LOST in Translation: What is Life?

Season 6 / Episode 11
“Happily Ever After”
written by Damon Lindlof & Carlton Cuse
directed by Jack Bender

Television just doesn’t get better than that, now does it? In a season that has been confusing to date, it seems like the pieces are really starting to come together, and who better to be the Rosetta Stone to LOST than Desmond Hume? We’ve waited a long time for Desmond’s return, and last night he returned not with a whimper, but with a big bang… So big, in fact, that it shook the very foundations of the LOST narrative and gave us a glimpse of what is to come…


“I know how this looks, Desmond, but if everything
I’ve heard about you is true, then you’ll be fine.”
~Charles Widmore

It has long been established that the “rules” don’t apply to Desmond. He’s a special bloke, able to shift his consciousness through time and space due to the after effects of being at ground zero when John Locke got it in his head that they were not supposed to push the button. Desmond Hume became Doctor Manhattan, in a sense, taking us along on his wild, time-shifting ride through his Penny-loving, Charlie-saving Magical Mystery Tour.

So, of course, when Charles Widmore decides to assault the Island, what better weapon to have in his arsenal than his “through with the Island” son-in-law? Not something Des was too happy about, but then Chuck has a way of getting what he wants.

And Charles knows more than he’s telling. How he knows this, I’m not sure, but he has his team of mad scientists construct a particle accelerating flux capaciting thing-a-ma-bob, tosses Wonder Des into the temporal maelstrom, and hopes for the best.

And what we get is the best of both worlds and the shape of things to come…


“I’ve seen something real. I’ve seen the truth.”
~Charlie Pace

Did anyone not think that Desmond was given a cheap day return ticket to the flash-sideways when he got locked into Widmore’s deus ex machina?

I may have seen it coming, but I didn’t care, it was still bloody marvelous.

Sideways Des is a fixer — Charles Widmore’s go-to man-of-action. So what’s Des got to fix for the man sitting in an office decorated with a painting of a scale balancing a white and black rock? Our favorite Scotsman is tasked with delivering a suicidal rock star to a gala event being put together by Mrs. W in which their son, a brilliant classical pianist, is looking to merge his bombastic musical genius with that of DriveShaft, who in their sideways’ reimagining are less a one hit wonder and more like Led Zeppelin-esque thunder gods of rock and roll.

Of course Elseworld Charlie wants none of it and Desmond is once again, in a mirror of their other life relationship, i.e. trying to keep this drug addled bass player alive. This is the furthest thing from Charlie Pace’s desires, however, because you see, he had a near death experience, and in this glimpse of another life he saw perfection in the face of an angel named Claire and he knew that this world was not for him… that it was all a bitter lie.

And this was something that he just knew Des needed to experience for himself, so he deep sixed the car they were driving in, turning it into a submarine with a one way ticket to the bottom of the harbor. As Desmond desperately tried to save his charge, all it took was for Charlie to place his hand on the car window, palm out, to wake Desmond up.


Damn it. Now that was some riveting storytelling. We were treated to a parade of images of Des and Penny’s life in the real world and Mr. Hume was sent spinning into a grim realization, that all of this what not what it seemed.

Who was this woman of his dreams? Who was this Penny?

An epic confrontation with Eloise Hawking, er I mean Widmore would further muddle our brave hero, especially once he overheard Penny’s name on the guest list. Demanding to see the list raised Eloise’s ire and as she dressed down Desmond we were treated to one of the biggest puzzles yet as to the nature of the flash-sideways. More on this in a moment, but first, on a side note: I did take notice that Penny’s surname in the flash-sideways was Milton. An allusion to John Milton and Paradise Lost perhaps, which leads me to ponder this little bit I culled from Lit class:

“A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.”

And that, in turn, leads me down another road… one not of fluffy Dharma bunnies and “All You Need is Love” sentimentality. No, this road belongs to the Dark Man, i.e. the Man in Black.


“Someone has clearly affected the way you see things.
This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation.”
~Eloise Widmore

Gods bless, Eloise and Daniel. They are great at connecting the dots for us, even if they do so from opposite ends of the spectrum, each side equally esoteric. And now it’s time for me to speculate on this madness.

It seems to me, through the implications raised by Mother and Son Widmore, that the flash-sideways is indeed a construct… a construct, I believe, of the Man in Black’s.

How does Smokey recruit people to his side of the Force? By offering them what they want most. The flash-sideways is how he delivers on his promise.

Eloise alluded to Desmond’s desire for Charles’ approval. She got her son alive and well, while Daniel is fulfilling his dream of playing music (across the street from Charlotte no less). Locke got his Helen. Kate, her innocence. Jack gets to be a good dad.

Well, kids, their “Happily Ever After” is a trap. It’s a prison. It’s a diversion to keep them from fulfilling their destiny.

The flash-sideways is all SMOKE & MIRRORS.

How do our heroes break out of their Smokey cell?

Love… and sacrifice.

But, it seems, some people are more than happy to stay in their world of make-believe (I’m looking at you, Eloise)… the thing is, Mrs. Widmore alluded to a “violation” which means there are rules to this little game (aren’t there always), and I wonder if maybe our castaways have entered this prison somewhat in collusion with His Infernal Smokiness and Desmond needs to wake them back up, shake some sense into them, and set them back on the proper course of their destiny?

Back on the Island, Desmond gets it and joins Charles’ Army willingly — happily, in fact, though there seems to be an odd sort of calm about him, like one who’s been converted. I see just a hint of zealotry in those eyes. He’s seen the truth, the ghost in the machine…  And then along comes Sayid doing what Sayid does best. “Run”, he says to Zoe, and she does. But not Desmond. Standing stoically, channeling David Carradine’s Caine, he departs with the our soulless Iraqi, presumably into the fold of Camp Smokesalot.

R’uh R’oh, Raggy.

A LATE HOUR ADDITION: Sitting here at work, mulling over the episode and flashing through selected scenes via Hulu, I had an epiphany. Okay, maybe not exactly an epiphany, but certainly a querying musing.

Anyway, I wondered if the flash-sideways was a nod to The Last Temptation of Christ. What, you’ve not seen the Scorsese helmed DeFoe/Hershey/Keitel epic about the Savior in all its cinematic splendour? You must remedy that at once, true believers.

To sum up, JC gets a little flash-sideways of his own while hanging on the cross in which he settles down with Mary Magdalene, has some kids, and generally has a nice little life sans theological drama.

As his former Holiness prepares to kick the proverbial bucket, Jesus’ former disciples come to him on his deathbed while, in the background, Jerusalem is a burning ruin. Judas is the last to saunter up to the former Messiah and rather than show respect or reverence instead rightly calls Jesus a traitor.

It is then revealed that the angel who freed Christ from his date with the crucifixion was actually Lucifer, playing the ultimate temptation card. Jesus realizes his mistake, forsakes his flash-sideways, and  crawls through the burning city to beg God to let him fulfill his special purpose (and no I’m not talking about the Steve Martin version of the term). JC is placed back on the Tree of Woe, erasing the temptation of a blissful family life and the shirking of his destined path, thereby saving the world through his sacrifice.

Methinks I’m onto something and I’m laying odds on a similar outcome for our fine feathered friends in the LOSTverse. C’mon, you didn’t think those Last Supper promo pictures were for nothing, did ya?

Next Week on LOST:

Mr. Reyes gets his moment in the sun as we are treated to the twelfth episode of Season 6,  “Everybody Loves Hugo”. What can we expect from our lovably huggable  Hurley? A whole lot of Ghost Whispering and some deeper insights into the Smokeyverse I’m guessing.

Addendum: For those curious, last week’s chapter breaks came courtesy of the Dolly Parton songbook. This week I dipped into George Harrison.


2 Responses to “LOST in Translation: What is Life?”

  1. Going to watch this as soon as I get home.

    I idoled out and watched all two hours when the little fuckers starting singing Lennon-McCartney songs last night. Crystal Bowersox knocked it out of the park on Come Together….

    • cairnwood Says:

      It’s a good one, Dave. Enjoy.

      As to A.I., it was a good night for a change this season. Of course when you’re working with the Lennon/McCartney songbook you’re working with gold.

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