Something is radically wrong with Desmond, but am I the only one who can see it?
Ok Desmond has had some experience of Island weirdness; in Flashes Before Your Eyes he was able to revisit his memories and they did not go as planned. In The Constant he visited Faraday in his lab, and conveyed a message from Faraday 2005. However, this is very small beer to what is going on now.
Look at the facts from Happily Ever After .
- FST Desmond gets off a plane; his life is normal up until he meets a mad Rock Star, and suddenly, near to death, has a vision of same Rock Star with "Not Penny's Boat" marked on his hand. He even chases the Rock Star to find out whether or not it was actually written there. He has an MRI scan, and sees visions of Penny; subsequently, he hears the name "Penny" from his employer's wife, and starts out looking puzzled and intrigued. He finds Penny, does not recognise her but then passes out (which we do not see). Almost immediately after this he asks for the O815 manifest, so that he can show the passengers something. (NB he says nothing to FS Minkowski whom he should presumably have recognised after an epiphany).
- OT Desmond is initially aggressive, clobbers Widmore and then gets subjected to a massive EM Pulse. Immediately afterwards he is compliant, not only to Widmore, but also to Sayid, who has just killed almost all of Widmore's men. Whatever Desmond has seen is not what we have seen.
If Desmond had had the epiphany of "Oh look there are two different timelines" (see below), there is absolutely no way he would be acting in either the OT or FST in that way. He would have been confused, angry, felt used, cheated and totally bewildered, especially if, in one of these, he was left Penny-less. In the FST he would have gone straight back to Eloise demanding to know what the hell was going on; in the OT he would have grabbed Widmore by the scruff of the neck and demanded the same from him. Why did he do neither of these things?
I do not understand exactly what Desmond is supposed to have seen in the FST. It must be remembered that the events of the FST are still in September 2004; Charlie's death did not occur until after December 2004, and the current events in the OT are in 2007. His time with Penny was 2004-7. This means that if there is bleed over, then time cannot run in parallel; for Desmond to experience Charlie's death from the OT as an hallucination, this either must already have occurred, or be a vision of a possible future. Why did FS Desmond not therefore simply interpret it as he did in the OT, that this was a vision of Charlie's future death?
My guess is that one of three things is the case:
- Desmond has been taken over either by Jacob or the Island Higher Power; this would explain his behaviour in the FST, and his seeming indifference to the 'war', being comfortable with both Team Widmore & Team MiB. He would then be 'all knowing', and there would be a full 'bleedthrough' into the FST, and his level of confidence.
- There is a crucial event/set of events that we have not seen. This event took both Desmonds out of the FST/OT, and merged them together as one in Desmond's mind. He was able to revisit old memories, talk to both Widmore & Hawking and obtain explanations (who are probably existing on a completely different plane of existence, much like when Neo wakes up & talks to Morpheus in the Sub), and he now has the full realisation that neither the FST nor the OT are the 'correct' timeline, and something had gone very badly wrong. This event will have lasted a very long time. Without this, Desmond would be suffering from culture shock, PTSD, or gone into a massive identity crisis/depression
- This is just a very badly written, very disappointing episode which has confused mystery with obfuscation, presented unexplained character metamorphoses in the place of proper explanations, and has failed to understand and grapple with the issues and questions raised in the whole series about time, causality, sequences of events and the nature of the universe.
You can probably sense my growing unease in all of this. I feel that we are supposed to take Desmond's change in behaviour on trust, and that the explanation offered, that he has just gone through EM Pulse experiences in both FST & OT "simultaneously"(?!) is sufficient to account for the change. However, just a moment's reflection tells you that this could not and would not be the case. This is either a blatant attempt to pull the wool over our eyes (which is so obvious I feel insulted by it), or the writers have got so sloppy or so blase that they do not care any more.
This episode has just added to my growing disappointment with Season 6, which unless it pulls a massive rabbit out of the hat very shortly, I feel is about to be the biggest let-down in the whole of TV History.