I hardly know her Stevens.

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This week’s episode of “Lost” (I was laid low with crushing head trauma Thursday, so I’m just getting around to watching it) was called “The Constant.”

If I ever start bouncing back and forth through time, the one constant I’ll be able to latch onto is that I’ve always been ridiculously easy to manipulate, and will start crying like a hormonal pregnant teen watching the last 15 minutes of a Disney movie. The ending of this episode had me all misty-eyed, in the sense that my eyes were still a little bit misty after having cried profusely.

And it was remarkably restrained, is the funny part. They kept the swelling music under control, and they weren’t in the most romantic setting — an ugly room in a freighter with a dead body being watched by a sweaty Iraqi holding a goofy looking phone hooked up to a lantern battery with frequent interruptions of creepy static. I think it was the editing that got me, of all things. It was just masterfully done.

Especially remarkable since I don’t really like the character of Desmond. The actor’s fine — nobody on TV does the confused and panic-stricken expression better — but the character’s kind of a loser. He’s always seemed like a cipher that cool stuff happens around. Underground late-70s era bunker: cool. Hey, he’s like Ulysses!: very cool. Precognitive powers: that’s neat! Traveling through time: even neater! And meeting people who know he’s traveling through time: wow! But the guy himself: my only cue that I’m really supposed to care about his love story is that they keep showing that picture over and over again.

And yet, it obviously works if a phone call can make me weepy.

For the series overall: am I just confused, or did they really drop a bombshell with this episode? I suppose they’ve been hinting at time-displacement for so long that it’s not really “hinting” anymore, so maybe I’m just still unaccustomed to “Lost” resolving anything. Even with this season’s fantastic record so far. But this seems to suggest an explanation for everything from Jack’s dad, Kate’s horse, and Locke & Shannon’s frequent sightings of Walt; to why the “natives” don’t age.

It even calls the flashbacks into question: are they not just memories? It’d be awesome to think that all this time, whenever a character goes into a flashback, everybody else is standing around staring at them while they’re catatonic. But nobody’s bothered to talk about it yet, because, you know, it’s “Lost.”

As for ongoing questions: I suppose Faraday’s journal note to himself was supposed to be intriguing, but I didn’t get it. I also couldn’t tell when he wrote it; is it supposed to be a note he left for himself from 1996, that he’s just now discovering? Did it only appear when Desmond did his thing, suggesting that you really can alter history when you’re time-jumping? Or did he just write it for himself on the ride out to the island? Whatever the case, I felt like I was hearing a “duh Duh DUNNN!” but not seeing what was causing it.

And the auction scene had Mr. Widmore bidding on The Black Rock journal, and Alvar Hanso was mentioned in there somewheres. If I remember correctly, the last time Desmond was in Widmore’s office, there was a painting of The Black Rock on his wall. It’d be cool if they’re rolling that stuff back into the mix; I was afraid they’d abandoned most of the season 1 intrigue with that doofusy and disappointing alternate-reality game.

4 thoughts on “I hardly know her Stevens.”

  1. I thought this episode was awesome, and am glad that the show actually explained why something was happening in the same episode that it was happening in.
    Desmond to me has always been the one character who a simple understandable goal. He loves Penny and wants to be reunited with her, that’s all there is to it, and i think that is why his character works. I still don’t understand why he raced across the pacific to prove his love to her, but oh well.

    As far as Faraday, i get a sense he is not all there. He’s probably the “world’s expert on time displacement”, but i get a sense his brain is kind of fried. Wasn’t he introduced at the start of this year all freaked out as he was watching a TV broadcast of the “found” oceanic plane? He also had that weird card game moment on the island where it seemed like he was trying to do something he used to be able to do easily but was failing at.

    I could have sworn i heard in an early interview with the creators that Lost was not a sci-fi show. Well this episode blew that notion out of the water.

  2. I thought that Faraday’s card game moment was there to imply that he has some sort of memory issues (maybe for a while now — didn’t he have some sort of caretaker with him, during the scene when he sees the news about the Oceanic flight)? It was my thought when watching that scene at the end of this week’s episode that his journal might be a sort of Memento-esque device – important pieces of information he’s trying to keep preserved for himself?

    More likely, I am full of beans. Whatever’s going on, that was a quality episode in what has been an awesome season. Every time there’s a big-moment episode like this, things always feel immediately closer to resolution for me and I wonder “how the heck are they going to do another two seasons of this??” and then I realize I’ve thought that same thing every time for the last three and a half years.

  3. I read speculation online that Faraday’s card game was a sign that he was losing his precognitive abilities, the kind that Desmond had for a while there. He wasn’t trying to “remember” what was on the cards, exactly, but predict them, or at least “remember” what he was going to see in the future. This episode makes that theory more likely, if you take into account that he’s been exposed to the same stuff that Desmond was.

    And I’d still say “Lost” isn’t a “sci-fi show,” because it and shows like “Alias” and “Buffy” are making genre descriptions less and less relevant. It’s TV in the age of mash-ups, or at least it would be if mash-ups weren’t already dated. It’s an action drama suspense horror sci-fi mystery comedy.

  4. I loved this episode. In fact I think it was my favorite Lost episode ever. This has been one hell of a season but it’s a pity it’s going to finish after only 7 episodes.

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