by Ryland Walker Knight
Well, I suppose the last two episodes have raised the stakes some as we wind down the series, but I cannot quite stomach all the overt, to say wall-to-wall, sentimentality that drives a lot of these twists and turns. Or, as my friend Eric put it, Jeremy Davies is the last person you want playing sentimental. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Desmond-Penny connection. But, good grief, give me more people in electric chairs, or chambers, or between two coils of light.
There was plenty of fun to be had in the 2004' plot given its fits of stupidity and the literal plunge into a new future it takes midway through. It was great to have it framed as a way of seeing, too, with that damned Eloise Hawking-Widmore-Whatever (why can't we get more Alexandra Krosney?) getting all haughty as usual and telling us, through Desmond, that we're not ready to see why things are the way things are in this primed world because, well, there are more episodes to come. It's kind of great just how much Cuse and Lindelof talk at the audience, but it's equally forever infuriating. Nobody likes a tease unless things really cut loose later. And there's millions of us hoping, some probably praying, that we get a great consummation in the end, a real happy ending.
Which brings me to the episode's title. "Happily Ever After." In true Lost fashion, it's a flip: this supposed idyll of an alternate 2004 will not, in fact, be a simple and tidy and happy all over place. In fact, it may well be a dream or a fantasy or some kind of projection as much as an end. And Desmond's new purpose, to show the other passengers something, screams oracular ambition. It also ties into that other show on ABC, "Flash Forward," which I've never seen but understand enough to form a funny hypothesis about, just as last season spoke to another sister series on the same network, "Life on Mars." Lost, as far as I can tell, is easily about the medium of television and its history, incorporating all kinds of shows (as well as "physics" and "religion") into its mythos, and it only makes sense that Season Five incorporated time traveling to the 1970s in a way to talk to "Mars" (or rhyme with it) as Season Six talks about seeing the future, or the past, and how to maybe change it, in a way to talk to "Flash Forward." Also, there's that word "flash," which everybody uses to describe the alternations between timelines on Lost. In any case, it could be simple happenstance, but it makes it more fun for me to imagine these dudes playing with these kinds of resonances.
Because what's a television spectator but unstuck in time, vacillating between stories based on electronic pulses formed by human technology? Put otherwise, Desmond is the ultimate audience surrogate. No wonder he's so popular. So, yes, I was thrilled to see him follow Sayid, and excited for what he might see and do; and, yes, I was excited by his choice to embrace the visions of his other life. I haven't read enough physics to know just how these dudes are going to rationalize this crossing of the streams, nor do I know if they'll rely on it as they seemingly have in the past, but I do know that these Widmores will play a part, and that more signs point to a satisfying ending for everything.
Look at the titles of the final episodes, for one, and tell me you aren't giddy to know who "The Last Recruit" and "The Candidate" are (I'm guessing Desmond and Hurley, for what it's worth), or, for that matter, "What They Died For." And don't forget the probably-will-explain-it-all "Across the Sea," which is purportedly about Jacob and The Man in Black, nor "The End," which I'm hoping is as much a physical location as a marker-answer to Jacob's line at the beginning of "The Incident" that "it only ends once."