The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “Happily Ever After”

Comments and discussion about the latest episode of Lost: “Happily Ever After.”

To avoid melting into a puddle of icky fangirlishness, I’m just going to ask the following questions–without once using the word that starts with a “Des” and ends with a “mond.”  So.

Question 1: Do you think this episode tilted the scales of free will and fate in one direction or the other?

Question 2: What’s the deal with Eloise?  Why does she get to be the time cop in the alterna-universe?  In the regular universe, she seemed to be following the events outlined in Faraday’s diary, but in alterna-universe she didn’t have access to any of that information. Yet she still rants on about “not being ready yet” and violating the timeline.  Explain.

Question 3: Similarly, why can alterna-Losties like Daniel Widmore (nee Faraday) and Charlie experience flashes of the regular universe?  Is it because they are special in some way, or is it because their alt-timeline is somehow degrading? But if the alterna-line is degrading, why is that happening, and what will happen when the degradation is complete?  And what does this have to do with Smokey?

Question 4: This question can be answered by anyone, but I think it’s more appropriate for the ladies.  If you were out at night, in a near-empty stadium, and some guy came up to you and said he knew your name, and then he fainted when he touched you, would you go out on a date with him?

Question 5: What’s the sacrifice?

See you next time.

21 Comments on “The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “Happily Ever After””

  1. Kevin #

    First, before I respond to mlawski’s questions: earlier this week, Doc Jensen posted a pretty insightful comparison between this season and Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” (the book Des was reading on the plane in “LA X”)… and wouldn’t you know it, but there seems to be a lot of overlap and connection between the two, enough so that I need to find a copy of Haroun and get reading:,,20313460_20357575,00.html

    Now, as for mlawski’s questions:

    #1 If anything, I’d argue free will, despite all the talk to fate, love, who we’re “meant” to be with, etc. But that’s just my gut speaking. Tomorrow I’ll probably go fate!

    #2 I think Eloise is like Desmond, and that something happened when she was on the island that gave her a similar ability as Desmond. But in any case, SOMETHING happened that has linked her up between universes. Maybe she’s getting messages in her dreams like her son…

    #3 I’m not actually sure it’s degrading, only that they’re positing that when you have random dreams that don’t fit in to what you know, or don’t make sense but kind of do… you’re glimpsing another “universe”. I don’t think Faraday and Charlie are “special”, though — I only think they’re the only characters we’ve seen before that would think of things like that. The other characters are too literal-minded to start thinking of destiny and alt-universes and what-not.

    (But for the sake of argument, let’s say the universe is degrading somehow — I think it’s another sign that a merge is coming, much like Sun lost the ability to speak english. It’s working both ways.)

    #4 While Desmond was “touched” by Penny and knew there was something about her in the alt-universe… I’m pretty sure it went both ways. So sure, they didn’t “meet cute”… but Penny was intrigued, not frightened, by Desmond. (As someone who lives near “Melrose and Sweetzer,” I am sad to note there isn’t a real coffee shop at the intersection… though there are a few places nearby that could fit the bill in a pinch.)

    #5 My guess is he’ll ask Desmond to stay in the alternate timeline to play timecop somehow… which means he gives up baby Charlie, since presumably he can reunite with Penny “over there.” I’m probably very, very wrong though.

    My biggest question: just what the hell caused the island to sink, with nearly everything on it in one piece, in the alt-universe? It certainly wasn’t caused by Jughead… so what happened?


  2. Maddy #


    Glad to hear I wasn’t the only female viewer who found that sequence totally creepy and anything but romantic. I think the only thing that justifies Penny’s agreement to a date is that both of them (not just Des) are meant to be feeling the sci-fi knew-you-in-another-life love waves towards each other.


  3. Tom P #

    2: Presuming everything up to the nuke happened the same, Eloise still spent some time as leader of the Others. She likely has some idea of the splintered time line. Maybe there’s some knowledge gleaned by her direct relationship to Jacob — one that Charles wouldn’t have had until he took leadership from her after she left?

    3: Probably the best way to explain the “bleeding together” of the time lines is in a weird sort of deja vu.

    4: I think the answer to that is only possible if you’ve met your soulmate. Penny and Desmond are representing transcendent love, I think.

    5: Never seeing Penny and Charlie again in order to keep Locke In Black from destroying the universe. Still not quite sure why they needed Jin for this.


  4. Kevin #

    @Tom P: I don’t think we can assume everything up to Jughead exploding was the same — remember, the Losties had that whole trip to 1954 where they encountered the Others, incl. Widmore and Eloise. Without Faraday going to 1954, they never buried Jughead, for example… and who knows what other changes were made.

    What I REALLY want to know is: just what happened to Widmore and Eloise in the alt-timeline? Since Ben and his father went there as part of Dharma, I think we have to assume that Widmore and Hawking were there for decades as well… but they seem to be relatively “normal” and well-adjusted in the alt-timeline. Desmond, who’s Widmore’s “right hand man,” doesn’t know anything about the island, as far as we know… so it obviously doesn’t have the same influence on their lives. So what happened?

    (My theory is that without Locke going back in time and telling Richard he was destined to lead the Others, Widmore was kept on as the definitive leader… and things went poorly, to the point where he and Eloise had to leave the island on their own much earlier than in the “normal” timeline.)


  5. chris #

    2: If the nuke did cause the alternate timeline, then Eloise had knowledge of the plan before it happened, and was already in possession of Faraday’s diart when the bomb went off, so it stands to reason she’d be aware of the changes.


  6. Bob #

    Another great episode!

    1) No. I wish I could go more in depth but I don’t think it showed the difference between free will v predestination at all.

    2) Kevin is right – Eloise Hawking basically said so in ‘Flashes Before Your Eyes’. I think the real question is “Does she experience the different worlds like dreams or does she ‘live’ in both worlds at the same time?”. I would go for both worlds – I think she is like Craig Bierko in The Thirteenth Floor (Crappy but enjoyable Sci-Fi Movie) where he makes a VR world inside a VR world and isn’t sure which world is the real world. Eloise is living and concious of both realities and is trying to make the best out of both of them, pushing her son to be a scientist in one so she can have the happy son in the other.

    3) I think this is the heart of LOST: Season 6. My opinion – Finding true love and near death experiences are, as Doctor Who puts them, vital moments in life; moments that are tentpole and cannot be changed (In Doctor Who, he can help one family escape Pompeii as it won’t change history much but can’t stop Vesuvius from erupting because it was a tentpole moment in history) When these moments are faced, the lines between realities are blurred. Charlie died in Island, almost died in Sideways, saw both worlds. Daniel found his soul mate in Island (his constant/tentpole), saw her in Sideways and saw both worlds. Desmond had two ‘tentpoles’ – 1) witnessed a close friend die in Island and see it almost happen in Sideways and 2) Touching his Soul mate which flooded open the door.

    Then again, I could be wrong and it could be simple ‘soulmate’ like Charlie and Claire, but that wouldn’t explain why Desmond first noticed it with Charlie dying (Unless it was the simple name ‘Penny’ written on him). In my example – sideways Jimi Hendrix would be an accountant and not touch a guitar until he was in his 40’s, then he connected to Island Jimi Hendrix and played that guitar like a ringing a bell

    5) Kind of agree with Kevin and Tom, but I think he will forced to stay on the island and become Jacob or Smokey. I see it more of sacrifice like Orlando Bloom in the last Pirates Movie.

    Look forward to the recap! (And in Reading Rainbow fashion – Please check out The Thirteenth Floor, Doctor Who, The Music of Jimmy Hendrix and Pirates of the Caribbean at your local library)


  7. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Kevin: That’s so funny. I’m actually reading Haroun & the Sea of Stories right now, for completely non-Lost-related reasons. Well, when I’m done, I’ll be sure to check out Doc Jensen’s article.

    I kind of feel like answering my own questions today, so:

    1: I’m not sure. I think Lost is trying to go for a blend of all the good parts of free will (i.e., choice to do what you want with your life) and all the good parts of fate (i.e., soulmates, having a “calling” or destiny). Also, I think this is sort of cheap.

    2: No idea, and I’m worried the writers will never explain it.

    3: I’m hoping the universes are degrading/merging, perhaps because there are two of them when there should only be one, so they’re kind of resonating because each is being pulled by the other’s “time gravity.” There can be only one!

    4: I wasn’t actually all that creeped out by the Desmond-Penny scene, mostly because whenever those two are together on screen I kind of want to cry. What is it about them? I think they’re just both fantastic actors, and the chemistry they have together is unreal. However, I was mentally begging Des to stop smiling so creepily and say, “Oh, I know you’re name because I work for your dad.” Really, Des, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Luckily A) space-time has determined that these two must be together and B) Henry Ian Cusick is so damn attractive that I didn’t blame Penny for taking him up on his offer for coffee.

    5: My theory is somewhat akin to Kevin’s: I think somehow Desmond is going to have to give up his Island life (and thus baby Charlie) but ultimately save the world and keep his Alterna-life, in which case he’ll get Penny (and eventually baby Charlie) again. That’ll be nice, in a bittersweet kind of way.


  8. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Me: “You’re” should be “your.” Stupid.


  9. dock #

    A lot of the people I talked to complained about this episode, but not me. I think it was vintage desmond episode stuff. It had the longest alt-world of the series and reminded us again that there is more to this than just the locke-stuff. Next weeks Hurley should be very interesting…

    Q1- Im not sure which way this episode tilted the scale, but both themes were certainly present. Im leaning towards free will, though, just because of the speech desmond gave charlie in the bar, and his decision to join widmore as soon as he came back.

    Q2- This one I was confused by too. I really got nothin, here.

    Q3- The flashes everyone is remembering all come at near-death times, and are all about a person in the “real world” that the characters loved. Charlie said he felt it when he saw Claire, Desmond/Penny and Farraday was describing Charlotte when he was talking about his flashback. Huey Luis and the News were right, Thats the Power of Love…

    Q4- I think a persons gotta go at least on the first date there, if for nothing else than to see what the hell is up w/ this other person.

    Q5- The sacrifice I think is Desmonds life. Or at least, for him to be on the island alone when he does what he needs to do. Which is..

    Sidebar- Before I finish that thought, heres some quick notes I had. Did anybody else think Jurassic Park when they first saw that box they put Desmond in? It looked like the thing they had the Raptor in at the start of the movie. “Shoot her! Shooooot Herrrrr!”……I thought the little exhale desmond did when Penny walked away after agreeing to see him was great. What a way to capture the feeling of being in love, no? No words necessary, just the exhale and the laugh, an that goofy smile. haha well done, Desmond….

    Now, I had time to think about this all day and heres what I came up with. Now, it didnt seem as if widmore had any idea of the alt-world. His motivation was to see if des can survive, and from widmores perspective he simply survived the blast,got knocked out for a second, woke up and was on board w/ the plan. Im sure he finds this strange, but in no way has any idea of the alt-world. So whats it all about? Why does he need Des at all? Im thinking this- they have Jin now and are searching for pockets of energy found by the dharma people. So he has access to huge levels of electromagnetic energy and a guy who can survive their blasts. If hes not concerned with the alt-world Widmore is most certainly concerned w/ Evil Locke. And it seems evil locke has a weakness. The plasma fences keep him out because they presumably hurt him (sort of like a dog w/ an invisible fence). Those fences are just small amounts of electromagnetic energy focused into a shielding wall. I think widmore has an idea that is to essentially set off another explosion, only this time have it be on a much larger scale, and have smokey trapped in its vicinty during. How else can he kill Smokey? Thats his whole goal here, and he needed Jin to find where, and Desmond to set it off. Now he needs to spring a trap for Locke, which is why I think he will be trying to get Sawyer again. The sacrifice is going to be either desmonds life, or agreeing to stay on the island and set off the explosion alone w/ the possibility of death or abandonment. (What this will do to the alt-world I have no idea). I also dont think Widmore cares whose on the island when it happens, so long as its not him and probably at least 1 candidate just to be safe. The real question now is-whats desmond gonna do now that sayyid has him? If locke sees him he might try to kill him if he catchs wind of widmores plan.


  10. Jon Eric #

    mlawski – I think, in your effort to remain objective when discussing this Desmond-centric episode, you’ve gone too far in the other direction. How can you expect to do a useful and fulfilling analysis of this episode without talking about Desmond?

    To that end, I’ve got some answers for you, and then a couple of questions of my own:

    1.) Totally fate. You’re destined to be with the one you’re destined to be with. Look at how irrationally everyone acts after their moment of confluence. (Also, is it just me, or are the women mysteriously immune to these moments?)

    2.) I’m not sure… are we sure she doesn’t get her own episode near the end? Actually, don’t tell me.

    3.) I’d like to chalk it up to the near-death experience, but that doesn’t explain Daniel’s moment. I’d like to attribute it to seeing one’s true alterverse love, but that doesn’t explain why Sawyer, Kate, and Jack didn’t have similar moments.

    4.) I was yelling at the screen, it was so creepy. I’ll forgive it, but only because Penny might be experiencing a similar magnetism towards him.

    5.) I want to say it’s his life, but that’s too obvious, so… dunno.


    What’s so special about Desmond? How come he can withstand that insane electromagnetism?

    Also, how come Desmond is the only character who reacts in real-time to his flashbacks and flash-sidewayses? What does it mean for the show that we have this kind of meta-character, and what does it mean about Desmond’s role in the story?


  11. Gab #

    Lemme go fangirly for ya, Mlawski…


    I must have said, “Oh, Des,” twenty times. I cry every time he has an episode.

    1) No. I think it’s easily interpreted as either, but I think *actually* it’s doing that whole “free will within fate” thing that has been discussed before. As in it’s asserting how there are some things outside the control of the characters, but how, as is said in the episode, “There is always a choice, brother.”

    2) At first I thought it was me simply wanting to be negative because I can’t stand her, but I suppose I can’t think of anything but: she’s destined to play the timecop role somehow, so in this timeline she was made kinda crazy/schitzo in order to get the information into her head. Not necessarily visions, but moments of shall we say “clarity” where she’s sort of a vessel for the (missing) Island. Think Oracle at Delphi, sort of (and what they were believed to be at the time, not what historical evidence would suggest today). The sweetness when Desmond first showed up was out of character, but intentionally on her part, an attempt to get rid of him because “he’s not ready” and such. Maybe it isn’t even “moments” of clarity, but her whole existence is sort of messed up, seeing the original/real timeline in her head all the time. Which segues into the next question.

    3&5) I also think it has to do with degrading and different timelines, and, for whatever reason, the characters seeing both are kind of “special” and important. Dock made a Dr. Who reference, so I’m going to, as well, but be warned


    There is an episode where his Companion inadvertently creates an alternate universe by simply turning in a different direction in her car one day. In the end, she must “die” in the alterna-universe, but her original life/universe gets restored.

    So I think Des is going to have to “die” in one timeline to secure the other. He already proved himself to be special before because he was doing the whole time-jump thing on his own (and surviving it, nonetheless), so taking that next step to universe-jumping isn’t all that difficult. And I think that answers your question, too, Jon Eric, about the real-timiness. What it means for the show is also sort of meta- Des is the *show’s* Constant, and thus the audience’s. And, frankly, I’m okay with that.

    4) Okay, pre-destination, transcendent love stuff aside, I, personally, probably would have taken him up on it because of the collapse. Unless I got the impression he was faking the faint, obviously the guy’s kind of vulnerable. And he offered a public meeting, not to go back to either of our places. I perhaps would have been a bit different in my response and suggested something during daylight hours, but I wouldn’t have turned him down. Oh, and I would have asked him how he knew my name.

    Small details I was a little bugged by:

    How is Penny Daniel’s half-sister? Who’s her mom?

    The driver. He went from doctor to limo-driver? HOW?! Yet he’s obviously not your average driver, if he somehow has the power/connections to get flight rosters… Like with Keamy, this face-drop was interesting, but I doubt will be explained at all.


  12. Gab #

    And by “Dock” I meant “Bob.” Sorry, folks.


  13. Marmaduke #

    Can someone please explain why Daniel still has an American accent in the alternate universe despite seemingly growing up with his parents in the UK? In the regular universe, sure he kind of grew up on the island, which is a bit of a melting pot anyway. But I can’t think of an acceptable reason for altDaniel.

    By the way, was I the only one expecting him to show up looking a bit more eccentric? I don’t know but when Eloise first mentioned that her son was in a band I really expected them to go all out with that. Thankfully they didn’t but I expected at least a greasy ponytail…and maybe some Lennon shades.


  14. Bob #

    @Jon Eric – I’ve never thought that Jack/Kate or Sawyer/Kate was ‘True Love’ in the Princess Bride description, something earth shattering like Daniel/Desmond.

    @Gab – Interesting DWho point with Desmond being the ‘Constant’. It can almost (Yet again – almost) be explained that the whole show has been about Desmond. The first season was about getting into the hatch, i.e. getting to Desmond. The second/third seasons are about finding about Desmond. The Oceanic Six would have died in the ocean if it wasn’t for Penny looking for Desmond. Okay – theory dies right there. But it was a theory.


  15. Kevin #

    @Gab: Penny and Daniel have always been half-siblings, with Widmore as their father. He had Daniel with Eloise (got her pregnant on the island); presumably he had Penny off the island, or at least knocked someone up during a trip away from the island, pre-banishment, with a woman who we haven’t met yet, nor do we know. (Ultimately I don’t know that her identity matters much in the “real” timeline — maybe that “other woman” was the reason Widmore and Eloise had their falling out. She found out he had Penny with another woman and left.)

    Also, George wasn’t a doctor in the Island timeline — he was the radio operator on the freighter. I actually really liked how we went from being an operator in one universe to an “operator” in the other. (Plus, remember, he’s not merely a “limo driver,” someone who gets rented out randomly for jobs at a limo company — he’s Widmore’s driver. In both universes he’s working for the man.)

    @Marmaduke: in both universes he spent a significant chunk of his childhood being raised in the States — I actually think it’s MORE unusual that in the “real” timeline, he seems to have lived in England for most of his life but speaks like a Yank. (I don’t think he was on the island for a long time; a few years at the most, but Eloise was pregnant with him in 1977.)

    Also, Daniel wasn’t the one in the band (Driveshaft) — per the ep, he was a pianist who had some crazy ideas about “blending classical music with modern rock.” That’s why Des was trying to round up Charlie to complete Driveshaft — so Daniel’s little show could go on.

    THE BIGGER QUESTION, to everyone:

    In “LA X,” if I recall, Desmond is wearing a wedding band… and then seems to disappear from the plane. But in his flash-back/-sideways… he’s not wearing it again, nor is he even married. So what is that? More spill from the other universe? (My theory: yes! Even in the first few minutes of LA X, the wall between the universes isn’t intact — take Desmond’s ring and the cut on Jack’s neck, for example. I think there have been slight flaws in the sideways universe all season long, but we’ve been slow to recognize them…)


  16. Gab #

    @Bob- I don’t see why you think them dying on the ocean without Penny kills the theory. Wouldn’t it _support_ the theory, instead?

    And I agree about the Kate/Jack/Sawyer thing. Because wuv, twoo wuv, wiw fawwow you foevah…

    @Kevin: I knew they were half-siblings, sorry, I should have said so. I meant WHY are they half-siblings in this alt-timeline? If Widmore is with Eloise, why should they have a different mother? I was under the impression, based on the control and influence he had over Penny in the original timeline, that Widmore was at some point married or with her mother, had started a totally new life with this person. I toyed with the idea that maybe they weren’t really half-siblings, but that there had been a deal struck so each adult could keep one kid, but that fell through for some reason (although I can’t remember why… I’m sure somebody will tell me, though, meaning the episode or line or whatever that would inform the audience Penny and Daniel are half-siblings).

    And okay, radio operator. I guess that makes a difference, but not a big, drastic one, imo, since yeah, he had been hired by Widmore in both timelines, but only in the new one does he seem as though his professed profession is a cover for something else.

    And I bet you’re onto something. Maybe I’m ret-conning or imagining things that weren’t there, but weren’t there a few moments in Sayid’s episode where, in the alternate timeline, it seemed like he may have had at least a tiny spark of something that could be read as a whisper from the other timeline?


  17. Kevin #

    @Gab: that’s actually a good point, and one I realized about half an hour after writing you back. My guess is that Charles Widmore is in the alt-universe version of “Big Love” — sure, he’s married to Eloise, but he’s allowed to get other women pregnant and bring them into the family.

    Seriously though — I feel like Widmore and Hawking’s past on AND off the island still needs fleshing out… but don’t see how they have time to do it with so few episodes left. All we can do is grasp at straws — but I REALLY hope I’m wrong about that.

    As for Sayid’s episode, I don’t remember him catching a spark of the island timeline, though it’s been a while — I only remember he was the one who conspicously did NOT have a “looking into the mirror” moment, though Jin didn’t have one either. But I think those scenes are what count as “whispers” from the other side, in addition to Jack’s random cut, appendix scar, etc. Though in looking back on it, maybe when those characters have that mirror moment, something is supposed to change in the island timeline as well — Sun has her mirror moment and can’t speak english when she wakes up on the island, for example. (I can’t think of the island scenes after everyone else’s “mirror moment,” unfortunately…)

    Given that the writers LOVE to reference “Through the Looking Glass”… who wants to bet that somehow, the characters merging between the two universes will involve a mirror somehow?


  18. Gab #

    @Kevin: True dat, dawg.

    NEW QUESTION, though, since we’re stills sort of discussing Desmond: What happened to his ability to see the future????????


  19. Genevieve #

    @Gab – re: Penny/Daniel being half-sibs: remember, Widmore gets kicked off the island for having an affair/fathering a child on one of his excursions to civilization. That’s what makes them half-sibs, in both timelines. In the original timeline, Daniel wasn’t really acknowledged at all… Widmore paid for his research, sure, but there’s no reason to think that didn’t have an ulterior motive. When Widmore’s kicked off the island, he probably goes to the woman he had the affair with; when Eloise finally shows up off-island w/ Dan, it’s too late and he’s got a life established. In alt-time, he and Eloise stick it out despite the affair, and it’s Penny who’s illegitimate… but I find it really intriguing that she’s far more accepted and acknowledged than Dan in the orig. timeline…


  20. Gab #

    @Genevieve: Your last sentence is *exactly* what I’m getting at! I mean, if they’re half-siblings but he’s married to Eloise, why does she still seem to be “okay”? Granted, Daniel is VERY specific by saying, “HALF sister,” (emphasis mine, obviously), but still, if he’s acknowledging her at all, it says there is substantially more recognition for her than what he gets in the other timeline. Plus, he did, indeed, know where she’d be that night, indicating they’re close enough (in the relationship sense) for him to have that information in the first place. So I’m sort of twitching over it, unnecessarily, most likely.

    Sorry, everybody, I’m not trying to take over the discussion with a stupid, nitpicky thing like this.


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