I typed two completely different versions of this review one last night that was full of love, and one this morning that was full of hate. (*Spoiler Alert*!) The swap came after some rumination over "The Variable," set up to be an epic "Lost" classic. (The show's 100th episode to follow Obama's 100 days speech? Come on!) It succeeded and it failed in its attempts. I'm mostly frustrated for myself and every other nerdcore Lostie out there who's sat through recent episodes this season saying "Yeah, yeah, yeah, OK we know, we know ... but now what?"
"The Variable" belonged completely to Daniel "Twitchy" Faraday, fan favorite only behind his oft episodic-counterpart Desmond "Motorboater" Hume. Some questions of Faraday's history were answered (yes, Widmore is his father); his present revealed (Why we saw him in the Dharma mines to open the season; Why it was so important to find Eloise Hawking), and his future decided (gunned down by mother as an adult in her past would anything less complicated do?), all of which played out good guesses with a few twists that, in typical "Lost" fashion, both satisfied and beguiled.
So with Faraday out of the picture (for now, see below), what does that do for our time travel plot? Darlton has confirmed the final season will get away from the sci-fi and back into relationships. Let's hope it goes beyond the Love Quad that keeps popping up. (Sweet moment to note there: When Sawyer apologetically and lovingly asks Juliet "You still got my back?" to which she replies in her yes-but-don't-make-me-question-that-again way "Do you still have mine?")
Is time the proverbial variable or constant here? When faced with the prospect of having their pasts/futures wiped out regarding Oceanic Flight 815, the Lostie's weren't particularly gung-ho. Over the past few seasons we've watched a rag-tag group of survivors band together and break apart more times we can count, all to find themselves as far removed as possible from their pre-crash selves. Has that been a bad thing? Next season will probably draw upon and investigate further the personal changes, which hopefully will be as compelling as having a physicist shoot somebody, chat up a little girl, cry over a plane of dead people he doesn't know, and travel back and forth through time and space all in the name of science.
Speaking of science, we did learn a few things in Island 101. For one, we're seeing the building of the hatch in real time (man messin' with nature again and having to build some crazy thing to undo the damage), and the Jughead reappearing (theoretically) to take on the electromagnetism. So where is the Jughead, anyway? (For some reason I always thought that was the basis of the hatch's power). Also, most importantly, we learned that no equation can predict free will, and that despite the "destiny" at play here, our Losties are truly free to make their own choices, some of which might even lead, as we saw last night, to death. This further supports the assumption that while all this time travel has been fun, the real revelations to come may be on a more personal level.
Next Week: Changing the present to change the past to change the future. Or something like that. Oh, and in case we forgot about resurrected Locke and the randoms from Plane No. 2, they're still (mostly) alive and wandering around. Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes.
Musings and Miscellanea:
- When Eloise tells young Daniel he doesn't have enough time he replies with absolute certainty through his braces, "I can make time." Can he? Are we really finished with Dan?
- So what was Faraday doing on the mainland? Nothing for personal gain, as Miles discovers: "I thought you'd be rich inventing the DVD or something."
- Desmond was hardly in this episode, but we had to have a little Des-Penny love for old times. Still, how awesome is it that after Ben shot him he was able to get up, run over and pummel/attempt to kill Ben before collapsing and having to go to the hospital? I believe the term is "BAMF."
- Typical "Lost" conversation: Faraday (anxiously) to Jack: "How did you get back here?" Jack (shruggingly): "A plane." So informative.
- Faraday's flashbacks were very Miles-like in their expansive take on his past, each scene adding a little part to him that we were familiar with (the leather-bound notebook, his relationship to Theresa, how he got on the Freighter, Widmore as his father).
- Chang: "What could qualify you for that prediction?" Faraday: "I'm ... from the future."
- Was anyone else disappointed by that non-moment between Miles and his Dad?
- Why doesn't Faraday have a British accent?
- From the AVClub on last night's ep: "A thought for the episodes to come: Suppose that a communitys top scientist determines that something terrible is going to happen, and decides to save his sons life by sending him away to another world, where hell have special powers Does that story remind you of anything?"
- No .gifs this week In Memory of Dan Faraday, who was Very Serious.
(Image courtesy ABC)
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