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Lost 5.14: The Variable

It’s finally happened. Lost has forayed so far into time-travel and sci-fi that I can’t keep up. If you are finding my recap here at The Disney Blog for the first time, I promise I am not really a moron. I swear I’m really a Lostie. But for the life of me, I will not be able to give a good theory or a well-thought out conjecture on what is happening on The Island. If you need some geeky-goodness check out Popular Mechanics post or Doc Jensen’s recap. If you’re just wanting to gush, roll your eyes or use lots of exclamation points, then you’ve come to the right place.


Let’s begin with our George McFly-wannabe, Daniel Faraday…

This seems to be a Daniel flashback episode. (Have we had one of these before?) But in fact, I think it is more of an Eloise Hawking-centric episode. Daniel, merely the player to Mommy Dearest’s manipulations. We first see young Daniel playing the piano and a young-ish Eloise explaining that things like music must be put aside so Daniel can focus on his scientific gift.

These stage-mama tendencies are seen again when Daniel graduates from college (with the worst hair ever). Eloise insists that Daniel cannot have a girl friend (namely Theresa, who will soon be a vegetable thanks to his research) because his work will always come first. Daniel tries to prove his worth to his mother by explaining that he just received a grant from Charles Widmore…a man Daniel doesn’t know but we see the twinkling of recognition in Eloise’ eye at the mention of his name.

And then (my personal favorite part) is at some future/present day time we see Daniel sitting in a chair watching the news of the submerged Oceanic flight 815 and he’s sobbing. We realize Daniel has had an accident and his memory has been tampered…ok, ruined. Soon, CHARLES WIDMORE steps into the room! Faraday is unsure if they’ve met before and Charles says, “Don’t worry, we’ve never met.” Widmore goes on to offer Daniel a job—on the freighter, to go to The Island and continue his research there. Daniel is obviously wary because HIS BRAIN DOESN’T WORK RIGHT. Until Widmore suggests that The Island will heal Daniel’s mental illness. (And this, my friends, is why Daniel was such a freak-o for the first five episodes we saw him!) Daniel is also slightly impressed at the fact that Widmore confesses to faking the sunken Oceanic plane. (How weird was that? Were the writers just trying to answer a question for us?)

And now we’re back to the piano. A mixed up Daniel is trying to play the piano when approached again by his mother. This time, with tears in her eyes, she tells her son to take Widmore’s offer—so he can be healed. And once again, she will be proud of him.

So, now we know how Daniel got to…

The Island

Everything on The Island kinda reminded me of Billy’s dotted path on Family Circus. I felt like Daniel was just running around like a crazy person grabbing bits of info so we could get to our final scene where he…well, we’ll get to that.

First Stop: Jack’s house.
Jack: Yo’ mama.
Jack: Snap!

Second Stop: The Orchid
{replay of Minute 1 of Episode 1}
Daniel: Chang! Evacuate everyone! I’m from the future!
Chang: Whatever.
Daniel: I’m serious. Miles here is your son.
Chang: Is this true, Miles?
Miles: No.
Chang: See, I knew you were crazy, Daniel.

Third Stop: Losties Anonymous (aka Sawyer & Juliet’s house)
Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Kate, Jack and Hurley are discussing their options—commandeer the sub or head back into the jungle. Jin and Hurley vote for the jungle. Then Miles and Faraday crash the party.

Daniel: Where are The Others? My mom is an Other!
Sawyer: SO?
Daniel: She’ll get us home.
Sawyer: I am home.
Kate & Jack: We’ll lead you to The Others.
Sawyer: NO.
Juliet: YES. Here’s the code to the sonar fence thingie…
Sawyer: {incredulous}

And here they break the cardinal rule of scary movies—they split up. Jack, Kate and Daniel to The Others while Miles, Hurley, Jin, Sawyer & Juliet pack a suitcase for the jungle. (We’ll get back to this.)

Fourth Stop: Charlotte’s Swing
Hi, little girl. I didn’t want to do this but…please don’t come back here. You’ll die.
I can’t have chocolate before dinner.

Fifth Stop: The Creek
Jack & Kate: What are you going to do?
I’m going to change time. Whatever happened, happened, yes. But now, I’m going to change it anyway. I’m going to stop the hatch from being made, to stop the button from being pushed, to stop Desmond from living on The Island, to stop him from NOT pushing the button, to stop your plane from coming down, to stop THIS.
Jack & Kate: How are you going to do that?
Daniel: I’m going to detonate an atom bomb.

Final Stop: The Others
Daniel: I want Eloise!
SexyEyes: Slow down, pilgrim.
Eloise: {pulls trigger}
Daniel: {looks down at bullet hole in chest} YOU KNEW. You sent me here and you KNEW you’d cap me.
Eloise: Who are you?
Daniel: I’m your son. {dies}

And you’d think the black screen o’Lost would have shown up here. But as every good infomercial says, “WAIT! THERE’S MORE!”

First, let’s get back to our new Jungle Crew…
Sawyer and Juliet have been hiding a hog-tied Phil in their closet. Just as they are about to leave, Radzinksy (who just had a shoot out with the departing Kate/Jack/Daniel clan) enters and discovers Sawyer’s betrayal. Their final scene is with hands raised to Radzinsky’s gun.

And now for the bookend scenes…
The episode actually began with Penny and baby Charlie following a bleeding Desmond into the hospital. As they sit in the waiting room Mrs. Hawking approaches. She apologizes that her actions have hurt Desmond. She reveals she is Faraday’s mother. When Penny leaves to see Desmond in recovery, Mrs. Hawking runs into CHARLES WIDMORE in the parking lot. She snippily informs him that Penny is inside. He says he sacrificed his relationship with Penny. This angers Eloise and she yells that she sacrificed her son. And now, the best reveal of the night, “He’s my son, too, Eloise!” Yee-haw! We knew it! And here, Eloise slaps her baby daddy.

Stuff To Talk About

1. Sawyer & Juliet. You know I had to list them first. Can I just say THANK YOU to the Lost writers for absolutley NO waffling on Sawyer’s part? I am so happy they are showing a solid relationship with Juliet and Sayer. I love their hand clasp, Sawyer’s reference to home and their “have my back” conversation. Now, please please please don’t let Juliet die. (I know, I know, the “freckles” slip…but who did Sawyer stay with?! HUH?)

2. The Widmore Family. So, Eloise & Charles are the proud mama and papa to Daniel. Who is half-brother to Penny and uncle to baby Charlie. Interesting. So, did Penny just get her mom’s non-magical DNA or what? But why is Daniel’s last name Faraday?

3. Daniel’s variable. Daniel still believes whatever happened, happened. But that doesn’t mean that whatever is going to happen has happened. He is now trying to change the NEW future. Not THEIR future, mind you, but the NEW future. Because this is still THEIR present. Regardless of the fact that it is in the PAST. Makes perfect sense, right? (see above moron disclaimer)

4. Eloise’s intentions. I think Eloise only GUESSED her son MIGHT be killed if she sent him back. I think she knew when Daniel was born that she was “destined” to kill him. So, when she realized Daniel was specially gifted in science, she pushed him so he could discover how to CHANGE time and ultimately CHANGE this future event. As evil as she is, I think all the hidden twinklings and tears in her eyes were because she was hoping against hope that Daniel could change the future. Or the past. Or something.

5. Penny & Desmond. I’m so glad he’s alive. But for the second time he said, “I promised I wouldn’t leave you.” Which is another way of saying, “I am SO going back to The Island.” *sigh*

Random Theory
If my belief in Eloise’s goodness (above) is correct, she has fallen in the same trap as the rest of the Losties. Jack thought he was saving the world by NOT helping Ben…when in fact, he helped create evil Ben by not saving young Ben. Faraday thought he was going to save the world by stopping “the incident” when in fact, he will probably cause the incident because of everyone’s freaked-out-ness to his theories. Eloise thought she’d save her son’s life by sending him back to the past/future. And just as Farday pointed out whatever HAPPENED, HAPPENED. And Faraday is dead (or at least shot).

However, even though I tend to agree that whatever happened, happened–I still think SOMETHING is going to change. Otherwise what’s the point? I feel like there is going to be a Miles/Chang interaction. I think Jin and Sun are going to be reunited. I think The Others are going to have to take action against this craziness. I just think it would be silliness for the series finale to just be Season 1 Episode 1, you know?

Actually, I found a theory I kind of like on twitter today. It feels right. And sad. “They change enough to where Oceanic 815 lands in LA as planned… and they all go their separate ways not ever getting to know each other.” (via @coasterswim)

I have none. What say you? As usual, I’ll try to respond in the comments.

(Come check me out this week at! I’ll be at a Mommy Blogger Mixer at DISNEY WORLD beginning tomorrow. I’ll be twittering it with #magicalmoms.)

20 thoughts on “Lost 5.14: The Variable”

  1. I don’t have anything insightful to add…my mind is always a little twitchy after a new episode.

    But I just have to ask a hypothetical question: whose idea was it to give Radzinsky a gun?!? I mean, seriously, is he really stable enough to handle a loaded firearm?

  2. I like the Billy from Family Circus analogy – totally felt that way to me! I think Daniel has more to contribute. I think the thing that gets me so much is that free will is not accounted for. I realize this show is fiction, but I am a huge believer in free will. If “Whatever happened, happened” then their choices are all predestined. Predestination takes so much control away from the individual. We’re all just cogs in the machine. I think that’s what is bothering me so much.

    I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts. Unless my brain is scrambled too!

    1. I think that was Dan’s point—that free will is involved…but I *think* the point of the show was FATE is bigger than free will. Do you agree? IDK.

      1. Yeah. Then there’s the debate about whether our free will actions have already caused the future we know to happen. In other words, but trying to change the future, we actually create the future we were trying to change (aka Jack and saving young Ben actually turning him evil.)

  3. You are TOO funnny! I loved the “stops” in your post. But I really think Eloise knew EXACTLY what was going to happen to Daniel when she sent him back …

    1. You think she was sending him back to die?! Hmmm…why? She loves The Island more than her son? I didn’t feel that…I think she loves the properties of The Island and the time-travel-ness, but I *think* she sent him back so Daniel could FIX it…

      1. I explain myself a little better in the commments on The Lost Books Challenge recap post if you want to check it out. But there are several people who agree with your theory as well. I didn’t mention this in that link but I also think the island demands sacrifices from parents – Rousseou/Alex, Ben/Alex, Clare/Aaron, etc. – and maybe this has to do with that …

    2. I think things will be different because Jack wasn’t supposed to be there (maybe he wasn’t there the first time). Maybe Eloise sent him back to the island to save Daniel after she shoots him.

    3. I have to say that I thought this was one of your more entertaining recaps. You are one funny lady.

      I am not sure Eloise sent Daniel back to fix anything, though she may at one point use that excuse. I think she has such a connection to the Island that she sent him back for the “greater good.” She was so steely toward Daniel growing up because she knew he’d have to die, so she didn’t show affection – didn’t want to get too attached. I am not sure those twinklings in her eye over Widmore were a good kind of twinkling(Sorry to disagree with you so much). I think she was surprised and leery of the situation, but overcame her reservations – for the greater good.

      Also, I may be a moron, but I don’t think the What Ever Happened Happened theory negates the idea of free will. And honestly, the theory of free will depends upon your definition of predestination and foreknowledge. (i.e. God knows what is going to happen before it happens – “what ever happened happened,” – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have free will.)

      So far it seems that the choices the ’77 Losties have made have contributed to exactly to how their 2004 future will happen. For example, Jack (who wasn’t around for the whole whatever happened conversation) may have thought his refusal to treat young Ben was changing the future, but it just spurred Kate and Sawyer to take Ben to the Others, ensuring Ben’s future as a baddie. Maybe if he had agreed to help Ben then another situation would have placed Ben in the hands of the Others. We know Ben WAS determined to be one of them – his free will.

      Before I forget, I have to tell you that my fav line of the night was Sawyer’s line to Daniel: “Welcome to the meeting, Twitchy.” Hilarious.

      What I want to know is, are we to assume that Daniel’s mental deficiencies are a result of his time travel experiments? Or did he have a break down because of what happened to Teresa? Why wouldn’t he travel back in time so she wouldn’t participate in the experiments if he loved her so much and discovered that what ever happened isn’t necessarily what happens (because of the variables)? I think I just confused myself.

      I love your George McFly analogy.

      I think I am depressed. Of the two options that we have been presented with how the series will end (Either they are able to change time and none of the Losties meet because they end up in L.A. in one piece or they end up on the Island as Season 1, episode 1 and are eternally stuck in this weird time loop): Neither are very satisfying. If it’s option 2 will the writers appease the audience with a closing shot of Jack introducing himself to Kate while she’s in handcuffs, being lead away by that nasty Air Marshall? IMHO, It’s not enough. . . unless they spend the whole last season showing us how the Losties met each other after successfully changing history. Charlie and Hurley somehow become friends anyway . . . Jin and Sun get pregnant and reunite/reignite their mariage, etc. That kind of thing. I can’t even imagine how Sawyer and Juliet would get together in the real world. And that would be a shame.

      My brain hurts. But in a good way. Thanks again for the entertaining recap. ♥ed it.

    4. I’m glad to see another recap from you. I’ve enjoyed them when they come.

      I don’t think the series ends with season 1, episode 1, because our Losties have already experienced that. They’ve got to get to 2007 and find out what Locke/Ben/Sun et al are doing, not get back to 2004.

      I’m also spinning a theory where Daniel is not dead and is taken to the temple for the same treatment as little Ben. He (Daniel) may not become the others’ leader, but both his parents are others (currently on the island in ’77), so maybe they’ll fix him when Richard comes clean about meeting Daniel in the 50’s (and Ellie remembers marching him to the Jughead).

      Although I can’t form a theory cleanly, I’m also wondering if Daniel isn’t Jacob for all the time travelling and special ‘gifts’ of knowledge. Jacob’s “Help Me” to Locke may take on some significance if you figure Daniel is trying to change time/destiny of Losties/history of the Island.

      I’ve also got to say that my favorite line of the night was from Jack: “Kate, we got on a plane in 2004, disappeared in a flash of light, and ended up in 1977. I’m used to insane.”

    5. “Yo’ mama”…hahaha! I love your recaps of conversations Amanda, too funny! :)

      response to your questions:
      #1 – I, too, like that Sawyer and Juliet are sticking together. Although, I just have a feeling that little miss Juliet isn’t as keen as to staying as Sawyer is (she never was!). But who knows, she has that way about her when she gives a sort of blank stare. I also don’t like the idea of her living up to her namesake, as you mentioned in a previous post.
      #3 – I hold to my previous claim that time travel is cheating! It drives me nuts that I can’t figure out what’s going on! Cheating! I say! Cheating!!!
      #5 – Desmond so HAS to go back to The Island. I knew he had to from the beginning, no matter what he said to the group while inside the Lamppost station. Eloise did say that they ALL had to go back or there would be trouble. Maybe that was in reference to Daniels life?

      To your theory:
      I hope they don’t end the series with either a) the plane lands in LA as scheduled (unless….they land with their memories of all that happened in tact) or b) it crashes as in epi 1 sea 1. I think you’re right, SOMETHING will change…but the question is, will they then need to protect the change or fix it? *sigh* Lost is too much for my brain sometimes.

      My questions:

      * why does Hurley want to stay on The Island? and really, why did he bring Charlies guitar? (is it really Charlies, ’cause I know he didn’t have time to put it on the helicopter when they left the first time)
      * who is Sexy Eyes anyway?? When do we get the story on him???
      * do you think there is someway that little Charlies is our Charlie???
      * when do we get more info on Claire???

      1. I think we are headed for a decision that the group of surviving 815ers will have to make at some point in Season 6. They will have to decide whether to take a path that will let the plane land in LA without any of this having happened and how sick to your stomach does that make you? or to take a path that keeps them on the island, hopefully in some not dangerous life, living on the island to protect the greater good of mankind. Just my guess.

    6. As others have said, your conversations were priceless.
      I’m not as worried about Juliette dying before the season is out as I am Jin or Sun. Then again, it might be Sayeed. He seems to have surved his purpose at this point.

    7. Amanda- Did you write all of that and only watching it once? Great, funny, insightful recap.
      Who is “Sexy Eyes?” He is to Ben or Locke as the High King Peter is as to Caspian. He is the prophet Samuel as to the kings of Israel he installed. Richard IS the ruler of the island, but he is not human and evidently it takes a chosen human to run things. I think he “installs” the leader, but he cannot be the ruler.

      I wondered the same thing about Charlie/Little Charlie. With all the comings and goings through time, one never knows :-)

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