all sorts of crazy Faraday’s mom theories out there, but I’m not convinced we’ve even met Faraday’s mom yet. I’m also not convinced that Faraday isn’t a bad guy. He’s worked with Widmore, he left Theresa in bad shape, he came on the freighter, he’s definitely withheld information from people, and there’s just something a little off about this Desmond-Daniel-Widmore connection.
One more thing: After the initial shock of seeing young Charles Widmore on the island, I’m not sure if we really learned all that much about Widmore and his motivations. It made perfect sense that Widmore had been to the island before, and it definitely sheds light on his feud with Ben. We can assume that once Ben took over leadership of the Others, he and Widmore had a falling out, perhaps ending in Ben banishing Widmore from the island, an island that maybe Widmore felt was rightfully his to lord over. But, we don’t know any of the particulars, and it’s all speculation at this point. Needless to say, this season is shaping up to be as exciting as Lost has ever been and it feels like every episode is building to a conclusion, even though that conclusion is still two season’s away.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)