Lost Season Six Episode Eleven "Happily Ever After"
This was touted as, and as far as I can tell received as, a turning point in the season, something that would “change the conversation”. I’m not entirely sure the conversation has changed, but it certainly has been nudged in a certain direction. What we learned:
- Desmond is able to carry his consciousness between the sideways and normal worlds, as he has been able to when time traveling within his own consciousness
- Widmore wants to use Desmond’s unique ability (can withstand a “catastrophic electromagnetic event”) to save the world
- sideways characters can see the real(?) world in moments of trauma, including near-death experiences
- sideways Desmond, now aware of the real(?) world, wants to show fellow Oceanic passengers something (what is he going to show them?)
I’m not sure it’s much more than that. Not saying that’s a bad thing. We can certainly get a feel for where things are going, and have more of a sense of the relationship of these two worlds, and most crucially have more of a reason to give a shit about what we’re seeing in the sideways stories.
One thing my local nerd squad discussed after this season’s premiere was the idea that the sideways world is not necessarily the result of the bomb going off in 1977. That it was displayed right after that event does not prove anything, and indeed seems likely to be classic Lost misdirection. I postulated that it was in fact the result of Jacob’s murder, which also happened around the same point in the story. I believe it was P. who first suggested it might be the result of something that hadn’t happened yet.
This theory started seeming more likely as the Man in Black went around making deals with people. The things he promised (Sayid would see Nadia again, Sawyer would get off the island) were things that were true in the sideways world. So perhaps when he said he would leave the island and bring people with him, he meant they would all enter the sideways world, or make it reality. (Then again, perhaps he was just tellin’ sweet little lies.)
The above theory still holds water after last night’s episode, which is more than we can say about a lot of theories, isn’t it. So in the event that Smokey gets “off the island”, Widmore needs Desmond to make shit happen in the sideways world, which has become the only world. Indeed, the sideways scene where Desmond says he wants the flight manifest probably occurs after an unseen scene in which he discusses his mission with Widmore.
Something I absolutely loved about the episode was the number of references to past episodes, echoes of past plots, lines with double meanings. Desmond’s carrying of consciousness between different states recall his ability to do so through time in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and “The Constant”. The sailboat and the painting of the scale in Widmore’s office. The shitty Australian bar called “Jax.” That Desmond actually saves Charlie from drowning, probably at the marina where Ben shot him (and “Penny’s boat” was lodged), the stadium in which he meets Penny, and Eloise Widmore’s near-extrafictional direction of what Des is “supposed” to do.
The Eloise thing has really stuck with me. Obviously she and Widmore know a lot more than you, me and Desmond. In “Flashes Before Your Eyes” (an episode I heartily recommend reviewing), she knows a sequence of future events, Des’ life, and she dissuades him from pursuing Penny, pushing him on the path toward the island. In the sideways world, she again tries to scare him away from Penny, but more as a means of keeping him from knowledge of the island. The whole thing has the feel of a Faustian bargain, where Des gets money, power and respect but loses his soul / the love of his life / knowledge of the real world. But how is it that sideways Eloise has this knowledge, but not sideways Widmore? Or is that really the case?
Shit that sounds pretty confusing. Such is Lost, I guess.
One last thing, from the previous episode, “The Package” and the one before it, “Eternal Abs” (or something like that). I was reminded of how Lost’s attention to linguistic detail is refreshing in US film & TV: the Korean scenes play out in Korean, and Richard’s origin story is in Spanish. In fact he does a great Spanish accent for his English-speaking flashback parts. So the question is, why do Jacob and the Man in Black speak American English? In most shows you’d say well of course Jesus speaks American English, this is an American film. But in this case it makes you wonder, especially when time travel is a fact of Lost life. Do they come from the present day US, and got whisked back in time somehow? Somewhen?
Who the fuck knows. Again, such is Lost, god bless it.