Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/30/09

This week’s LOST had a real fun twist ending: Daniel Faraday was apparently shot to death by his own mother, Eloise Hawking, in 1977. I say “apparently,” because nobody said he’s dead — but he sure looked dead. Still, on the Island, dead ain’t exactly dead, LOL. However, Daniel had gone out of his way just a little while earlier to warn Jack, “This is our present…any one of us can die.” Even though they previously existed in the future. And the way Eloise and Charles Widmore talked about Daniel and the Island, it was clear something terrible had happened, and she noted she “sacrificed” her son to the Island. So when Eloise told little Daniel that it was his “destiny” to go to the Island, she wasn’t just talking out of her hat; she actually knew he would show up there because, from her perspective, he already had. Charles also knew it would happen, as his terse argument with Eloise outside Desmond’s hospital indicated. So he was essentially “fated” to die then and there.

Which brings us to some interesting thoughts on free will. Faraday’s research into relativistic physics revealed a relationship between “constants” and “variables.” He did not explain what exactly that was, but indicated people are the variables, because people have free will. And if they have free will, then they can choose their own actions without being constrained by the “rules” of what happened. Faraday believed this enough to think he would be able to alter the past by stopping the release of the energy. But, to my thinking, that’s only changing the “past” from the perspective of people living in, say, 2004 or 2009. As Faraday pointed out, when he, Jack and Kate were in the year 1977, that became their “present,” so from their perspective, the future (from 1978 on) has not happened yet, so Daniel wouldn’t be changing the “past,” he would be affecting the “future.” And we all affect the future every moment of our lives. So the secret really is perspective. Now, it’s true that Daniel died in 1977 (we presume), but he may have died in a different way because of the actions he decided to take. Perhaps in the 1977 Eloise remembers, she stabbed him to death, or killed him some other way. But Faraday’s specific actions this time altered the timeline to a small degree. Which begs the question of free will. Was Daniel only able to affect the manner of his death? If he had not taken the submarine back to the Island, his mother could not have killed him. I suggest that had Daniel known his mother would kill him on the Island in 1977, he could have avoided that fate. He just didn’t have enough information. He simply knew about the impending disaster (and the appearance of Jack and the other Losties in the DHARMA class photo) and wanted to try to head off the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 and the subsequent Kahana expedition that brought him to the Island. There is one other possibility: Daniel might have known about his death but forgotten it due to the memory problems that tormented him as a result of testing his time-displacer machine on himself before using it on Theresa. That’s what Widmore was referring to when he said Daniel would not remember the conversation about the Island tomorrow. I liked the scene of Daniel crying over the discovery of the fake 815 wreckage in 2004 but not knowing why; he forgot he would meet the survivors, but still sensed a connection to them.And how cruel of Widmore to tell his son the Island could heal his mind. And how cold of Eloise to talk her son into going, even when he was reluctant. As Faraday said, “You knew this was going to happen, but you sent me here, anyway.”

•I know several people were very concerned about Desmond’s fate after he saved Penny and little Charlie from the gun-wielding Ben, so it was good to see he survived, because Desmond and Penny remain a great love story.
•The Hostile known as “Ellie” in 1954 was actually Eloise.
•Why did designated pest Radzinsky show up at the motor pool with armed guards in tow?
•This episode explicitly spelled out what happened: The DHARMA drilling in 1977 accidentally unleashed the Island’s electromagnetic energy source at the Swan location, so they built “the Hatch,” and pushing the button every 108 minutes contained the energy. When Desmond failed to push it in 2004, Flight 815 crashed. It was not clear how Daniel thought detonating the “Jughead” hydrogen bomb would negate the EM energy, but hey, he’s a scientist. And let’s not forget the Losties are only a couple of hours away from that disastrous discharge….

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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