Lost Review: The Sideways World Is...
... heaven on Earth. Correction: a misguided version of heaven on Earth. More on this below...
One week ago, following "The Package," this is what Lost producer Damon Lindelof Tweeted:
So, did "Happily Ever After" change the conversation for you and your friends about the show? In a good way? In a bad way? Think you have more of an idea about what's going on now?
I do, not that it means I've figured everything out. Or most of it out. Or even 10% of it out. But halfway through this Desmond-centric episode, I was actually annoyed at the Sideways storytelling. It seemed to be the same every week, as the life of whichever character is featured is simply the opposite from what we knew about it before, with a few familiar faces thrown in there to make us think.
I wanted to scream at the writers: Where is this going? What does it mean? There are only six episodes remaining! But then Desmond had his conversation with Eloise Widmore and everything changed. I felt like I had some clue about this narrative device, and I'll share it now...
Eloise told Desmond that he had the life he always wanted, specifically: the admiration of Charles Widmore. Desmond should accept it, be happy and stop searching. Why? He wasn't ready for the truth yet.
What is that truth? This is my theory: it's related to a deal those on the island made with FakeLocke. He's been manipulating people throughout the season, inching closer and closer to his goal of freedom. His main strategy for conspiring to leave the island? Convince the castaways that he can make their dreams come true.
You want Nadia to be alive, Sayid? No problem! Wanna see Jin again, Sun? I can do that! Care to be a mother to Aaron, Claire? Follow me!
In each instance, FakeLocke is trying to get people to take his side over Jacob. And what's been the theme that both Widmore and Jacob (the two men opposing the Man in Black) have tried to hammer home to anyone that will listen? If FakeLocke succeeds, the world that we know will end. There's no way of understanding exactly what this means, or how it will take place, or a million other questions hanging over Lost.
But Eloise's speech, and Daniel's subsequent hypothesis about his own past, lends credence to the idea that FakeLocke promised everyone their very own heaven in exchange for his freedom, but you know what they say: be careful what you wish for.
It sounds cheesy, but think about it: Sayid isn't actually with Nadia in his Sideways world. Jack is divorced, Sawyer ruined things with Charlotte, Desmond is completely alone. These individuals may have been granted their wishes by FakeLocke, but the result was far from the ideal life they had envisioned once they conquered their past demons.
What does all this mean? Who knows. But Daniel made it clear that this Sideways world is not the life they are "supposed" to be living ("What if this all this wasn't supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life, and for some reason we changed things?") .
Something went wrong, and all signs point to that something having a lot to do with Jacob's nemesis. The Man in Black may have told Richard, in "Ab Aeterno," that he was NOT the Devil - but it certainly seems like our castaways have made a deal with someone evil that has resulted in a major, loveless shift to their universe.
Could that be FakeLocke's plan? The danger of releasing that cork? He may not literally destroy the world, but he may remove the concept of true love from it.
Questions the episode left me with:
- Was the hour shown chronologically? In other words: did Desmond awaken from his flash sideways upon shaking hands with Penny, only to be taken back there when he walked off with Sayid. If so, does this mean that a mere interaction with someone working alongside FakeLocke takes someone away to the world described above?
- Was George more than a mere limo driver? He seemed overly nice, understanding and helpful, didn't he? The work of a reliable employee, or some sort of all-knowing guide?
- Why was Desmond wearing a wedding ring on the plane in the series premiere, but not here?
- What made Charlie press his hand against the window of the sinking car? Jacob? Smokey? Something else?
- Are the producers fans of Michael Clayton? Desmond's Sideways job, and life, mirrored that of George Clooney's title character in that movie.
- Zoey told Desmond he had been unconscious for three days, the same amount of time Jesus spent in the tomb before His resurrection. Coincidence?
- Exactly how many goosebumps did you get when you first saw Desmond flash to "Not Penny's Boat" on Charlie's hand?
As always, I could write and theorize for hours. But let's turn it over to the readers for now. What did you think of this episode?