“You can’t always get what you want – but if you try, sometimes you just might find – you get what you need.” – Rusted Root… covering the Rolling Stones.
This week’s episode, “Happily Ever After”, didn’t play out like I was expecting. Although some portions of the episode matched my pre-episode expectations - Faraday espousing wacky and confusing theories, Eloise Hawking being mysterious and all-knowing, Desmond and Penny potentially finding love in the Flash Sideways, – I was shocked that a good 95% of the episode took place in the Flash Sideways world. Given the distaste that so many people have for the Flash Sideways (myself somewhat included), this could have meant disaster for the episode, breaking the streak of every Desmond-centric episode being totally awesome.
Turns out, the episode was still fantastic. But more importantly, this episode was exactly what we needed.
Flash Sideways. For the first time all season, the Flash Sideways storyline gained some tangible importance. We saw that there was indeed a connection between Reality #1 (on the
CHARLIE: “I've seen something real, I've seen the truth.”
CHARLIE: “I feel sorry for you, mate. You think you're happy. You think you've got it all - this, your life. But, you don't.”
CHARLIE: “This doesn't matter. None of this matters. All that matters is that we felt it.”
ELOISE: “Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation. So, whatever you’re doing, whatever it is you think you’re looking for...You need to stop looking for it.”
DANIEL: “Just listen, what if, this, all this, what if this wasn't supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason, we changed things? I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb, Mr. Hume. I think I already did.”
This is huge.
When you put all these comments together, a few things become very clear:
- The Flash Sideways world isn’t how things are “supposed to be” for these characters. I won’t go so far as to say it isn’t “real”, but that is a distinct possibility as well. Whatever the Flash Sideways world is, our characters were brought into it via unnatural means – and some are becoming aware of that. They “belong” in Reality #1.
- It’s curious that we only have proof of three characters coming to this realization – Desmond, who is “special” - and two characters who are dead in Reality #1 – Faraday and Charlie. Charlie had his epiphany during a near-death experience, but Faraday had his simply by seeing
. It makes one wonder about the connection between the characters in Reality #1 and #2. If a character dies in one reality, does it throw things out of balance and make that person more aware of the fact that things aren’t right? Or is this just a coincidence of this episode at this point? After all, we didn’t hear any of this talk from Charlotte – although maybe she hasn’t had her epiphany yet since Sawyer wasn’t exactly her soul mate? (Note: from this point forward, I’m going to call the realization that there is a second reality out there an “epiphany”.) Charlotte
- Eloise continues to be all-knowing. She seems to see the big picture of everything within the space-time continuum and has knowledge of both realities… yet we know that she was a normal person who grew up on the
Islandfrom 1954 to at least 1977. How did she go from a semi-leader of the Others to the keeper of the space-time continuum? Was this the “wish” that Jacob / Anti-Jacob granted her, similar to making Alpert live forever? She would have knowledge of everything that would happen, but would be forced to ensure that things stayed in balance? Or could it be that the truly enlightened Others are “special”? They have a deep connection to the Island, which might be the nexus of both realities – and therefore might have some dual-reality citizenship, so to speak.
- One could also debate that Charles Widmore fits into this category as well since he knows precisely what Desmond needs to do in Reality #1 to keep the world from falling apart. So we have Widmore in Reality #1 and Eloise in Reality #2 both trying to influence Desmond’s actions. Are they on the same side? Opposing sides?
We’ll come back to that. Based on these assumptions, what does it all mean?
If the Flash Sideways were simply some “dreamlike state” that our Survivors all entered after the Jughead explosion, it would explain how familiar characters keep re-appearing and interacting… and why a lot of it seems to be a version of “happily ever after” for most of our Survivors. But if this were the case, I don’t think Eloise would be so concerned about violating the “rules” of Reality #2… and it would mean the writers wasted a hell of a lot of the final season of Lost on a “dream”.
Likewise, the fact that we have living, thinking characters like Charlie and Faraday – characters who were dead before the Jughead explosion – attempting to influence the other Survivors to see “the truth” eliminates a lot of the theories about the Flash Sideways being the result of a “Deal with the Devil” or being an “Epilogue” to the Lost storyline after the On-Island action concludes. If this were a new reality given to our Survivors in the end, it wouldn’t be “fake” – and seeing the truth wouldn’t do our Survivors any good.
There are clearly two opposing forces at play in the Flash Sideways. On one side is Eloise, on the other is Desmond / Charlie / Faraday.
Hmmm – two opposing forces at play? Perhaps one light, and one dark? A “balance” of sorts? Where have we heard this before?
Time to get crazy.
I’m not sure how – or why – but could it be that what we are seeing in the Flash Sideways world is some sort of “battle” for the very souls of our Survivors between Jacob and Anti-Jacob? On the one side you have Anti-Jacob giving them everything that he thinks they need… but is demonstrating how little he understands them and their human condition by not getting it quite right. (Note: this is really where the whole “Deal with the Devil” theory came from in the first place – the fact that in each Flash Sideways, there is a twinge of sadness mixed in with an otherwise, overall, very positive existence for our characters.)
On the other side, you have Jacob (perhaps manifesting himself through the dead characters in Reality #2, just like Anti-Jacob does in Reality #1) trying to shake our Survivors out of it, to tell them that this isn’t what they are supposed to be doing! These lives may be nice, but they are fake… and once they experience something that touches upon the core of their soul – a near-death experience, true love, their first taste of Skyline Chili, they see Reality #2 for the fraud it is.
I’m not really sure how this makes sense, as it seems to require that all our Survivors on the Island fall into some sort of coma or “spell” to be experiencing Reality #2, but that didn’t seem to be the case with Desmond this week. The two realities seem to be happening concurrently. I also don’t quite see how “enlightening” the characters in Reality #2 would that help the current situation on the
Earlier today, I commented to my Hot Wife Kate that one of the reasons that the Flash Sideways haven’t been very interesting to me is because of the lack of an overall conflict. The stories carry no real weight. Sure, there are individual character struggles and problems – but since none of the characters really know each other, these individual dramas don’t carry a lot of importance. If Sun dies from being shot in the stomach, Jin would be sad – but no one else in the Flash Sideways would care. They don’t know her… or at least they don’t know that they know her. So who cares?
But by introducing this larger “battle” between two opposing sides in the Flash Sideways, you introduce some much needed conflict. You’ll have characters taking sides and making important decisions that affect everyone. It would also offer a nice parallel to exactly what is going on in Reality #1 on the
I still don’t know if the end game involves one reality “surviving” while the other disappears, the two realities merging, or something in between – but it could be that Widmore’s comment two episodes ago about “ceasing to exist” may have been a hint that there are going to be two wars going on – one in each reality, but both with the same players. The winners continue on. The losers vanish forever.
Or could it be that each character will have to make their own choice? Take the fake, happy reality of Reality #2, or take the real, sometimes brutally painful world of Reality #1? I don’t think there will need to be any sort of “group consensus” on the matter since it’s pretty clear that some characters are far better off in one Reality vs. the other (especially those who are dead).
The real question is – why is any of this necessary? Why is it important? Regardless of who or what created Reality #2, why is it important to the viewer that so much of Season Six has focused on it?
Here’s what I’m thinking. Back in Season One, one of the central themes on Lost was that the
It’s been important to establish the storylines for each character in the Flash Sideways world so that we’ll understand the heavy decisions they might have to make in regards to staying in Reality #2 or going back to Reality #1. Is it better to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all? Is it better to have done something great with your life and die in the process, or live a long, simple life without any profound meaning? These are some super heavy questions that typically require about half a bottle of whiskey to fully debate – so it makes sense that a show as super-intellectual as Lost would attempt to tackle them with its final season.
To recap, we might see the final seven episodes of Lost dealing with a war for the Island in Reality #1, and war between realities in Reality #2, and potentially an entire world (or both) hanging in the balance depending on the decisions of our Survivors.
Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty worthwhile storyline.
Okay – enough crazy. I’m sure that came out like gibberish, but I promise it makes sense in my head. Tell me why this theory sucks in the Comments and I’ll do my best to explain it in a different way.
Desmond. The only other thing I wanted to touch on this week was Desmond himself. In Reality #1, Widmore told him “the
My first thought was “okay, this makes sense. Desmond is sacrificing himself in Reality #1 so that he can be with Penny in Reality #2”. But that makes no sense. Desmond, more than anyone else, has realized that Reality #2 is a fraud. It’s not where he is supposed to be. In fact, he may be working to destroy Reality #2 by showing the other Survivors of Oceanic 815 the truth. Yet he goes on setting up a date with Penny in this reality.
This would make it appear as though Desmond is laying the foundation for a long life in Reality #2, after his mission in Reality #1 is complete. Yet I’m almost 100% certain that if there was only going to be one “surviving reality” in the end, it would be Reality #1. We’ve spent way too much time there to have it cease to exist, and it would render all the action on the
It seems to add some weight to the theory that both realities will continue to exist, and that characters will get to choose where they end up. Perhaps Desmond is going to be the sacrificial lamb to “save” everyone in Reality #1 (including Penny and his son Charlie), but once he has completed his mission will jump into some electromagnetic storm that will whisk him away to Reality #2 where his consciousness will live “happily ever after” and start a new life, one where he not only has Penny, but also the respect of her father, Charles Widmore.
Okay – I think that’s enough crazy talk for one week. Be prepared for these theories to be blown out of the water next week, in what may be a recurring theme until the finale, when it is revealed that all of Lost was just a dream inside Vincent’s head, and we’ve all wasted the past seven years of our lives obsessing over it.