This week’s episode was another strong hour of television drama that nevertheless didn’t do all that much to move the show toward its ultimate conclusion. It did provide two crucial points: First, Desmond is the agent or "bridge" that will merge the two timelines. Secondly, Eloise Hawking knows a lot.
The events of this week didn’t do anything to undermine my current Lost Theory of Everything. I’m sure the holes will begin to be punched soon enough. One interesting aspect was revived unexpectedly, however. Namely, I previously discussed that I thought Desmond’s “unique” status would be a kind of singularity. That is, existence in one timeline / reality, and that was it. I dismissed that notion upon his appearance on the LA X plane.
It appears that the singularity idea is unfolding, but in a different way. While Desmond exists in multiple timelines, the re-exposure to powerful electromagnetic energy seems to have begun a process of making his consciousness singular. Whereas Charlie got a glimpse of the other reality when he had a near-death experience, and Juliet presumably had the same thing happen post-incident (“It worked.”), Desmond’s experience is different. While other characters may exchange puzzled looks with a mirror in a fit of deja vu, they do not lose consciousness in one reality or the other.As was the case in The Constant, Desmond’s mind now seems to exist in a singular fashion. When exposed to the EM energy, he loses consciousness in the original timeline (on the island). When he begins to realize what’s happening, then shakes Penny’s hand in the flash-sideways timeline, he “faints,” and awakens back on the island. Also, of course, Penny is his constant. And he is Daniel’s.
If this interpretation is correct, then it means Desmond will be able to relay information to those in the flash-sideways timeline about their “true” intended destinies. Eventually, this will lead to a merger of some kind with the primary timeline. As I’ve said, I believe the FST may exist in part to show us what happens to a given timeline if the MiB accomplishes his goal of making it off the island. This will serve to show us the “stakes” for the original timeline.
This does raise some questions. First, what happens to characters who have died in the original timeline, like Daniel Faraday? How do they “merge” back in to that continuity? Will they at all?
They could go just about anywhere with this aspect of the riddle. I enjoy speculation as much as the next guy, and I have some guesses, but I don't think we really have enough evidence either way to make an educated guess, so I’m tabling this discussion for now.
Then there’s the Eloise problem.
I compiled a list earlier this week of “people who know more than they’re letting on.” Aside from the obvious two (Jacob / MiB), the list included Widmore, Eloise, Sun (because I think a secret agreement between her and Widmore enabled him to find the island again), and Ilana. However, Eloise’s knowledge seems to dwarf all of them, with the possible exception of Charles (Indeed, his recruitment of Miles probably had something to do with his knowledge that people perceive the timelines merging when they're on the verge of death or dying).
Eloise appears to take Desmond's ability a step further in one important respect: She is not only seemingly aware of all timelines at once, she is aware of future events, believing that they’re “supposed” to happen in a particular way (as in Flashes Before Your Eyes). This relates back to the idea of free will vs. inescapable fate, and Eloise is clearly in the latter philosophical camp. The fact that what was probably MiB (as Christian Shephard) told Locke to contact Eloise Hawking once he got back to Los Angeles shows that MiB is obviously aware of her and likely aware of her significance.
The conversations she has had with Desmond have been some of the strangest and most abstract of the series. In both Flashes Before Your Eyes and Happily Ever After, she scolds Desmond for trying to perform actions contrary to some larger, unseen plan, about which she reveals little. It’s almost as if she’s fulfilling a supernatural role as guardian of the timelines, for lack of a better term.
Here’s the thing: I don’t buy that she’s a supernatural being. Or, at least, I’m confident she wasn’t always this way.In 1954 (“Jughead”) and the late 70's, it was clear Eloise was merely a member of the Others, albeit one who rose to the rank of co-leader with Charles Widmore. She had no special knowledge of who the time-traveling 815-ers were, nor did she realize she was killing her own son in The Variable.
From this, we must conclude that something very, very important happened to Eloise between 1977 and 2004.
As a footnote, it seems that head trauma induces people to catch glimpses of or interact briefly with other realities (like Sun in The Package). I mention this only because 1977 Eloise just happened to be knocked out cold by Richard just before the revised Swan incident, courtesy of Jughead.
In this week’s episode, Eloise said Desmond “wasn’t ready yet” to meet Penny, implying that this was supposed to happen, but not yet, and she had prior knowledge of this. She said something else very interesting when she noted that doing so would be “a violation.”
There’s that notion of rules again. I covered this in the Theory of Everything, but I believe the rules being referenced here may or may not be from a law-giver, but they definitely impact and relate to what can and cannot be properly done within the context of time travel. This remark by Eloise reinforced that belief for me.
The larger point is that some people know what’s going on, and others don’t. Jacob does. The Man in Black does. Eloise does. Charles does, although possibly not to the same extent as Eloise.
When the Man in Black asks people “What if you could?” in reference to their unfulfilled desires and dreams, I think this is a cryptic reference to knowledge that there are other realities that are accessible through mechanisms related to the the island’s strange properties. Now, the specific things people want may not be accessible, but MiB is, after all, a manipulator like Jacob. The important point is that he says this coyly, based on knowledge of other timelines.
As I said above, we didn’t move the “endgame” story along much this week, but Lost did set the table for how things will unfold toward that endgame. I think we’ll get one more mildly uneventful episode (about Hurley), followed by a month of shows that push things along, leading to “The End.”
--Montecore's Revenge 07:07, April 7, 2010 (UTC)