Perhaps I'm easy, but I am not cheap. "Happily Ever After" gets an A+ from me, for both reasons, or neither. Who knows. Look, it gets my A+ because I'm an incurable romantic and no Lost love story has pushed my 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42s as well and thoroughly as that of Penny and Desmond, so let's get right to it.
Island Reality: When Desmond wakes up and finds out he's not in an L.A. hospital with his lovely wife and son by his side, he beats the crap out of Charles Widmore with an I.V. pole and the fans go wild! Des demands to be returned to his real life, but Charles tells him, "I can't take you back. The island isn't done with you yet." Why, Island? Why? Don't you believe in love? Charles orders Zoe and the Widmorons to run "the test" now, even though they insist it is ahead of "schedule." Yeah? So was nabbing Jin, which forced Charles' early confrontation with Faucke; deal with it, Widmorons. While an albino bunny, Angstrom (or perhaps Updike's Angstrom, but my money's on the former) looks on, the Widmorons test their magical generator, and when it fails, the red shirt of the week, Guy Fried, goes out to the shed to investigate. Let's bid him a fond adieu. Crackle crackle sizzle sizz. My 11-year-old is still hung up on the caged rabbit, though. "Mommy, these writers have Daddy Issues and Bunny Issues." Baby McWord.
Charles Widmore doesn't give a hoot about the late Guy Fried. He just wants Desmond to walk into the same chamber where Guy Fried got fried. The Widmorons tie Des to a chair, make sure he has no metal of any kind on him, and then Charles blathers about how he hates to force this on Des, but once it's over, he's going to ask him to make a sacrifice. The boys bicker about sacrifice, but Widmore wins. His son died. His daughter hates him. He hasn't met his grandson. If Des doesn't help him, it will all be for nothing, and Penny and wee Charlie Hume, and everyone else will be gone forever.
The Widmorons leave Des in the shed, with a magical, electro-magnetic donut, where he struggles his way out of his bonds. As Charles and the Widmorons watch on a monitor, Jin demands an explanation. Charles tells him that Des is the only person in the world to have survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event
akin to Smokey. Chuckles needs to know Des can do it again, or everyone dies. He orders the Widmorons to "turn it on." Baby-Face hits the switch, and once everything is running at full power, Widmore operates the gears. The gigantic, magical electro-magnetic donut glows. Des faces it down. "Let me out, you bastards!" The Gauss meter goes off the scale. Scott asks if Dean and Sam know about this super-duper EMF meter, and we flash to the...
Sideways Reality; Just After Oceanic Flight 815 Lands: Des runs into Hurley (who tells him their bags are on carousel 4) and Claire (he tells her she's expecting a boy) in the airport. Next, Desmond's driver, George Minkowski (Fisher Stevens) meets him and offers to get him anything he wants while he's in L.A. -- including lovely ladies of questionable repute, but Des just wants to go to the office and see his boss -- WHO IS CHARLES FRICKING WIDMORE. Sideways Des is Widmore's righthand man, and Chuckles has a job for our laddie. Des must pick up junkie Charlie Pace from the airport courthouse, where he's been held on drug charges, because Charlie and his band, Driveshaft, are to play at a charity gig arranged by Charles Widmore's wife. It seems their son, a classical musician, has conceived of this concert that combines classical music with rock-n-roll. Before Des leaves, Widmore pours him a generous shot of MacCutcheon's. "A drink to celebrate your indispensability... Nothing's too good for you." I'ma get a tissue for my bloody nose, give me a moment.
Des meets Charlie Pace, who is either batshit insane, or a one-eyed chick in the land of the blind. He starts talking to Des about spectacular, consciousness-ending love. He encountered it, on the plane from Sydney. Seems he felt he was made by Kate's Marshal, so he ducked into the loo and swallowed his bag of heroin, but just then, the plane hit some massive turbulence. Charlie inadvertently choked. And in that moment, after everything went dark, he saw this beautiful blonde woman and just knew they were together, like they've always been and always will be. Just as he was engulfed in love, he woke to find this sodding idiot (Hi, Jack, I still love you) asking him if he was okay. When Des mocks, "Well, that's just poetry brother; you should write a song about that," Charlie protests that he's now seen something real.
As Desmond drives, Charlie tells him that he feels sorry for him, since he hasn't seen what's really real. "I can either show you what I'm talking about it, or you can get out of the car." Before Des can give due consideration to his choices, Charlie grabs the wheel and drives them off the pier and right into the water. As the car fills up, a conscious Des tries to rescue an unconscious Charlie. When it doesn't work, he swims to the top, takes a breath, and goes back under. When Des knocks on Charlie's window, Charlie holds up his hand. It's clean at first, but suddenly, it reads, "NOT PENNY'S BOAT." Then it's clean, again. Des gets Charlie out, and brings him to the pier, where they wait for help.
Sideways St. Sebastian's Hospital a.k.a. The Only Hospital in L.A.: The staff wants to do an MRI on Des, but when they start this electro-magnetic laden test, he has more visions of Penny and knows he has to find Charlie Pace ASAP, so he pushes the
fail safe panic button, and ends the test. No one will give Des any information on Charlie Pace, since he's not family. But then, Dr. Jack Shephard appears. Des recognizes him from Oceanic 815, and tries to hit Jack up for some intel, but before Jack has to decide whether or not he should run afoul of HIPAA, Charlie runs through the halls. Des chases after him, but never says, "At least get some pants, brothah." Once he catches Charlie, Desmond demands to see his hands. "NOT PENNY'S BOAT," is not on either one, but Desmond's desperation is enough to clue Charlie in on the fact that his plan worked. Desmond's near-death experience showed him his really truly true reality and soul-scorching love, too.
Later, Desmond reports to a nearly unforgiving Widmore that Pace is a no-go for the Mrs. and young Master Widmore's classical music/rock extravaganza. Widmore tells Des he gets the pleasure of telling the less than understanding Mrs. Widmore that her event is a bust. Des mans up, and does just that. Mrs. Widmore is none other than Eloise Hawking, and she's totally fine (or pretends to be) with Desmond's disappointing news. On his way out of the venue, Des overhears some employees reading off the approved guest list. The name Penny Milton is the one that catches his ear, but the previously oh-so-cool Madame Widmore won't let Des find out one detail about Ms.
Paradise Lost Milton. She runs him off, telling him that what he's doing is a violation, and he needs to stop. "You're not ready yet, Desmond."
Back at the limo, George has booze waiting for a disconcerted Desmond, but before he can put away a significant amount, the musician-son of Mr. Charles and Mrs. Eloise (née Hawking) Widmore knocks on the limo window. Another hopeless romantic, Daniel
Faraday Widmore just recently saw the love of his life -- a striking redhead with brilliant blue eyes (eating chocolate, probably before dinner), who works at the museum. I hope he doesn't mind James Ford's sloppy seconds. Anyhow, when Daniel saw her (Charlotte), that's when things got weird. That night, he fell asleep and then woke and had to write all these hi-tech equations. As a mere musician, Daniel couldn't make them out, but a friend at Cal-Tech told him they were quantum mechanics stuff of which lifelong physicists only dream. "What if all this wasn't supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason we changed things... I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb, Mr. Hume.... I think I already did." Their conversation turns to Penny, who Desmond dismisses as just an idea. Daniel says, "No, Mr. Hume. She's my half-sister. And I can tell you exactly where and when you can find her."
Des finds Penny running the steps at the stadium, where -- a lifetime ago -- she once found him, and in which -- another lifetime ago -- Des once found Jack. Des introduces himself and strikes up a conversation. They shake hands and we cut to...
Hydra Island: Des wakes up in the room looking at the hand Penny just shook in the other reality. He's okay and has been unconscious for only a few seconds. Charles wants to make his sales pitch, but Desmond already understands. "You brought me here to the island to do something very important. When do we start?"
As Zoe and the Widmorons move Des through the jungle, they're accosted by Sayid, who makes quick work of the men and orders Zoe to run. Once they're alone, Sayid tells Des that the Widmorons are extremely dangerous. "We need to go, now." Des, as relaxed as he was during his last conversation with Widmore, says, "Aye, of course. Lead the way."
Sideways: Desmond wakes; when he and Penny touched hands, he fainted. Awww. Once he's back on his feet, they make a date to have coffee on the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose. She's totally feeling it, too. Once she's gone, Des exhales and returns to his limo, and to George, who asks, "So, did you find what you were looking for?" Des smiles. "Yes, George, I did. Corner of Melrose and Sweetzer, please." George: "You got it, and if there's anything else I can do for you, Mr. Hume, you just name it." Desmond leans forward. "Actually, there is one thing, George. Can you get me the manifest from my flight from Sydney -- Oceanic 815 -- just the names of the passengers?" George: "Sure, I can. Do you mind if I ask what you need it for?" Des sits back. "I just need to show them something." DUN! Bad robot.
Well, the realities are bleeding into one another fast and furious, now. For those of you who are keeping track of such things, Sideways Desmond caught a glimpse of his reflection in a door window. There were some glorious parallels between Desmond of seasons past and his Sideways counterparts, and some spiffy anti-parallels, too. At the end of the day, though, this episode worked because, despite how long we spent in the Sideways 'verse, it was character-driven, and driven by characters who have captured our hearts.
I'm starting the full recap now, so until then, please join us in the forums, where we seldom test you with electro-magnetism.
There is no "Previously, on Lost," sequence this week, so I'll take this opportunity to note that I completely screwed myself six ways from Sunday, by writing such a long, detailed recaplet. If I were writing for my own site, I'd just say, "Look, there's no full recap this week, because the recaplet was recap enough." I hope this one works for you, for me, and for Tubey. You ready? Okay.
Hydra Island; Camp Widmore: Desmond wakes in the Hydra Island medical station, after Zoe gives him a shot to counteract the effects of three days worth of sedation. Right now, three days of sedation sounds better than three days vacation, but that's my life, not Desmond's. Gee, Zoe has awfully blue eyes. What if she's David Shephard's mother? After all, the former Mrs. Jack was just recently out of town. Of course that was in 2004 in the Sideways Reality, so I guess 'recently' doesn't apply to the Island, where, it's 2007 (or even 2008). I don't think I like this theory anyhow. I want Jack's ex to be someone who has always been significant to the Jack we've known these past six seasons.
ANYhow, Zoe explains that Des isn't in the hospital -- that he had to be moved. She wisely omits the where of it all, so Desmond demands to see Penny. Charles Widmore appears, tells Zoe he'll take it from here, and informs Des that he can't possibly see Penny right now. Charles reminds Des he was shot by Ben Linus and assures him that Penny and wee Charlie Hume are safe. And then? He tells Des where he is? Upon learning he's been brought back to Craphole (actually, Craphole-Adjacent) Desmond beats the shite out of Widmore with an I.V. pole. Hurrah! Two random Widmorons pull a screaming and kicking Des off of Widmore, as Widmore cautions them to be careful with Des. When Desmond orders Charles to take him back, Charles says he can't. "The island isn't done with you, yet." A reality away, Eloise Hawking points and laughs.
Out in the corridor, Jin asks Widmore why Desmond is there. Charles says it's easier to show than tell him. He instructs Zoe to take Jin to the generator room. "I'll be along with Hume, so we can start the test." Zoe argues that the test isn't scheduled 'til tomorrow. Charles knows when it's scheduled, but orders her to ready everything now. I can't help but think of when she grabbed Jin early, which prompted Widmore to have to meet up with Faucke early. Last week, I couldn't decide if there was a continuity/timeline error between Sayid's episode, and Jin and Sun's. Details are here. I'm now much closer to sure that there was no error. It seems that events in one reality are having a ripple effect on the other reality. The Sideways Reality is bleeding into the Craphole Reality, and vice versa. You'll see what I mean.
There's a trouble with a technical whatzit, so Baby Face sends RedShirt Simmons (frequent Lost stunt double John Arthur) out to the shed to check the circuits on the solenoids. Once RedShirt is gone, Baby Face leans in toward a cage and addresses its occupant, an albino bunny named Angstrom (or perhaps Updike's Angstrom, but my money's on the former). "Guess what, Angstrom. You're going in there, next." My 11-year-old interrupts, even though she knows that means death, to say, "Mommy, these writers have Daddy Issues and Bunny Issues." Out of the mouths of babes. Anyhow, while RedShirt is out in the shed, fooling with a ginormous electro-magnetic donut thing, back in the generator room, a Widmoron finds a bad breaker, and fixes it. He turns it on before Zoe and Baby Face can stop him. On the monitors they watch as Poor RedShirt Simmons snaps, crackles and pops. Zoe, Baby Face and Jin run out to the shed, but it's too late. RedShirt Simmons has sizzled to a crisp, and is forever memorialized in the TWoP recaplet (that's more of a recap) as Guy Fried.
Just then Chuckles walks up to the shed. If he sees Guy Fried, he doesn't let that harsh his mellow. "Zoe, are we ready?" Desmond, being restrained just behind Chuckles, struggles and shouts. Title Card.
The Widmorons drag Guy Fried out of the shed. Widmore stops them so he can examine the latest in a long line of sacrifices required by Craphole (and now, apparently, Craphole-Adjacent). Chuckles seems more bitterly resigned than indifferent to Guy Fried's fate. Once he's gotten an eyeful, Widmore covers the corpse back up and instructs his lackeys to take it away and bring Desmond inside the Shock Shed. Desmond fights his captors, but he's outmanned. They strap him into a chair, and make sure he has no metal on him (keys, chains). I've yet to see a pair of jeans that doesn't have a metal zipper in the fly. Now it's dark, but it looks to me like Des is wearing jeans.
Once Des is all tied up, Charles says that he knows how this looks, but if everything he's been told about Des is true, then Des will be fine. He hates to resort to forcing this "test" on Desmond. "But once it's over, I am going to ask you to make a sacrifice, and I hope for all our sakes you'll help me." Des asks Widmore what the bloody hell he knows about sacrifice. Widmore: "My son died here, for the sake of this island. Your wife -- my own daughter -- hates me. And I've never even met my grandson. But if you won't help me Desmond, all of it will be for nothing. Penny, your son, and everyone else will be gone...forever." With that, he turns his back on Des and exits the shed. Des screams, struggles, knocks over his chair, breaks it, and climbs the wall of the shed, trying to find a way out. Jin sees it all via monitor. When Widmore returns to the generator room, Jin lays down the law. He's not helping with anything unless he knows what's going on. Widmore tells him that Des is the only person in the world known to have survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event. "I need to know he can do it again, or we all die." That makes me think Desmond is EVERYONE'S constant. Widmore then addresses his crew: "Turn it on."
Baby Face hits the switch. Zoe monitors stuff. Back in the shed, Des tries to kick his way out. Once the whatzit is at full power, Widmore pulls the hesitant Baby Face away from the controls and mans them, himself. He pulls down the gear. Over in the shed, the donut glows like a portal to a hell dimension. Oh wait, there are two donuts. They both start sparking or arcing or whatever it is that electro-magnetic hell dimension portal donuts do. Des stands between them screaming, "Let me out y'bastards!" Back in the generator room, we see a funky computer generated diagram of what's going on in the shed. There are EMF readings below it. Over at some control panel, there's a Gauss meter that's pinned in the red zone. The tag over it reads, "Magnetic Flux Density." Next week, the part of Desmond will be played by Michael J. Fox. Back in the shed, Desmond is caught up in the
spell electro-magnetic activity. He shakes. He rattles. He rolls. He hokeys. He pokeys. The reading audience is enraptured by my deep commitment and mad skillz when recapping action sequences. He starts to keel. Is it? Yes. He's doing the Electric Slide. We cut to a shot of fluffy clouds in a brilliant blue sky.
Sideways: Desmond's face is reflected in the Oceanic arrivals board which reports that Oceanic Flight 815 arrived from Sydney at 10:42 AM, at gate 8. There's no information in the "claim" column though, so Des isn't sure where to pick up his luggage. Hurley passes by and recognizes Des from the flight, so he tells him their bags are on carousel 4. At the baggage pick-up, Des helps a struggling Claire with her suitcase. They chit chat a little. He asks if she knows the sex of her baby. She doesn't. Des says, "Well, you're braver than I. I'm not a big fan of surprises." After he gets his bag, he offers Claire a ride -- since she's having trouble finding the people who are supposed to be picking her up. Continuing her streak of stunning bad choices in every reality, Claire politely refuses, sure her ride must be there, somewhere. They exchange parting words, but then Des turns back. "A boy." Claire: "What?" Des: "Bet it's a boy."
Sidebar: I'm really disappointed that the writers haven't had Original Recipe Jack show more interest in, concern for, conflict regarding, or active avoidance of Claire. I don't care what his reaction is, just that he has one. I think it's been a wasted opportunity.
Des is met by his driver, George Minkowski ( Fisher Stevens), who asks if he wants to check into his hotel. Des wants to get right to the office, though. George offers to get him anything he wants while he's in L.A. -- including lovely ladies of questionable repute. Consider the man your speaking to, George. Get a load of his accent. Does he look like he needs a hooker?