Friday, April 9, 2010

Now "What?", but "Hume?"

LOSTaways-


My little sister Mackenzie Marilyn Moeller (we just say "Kenzie") came up with the title of this week's blog before she even knew it would be a Desmond-centric episode. Guess how proud I was of her for that?

Yes, Penny's Beau made his triumphant return this last Tuesday night in one of the most brain-busting episodes we've seen in a while. "Happily Ever After" was a trippy trip through alternate-reality memory lane, where we learned that Dez DID IN FACT WORK FOR WIDMORE (as someone predicted at the beginning of this season), Charlie is still alive (and still a British brat), and Faraday's still sporting awkward clothes to match his awkward demeanor.

This week's LOST-related song?

Beyond the Sea, by Mr. Bobby Darin:

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I'd go sailin'

It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet (I know we'll meet) beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'

No more sailin'
So long sailin'
Bye bye sailin'...

Desmond loves Penelope. Penelope is the name of Odysseus' wife in Homer's The Iliad. That is a story, for those who don't know (and you should be ashamed of yourself if you are one of them), about a dude who is a long way from home and misses his wife and has to travel the seas to get back to her. That's why I picked this song.

Throughout the 4 seasons that we've gotten to know him, Desmond is the epitome of a tragic character. He's always been told (and felt himself) that he was special, but he doesn't know what that means or what to do about it. He loves a woman, but his inferiority complex won't let himself be loved. He good-natured trust of Kelvin when he rescued him after his ship-wreck leads to his being played for a sucker the whole time.

He just wants to be left alone to pursue his own desires, but cannot escape the determinist-like forces that his name-sake believed in.

But things seem to be slightly different this time around, in this alternate-reality we were given access to this week. Desmond, like all of the other characters in this alternate-universe, still certainly possesses many of his core characteristics, but the circumstances are changed and new choices are able to be made. When Dez saw "Not Penny's Boat" on Charlie's hand in the season three finale it was a foreboding warning of the danger that was on its way in the form of Charles Widmore's mercenary boat-men.

This time, "Not Penny's Boat", written on Charlie's hand on the sea floor in Los Angeles harbor, was an awakening....an answer...or at least a sign-post that will inevitably lead to answers and redemption. There was hope attached to this vision/flash that Desmond had. And there were people with answers for him...namely, Faraday.

Let's get into the episode itself, and to mix things up a bit, I'm gonna tackle the on-island hijinx first.

On-Island:

Dez wakes up in the Hydra Island's infirmary with a three-day roofie-induced hangover. Oh, and he also was shot a few days before all of this. Remember that Ben, in a fit of Linus Lunacy, went looking for Penny last season to settle the score with Widmore and ended up shooting Desmond in the wing (before getting pummeled by Hume and dumped into the water). So while he was in the hospital back in the real world in 2007, Widmore kidnapped him and transported him via submarine to the island.

A word about Widmore's return to the island...I think we will find out that Jacob visited Widmore off the island at some point in the past and told him how he could find the island. Because Ben was using the Looking Glass station to jam the frequency for the island, Widmore needed another way to find the island (and eventually did...see: Season Four). Perhaps Jacob didn't even like Charles back when he was on the island as a younger man, but I bet he sought him out now as a measure of last resort against Flocke.

When Desmond comes-to, and finds out where he is, he's less-than-cordial to Widmore for bringing him on this forced vacay. But Charles seems to know what exactly is at stake, and whatever it is, it is more important to him than anything. He acknowledges that he's had to sacrifice his daughter's love, knowing his grandson, and basically his entire life in service to the island. Ben has been his nemesis for a while, but now that Charles has figured out what Flocke is up to, he's dropped that obsession for a bigger cause. I foresee a great partnership between the two rivals (Widmore and Ben) in one of the next few episodes. They look at each other and one of them says, "Neither of us are happy to be here together...but let's let sleeping dogs lie, and kick some Black Smoke tail....deal?" And then they hug. Or something like that.

Jin asks Widmore what his plan is and why he brought Dez back, and tells him (and us) that all of our questions will be answered if we follow him outside to the Love Magnetic Shack he's constructed. Meanwhile, some dude who is testing out the giant electromagnetic field gets friend just to show the rest of us how dangerous the materials they are working with are. (And to make it even more dramatic when our favorite Scotsmen is un-phased by it all.) Widmore tells Desmond that he will be fine, but that they want to make sure that he will be fine, so they need to try something very dangerous on his person...oh, and then, if he survives, Widmore wants him to make a big sacrifice.

Tragic character? But "the rules" don't apply to Hume. He is zapped, has one of his flashes (more on that in the Off-Island recounting in a moment), survives, and wakes up in island-time only a few moments later. When he awakes back in the "It's My Magnet In a Box" room, Widmore tells him that he is vital to their mission. As Charles begins to explain the mission, Desmond, who at this point assumed a monk-like calmness and serenity to his demeanor, explains that he totally understands why Widmore brought him there and is on board for anything.

Phwaaa??? What did the guy see that we didn't? What does he understand that we don't? Is it really as simple as him seeing Penny and that was all he needed to know to be willing to help? Or was there more? Will we find out that in his flash more was revealed to him? Maybe he also saw the future, like before?

Widmore, happy as a clam with Demond's new acceptance of his role, sends him back with some of his Others to their base...only to be apprehended by a creepy Sayid lurking in the shadows. He tells the woman to "run", showing that he's still sort of a softie deep down, and then tells Desmond that Widmore's people are dangerous and that they must get out of there. Now here is the real brain-buster: Desmond goes along with Sayid. He says "of course".

See, this is why I think Desmond was shown more in his flash...either he was shown that he was supposed to go with Sayid to join up with Flocke if he wanted to see Penny and his son again...or he was shown that he must go kill Flocke and is willing to pretend to up for escaping with Sayid so that he can be brought to a personal meeting with the Smoke Monster. It might have seemed like a small part of the episode, but I think Desmond saying "yes" to going with Sayid will turn out to be a huge piece of the puzzle (or at least a step in the right direction to solving the puzzle).

Enough of the island story...For more on it, read Doc Jensen's column here.

Off-Island:

We find Desmond staring at his reflection in a pane of glass with the Oceanic Airways symbol on it. Very "Alice In Wonderland" of him (and the writers). I hear Derrek Zoolander looking into a puddle and asking himself, "Who am I?"

Well, in the case of Desmond, we soon find out who he is and what he's up to in alternate world. He's an employee of Widmore Corp. and seems to be some world-traveling secret agent company man. He's the "fixer". He's the deal-closer. He's the most trusted Widmore worker. A big turn around from real life where the guy couldn't get a break with Charles Widmore. (Or a drink of his MacCutcheson Whiskey...which he finally got.)

Desmond's mission is to retrieve the rocker Charlie Pace and escort him to his son's piano-meets-rock-band concert. His driver for this L.A. excursion is none other than Minkowski. You may remember him from such bloody-nosed hallucinations as "the last one he had before he died in Sayid's arms in the radio room of Widmore's boat back in Season Four". I smell a Dez and Minkowski spin-off where they cruise around L.A. in a limo investigating hard-nut-to-crack cases that all the other by-the-book cops can't solve.

Dez picks up a disgruntled and priggish Charlie Pace at the police station and after a couple of stiff drinks, and a "Woe is me... I saw a vision of Claire and wish I had died in the plane's john" rant from the Drive Shaft superstar, Dez gets him into the car and they set off for the Widmore's charity event. Now I know they say you shouldn't be texting while you drive, but where are all the PSA's warning against having a drunk, batty, and bizarre rockstar riding co-pilot with you when he's in the mood to die? Charlie snags the wheel and the car plunges into the L.A. bay. Desmond has a vision there, and then another one at the hospital in the MRI machine, of all the things he experienced in his real life with Penny. All of the ramblings from Charlie about seeing "truth" suddenly make much more sense. Desmond is intrigued, and when this guy gets a thought in his mind...its pretty hard for him to shake it.

But before he can contemplate what it all means, he has to first do his duty and go tell Mrs. Widmore (Eloise) that her event will be ruined. She doesn't seem to mind, but does flip out when Hume asks to see the guest list after hearing the name "Penny Milton" is on it. Hawking tells Dez that he's "not ready yet." This is the same broad who told Dez he couldn't marry Penny back in Season Three because he had to go save the island. It seems that Eloise and Widmore either have information that no one else does, or are just petty, meddling parent-types who have nothing better to do than busy-body themselves throughout space and time.

On his confused way back to the limo, Faraday approaches Dez and begins to explain his theory: He blew up a nuke in another life and now this life is not the one they were supposed to be living. Faraday also says that he saw the love of his life (CS Lewis) at the museum the other day and when he woke up the next morning, he drew equations that only a handful of physicists on the planet could draw. Then he informed Hume that Penny was his half-sister and that he could introduce the two of them.

And where was Penny? Running stairs like a sweaty doctor I once knew who had tried to save his future ex-wife and ran to assuage his guilt. Desmond shakes her hand and passes out. When he comes-to they make a Starbucks date and Dez returns to the limo with a smile on his face, love in his heart, and a plan formulated in his mind. He asks Minkowski to get the flight's manifest of all the other people on Oceanic 815. Why? "I need to show them something", Desmond explains.

Show us your flashes, Dezzy.

I've got more to say, so let's head to the...

Random Thoughts/Theories:

-If you wanted a review of the Jin/Sun alternate-reality story...sorry. I just don't care enough to go through it all.

-The box they put Dez in felt a lot like Jacob's cabin (that actually housed Smokey The Monster as we've now come to learn). He was even sitting in a chair, trapped in the wooden shack, like Smokey was. It also made me think of Ben saying that on the island there was a box...and in that box was whatever you wanted. Not sure how it all ties in yet, but welcome your theories.

-Was Widmore sending Desmond back to the alternate-reality on purpose, or was he just testing to see if he could survive another Hatch explosion? Does anyone other than Desmond know about the other dimension that the Castaways are living in back in 2004?

-Did you catch the painting on the wall in Widmore's office? It was of the scales of justice with a black rock on one side and a white one of the other. This got me to thinking...the ship was the black rock, and the airplane was white. They crashed on opposite sides of the island. Just saying....

-Did you catch the slight irony in the MRI technician telling Desmond to "not push the button" after all that time in his life dedicated to button-pushing?

-Penny is Desmond's "constant", so did something big happen when he saw her and we just don't know about it? Did it fix something that was broken (i.e. Desmond's mind), like when Desmond called her in Season Four?

-Penelope was Odysseus' wife in Homer's Illiad. I've written about the allusions to the Illiad in previous blog-posts, but I was reminded of it when Desmond said to Faraday that "Penny is more of an idea than anything else." She is his idea of love...of home...of safety...of rest. None of which Desmond seems to have in this alternate-reality.



I'm gonna try to add more thoughts on this episode before next Tuesday. The upcoming one is a Hurley-centric tale called "Everybody Loves Hugo", a call-back to the "Everybody Hates Hugo" Season Two episode.

Enjoy it.


Namaste,

John Locke's Pants