Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lost, Season 4, Episode 5 "The Constant"

It should come as no surprise to Lost viewers that Desmond is playing a pivotal role in the Lost mythology since he’s clearly been the most important character to the story since his introduction in Season 2’s “Man of Science, Man of Faith”. This episode finds Desmond “unstuck in time” and fighting against time AND through time in order to find Penelope.

--Desmond: On the trip back to the freighter, Desmond becomes unstuck in time while passing through the thunderhead-gateway. Apparently caused because of his exposure to extreme electromagnetic (EM) forces (“Live Together, Die Alone”) when he imploded the Swan Hatch, which also began his flash-forward abilities. As his consciousness travels back and forth between now, 2004, and then, 1996, we learn more about the mysteries involving the island. (Wicked great job of acting by Henry David Cusick.) It was cool that his memory returned once he made contact with Penny from the freighter.

--Daniel Faraday: Rapidly becoming an important character, Daniel’s experiments with the transporting of one’s consciousness begin to explain part of the island’s mysteries. The time paradox (“so uninspired”, says Daniel) that he explains to 1996-Desmond says that one’s consciousness can travel through time, not one’s body. The experiment he performed on Eloise the rat showed this by sending Eloise’s consciousness forward in time by one hour the rat was able to complete the maze the first time through it because her conscious had already learned the maze. Get it? Eloise dies because her consciousness is now going back and forth through time and does not have a ‘constant’ to anchor herself to within her body’s real time. Without that anchor her conscious does not have the ability to lock itself back, and thus, without a stable consciousness, the body dies. This is pivotal because it will require all affected by this paradox to establish a constant. Desmond finds Penny in 2004 as his constant (thanks to Daniel’s directions in the current time to give to Desmond back in 1996) and gets out of the paradox’s loop. Daniel, however, has a note in his notebook that was written in the past: If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume is my constant. (My guess is that he’s getting prepared in case something happens to him on the way back off the island). He must’ve written this note after getting the visit from Desmond. (I know I know…time paradoxes get wicked confusing, but I think my years as a Star Trek fan have helped me to understand this one. Sort of.) Important to remember that he has calculated an exact route to get off the island (40 miles N @ 305”, 7 K East) and if that exact route isn’t followed, there could be side effects, especially to those who’ve been exposed to high levels of radiation or EM. And as we learn, Daniel has been exposed to high levels of radiation from the experiments he did in 1996 with Eloise.

--Charles Widmore: I’ve been telling you guys this for a while now: this guy is heavily involved in what’s going on. It become obvious in this episode that he intentionally hoodwinked Desmond into going into that Around The World boat race to get him on the island and away from his daughter, Penelope. And his connections to the Hanso Foundation are beginning to come into focus. Truly an evil, and powerful, man.

--The Black Rock Journal: The navigator of the Black Rock kept a journal that was found amidst pirate artifacts in Madigascar seven years after the ship left Portsmouth, England on March 22, 1845 on a trading mission to Siam. The journal was put up for auction in 1996 by the family of Tovar Hanso. (And where have we seen that last name, I ask you????) The ship, as we know, was somehow side-tracked to the island, where it now sits in the forest. The journal is purchased by Charles Widmore, which begins to tie-in the connection between Hanso and Widmore. It's safe to assume the journal had information about the island.

--Freighter Folks: The guys on the freighter are just hired hands. Not sure they really know what’s going on, say, the way that Charlotte, Daniel and Frank do. But the doctor, Ray, could become a factor. The name of the freighter is Kahana.

--Charlotte Staples Lewis: I don’t trust her. She’s much more guarded about why they are there.

--Penelope: When Desmond talks to her, she says “I know about the island. I’ve been researching it.” So, Penny knows about the island and has been searching for Desmond since he disappeared on the boat race in 2001. (We've known she has been searching since "Live Together, Die Alone".) And, her father is also aware of the island, but would not allow any of the people on his freighter to answer her calls to it. Why the family infighting? I can’t wait to find out. Also, the phone call scene between Desmond and Penny when he was on the freighter was so sweet, almost tear-inducing.

The Constant: Daniel’s calculations dictate that in order for one’s conscious to stop jumping back and forth through time, the person must have a constant in both the past and present. Without that constant, the person will not be able to anchor their conscious and will die. (And proven through the deaths of Eloise the rat, and George Minkowski.) For Desmond, Penny became his constant. For Daniel, he is going to have Desmond as his constant should it become a necessity. So, I gotta ask you, Losties: does this explain the numbers now? Are 4-8-14-15-23-42 a constant????

Funny lines:
Juliette (sarcastically answering Charlotte’s claim that the Jack-tribe wouldn’t understand): “Okay Daniel, maybe if you say it real slow.”

Daniel (to Desmond): “A time paradox, so uninspired.”

--Sayid (to Frank): “Maybe you could share how we took off at dusk and landed in the middle of the day.” Quite a time difference. As pointed out by Daniel to Jack, the perception of how long his friends have been gone is not necessarily how long they've actually been gone.
--Daniel tells Desmond on the phone: “When you find me at Queen’s College, I need you to tell me to set the device to 2.342 and it must be oscillating at 11 Hz.” Notice that 2.342 contains two of the numbers: 23 and 42.
--Desmond (to 1994-Daniel after he puts on a radiation apron to test Eloise and says he does this 20 times a day): “What do you put on your head?”
--Once Desmond became rooted back in 2004, he remembered Sayid and where he was, memories that had been lost after his trip on the helicopter.
--This episode takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2004. The Losties have been on the island for 93 days.

Final questions:
1. Is Jacob somehow stuck between timelines? Maybe the cabin is somehow stuck in time shifts. But how can the entire cabin move?
2. Again, who is Ben’s spy on the freighter? This spy obviously destroyed the communications equipment and also opened up the sick bay door so Sayid, Desmond and George Minkowski could escape. I’m telling you, Losties, it’s Michael.
3. Thinking back to last week’s episode when Charlotte was testing Daniel’s memory with the cards, I’ve been thinking that they’re checking to see if his radiation-damaged brain is healing on the island. Just a thought.
4. Did Daniel’s experiments affect his memory? If so, he could’ve forgotten having met Desmond in the past, despite the message in his own journal to use Desmond as his constant.

Check out this website for some really good and clear screen shots:

Tune in next week for “The Other Woman”.

Until then, if you get unstuck in time, don’t let me know what happens in next week’s episode. ;-)



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