This week on Lost, the one thing we expected to happen finally happened: Desmond returned to the Island, as an unwilling member of Widmore’s plot to take over the Island.

We did see it coming, right? Henry Ian Cusick is still in the opening credits despite not appearing for the eight episodes that followed the sixth season premiere. He popped up on the alternate Oceanic 815 and then just disappeared. Add in Eloise’s “the Island is not done with you” line, and Desmond’s return isn’t really much of a surprise.

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Now that’s settled, another question pops up: what is he in the Island for?

Another slightly obvious conclusion: it seems Desmond is on the Island because of his special qualities. Besides, if Widmore was to take over the Island for himself, he might as well use something who can subvert its odd properties. With Desmond being referred to as “the package”, he’s nothing more than a tool: the way he reacted to the Island’s electromagnetic anomalies–the flashes to the future, the shifting consciousness–makes him the perfect candidate. And with Zoe asking Jin about pockets of electromagnetic energy (what else can a geophysicist ask?) it seems Desmond will be used to somehow get rid of them.

But here’s the interesting bit: why did Widmore choose Desmond? They never were really the best of buddies. The first time they met, Widmore thought Desmond was lesser than a bottle of whiskey. Worthless, in other words–pretty much why he wanted him to stay away from Penny. That was pretty much his stand for the first half of the show.

It seems, though, that Widmore changed his mind later into the show. Suddenly Desmond was an important part of his attempts to take over the Island. I’m guessing he’s hesitant to use him though, because getting Desmond involved meant getting Penny involved, and hinting from his conversation with Jin in the latest episode, he’s still very much concerned for her despite their cold relations.

What makes Desmond so important, then? To quote the much-missed Daniel Faraday: “the rules don’t apply to you.” Desmond married Penny, never mind Eloise saying that they’re not meant to be together, and that the universe will find a way to rip them apart. He ultimately defied fate, and it’s something that could come in handy on the Island.

The other thing that occurred to me is this: is Desmond somehow capable of stopping Locke? The pylons just keep him away from Hydra Island, but if Widmore’s to take the Island for himself he has to kill Locke. And since you can’t just kill Locke, you might as well find someone who will subvert the rules–and that’s Desmond. For that to be the case, though, it should mean Widmore knew about his special qualities all along–maybe that’s why he didn’t want Penny near him? Knowing what Eloise knows, and what he knows, and probably what Daniel knows…

Ultimately, my question goes like this: what makes Desmond special? I hope we’ll get answers to this soon: there are still a lot of gaps in his back story (his friendship with a physicist, his time in jail, everything else before that) that could be the key to understanding how he figures in the bigger picture. Maybe in next week’s episode? Maybe not–I guess that’ll explain how he returned to the Island in the first place.

Time to remember the all-too-important Lost virtue: patience. It will come. It should.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV