'Lost' - 'Happily Ever After' Recap
by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 7th 2010 3:07AM
(S06E10) Knowing this was a Desmond-centric episode, I expected us to take a major step forward in understanding the beta-verse, perhaps even experiencing it in a whole new way. Ever since the explosion at the hatch, Desmond seems to experience everything a little differently, and he's always there with his finger on the truth, even if he has no idea what that truth was.
Parallels between alpha- and beta- were running rampant throughout this episode. Fisher Stevens even returned in the beta-verse, to serve as Desmond's guide as he did once before, when Desmond was trapped in time. We got beta-appearances by Charlie, Daniel Faraday, Charles Widmore and even Eloise Hawking. Every encounter was a further step toward confusion and understanding.
Just like Richard's episode last week, we spent hardly any time in the alpha-verse, but this time I suspect it was because Desmond spent most of the episode in the beta-verse. And by Desmond, I mean alpha-Desmond. He wasn't fully in control of beta-Desmond, but I think he was hitching a ride in his consciousness or something. Either that or he came out of that massive EM field stoned out of his gourd.
There's nobody in the world of 'Lost' like Desmond Hume, and Charles Widmore knows well enough to see that. He either had a lot of faith that Desmond would survive that, or he had a back-up plan in case he didn't. While I was a lot more understanding of Desmond's softening toward Charles, considering what I believe he'd just experienced in the beta-verse, his happy complacency in the face of Sayid's attack, and smiling compliance were a little odd. Perhaps he knows more even than what we've been shown as to what's going on.
The lion's share of the episode was spent in the beta-verse, with beta-Desmond having close encounters all over Flight 815. The difference is that these encounters went beyond the knowing-but-confused glances many of them have shared in previous episodes.
It started with Charlie, who clearly tapped into the alpha-verse during his near-death experience on the plane. He triggered a similar experience in the car with Desmond, leading to the "holy crap!" moment of the night, when the underwater scene suddenly mimicked and then flashed to Charlie's death. "Not Penny's boat" revealed that in the beta-verse, Desmond may have won over the affection of Penny's father, but he never even met her.
It's a tragedy to think of the love that transcended all of time and space didn't come to pass at all in the beta-verse. Things got even more hinky when Desmond met up with Eloise, who told him to stop pursuing whatever he was pursuing. She chastised him, telling him that he'd already gotten what he always wanted: Charles' love and approval.
That ties right into everything we've been seeing in these beta-lives. The characters are living lives which seem to have gone better for them, but could it be that they've just gotten their deepest desires satisfied, even if it didn't necessarily come true the way they wanted? Sayid wanted his love to be safe, and she was. She just wasn't with him. Desmond wanted Charles' approval in the alpha-verse so he could be seen as good enough for Penny. He got that approval here, but no Penny.
Locke apparently got the love of his father somewhere along the way, and even got the girl. Kate got away, which seems to be always what she's looking for, while James found a more positive way to pursue his grand vengeance scheme. Claire got to keep the baby, while Charlie ... well, Charlie's always been a bit of an odd bird. Even Sun and Jin traded in a marriage without love, for a secret (or so they thought) love affair in the beta-verse.
Now, however, it looks like the beta-verse is starting to fracture. Beta-Faraday is a musician, but after a close encounter with Charlotte, which triggered because of alpha-Faraday's deep love for her, he suddenly was writing quantum physics. For the first time, someone in the beta-verse came out and said what the alpha-verse players had done. Faraday thinks he already set off a nuclear bomb (actually, Juliet ultimately triggered it) and the lives they're leading now in the beta-verse is a reaction to that, but it's not their true lives.
So let's consider a twist on the old theory that all of these flash-sideways take place after the closing moments of the season finale. What if the entire flash-sideways reality takes place before the opening scenes in the alpha-verse. As Juliet indicated, setting off the bomb did work, but that turned out to be the wrong thing to do. It may have to do with Jacob and the Man in Black somehow, but maybe the beta-verse just wasn't meant to be.
Desmond knows something, or thinks he does, because he wants to bring together everyone from Flight 815 to show them something. I don't know if he wants to almost kill them all so they can see that something isn't right, or if he's piecing things together even more than what we've seen.
I was just glad to see him hook back up with Penny at the stadium, even if it is several years later than their alpha-counterparts. Desmond without the love of Penny just seems empty, brother. Like he's only half the man he's supposed to be.
I feel like we've reached a turning point with the beta-verse stories. Up to now, they've been mostly fun little diversions into what could have been for these characters had their lives taken slightly different paths. I have a feeling that from this point forward, we're going to start seeing what it all means, and these stories are going to start connecting toward something ... though I have no idea what that something might be.
Maybe, now that beta-Hurley is lucky, successful and powerful, next week's episode focusing on him will shed some more light on how everything connects.
[Connect the dots yourself with clips and full episodes of 'Lost' over at SlashControl.]
-- "So now there are stakes to the sideways stories. Desmond exists in both realities, and is working a plan in both. Now we know that the sideways world is tied to the one we know, and that it needs to be stopped -- that, like the Oceanic Six had to go back to the island, all of the important Oceanic 815 passengers have to accept that this is not their beautiful house, their beautiful wife, etc." [New Jersey Star-Ledger]
-- "I'm wondering if Desmond is now operating in both universes using his Island consciousness. The sly grin that spread across his lips when Minkowski agreed to procure the 815 manifest would suggest that he is about to hit all the castaways upside their displaced heads with some truth." [Inside Pulse TV]
-- "I think it's reasonable to assume that the Charles Widmore on the Island thinks in his heart of hearts that he's the good guy here, operating for once out of something approximating selflessness." [Zap2It]
-- "A couple weeks ago, after I got a little intel on tonight's episode, I floated the following theory to Damon: "Is it safe to say that at its very core Lost is a love story?" Damon replied: "You are the very first person ever to get the meaning of the show. Yes. It is a love story. Always has been... always will be." [E! Online]