Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Variable

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we all had big expectations from the 100th episode. As usual, Lost did not let us down. There was action, a little comedy, lots o’ mystery, tragedy and some mighty powerful revelations.

In “The Variables,” we follow three story lines: Penny and Desmond, Daniel's life before the island and the island in 1977, all of which center around the story of Daniel Farraday. Daniel initially showed up on the island with questionable intent, but he has become a pivotal character in the Lost universe. I, for one, have long had a soft spot for Danny boy, from his tragic love for Charlotte to his all too familiar habit of writing in and referring to his journal.

One of last episode’s big cliffhangers was Scottish hottie Desmond’s fate after being shot by Benjamin “I’m going to kill your daughter but I'm a softie for kids” Linus. The show opens with Desmond being rushed into the hospital on a gurney while Penny and baby Charlie run alongside. The tears, they are aflowin’.

Later, as Penny sits in the waiting room, Eloise Hawking comes walking into the room. When this lady comes a calling, you know there’s going to be trouble. She tells Penny that it may be her son’s fault that Desmond was shot. Benjamin Linus is your son!? Penny exclaims. (I said the same thing in my head!) Oh heavens no, says Eloise, my son is Daniel Farraday. Cue the scary music.

Back on the island, circa 1977, we watch as Dharma folk emerge from the submarine. Who should poke out his head asking for a little help but our own Daniel Farraday. “Long time, no see” he says to a stunned Miles. Miles asks why he’s back and Daniel shows him the new recruit picture featuring the beloved Hurley, Kate and Jack. "Make haste! Take me to Jack!" Daniel exclaims.

Daniel bursts in on Jack, but first we are treated to a quick shot of Mr. Fox’s impeccable pecs. Mmmm. Why did you come back, Jack?! Yo mama. My mama what? Yo mama tole me to. Well, I’ve got news for you, you don’t belong here.

Now we flash forward, erm, backward to little Daniel playing a piano. Young(er) Eloise walks in and asks him if he knows what destiny means. No, I’m just a kid. Sheesh. Well, if one has a special gift, then it must be nurtured, she explains. She asks him how many beats on the metronome since he began playing. 864, he replies. (4 and 8? Hmm.) Math is your gift and it is my job to keep you on task, she tells him, and that means you’ll have to give up the piano. I can do both, I can make time, he says. If only you could.

Back on the island, Jack pays a visit to the Sawyer/Juliet abode while Miles and Farraday “run an errand” but Jack nearly gets the door shut in his face by Sawyer before Juliet steps in. I think we all know who wears the Dharma coveralls in that relationship. Sawyer explains that wormy security guy Phil has a tape of Sawyer and Kate taking Ben to the hostiles. Where’s Phil, Jack asks. Sawyer leads him to the closet where we find Phil, bound and gagged on the floor, looking a little less than pleased with his accommodations.

Meanwhile, Miles and Farraday sit in a Jeep outside the Orchid. When Dr. Chang drives up, Daniel follows him into the construction site. We hear Dr. Chang say “If you drill even one centimeter further, you risk releasing that energy. If that happened, then God help us all.”

Daniel puts on a hard hat and sneaks in to the tunnel where he sees a man being carried out on a stretcher. Would that be the fellow with the extremely unfortunate dental work? A worker says to Daniel “Did you hear that? Time travel. How stupid does that guy think we are?”

Daniel introduces himself and tries to convince Dr. Chang that he needs to evacuate the island because they are about to be rocked by an explosion with 30,000 times the power of what they’ve seen underground. When Dr. Chang is not convinced, Daniel resorts to telling him the truth: I’m from the future. Hey, it worked for Marty McFly. Sadly, Doc Chang is not as easily convinced as Doc Brown.

Daniel follows him out. To prove himself, he asks Chang to look at his equations, some of which won’t be discovered for 20 years. Miles sees what’s going down and comes over to say that Daniel had too many drugs on the sub. Daniel then drops the bomb: Miles is your son. I was secretly hoping that Miles would say it was true and we would have a tearful father-son moment, but Miles denies it. Dr. Chang hops into the robin egg VW van and puttputts off. Miles asks Daniel what he is doing and the response is typical Farraday/Hawking mysteriousness “You’ll see.”

We now visit Daniel at his graduation, where he throws about his long wavy locks and canoodles with the doomed Theresa. Eloise walks up and invites him (and only him) to lunch. Once seated at the Indian restaurant (Love me some Tandoori Chicken!), Daniel complains about the way she treated his girlfriend. She tells him he needs to be focusing on work, he doesn’t have time for relationships. The women in his life will only be terribly hurt. Is she trying to spare her son some of the pain of losing Theresa in the lab accident? As the discussion becomes more heated, he reveals that he has just received a 1.5 million pound grant from Charles Widmore. Before she leaves, she says she only came to congratulate him and gives him a gift. It’s the journal we see him looking in so often. The inscription says, “No matter what, remember that I will always love you.”

We return to Daniel’s living room. He’s clearly a shell of the man he used to be (or will become again on the island). He’s watching television news footage of the flight 815 airplane on the ocean floor. There’s a knock at the door and Charles Widmore enters the room. Daniel says he has a condition that affects his memory and he doesn’t recognize him. When Charles tells him his name, Daniel recognizes it from the research grant. As Charles sits down, he moves a Wired magazine with the subtitle “The Impossible Gets Real.” To which I say, INDEED.

Charles says he has come to offer him a new opportunity, but Daniel is distracted by the images of the plane crash. Then Charles comes clean: it’s a fake and I did it. He wants to send Daniel to the island, saying it will further his research and show him things he never dreamed of. More importantly, it will heal him. Charles says he wants to do this because Daniel is a man of tremendous gifts and it would be a shame to let them go to waste. Daniel remarks that he sounds like his mother. Charles says it is because they are old friends. Little did we know how good of friends they used to be, though.

Back in Sawyer’s cabin, Daniel is doing his best to convince Sawyer to show him where the hostiles are so he can find his mom. Jack is on board but Sawyer resists and Juliet seems to be on his side until he calls Kate Freckles. Nobody likes to hear their main squeeze call his old flame their pet name and Juliet is no exception. She turns to Kate and volunteers the code to the fence. With the code in hand, Jack, Kate and Daniel head off into the forest to find Eloise while the rest of the group plan to go back to the beach. As they are leaving, Sawyer grabs a tearful Juliet’s hand and says “Time to go.” So much in just three words. It is the end of their life together on the island and the beginning of an uncertain future that may or may not have the two of them together.

On their way, Daniel sees young Charlotte on a swing. As he approaches, she tells him she’s not allowed to have chocolate before dinner. Ah, the deliciousness of Lost, those were Charlotte’s dying words. He tells her that Dr. Chang will be coming and she and her mommy have to leave. He says “You cannot be here. You have to leave. I tried to avoid telling you this. I didn’t think I could change things, but maybe I can.”

Jack, Kate and Daniel encounter the very cranky and badly coiffed Stuart and some Dharma lackeys as they are getting guns from the Motor Pool. A firefight ensues, old west style, and Daniel is shot in the neck. Jack does the old "fuel canister explosion as diversion" so they can escape. As they drive off, Stuart yells out "Sound the alarm."

Back in his living room, Daniel stumbles in his attempt to play the piano. Eloise walks in and says she heard that he had been offered a job and that it is very important that he accept this opportunity. Now, we had some inclination that Daniel was a momma’s boy, but when he says he’ll do it only after she says it will make her proud, we know for sure.

Jack, Kate and Daniel drive up to the sound barrier and Kate disarms it as Jack treats Daniel’s neck wound. It's just a flesh wound. (Said with British accent.) Daniel says “I guess I’m lucky” Jack asks what luck had to do with it? He thought Daniel said whatever happened, happened? But Daniel squashes that, telling him that this is their present, any one of us can die. That right there is what we call foreshadowing.

As they collect water in a stream, we finally learn the reason Desmond had to punch in those numbers all those years. In four hours, the Dharma guys will drill into a massive pocket of energy and the result will be catastrophic. They will contain the energy in the Swan, otherwise known as “the hatch.” Decades later, when Desmond fails to press the button, it causes the plane to crash and thus the entire chain of events that led to them all being there now.

Here we finally get to the crux of the issue. All along Daniel thought that you can’t change the past. But he spent so much time focusing on the constants that he forgot the variable: PEOPLE. People can change their destiny. He thinks they can destroy the energy under the island by detonating a hydrogen bomb.

We return to the hospital, where Eloise is telling Penny that she’s not sure if Desmond will be okay, that it is the first time in a long time that she didn’t know what was going to happen. A nurse comes out and says that Desmond is in a recovery room and is asking for her. When she goes in, he says “I promised you, Penny, I’d never leave you again.” Now that is love, my friends.

As Eloise walks out of the hospital, Charles Widmore steps out of the shadows. Eloise tells him that Desmond is fine and he should go see his daugher. He says he can't go in because he sacrificed his relationship with her. Eloise cuts him off to say, “don’t talk about sacrifice, I had to send my son back to the island knowing full well that…” Whaaaat?? Charles says, “He’s my son, too.” She slaps him and gets into the cab. Well, hello. Now we know why Charles has been so interested in him all these years.

Daniel walks into the Other camp, guns ablazing, asking for Eloise. Richard plays it cool and says she isn’t there. Daniel asks about the bomb, but still Richard holds out. Daniel begins the time honored tradition of counting to three.

At the count of two, a shot rings out and blood shows up on Daniel’s chest.

Behind him we see Eloise with a rifle in her hands. As she rushes up, Daniel says, “You knew, you always knew, and yet you sent me here anyway.” She asks who he is. I’m your son, he says, and then he goes still.


Best Lines of the Show

Miles: (When Jack looks to him to explain Farraday’s presence.) Don’t look at me, I just carried his luggage.

Sawyer: (To Daniel) Welcome to the meeting, twitchy.

Hurley: You guys were in 1954, like Fonzie times?

Jack: Insane? We disappeared off a plane in midair and ended up in 1977, I’m getting kind of used to insane.

Let's Get Sussing!
  1. Had Eloise just returned from the island where she killed Daniel when she asks him about destiny?
  2. Is the name of the salvage boat, the Christianne One, significant?
  3. Why doesn't Daniel have either Eloise's or Charles' last name?
  4. Has Eloise traveled through time? Is that how she knows everything?
  5. Why is Daniel so troubled by the plane crash on the television?
  6. Is Daniel really dead?


Shannon said...

Woo hoo! Great job on the recap, Cara... you rocked it!

This episode did not disappoint... it was chock full o' meaty goodness! I may have said a four-letter word out loud once during the hour. OK... maybe twice.

As much as it pains me to say it... I'm going with Daniel being a goner for good {sniff, sniff} The scene with Dan & Charlotte was heartbreaking!

I hate that Juliet has become such a downer when it comes to her and Sawyer... that she doesn't believe him when it comes to their relationship.

I don't know about Daniel's plan to change what happened... if flight 815 never crashes on the island...
the bad stuff would never have happened... but the good stuff wouldn't happen, too. Claire was going to Los Angeles to give up her baby... Sun was on the verge of leaving Jin, which would mean she wouldn't get pregnant with their daughter...
I don't know... just seems like you have to look at both sides of the coin on this one...

That's all I got for now...

The Royal Family said...

just my thoughts.
1. Good question
2. Not sure
3. long story
4. I just thought she had that gift since people happen to have "gifts"
on the island
5. hmmmmm
6. I hope not...

So as you can tell i'm confussed and wouldn't have even thought of those questions.

Thanks for the recap

Shannon said...

"That right there is what we call foreshadowing."

Brilliant, Cara... BRILL.

piecemeal people said...

OK. I don't know the answer to any of those questions. But I do have another one to throw on the pile, and I'm hoping someone else understands this time-travel junk better than I do.

Daniel tells Jack that if they can set off the hydrogen bomb and destroy the energy, then the entire chain of events that brought the 815ers to the island will not happen. But didn't Daniel ALSO tell Jack, "THIS is our present?" So doesn't that mean that the crash of Flight 815 was actually in their past, and living on the island as Dharma folks is their present? And if that's the case, and they destroy the energy and prevent all that trouble (on which next week's episode seems completely focused), where does that leave Jack, Kate, Hurley, etc.? 1977 is their present, so won't they still just be on the island in 1977?

Ow, my head. Is this making any sense?

CaraBee said...

Piecemeal People - Daniel's logic that he can stop the plane crash is certainly flawed. You can't change the past, right? I don't care how many VARIABLES are involved. There's also the little business of if they don't crash on the island then they won't wind up there to drop the bomb. It just doesn't work. Methinks Daniel was a tad addled.

piecemeal people said...

I know. It's just blowing my mind. Jack seemed pretty hell-bent on moving forward with Daniel's plan, though, in the scenes from next week's episode. And all I can think is, OK. So Jack and Kate detonate the bomb. Now what? Somehow get back to the year they got on the Oceanic flight (2005?) and just head to LA as previously planned? And why isn't Kate going, "Uh, no thanks! I was headed for the pokey!" ?!?

Lula! said...


I left THE longest comment here on Friday. From my phone. It is not here.


OK, will come back and say it all again...later. After I reiterate that Cara is so hardcore with this recap. Seriously, girl--you are all kinds of WIN with this one.

My favorite part? "That right there is what we call foreshadowing..." Brilliant. Hilarious.

FROGGITY! said...

this may be my favorite episode ever!!! just had to say that. it's up there with the constant (ironic? i think not.); live together, die alone; and cabin fever... oh heck... i think this season has been A-MAZ-ING. excited about the next two weeks... but what am i going to DO for 9 more months while i am waiting for season 6?!! have a friggin baby?!! hmmm... maybe... i'll think about that. ;)

Michelle said...

I'm so late to this post

1. Had Eloise just returned from the island where she killed Daniel when she asks him about destiny?
I don't think she gave birth to Daniel on the island, b/c Miles and Charlotte were born there and experienced nose bleeds with the flashing, but Dan didn't. Charlotte's were worse b/c she was on the island until she was (Im guessing at this) about 4-5 yrs old, and Miles leaves when he's only a baby.

2. Is the name of the salvage boat, the Christianne One, significant?
I didn't notice a salvage I blonde or what?

3. Why doesn't Daniel have either Eloise's or Charles' last name?
OMG I never really realized that, I knew Dan would end up being Charles' son (thats just about the only theory I've been right about this season)Penny will never meet her half brother.

4. Has Eloise traveled through time? Is that how she knows everything?
I think she ends up with Dan's journal and thats how she knows everything. including - giving him the journal in the first place

5. Why is Daniel so troubled by the plane crash on the television?
Good question, thats been bugging me actually, b/c Charlotte and Miles didn't react that way

6. Is Daniel really dead?
alas, I think so, so sad. I wish he weren't.

He knew his mother was a bad ass back in the day, but did he really think walking in guns a blazin was the best way to approach them?

WHY didn't Richard recognize Dan? He held Dan, Miles and Charlotte hostage for a little while in 54, and Ellie should have recognized him as the guy who helped bury the bomb, Richard should have known who he was. Richard recognizes John Locke throughout the years, why not Dan?

ps. I was so worried that the President's Press Conference was going to spill into Lost! Thanks Prez for keepin it down to an hour!

Michelle said...

I gotta agree with FROGGITY! The Constant and The Variable are two of my all time fave Lost epi's.

Piecemeal people - I totally thought the same thing about Kate bein on her way to the slammer.

It also means (on top of Jin/Sun's baby not being born, and Aaron being put up for adoption) - Rose would have died of cancer, Hurley would still be in a mental instit., Charlie would have OD'd on drugs, John would still be paralyzed, Juliet would still be enslaved to Ben on the island, Kate would go to jail, and Sawyer would be on the run. (Maybe Ben would have died from that spine tumor thingy Jack operated on)

BUT - Michael, Libby, Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko, Shannon, Boone, Alex, Danielle, Daniel, and Charlotte amongst others (ha ha get it? Others. Goodwin, Ethan etc) would still be alive.

CaraBee said...

My reasoning behind the first question was that Daniel looks to be older than 30, which is how old he would have to be to have been born after he was shot in 1977. He looks like he's about the right age to have been 8 or 9 in 1977. Perhaps Eloise came and went from the island, leaving Daniel at home. After realizing that she had shot her son, but that it had to happen, she went home and began him on the course that would ultimately lead him to the island.

Does that make sense?

Nicole said...

Daniel is definitely dead. I think Eloise in the past somehow gets a hold of Daniel's diary and reads it - that is how she knows everything.

We need to look into the significance of the name 'Faraday.' Does that mean anything? Hmmm....