Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Review: Lost 6.11: Happily Ever After

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Desmond's MRI helps his Flash-Sideways awakening.
Lost - Season Six, Episode Eleven - Happily Ever After
Written between 21st and 22nd February 2013
Spoilers for the end of Lost.

Six episodes away from the finale, and the Flash-Sideways are starting to reveal its true colours. Desmond episodes always involve topsy turvey time stuff, but this was something rather different due to the nature of the sideways dyamic. It's an episode that rather has me torn - do I admit the beauty of the episode's premise, no matter how soppy it is, or do I let my overall dislike of the Sideways mess that up? The latter, probably. We're getting to the more interesting parts of the season, where I get to have a really good rant about things. Not that that'll happen today, of course. Well. Let's just get on.
     Desmond, having been revealed as Widmore's Package, is woken up and placed inside a big Electromagnetism Chamber (what is that, a giant magnet? idk what their idea of electromagnetism is, but anyway) where he is knocked unconscious. In the few seconds that he's out, we experience (and Desmond apparently experiences) Desmond's flash-sideways story. In the Sideways world, Desmond is Widmore's right-hand-man, and upon his return to LA Widmore tasks him with taking Charlie to his wife Eloise's charity concert. Charlie explains to Desmond in a bar how while choking on the plane he saw a vision of his true love, and as proof he later drives Desmond's car into the ocean, where Desmond sees Charlie's "Not Penny's Boat" message. Getting an MRI scan at the hospital, Desmond sees images of Penny. While his search for Penny leads to a discouraging Eloise, her son Daniel introduces him to her. When Desmond returns to reality, his sideways self faints, and our Desmond is suddenly a great deal more cooperative.
     What's basically happening is that the peeps in the flash-sideways timeline have the ability to remember their lives in the timeline, and require certain circumstances to become "awakened". So far it appears that Charlie and Daniel are partially awakened, wheras Desmond and Eloise are fully aware of what happened before the timeline. For those smart-alecs at the time, this was the point where it became clear that the Flash-sideways was some kind of afterlife. And the events of this episode show one of the reasons why I really quite dislike the entire concept of the sideways.
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Daniel Faraday Widmore has some theories about the
Flash-sideways world.
      It's shown quite clearly that everyone in the Flash-sideways has one true love. One person whom they're destined to end up with for all eternity - and, most of the time, that person is someone they met on the Island. Desmond and Penny, that's fine. I can believe that - they've spent most of their lives trying to be together. It doesn't help explain later examples like Kate and Jack (whose main relationship off the island was an incredibly abusive one) or the incredibly egregious matter of Sayid and Shannon. It's a personal matter for me, really - despite how romantic it may feel, I hate "true love" in fiction. I find it odd that these people, many of whom lived much longer lives than others, never had fulfilling relationships after their significant other on the Island coughed it.
     That's more reserved for what will be a collossal essay on The End in a few weeks, though, and for now we're left with what is a fundamentally well-constructed story that is, unfortunately, heavily laden with a level of sentiment that it can't maintain. It's very well written and it's one of Henry Ian Cuisick's best performances, but it's simply too soppy for my liking and it raises so many questions about the Flash-sideways that I start getting all frothy at the mouth.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: An episode of this series I didn't see on broadcast! (I think I was in Wales at the time, and the Sky Box didn't record. Anyway.) It's Everybody Loves Hugo.

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