Lost: The One Where They All Turn Out to Be Related

lost09I like Daniel. I think characters like him are emblematic of this show at its best – deeply entwined into the larger mythology, as well as entertaining, mysterious, and tightly scripted. Every twitch has a greater significance, and every romantic attachment is symptomatic of some bigger storyline – Daniel’s girlfriends are never just thrown in there to string along the audience (see: the neverending Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Juliet quadrangle). Plus, I like Jeremy Davies. Generally, I think the casting on this show is always superb, but in this case I think the character would’ve failed completely in anyone else’s hands. (Also, on a side note, when you search for “Jeremy Davies” in Wikipedia you’re offered two options: “Jeremy Davies the actor,” or “Jeremy Davies the exorcist.” How cool is that?)

So, it figures that I liked this episode. I was never all that curious about Daniel’s origin story, but it was nice to see all the same, and the 1977 story that centered on him was really interesting. And I was disappointed by what happened at the end of the episode, even though I can appreciate the way it’s setting up the series finale arc, which on this show adds more value than any single character could (except for Ben). But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The basics:

The flashbacks show us Daniel’s upbringing, with a focus on his relationship with his mother, Eloise Hawking. To the shock of no one, Daniel’s always been a math/science prodigy, and Mrs. Hawking forced him to concentrate on that above all else. It worked out, with him graduating from Oxford as the youngest doctor of all time or something (how is that possible? Hasn’t Oxford been around for, like, millennia? In the olden days didn’t kids use to graduate when they were, like, 12?). But he didn’t like how she kept trying to prevent him from having girlfriends (and how he ever got anyone to date him when he was wearing that terrible wig is unclear to me, although to be fair I’ve known some women who totally go for that scruffy-genius-who-never-smiles-because-he-has-awful-teeth type every time). Then, Charles Widmore gave him a huge research grant, which Daniel used to drive his girlfriend crazy, but not before experimenting on himself, which turned him a little crazy too and also gave him that Memento condition. Then, Charles Widmore showed up eight years later and recruited Daniel to come to the island on the freighter. Both he and Mrs. Hawking assured Daniel that if he went to the island, his whacko-ness would be cured. Which seems to have been true.

In the “current” story – 1977, as usual – Daniel, having heard about the arrival of the Oceanic Three, has returned to the island after a foray to Ann Arbor with the rest of the Dharma scientists. He has a whole complicated theory that he doesn’t explain until the end of the episode, but basically, his goal is to prevent the “accident” that they know is about to occur at the Swan station, by setting off the hydrogen bomb that he ordered Ellie to bury 23 years earlier. This way, he thinks, they will prevent the Oceanic 815 plane from crashing (because Desmond won’t have to enter the numbers anymore, and thus won’t forget to enter the numbers). Daniel attempts to tell Pierre Chang about the time-traveling (and outs Miles as Pierre’s son, against Miles’ wishes), but Pierre has a great poker face and it’s impossible to tell whether he believes the story. So Daniel recruits Jack and Kate to come with him into the jungle to look for his mother and get her to help with the bomb thing. They go, much to the chagrin of Sawyer, who’s devastated at having to leave the Dharmas (which is going to happen anyway, since that crazy dude, Radzinsky, catches him with Phil locked in the closet). Then, when Daniel finally finds the Others’ camp, Ellie shoots him. Whoops!lost03

Also, Eloise can see the future or something. And Charles Widmore is Daniel’s father. I called that one about 20 minutes into the episode, and when it was revealed only half an hour later, I felt cheated. What’s the point of coming up with a theory only to be proven right in the same episode? That’s not a theory, that’s just correct interpretation of foreshadowing. I am so useless when it comes to this show.

The good:

  • Sawyer’s nickname for Daniel is “Twitchy.” Hee.
  • Once again, I love Ellie. This week, she’s in her 20s and/or 30s and played by a different actress than the two we’ve seen previously. Once again, I prefer the younger version of the character to the Fionnula Flanagan version, despite the latter’s excellent acting. I think her smarminess in her old age is what’s throwing me off. This show has always had tons of smarmy characters (see: Locke, Jack, Ana Lucia, etc.), and I despise smarm.
  • Richard is such a good guy. When Daniel goes storming into the Others’ camp, aiming his gun at everyone he can find, Richard tries his very hardest to talk him down, and then gets mad at Eloise when she shoots him. Aww, Richard.

The bad:

  • The “war” we were promised in the last set of previews consists of a mild skirmish in which a couple of people get grazed with bullets. Oh well, there are still a few episodes left in the season.
  • Why do they keep showing us half-naked Jack? Did Matthew Fox see the season premiere and get offended by all the Josh Holloway shirtlessness and demand equivalence? It’s irritating.
  • We see Daniel talking to Lil’ Charlotte, warning her about the upcoming accident. The child actress playing Charlotte is one of those rare cases of bad casting on this show. The girl has a very weird accent and hair that cannot possibly naturally be that red.
  • Daniel appears to have died. Wahhh.

The stuff that will matter next week:

  • Back in 2007, it turns out Desmond did indeed get shot when Ben went all commando on the Hume family. He’s going to be okay, though.
  • However, when Penny goes to visit Desmond in the hospital, she leaves baby Charlie in the waiting room in the care of a nurse. This, following on the heels of Aaron’s near-kidnapping in the supermarket, gave me the heebie-jeebies. Penny, don’t trust that nurse!

So, now even more characters are related to each other. I predict Christian Shepard and Charles Widmore will turn out to be brothers, or something. Eventually the whole show will turn out to have been about incest all along.

Season 5, Episode 14: The Variable (originally aired April 29, 2009)

For another take on this episode, check out They Shoot Physicists, Don’t They? by J.B. Perlow.

For more on Lost, click here.

Wednesdays, 9/8c on ABC

Photographs courtesy of ABC

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