Is there anything better than time travel? That question is rhetorical, of course, because there isn’t, and last night’s episode of Lost proved that. In “The Constant,” Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) became “unstuck in time” once again and it provided the Lost team an opportunity to confirm many of our assumptions. Time is perceived differently on the island and the exploding Hatch and the release of the electromagnetic pulse is the cause of Desmond’s visions.
More importantly, the episode gave plenty of clues about many origins. We know more about the Widmore/Hanso connection, we learned about Daniel Faraday’s experiments, and we finally got to visit the infamous freighter. Overall, for people who love to be challenged mentally while watching TV, this episode of Lost was the cat’s meow.
Let’s begin the Easter eggs for “The Constant” with a literary lesson. If you’re familiar with Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, then this episode may not have been as impressive, technically. That’s because the entire premise of Desmond jumping between timelines is a direct lift (or homage) to that classic novel, in which Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time,”
In fact, Lost didn’t even try to hide this fact, having Daniel Faraday use that exact expression in describing what he does to Eloise the rat. The only thing missing was a porn star named Montana Wildhack. This show is very fond of literary allusions, though it often sticks to Alice in Wonderland. What’s important is that, while deciding how to portray time travel in this series, the Lost writing staff has chosen perhaps the greatest fiction book about the subject to lift from.
Interestingly enough for Desmond, former member of the Royal Scottish Army, this is yet another World War II literary reference. His last flashback episode was called “Catch-22,” title of the classic Joseph Heller novel.
#2 – The Black Rock
If you’re not an avid follower of the dense online mythology surrounding people named Hanso and Widmore, the auction scene may have seemed a bit dull. Yes, we all recognize the Black Rock as the slave ship on the island. But when you start looking into the details of who these people are and you start to question their motives, you feel tantalizingly close to having all the answers to the entire show.
Charles Widmore purchased the Black Rock journal at the auction. What his fascination is with the Black Rock is unknown, but it’s obviously more than just a hobby. Followers of Find815 this past winter learned that the Maxwell Group, owned by Widmore Industries, was financing the Christiane I, the ship sent out to find the Black Rock that ultimately discovered the “remains” of Oceanic 815.
The big question is: what is Charles Widmore’s obsession with the Black Rock? Perhaps it has to do with the Hanso Foundation. Magnus Hanso was the captain of the Black Rock during its expedition and is believed to be buried on the island. His great grandson is Alvar Hanso, founder of the Hanso Foundation who went on to help fund the DHARMA Initiative. At this time, it’s unclear who Tovard Hanso, the seller of the Black Rock journal, is, but it’s a safe assumption he’s related.
The meta-novel Bad Twin suggested that the Hanso Foundation and Widmore Industries did dealings together. Are Alvar and Charles old friends who had a nasty business dispute, leading to Charles devoting his resources to uncovering Alvar’s secrets? Is one of these men the mysterious “Economist” who sent the freighter after Ben?
Appreciating the show for its simple merits is enough. After all, there’s a decent chance we’ll never know the full truth about Widmore and Hanso. But for those of you who want to delve into the deep, dense mythology of Lost, it seems as though the purchase of the Black Rock journal by Charles Widmore was slightly more than an eccentric, expensive novelty purchase.
As a corollary to this Easter Egg, the item on sale at the auction after the journal belonged to Charles Dickens. This is yet another familiar literary figure for Desmond, as the one book he waits to read is Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend.
#3 – The Numbers
Once again, the Numbers were everywhere. Penelope’s new address was 423 Cheyne Walk. The correct frequency for Daniel Faraday’s device is 2.342. The lot number for the Black Rock journal was also 2342. Going further, the time lapse between Desmond’s two times is 8 years.
As always, I warn you against reading too much into any of this. It’s just a fun little thing Lost likes to do, and if you haven’t realized by now that the Numbers are a giant red herring with no actual bearing on the plot, then you’re a fool. And don’t go writing about the Valenzetti Equation. I’ve read a bit about it, and it’s my humble opinion that The Lost Experience was one giant wild goose chase meant to keep rabid online fans busy over the summer so they wouldn’t have to go outside.
#4 – Daniel Faraday
The end of this episode wasn’t as shocking a twist as the last few episodes, but it still gave us plenty to think about. Since Desmond Hume is Daniel’s “constant,” it’s safe to assume that Daniel Faraday is, himself, unstuck in time. The question is: when and how?
Was it just when he arrived on the island, or was it a long time ago, and he’s been hopping through time ever since. Is he secretly a Tralfamadorian? Faraday being unstuck in time would definitely help explain the card test Charlotte gave him last time, as she was trying to keep him grounded.
In fact, it could also help to explain Daniel’s original flashback. When the wreckage of Oceanic 815 is pulled out of the ocean, Daniel sees it on the TV and cries without knowing why. Did that take place AFTER he came to the island, at least in his own mind? Just something to think about.
#5 – Who Opened the Door?
One central question audiences were left with was who opened the medical bay door to let Desmond, Sayid and Minkowski escape? If you’ve put all the clues together thus far this season, the answer is very obvious. Almost too obvious.
I’ll give you fair warning right now that this is not based on any spoilers. I have no idea if this is actually going to happen, nor am I spoiling a big twist. I am simply putting together the clues and coming up with the logical conclusion.
First, we know that Ben has a spy on the boat. Second, we heard Minkowski say that Sayid and Desmond “must have a friend” on the freighter. Third, anyone who attended or read about Comic-Con or who simply watches the opening credits every week this season knows that Harold Perrineau is returning to the show.
Three clues that, by themselves, don’t point to one person. But in conjunction, it’s painfully obvious that Michael is the “friend” who opened the door. He’s Ben’s spy on the freighter. We know that Ben made a deal with Michael to get off the island. We learned in “The Economist” that Oceanic 815 survivors are prone to aligning themselves once off the island. We know that, in some way, shape, or form, Michael will reappear as a series regular, thus meaning he must return to or near the island.
If anyone wants to poke a whole in my theory, feel free, but it’s about as air-tight as can be. All you need to do is follow the little clues the show has sprinkled throughout the season.