“Flashes Before Your Eyes” was the best episode of Lost season 3. “The Constant” was the best episode of Lost season 4. Those were both Desmond-centric episodes, and so is this installment of Lost, “Happily Ever After.” Needless to say, Desmond’s return to the Island and the series carries a lot of expectations, so did Lost deliver?
In a word, “Yes,” but it’s due almost entirely to a scene between Desmond and Eloise where we finally get a glimmer of an answer about the connection between the altverse and the original timeline. So put your theorizing hats on, because Lost gets freaky.
The episode starts with Desmond waking up, confused, and he gets a rude awakening when Charles Widmore tells him that he’s back on the Island. Desmond wastes no time beating the old man with his IV stand until he’s pulled off. Widmore wants to start a “test,” so Zoe and Jin head out to a special room full of old science stuff attached to a wooden room with two giant metal coils. Since I don’t have the IQ or physics background of Daniel Faraday, I won’t even try to explain what this stuff is.
There’s a faulty wire, preventing them from running a test on a poor defenseless bunny, but the problem is fixed as a random red shirt is standing between the two coils, turning him into a char-broiled dead dude.
Next, Widmore gets Desmond locked into a chair in the room and explains that Desmond has to do this or everyone he loves will be gone. Before the machine is turned on, Widmore explains to Jin that the test is to see if Desmond can survive another electromagnetic cataclysmic event, like he did when the Hatch imploded.
With a flick of the switch, the coils turn on and the cataclysmic event begins. The first time Desmond suffered this, he became unstuck in time. I’ll give you one guess what happens this time.
That’s right, we’re zapped into the altverse, where the majority of this episode takes place. Sadly, Desmond’s consciousness doesn’t transfer. He stares at his own reflection in the screen at the airport when Hurley stops by to tell him where their luggage is. There Desmond meets Claire and predicts she’s having a boy.
Finally, Desmond, who appears to be a successful businessman, finds his driver, none other than George Minkowski. He’s a little slimy, but he takes Desmond to the office of his boss: Charles Widmore. Yes, in altverse, Desmond works for Widmore.
Widmore gives Desmond an assignment. Widmore’s son (Daniel Faraday) is a famous pianist and he’s performing an odd mix of classic music with modern rock, in the form of the songs of Drive Shaft. So Widmore’s wife (Eloise Hawking) asks Desmond to babysit the recently arrested bassist of Drive Shaft (Charlie Pace) and bring him to the event. That’s a whole lot of threads coming together.
Desmond and Charlie get together and it turns out the washed-up rock star is longing for death because when he nearly died, he saw a glimpse of true, eternal happiness and love in the form of a blonde woman. That would be Claire, and that would also mean that before you die, your altverse life doesn’t flash before your eyes, your original life does.
To prove his point, Charlie steers their car into a bay of water and the two nearly drown. When Desmond goes back for Charlie, the car window is between them and Charlie lifts his hand to the glass, giving Desmond a flash to the famous “Not Penny’s Boat” scene.
He’s taken to Jack’s hospital (the ONLY hospital in Los Angeles) and gets an MRI, which causes him to have flashes of Penny. He finds Jack and asks for help finding Charlie. Just then, Charlie runs through the halls, trying to flee from his nurses. Desmond tracks him down and demands to know what’s going on. Charlie, who’s a lot more introspective and psychotic in the altverse, realizes that Desmond knows what he means about the near-death experience.
Desmond is forced to go and explain to the domineering Mrs. Widmore that Charlie is gone. He does, and she doesn’t care, but when Desmond expresses interest when he overhears the name “Penny,” she snaps. Desmond isn’t supposed to look for those things and he’s in violation of the way things should be. Eloise never comes out and says it, but it’s quite clear she is just as knowledgeable about fates and destinies and the history of space and time as she was in the original timeline.
In other words, Eloise is a Time Lord. Or maybe I’m just thinking that because the new season of Doctor Who premiered on the BBC over the weekend.
She can’t understand why Desmond would want anything since this altverse life is everything he ever wanted, namely Charles Widmore’s approval. She adds that he’s not ready yet and sends him away. How about we try spending an entire episode with Eloise? I think that might finally give us some answers. But before Desmond can get away, Daniel Widmore (aka Faraday) needs to talk to him.
Dan believes in love at first sight because he saw the most gorgeous redhead at the museum (Charlotte, of course) and felt like he’d known her before. That night he wrote down some advanced physics despite the fact that he never studied it. He began theorizing that this life is not the one they’re supposed to have, and that he may have done something, like detonating a nuclear bomb, to change their lives. Even as a dorky pianist with stringy hair, Daniel is the world’s most awesome character.
He knows that Desmond had the same experience and offers to hook Desmond up with Penny Milton because she’s his half-sister. Dan sends Desmond to the stadium where Des met Jack, only this time its Penny running up and down the stairs. Desmond meets her, shakes her hand, and instantly wakes up back on the Island.
Having survived the test, Desmond is now willing to do whatever Widmore wants. He goes for a walk in the woods with some of Widmore’s people, but Sayid shows up, snaps one of their necks, and orders Desmond to come with him. Desmond goes willingly.
The episode snaps back to the altverse, where Desmond fainted after touching Penny. He asks her out on a date then asks his driver to get him a manifest of everyone on Oceanic 815, because he has to show them something. Uh oh, Desmond is totally going to almost kill everyone. Also, did anyone else pick up some hints that we may have a criss-cross situation where altverse Desmond went to the Island and Island Desmond went to the altverse?
Whatever is happening, the walls between the altverse and reality are finally starting to crumble, which makes me happier than a near-dead Charlie.
Next week on Lost: Hurley talks to dead people, which means the guest cast list should be full of familiar names and faces.
(Image courtesy of ABC)