'Lost' Episode 5: Constant Cravings
"Lost" has been opening passages faster this season than one of them haunted houses with the doors flapping in a thunderstorm, so it was nice to see someone actually make it back through alive.
What first appeared like it might merely be one of Desmond's visions (and I use the word "merely" with great affection) turned out to be something more - his consciousness traveling between the years 1996 and 2004, between a year when Penny would say to him "And now you call with some expectation that I still care for you" and a year when she'd say "I love you." Tonight, we didn't have flash-forwards or flashbacks, we had both. We had flash-sideways.
It was a pretty exciting episode, featuring not only a ticking clock (as represented by the demise of Eloise the lab rat and George Minkowski the Fisher Stevens) and real uncertainty over the fate of Desmond before episode's end, but also an expansion of this season's mysteries. To "Lost" numbers aficionados in particular, it provided digits up the yin-yang.
Highlights: I'll start at the end with Desmond's plea to 1996 Penny to give him her phone number, and his short-lived reunion via telephone with 2004 Penny. Henry Ian Cusick has had countless fine moments as Desmond, but I don't know that he's had any finer than his climax tonight, eyes sparkling with a transfixing combination of love, desperation and reborn confidence. And Sonya Walger was with him, beat for beat.
Elizabeth Mitchell nicely delivered her sarcastic line about Daniel talking really slowly so that she and Jack could understand him. Also, I love Frank (Jeff Fahey). There's something so unprepossessing about him – he's welcome every scene he's in.
Lowlights: We were fairly lowlight-free in this one. I'm not sure I even mean this as a criticism, but none of the series regulars besides Desmond had anything particularly interesting going on. I guess I'll mention Charlotte's attempt to stop Daniel from spilling the secret about the time delay. It was feeble, bland.
Truths I'm willing to wait to find out, that you're probably on your way to figuring out: This list could go on for a while.
1) Why is Daniel at odds with the ship's sergeant (Graham McTavish) and doctor (Marc Vann)? How, when and why did their mission or their faith in each other split? Is it merely that they think Daniel has lost his mind? ("Faraday can't even help himself.") Clearly, Daniel's got some useful intelligence left to offer, even if his memory, stability or sanity are shaky. And presumably, signs of that mental malady were in place before Daniel even got on the boat, if only because ...
2) Should Daniel have protected himself better while playing with radiation at the Queen's College Physics Department at Oxford?
3) How does what happened tonight affect our view of Charlie's final scene last season? No, it wasn't Penny's boat, but yes, Penny was trying to contact the boat – repeatedly, according to Graham, but no, the boat wasn't allowed to answer her calls ...
4) Is it possible that people who seem dead on the island can leave or actually have left the island via time/consciousness travel? (This might just be a flight of fancy on my part, but I'm always wondering about the permanency of death in Lostland.)
5) So, they've decided to bring the Black Rock and Hanso back into the conversation, via the auction that Charles Widmore bid on. What dots are connecting?
6) Why does a sink at a fine auction house have such poor drainage?
7) Numbers, anyone? 2.342? Oscillates at 11? ("Spinal Tap" homage?) Five minutes vs. 75 minutes? 423 Cheyne Walk? 7946-0893? 12/24/04?
8) At the end of the episode, when the show cut back and forth frequently between Desmond walking away from Penny's new residence with her phone number in 1996, and Desmond on the ship in 2004, was Desmond traveling back and forth that fast in mind and soul, or did the show just switch to conventional cross-cutting between past and present?
9) The escape of Sayid, Desmond and Graham from the sick bay: In the words of Pablo, the busboy whose cat ran away on "Seinfeld," "Who left the door open?" Was it good ol' Frank?
10) Where are they hiding Michael? I mean, he's there somewhere, right?
And so on, and so on, and so on ...
– Jon Weisman