Last night’s Lost was Desmond-centric, which is always nice for me, since I dig Henry Ian Cusick and his Crazy Eyes. But Desmond’s wasn’t the only welcome return: Daniel and his super-sinister mother, Eloise, also returned to the fold—and, as is usually the case when they appear, the plot moved forward!
It begins with Desmond waking up, bruised and scarred. He’s surprised to find Widmore and bespectacled Zoe watching over him. Zoe says he’s been on an IV for three days. He immediately asks for Penny. Widmore says he can’t see her, but she and their son, Charlie, are safe. Desmond then asks where he is, and when Widmore tells him he’s back on the island, we get our first of many glimpses at Desmond’s Look of Wild-Eyed Panic. Oh, how I love it so. He’s pissed, naturally, as he’d promised Penny last season he’d never return to the island—and he meant it, as his stay there wasn’t exactly idyllic. He clocks Widmore in the head with his IV stand and a gash opens on Widmore’s head. Widmore’s totally unfazed by this. He’s gangster.
Widmore’s brought Desmond back to the island for a “test.” We soon find out that his plan is to expose Desmond to massive amounts of electromagnetism, to see if Desmond still has the ability to absorb it (like he did in Season 2). Widmore’s crew isn’t certain the electromagnetic device even works, and to prove it, they accidentally fry one of their own, testing it out.
Desmond gets a glimpse of the fried guy, just before Widmore and guards drag him into the room with the device, tie him to a chair and lock him in. They crank up the device and Desmond screams to be released, even as he begins absorbing the energy and not dying. He’s also gangster.
The entire middle of the episode takes place in Desmond’s alterna-life. He’s at the airport and Hurley tells him which carousel has Oceanic Flight 815’s bags. Once at baggage claim, Desmond meets a very pregnant Claire. He chats her up, asking her if she knows what she’s having. She doesn’t. He tells her she’s braver than he is because he doesn’t much care for surprises. When he offers to share a cab with her, I’m reminded of an episode a few seasons back—the “You’re gonna die, brutha.” one—where Desmond takes on an oddly protective/paternal affinity for Claire and keeps staving off Charlie’s death because he’s kind of rooting for them as a couple. Or something. Anyway, Claire thanks him but declines and as she’s walking away, he says he bets the baby is a boy.
We soon find out that he was in Sydney completing a task for his boss, who’s sent a driver to the airport to pick him up. The driver is George Minkowski, who we last saw, lying dead on the freighter, after helping Desmond connect with Penny, his Constant, so he wouldn’t meet a similar aneurysm-stricken fate.
Here, George is just an underling (rather than the Head of Freighter Communications) and Desmond is his boss’s “Number One” employee. Before they take off to meet Widmore, George ramps up his creepiness by oddly propositioning Desmond, asking if he’s looking for “companionship,” because LA has hot girls, apparently. Desmond curtly refuses because, as we’ll be told at least three times over the course of this hour, he has no family and no friends and he’s Fine with It.
It’s no surprise that Desmond’s boss is Widmore, is it?
In this reality, Widmore’s married to Eloise, and their son, Daniel, is a musician. Eloise is organizing a concert for her son, who wants to wed classical music with rock. And the rock band he’s solicited? It’s Driveshaft.
I’ll admit that some of the subtler reality-crossovers have been interesting this season, but this episode’s were far too copious and convenient—but maybe that’s the point; as the characters get closer to discovering that their alternate reality in LA isn’t the life they’re supposed to be living, more and more of them are crossing paths.
But I’m getting a bit ahead of the episode here.
Widmore enlists Desmond to pick up Charlie from jail, since Widmore has already posted his bail. If you recall, we last saw Charlie swallowing heroin on the Oceanic flight, before being saved by Jack, only to be arrested for possession.
Desmond’s sort of annoyed that he’s been assigned to babysit a rock star, but Widmore offers him the Scotch of Symbolism we’ve heard so much about over the years, with the quip, “Nothing’s too good for you.” And Desmond is appeased.
Charlie proves to be a pill, immediately, as he drifts away from Desmond and into a bar, where he begins spouting theories about True Love. He asks Desmond if he’s ever known “spectacular, consciousness-altering love” and Desmond’s like, “Okay, junkie…”
Charlie says he got a glimpse of this love right before he choked on the bag of heroin: she was a blond vision with blue eyes and when he looked at her, he knew they were “together and always would be.”
Desmond is now convinced that Charlie’s loony and tries to refocus his attention on Daniel’s concert. They leave the bar and get into a car, headed for a hotel.
But Charlie’s got a different plan and it involves grabbing the wheel of the car and sending it straight into a marina. As the car sinks, Desmond escapes while Charlie calmly sits buckled in his seat, with his eyes closed, as though he isn’t entirely submerged in water. When Desmond swims around to Charlie’s side of the car, the door is locked. Charlie’s eyelids fly open, he turns to the window and slams his palm against it. Guess what’s written inside?
Right. “Not Penny’s Boat.”
Later, at the hospital, Desmond’s doctor tells him he needs an MRI. He protests, saying he needs to find Charlie, but eventually concedes. While he’s undergoing radiation, a series of images flicker before him, beginning with “Not Penny’s Boat,” then turning into images of Penny herself and his life with her and their son.
His Crazy-Eye returns and he insists on being let out of the MRI bay. He runs off in search of Charlie, but the receptionist at the front desk won’t help him.
Then he spots Jack. (See? Way too convenient. Why is it that nine out of ten characters on this show always happen to wind up at the LA hospital where Jack works?) He reminds Jack that they were on the flight together; Jack remembers him.
Charlie goes streaking by them in a hospital gown; Desmond gives chase. They have a conversation about how these visions they have Mean Something and it’s their responsibility to find out what. Charlie insists that nothing else matters. He doesn’t believe their lives have any meaning without these women they’ve hallucinated, and he refuses to go with Desmond to the Widmores to perform for a concert.
Desmond goes to break the news to Widmore’s wife who, in this reality, he’s never met. He’s warned repeated that Eloise is pure evil, but when he meets her she’s super-saccharine and takes the news of Charlie’s cancellation eerily well.
As Desmond leaves, he overhears organizers reading the concert setlist. Penny’s name is mentioned. He asks them if he can see the setlist—and here’s where Eloise’s claws come out.
I love how terse she is with Desmond when she goes into Spirit Guide mode with him. She may as well be hitting him on the nose with rolled up newspaper. She says she doesn’t know who’s “gotten to him” but he needs to stop looking for whatever he’s looking for and stick to the program. After all, his life is perfect in this reality and he’s finally scored what he so desperately wanted: Widmore’s approval. Desmond has no idea what she means, but he’s sufficiently spooked by her scolding.
As he waits for his driver, Daniel approaches him and introduces himself. He asks if Desmond believes in love at first sight, before telling a story about spotting Charlotte in a museum a week ago and having Love Flashes of his own. He says that the next day, he wrote a complex quantum mechanics formula he couldn’t decipher because he’s “just a musician,” but he asked a genius friend who broke it down for him and it has everything to do with bomb detonation offsetting electromagnetism and resetting the world.
“You want to set off a nuclear bomb?” Desmond smirks.
Daniel drops science: “What if this wasn’t supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life, but some reason, we changed things? I don’t want to set off a nuclear bomb, Mr. Hume. I think I already did.”
I love how even in an alternate reality, Daniel can’t just be a musician. His genius transcends the time-space continuum. It’s also cool to see him reunited with his Constant, Desmond. I was happier about this conversation than I was about these three characters moony musings about these women they’ve fallen for in another life.
Even so, it looks like Daniel’s comments here are setting in motion the series resolution—and that resolution has everything to do with leaving this alternate reality and rejoining the island timeline.
Desmond says Penny is just an idea; he’s not even sure she exists. Daniel says she totally does, she’s his half-sister, and he knows where Desmond can find her.
Sure enough, Desmond finds Penny jogging in a stadium. He introduces himself. They flirt.
Back on the island, Desmond wakes up and Widmore is smug, yet relieved that Desmond seems to be fine. Suddenly, Desmond’s no longer opposed to being back on the island. He says he’s down for whatever Widmore has planned for him.
As Desmond strolls through the jungle with Zoe and others in Widmore’s crew, Zoe asks what changed his mind, as this whole process of electromagnetizing him only took 20 minutes. He says a lot can happen in twenty minutes. Sayid jumps out and breaks a crew member’s neck. Desmond calmly tells Zoe and the others to run. Sayid tells Desmond that “these people” are dangerous and urges Desmond to come with him. Desmond’s all, “Lead the way, brutha.”
That should’ve been the end of the episode. But no. We have to get MORE Penny and Desmond, which… I’m all for their relationship, but we’ve been to this well one too many times, at this point, no? These people have been split up, reunited, shot at, split up, reunited through time travel and they’ve even got a kid. We have to see them meeting each other for the first time… again? Really?
Turns out, when Desmond shook Penny’s hand, introducing himself, he fainted. He asks her to coffee when he comes to. She agrees to meet him in an hour. And how weird is it that she’s always down for this, no matter how weird the circumstances of their meeting? Just once, I’d like to see her blow him off and really mean it; I want him to work for it.
Back at the car, George asks Desmond if he “found what he was looking for.” Desmond says he did, then he asks George for the passenger manifest to Flight 815, presumably to find Claire for Charlie.
And that’s the end of the episode.