Quite a momentous 100th episode of "Lost." Let's start by adding up everything that we learned in "The Variable."
** Charles Widmore is Daniel Faraday's father.
** Faraday's mother deliberately sends her son to the island in 2004 so that three years later, he will eventually go back in time to 1977 so she can shoot him in the back. Not only that but she wouldn't even let the poor boy play the piano, or have a girlfriend.
** Before he dies, Faraday drops the bomb that maybe they can change the future -- really change the future -- by detonating in 1977 the hydrogen bomb that has been cooling underground since 1954. Perhaps it's buried in the shadow of the four-toed statue.
** Sawyer still has some feelings for "Freckles."
** Desmond did get shot by Ben at the dock but he's OK. However, Penny leaving baby Charlie with a hospital nurse seems like a really bad idea.
Phew. Best line of the seg, written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and helmed by Paul Edwards, came from Jack: "I just fell out of a plane in mid-air into 1977. I'm getting kind of used to insane."
This episode gave us a heaping helping of backstory on Daniel Faraday, which gave Jeremy Davies a nice chance to shine, and twitch and get that pained look on his face that he does so well. Thank goodness they answered the nagging question of why we were first introduced to him in season four with the scene of him crying in front of a TV set while watching news footage of the discovery of the faux Oceanic 815 crash.
But being schooled all season in Faraday's rules of physics, it's unsettling to hear him talk about "maybe I can change" the course of events in the future. I suppose that whenever you're dealing with science, you have to leave open the possibility that new research and discoveries will force a re-think of everything we thought we knew. Still, I feel a little bit like I studied one textbook all semester only to learn that the big exam is going to be based on another book. But who cares? This isn't college. I'm along for the ride.
Jack knows how I feel. His face said it all when Faraday, just off the sub from Ann Arbor, informed him about his mother's shortcomings as a travel agent: "I got some bad news for you Jack. You don't belong here at all. She was wrong."
Faraday is nothing if not earnest and determined, so he sprints into action, going down to the Orchid and confronting Dr. Chang with the mind-blowing introduction: "I'm from the future" as he tries to get Chang to evacuate the island.
Chang blows him off but you know that Faraday's remarks are going to stick in Chang's craw, particularly the point about the Chinese-American guy named Miles being one in the same as Chang's infant named Miles.
"Do you really think this is all a coincidence?" Chang is doing all of his crazy disappearing rabbits research, etc., just so he can ignore an intriguing space-time continuum paradox when it drops in his lap.
The scenes of Faraday presumably from the late 80s at Oxford are just creepy, and not just because of Faraday's George Michael hair. The "I will always love you" inscription on the notebook that Ma gives him as a graduation present is just sick. And while a notebook seems like kind of a skimpy for someone who's just earned a doctoral degree and a huge research grant, it was clearly a very well made notebook because it sure holds up amid Faraday's travels.
For the first time in a long time, we got a patented "Lost" meeting scene, this time in Sawyer and Juliet's house where those two plus Jack, Kate, Hurley and Jin try to figure out what's what. After Faraday bursts in and demands to be taken to the Others encampment where he can find his mother, we get another patented "Lost" scene of the group being forced to choose up sides: Help Faraday find the others or head on out to the jungle and the beach with Sawyer.
In the ensuing discussion, Sawyer's use of the endearment "Freckles" in addressing Kate rips a hole right through Juliet. When she gives Kate the code to the security fence and says "It's over here for us anyway," we all know what Juliet means, and it's a little bit heartbreaking. Later on, when Juliet and Sawyer try to shore things up -- "still got my back?" -- it feels a little bit like they're trying to convince themselves that they're still rock-solid.
The big shoot 'em up in the middle as Jack, Kate and Faraday grab some guns and Jeep to head on out to Others-ville was a little underwhelming, but it got the job done. The scarier moment came after the got away from Radzinsky's bullets and Faraday assured Jack and Kate that because 1977 was the here and now for them, they were most definitely vulnerable.
"We can't be so naive as to think nothing can happen to us," he says. "Anyone of us can die."
Better still is Faraday's impromptu nuclear physics lesson for Jack and Kate by the creek. He explains the origins of the Hatch, and confirms that in fact someone down there really did have to push a button every 108 minutes to prevent a blast of electro-magnetic nastiness from yanking a plane out of the sky or waging some other destruction. (This makes me wonder about Locke's bona fides as the Island's leader. If he was wrong about the Hatch...?)
Like Kate and Jack, all I really understood from Faraday was "We can change our destiny" and "I'm going to detonate a hydrogen bomb." So if Jack manages to step in and unleash Jughead now that Faraday's dead (we think), the Oceanic 815ers might get a 2004 do-over? (After they go through some intense radiation therapy.) That's an intriguing notion because of course all of the character connections might never have been made. Heck, Jack might've hooked up with Ana-Lucia back in L.A. if the plane had landed as skedded way back in season one.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of the thread in this seg of Penny and Desmond in the hospital and Eloise Hawking's visit to Penny. How does Faraday become the cause of Des getting shot by Ben in 2007? (Duh, by asking him to go find his mother! Sorry folks, long week at the office) And although Desmond pulls through the shooting, I don't think Eloise's assertion that Des is "a casualty in a conflict that is bigger than any one of us" is mistaken, especially after she adds: "For the first time in a long time I don't know what happens next."
Memo to Penny -- WHY would you live your 2-year-old with a stranger, even in a hospital. Even if Des had been in bad shape physically, it would have been better to have Charlie by her side no matter what. I've got a bad feeling about this...
Among other tidbits:
** Noticed a copy of
the current J.J. Abrams-edited issue of Wired magazine in the 2004 scene with Daniel Faraday as Widmore is recruiting him for the freighter gig. (Whoops, it was not the latest issue but an older issue on time travel, per Entertainment Weekly.)
** Can't remember at this late hour whether Ben and Eloise knew each other when they met up in Los Angeles. If she was an Other as late as 1977, then they must've known each other, right? (Double duh. Yes, they knew each other.)
** Interesting spot for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" that came right on the heels of the main title sequence. Something the show would do only for J.J., I'm sure.
** Still grasping for clues to this larger conflict that Widmore and now Eloise are referring to. Also wondering about the significance of the people that Ben had Sayid kill during his first two years off the island.
** Speaking of Sayid, where's he gone off to? And what about Rose and Bernard!?!
Thursday night update: After reading what others had to say about this episode, I'm kicking myself for not getting the significance of Daniel's journal. It was served up on a silver platter, after all. The journal is how Eloise and Widmore know what will happen in the future. Faraday had to go back to 1977 to deliver it to them. And that's why Eloise makes the comment "For the first time in a long time I don't know what happens next." Because Faraday's journal has come to its end.