Oxford, 1996. Desmond is slumped over in a chair while Daniel writes on a chalkboard. Desmond wakes up, and Daniel tells him that he was catatonic for 75 minutes. From Desmond's point of view, he was only gone for five minutes. Daniel speculates that Desmond will find it harder and harder to jump back as time goes on. Desmond notices that Eloise has died in her cage. There's a touch of blood on her snout. Daniel thinks it was likely a brain aneurysm. Desmond asks if he's going to die; Daniel doesn't know. Daniel thinks that Eloise's lack of an anchor in any time frame caused her brain to short circuit such that she couldn't tell past from present. Daniel thinks you need something familiar in the two times. That something would be called a constant if this were a mathematical formula instead of a television show. Daniel tells him that if he wants the time jumping to stop, he needs to find something in the future that he really cares about. But it has to be something that also exists in 1996. I can't possibly imagine what that will be. Desmond asks if the constant can be a person. Daniel thinks that would work, if Desmond made contact with the constant. Desmond picks up the phone and starts dialing. Except that in the last day or so, Penny has changed her number.
Hey, here's a question: did Daniel ever bother to teach the maze to Eloise? Because if he didn't, then it would seem that you can change the future. Which also means you can cause a paradox. Also, if future Desmond first jumped back to 1996 Desmond, why can't he remember the future at all? Because this episode makes it seem like it's actually 1996 Desmond who's jumping forward, even though 1996 Desmond hadn't (to our knowledge) been exposed to any radiation or electromagnetism. And if that's the case, what happened to future Desmond's consciousness? Okay, that's the end of my geekery for this episode.
1996 Desmond runs down a flight of stairs, only to go catatonic and fall over. On the boat, Desmond is pacing and he also falls over. If he was in the past, shouldn't he have been catatonic? How was he pacing? Why can't I stop asking questions that I know will never be answered? How many readers will I lose if I just keep writing like this? Anyway, Desmond tells Sayid and Minkowski that he needs to call Penny. Sayid thinks a little phone nooky is way down on the list of priorities, but Desmond stresses that he really needs to call Penny. Minkowski tells them that there will be no calling, because two days ago someone sabotaged all the communications equipment. He could have fixed it, but he was strapped to a bed. Slacker. He offers to take them to the communications room if they unstrap him. Sayid asks him how they'll get out of the room. Minkowski: "Through the door." Indeed, the formerly locked door is now ajar. Minkowski: "Looks like you guys have a friend on this boat." As they prepare to leave, Desmond tells Minkowski that his nose is bleeding.