This is a tough one.
This week’s Faraday-centric outing not only crammed a lot of story into one hour… but it was complex, time-travel-y story that raised a lot more questions than answers it provided. So as I start this Blog Post, I’m really not sure how it’s going to end up. I certainly don’t have any “good answers” to those questions right now – but maybe through typing it all out, we’ll get somewhere. Keep your fingers crossed.
Words. In thinking about the episode, I keep coming back to two lines of dialogue that somewhat summarize all the heavy stuff to discuss from “The Variable”:
MILES: Hey! Hey! Hey! Are you out of your mind? What are you doing?
FARADAY: I'm just making sure that your father does what he's supposed to do.
MILES: And what's that?
FARADAY: You'll see.
MS. HAWKING: I don't know. For the first time in a long time, I don't know what's going to happen next.
Both lines seem to indicate one very important central theme of the episode - that characters know – or knew - precisely what events were going to happen. Given the time-jumping nature of this season, initially this seems to make perfect sense… until you start to think about it.
Let’s start with Daniel Faraday. Ever since he first arrived on the
But where would this information come from? Let’s revisit our “Daniel Faraday Perspective Timeline” from the episode preview, adding a few important notes:
1970ish - Daniel Faraday is born to Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore (somewhere)
1994 – Faraday graduates from
1996 - Faraday meets Desmond, who provides him with settings for his experiment
September 2004 - Faraday cries when seeing the Oceanic 815 wreckage
December 2004 - Faraday arrives on-Island from the Freighter with a JOURNAL FULL OF DHARMA / ISLAND INFORMATION
1954 - Faraday meets Eloise and the Others, helps them deal with the Jughead
1974 - Faraday leaves the
1974-1977 - Faraday spends three years off-Island, working with Dharma
1977 - Faraday returns to the
The first question is – how did Faraday acquire so much information about Dharma and the Island between 1994 (when he first received the Journal) and 2004 (when he first arrived on the
My hopes before the episode was that 1977 Faraday would “mail” his journal to 1994-2004 Faraday, complete with all the information he learned during his time with Dharma and on-Island. But seeing that he now has the journal back on-Island… and might be dead, that scenario seems less likely (since I can’t imagine any other character thinking about doing such a thing).
Unfortunately, there’s a pretty slim list of people and places that Faraday could have gained this information on his own between 1994 and 2004. Knowledge about the
Once again, I’ll bring up this Pierre Chang video from this past summer:
Pierre Chang filmed the video in 1977 – and was sending it “roughly 30 years in the future”, which would be 2007 – but could be 2004ish. There could be a chance that Faraday was the person who received this video – along with perhaps some other information that is edited out of that video or sent in another one. Chang seems to be one of the few people inside Dharma who actually knows what is going on – and one of the few people who could provide this information for Faraday to jot down in his journal.
This would also provide an explanation to Faraday’s comment to Miles that he’s “making sure his father does what he is supposed to do”. Keep in mind that it sounds like Miles is the person filming the video and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall together. “You’ll see” Faraday tells Miles. He certainly will – when he’s a part of the making of the video.
It’s unlikely that Chang would be able to tell Faraday EVERYTHING he needs to know about the Island via some video – but he could direct him to the location of some Dharma records about the Island: old video from surveillance cameras, the documentation of the Dharma Scientists – from there, Faraday could pull out relevant pieces of information to include in his journal.
It’s a stretch, and there are definitely holes in the theory (how did he learn his mother was an Other if his intel came from Dharma? How did he learn about Desmond and the button if his intel came from 1977?) – but I can’t think of any other way that Faraday could acquire the information he seems to have.
But if this is the case, and Faraday did have a journal of “everything that happened on the Island”, that might explain why he would suddenly return to the Island after he saw the faxed picture of the Oceanic Six back in 1977. After having his mother tell him all his life about “destiny” and some variation of “whatever happened, happened”, he suddenly sees our Survivors in 1977 – something that perhaps wasn’t included in any of his notes and information about the
Unfortunately, it looks like mom was right all along.
Eloise Hawking. Let’s look at a timeline from Eloise Hawking’s Perspective:
1954 – Eloise meets her son but doesn’t know it, helps her deal with the Jughead
1977 – Eloise kills her son but doesn’t know it until it’s too late
1980ish – Eloise tells Faraday that he doesn’t have time for distractions like music
1994 – Eloise tells Faraday that he doesn’t have time for distractions like women
1996 – Eloise tells Desmond that he will end up on-Island pushing the button
2004 – Eloise convinces Faraday to go to the
2008 – Eloise helps Ben and the Oceanic Six get back to the
2008 – Eloise apologizes to Penny and tells her that for the first time, she doesn’t know what is going to happen
Two major takeaways here:
- Eloise Hawking knew that she was going to eventually kill her son, but didn’t do anything to prevent it. In fact, she seemed to do the exact opposite - ensuring that Daniel stayed on the path that would result in his eventual death.
- Eloise Hawking knew all the events up until 2008, but that was the end of the line for her information.
The logical explanation would be that Hawking received all her information from one of our Survivors in 1977 – who would know what happened all the way up until they went back to the Island in early 2008, but no farther (since they didn’t live it yet). This means that in the scenes to follow Faraday’s death (maybe) in 1977, either Kate, Jack, Hurley, or Sayid are going to sit down and tell her everything they know.
I must say, I’m a lot happier with this explanation for how Eloise knows so much than I am with how Faraday knew so much.
But the question is – when did Eloise suddenly become such a believer in “whatever happened, happened” that she would knowingly send her son to his death, as a necessary sacrifice for the
But where did this information come from? Who determined that it was necessary for Ms. Hawking to become the “gatekeeper” for the space-time continuum to ensure that everyone does everything that they are supposed to do? Why would this be necessary if you can’t change the universe anyways?
I can’t believe I’m going to say this – but it seems like the logical end to this line of questioning is that you can change the past.
Ugh. I can’t believe I went there.
But if you think about it, what if something happened – like Jack changing the past – and this caused some “Incident” to happen where they universe went wacky with course correction, resulting in all sorts of weird stuff happening (like our 1977 Survivors “skipping” back to 2008) – and upon witnessing it, the Others realized that in order to save the world, they would have to make sure that everything happened as it originally did – and there would be no other necessary “course corrections”. This would explain why Ms. Hawking would spend her life setting her son on the path to death (a necessary sacrifice), convince Desmond to end up on the
I’m really not happy about this conclusion, but right now it’s the theory that makes the most sense.
I still refuse to believe that when our 1977 Survivors change the past, it’s going to result in them magically skipping to 2004 with Oceanic 815 landing in
Wait, maybe it's not that you can actually change the past - but if you get CLOSE to doing it, it causes one of these bad news universe course corrections which will be "The Incident" and send our Survivors back to 2008. I like that option better.
Daniel Faraday. The only major discussion point left is the fate of Daniel Faraday. Is he really dead? The storyline with Daniel and Eloise would lose a lot of “emotional punch” if he somehow survived – but it would also soften Eloise’s character a bit, since it would mean she only sent her son on a path to ALMOST DIE, not all the way die. Based on her reaction to Charles Widmore at the end of the episode and Faraday’s speech to Jack about “this is our present, any one of us can die”, I think his death sticks – which leaves only Miles and Frank as the surviving members of the Freighter. Why couldn’t Alpert carry him to the
That last one seems like the most logical, so I’ll roll with that for now.
Wrap Up. Hmmm – that was a surprisingly short analysis for such a complicated episode – I guess because it really centered around two major themes, and there aren’t any easy answers for either of them. A few minor wrap up items and I’ll get you guys on your way:
- It’s strange that Eloise Hawking is the same person who gave the “then God help us all” speech to Ben about needing to get EVERYONE back to the Island (which we were reminded of in the “previously on Lost” that started this week’s episode), when it’s clear she would know perfectly well who ended up back on the Island and who didn’t since she ran into them in 1977.
- Most poignant line of the episode? Either Ms. Hawking telling Young Daniel “if only you could” when he says he can “make time” – or Faraday telling Young Charlotte that “I didn’t think I could change things – but maybe I can” – or Faraday asking his mother if going to the Island will make her proud of him. Poor Daniel Faraday. Right up there with Locke in terms of “guys who have been screwed over their whole life”.
- Initially the inclusion of Penny and Desmond in this episode seemed a little out of place… unless it’s setting the stage for their return to the
Island. Desmond told her “I’ll never leave you again”, which means that not only will Desmond be returning to the Island– but Penny will too.
- I’m a little worried about Sawyer and Juliet. They’ve both had their “happy ending” living together in Dharma for three years (the Joss Whedon kiss of death), and their lines about “time to go” and “you still got my back”, coupled with the camera lingering a little longer on their sad acceptance that their happy lives were over makes me worry about their chances of making it back to 2008 alive. And that thought worries me more than any other character currently on the DeathWatch 2009 List.
Okay – that’s all for this episode. I’m not entirely in love with this analysis, so if you’ve got any better ideas, please let me know so I can pass them off as my own and continue to look smart in front of my peers and strangers on the Internet. Thanks!