Joe’s Weekly, Lengthy, Humorous Thing He Does
Hot Freakin’ Day-um! Now that was a LOST episode. Suddenly I want to take back my A+ grade of last week’s great episode, (The Package) because it was just merely great and not Hot Freakin’ Day-um Extremely Great. Hot Freakin’ Day-um! (I thought so highly of this episode I felt I had to invent a brand new catch-phrase — “Hot Freakin’ Day-um!”)
For those of you who have been disappointed with the Safe Landing Universe (SLU) timeline, I assume you’re suddenly a tad more receptive. I’ll concede they were slow and at times inconsistent with the stories in the SLU, but I’m happy to say I knew this team would eventually pay it off, and Hot Freakin’ Day-um, it looks like we’re going to start getting some answers thanks to everyone’s favorite human electromagnetic anomaly, Desmond Hume.
Island’s Not Done With Him
Now on with the show…. We open with the classic LOST tight eyeball shot of Desmond who is about to find out he not only is no longer in the hospital after being shot by Ben Linus, but he was also brought back to the island by his greatest nemesis/father-in-law/trusting employer in an alternate universe, Charles Widmore. Widmore quickly brings Des up to speed, and that includes mentioning Penny and his son are nowhere near the island. Ol’ Des’ lip starts twitching like Chief Inspector Dreyfus during an encounter with Inspector Clouseau, and in a cathartic fit of rage (not only for himself, but for every member of the television audience) Des starts beating the living shit out of Charles with his I.V. stand. Hot Freakin’ Day-um!
To Widmore’s credit, he didn’t feel the need to punish Des for his insolence, but after his boys sudue the injured Des into submission, Widmore does sternly admonish his wounded captive that “the island is not done” with him yet.
Wabbit Season 6
Meanwhile back at the Hydra lab, Liz Lemon and the fat-faced kid from Kate and Allie are a little concerned Widmore wants to move the test schedule up a day. Widmore is obviously has no intentions on underestimating Smlocke, but Fat Face doesn’t feel it’s a prudent plan as he commiserates with his experimental rabbit, Angstrom. The name “Angstrom” is a tip of the hat to a character in four different John Updike novels – Harold C. “Rabbit” Angstrom. According to Wikipedia, the novels all have to do with his problems deal with life, death, redemption and human relations–to all people.
To demonstrate to the good folks at home watching this broadcast just how deadly this experiment is, we are treated too the death of a non-speaking extra. Now while not technically a “red shirt” the soon-to-be fried victim’s shirt does get bathed in a red light while he’s in the chamber trying to solve the problem before the switch is accidentally thrown.
The Ambiguity of Widmore
Widmore seemed weary or even numb to the news of this unplanned fatality. This Charles Widmore is a man who has seen his share of death in the name of fighting his fight. This Charles Widmore does not seem evil or power hungry. He’s an influential man who is forced to make very tough choices that could seem immoral based on your perspective. (Please refer to my Harry Truman/Hiroshima comparisons from weeks past.)
So far we’ve mostly seen Widmore from one perspective. In this episode, we get to see Charles Widmore from an entirely different vantage point. A man on a mission to defeat who he believes poses a great threat to the world as we know it; a man who as Hurley translated from Spanish, would deliver them to Hell. So while Widmore gave the appearance of certain stoicism when he watched them cart off the freshly smoking corpse, Des was more than a little disturbed by the experience.
After beating Desmond up and strapping him to a chair in the middle of two huge intimidating woofers, one of Widmore’s goons asks if Desmond is wearing any metal. Now I don’t want to nitpick, but I assuming Desmond has a zipper on his trousers, and aren’t zippers made of metal? I didn’t get the impression that Desmond was wearing Velcro jeans, so I’m assuming he did have tiny bits of metal on him, and I’ll try not to dwell on that. But think about it, how cool would Velcro jeans be? You could gain all kinds of weight and not have to shop for new pants and you’d also be free to expose yourself to large doses of electromagnetic energy.
I found this interesting. Widmore after the test, is going to ask – not force Desmond to make a sacrifice. This again points to the concept of free will. My own son (Daniel Faraday/Widmore) died on the island, Widmore informs Desmond. He continues, “My daughter hates me and I’ve never met my grandson.” Widmore has made sacrifices. He has sacrificed what he loves, and love just happens to be the theme of this installment. Widmore then goes on to warn if Desmond does not help him out, everyone he loves will be gone. Forever. This is not an idle threat or con job. We’ve seen enough of both on this show to know the difference by now. This is a frightening fact, but the hows and whys are still unclear. If we’re to believe Widmore, then we need to wonder if Benjamin Linus (thinking he was doing the right thing all those years ago when he banished Widmore) is actually but unknowingly responsible for all of this mayhem now.
And so with seemingly no hesitation, and an assumed silent prayer that he has guessed correctly, Widmore himself pulls the switch on Desmond, who after a number of agonizing seconds, collapses on the floor of the chamber, and wakes up in LAX staring at his flight information. It’s interesting to note that Flight 815 landed at Gate #8 (one of the numbers) and as Hurley informed Desmond, the bags were at carousel #4 (another one of the numbers.)
Enough with the Unnecessary Reveals
I don’t often complain about this show, because there is honestly rarely anything to complain about, but you know what I’m way sick of already? The much overdone “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot.” It’s done way too often, and it’s also rarely a surprise when it is done. Case in point, who didn’t know that was Claire at the baggage claim? I enjoyed everything about that scene except for the “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot.” Like the scene where Kate “knew” Jack from just that glance from the taxi, we were also led to believe these characters have some slight recognition of a past history shared. Desmond then pays that off by predicting the gender of Claire’s unborn Aaron.
Now instead of the “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot,” the hand holding the “HUME” sign was much more effective, and it was great to see George Mankowski back from the dead and once again in Charles’ employ. Sure he got demoted, but I’m betting he’s getting laid more often. Communications Officers on ocean bound freighters probably don’t get nearly as many “lovely ladies” as the chauffer of one of the most powerful men in Los Angeles.
Seriously, Enough with the Unnecessary Reveals
Desmond arrives at the swanky high-rise office of his boss, and once again we are shown the “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot,” and once again it is no surprise when we learn the identity of the close-cropped white-haired gentleman behind the desk is Charles Widmore. We are however delighted to see a colorful painting depicting the black and white stones on the scale off to the right hand side of Widmore’s desk. The eagle-eyed among us should have also discovered a slightly different version of the same painting to the left of the desk. Questions we should be asking; why the splashes of color in a painting that symbolizes the white and black of good and evil? Question two, why are there two of these paintings. They almost mirror each other (except the black stone is on the left in both pieces.)
Neither scales painting however manages to catch Desmond’s attention. That is reserved for the sailboat. This clearly resonates something from within Des.
“Get him arraigned and get him out of there!” Widmore bellows into his phone. He continues to explain that his son is a musician who wants to fuse classical music with rock from popular rock band, Drive Shaft.
“If I don’t get this junkie to my wife’s event she will destroy me.” That, regardless of the fact that later Eloise doesn’t seem to care a whit about Drive Shaft seems like a very prophetic line… far too important to be a throw-away, because they rarely utter a syllable on this show that doesn’t have meaning at some other point- be it the next scene or the next season. It does lead us to believe even in this universe, the only conscious constant is the fact that Charles and Eloise are still apparently on opposing sides of this battle. (Much like Jacob and The Man in Black.)
This naturally leads us to wonder if Widmore is purposefully filling Desmond’s head with the benefits of living the carefree single life, because as long as Des doesn’t meet Penny, he won’t ever go to the island. Eloise on the other hand may want Des to go to the island, even though she tries to intimidate him from pursuing “whatever it is he is looking for,” but doesn’t believe he’s ready for the challenge yet.
To demonstrate how much Widmore wants Desmond to believe he’s living the dream, he even offers to share his 60-year old McCutcheon Scotch with him. The very drink Desmond wasn’t fit to share in another timeline because he would never be a great man. Widmore offers up a toast to Desmond’s indispensability – as long as he doesn’t start schtupping his daughter anyway. “Nothing’s too good for you” expect my Penny.
Hobbit Pattern Baldness
Back on the SLU, Charlie’s looking a little balder then we remember. Immediately after being released from County, Charlie walks defiantly across the bustling Abbey Road-ish looking street with the absolute, and yet regrettable confidence that he’ll make it safely to the other side to Jax (possibly Jack’s) bar. I have no idea what the deer symbolizes, but I’m betting it’s something. Anyone?
Charlie doesn’t know Des, but he knows he’s part of the strangeness. He explains, without naming Claire that he met the love of his life during a near death experience, and he saw what “it” looked like. The “it” Charlie refers to is the truth. Charlie has known since the season opener that the SLU was all bullshit, and now he’s met another person he’s convinced that he can convince. Desmond though is not swayed by Charlie’s insistence they are living a lie, and dismisses his speech as so much passionate poetry from a talented but drug-addled rock star. He offers to take Charlie to the party or assures him his career will be over. Charlie pacifies his babysitter telling him, he doesn’t really see a choice, and Desmond responds with, the free will mantra, “There’s always a choice brotha.”
Not Penny’s Boat — Desmond’s Rental Car
And so the two leave the bar, but Charlie, who is either very annoyed that Desmond isn’t a bigger Drive Shaft fan, or wants his mate to “wake up” (as Rose hinted at to Jack on the plane ride home in the season opener) and proceeds to grab the wheel and plunge Desmond’s car into the same harbor Ben shot him in to.
This scene is obviously “mirrors” the turning point “Looking Glass” scene in which Desmond tries in vain to save the sarcastic bass player from drowning. This time, Des saves Charlie, but if Charlie is to be believed Des was far from saving the day. Charlie for his part looked quite serene as Desmond risked his own life to rescue the unhappy, unkillable rocker. Desmond is shaken by the experience but, he’s rattled more by his visions of “Not Penny’s Boat” than the fact that he almost died.
Back at the hospital, a doctor asks if he’s had hallucination. This again starts to stir something buried deep inside Desmond. Once again he’s asked if he’s carrying any metal, but this time he’s going in for an MRI and not to perform the functions of a human guinea pig (or white rabbit as the case may be.) With no friends or family to speak of, Lucky Des names his employer, Charles Widmore as his emergency contact. Within 30 seconds of the magnetic contact, Desmond flashes to his “real” life, hits the panic button and runs into Jack.
We Have to Stop Meeting Like This
These two are always bumping into each other — hospitals, stadiums, airplanes, secret subterranean isolation hatches. Very coincidental like. Before either of them can make the subconscious connection, the surprisingly speedy Heroin Hobbit is tear-assing through the hospital in nothing but his gown.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating. Water has always proved important to this show. From Widmore intentionally letting the water run when he was washing his hands in the bathroom, to the healing powers of the temple pool, to Locke blissfully allowing the rain to wash over him. It can’t be a fluke that Smlocke does not have the ability to fly over the water, though if water is so detrimental to Smlocke, I can’t figure out why one of the first things he did when he inhabited Locke’s form was walk out knee deep in the ocean…. Perhaps his watery limitations hadn’t completely kicked in again yet. Anyway, my point is Desmond first realized something was amiss when he was underwater with Charlie.
Charlie, for his part is pleased Desmond felt it, and implores him to stop chasing him, and start looking for Penny.
Desmond is still unconvinced, but is shaken enough by the possibility of this weirdness that he lets Charlie get away. This doesn’t please Charles Widmore all that much and Desmond is now forced to explain to the boss’ wife why Drive Shaft will not be performing at the gala. And now we brace ourselves for orders him to explain to Mrs. Widmore it’s only a bloody concert…. Brace yourselves for another unnecessary “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot.”
Seriously, Enough with the Unnecessary Reveals Already, Will Ya?
Mankowski subtley warns Des of Mrs. Widmore’s ball-busting abilities, and low and behold we are none to surprised to see GRILF, Eloise. Eloise is far more startled to see Desmond than we the audience are to see her, but she recovers nicely enough. Eloise has seen Desmond many times, in perhaps many different timelines. This makes Desmond kind of Neo-ish. “It’s about time we met.” Eloise says as she greets Des. It’s about time indeed. Time and Space.
Desmond leaves surprised he was not ripped a new one, when he is stopped in his tracks by the name on the guest list. Not only is Penny showing up stag to this shin dig, but her last name is Milton. As is John Milton, as in Paradise Lost an epic poem The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton’s purpose, stated in Book I, is to “justify the ways of God to men” and elucidate the conflict between God’s eternal foresight and free will. (Thanks again Wikipedia.)
Des asks to see the list, and suddenly we see Eloise bear her claws. She wants Des to stop looking. It’s a “violation” she declares without explaining of what. Reading between the lines, Eloise is warning Desmond to stop looking for love. She claims he has the perfect life and seems annoyed, and perhaps even slightly sorry, but Eloise has been down this road with Desmond many times before and quite frankly she’s had enough of him. Question. Is Eloise hell bent on stopping Desmond finding true love, or is she more concerned he is not equipped to take on the burden of such an undertaking?
Hot Freakin’ Day-um, Stop These Unnecessary Reveals
We all noticed the fedora wearing piano player from behind. Anyone care to place a wager on the identity of the ivory-tickling musician or should we wait until the “back-of-the-head-to-the-camera-then-turn-to-reveal-shot” that pays off a little later. (Hint, it’s not Daniel Faraday. Answer, it’s Daniel Widmore)
Here’s something that just dawned on me, and for my money was the best part of this episode because it provided an answer without actually telling us it was providing an answer. Now I’m not sure if anyone has ever posited this theory before, but it seems like a lead pipe cinch now that it was Daniel Faraday who programmed the musical combination in the Looking Glass that ended the interference jamming which allowed Penny to communicate with Charlie, and later in that episode as we all remember Charlie is seen placing his hand up to a window as he’s drowning… Hot Freakin’ Day-um! Who saw that one coming?
And Now a Word From Our Sponsor
In keeping with the spirit of this week’s show, I was a slightly and pleasantly freaked out by a series of three commercials that played back-to-back-to-back on at least my Los Angeles feed of this show.
First I was confronted with an Arm and Hammer Baking Soda ad that promised “You’ll never go Back.” The very next commercial (narrated in an Australian accent no less) was for Outback Steak House. They exclaimed, “It’s back!” And finally Wall Mart demonstrated they rolled “back” prices all on an episode that focused on getting “back” to reality.
Hmmm. Now that I read it, it doesn’t seem as freaky as it was when I first experienced it. Ok, “back” to the show.
Wanna Date My Sister?
And here’s where this episode went from great to Hot Freakin’ Day-um Extremely Great. Daniel Widmore (who’s reflection we see in the limo’s reflective window) starts to talk about the chocolate-loving love of his life without naming her. Freakier still, Daniel, a musician by trade, woke up and scribbled an elaborate quantum mechanics equation that contains the words “real time” and “imaginary time.” He also suspects that he released a nuclear bomb, AND he’s happy to let Desmond know where he can find the elusive Penny — his half sister. His exact words were “I can tell you exactly where and when you can find her.” I’m willing to bet Daniel’s not really referring to the stadium later that night, but rather 3 years later in another timeline.
If this is the scenario that should have never happened, it’s no wonder Eloise refused to let her young musically gifted son Daniel to practice the piano when he was a boy. Eloise knew that Daniel wouldn’t do anybody any good when it came time for the battle of good vs. evil.
Charles in Charge
I’m thinking now that Eloise and Charles may well be on the same team too, but the Charles who is currently on the island is trying to clean up the mess he now feels responsible for. A mess he wouldn’t have gotten into if he hadn’t been kicked off the island by Ben for breaking some island rule and impregnating some off-island woman (surname Milton) who gave birth to Penny. Charles has been trying to make things right ever since, and this would explain his disgust with Ben (he knows Ben was not equipped to run the island) and his strained relationship with the woman who may very well have been the love of his life (Eloise.)
In a scene that has to rank second as most touching LOST scene, Des and Penny (re)connect at the same stadium they once met in another universe. Desmond is gobsmacked, and Penny is feeling it too. Des wakes up and announces to Widmore he can’t wait to start to make his contribution. But at what cost? Will Desmond have to die in order to assure his wife and child do not end up in Hell?
And so as Happy Des and Liz Lemon are traipsing through the jungle, out comes Sayid, snapping necks and pointing guns. Desmond knows Sayid, and has fought alongside Sayid, but instinctively he realizes this is not the Sayid he knew. Still Des plays it cool, and inside the limo in a timeline far, far away, Desmond has a plan. Get the manifest. Hot Freakin’ Day-um!
Until Next Week
So until next week, fire up your Hi-Def TV, (Imperative if you’re trying to differentiate between two very similar scale paintings.) make sure you hit the record function on your TiVo, (To double what Daniel Faraday/Widmore is jotting down) keep your laptop nearby, (For info on John Updike’s Rabbit novels) load up that bong, (For some of us, LOST isn’t our only drug of choice.) and get ready to get LOST.
Wanna read about guys hunting hot naked girls with paint guns? Of course you do. Check out this story that was left out of Joe Oesterle’s book, “Weird Las Vegas.”