Trans 2009-05-03: “The Variable”


This episode of “The Transmission” takes a look at the fourteenth episode of Season 5, “The Variable.” We recap the story in under eight minutes, then spend some time discussing it in greater depth. Then, we turn it over to You All Everybody, our brilliant listeners and readers. Then, in the Forward Cabin, we take a quick look at upcoming episodes.

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  • 0:00:45 Introduction
  • 0:01:13 “LOST” in 8 Minutes
  • 0:08:11 Sponsored by
  • 0:09:30 Discussion
  • 0:28:54 You All Everybody
  • 1:11:01 The Forward Cabin
  • 1:13:16 Closing

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26 Responses to Trans 2009-05-03: “The Variable”

  1. Mark B says:

    Oh looks like I’m first …….. thanks for the podcast guys ….. make my bus journey home pass all the quicker.

  2. Ryan says:

    The “Enhanced” podcast is, once again, the victim of bad luck. My media host isn’t serving it up, so I’ve uploaded it to The file will download incredibly slowly, but it will download. If and when my media host is cooperating again, you can try and grab the file here.

  3. Knives Monroe says:

    Wow, that whole thing on how Ellie takes the notebook, and she LEARNS EVERYTHING and thats how she knows so much that she presently knows. which is why and how she bought Daniel the notebook to begin with.

    **** thats just awesome!!

  4. aaronavilla says:

    i totally agree with your point about how undoing everything we’ve watched for the last 5 seasons is the biggest proof that they won’t do it. i think lost follows this rule that it has to make good TV in the end. throughout it all, i think they’ve tried to deliver a good story, and that fact debunks 99% of the theories existing out there right now. whatever happens in the end has to 1) make sense story-wise and 2) make for a good story. i have faith that they won’t undo it all.

  5. Brennan says:

    (I type this having not heard the entire podcast yet)

    Not to mention that they spent a lot of time explaining to us that Whatever Happened Happened. It must be very frustrating to be under the conditions they’re in, knowing that everything you have yet to do has already happened, and that the choices you make, while free, are the choices you have to make because you already made them. This is certainly Jack’s dilemma now that he’s a “Man of Faith” Next week’s previews show he’s gonna go on faith and believe Farraday, despite what the science has told us.

    Let’s not forget that when Farraday tried to change the past, his mother killed him. When Jack refused to help Ben, the others healed him. And, the Champion of Free will, Farrady himself talks to Charlotte despite his three years of determination that he would not. Let’s be careful not to call it course-correcting, it’s History unfolding itself. Course-correcting only happens when someone special, Desmond, tries to change the FUTURE, things that haven’t happened yet.

    Though Jack apparently will try to undo everything that’s happened since September 2004, He won’t and can’t succeed because all the free will running around has already caused the plane to crash. Despite his best efforts. I think the Faith hat he should believe in, is that his free will won’t disrupt the chain of events that made him who he is today.

  6. christy in TX says:

    I love the idea that Miss Hawking knows the events that occur to Des and Faraday because she gets Faradays notebook when she shoots him.
    However, how did Miss Hawking know the island was not done with Desmond and a day or two later, she was telling Penny at the hospital she didn’t know whether Des would be okay or not?

    She tells Jack that returning to the island will have unpredictable results if not everyone returns, but if she has Faradays notebook after she shoots him, I’m sure he wrote an entry in Ann Arbor before taking the sub back to the island about Jack, Kate, and Hurley returning to the past. So following this line of thinking, she should have already known that the plane back to the island would take the at least some of them to the past.

    I also noticed that the home where Young Faraday is playing the piano is the same home he is in as an adult with his caretaker when he is watching the footage of the supposed wreckage of Flight 815. I believe that when we first see Faraday in that scene in a past season, it is described as being in Massachusetts. Perhaps when he was in Ann Arbor he went to see his mom in Massachusetts, and he may have even seen the young version of himself a la Miles seeing baby Miles on the island. However, I don’t think he would have interacted with them, especially his mom, because then she would have RECOGNIZED him when she shot him on the island.

    Also, I still think the answer to the riddle, “What lies in the shadow of the statue” is “True Love” because Charlotte dies in ancient statue times, and her body stayed there when the flashies flashed to 1974. I suspect while she and Daniel were sharing her last moments they were suddenly in the shade of the large statue and he knows that is where her body still is when he flashes to the 1970’s.

    Great podcast Ryan and Jen! I agree – I don’t know whether I like this episode or not. I mean, all Lost eps are better than anything else out there, but this episode does not give enough info for us to know whether events are changed or not, and even if they are changed in some ways, does course-correcting still occur? For example, Charlotte said that Daniel told her as a child to never return to the island, but in this episode, we just see him tell her she will have to leave. Is that just a matter of paraphrasing or is it a slight change in past events?

  7. paintergirl1 says:

    @christy in TX Says:

    “Daniel told her as a child to never return to the island, but in this episode, we just see him tell her she will have to leave.”

    We also see the camera pull away to Daniel continuing to speak to Charlotte, and we don’t know for sure what he said during that time. It’s possible that he tells her never to return at this point.

  8. Dianna/California says:

    Could Desmond & Penny’s son “Charlie” be “Charlie”, our beloved druggie/band member who died in earlier seasons??? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  9. FrogWentACourtin in NJ says:

    considering how much we’ve seen of Charlie Pace and his family – especially with his fellow rock star brother, not to mention his butcher father and all..
    I’d say with a good amount of certainty that little Charlie is not Charlie Pace or Charles Widmore.. just Charlie Hume.

    aside: funny, being torn between not being able to wait for the season finale, and being sad that season’s almost over.. mixed emotions.

    ‘True Love’ lies in the shadow of the statue? lol, I sure hope not, would hate to have to travel all that way… 😛 jokes aside, how would Illana or Bram know of Faraday and Charlotte or their story?
    I’d say it’s more likely that ‘the ability defy the laws of time and space’ lies in the shadow of the statue. or somerhing like that… maybe in Latin.. 😛

  10. Rich in Cleveland says:

    I don’t care if I’m alone on this one, as it seems, but change IS possible. That doesn’t mean it will come easily. You’re literally fighting the weight of the world trying to resist the vast clockworks of Fate.

    The main reason I believe that change is not only possible, but probably vital is that the underlying and still unrevealed complication of Lost will determine nothing less than the very fate of the world. If the timeline continues in its present path, then the end is certain. If Ben can’t stop the freighter from coming and Daniel always gets shot and Jack always initiates the incident, then the energy source always melts down or the moon crashes into the earth or smokey is unleashed and drains the world of souls or whatever happens.

    Although change has always been theoretically possible (we witnessed the actions of Daniel this week and Ben previously), in terms of simply telling the story, the event horizon for change won’t occur back in the 70’s as we will see that history play out. The fight to alter destiny won’t occur until after the incident and well into season 6.

    Defend the island.

  11. Brandon from Harrisburg says:


    But haven’t we already learned that fate is the ultimate driving force? I mean, no matter how many times we watch characters try to enact change to “improve” their respective futures, they ultimately put into play what is “supposed” to happen. In other words, the characters are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, even when they think they’re enacting change. The truth is that they’re following their destinies. And in the cases when they drift from their pre-determined paths, no problem, really, as the world has a way of course-correcting. This theory is still best epitomized by Desmond and Charlie. As Des (sadly) explained it to Charlie (and correctly so, at that), no matter how many times Desmond saves Charlie, Charlie’s going to die.

  12. Devane says:

    Hi Ryan & Jen from Ireland. I just heard you say that Daniel was playing “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”. I’m afraid the Classical Music Police will be on to you.

    The piece that Daniel was playing was the 2nd section of Chopin – Fantasie Impromptu Op.posth.66 – in C Sharp minor.
    This is was of Chopin’s most famous pieces.

    Here’s a kid playing it. @ 1 min you will hear the section. He obviously can make time for the piano 🙂

    “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” borrowed the melody.

    More importantly……Chopin may be dead but Daniel ain’t over yet. Who’s going to explain what’s going on? Unless Eloise will become a regular.

  13. FrogWentACourtin in NJ says:

    hm. presuming that Dan learned about the Incident in Ann Arbor (and wrote about it in his notebook), I wonder how he came to learn about it. After all, he didn’t know about it when they all arrived and Sawyer first became LaFleur, so..

    it seems as if he learned about the Incident between then and his return to the Island.

    good thing the guy takes notes, eh?

  14. Regarding the caller who posited that our Heroes might successfully prevent the incident from happening and that the season 5 finale could show Oceanic 815 landing in Los Angeles: as “out there” as this sounds, if it happened anywhere, it would be in a J.J. Abrams series. I think we Alias fans had the same feeling when Sydney Bristoe awoke two years into the future, faced with Michael Vaughn wearing a wedding ring.

    If season 5 did end that way, what would season 6 involve? Well, it would need to involve someone who a) somehow could sense that things weren’t the way they should be and b) had a reason for getting things back to the way they were. Of course Desmond fits the bill… the rules don’t apply to him, and if the incident never happened, there’s a good chance that he never reunites with Penny. He’d need to convince the others, but something tells me that convict Kate, cursed Hurley, depressed Jack, wheelchair-bound Locke, etc., etc., etc might be ready to be convinced.

    For the record, I don’t think it will play out this way, but I don’t think we can dismiss the possibility of something breathtakingly mind-boggling happening before that final thud.

  15. Mark B says:

    I really like the idea someone had that Mrs Hawking has been trying to save Daniel by not sending him to the island until now hence her comment about not knowing what happens next. Maybe she has now, like Des with Charlie, realised that destiny/fate will have it’s way and Daniel is destined to die by her hand on the island. With that in mind I think Daniels death may be the variable that makes changing the past possible.

    Mind you I do not understand why, in 1977, she should believe Dan is her son anymore than Chang belives Miles is his.

    Also I was thinking that Daniel said that they can’t change the past but he also said that the DI 1977 is their present so why can’t they change that … it’s not their past per se (though they have lived in 1977 before just somewhere else) but it is someone elses past I suppose.

    I agree with the caller who said that just by being there they have changed so many things that it is impossible to say they have not changed the past already ….. unless the universe course corrects for all things.

    My head hurts when I start to analyse this too much.

    BTW I stand by my thinking before that the answer to the “What lies in the shadow os the statue?” being either the Darkness of Time or the Time of Darkness.

  16. Scrunch the Cat says:


    It’s definitely Chopin, NOT the bastardized version that was popularized as “Always Chasing Rainbows.” Anyone who studied classical piano could tell you.

    Frederic Chopin has a famous affair with writer George Sand, the pen name of a French feminist. He eventually died of consumption.

  17. Knives Monroe says:

    As much as this hurts me to say… if flight 815 lands in Sydney and all of this never happened. I will be offically done with LOST. And that is something I wish can/and will never happen.

  18. James - England says:

    Anybody else think Daniel new exactly what he was doing ?

    Everbody has said he was “out of character” to go into the camp armed.

    This does not seem to be a “mistake” the writers would make.

    When he swaps his gun for “something for a beginner” then walks into the camp shooting at peoples feet.

    I think he is in control and we will see him sacrifice himself for the greater good.

  19. christy in TX says:

    While I appreciate your sincerity in saying you will be done with Lost if all is undone, I have to ask would you say the same about The Wizard of Oz? Since our favorite characters are all in the 1970’s, which is their present, they will still have the experiences they lived through until 2007 (I guess the end of 2004 for the Flashies) and although it is a paradox because if the plane never crashed they were never on the island, WE know they that WERE on the island, but the 2004 for the rest of the universe did not experience the plane crash.

    BTW, 815 was intended to land at LAX, it departed Sydney, but I get your point.

    @Paintergirl – you are absolutely right, I did my re-watch last night, I stand corrected – Dan very well could have gone on to tell Little Charlotte to never return to the island. Thanks for pointing that out.

    @Rich – I agree, I hope it is possible. I get the feeling that the younger Miss Hawking, once realizing the fate of her son DID try to change things and learned the hard way that the universe will course-correct, BUT I’m holding out hope that some of the smaller things that the universe can’t course-correct will make a large enough impact to result in an overall different fate for some of our characters. Just like Charlie was supposed to die when Des started seeing his flashes, he managed to stay alive long enough to write his ‘Top 5 List’, leave his ring for Claire and Aaron, swim to the sub station to make communication with Penny, etc. So, while we know his overall fate could not be changed, we know that the time between when he was supposed to first die and when he did die did result in some things that the universe could never course-correct from.

  20. bluedog1121 says:

    I can’t imagine that 815 will safely land in LA at any point during the rest of S5 or in S6. I believe this because of practical problems that would face production: There’s no 9yo Walt. There’s no Michael (the actor ended badly, right?). I can’t imagine the actor who played Eko would be back.

    I know that in order for that kind of scenario to work for me, I would need to see ALL of our Losties moving on with their lives (including the dead ones) in 2004 LA, and I just don’t see that happening. Also, there would be no freighter folk, no Ben (he’d die from that tumor), Des would be stuck on the island (no reason to think he wouldn’t still wreck there).

    I am confident that the writers/producers are not going to stick us with such a bleak outcome.

  21. Knives Monroe says:

    Suppose Ive under estimated the talented writers that make the show what it is, and they pull it off. I still hope that Flight 815 never lands in Sydney.
    Im a firm believer in Whatever Happened Happened.

  22. James says:

    Anyone else picking up on the similarities to the Matrix mythology?
    All of these people are stuck in a perpetual time loop. As the writers mentioned in the official podcast, a stone thrown in a river won’t disturb the loop, but perhaps a massive rock (ala the explosion/incident) will.

    In The Matrix, it was “The One” who was expected to come and stop the Matrix from constantly rebuilding itself. The one in this case is Jacob, and I think the reveal of Jacob will be Jack.

    Brilliant notion that Daniel’s mother picks up the journal and learns of his plan, and is thus an accomplice to help him keep returning in hopes of stopping the destruction.

    This finally happens when Jack picks up the lead and executes Daniel’s plan, fulfilling his destiny. Only one problem.

    I think an alternate timeline is created (the rattlesnake in the mailbox moment of this season) and season six is about going back yet again and fixing the timeline, so things right themselves (very much like in Back to the Future).

    The discrepanies in these two worlds/timelines will explain the “undead” characters, and why Jacob has been “out of phase” and invisible.

    Season six will be a thrilling summary as we learn the identity of the island and fix everything that has been altered, but then —

    Boom — a final game changer I can’t yet predict, that will leave us all with a smile on our face, a final tease that will etch Lost into the history books. A final question that is never answered, except in our speculations…

  23. Connie in Alaska says:

    For those of you who haven’t heard, Darlton held a contest and by popular vote “the fork in the outlet” was chosen as the code phrase for the Season 5 final scene.

  24. Rich in Cleveland says:

    @Christy in TX
    Loved the comment about “The Wizard of Oz.”

    Can’t wait for the fork in the outlet. Sounds more like raw shock than startling surprise.

  25. TVSciFi says:

    There’s another possible outcome of trying to stop the incident. They might get a partial reboot. Perhaps flight 815 won’t land safely, but the last 3 years might have never happened. The O6 could find themselves back on the Island just as the Freighties arrive.n They weren’t supposed to leave the Island and Locke was supposed to move the Island, not Ben, so maybe the Island will reset and let the try again.

  26. Aaron says:

    Just a quick post because I’m on a train.
    I’ve been saying this since faraday uttered the line “everything I know about quantum physics is in this diary” – my theory is that it’s Pierre Changs journal. Recovered by Eloise and given to faraday. This is why he’s experimenting with forces he doesn’t yet understand (which leads to his girlfriends incident and his memory issues), and why he knew Dr Chang would appear at a specific time in this episode (he wrote about his prior actions perhaps).
    What are your thoughts?

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