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Lost: Happily Ever After

Desmond: "That's your sixty year old scotch, Charles."
Widmore: "Nothing's too good for you."

This episode was romantic. And creepy. And mysterious. And satisfying, in a strange way. In fact, it was awesome. Possibly one of my all time favorites.

What's really fascinating is that Los Angeles Desmond wasn't just an alternate version of himself; he was traveling back and forth in his mind the same way he did in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." Is that why Desmond is the key to saving the universe, or both universes? Maybe he's the key to bringing both worlds together. At any rate, Desmond has figured out what the alternate universe is, and he's going to contact people on Flight 815. I assume he's going to try to get them to understand what he discovered in the MRI machine. Hopefully he can do that without drowning all of them.

I had so many wild theories going on in my head after this episode that I had to take an Advil PM to get to sleep. I've been operating on the assumption that the alternate world was created by the Incident back in 1977, since the changes were so long-term. But now I wonder if it happened when Desmond turned the key? In season two's "Live Together, Die Alone," Kelvin told Desmond, "Fail safe. Just turn this key, and this all goes away." It did, didn't it?

Desmond got Charlie released from the Los Angeles Airport Court House. I had jury duty at the Airport Court House once, and that wasn't it. (Yes, I know they film in Hawaii.) I laughed out loud when the lawyer told Charlie not to leave the state of California. I'm starting to imagine the Los Angeles alternate universe as this big bubble full of everyone who's ever been on Lost, with a vast drop-off to a huge chasm of nothingness at the edges of town.

The callbacks to previous scenes in the series were like a gift to the fans: the stadium but with Penny instead of Jack, Charlie's race down the hallway, the confrontation in the jewelry shop repeated at the garden party, and especially Charlie's death in the Looking Glass. When Charlie, who should have been drowned already, turned and pressed his palm against the glass, I got chills down my spine. Charlie and Desmond were so strongly connected on the Island because of Desmond preventing Charlie's death over and over and ultimately, being with him when he finally died. It was just so touching that Charlie was the one to give Desmond the answer.

Apparently, love is the answer. Desmond had everything he'd ever wanted, success, happiness, Widmore's love and approval, and it wasn't enough because he didn't have Penny. Charlie "woke up" when he remembered loving Claire (while choking to death on the plane). Daniel "woke up" when he fell in love with Charlotte at "first sight." Eloise was already awake, though. I think she knows what the alternate timeline is, and she's playing along. We don't want to create a violation now, do we?

Widmore told Desmond that only he could save everyone, and that there would have to be a sacrifice. The title of this episode is "Happily Ever After." I get the feeling that Desmond isn't going to get a happily ever after. Damn.

What have we learned?

— I think this episode confirmed that the LAX timeline is a construct of sorts, caused by time travel and/or electromagnetism. Or Jacob. Or possibly Smokey.

— Island Widmore did love his son Daniel, after all.

— I hate Dancing with the Stars.

Character bits:

Desmond had a good long scene with Claire at the airport. Probably so we'd remember her when Charlie started talking about her.

I actually almost liked Widmore. And I mean Island Widmore. Has he actually had a good world-saving reason for all of this terrible crap he's been pulling?

Penny Milton? Milton as in Paradise Lost? How double entendre-y of them.

Eloise was wearing a double brooch that resembled the pattern left by the Foucault pendulum.

George Minkowski was Desmond's driver in the LAX timeline. That was fun.

Daniel had become the musician he'd wanted to be; he was playing the piano when Desmond arrived at the party. But he still had the same notebook. When he opened it to show Desmond the equations, I expected him to go to the words, "Desmond Hume is my constant."

Charlie called Desmond "Perky." I had a parakeet named Perky when I was a kid.

Bits and pieces:

— Desmond got not one, but two "eye scenes." One for each of him. And both were of his right eye.

— Loved the scene in the opener where Desmond completely lost it and attacked Widmore with his IV stand.

— MRI at St. Sebastian's, and I knew Jack would turn up. I wonder if running into so many people from flight 815 helped Desmond figure it out sooner?

— Drive Shaft apparently did a lot better in the alt-universe, since Charlie talked about "You All Everybody" as "starting it all."

— Widmore's office contained a ship model that looked like the Black Rock, and a painting of scales with black stones on one side and white on the other. The painting was in the same style as the one with the polar bear, Buddha, and Namaste.

— Another car accident. Except it wasn't an accident. Desmond just keeps ending up at harbors, doesn't he?

— There was a sign in the bar that said "[something] Exceptional Island Colors."

— Another time traveling bunny, except Desmond ended up going in his place. The bunny's name was Engstrom. I'm sure it means something.

— The FlashForward commercial that aired during this episode included Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger. Talk about alternate universes.


Widmore: "I can't take you back. The Island isn't done with you yet."

Eloise: "Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation." Of what? Of someone's contract with Jacob?

Daniel: "Do you believe in love at first sight?" I could tell from Desmond's face that at first, he thought Daniel meant him.

Why are Desmond-centered episodes so good? Yes, it was still more tantalizing than question-answering, but I still loved it. Five out of four polar bears, and only five more episodes until the series finale,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. You're damn right - 5 out of 4 stars (er, Polar Bears) it is! This episode brought me back to being a fan of L O S T again.

    Over the last few episodes, starting with that one about the crappy Richard flashback, I finally had given up on L O S T - and run to www.WhyLostSucks.com to find a support group.

    I still doubt if these guys can resolve all the open questions and end the series in a credible and satisfying manner, so close to the end. But now I'm willing to wait it out.

    Thank you for doubling the pleasure of watching L O S T when it's good- and healing the bloody pain when it's awful.

    You're reviews- and I've read every single one of them after every single episode of L O S T from season 1, episode 1.

    Thank you, Billie Doux- whatever you're real name is. Speaking of which, are you going to reveal the mystery of who *you* are - at the end of L O S T?

    Please do! I'm as curious about who you are as I'm about the unresolved questions in L O S T.

  2. Simply a breathtaking episode from start to finish and a great companion piece to ‘Flash Before Your Eyes’ and 'The Constant'.

    Change reality all you like but you just can’t keep Des and Penny apart. Is it too much to hope that they get their happy ever after?

  3. I've been reading Billie Doux's reviews since the early Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel reviews (which I think might've even been the first ones they were linked from www.tvtome.com once upon a time). I've never seen any 'reveal' or any need of a 'reveal' before, so I think that you're unlikely to be getting one at the end of lost.

  4. Everyone else can die as long as Desmond and Penny end up "happily ever after".

  5. Hold the phones a second...

    Mark Greig said..

    "Change reality all you like but you just can’t keep Des and Penny apart. Is it too much to hope that they get their happy ever after?"

    What if it's Desmond's sacrifice to stay on The Island forever. But the writers give us the satisfaction of letting us know that Desmond and Penny wont be apart, so she finds him on the Island and they eventually become...Adam and Eve. Dont know where this leaves young Charlie, but it would have an element of bitter-sweet satisfaction to it knowing that they werent parted forever.

  6. the bunny's name is actually "ångström" ... taken from wikipedia:

    "The ångström is often used in the natural sciences for expressing the sizes of atoms, lengths of chemical bonds and the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, and in technology for the dimensions of parts of integrated circuits."

    this is just another example of why lost is so great--the details.

  7. Agile Entrepreneur, I'm so glad that this episode brought you back to Lost. I know people get frustrated with the show, but even though I've ranted about never getting answers, I still love it and I've always loved it. And I'm depressed that it's almost over. When Buffy ended, I was mess. At least this time, I still have another season of Supernatural to console me. (Come to think of it, last time I had another season of Angel to console me, too.

    And Mik, you're absolutely right. I don't feel the need to post my real name and photo or anything. At least until TV Guide or EW gives me a full time writing job. :) Maybe in an alternate universe where all my dreams come true.

    And thanks so much for staying with me since TV Tome, Mik. That feels so long ago! Buffy was my first reviewing obsession. The archived Buffy reviews on my site still get a ton of hits every month. And last summer, True Blood got more hits than Lost. My site's not about to croak yet, Agile!

  8. No worries at all.

    I actually remember when watching Angel that I was the only person I knew who loved the show so much. I had nobody to talk to about it, so I used to go onto TV Tome to look for what other people had to say about the episodes and your reviews were always the more insightful and well written ones and the ones that aligned with mine the best. So I got the link to your site and went through the backlog of Buffy and Angel reviews and stayed with you since then. Shame that there wasnt a comment section back in those days so I could've let you know how you'd helped enrich the experience of watching those shows all them years ago.

    Oddly, whenever I get into a new TV series I always check here first to see whether you are reviewing it too and get (perhaps a little pathetically) happy when I find that you are (as was the case with Lost) and always feel a little saddened when you arent (as with when I started watching The Wire, which seeing as you're actively posting on here I am incredibly glad that I can have the opportunity to suggest it to you).

    Strange to think that I've been reading your reviews almost weekly for so many shows for so long now. I'm a film and media lecturer, so I feel the need to read more about the shows and films that I like and generally need to discuss them too, so your reviews have been a really useful facilitator for the former of those over the years.

  9. I am totally flattered, Mik. Thank you so much.

    The Wire has been recommended to me several times and I just haven't gotten to it yet. One of my guest writers is a big fan of the show, too. It's harder for me to commit to trying something that isn't sci-fi/fantasy, I admit.

    Speaking of guest writers, my site has changed completely since they started coming along. I've been so lucky to have them, and they're all so good. Eat your heart out, TV.com.

  10. I hear what you're saying about The Wire. With that said, over the past 10 years or so I must've read maybe 400+ reviews from you and I feel as though I've picked up a few things from you as a TV watcher over the years.

    It always seemed to me that the sci-fi/fantasy element was what got you interested in the show in the first place, but it took so much more to keep you hooked.

    The programmes I always read you reviewing (Lost, Buffy, Angel etc) it was the excellent writing, the acting, the connected and in-depth storylines, the character development, the twists and turns and, the overarching themes and the subtext behind it all that you seemed to enjoy the most, the episodes that were strong on those were the ones you always liked the best.

    The Wire is absolutely second to none in all of those matters, albeit it with an admittedly non-scifi/fantasy backdrop. Its a wonderful Dostoevskian/Dickensian spiralling social commentary that is so deeply and richly thematic that it makes for an incredibly complex, engaging and addictively rewarding viewing experience. Its like the most beautifully realised filmed novel you could possibly imagine. If you ever do get around to watching it, I hope that you'll post a notice on here to say whether you enjoyed it or not so I can find out whether my judgement was right.

  11. I am jumping on the bandwagon here in praise of Billie Doux. I think I started reading your reviews back then in 2001, when they started airing Buffy S4 in German TV. Since then I read your reviews religiously.

    I had the same problem as Mik, I was the only person within my group of friends who though Buffy was/is the greatest tv show ever (but, after a lot of convincing, a lot of my friends finally gave in and watched Buffy. And guess what, they liked it, not as much as I do but I had a big "I told you so" moment) . I dont remember exactly how I stumbled over your reviews but I know that I was instantly hooked and never found something similar.

    Your reviews almost always reflect my thoughts about a certain episode. In addition, and that's what I enjoy the most about your reviews, besides that they are immensely entertaining and funny, I always learn something new or get an additional perspective that I missed while watching the episode.

    My first thing to do after I watched an episode of a show you are reviewing, is to go straight to the computer to check if the newest review is already up. Because only after reading it the "episode watching experience" feels complete.

    I find it amazing how similar our taste in tv shows seem to be because every show I started watching on your recommendation or because you are reviewing it, I always like them. I found so many great shows like Veronica Mars, BSG and Dexter because you reviewed them. Thanks a lot!!!

    I wanted to write and say thank you a long time ago but never found the courage. You know, I do read a lot of stuff in the internet but am not a big poster, but as I read Miks post, I thought now is the time...

    By the way, I also enjoy reading the reviews from your guest writers. They are amazing (and more guest writers means more reviews, that's always great ;-))!!

    Best wishes from Germany,

  12. Desmond-centric episode are few and far between, but when they do come, they're always a pleasure. His character is so well drawn, perhaps the best in the whole show. He's had less air time than most of the other Losties yet I care about him, and Penny, so much more.

    I totally love the sideways-verse. It was a bold move to introduce a completely new story device in the very last season but so far, for me at least, it totally works.

    I'm actually completely happy that we're still getting cliff-hangers and, I'm also okay with still being semi-bamboozled by much of what's going on. In a way I hope they don't answer everything. I'd be quite happy if they left us with a few hanging threads... kind of like how Donnie Darko more or less wrapped up the story, but still managed to leave a few strands to ponder..

    Splendid review, Billie! As always.

  13. I'm so glad you also felt that way about Widmore, Billie! As he was talking to Desmond on the Island it struck me (and what an odd feeling, dangit!) that he might after all be doing a good thing... in his fashion. I love how the show gives us certainties and then yoink! takes them away again. How do we know what we know we know? It's always right, and always different...

    Another example for me was Charlie forcing the car into the drink -- my first reaction is auuugh! crazy druggie rockstar, nooo! But it was exactly what had to happen, wasn't it. Reminds me (sorry for the diversion) of when I jumped out of a plane -- at first during freefall I was REALLY not having a good time, and tried to steady myself from all the spinning and somersault falling by pushing against something -- and then it hit me, there's nothing to push against. And so then you do the only thing there is -- you relax into it, and it becomes ok. Probably obvious; but doesn't that seem to be part of what's happening here?

    BTW, Rabbit Angstrom was the protagonist's name in the John Updike Rabbit novels. So there's multiple layers again, and literary refs abound!

    And I forty-second the emotions expressed above about you Billie, our other generous and also-with-the-wisdom reviewers, and not least a fun site that is both rich in content and (rara avis) pleasant in expression! "Flame off!"

  14. It's a credit to Alan Dale that Widmore has suddenly become rather likable. He was always a cool, fun villain but recently (at least as far back as The Variable) he's shown greater depths.

    As for Desmond so willingly going off with Sayid, I think it's part of the plan. Maybe Desmond is the only one capable of killing The Man in Black, and so he's being planted as a mole. Only he and Widmore knows, since Widmore seems to consider his crew expendable when there are no other options. Ben and Widmore have more in common than I thought, except Widmore is much more willing to sacrifice.

    He does seem to be a far cry from the Widmore that wanted to cut off Juliet's hands and murder a baby. He's a hardcore believer, isn't he?

  15. I was bored. Three boring episodes in a row.

    Maybe I'm just getting tired of the padding and dragging out.

    I've never been bored with the show before.

    ....and only five more episodes until the series finale

    ...with 25 episodes worth of unanswered questions and unresolved plots.

    I never thought I'd be one of the people complaining about this show, but it's just irking me now.

    If the last episode turns out to be one big incoherent mess of an info dump or leaves too much unresolved, then I'll have wasted all this time watching the series.

  16. Since I'm always mentioning it and put it at the top of my list of the best shows of the 00s (and noted it would top my list of best shows of any decade), I'm assuming you meant me when you noted that one of your guest reviewers is a big fan of "The Wire." :)

    Simply a fantastic show that I highly recommend. I once considered doing reviews for it, but I doubt I could do it justice. It can be confusing at first, but after the first 3 to 4 episodes you'll likely be hooked. So set enough time aside to do a marathon viewing session to start.

    Mik, if you are really dying for some excellent reviews of the show, I recommend Alan Sepinwall's blog.


    He has done some incredibly detailed reviews of all the seasons except Season 3, and I believe he's planning to get to that season this summer.

    Back to "Lost" ... I was unable to process my reaction to this episode after one viewing. It was definitely romantic, creepy, and mysterious, as you say. But after one viewing, I didn't find it satisfying. I think I let myself fall into the "answer trap" and was totally expecting to have a concrete understanding of alt-2004 after this ep. So when it didn't really make things that much clearer and left me entirely confused about what was up with "blissful" Desmond I felt oddly disappointed.

    But after reading reactions and theories at my usual haunts, and watching a second time, I've come to appreciate it a bit more. I don't know if I'd put it above Flashes Before Your Eyes, or The Constant, but it definitely had some killer moments, and a full hour of Desmond is never a bad thing. Henry Ian Cusick is just fantastic in this role. His facial twitch before attacking Widmore with the IV stand was *awesome,* as were his reactions to the flashes in the MRI.

    I loved all the callbacks to previous episodes and lines. None moreso than the recreation of Charlie's death scene from Through the Looking Glass. Just spine-chilling, as you note, Billie.

    Plus, it seems to confirm my pet theory that alt-2004 is, in fact, a Smokey construct in which everyone gets the "happily ever after" or the one thing they most wanted in the world. Is that really a bad thing that Desmond somehow needs to put an end to? Or will it come down to everyone having a choice between the two realities? At this point, who knows? Certainly feels like we are going to get some major forward momentum from here.

    Question: did Emilie de Ravin cut her hair, because even alt-2004 Claire looks like she's sporting a wig. Not one as scary as The Hair, but still not overly fantastic.

  17. While people are recommending other shows to watch, I'd like to put a mention in for "Being Human". The premise; A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf move in together; may sound like the setup for a joke, but as far as I'm concerned its the best TV to come out of Britain in decades. Theres only 2 seasons of 8 episodes so far, so its not too much of a commitment, and its definately worth a watch before the American remake comes out this September. Because we all know the remake of "Life on Mars" went sooo well!

  18. Hey Billie! It's Jay Soulless! I lost my password to comment a while ago. Anyway, I had the same reaction you did; this is by far one of the best episodes (as Desmond eps always are) and it's all coming together, finally!!

    I also read your Buffy reviews way back on tvtome, before Angel even started, and am still thrilled you review LOST. I've actually gotten a few people into LOST, and I tell every one of them about your site. The one's who are smart enough to listen to me always agree it's a great addition to the experience.

    Keep up the good work! - Jay

    P.S. They already ruined Sayid, I really hope they at least let Desmond have a happy ending.

  19. Thanks so much, Steffi. And Greenhornet. And my old friend Jay! Yes, Jess, you're the guest writer I was talking about.

    And I just put the first season of "The Wire" in my Netflix queue.

  20. omg if you review the wire eps, this will be the greatest day of my whole life!!!!!!

  21. Billie,

    Thank you for replying to my comment!

    You also made me realize that I had an unfinished sentence in my comment- I wanted to say that each of your reviews is exceptional. It makes an immediate connection with the episode and your readers, it's extremely well-written in a conversational style that is so engaging, ... just like L O S T is!

    I can go on ... but let me just end by saying that TV Guide or EW don't have a clue what they're missing.

    And btw, I hope you're making a lot of money from your reviews. If not- you should get a Facebook fan page immediately, add 'facebook connect' as a way to login to comment on your blog, and add Google adsense to it. My 2 cents.

  22. Thanks, Agile. We've been considering the whole Facebook issue, and I sort of can't face :) the prospect of posting in yet another venue.

    By the way, my real name actually is Billie Doux. My parents were French immigrants with a strange sense of humor.

  23. First of, I agree that it was a great episode of Lost. If this episode had came in an early season I probably would have loved it even more, but as this point it is starting to make me nervous and frustrated about the lack of answers. But I'm trying my best to go into these final episodes without worrying about things that I can't control and just enjoying the show for what it is.

    Also Billie, I have been reading your reviews since the TvTome days as well, when I first discovered you because of Alias. Because of you I have since watched and fallen in love with Buffy, Angel, BSG, Dexter, Veronica Mars, and most recently Six Feet Under (man, I never knew a tv show could make me cry as much as I did throughout those final episodes in season five). I admire your writing, and I have to say that I am very glad your site has remained relatively the same throughout all these years. I have seen so many blogs that I once loved sell out or become infested with ads and pop-ups all over the place in an effort to make a dime, and probably the main reason I have stuck with you for so long is because it is clear this site was created out of passion and love for TV and the reviews show it. I'm not saying that I don't want you to make money off this site. I think you deserve to have someone pay you, and if I was a wealthy businessman I probably would. :)

  24. Thanks, Miguel. Yes, the passion is definitely there. I started writing about my favorite television shows because I loved them. It does take effort and a lot of my spare time. The advertising I've added pays for the bandwidth, and that's it. I really do wish there was a way to make money from the site, mostly because I'd love to quit my job and write. But if there's a way to do it, I haven't figured it out yet. :)

  25. Ok, I'm thrilled and scared! I love Des so much but after this episode and remembering the fact that Widmore sent a bunch of mercenaries to the island to get everyone killed, I'm beginning to imagine the Sacrifice he offered Desmond - and which he accepted - is exploding the island so that the smoke monster will cease to be. Can someone explain to me why the smoke monster is in a way, suscetible to eletromagnetism? Oh, but I loved every second of it. I knew the alt-life isn't real and that one day will get that. And Eloise, wow, she's really important, some sort of watcher, making sure that people don't change their destiny. WOW. I wonder when the other characters will know their lives aren't real - we're two episodes behind in Brazil! IT SUCKS. But the wait is unbearable and I will get the episodes on the net.
    Still waiting to know who Adam and Eve are. Though I still think they are Rose and Bernard. We have to have a closing for them. And they chose to live on the island and die there.
    And last, Jack's easeness comes I guess from finally accepting the fact that science cannot explain everything. He's turned to a man of faith, and so trustworthy and peaceful it makes me wonder if the sheppard last name of his won't tell us something more about his being a candidate.
    Oh the wait.
    Billie, you rock!

  26. I missed something. DID anyone realize that Jacob was wearing gloves when he met Ilana? Was it that cold or did he have to wear those so that he wouldn't touch anyone accidentaly and change their lives forever? oh, I'm going nuts...

  27. The name Ångström, being as it is a test rabbit, refers probably less to the unit of length (0.1 nm, if I remember correctly) and more to the 19th century scientist it's named for, who, like the Dharma Initiative, has thoroughly studied the Earth's magnetism. I suppose lots of wacky scientists love these kinds of in-jokes that only the studious would be able to think up.

    Personally though I'm very interested to find out why (and if) electromagnetic fields can actually stop the Man in Black and what it means for the nature of his existence.

  28. After a couple of shows in which I was very disappointed, this one came roaring back. I loved it; it may be my favourite so far from this season and one of the top five ever.

    Desmond has always been held out as special, so I'm glad to think that it will be he that holds the key to the mystery. And, I refuse to give up hope on Penny and him, but then I am a hopeless romantic.

    I've mentioned before how much I am enjoying the callbacks to the earlier shows and this episode was full of them. Of course, the moment in the car with Charlie and the hand was just amazing. I watched it three times, shivers as well.


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