Even the most die-hard Lostie will admit to being a little worried this season that the show might be dragging its feet a bit with just a few episodes to go. We’ve gotten some answers, but this season’s focus on the “flash sideways” has confused and/or angered many viewers who don’t see the point of them. Last night’s episode did a lot to explain the “flash sideways” in my eyes and is setting up a fascinating subplot that is sure to make the next five episodes very memorable indeed. This of course was a Desmond-centric episode, which in previous seasons have been some of the best episodes of the entire show, and “Happily Ever After” was, in my opinion, the best episode of this season so far.
The episode begins with a dazed Desmond waking up in a hospital bed on the island. His hated father in law Charles Widmore approaches him and tells him that he brought him back to the island to conduct an experiment. Desmond flips out and attacks Widmore, but he is soon restrained by two members of Widmore’s team and taken to the site of the experiment. He is put into an old Dharma chamber that holds two electron pulse generators (or something like that). After Desmond is subjected to a massive double-shot of electromagnetic energy, we are suddenly transported to the “flash sideways” timeline, in which Desmond was actually a passenger on Oceanic 815 and is working for Widmore, in town to deliver a wayward musician to perform at a party for Widmore’s wife. That musician, of course, is Charlie Pace, whom Desmond tried to protect on the island, who tells him about a vision he saw of a beautiful blond woman that he had while he was choking on his heroin in the bathroom of the Oceanic flight. On the way to the party, Charlie grabs Desmond’s steering wheel and plunges their car into the harbor, where in trying to rescue Charlie from the car, he sees a vision of Charlie’s hand with the “Not Penny’s Boat” message he wrote on his hand right before his death at the end of Season 3. He succeeds in rescuing Charlie, and both are rushed to the hospital. While getting a Cat-Scan, Desmond experiences more visions of himself and Penny, whom in this timeline he has never met. He hunts down Charlie in the hospital, who tells him that he needs to go find out what these visions mean.
When Desmond arrives at the party, he meets Mrs. Widmore, who turns out to be none other than Eloise Hawking, the woman who reached out to him during his first trip through time in Season 3. After giving her the news that Charlie will not be playing at the party, he starts to leave but then asks to see the guest list when he overhears that Penny’s name is on it (though strangely not with the last name of Widmore). Eloise then tells Desmond to stop searching for answers because, in her words, he is “not ready.” Before leaving the party, Desmond speaks to Eloise’s son, who is of course our old friend Daniel Faraday, who in this reality has the surname Widmore. He tells Desmond of his own vision that was triggered by seeing Charlotte in the museum and says that he is convinced that this reality is not what is supposed to happen and that something needs to be done to change it. After finally tracking down Penny and introducing himself, Desmond seems convinced of what he has to do and makes plans to track down all the passengers of Oceanic 815 and “wake them up” in a sense. This is a fascinating turn for the character because he essentially is given the same role in the flash-sideways that John Locke had in the off-island portions of last season. As Desmond wakes up on the island, after only being unconscious for a few minutes, he tells Widmore he knows what he has to do and asks what the next step is. His new mission is interrupted somewhat by Sayid, who ambushes the team escorting Desmond and takes him to see the “Man in Black.”
“Happily Ever After,” like all Desmond-centered episodes, was nothing short of fantastic. It was deliciously ironic to see Desmond as a character who has to be convinced of his destiny with Penny, since he has spent his entire time on the show devoted to her. This was probably the most linear episode of Lost ever, since it can be safe to assume that Desmond’s “flash sideways” was the vision he experienced while knocked unconscious during Widmore’s experiment. It confirmed a lot of theories regarding the “flash sideways” that was very satisfactory in my opinion and made me very anxious to see how these two timelines will eventually converge. This was also the first episode of the season that had no trace of Jacob or the Man in Black, which offered a nice break from the constant reminders of the coming war that we’ve been getting since “LA X.” Of course, we still have Widmore stating that if Desmond doesn’t help him, something terrible will happen, which set up an alliance between the two former enemies. Time will tell if Widmore’s intentions on the island are indeed noble, but it appears things are really starting to pick up during this home stretch, and this episode gets a resounding 5 out of 5 Choruses of “You All Everybody.”