Does this mean we have an answer? That the sideways lives are the wrong ones--what the bomb did and what it should not have done? Is Desmond's job to, as they repeatedly said on Castle last night, reverse the curse?
The episode was almost entirely in the sideways world--fixated on the Widmore/Hume family with a bit of Charlie thrown in (Jack was token).
Some have argued that season six is season one reversed. Well, I am not so sure about that, but reverse polarity was indeed the theme of the day:
- Desmond seeking and getting Widmore's approval in this world; mutual despising society in the other.
- Charlie keeps trying to die in this one; kept trying to avoid death in the other.
- Even almost drowns.
- And as my wife put it, he was insufferable in this episode, just as he was in the early episodes.
- Daniel a musician and frustrated physicist in this world; frustrated musician and genius physicist in the other.
- Daniel was arrested and then let go? That is the phone call Widmore was making when he was meeting with Desmond.
- Penny is running up and down the steps that both Jack and Desmond were running when they met pre-island. "See you in another life, brother."
So, Daniel first realizes that there is another timeline/reality after meeting Charlotte, who is Daniel's constant (from the pivotal time-traveling episode of the name, featuring Des, Penny, and Eloise). Love is what gives them ability to see into the other reality. True, conscious-altering love (and, yes, you should now be hearing the voice of Peter Cook as the reverend in Princess Bride--see below) is the key. And so Daniel then writes some great equations that teaches him that he (or an agent of his) blew up an atomic bomb and changed the timelines. This means we actually have an answer that may actually be the final answer (or not, knowing these guys and their endless mind f@#$s) to the question of the flash-sideways--they are the reality created by the bomb blowing up. So, what is the Island timeline then? What would have been?
Anyway, he then hooks Desmond up with his half-sister (you have a sister, a half-sister--there is another Widmore, fill in more Star Wars references here). Daniel does not seem to mind messing with the proper time/space order of things, just as he did not in the other reality. So, some consistencies after all.
Ok, on the Island, the story is mostly about Desmond and Widmore's careless disregard for pretty much everyone and every thing. Despite Jin's protests, Desmond is subjected to the magnet fields and does not die. He passes out briefly, but experiences the other reality. When he wakes up, he is super compliant. Why? Apparently, he thinks he would be better off with a few more years with Penny and the certainty of a life with her than with the possibility of life with her starting in 2007.
But then Sayid rescues him but lets Zoe from LA Law live. Why? He is better than Michael who killed the attractive women. Anyway, so Desmond complies. I guess I would be pretty agreeable to everyone after being blasted by electromagnetism.
So what does this all mean? We now have three intersecting themes: fate vs. free will, redemption and love. It appears to be the case that love is the answer--that love will lead to redemption and through the pursuit/realization of love, one can make one's own choices. Or is it that the pursuit of love constrains us so that we are tied to a single course of action, regardless of the reality? I am not sure which way it goes, but it is clear that love is the element tying the pieces together. Again, Cuse and Lindelop are really squishy, as it turns out.
So, readers, what is your take? I will probably develop an entirely different view after reading some of the blogs on this. But, this is where I stand for now. And yes, a big thumb's up on the episode. It flew by.
Below are some additional minor thoughts.
Continuing the grand tradition of bringing back people in the sideways world---Fisher Stevens as a driver rather than as the freighter's communications officer.
Great lines/site gags/whatever:
- The island is not done with you yet.
- The bunny's name is Angstrom
- The spectacular consciousness altering love.
- There is always a choice, brother!
- Good to hear Driveshaft again--You are Everybody!
- What if this was not supposed to be our lives? I don't want to set of a nuclear bomb. I think I already did.
- When do we start?
- I must have quite an effect on you?
- Did you find what you are looking for?
- Did Desmond look into any mirrors? Reflective surfaces?