Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lost: The time-traveler's girlfriend

Spoilers for "The Constant," the time-bending latest episode of "Lost," coming up just as soon as I find a big battery and some alligator clips...

Time travel stories often make my head hurt, but either I've read/seen too many of them or Cuse and Lindelof did a masterful job of explaining it all, because I feel confident I picked up pretty much everything "Lost" was throwing down tonight.

Something about the combination of radiation (which Dan was exposed to in Oxford) and/or electro-magnetism (which Desmond was exposed to in the hatch) plus a trip on/off the island along the wrong bearing can trigger these Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time episodes. Remember, shortly before Desmond blew up the hatch and began having his time trips, he tried to escape the island in his sailboat and couldn't do it because he didn't have the right co-ordinates. So now he gets even further off the island, and the thunderhead forces Frank to not follow the exact right path, and so the episodes increase and get even worse: instead of 2004 Desmond's consciousness traveling back and forth through time with at least some sense of what the hell is going on, it's now 1996 Desmond in charge and he hasn't got a bloody clue, brother.

Conveniently, Desmond has sat phone access to a physicist with a specialty in time travel in our twitchy friend Faraday (and outstanding job by Jeremy Davies at playing the slightly saner, far more arrogant Oxford version of Dan). Dan '04 has already completed his time travel experiment and is able to use Desmond to help Dan '96 make it work. No doubt after Desmond left looking for Penny to be his "constant," Dan tried using the machine on himself, which is why he's been having all these memory problems of his own -- problems that should be going away now that he's remembered that, just as Penny is Desmond's constant, Desmond is Dan's own.

(God, I hope I explained that well. It made sense to me when I was watching and then writing. I expect this week's comments section to hit record levels.)

I honestly have no idea how much of this episode plays into the series' bigger picture -- I wonder whether the auction scene with Mr. Widmore buying the journal of The Black Rock's first mate is more important than any of the time travel stuff -- but I don't especially care. Remember my old mantra about wanting either a great story or big answers, but not always needing both at the same time? Even if this was just a narrative dead end to explain Desmond's previous time traveling and to put Dan in the proper frame of mind to do whatever terrible thing he's clearly on the island to do, I'm fine with it, because it was brilliantly executed, as both a brain-twister and as a love story.

You'd have to be made of stone to not feel the slightest bit moved by Desmond ('96 and '04 versions both) and Penny '04 declaring their love for each other over the dying satellite phone, played with hearts on sleeves by Henry Ian Cusick and Sonya Walger. (So what if Penny was practically quoting Daniel Day-Lewis' "No matter what occurs, I will find you!" lines from "The Last of the Mohicans"? If you're gonna steal, steal from the good stuff.)

I need to get to bed but want to open up the discussion ASAP, so some other points:
  • Geez, so Fisher Stevens gets credited in a whole bunch of episodes and when he actually gets to provide more than a voice, he dies at the end of that show? At this rate, I have no idea when we're actually going to see Harold Perrineau again. And is there any way Michael isn't Ben's spy on the boat?
  • While the boat may not be Penny's, I feel pretty confident that it's Mr. Widmore's. He's been looking for the island at least since '96 (the auction), he's the one who gets Desmond to sail on that race, and Minkowski has been ordered not to answer Penny's daily calls.
  • Okay, so The Black Rock goes missing while on a voyage to Siam/Thailand, and somehow the first mate (or, at least, his journal) turns up seven years later in Madagascar? Why am I suddenly seeing visions of Tunisian polar bear skeletons? And how badly do you think Alvar and now Tovard Hanso got teased in elementary school?
  • What does the freighter's calendar being roughly in sync with what the timeline on the island should be tell you about the results of Dan's rocket experiment with the out of sync watches?
What did everybody else think? Genius or gibberish?

115 comments:

Pale Writer said...

I'm incredibly intrigued by Mr. Widmore telling Desmond that he isn't the one that hates him. I would imagine we're supposed to believe that he means Penny hates him (in '96), but what if Mr. Widmore is actually acting on behalf of someone else?

jim treacher said...

Gibberenius.

Yeah, I think you explained it as clearly as it probably can be explained, Alan. It's hurting my head, but your recap makes sense.

So the calendar is the first indication of time passing outside the island, right? It's Christmas Eve both on and off the island. So maybe they're just half an hour out of phase? Although I wouldn't put it past the writers, a few episodes from now, to have one of the freighter guys say, "Oh, that calendar? I stopped marking that months ago..." But yes, at this point it does seem to indicate that whatever's happening with time, we the viewers don't really know what it is yet.

I'm bummed that Fisher Stevens croaked. But then, on this show that doesn't mean much.

Michael unlocked the door for Sayid and Dez, yes?

Anonymous said...

A couple of other observations:

-It looked like 2004 Penny was wearing a wedding ring when she was talking on the phone.


-December 24, 2004 puts them 2 days before the tsunami. Will the island be affected?

Freckles said...

Freaking awesome episode. Penny and Desmond remind me that the Kate/Sawyer/Jack triangle isn't that compelling. I think that is mostly Kate's fault.

If Mr. Widmore has the Blackrock log so he must have directions to get to the island. Possibly how the boat got there in the first place?

I liked seeing Sayid in good friend mode after seeing him in 007 mode a few weeks ago.

Siddhartha said...

To Jim's point about the calendar not potentially being marked for a couple of months by the crewmen, it's clearly Xmas time in London since Penny has her tree up.

J said...

I want them all to be Desmond episodes. They're big gobbledygooky romantic toyboxes.

I got teary and stuff at the end but don't tell anyone.

jim treacher said...

One thing that just occurred to me: Eloise died because she didn't have a "constant," right? But... how much "time shock" is a rat going to experience? "Wait, this isn't the piece of cheese I was just eating! And wasn't I just on the other side of this cage?" It's not like the little critter had a rat drill sergeant screaming in her face every five minutes. Kind of a contrived way to work in the Dez/Penny love story. It worked emotionally, but it makes less sense the more you think about it. Yay, Lost!

Siddhartha said...

A couple of points:

1) Whatever bearing they took (after veering from Faraday's) held them in "place" for about a day since a day had passed on the island before Jack got all his panties in a twist. Two things support this: (1) Sayid commenting they left the island at dusk and it's the middle of the day on the boat and (2) Juliet mentioning the copter ride should have taken 20 minutes.

Corollary to 1: It can't be in the past because then Dan's experiment would have resulted in the rocket already being on the island before he called the boat to launch it in last week's ep.

2) I wonder what will happen to Sayid's conscience when/if he gets back to the island now that he's gone through the time/space vortex.

3) So Daniel's crazy (or at least can't remember the cards) because he did the time travel experiment or because he exposed himself to radiation without a helmet?

God, this show gives me an cranial erection.

jim treacher said...

D'oh, the Christmas tree! Yep.

The Swan said...

I think it was Walt who opened the door for Desmond and Sayid through his powers.

Oh and wasn't it great the way they tied a mystery from Season 1 into this episode and answered it, I'm talking about "the sickness" which Rousseau's team contracted when they came to the island. It seems that her team was time traveling. Also I've heard that apparently in the original script of the season 1 episode "Solitary" Rousseau mentions that her team was studying time but that was taken out of the script. Which also ties into this episode. Also in the pilot when we first hear Danielle's distress signal, there was alot more to it then what was translated for the audience by Shannon. Lostpedia has a full translation of the distress call and there is a line where Rousseau mentions "Brennan/Brandon took the keys", in this episode Minkowski says that Brandon died after he got sick with time traveling. I think both these Brandons are the same person and when he was on the island he took the "keys" to some kind of a portal to the real world.

Siddhartha said...

Also, can we now agree that the reason Dan is crying in the first scene of Episode 2 is because past Dan is aware of something especially sad/terrible that future Dan is going to experience/do while on the island?

Greg said...

My theory about the time issue: There's some kind of "time shield" around the island, and the faster you move through it, the less you're affected by the time dilation. It would explain why the radio signals (going at practically the speed of light) seem to be instant, the rocket seemed to have a 30 minute time delay, and the helicopter about a day.

CJ said...

This is probably completely irrelevant, but the bit about the mouse dying (but not Desmond) reminded me of "The Enemy Within" (original Star Trek episode) where Kirk is transformed into two parts of himself due to some transporter malfunction. Some little creature (a small dog with a silly apparatus tied to its head to make it look alien) experiences the same split, but when they test the solution on the animal by sending it back through the transporter, it dies. McCoy explains that it doesn't mean Kirk will die, too, since he is a man capable of understanding the complexities of what has happened to him, so the trauma will not be too much for his brain to handle. The mouse dies because it cannot make sense of what's happening, and Desmond masters his brain by procuring and focusing on his constant.

Anthony Foglia said...

Excellent, excellent episode.

I'm not sure Desmond's freak out in the airplane cause Frank to get far enough off track to affect anything. Faraday's questioning and Minkowski's condition imply Desmond was in trouble anyway.

And last time he was unstuck in time, he wasn't quiet back in time. Besides seeing Charlie, there was Ms. Hawking, the jeweler, who knew Desmond wasn't going to buy the ring.

I'm not sure Dan's currently unstuck in time. He's definitely having memory problems. Island Dan doesn't remember meeting Desmond, yet even Oxford Dan would remember him. He's more concerned he will be.

I think the auction scene was one of the many random background connections that won't mean anything, but I could be wrong. The journal and the Black Rock were important in the online game before the season started.

I wouldn't say Widmore got Desmond to enter the race. Widmore did sponsor the race, but I don't remember him actively encouraging or discouraging Desmond to enter. And who are the people in the (ant)arctic region who called Penny? Does Penny have her own group looking for the boat? What happened in the intervening 8 years to make her actively wait for Desmond again?

I'm now confused about the timeline. If it was just the calendar on the ship, I would have guessed they were using it to mark island time, not ship time. But Penny is also synchronized with the calendar. And last time the freighter clock was quicker, but now, judging by the 20 minute flight taking 2 days, it's slower. Or do I have that wrong? And we still don't know how the sat phones could be usable with a time lag.

Dave S said...

I agree that this finally, after all these years, sets up a Danielle backstory, which I assume we'll get next season.

I'm still convinced that it's 2007 and that Walt is going to confirm this when we see him sometime soon. There's an interview with Damon & Carlton on The Treatment at KCRW last year where they make it very clear that they knew what they were doing when they cast Walt. (I assume that's not a spoiler, but if it is, please delete it, Alan).

But I'm less convinced than I was last week. WTF is going on???

I love this show.

Dave S said...

How long had Desmond been on the island before the ship crashed? Penny said she'd been looking for him for three years.

Also, can someone explain to me how Minkowski got sick and his friend died? I didn't follow that at all.

Toby said...

It was a fantastic episode but after a couple weeks of great last moments, this one (Desmond Hume will be MY constant) was a bit wanting. Kind of the reversal from last week - that was a "meh"pisode with a kicker finish.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

RE: Penny's rings -- they were on her right hand, not her left, which is where a wedding band would traditionally go.

jim treacherh said...

Also, can someone explain to me how Minkowski got sick and his friend died?

Their brains went all wacky from the timey-wimey flippy-floppy. (Sorry for the technical jargon.) It'll happen to Dez too if he doesn't keep playing "Sleepless in Seattle" with Penny, apparently.

jim treacher said...

Oh, and is Alex Danielle's "constant"? Is that why she's just nuts and not dead with the bleeding and the twitching?

dave s said...

Right, but what did they do that interacted with the island? Did they take the whole freighter there? I thought they were communications.

jim treacher said...

Minkowski said it happened when "we were bored and took out the ship's tender (or deadener?) because we just wanted to see the island." Of course, Dez and Sayid don't think to ask what the hell he's talking about, because they're on Lost.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Of course, Dez and Sayid don't think to ask what the hell he's talking about, because they're on Lost."

Or, because they know what a ship's tender is.

jim treacher said...

Okay, I just Googled "ship's tender." Minkowski and this Brandon guy actually took a smaller boat out to the island.

jim treacher said...

MEL: Zing!

Anonymous said...

Isn't the freighter outside of the Island's "time shield" or what have you? If that's the case then of course their calendar would match up with Penny's.

Dave S said...

You guys rock. I suppose I could've put that together myself but I was having a brain-block.

Maybe I, too, am stuck in 1996? I should see the Smashing Pumpkins before it's too late.

dez said...

There's an interview with Damon & Carlton on The Treatment at KCRW last year where they make it very clear that they knew what they were doing when they cast Walt.

I thought they had to stop using Walt because of the actor's unexpected growth spurt? Seems like they are retconning themselves, heh.

I floved this episode. It was the most awesomest thing, like, ever. Plus it fried my brain good. Time travel paradoxes tend to do that.

Dave S said...

re: retconning. I'm a massive fanboy for Damon & Carlton, so perhaps I'm biased, but I believe them when they say the show's been mapped out since the beginning (with wiggle-room of course).

By the way, that Treatment interview is quite enlightening, without being spoilerish. Worth checking out.

http://www.trumix.com/podshows/1219616

BigTed said...

If Dan didn't remember meeting Desmond in the past, maybe it's because the past hadn't been altered yet.

It's one of those wackadoo questions that plagues all time-travel plots: If I take my time machine into the past tomorrow and burn down my house, can I be living in it today? If so, are there suddenly two different realities existing simultaneously, one in which my house exists and another in which it doesn't? And if not, what happens to the present me that was living in the house?

Yikes! I need to find me a constant. Or a drink.

treved said...

Was that Ben, in the back row of the auction?

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"If Dan didn't remember meeting Desmond in the past, maybe it's because the past hadn't been altered yet."

Or Dan's memory is so swiss-cheesed that he no longer remembers meeting Desmond by 2004.

Teev said...

I just assumed it was Frank who unlocked the door. He is being very helpful. Too easy for him to be Ben's man on the boat, though, I guess. And if prior exposure to massive doses of radiation/electro-magnetics is part of what causes one to get unstuck, then why did the two boat guys get unstuck? Faraday experimenting on them?

I couldn't believe it had already been an hour when the episode ended. It just flew by. So good.

inugai_kenzo said...

plus charlie! :>

Bruce Reid said...

I agree with everyone, an excellent episode. One of Lost's occasional problems, I think, is that their twists and turns are so plot oriented they can't always bear the metaphorical weight that makes good sci-fi so fascinating. But Desmond unstuck in time and needing an anchor to keep his sanity and his life, hell, all us linear time-travelers can relate to that.

Alan: "Geez, so Fisher Stevens gets credited in a whole bunch of episodes and when he actually gets to provide more than a voice, he dies at the end of that show?"

Maybe I'm overthinking it, but his line about being on a ferris wheel struck me as pretty much a set-up for later explanation, so I'd expect his return.

And maybe I'm not thinking this through enough, but shouldn't the time frames on the island and the boat (and, by extension, the world) match up because the time lag or suspension or whatever only occur when you're traveling through its perimeter? That is, both the boat and the island perceived a day-and-a-half since the copter left, but for everyone inside it was only 20 minutes. Some sort of barrier that slows time down, but on either side it proceeds normally.

Anonymous said...

Has Penny been looking for Desmond for three years because for her it has been three years since 2004?

Terra said...

Anon, that's initially what I thought, but then a poster upthread reminded me that Desmond has been missing a lot longer than that. He didn't come in 100 days ago on Oceanic 815, he'd been down in the hatch pushing the button for a while before that.

Interesting catch about this being two days pre-tsunami. THAT couldn't have been part of the original plan for the show, however.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think they'll ignore the tsunami the same way they'll avoid Desmond having left for the island on or around 9/11. (And given that, Penny's "I've been looking for you for three years" makes more sense than thinking she's somehow in 2007.)

kshen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Does anyone think its possible that only 6 of them get off the island because they are the only ones who dont get side effects...?

the2scoops said...

Maybe I, too, am stuck in 1996? I should see the Smashing Pumpkins before it's too late. - Dave S.
Forget the Pumpkins, I'm gonna check out Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash while I got the chance.

What a wonderful mind-bending timey-wimey episode. I suppose the novel "Slaughterhouse Five" is just mandatory reading at this point for the Lost audience.

Anonymous said...

At the end of season 2 Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, Michael and Walt are with the Others and Sun, Jin and Sayid are on the boat. So when the 'Hatch' goes all electromagnetic the people on the beach are the closest. Being exposed to the electromagnetic pulse may have made it very difficult for them to leave the island, for fear of death from being unstuck in time. We know that Jack, Kate, Hurely and Sayid are part of the six that made it off... althogh aaron was on the beach. So who knows...

Kristin said...

Random comments after reading everyone else's:

The calendar marking could be them keeping track of the days on the island? Perhaps when Jack let them know how long they were there, someone marked up a calendar so that they could keep the days straight when speaking with the islanders and keep their secret that they really are in the future, not 2004?

One thing is that Desmond looks decidedly different from the Desmond in the past...long hair, beard. It could be that Dan was not really aware that he had 'met' the same guy from his past until they mentioned he was 'sick' on the freighter. Then, he realized this was 'the' Desmond that he needed to connect with in order to regain himself. The scene with him in the chair watching the tv took place before he went on his island trip. He probably has been jumping around in time as well this whole time and has been getting more and more confused.

Um, Dez, would they really be that dumb to think a boy actor would not grow bigger over time? Why would they cast a kid in a role at all without thinking about him growing older eventually? And if they knew this whole story was connected with time travel, I certainly think they knew what they were doing when they cast Walt.

This was a great episode. The ones with Desmond & Penny always are. It was a wonderful, complete love story from beginning to end. And managed also to explain a whole lot of what's going on. This is one of the ones I will remember for a long time.

the2scoops said...

When Ben sent Michael & Walt on a particular heading off the island, what if he knows that heading would time-warp into a longer trip to the boat then the direct heading the copter went on? Could Michael & Walt, in theory, arrive before Sayid & Des, but have taken say maybe 3 years to get there?

Loved that Jack isn't as in the loop as he thinks when he didn't know Desmond was exposed to massive electro-magnets down in the hatch. Eko, Lock and Charlie were down there when it blew, so what the hell would happen to Locke if he even tried to get off the island? And does this have anything to do with Hurley's vision of Charlie or Eko's visions?

special k said...

Alan, I agree that this episode was "brilliantly executed, as both a brain-twister and as a love story." Outstanding; I almost can't believe it's the same show as last week's lame episode. I felt like I was watching a really great movie. I didn't even mind not seeing the other inhabitants of the island if a story is this well executed and acted. Henry Ian Cusick, the actor playing Desmond, is freaking brilliant. There were some tears shed at my house at the end of that phone call. Dayum. Sniff.

Penny and Desmond remind me that the Kate/Sawyer/Jack triangle isn't that compelling.

Amen, brothah. When Penny and Desmond say they say they love each other, we believe it, but more importantly, WE FEEL IT. It is not being forced down our throats like Kate and Jack's "love story". So these writers CAN do an effective, moving love story! Wow! Now if they'd stop with Jack and Kate and let it go already. It hasn't worked for 3 seasons, it's not going to start now. And even though Kate and Sawyer have much more chemistry, I'm sick to death of the way she beats on him and uses him, so I almost wish they'd let that go too, especially when we can see something as moving as the Penny/Desmond storyline.

The episode made my brain hurt in a good way and literally had my husband on the edge of the sofa. What a fantastic hour of TV.

Terra said...

Kristin, I think the point is, Dan would remember that he'd been visited by a time-traveler from the future.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice the cell phone and the ultra-thin laptop computers in the auction scene? I know cell phones weren't bricks in 1996, but I thought the one they showed (it was black, I think) looked a bit too small. They were clunkier back then. And the laptops? NO WAY. Such a small detail, and not important to the plot--why couldn't the prop people get those right, or not include them at all?

Great show, though. This is the longest streak of outstanding episodes with no real duds that "Lost" has ever had. I was actually smiling and laughing at the complexity of the whole thing, how well it went together, and the emotional payback of Desmond & Penny's phone call.

jim treacher said...

Interesting catch about this being two days pre-tsunami. THAT couldn't have been part of the original plan for the show, however.

True... but then, neither was the Red Sox winning the World Series!

Kristin said...

Terra, he wouldn't remember it necessarily. Remember when he was watching the news about the plane crash? He was crying and didn't know why? Clearly, his mind is a mess. He's been losing it slowly over the years and has been possibly jumping around through time. I could certainly believe he didn't realize it was "the" Desmond until that moment when they called him from the boat and told him what happened to Desmond.

Anonymous said...

@ jim treacher
Oh, and is Alex Danielle's "constant"? Is that why she's just nuts and not dead with the bleeding and the twitching?

I think Daniel said something about time-sickness only affecting people who had been exposed to radiation or electromagnetism, which maybe Danielle had been avoiding because she was pregnant. That could explain why she was unaffected and everyone else went bonkers.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that most, if not all, of Des's time jumping events were triggered by him touching something metal?

Anonymous said...

Well, Desmond, Locke, Charlie, and Eko were in hatch (or just outside of it)during the implosion. Charlie and Eko are dead. What was the effect on Locke?

TC said...

So these writers CAN do an effective, moving love story! Wow! Now if they'd stop with Jack and Kate and let it go already. It hasn't worked for 3 seasons, it's not going to start now.

In some way, isn't that the point? Kate & Jack don't work together. I never looked at them as a love story. Just a dysfunctional, "we're kinda hot for each other, but not really, maybe we should do it..." relationship.

Tom said...

Why would Farraday make Desmond his constant? That seems highly risky. His constant needs a constant. It seems like the time travel equivalent of check kiting.

Anonymous said...

Based on the comments here and over at the AVClub, I may be the only person in America who wasn't thrilled by this episode, and who doesn't care about Desmond and Penny.

I was expecting the episode to be a total loss, until Daniel sent Desmond to meet him in the past. That was pretty cool.

As far as I'm concerned, Desmond and Penny are just a little more interesting than Nikki and Paolo. They've served their purpose in terms of exposition and moving the plot forward, but now it would be nice if their story took a permanent backseat to the stories of the 815 crash survivors, which has always been the heart of the show.

mac said...

For anyone griping about the time travel intricacies, this episode was like a Cambridge dissertation on quantum physics compared to Heroes logic.

I'm not going to throw back-handed compliments at the writers. They've more than proven they are among the cream of the crop. In one episode they've seamlessly combined an exciting, unencumbered sci-fi plot with a crushingly poignant love story.

H said...

I think I need to go back, but didn't Penny say something about "3 years" when she got on the phone with Desmond? Doesn't that lend credence to the idea that it's 2007?

jim treacher said...

Did anyone else notice that most, if not all, of Des's time jumping events were triggered by him touching something metal?

Good point! I also liked how he picked up the doctor's penlight and flashed it in his own eyes, trying to trigger it again.

Re: Faraday crying without knowing why. Could that be related to the PastDez/PresentDez sequence at the end of last night's episode? As the phone's ringing, they cut back and forth from past to present, and gradually PastDez goes from totally bummed out to strangely happy. Like he doesn't know exactly what's going on, but he can feel that something's changed. Or will change. Or is changing, across time. However the hell it works. Point being, maybe the whole time-travel business can affect them on an emotional level, even though they don't understand exactly why. Could be the same deal with Faraday seeing 815 on the news and busting up crying. He can feel that something's gone wrong with time?

jim treacher said...

I think I need to go back, but didn't Penny say something about "3 years" when she got on the phone with Desmond? Doesn't that lend credence to the idea that it's 2007?

Desmond was on the island for years before Jack and Locke blew open the hatch. And he'd been sailing before that. He bought the boat from whatserface, Hurley's girlfriend, after she was in the looney bin but before she crashed on the island. And it was after Dez got out of military prison, for whatever he did. I'm guessing that was sometime in 2000 or 2001.

Dave S said...

H: The thing to remember is that Desmond's ship crashed on the island some time before the plane crashed. I don't know when exactly, but someone earlier made a reference to 9/11 being around the date, so it would actually lend credence to it not being 2007. As much as I want it to be 2007.

kshen said...

Why Desmond makes sense as Faraday's constant:
1. Desmond coming from the future and confirming his's life's work must have been a great moment in Faraday's life. Desmond must mean a lot to him.
2. Desmond is the only person who Faraday KNOWS is in his future.

kshen said...

Also the fact that it actually IS December 24, 2004 when Desmond calls suggests that it's NOT 2007.

What bearing did Ben tell Michael and Walt to sail out on? Maybe Walt is unstuck in time, but with a constant (his dad) and also magic powers.

yogahz said...

Yeah for the timey-wimey!

The 2004 calendar on the ship has days crossed off with "X"s - but they're different colored "X"s. Don't know why, just wanted to point that out.

Also, Faraday was so happy when Eloise successfully traversed the maze because he was *going* to teach her in an hour. Therefore it was her hour older self that did the maze after being zapped. But....it didn't seem that he *did* teach her the maze before she short circuited. So...hmm.

treved said...

kshen:

it appears from the decorations that it is xmas time, so it might be dec 24.

but who's to say it's 2004? the calendar? talk about a red herring.

i'll ask again - anyone see ben in the auction scene, back row?

Bjooks said...

Nice analysis from Alan and the other commenters. For an great episode that was mostly Desmond/Penny/Daniel specific, we really got a lot of info to piece together about the bigger puzzle. I'm glad you guys mentioned the old Danielle backstory stuff, because I'd forgotten most of that. Seems relevent now.

A few more points:

*Perhaps this electro-magnetic time-skip problem is the reason why Jacob and the Economist are both seemingly afraid of modern technology. Perhaps they've had similiar issues with the island, and tech triggers them into time jumps. In fact, perhaps Jacob's big problem (his reason for "help me") is that he's out of synch with time. Perhaps the cabin isn't always visible because it too is unstuck in time? Okay, that's a stretch.

* Several people have mentioned Charlie as one of the ones most exposed by the hatch exploding. Could the Charlie who visited Hurley in the fast foward episode have been a time jumper instead of a ghost or vision? Might explain why the other patient saw him.

* Now it makes perfect sense (aside from the obvious actor growth spurt) why the Walt that helped Locke at last season's end is older.

* Nice catch, anon, on which Losties weren't present when the hatch exploded. I think you're onto something about why the rest didn't get off the island.

* I heart Jeremy Davies.

KaveDweller said...

A couple of things:

The producers DID say in the beginning of S2 that they had to get rid of Walt to deal with the aging thing. I think they even gave an interview at the beginning of S1, that they knew it was going to be a problem and didn't know what they were going to do. Don't get me wrong, I love Lost....but I don't believe for a second they knew they were going to do some weird time travel thing to explain the actor's aging.

Desmond was on the island for three years before 815 crashed. I considered Penny's "I have been looking for you for three years" confirmation that time is 2004 off the island. It is only going to/from the island that causes a discrepancy. which is actually much cooler if you think about it.

Doug S said...

I was confused at the end, when the Des who was in 1996, leaving Penny's house, and the Des in 2004, on the boat having just hung up, both seemed to exist simultaneously. We weren't shown the usual flash of Des traveling, just a cut back and forth between the two Des's.

Anyone help me out here?

Anonymous said...

i'll ask again - anyone see ben in the auction scene, back row?

I don't think it's him based.

Anonymous said...

Um, that should say "based on this"

Andrew said...

doug, I think that was showing Desmond sticking himself back into time. By getting in contact with Penny in the past and present, he's not going Billy Pilgrim quite as much.

I'm still trying to reconcile the way that time works between the island and the outside world.

The ship sends a rocket to Daniel that the ship reports having arrived after a few seconds, while Faraday and the lostaways have to wait a while for it to arrive. Faraday's clock reads 02:45:03 and the rocket's clock shows 3:16:23.

Desmond, Sayid and Frank leave the island on one day at dusk, fly about 20-30 minutes in the helicopter and land on the freighter midday THE FOLLOWING DAY. Jack and Juliet talk with Sayid contemporaneously after one day has passed on the island and about an hour has passed for Sayid.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the show, when Faraday was sitting against the tree reading his diary where it says "Desmond is your constant", my screen blacked out (ala Sopranos). Was this Faraday time-traveling, or was it my TV feed? If it was my TV feed, what happened after he turned to that page?

RA said...

my screen blacked out (ala Sopranos)

Other than Faraday looking more content, that was it.

kshen said...

treved,

I guess there is no actual proof that Desmond calls on exactly the day he says he would, but it does seem to be Christmas and the year does seem to be about 2004 (three years after Desmond's boat race). Also Penny's "I'm not insane!" thing suggests that she's been operating on the assumption that Desmond's crazy-talk about calling on December 24, 2004 is true.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that kind of the point? Kate & Jack don't work together. I never looked at them as a love story.

My impression is that the writers want or expect us to root for Kate and Jack, but it left everyone cold... and yet the keep hammering it into us. Jack's "I love you" from last season seemed out of nowhere and was awkward, and him telling her in last week's episode that he didn't mean it when he said he didn't love her AGAIN is the writers telling the views that "they DO love each other! Root for them!" And it's annoying to say the least, in my opinion.

Daniel said...

Question:

Have they explained why the boat people are so unconcerned about Ben's spy on the ship? The anthropologist knows he has one for sure, right? So why hasn't she told anyone? Or is this just a gaping plot hole? I guess the sabotage makes it clear that someone on the ship is a double agent, but you'd think they'd be a little more interested in it.

jim treacher said...

Perhaps the cabin isn't always visible because it too is unstuck in time? Okay, that's a stretch.

Maybe, but it's plausible after last night. It's heartening that there might be some kind of pseudo-scientific explanation for all this stuff, at least, instead of just "oooh, scary island."

jb_dean said...

Sheer Genius! This is now my MOST favorite ep to date! I loved how we learned that it's the consciousness that goes and not the body. I love how Daniel gave it away (to a-not-understanding-the-significance-Jack) that it's due to his exposure to the electromagnetism of the SWAN's implosion. And how Widmore will be truly ticked with himself when he finds out that by giving Des that phone number then, he made it possible for Penny to locate Des. **************************But, my take on who opened the door is that it was Walt. I think Michael is on board and probably is Ben's inside man but I think Walt opened that door - and probably with his mind no less. ;)

chris w said...

I think Dan losing his memory is more related to "course correcting" of the universe that the previous time-travel episode ("Flashes Before Your Eyes") explicitly stated. In order for Dan to not remember Desmond, he needs to be forgetful and completely forget about Desmond. Thus the universe has corrected itself and avoided a time paradox. Lindelof and Cuse have stated they're trying very hard to keep paradoxes away as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

The 2004 calendar on the ship has days crossed off with "X"s - but they're different colored "X"s. Don't know why, just wanted to point that out.

Like maybe there are different color markers on a boat filled with many, many people therefore a different person could end up marking the calender each day?

I guess this is what Lost does to people. Everything becomes a conspiracy theory.

Dan Jardine said...

While I enjoyed the episode, the only part of it that really resonated was the final conversation between Des and Penny. It had real emotional heft, largely because the actors sold the shit out of it.

I have problems with time-travelling as key plot device, because in order for it to "work" you need to have loopholes to hide the illogic--I call as my first witness the wormholes in Daniel Farraday's memory--and it just opens up a kaleidoscope of possibilities that threaten to derail the human interest component of the series.

That said, a hugely entertaning episode, even if the time travelling aspect is narrative jive.

CJ said...

If Sayid (and the others on the helicopter) experience less time passing than those on either the island or elsewhere (ie, on the boat), then that could explain Richard's youth, if he spent a lot of time on the submarine or other means of travel to transport people.

Bjooks, the problem with the appearances of Charlie and Walt being related to being unstuck in time is that Faraday says it's the consciousness that travels. When Des was jumping, his body did not appear and disappear, only his mind inside those bodies.

Tom said...

Perhaps the reasons for different bearings when leaving the island isn't to send you to the right place, it's to send you the right time. The island could serve as a sort of "time hub" and time radiates out from it like spokes from a wheel. As you get closer, the "spokes" get closer and, therefore, so does the time difference. That's why the difference between watches was only a half hour. They're not that far away.

As for the phone calls not being delayed, these are "satellite" phones. That's what they’re called; we don't know that that is what they really are. And they said last night that they can only call each other. Perhaps this is some sort of technology that they've invented to call "through time". Perhaps they're used to always reach your constant.

As for constants, I don't recall Farraday saying that your constant had to be a person just that it had to be something important to you. Desmond chose a person which caused Farraday to do the same. What if The Others were time travelers and their constant was the island. That would explain their ferociousness in regards to protecting the island from intruders. The island would be a great choice. It’s isolated; it would exist through many different eras and (since it’s also their home) it would be very important to them.

My new theory is that Ray Kinsella from “Field Of Dreams” was a time traveler. As we all know, “The one constant through all the years has been baseball”.

Bjooks said...

CJ,
Good point about Faraday's experiments involving only consciousness, but I'm suspecting that he's journeyed to the island to tap into the knowledge of time travel/teleportation that Darhma might have uncovered. The polar bear that appeared as a fossil in the desert did seem to have physically traveled through time if it was as old as it seemed. And Ben is/has been getting off the island somehow. TP perhaps? So maybe Faraday's original experiments back in the 90s only involved the consciousness, but Darmha had gotten much further along, which would interest him greatly.

dez said...

The producers DID say in the beginning of S2 that they had to get rid of Walt to deal with the aging thing. I think they even gave an interview at the beginning of S1, that they knew it was going to be a problem and didn't know what they were going to do. Don't get me wrong, I love Lost....but I don't believe for a second they knew they were going to do some weird time travel thing to explain the actor's aging.


Thank you!

Interesting post by Vanya on this very blog conjecturing about time-travel as a way to explain Walt's height. Maybe that's were Cuse/Lindelof got the idea, hee hee: http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2006/05/lost-finale-wheres-george-jetson-when.html

Mo Ryan said...

great comments by everyone. thanks.

Episodes of TV that focus on timey-wimey flippy-floppy (and jim treacher, you should look into copyrighting that phrase) generally make my head hurt, but they did so well with the Penny-Dez stuff that I generally didn't care about the mathlete/conundrum parts of the story.

Word to those who think Penny and Des are far more interesting and compelling than Kate and Jack. They have been trying to force that Kate-Sawyer-Jack triangle on us for a while now and I also agree that they should just give up. It's just not working.

But that's neither here nor there, as far as this ep was concerned. I had that great feeling I had with certain Season 1 eps -- at every act break I was on the edge of my seat going, "Say wha? This is great!" Damn, I may have overcriticized Lost in Season 3 (ok, maybe not) but it feels great to praise the show this season. They're so obviously earning every scrap of positive feedback. This is just tip-top writing, executed by really good actors. And very little Jack! Wheee.

As for what Mac said: "For anyone griping about the time travel intricacies, this episode was like a Cambridge dissertation on quantum physics compared to Heroes logic."

Heroes has logic?? Hee. Just kidding. No, honestly, I have a feeling I'll have zero patience for the wooden acting and rote plots we'll no doubt see next year on Heroes. Heroes is the storytelling equivalent of fingerpainting by five year olds. It will seem even worse compared to this season of Lost.

One final thought -- on what Tom said:

"Perhaps the reasons for different bearings when leaving the island isn't to send you to the right place, it's to send you the right time. The island could serve as a sort of "time hub" and time radiates out from it like spokes from a wheel. As you get closer, the "spokes" get closer and, therefore, so does the time difference. That's why the difference between watches was only a half hour. They're not that far away."

This is the most cogent, interesting theory I've seen so far. Nicely put. I also think that some sort of death portal is involved, but that just may be the goth in me talking.

Kenrick said...

If I don't try to nitpick time travel, I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Desmond is perhaps my favorite characters on the show. And yes the ending did a good job at tugging my heart strings.

I'm going to nitpick time travel anyway. Some of these points have been touched upon already (I didn't read all of the comments). How can the rat know the solution if there is no point in the timeline that she actually learns it? How can Faraday know the numbers/oscillation if in the new timeline he never had to discover it? In this case, these bits of knowledge has a circular timeline, with no point in time in which it was ever created - it's like magic.

Perhaps one way to think about it is to only deal with states of consciousness - ie time is an illusion. So states of consciousness get transported, but they do not get updated if the past gets "changed." This way, present Faraday doesn't remember past Faraday's meeting of Desmond (assuming Faraday also makes consciousness jumps). Penny's memory "changes" because so far she only has one state of consciousness. There is no timeline, just instances of time. I don't know if any of this makes any sense, there are usually holes in any story involving time travel, although I've always thought Harry Potter III did a good job.

My biggest question is why does Desmond's PAST conscious travel to the future. Maybe it's all in the frame of reference, but seeing how it's the present Desmond that gets affected by the storm, you would think that's the consciousness that should get transported.

Kenrick said...

Has anyone brought up Einstein's theory of relativity? I've actually forgotten exactly what it states. It's something like if your relative motion to someone else is faster, time for you slows down. And like, if you move faster than the speed of light, something amazing happens. This could somehow factor into the time lag differences between the radio, the rocket, and the helicopter, based on their speeds as Greg brought up.

Oh yeah, so what now happens to the original Desmond that we all know and love? Are we gonna be stuck with 1996 Desmond? Did 2004 Desmond DIE?!?!?

Haha, my word verification was "suuck." Call me juvenile.

Christy said...

Enjoyed the episode tremendously.

So perhaps, what we have here, is that somewhere along the international date line (yes, I know it is an arbitrary line, but play along with me) we have an honest to pete cosmic time circle. All time goes to the island to slip into the abyss to keep the rest of us from coming unhinged in time.

Tom said...

That would finall answer my mother's question, "Where does the time go?" ;)

Dan Jardine said...

Kendrick, I ain't no relatively expert, but nothing travels faster than the speed of light. It is as we approach the speed of light that relatively kicks in, and time bends and warps, slowing down to accomodate your tremendous movement through the space continuum.

But I'm a humble high school English teacher, so please don't take my word as gospel for any of this.

Anonymous said...

Lost in 4 words = time travel crap TV. What a joke! This is the secret of the island, huh? Time fluctuation?
Big yawn!

jim treacher said...

I cannot take credit for "timey-wimey." That's from Doctor Who!

Oh yeah, so what now happens to the original Desmond that we all know and love? Are we gonna be stuck with 1996 Desmond? Did 2004 Desmond DIE?!?!?

No, calling Penny brought him back to normal, apparently. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be permanent, but by the end of the episode he seemed to remember Sayid again and wasn't seething and popping his eyes out like a crazy person.

Stef said...

I'm happy to agree with 99% of the comments on here - this was a fantastic hour of television. Desmond episodes are always great, cuz they do feature both riveting sci-fi and a heartfelt love story.

I'm in the camp that thinks the whole series of Lost will somehow revolve around the romance of Desmond and Penny, so I love that they continue to write their story so well.

And, as much as I'm a Sawyer-lover (hee!), I have to agree that I'm really tired of that triangle that never quite made it. Kate is a weak link, and Jack is just annoying. Between Des/Pen, Sun & Jin, and even Rose & Bernard we've got plenty of opps for sweet romance. Get the other 3 to just leave each other alone!

Marnie said...

Connecting to the fact that metal possibly caused Desmond to time travel, I think Widmore intentionally left the water on in order to cause a time travel. Possibly he thought the room would flood and Desmond would lose the address. It seems like they focused on it too much for it just to be an act of carelessness,

Anthony Foglia said...

Okay, some replies to the comments...

@BigTed: Assuming Oxford Daniel's explanation is the correct one, Desmond can't change the past. Which means he had already told Daniel the frequency. Which explains why it was in the journal to be read to Desmond to give to Faraday. It's an ontological paradox. But it's consistent. Which brings me to...

@yogahz, @Kenrick: I don't know how long it takes to teach a rat a maze, but I'd agree it's longer than 90 minutes. But besides that, this, plus Daniel's insistence on no changing of the past, is an explicit removal of free will. Daniel can't decide to not teach Eloise, because then Eloise won't know the maze in the past, which she already does. (I had the same problem with the report from the boat that the rocket had reach Daniel before it did.)

Now onto relativity. I never fully understood the math, but again let me bust out my physics doctorate. Kenrick has special relativity correct, almost. He's correct if you're in relative motion with respect to someone, your clock appears slower to him. But because motion is relative, his clock also appears slower to yours.

That's right. Both clocks are running slow compared to the other. How this works is because you've lost simultaneity. Events that occur at the same time to you, don't to the other guy.

This is all very complicated, and I'd be very impressed if the writers build an explanation around it, but I don't think that's the case.

(BTW, you're right about weird things occuring if you travel faster than light. The clocks run backwards with respect to each other, and you travel back in time. But it requires an infinite amount of energy to do it, so it can't be done. Likewise, it would take infinite energy to slow down. So particles the travel faster than the speed of light (tachyons) may exist, but they can't interact with normal matter.)

There is another version of relativity, general relativity, which says time passes slower where gravity is stronger. Clocks on satellites tick faster than clocks on Earth. Maybe there's something similar creating a ring of slow time around the island. This would explain why the phone communications are instantaneous, the rocket time was off by a few minutes, and the helicopter was off by two days.

The only questions are: 1. How would such a thing be caused? The only known cause is gravity, but gravity wells that strong would be felt on the island. (In fact, the time bending is what causes gravity, according to GR.) And 2. What would Sayid, Desmond, and Frank have seen on the way back. Would they not have seen the sun set and rise, and set and rise? Or did they not notice?

(Did anyone else notice this: When Sayid asked Frank how they landed in the middle of the day, the shadows were long, like it was early morning, or maybe late evening? Certainly not what the producers would have wanted, if they thought about it, but funny still.)

@tom: "Perhaps the reasons for different bearings when leaving the island isn't to send you to the right place, it's to send you the right time." Are you suggesting, in the words of another Tom, [The island] doesn't take you where you want to go, [it] sends you where you need to be?

Seriously, it seems like time does run at the same rate on the island as off. Time only feels wonky when travelling between the two. Maybe the effect is bearing dependent, and it's not just a gap in the wall, like I'm thinking. That would require two time wells on opposing sides of the island (at bearings of ~215 and ~35 respectively).

@jim treacher: The Red Sox winning wasn't part of the series, but it wasn't farfetched, and it wasn't introduced in the series till after they won. The tsunami is not something that could have predicted, and not something to be dropped in casually. With the timey-wimey stuff, they could easily deal with it--The freighter's in no danger, and could easily give everyone on the beach warning--but I doubt they will.

@kshen: According to lostpedia, Ben told Michael to stick to a bearing of 325; Frank flew out on a bearing of 305. (Depending on the size of the island, and how far away the weird stuff occurs, that might be negligible.)

Rand said...

Question: When Hugo sees Charlie in the future, is it because Charlie got unstuck in time or because he was one of those island ghosts (or are those island ghosts people unstuck in time without bodies or something of that sort).

jim treacher said...

The Red Sox winning wasn't part of the series, but it wasn't farfetched

Maybe not to you! :)

Anonymous said...

How is it that Faraday is still filling the same 250-page lab notebook after eight years of experiments?

He writes REALLY REALLY BIG and wastes large chunks of every page.

kshen said...

Anthony Foglia -

Maybe Ben intentionally gave Walt and Michael the WRONG coordinates for getting off the island. I know that the difference between 305 and 325 might reasonably be considered, but if Desmond went crazy because they were 005 off, then there might be something to the 025 difference.

So it goes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
So it goes said...

"Seriously, it seems like time does run at the same rate on the island as off. Time only feels wonky when traveling between the two."- Greg

CONE THEORY

I came across the aforementioned theory that incorporates the quoted idea here. To summarize think of the islands location in spacetime as an area on the surface of a 3 dimensional cone. To escape the island area you have to go through the tip of the cone where the island and the world as we know it begin to interact. If you do not through this zone at the tip at the EXACT proper heading you will arrive at the other side in the future relative to both the island and the real world. Also, the farther away you are from the exact heading in the zone where you can crossover the farther along in time you will be propelled when you reach the other side. So at the end of season 2 when Desmond sailed for two weeks and just ended up back on the island it was because he wasn't sailing near the proper heading. Going back to the cone reference it would be like sailing off of the island around the cone and ending up back at the island. This theory would explain: how the helicopter took off at dusk and landed on the freighter mid day after a short flight while a day passed both on the freighter and on the island, the purpose and results of Faraday's rocket experiment, why Faraday told frank to head out at bearing 305 with no deviation, AND it could explain why Whidmore would want the journal of the Black Rock's first mate which would probably contain locations and bearings of the expedition when it was "lost at sea."

To add a little credence to this hypothesis when Desmond went to Faraday's lab in 1996 cone theory was written alongside a drawing of a cone on one of his chalkboards.

i could be a bob said...

@treved

Just rewatched again, it does not appear to be Ben in the back row at the Black Rock diary auction.

Cousin Don said...

Faraday constant = electric charge per mole of electrons. I had to look it up on Wikipedia, I should probably turn in my degree. Maybe it was all just a bad pun for us science dorks.

Clocks on GPS satellites are actually adjusted for running faster b/c of the reduced curvature of spacetime that far above the earth. Force of acceleration is also equivalent to gravity in general relativity. Faster and faster something is accelerated the more and more it curves spacetime which is equivalent to being more massive which is equivalent to having more gravitational pull. Not sure how that makes any difference to the Lost story though.

I like the tachyon theory. How about Daniel teleported into Data's head in the 23rd century and stole tachyon probe/phone technology from the Enterprise. Hence no time delay on the phones.

But seriously in a gravity well (think of light from a distant star), proposed frequencies would be redshifted, probably what all the adjusting the phone frequency was hinting about. But the communication would still have to travel some distance in not a pure vacuum and therfore have some time lag. So they need to be physically close enough that like cell phone calls on earth there's no noticeable time delay. The only way this works with all the other funny clock running/gravity well stuff is if there's a swiss-cheesy wormhole.

I like quantum entanglement for the conciousness time traveling. On a quantum level, all the properties of your conciousness are teleported to some future self thereby destroying the original ones. It goes back and forth until there's nothing left of your gray matter but bloody noses and death of future and past self. Bloody Rat was past self. Bloody Duncan and Minkowski were future selves. Lots of causality issues here unless you go for the comic book parallel world concepts.

Anonymous said...

Arg!

Now in the 100 or so comments past where I stopped, maybe someone has tried to set most people right, so forgive me if this had been said but THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIME ON THE ISLAND AND TIME OFF! This has been made abundantly clear. Time is not moving slower or faster. Time is not out of sync. Spacetime, people Spacetime! Surrounding the island is a wrinkle in time (to borrow the name of a book I read as a lad). Spacetime is all folded up and weird around the island and only following the magic heading will get you out.

It is cristmass Eve, 2004 EVERYWHERE in the Lost world (well, unless it's a flash forward or flash back, but you know what I mean). The rocket payload clock was off because it got detoured through spacetime. The helicopter took a day to get to the boat because it got detoured through spacetime.

Arg! Get it through your collective minds.

jim treacher said...

Arg indeed. Thanks for your theory, which at this point is all it is. I think you're probably right, but it doesn't seem worth the high blood pressure...

jim treacher said...

P.S. What about the radio signals? They're not affected by whatever's going on with time.

So it goes said...

What about the radio signals?

I think the general cone theory (I summarized it 6 comments ago) is the best explanation for the time lags, it was written on Faraday's chalkboard after all. So keeping that in mind I present the following explanation.


The phones only work with each other for starters (I'm guessing specially made for the islands properties). We have evidence that time elapses in the same manner on the island as the rest of the world and that it is traveling in between that can cause you to get bumped forward in time. The radio waves go out in all directions including the proper heading that gets you reconnected with the outside world without getting bumped forward in time. So if the satellite phones use some type of clock synchronization they could only connect with the signal from the same time and ignore redundancies that come after that.


The cone theory would also explain why no one outside of the island area would have gotten Rousseau's message. Radio signals are exiting the island in all directions. As they exit at the zone where the island are interacts with the rest of the world they would be incrementally off of the exact heading to leave the island area without time lapse, thereby they would be incrementally sent forward in time. The signals would be at the same frequency but incrementally different times and therefore they would overlap leaving the message to be a garbled mess.

So it goes said...

Or it could just be that the faster something moves through the crossover zone the less of a time lag effect there is as someone mentioned earlier. I don't know why the special phones that only call each other would be needed if that was the case though.

jim treacher said...

Okay, that sounds plausible. Or as plausible as any of this stuff can be, I guess. Would that account for how difficult it is to leave the island, if you don't know exactly how to get out? Desmond said it was like sailing in a snow globe, something like that. Could it be not just time but space that's getting turned around?

So it goes said...

Yup time and space

Rehashing the cone theory again think of the islands location in spacetime as an area on the surface of a 3 dimensional cone. To escape the island area you have to go through the tip of the cone where the island and the world as we know it begin to interact. If you do not go through the crossover zone (at the tip of the "cone") at the EXACT proper heading you will arrive at the other side in the future relative to both the island and the real world. If you are more than a little off its like being stuck in the aforementioned snow globe. So at the end of season 2 when Desmond sailed for two weeks and just ended up back on the island it was because he wasn't sailing near the proper heading. Going back to the cone reference it would be like sailing off of the island around the cone and ending up back at the island.

La G said...

Like just about everyone else I loved the episode, but in one respect I feel very lonely. Maybe I've completely misread the situation, but I thought it important that Faraday's note to himself in fact read "if something goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant".
I took that to mean that at some point, aware that he would have amnesia, he wrote that as an aide memoire in case he had side effects travelling to or from the island. I didn't see evidence he had time travelled and was inexplicably suffering different side effects from everyone else. He's seen Eloise die rapidly, why would he do that? Why didn't he have any of the comas or bleeding from the eyes and speedy death that the other time travellers had experienced?
Also, in the pop up version of Lost, it said that our sighting of Daniel crying about the discovery of the Oceanic remains on the sea floor was a flash forward, not a flash back. Why would he not remember in the future, and why would he need a carer if Desmond is his all-solving constant?
My hypothesis is that he suffered a brain tumour due to the high levels of radiation he experienced, and probably had some level of irreversible amnesia due to an op or chemo.
Seeing as no-one else seems to have read the episode this way it's probably wrong, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

jim treacher said...

Also, in the pop up version of Lost, it said that our sighting of Daniel crying about the discovery of the Oceanic remains on the sea floor was a flash forward, not a flash back.

Are you sure? I thought they were all clearly meant to be flashbacks. Naomi's undoubtedly was, and Lapidus's doesn't make much sense if he'd already been on the island. Would they really mix together flashbacks and flashforwards?

If the "enhanced" episode said they were flashforwards, it might be a mistake. I don't think the writers have had any control over those pop-up blurbs.

P.S. I just looked on the discussion page for that episode on Lostpedia, and someone there was wondering if they were flashforwards. Here's a reply from someone named Thelordnyax:

"When Naomi gets to the island, she comments that the Oceanic Flight 815 was found with all of the survivors' bodies, AND that it was on the news. In Frank's, Charlotte's and Miles' flashbacks, they all clearly point out that the news is just being announced. (Frank=news on tv, Miles=news on radio, Charlotte=news in paper) I am sure that's why they were all placed there. So this is CLEARLY happening BEFORE the Helis come to the island."

christy said...

I actually don't think Naomi's comment is proof enough that the new people's flashbacks couldn't be flash forwards. I don't feel strongly that they WERE flash forwards, but I think they could have been. Naomi was never straight with the Lostaways; I'm not really willing to just take her word for it. It seems like she always knew more than she said about both the real truth and the official story.

But I actually think it's more likely that Faraday's flashback was really a flashback, but that he'd traveled forward in time to witness or take part in whatever horrible thing happens between Christmas Eve 2004 and the Oceanic 6's rescue. Past Daniel saw enough of it to know it had to do with 815 and it was horrible (making him cry when he sees the plane) but not enough to really understand what happened (making him say "I don't know" when asked about it).

jim treacher said...

They weren't flashforwards because the writers made sure to include news reports of the crash of the faked 815 in the flashbacks. The way I figure it, whoever sent Naomi & Co. waited until they were sure nobody else was still looking for 815. Hence Naomi and Abaddon's "What if there are survivors?/There are no survivors." That's Abaddon's story and he's sticking to it.

Toeknee said...

Also, in the pop up version of Lost, it said that our sighting of Daniel crying about the discovery of the Oceanic remains on the sea floor was a flash forward, not a flash back.

Actually, the pop-up version says it was a flashback. This is from Lostpedia's transcript of the pop-ups:
"This is Daniel Faraday, a physicist
some time before he landed on the island.
This woman is not his wife, but his caretaker."