Next: “The Variable” (Episode 5×14)

If the size of the post-thud headache is a reliable metric in evaluating the quality of an episode, “The Variable” may take top prize for Season 5. Jen and I are still trying to sort out the possibilities and impossibilities presented tonight. The man who preached emphatically that you can’t change the past finally returns, now emphatic that you can. Even our characters recognize the insanity of undoing everything that’s happened (essentially erasing the entirety of “LOST” to date). But just as Daniel Faraday gets rolling, he’s shot dead. By his mom. A mother who knew, in 2007, that he was sending his memory-addled son to that very fate.

My theory, such as it is? Faraday’s Jughead plan was doomed to failure, and will ultimately not change anything. But his death, his mother’s sacrifice, will instead be the key, the real “incident” that sets everything else in motion.

Why is Faraday wrong? Because he ended up telling Charlotte to leave the island, even though he didn’t want to, thereby closing the loop on one of his own “whatever happened, happened” moments. Because his supposedly radical conclusion — that people, and free will, are the key variables — is undercut by the fact that we’ve been shown that the meddling of our Losties in 1957 and 1977 were always part of the island’s history. And because, I think, we see him realize, with his last breath, what his mother was up to. He was never meant to go to the island to be healed or to save anyone. He simply had to die.

He simply had to die… for the first time. I’m struck by Eloise Hawking’s conversation with Penny, where she says with an obvious sense of wonder, “For the first time in a long time, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” And she later tells Charles Widmore about sacrifice, about how she sent her son to the island knowing full well he would be killed (by her). Sacrificing her son, it seems, was something she only just barely found the strength to do. Something she’d never done before, which somehow allowed her to always know the future.

Yes, it’s still an attempt to change history, or change destiny, and I’m still not convinced it can be done. But if I ever suspected that Widmore and Hawking were playing at a wholly different level than any of the other characters, I’m convinced of it now. I only hope that whatever Hawking wants to change, it’s not erasing everything we’ve spent the last five years dissecting. That might be a bold move for the end of Season 5, but one that would ultimately be disheartening.

No question, the big questions raised in “The Variable” are worthy of a long conversation. But character wise, story wise, plot wise, it was… merely a good episode. One of those “set up” or “bridge” episodes, if you’ll pardon the expression. It brought a mix of reveals and confirmations, as we suspected Widmore might be Faraday’s father, and that Widmore planted the fake wreckage (meaning Miles’ chat with the dead guy in “Some Like It Hoth” was a fake out). The dramatic stakes were raised, once again via the separation of our Losties into two groups. We see things spiraling out of control, Faraday’s “four hour” countdown conveniently making the rest of the season a near real-time experience.

I was mostly disappointed in Faraday’s story. It simply felt rushed. We flew through his life, from his youth (torn away from the piano) to his graduation, through his experiments and expulsion from Oxford, to deciding to getting on the freighter. Theresa was but a mere blip, and the whole “Memento”-esque memory condition seemed awkwardly shoehorned in. (We did get our hint last season, though, via his memory test with Charlotte.) I mean, this is not the first time we’ve had an intriguing character with some key knowledge and connections… who ends up dying just when their significance begins to emerge (and at the end of a paint-by-numbers flashback episode).

Jen doesn’t want Faraday to be dead, but frankly, he better be. Another Ben-like resurrection at this point would be downright comical. I’d like to think we’ll still learn more about Faraday and his experiments (perhaps in flashbacks for Hawking or Widmore). His still unexplained tears at the sight of the fake wreckage suggests to me that, in true “Constant” fashion, a part of Miles’ scrambled brain was already in touch with his future self.

Notes and Notions:

  • Jaters rejoice? Sawyer asks “Freckles” to come with him to the beach to start over, and Juliet immediately gives up the code to the sonic fence. Sawyer asks if Juliet still has his back, and her response is only to ask if he’s got her back. If they’re going to go back down that path, I only hope they save it for Season 6.
  • I liked how young piano-playing Faraday told his mother that he could “make time.” Or how he, back on the island, knew when Dr. Chang would arrive at The Orchid, “right on time.”
  • We still haven’t seen Jack’s “moment,” but it was amusing how he noted that it was lucky he was a janitor when they suddenly needed the keys to the gun safe. As one of our listeners noted weeks ago, maybe that was always Sawyer’s plan.
  • Speaking of moments, Jack’s little speech to Kate about hers was pretty anvilicious. We know the both of them have yet to fulfill some grand plan, but to have that spelled out so melodramatically was jarring.
  • Tonight brought a great reminder that some of our Losties spent some time in the 1950s, with Hurley’s line, “Like, Fonzie time?”
  • Sawyer’s still got it in the nickname department. “Twitchy” suits frantic Faraday just fine. Bonus points for the straight-faced delivery of the line, “Your mother is an Other?”
  • Not to be outdone, Miles tells Faraday, “I thought you’d gotten rich inventing the DVD or something.”
  • Any numerologists want to sort out the significance of 141717?
  • Locations: Oxford was, again, St. Andrew’s in downtown Honolulu. The Indian restaurant where Daniel got his notebook was Grand Cafe on Pauahi St. Can’t place the “Marina Medical Center.”

We definitely need help untangling this 100th episode of “LOST.” Please comment below, e-mail, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127.

210 Responses to “Next: “The Variable” (Episode 5×14)”

  1. Chris says:

    So we learned that detonating Jughead can negate the energy under the Swan hatch. Is it safe to assume that after the incident they buried Jughead under the concrete as well? And by Desmond turning the failsafe key way back in season 2 final activated Jughead which neutralized the pocket of energy under the hatch. I know, never assume anything with this show but this sounds right to me.

  2. gustariana says:

    Amazing episode! Sad but also made of pure win.

    I do have one lingering question. And I think a few people have commented already. When did Dr. Chang and Faraday record the video we saw at Comic Con? It makes me wonder if this is not the last we’ve seen of Faraday. Dr. Chang did not seem very convinced of what Faraday was saying so it seems unlikely that it was taped during the timeframe covered in the episode or the last 3yrs prior.

    I guess if it is not canon it is for sure confusing.

  3. Bonita (from Atlanta) says:

    Count me in the “mixed feelings” camp.

    Lots of great stuff. My current questions:
    When exactly was Dan born? He said he tested “it” on himself before Theresa. Could this cover the Comicon question?

    I don’t think the 815 Reboot would actually be as horrible as some seem to fear. The Final season could be all about De Ja Vu and our character’s fates be completed ala Final Destination (the movie).

    What a wonderful ride this is!
    Mahalo, R&J

  4. Mike says:

    disagree, it’s a cop-out. it become almost synonymous with the Dallas “it was all a dream” theory.

    I was also thinking about Theresa. Perhaps they didn’t show it, but it didn’t seem like they addressed her story line. Now they kill off Faraday and we don’t even get a REAL explanation of Theresa’s story? rush rush rush the story along. Why even both with Theresa if you’re not going to get into her story?

  5. Joy says:

    Boy, that ending blew me away! The whole concept of being able to undo everything that we know happened on the island makes my head hurt, though. Lets say Jack & Kate CAN stop it somehow…then what? How are they even there stopping it? I am imagining Hurley waving his hand in front of his face again to see if he’s disappearing.

    The other question I have is how did Eloise know she was going to shoot Daniel? If it hadn’t happened until it happened, then she couldn’t remember it.

    I’m confused and I’m lovin it. 🙂

  6. Mike says:

    Seems like they’ve spent a LOT of time on other tertiary characters that meen MUCH LESS to the show’s plot than Teresa? Think about all the other characters they’ve spent countless episodes on (i.e. Anna Lucia, Eco, Rose/Bernard, Libby, Walt/Michael, Sun/Jin, Boone, etc.)

    As i see it now, they meant nothing to the show’s plot, yet we know way more than we need of their stories. Maybe if they had given us just a snip-it of Theresa, we’d know more than what Daniel revealed before he got off’d. I’m sure part of this was because they didn’t know how many season they had before the show ended and they needed filler stories, but it just seems like all the characters that have direct impact on the show’s plot have been given the least amount of screen time. that could be for suspense but COME ON! Enough with the games and start answering questions, for real. we have 21 hours left in the entire series guys…!

  7. Raul From Wayne,NJ says:

    @John F Thanks for the Wired Magazine link!

  8. Tony says:

    Is Daniel Dead?

    Sorry – I have to rebut my own previous post about Faraday’s death. It was never confirmed that he was the voice behind the camera in the 2008 Comic Con video. And in a recent interview on Lostpedia, DL said about the clip that “some people think they heard Faraday’s voice…” I just watched the video again while watching the most recent episode and now I don’t think it was Dan’s voice in the Comic Con video. In fact, near the end Chang says the person’s name and it doesn’t sound like any part of Daniel or Faraday. Ergo, he could actually be dead.

  9. Bonita (from Atlanta) says:

    Daniel made a point in this episode of emphasizing his first name, I forgot which character he was talking to, but I noticed he down played answering to his last name.

    Maybe Theresa’s story will be more revealed as we get Charles and/or Eloise’s.

    I still can’t understand why Eloise would want Daniel to die unless she gets some intel from Smokey or Jacob or something

  10. Tawl says:

    Quick observations:

    So Lost was ALWAYS about Time Travel?? (shock)

    Ben always knew what was about to happen in earlier seasons… for example, he was ready for the plane to come down and quickly knew what to do.

    You can’t undo the past(s), which means there can be multiple “pasts.” Time is not linear, but like a folded piece of paper.. multi-dimensional

    Ben is Locke’s younger half-brother.. same mom
    (anyone want to disagree?)

    When Sawyer called Kate “freckles,” Juliet could hear it in his voice that he still loved Kate

    The plane crash can’t be undone because it has happened. In other words, you can’t erase yourself.

    Only the Future is unknown

    Did Daniel really need to point a gun at the Others to find his mom?

  11. LR Anderson says:

    So, Daniel can time travel…interesting. I am not a big fan of the “time travel” theory, but other than Daniel being able to time travel, I don’t know how they explain how Daniel rushed Miles to get to the Orchid – once there, they observed the arrival of Dr. Chang wherein Daniel states “right on time”. (Not to mention, but I guess I am going to, that the choice of words used in this episode plays in with the whole theme of the episode which was “time” – most memorable being with his mother stating something like: “I can make time for both.” – After re-watching the episode, the word time or the suggestion thereof is the center of this episode)

    Also, throughout the episode, Daniel continually looks at his diary/journal as if it is a roadmap for what he is suppose to do next. This is highly suggestive that for Daniel, all of these events had already occurred. Add in the fact that they focused in on Widmore pushing aside the Wired magazine that features “Time Travel” really makes you go hmmmm…..

    Or, maybe it is not time travel; maybe it is the Desmond effect (and in my opinion, something created by Daniel that got a hold of Desmond that made him go back in time) wherein he is in a “coma” state in the present time but is alive and well in the past where he has to resolve an issue that is occurring in the present time – then the “flashing back and forth between present and past which allowed him to get to a different time period in the past but always returning to same time period in the present. (Insert one of my many favorite songs: “Let’s do the time warp again”)

    But, does this theory really hold true? For Desmond, it is him in the past with his current state of mind; for Daniel, it is him in the past, but it does not appear that he has his current state of mind; it appears as if he is actually living in that very moment and has to write everything down or else he will not be able to remember it. But then again, it does play into the side effects of “time travel” which is memory loss (for Lost anyway); and the cure for memory loss: the island – Desmond and Daniel recovering due to being on the Island wherein Theresa and others on the freighter do not. (This also might explain why Theresa is still in a coma and Daniel is not seeing how Daniel tried his experiment on himself) If Daniel is able to “time travel”, it might also explain the Comic Con video. Okay, I digress as I now have a headache.

    A quick blurb on Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore – as we learned during the episode, Charles is the father of Daniel. But it was the word play between Eloise and Charles that I find to be very interesting. Basically, as to Daniel, it is their child, but her son. So, as to Penny, is she their child, but his daughter?

    Okay, time to find some Advil.

    Love the Podcast – keep up the great work!!!!

  12. Van in Minneapolis says:

    So for Eloise Hawking the final scene of the episode (Eloise shoots Daniel) is followed in time by the first scene of the episode (a crying Elloise tells young Daniel he has to concentrate on his science studies and give up piano).

    At some point between these events she realizes she has no choice but to guide his life so that he returns to the island, even if she will end up killing him. I assume she and Widmore read in Daniels journal and/or learned from the 815ers in 1977 what happened after Oceanic 815 crashed in 2004 and Ajira 316 landed in 2007. Eloise likely left the island to steer Daniel to his destiny while Widmore stayed behind (until Ben ousted him).

    It appears Eloise was central to getting the Oceanic 6 back on Ajira 316. I wonder how much ‘influence’ was placed on other Losties. Ie. Charles Widmore forbidding a Desmond/Penny relationship leading Desmond to the sailing race and the Swan Hatch. Did Widmore, Eloise, Alpert, etc. spend 1977 – 2004 trying to ensure certain passengers ended up on Oceanic 815?

    I assume (hope?) whatever happened, happened and season 6 will return to a current (2007) timeline without having to keep track of time loop mysteries. (Hmm, How could a young Eloise read Daniel’s journal in 1977 when she didn’t buy if until his graduation years later?)

  13. john c says:

    Jack, Kate, Locke, Saywer (James), and all the original castaways, who have gone back in time, eventually get on their original flight over the island from Australia. Desmond goes with his wife Peggy, and their son, back to the island. With all the shows left, eventually there’s a flash as the plane flies over the island. The original castaways are then back in the present, as it relates to the original (first) time the plane flew over the island. The plane lands, and no one has any recollection about what has transpired in the past. None of the castaways even know each other. They walk off another uneventful flight, which thousands of people do every day. Follow me?

  14. john c says:


  15. Marco from Boston says:

    I’m sure this is something that was even thought of in Season 1: What if the airplane never crash landed on the island? That’s exactly what Jack is attempting to do reading Daniel’s journal (as shown for next week’s episode). If that was the case and Jack somehow successfully altered time, then we’d have all the dead characters returning (I could see that happening for let’s say the very last episode of the series). But the major downside to all of this would be the fact that many characters would still have miserable lives if nothing has changed:
    Kate would go to jail
    Hugo would still think his money is cursed
    Aaron might actually be given up for adoption
    Locke would still be handicapped
    Sawyer…well his life wouldn’t change that much. Sure he’s improved in the past 3 years however he was only banned from Australia, so he’d just go back to the U.S. and continue to scam people.
    Sun wouldn’t be pregnant
    etc.. etc…

    Just thought I’d throw that out. But as for the episode as a whole, it was slightly predictable with Faraday’s father being Widmore (I’ve speculated that for awhile now).

  16. Susan Jacobson says:

    I did not like this episode – “The Variable.” They rushed right through it and some of the plot twists were “anvilicious,” as our hosts like to say.

    I hated the fact that Daniel, completely out of character, ran into the Others’ camp waving a gun and threatening people. Stupid. It’s like the writers wanted to find a way to conclude Daniel’s story line and they chose the crudest way possible.

    I also DID NOT LIKE the fact that Eloise Hawking conveniently ran into Penny at the hospital. WTF? It was not clear to me what she was doing there, other than to run into Penny. I thought for a moment that she was going to take “little Charlie,” but then she did not. I have read some perverse speculation that little Charlie Hume is actually Charles Widmore, and he’s his own grandpa. I think this episode gives some credence to this idea.

    My least favorite episode this season.

  17. Brian from Kansas says:

    With regards to Daniel’s journal, I believe that Eloise kept it and learned all about her son, and that she also added bits of information to it regarding the eventual “incident” and how daniel spoke with Cheng in the Orchid station to set up a group of people leaving the island. At some point while Dan was in Ann Arbor with Dharma in the ’70s he spoke with his mom and learned about the exact time of the incident and his role in saving some of the Dharma people like Miles and Charlotte. Eloise bought Dan the same journal and gave it to him as a gift knowing that he would need it in the course of his destiny with the island.

  18. jamEs says:

    I have to wonder whether they are moving things toward everyone going back to the island. Desmond won’t go back to the island, but if Eloise manages to motivate Penny into wanting to go to the island via some type of Daniel connection. Eloise said that everyone had to go back, so I anticipate both Aaron, Sun’s Baby, Walt, Charles and whoever else will end up back on the island as well. I for one am in the camp that Daniel can’t be dead unless his death serves a much larger purpose on the island.

  19. Debbie in VA says:

    Great show and I love to hear your podcasts. I have a couple of observations and questions.

    When was the last time anyone saw or heard Jacob on the island? Was it when Locke heard him say “Help me”? Most recently, Christian Sheppard has been the “speaking for Jacob”. I am happy we will have some scenes of Jacob from the past with some of our group but why does he need help and why is Christian speaking for him?

    When Eloise stated for the first time in a long time, she doesn’t know what comes next, she really sounded relieved. I know many have faulted her as a horrible mom but I cannot imagine how much it must have pained her to know she had to sacrifice her son because, in her younger years, she rashly shot a man in the back who was calling our her name and speaking to Richard. Her hasty decision to shoot not only cost her her son, it almost cost everyone their lives. I am not sure how it will play out but I believe Daniel’s completed journal will be a major part of it. And, just how did he get the completed journal and who gave it to Eloise when Daniel was playing the piano?

    Personally, I hope we do not find in the last show of season 6 that they “fixed it” and the plane never crashed. I would hate to hink that Charlie never found love and courage, that Sawyer never found love and leadership; that Kate would be heading to jail for the murder of her father; that Claire flew to CA and handed her baby over to strangers; that Locke is still in a wheel chair; Ben would die from his tumor; Rose would die of cancer; and Jack still hated his father and had no faith in things he could touch.

    Thank you for listening, Debbie

  20. Brian from Kansas says:

    I think that the scene we first see with Dan playing the piano happens after Dan speaks with his mom in the 70’s (which we haven’t seen yet, but I think we will at some point) and she realizes that she MUST set him on the course that leads to his death even though it breaks her heart. Also, if I killed a future version of my own son, i think that when he was born I would have at least given him a different name in an effort not to be creeped out every day of their life.

  21. doyousmellcarrots says:

    Is greg Nations still working on Lost because the amount of big continuity errors this season is way too high for a show that’s biggest continuity errors used to be moved props, flipped images, and props that hadn’t been created in the year a given scene took place.

  22. Sandy in L.A. says:

    While the shot of Daniel (I hope it’s not true but it probably is) dying lingered as realization and darkness came upon him, the soundtrack building in the background seemed to be signaling that the Thud was about to happen and I think I actually protested out loud because it certainly didn’t fell like an hour had passed…not to mention that my mouth had been hanging open ever since Daniel was shot, wider still when it was revealed that Ellie did the shooting. (The actress playing younger Eloise did a great job of hinting, by her expression, that she knew exactly who she had shot…and totaling selling that she didn’t when she asked who he was and then bewilderment at his response.)

    Holy freakin’ crap indeed.

    So much ore I hope to be able to respond to more thoroughly later, but wanted to at least get the following posted:

    I rarely catch easter eggs on initial viewings, but the very first one in “The Variable” jumped right, thanks to my love of old music – and I don’t mean from the 70s or even the 50s, but from pre-World War II back to the turn of the last century. The song young Daniel was playing on the piano (and which older Daniel plays later in the episode), is “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and is a favorite of mine; it has a sweet, subtly complex melody and lyrics that resonate very personally for me — and which certainly provide a most poignant coda for Daniel:

    I’m always chasing rainbows
    Watching clouds drifting by
    My schemes are just like all my dreams
    Ending in the sky

    Some fellas look and find the sunshine
    I always look and find the rain
    Some fellas make a winning some time
    I never even make a gain believe me

    I’m always chasing rainbows
    Waiting to find a little bluebird in vain

  23. Sandy in L.A. says:

    Well, there was definitely a lot to mine from this episode, but what I meant to write was that there is “so much MORE I hope to respond to” rather than “so muce ore”…. (At least I got to make a pun out of my typo!)

  24. Rich in Cleveland says:

    Overall, this wasn’t a very good episode. My major area of disappointment stems from the complete lack of exposition about the physical properties of the island. The teaser in my program guide said “Faraday finally comes clean about what he knows about the island.” Really? When? Wouldn’t some explanation of the time differential/ payload experiment seem warranted at this stage? How about how the island floats independently through space/time? What is the source of the electromagnetic energy? Etc. Hopefully, Eloise will fill us in, but I was expecting more from Faraday.

    On second viewing, I saw some of the veiled emotion in Hawking leading up to the twist at the end, but I still felt something was lacking in the Hawking/Faraday relationship. Granted Hawking’s omniscience about what must happen and her subservience to her role as mediator of destiny might make her emotionally cold and distant toward her son, but I felt the power of her sacrifice was slightly diminished by their lack of chemistry. Did it seem like Hawking was an absentee mother to some extent in Faraday’s adult years (she dropped in to give Daniel a graduation gift) and why does Faraday not carry the name of Hawking or Widmore?

    Faraday playing with guns was comletely out of character. He even admits he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The only defense I can offer about that is that Faraday himself is under the gun in terms of time. He’s taking a shortcut just like Ben did when he didn’t have time to talk Locke into hanging himself again. He only has 4 hours to arrange some procedure with Eloise, return to Dharmaville, and coordinate with Chang and operations at the Swan hatch.

    Was that the famous Luger Faraday was armed with? If so, we see how it got into the hands of the others.

    I agree with Ryan that one of my favorite parts of the episode and one of the greatest double entendres ever was when young Daniel said “I can make time.” But will this be all for naught with his death or will his actions alter the loop?

    In terms of the loop, have we ruled out an ending in which 815 doesn’t land safely in LA, but rather merely crashes killing all aboard? More of the Donnie Darko ending or The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ending in which all of these events are an imaginary flash in the moment before death. Long live the dream. BTW, I saw a promotional photo in TV Guide last week that once again incorporates some real world items into a dreamlike island setting along with the cast. Ben is sitting on one of those prototypical, old-school hospital beds. The whispers, the light in the eyes, the recurrent monitors and alarms–just the hospital ward in which they all lie?

  25. Rich in Cleveland says:

    Thank you Sandy. That fits right in. There’s something about light waves that I haven’t been able to put my finger on yet. “The light doesn’t quite scatter right.” –DF.

    I felt inclusion of the Rainbow Drive-in was a hint as much as an homage to the local scene.

  26. Agus from Argentina says:

    The rule that prevails is WHATEVER HAPPENED, HAPPENED, you can’t change ANYTHING and Daniel is the living proof of it. Even the mention of the Variable was meant to happen so that Eloise would kill the son she sent to the island whose purpose was to explain THE O6 the “rules of the game”. “Universe has a way of self course-correcting”. Nosebleed.

    WIDMORE, I believe is good and on the same side as BEN, even though they had their differences, they both play for the ISLAND.

    Jack’s mission is, I believe, to fight the Ilana crew(THE REAL ENEMIES OF THE ISLAND) along with Kate, Hugo and the rest, that’s why they were brought to the Island in the first place.

  27. Agus from Argentina says:

    I’m sorry about the spelling mistakes

  28. Agus from Argentina says:


  29. Carol says:

    I have felt there was a time loop ever since Ben’s comment when his daughter died “he changed the rules” and also the episode “the other woman”where Ben is imprisoned in “new otherton” and he sends Harper to Juliet and she says “Ben is exactly where he wants to be” yet he still knows what is happening on the beach. He always is a step ahead because he has lived it all before, either in a time loop or by time travel like Desmond in “The Constant”, and Eloise going throught the motions of selling a ring to Desmond is another sign of being in a time loop. Plus as Doc Jensen states in today’s lost column, perhaps all the errors like young Ben’s wound changing locations, are due to time glitches rather than continuity errors. (sp?) interviewed Darlton today and they claim Daniel is really dead, that they needed his death to further the story.

  30. Tim R says:

    Oh my god, this was the worst Lost for English accents ever (and that is saying something)
    Worst offender was young Charlotte. Holy crap, what was that accent supposed to be? “Ma name’s char-lit whats yirs” Ugh, so bad.

    Second point, if this is the end of Dan then colour me disappointed. Not least of all because his choice to go into the others’ camp (how did kate/jack/dan manage to sneak up on them again? for a second I thought they’d happened across rose/bernard/other survivors camp which would’ve been an awesome moment.) with a gun and point it at Richard is one of the stupidest plans in this show to date. Ridiculous. And his flashback was so rushed it weakened dan as a character. Notice the parallel between young dan being told he’s supposed to become a man of science (rather than a man of humanities) and doing so vs young locke being told he’s supposed to be a man of science (vs a man of sports/a hunter) and resisting, back in series 3.

    The biggest flaw of season 5 so far has been how rushed it is. I get the feeling they’re focusing too much on making a really stunning finale people will remember and the rest of the show is suffering. They should either have removed a plot line or added another few episodes to this season.

    Also, annoying moment: Jack not getting the fact that anything can happen to them because it’s their present. It just made Jack appear more stupid than he’s supposed to be for the sake of reminding us anyone can die. We get it, writers.

  31. Tim R says:

    Also on the concept of humans as variables: I really, really, really, really, really, *really* hope the point of the show isn’t going to come down to be about the existence of free will. That would be the most boring, hackneyed conclusion. I also hope it isn’t all about being a man of faith not to the island but to *each other* – something along the lines of the season 2 ending (“all someone really needs is someone that truly loves them”)

    Basically i just hope after all is said and done the writers have got something original in mind for the message of the show.

  32. Mike says:

    Tim I 100% agree with you. In the “Dead is Dead” blog in this website i give a huge rant about how they rushed everything that was revealing about the plot and forgot about the little details, they so painstakingly created in the first 4 seasons of the show. Darlton said in the lostpedia interview that they’re dropping the Libby story completely as well as many other details. They just want to focus on the main mythology and what “they” think is important to accomplishing that goal, yet they throw in a 5 minute scene of Hurley trying to re-write Empire and a completely worthless scene at the hospital with Desmond and Penny that was created by a worthless scene of Penny almost getting shot. Please…don’t have time my butt! 21 more hours left…that’s all i have to say. disappointing.

  33. rp from Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. says:

    I think a lot of people are disappointed about this episode because the consequences of losing Faraday.

    First, His Role:
    He was the only geek in the show that could make sense what was happening and could lay out the rules of how things worked. He’s the “Doc Brown” of the show; before we only had Locke explaining things on the tune of “because it’s our destiny”

    2nd, The consequences:
    I honestly think that this opens the scenario where Desmond will die too. They seemed to be complementary characters; and we know the island “is not done with him yet.”

    His loss will affect those who are into the mythology of the show the most.

  34. Zhami says:

    I agree with Mikey in FL that Daniel entering the Others camp with a raised gun is out of character for him, and sadly appears to be a device to enable Daniel to be shot by Eloise. But I suspect that Daniel knows he needed to die, for some reason that I have no idea of yet… We do know that the Temple can resurrect. Also, Locke has been resurrected as well, sans Temple. So I don’t think that dead is necessarily dead. Especially if this entire time loop collapses, and an alternate reality (like O815 arriving just as it should in LA) has Daniel alive and well, and promising NEVER EVER will he go back in time to “fix things.”

    Regarding the notorious Comic Con video of Chang being recorded by Faraday, I am as yet not willing to throw it out as “promotional.” Darlton are too careful to put out such a tantalizing piece of info without it being canon; that would be sloppy sloppy sloppy, and they are not.

    My suspicion is that Widmore is lying about faking the wreckage of O815. I believe that is the real plane down there in the trench. Time on the island is disconnected from time in the “real” world. There is anomaly caused by Daniel’s work with time travel, and two realities (or more) are competing for “collapse.” I use the term “collapse” in the sense of quantum mechanics Wave Equation — consider the famous Schroedinger’s Cat paradox ( O815 will end up on the sea floor, or will land in LA. A huge side adventure is taking place that will determine the outcome. Does that make any less sense than time travel? (lol)

    Poor Penny — she’s in for some really sad surprises. I don’t think that the scene at the hospital was a waste of valuable episode time for a plot line that isn’t going anywhere. What could alter Desmond from his promise to Penny that he’ll never leave her… how about the disappearance of Charlie Hume?

    @Msredhd — great mystery! (Daniel’s journal has a very interesting future awaiting it). I suspect that Journal is an important key. Some want it. Some want it destroyed because going back in time creates messy time loops. But to destroy the journal so that no one can keep using it requires, well… going back in time to destroy all copies.

    @Tim R — yes, quite bizarre that Daniel, Kate, and Jack make it to the Others camp without first being seen. The Others had to have known they were coming, and allowed them to arrive. Don’t know why — someone (Richard Alpert, my guess) must know something.

  35. Xander says:

    Count me among those disappointed by not only this episode, but much of the season. I feel as though the story itself has felt rushed and disjointed. I’m sure these last few eps will be enjoyable, but overall I simply haven’t been the biggest fan of the time traveling aspects of S5.
    That said, the prospect of the losties attempting to change the past interests me and here’s why: if the Swan is never built, Desmond will never be found wheb he is shipwrecked. Instead, he will be left alone on a contaminated island.
    If they erase the 815ers’ history, Desmond’s fate becomes very cloudy.

  36. Knives Monroe says:

    The Variable is an instant classic that will be admired, marveled, and calculated extensively as this season wraps up.
    A. I don’t think the comic-con videos should be taken so seriously. I take them as cannon as Via Domus.
    B. Please remember that this is LOST, and anything can happen.
    C. I concur, if Jack and the losties try to prevent The Incident from happening, then yes they will arrive in L.A, and what we’ve seen would have never happened. But that very concept is whats going to keep us tuned in for the 4 hours of this season. Why wouldn’t it.
    D. Naturally it would be a cop out, ala Dallas. But it wont happen. LOST is better than that, and don’t anyone forget it.
    E. Where does the name Faraday, come from regarding his last name?
    F. Is there a little Dan running around on the island?
    G. I have a very bad feeling for the Desmond Penny story…something has to be up.
    H. Dan was great, and he will be missed. I still can’t believe he is dead.

    I. Don’t forget that Whatever Happened, Happened. Sure they’re variables, but that doesn’t suggest that the Universe will implode in itself. We are just watching whats allready happened, except were watching it happen. Does that make sense?
    Obviously the incident happens regardless. Over the next 2 episodes of LOST we will see how.
    What ever they try to do, to prevent The Incident, will undoubtedly cause the incident.

    I feel its unfair to ‘hate’ this episode at this place and time…wait till the season is over and then cast your hammer of hate. Maybe you’ll feel the same way, maybe you wont.

    Lost has tremendous replay value, and I trust the producers and writers in bringing us the greatest show of this century.

    Where the **** Sayid?

    Damn, I love LOST.

  37. John Fischer says:

    “I think a lot of people are disappointed about this episode because the consequences of losing Faraday”

    I’m not so sure about that. I liked the episode but was disappointed in some of it. I didn’t mind that Daniel died. He irritated me a bit, but having his mother encourage him to return to the island so that she could shoot him was just wrong. I can’t imagine even Joan Crawford doing that! It would have better to have her try to stop him and not be able to do so.

    The shootout was just silly. First of all, why start shooting at people you know. Why would Radzinsky start shooting at one of Dharma’s valued scientists? Then they were 20 feet apart and no one could get a direct hit on anyone, yet Jack was able to shoot a barrel of gasoline. Just stupid.

    Having Mrs. Hawking show up at the hospital to apologize to Desmond made little sense. How did she even know he was injured by Ben? There HAS to be something else behind her showing up at the hospital, perhaps something to do with that nurse who was going to watch Charlie.

    It’s getting old hearing Desmond promise never to leave Penny. Clearly for him to have any future role in the show he’s going to have to leave Penny. They’re over-signaling something to come where he does leave her. I have no clue what. Heck maybe she leaves him.

    The Eloise character of the ’50’s and ’70’s is a gun toot’in hot head. The Eloise of the current time is a master of calm. The character traits don’t match.

    But it all gets back to how Eloise treats Daniel his whole life. It’s almost as if the only reason she even had a child was to send him back to the island so that she could kill him. That’s just wrong and totally unbelievable.

  38. Beth from PA says:

    Maybe this is just me not understanding time travel, but those of you who still believe “Whatever happened, happened” should technically believe that Daniel is still alive. It would be impossible for him to die in 1977 and be hanging out on a freighter in 2004. Regardless of the fact that ’77 is their present, 1977 ALWAYS comes before 2007… For Daniel to die would mean that the future CAN be changed. So if Dan is dead, then the “Whatever happened, happened” theory is out the window.


  39. Stefani from Mass says:

    Though the exchange with Penny & Mrs. Faraday was fairly entertaining (“Ben Linus is your son?” “OH, No”), and Desmond was out of surgery OK… as a mom, I questioned the “This Nurse will watch your son” comment.

    Zumi’s idea that something will shake Desmond to get him back in the mix of things – like Charlie Hume disappearing – would certainly shock things, but really, after thinking more about my immediate reaction to the nurse comment, it wouldn’t surprise me. I just don’t know who might do it? Charles is there, so is Ellie (but she leaves).

    Besides, “the island isn’t done with you yet, Desmond”

  40. Popokigirl says:

    @Rich I agree with you about something lacking in the Hawking/Faraday relationship. If speculation about Penny’s mom being Hawking is right, in comparing the two relationships, I feel that Hawking’s attitude toward Penny was far more sensitive and warm than her attitude toward Faraday. And Hawking was even MORE absent from that relationship. I sure didn’t get “sacrifice” when I watched her.

    Which brings me to that “not Faraday’s mother” kick I’m still on. Yes, yes, we’ve been told she is…by she herself, by Widmore, by Faraday. I get it. But here’s the thing: there are lots of parallels on the show. Ben finds a child when he goes to destroy Danielle, decides to rescue her (and even preserves the name she received from her mother), brings her home and raises her as his own. Kate finds Aaron separated from Claire, decides to “rescue” him, at least from the island (again preserving the name he received from his mother), brings him home and begins to raise him as her own. (“He’s not even RELATED to you!” Jack says when she says she doesn’t want him near “her son”.) We know the warning Claire received about having her son raised by another (“an Other”…whichever). Yet there certainly are a lot of children running around being raised by others (“Others”?) or adults who have been raised by others. Add Locke to the list on that count. How about Ben? I guess we’ll find out about the extent of that whole memory loss thing, but we see enough to know that he feels he’s a part of the Others, not a part of the DI with his dad. And he WAS “raised” by an Other, like Lazarus. (Oh, just could not resist.)

    (Far-fetched) Point being: would it be impossible to add Daniel to that list? Is Hawking visited (as Kate was) by Daniel’s biological mother with messages about what needed to happen? Does she raise Daniel knowing that he needs to believe that she is his mother? Does she raise him because he tells her in 1977 that she is his mother? Head is interior of the Hatch. Must turn fail-safe key.

    One of the things I love about “Lost” is the way that there are layers upon layers to be peeled away, but perhaps on this question I sadly have come to the last layer, i.e. Hawking is Faraday’s mother. But I feel that the layers were pretty thin, then.

  41. Carol says:

    I guess I am in the minority, I have enjoyed this season. I have been watching Season 3 again, and I find it very boring, the whole cage storyline was awful. My one complaint for this season is that the rules of time are too confusing and take away from the story. But I love all the reveals. I also love the Hurley scenes, sometimes we just need a fun lighthearted scene, and the Hurley and Miles van scene accomplished that.

    I also have to think it is very stressful writing this show, knowing that everybody is going to discuss every detail even the small ones. No matter what they do, somebody is going to dislike something about the episode. I love finding out the mythology and I think after viewing this season again as a whole this summer is going to be more fun. I can watch without trying to figure out what the rules of time are, and just try to pick up plotline points that I might have missed before.

  42. Luke says:

    I’ve been thinking some more about this. First of all, never leave your kid with a strange nurse in the hospital. Especially not after almost being killed by a madman.

    I am half expecting Jack and co. to succeed in their plan to make everything go “back to the way it was,” pre-flight, in which case Penny will find that little Charlie has disappeared, then return to the room to find that Desmond is gone too. Then again, her memory will probably be reset, as well.

    There’s an ethical element to what Daniel (and now Jack) is trying to do. Sci-fi author Simon Hawke wrote a not-so-great series of novels called the Time Wars books, in which people spend a lot of time fighting things out in the past, while trying not to change the future. He basically says that if someone is born in your time, and you go into the past and prevent their birth, you effectively murder them. How does this apply to LOST? Think about baby Charlie. If Jack succeeds in his plan (the plan Daniel was trying to carry out), then Desmond’s baby will cease to exist. Aaron will too, or at least, he will revert back to his pre-birth state. This, plus the fact that, before the crash, everyone was screwed up, on drugs, in a wheelchair, on the edge of divorce, cancer-ridden, etc., makes me believe that there is no real upside to this plan. I’m hoping the writers give us something else to root for, because, frankly, I think everyone is at least a little better off because of the events in the show. Not fully redeemed, obviously, but at least we’re screwed up in different ways now. Plus, we’ve all got great tans and can start a fire without matches.

  43. lavasusan says:

    I’m not buying it that Daniel is dead. They were very careful, I think, to leave that ambiguous. If I’m wrong and he’s dead in the in-the-flesh sense, he still may not be in the Christian Shepard sense.

    Perhaps he ends up being Jacob. At this point, I’m just enjoying the ride. And as long as Desmond is still alive, on balance the episode worked for me.

    …I would like to kick Sawyer’s butt and say CHOOSE ALREADY, but you know that’s not happening this season.

  44. lavasusan says:

    …in response to Luke, yes, I would never leave my 2 years old with anyone after the trauma he’s been though. I expected to see Eloise toting him out of the hospital. Also, did you notice the big silence from Kate as Jack was waxing enthusiastic about changing the future and never having the plane crash> Did he, uh, forget what she was heading back to?

  45. Popokigirl says:

    @Stefani Yes, that “the nurse will watch your son” sent off alarm bells in me as well (and I’m not a mom). With so many children disappearing or being taken away…I like your idea that it gets Desmond back into the mix again.

    I didn’t like this episode, ultimately. I felt set up, toyed with, felt like things were being obscured with cheesy action scenes (please no more shootouts unless flaming arrows are used…and with effect :-), unbelievable plot points (“I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it” Faraday), and phony reveals (“I’m his father”…so what? It meant something to reveal that Locke’s father was the one who conned Sawyer, even if we did already suspect it. I guess this didn’t feel like a piece of the puzzle falling into place.) I want to be surprised again, or at least, (may I wax prosaic?), I want another interesting thread woven into this complex tapestry that will one day reveal a beautiful, clear, coherent picture.

    I don’t think I would mind the whole time course-correction that ends with 815 landing in LA because I don’t think it will necessarily be the case that the characters on that plane will not have changed. That Kate will head off to prison, that Sawyer will continue to be a con man, etc. It’s their present, not their past, as Miles tried to explain. And even though he was stumped by Hurley’s question about why Ben didn’t remember (was that it? I don’t remember precisely), remember Richard’s words about Ben not remembering, not being the same, changing, and also having no memory of the incident, after he “raises” him in the temple (I do like that pun).

    Of course sometimes I feel like I’VE been to the temple and had my memory erased watching this show. 🙂

  46. HeyKir in NYC says:

    Hey Jen and Ryan! Hey all!

    Just one thing…
    After all that has gone on, why, why, WHY would dopey Penny leave her child with “this nurse”? Who would do that?!?! Its not like Des was in the ICU…bring the frikkin kid to see his Dad!!!! BAD writers! Bad!!

    Unless…its part of the story. Hmmmm

    Ahhhh, LOST! I love you so!

  47. I think it’s very interesting that Dr. Chang thought that Faraday’s claim — that he was from the future — was preposterous, but when confronted with the possibility that Miles was his son, he seemed like he was ready to believe it. It was almost as if Chang *wanted* it to be true, or that deep down he had already felt that connection with Miles and Faraday’s revelation would confirm and justify it. I have to say that I genuinely enjoy the loving father hiding under that cold, waxlike exterior…

  48. Carol says:

    Penny must think like Kate, it’s okay to leave your kid alone. lol
    HeyKir – I couldn’t believe she just left him there, for all she knows Ben is still after them. She has no way of knowing that Ben has left on a plane.

  49. Glenn - Just curious says:

    Could Faraday have been back to the island at different times? Remember “JugHead” when a young Eloise Hawkings picks up Faraday w/Charlotte and the rest and she says to him “Not you again – who’s in charge here?” (I’m paraphrasing) – Anyway what was that all about?

    Now in this episode, after she shoots her own son, she looks at him a says “who are you?”. Doesn’t she even remember him from before, once she sees his face? – I mean, he looks the same from when she saw him in 1954.

  50. jimmy says:

    My thought is this – What if Faraday’s mother didnt choose to send his son to the island, after she’d already shot him…….?? You could that was his fate, but she had the choice to convince him to go and to not play piano and do science blah blah blah……..but she choose to make him want to go…..what if she didn’t???? What if he stayed behind, but she’s already shot him previously…….or would that simply never have happened in the timeline of history…..

    this messes with my head hahaha. Great Show.

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