First off, this week’s episode has a few things that need sorting out.
Most importantly from my point of view, MacCutcheon Whiskey. Being something of an aficionado of the single malt, I was intrigued by multiple references to a whiskey that I’d never heard of. Google to the rescue. Plug “MacCutcheon” and “Scotch” into the search engine and BLAMO! Not one mention of a single malt. What IS mentioned is a “MacCutcheon Variation”, which is a series of moves in the game of chess. I don’t know what that means in the grand scheme of the story, but I do know that I can’t drink it.
So. MacCutcheon Scotch is a made up brand of very expensive 60 year old single malt. Before all of you ask how I know it’s a single malt when they never mention it specifically, ALL great Scotch is a single malt.
Secondly, was what we saw technically a flashback? Did it reflect events that actually occurred or was it just in his head?
Yes and no. Yes, we’ll call it a flashback (mainly because I can’t think of a better word for it – flashduring? flashover?) and no, the fact that he seems to have legitimate precongnitive abilities makes a pretty good case for it NOT being all in his head.
That’s probably not good news if you happen to be a Charlie fan.
The final head scratcher to be dealt with is Desmond’s friend, Donovan. When we first met him, my brain started screaming. At first I thought it was from a lack of single malt, but it turns out that it was because Donovan and the girl we see him with reminded me of the DeGroots in the Dharma Orientation Film from the Swan Hatch. A concerted googling sorted out that it’s not the same actors, but I won’t be at all surprised if there are DeRoots of DeGroots at work here.
Let’s have it then, brotha.After a brief opening shot of Desmond walking out of the jungle, we cut to Charlie and Hurley rooting through Sawyer’s stash of books, food, medical supplies and shocking amounts of pornography. While Charlie thumbs through the porn, Hurley is leafing through one of Nabokov’s lesser known works, Laughter in the Dark also known by the title “Camera Obscura“, which is pretty much the practice version of his classic “Lolita“. The novel revolves around a respected art critic who leaves his wife and child for a much younger woman. She betrays him for a former lover, but he is so blinded by love that he has to be physically blinded before he recognizes the truth about her. Funny that Sawyer has this particular book in his stash, considering what he and Kate have done on “Camera Obscura” lately. I wonder if Jack ever read this one? He probably should…
I didn’t delve as deeply into the plot lines of the pornography.
Just as the porn is about to get to the good part (notice I didn’t say ‘reach its climax’), the well developed story is interrupted by Desmond, come to bring Charlie and Hurley to a little staff meeting in the jungle. Locke, Saayid and Desmond bring the two into the inner circle of those who know that Eko is dead and warn them so that they can be a calming influence on the rest of the group when Locke announces the bad news about Eko. Speaking of the inner circle, where are Nikki and Paulo? Did he find another working toilet?
While Charlie is trying to get a better explanation than “The Island killed him” out of Locke, Hurley notices that Desmond is acting oddly. Hurley has been looking askew at the formerly naked Scotsman since the whole “Locke’s speech” moment he shared with him way back when. Without warning, Desmond bolts off through the jungle. The other men follow, having no idea what’s going on.
Stripping as he runs, Desmond plunges into the ocean. The rest of the stunned assembly just stands around until someone spots another person in the water. A remarkably calm Sun strolls up with baby Aaron, paying no attention to the hubbub all around her and informs Charlie that Claire went for a walk.
Claire seems to have tried to take that walk on the water, because that’s her out there face down in the ocean.
Can someone please explain why non-swimmer Charlie is the only one who wades out to help Desmond drag the unconscious woman to shore?
Desmond manages to keep Charlie out of the way long enough to resuscitate Claire with CPR technique that is at least as bad as Jack’s. Charlie begins to look askew at Desmond too.
“How did you know? How did you know she was drowning?”
Hurley has the answer. “I’ll tell you how he knew. That guy? See’s the future, dude.”
As ever, the big man has the line that sums it all up.
Charlie is determined to figure out the secret to Desmond’s improbable rescue of Claire, hatching a plan to get the Scot “really bloody drunk” with some of Sawyer’s stash of booze and pry the answers out of him when he’s soused. Fortunately, there’s a bottle of “Let’s Get Demsond Drunk & Find Out How He’s Able To Predict The Future” scotch in the stash for just such an occasion.
It’s a bottle of MacCutcheon and for some reason, that name makes Desmond laugh. It also makes him decide to take Charlie up on his offer to share a drink to apolgize for his less than grateful behavior towards Desmond after the rescue. The three men set to some serious drinking.
Serious drinking leads to some seriously bad singing. Fortunately, before the Islander’s Boys Choir can break into a rendition of “The girl with one leg and heart of gold” (Why the HELL would Hurley ask for a song about “drinkin’ and fightin’ and girls with one leg” anyhow?), Inspector Pace begins the interrogation. He and Hurley do a “good cop/hammered chubby cop” thing until Desmond storms off into the night.
Charlie turns him around by calling him a coward. The two men wind up on the ground, Desmond emphasizing his points with repeated and enthusiastic throttling Charlie’s neck. Charlie gets choked a lot on this show…
“You don’t want to know what happened to me. When I turned that key. You don’t want to know. You don’t want to know. YOU. DON’T. WANT TO KNOW.”
YES. WE. DO!
Cut to Desmond turning the key.
This is Desmond’s eye. This is Desmond’s eye opening. This is Desmond’s eye realizing that it’s flat on it’s back and covered in blood. Oh, and this is Desmond’s eye realizing that it isn’t on the island and that’s not blood it’s red paint.
Desmond has awakened to find himself in his flat, drunkenly attempting to paint his ceiling a startling shade of red. Unlike previous characters when they “flashback” Desmond seems to momentarily confused at his current situation. By the look on his face, we get the sense that this isn’t a flashback in the sense that we’ve grown used to.
A clock with the numbers 1:08 catches his attention as Desmond dresses and heads to an interview with Charles Widmore, Penny’s formidable father. We even hear the infamous “beep” that the hatchbound are familiar with. For those interested, I timed it and from the time you hear a very faint beep behind him to the time Penny’s coffee is ready is almost exactly one minute. Perfectly normal amount of time to reheat coffee. Not a perfectly normal microwave alert sound though. Not surprisingly, it gives Des a bit of a deja vu.
Penny is most supportive of her man, and suggests that he doesn’t need to have a job from her father. Desmond feels that he needs to have the man’s respect and he intends to get it. Desmond should have spent more time with Jin. He could have picked up some pointers on how to deal with the Uber-rich father of your intended. Maybe if Desmond beats the hell out of a government minister on Mr. Widmore’s behalf…
As he announces himself for his appointment, a delivery man brings a parcel for 815 to the reception desk. He also brings Desmond another one of those pesky deja vu’s. Even the painting in Widmore’s office gives Desmond pause. It’s a polar bear and an upside down Buddha, done in a very familiar style.
Of course, if you want to get picky, it also reminded me of the Wampa that almost kills Luke Skywalker in the snow cave in The Empire Strikes Back.
*Geek factoid* – The “Wampa” was played by “DES WEB” in the movie. No joke.
In an awkward moment during the interview, Desmond compliments Widmore’s model sailboat and Widmore tells him about the “‘Around the World” solo race that his foundation sponsors. Again, Desmond seems to experience a vivid deja vu.
When Mr. Widmore offers him an administrative position, Desmond reveals that he came, not for the job, but to ask for Mr. Widmore’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Mr. Widmore acknowledges the noble gesture and moves to the sideboard where he keeps his liquor.
I had to rewind this 5 times to be certain but, when Desmond first sees the afore mentioned Polar Bear/Buddha, he sees it over his right shoulder and the bear is on the left, the Buddha on the right. When the camera comes back to Desmond, the painting is over his left shoulder and the Buddha is now on the left side of the artwork. There don’t appear to be any large mirrors over Desmond’s right shoulder, so this is either an accidentally “reversed” shot OR some kind of clue. I’d spend more time on it, but Papa Widmore is talking Scotch and needs my attention.
He asks the increasingly pleased with himself Desmond if he knows anything about Scotch, which he does not. Widmore relates the story of “Admiral Anderson MacCutcheon” of the Royal Navy who retired with more medals than any man before or since.
Jules Verne fans will remember that “Admiral McCutcheon” was a character in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. If you are unfamiliar with 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, it’s about a submarine. Verne’s masterpiece has all sorts of fun, possibly Lost related bits in it. For instance, the passengers aboard the Nautilus visit the sunken city of Atlantis, “Nemo” means “No One” in Latin which probably alludes to Homer’s The Odyssey, and most disturbing of all, the book ends and never reveals the ultimate fate of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus…
*Geek factiod* Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje played a supporting role in the 1997 made for TV adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
Turns out that MacCutcheon’s crowning achievement wasn’t winning a battle or turning the tide of a war, but a very expensive Single Malt Whiskey. Widmore pointedly pours only one small dram into one of the two glasses he sets on his desk.
“This swallow is worth more than you could make in a month. To share it with you would be a waste, and a disgrace to the great man who made it.” If he’s not worthy to share Widmore’s whiskey, he could never be worthy of his daughter.
In a frustrated rage, Desmond throws off his tie and stands helpless in front of the office building. Someone sings “Wonderwall” not far away and we are not surprised to see Charlie strumming away on his guitar, busking his little hobbit heart out for a few bob. Desmond recognizes Charle Hieronymus Pace (I could find no significance to the name “Hieronymus” that would be relevant to the story, which surprised the hell out of me…) and starts having what I can only call an “active” deja vu. He remembers events that haven’t happened yet, like the rain.
Best exchange of the episode: Desmond rants “We were on an island” to which Charlie responds “We are on an island, mate. This is England.”
Looking suspiciously like Gerald and Karen DeGroot, two people are discussing a thesis when Desmond interrupts them. The man, Donovan, is a physicist and long time friend of Desmond’s. The woman remains unnamed. I chose to call her “Fake Karen”. Not that it matters, since we don’t see her again. Yet.
Desmond wants Donovan’s opinion on time travel. Donavan does what any sensible physicist does when confronted by someone ranting about time travel. He buys him a pint and asks him point blank, “Are you bloody insane?”
Naturally, Desmond doesn’t think he’s insane. He wants Donovan’s expert opinion on the posibility of time travel. Donovan figures that Desmond’s newfound memories and precognitive ability are the product of his psyche dreaming up a way to prove to Penny’s father that he can be a great man. He even attempts to demonstrate his newfound abilities by predicting the outcome of the football game on television and the identity of the next person through the pub door after a familiar song starts to play on the jukebox. Not surprisingly, his predictions don’t come to pass. A very confused Desmond returns home to Penny.
When she finds out that her father didn’t hire Desmond, she suggests that they celebrate the fact that “Fate has spared you a miserable existence under the employ of Widmore industries.” She loves him despite his failure to impress her father, because he’s a “Good man” which in her experience is hard to come by. After the way her father played on Desmond’s emotions with that unnecessarily mean spirited bait and scotch, I tend to believe her.
Shopping for a ring, Desmond meets a shopkeeper played by Fionnula Flanagan. Since we never learn her name, we’ll call her She of the Nice Chestnuts.
*Geek factiod* Fionnula Flanagan played Data’s Mother on Star Trek the Next Generation. Actually, she played an android that had been built to replace Data’s Mom and didn’t know it, but why nitpick. Hmm. Android replacements…nah.
When she shows him a modest engagement ring and he agrees to take it, our beloved “flashback” format takes a sharp left turn into uncharted territory.
She won’t let him take the ring.
The fact that she won’t let him buy the ring isn’t the bit that takes us off the track, it’s why she won’t let him buy it.
It seems that this lovely little white haired lady knows all about Desmond. Not only that, she knows about the sailing race, the island, the hatch, the button and even the failsafe key and she knows for a fact that he’s meant to change his mind about marrying Penny and wind up pushing that button.
Most interesting quote of the episode: “And if you don’t do those things, Desmod David Hume, every single one of us is dead.” Us? Us who? “Us” as in “everyone” or “Us” as in a group of people that She of the Nice Chestnuts belongs to? Or maybe “Us” as in people who can see the future? Jewelry store owners? People who can use “sodding” in a sentence with a straight face?
She of the Nice Chestnuts takes Desmond out for a walk and some chestnuts. Along the way, she spots a man in red shoes and points him out to Desmond, but Desmond is focussed on figuring out how She of the Nice Chestnuts can know so much about him and his tricky memories. As he decides that she must be a figment of his subconscious come to talk him out of marrying Penny, the scaffolding behind where they are sitting collapses, right on top of He With the Funky Red Shoes.
The only thing we can see of him is his funky red shoes. I half expected the toes to curl up and shrink back under the rubble.
The valiant Mr. Hume realizes that She of the Nice Chestnuts knew that He With the Funky Red Shoes was going to be flattened in just that way at just that time. He wants to know why she didn’t try to save him. As she explains, saving the man today would do no good as the universe has a way of “course correcting” and He With the Funky Red Shoes will die sooner, rather than later, no matter what she tries to do to save him. Fate.
Desmond’s fate is to push that button and while he may not like it, it is to be the only truly great thing he ever does. His answer to the unspoken question between them is to ask the cost of the ring. It seems that it’s to be “Des/Penny Vs. Fate” (Worst pun ever. To see what I mean, say it out loud.).
On his way to meet his beloved, he passes a (FAKE!!!) poster for Armed Forces recruitment. (It’s definitely a fake because the proper British spelling of one of the predominant words is honoUr, not HONOR as it is spelled on the poster. No wonder Desmond looks like he’s getting a headache.)
As they walk along the Thames, they decide to get their picture taken. Something to show the grandkids. It’s THE picture that we’ve seen in the hatch and on Penny’s bedside table. Just after they take the photo, Desmond does as his path dictates and breaks poor Penny’s heart by breaking up with her.
She thinks he’s being a coward, but really he’s doing something much more difficult. He’s following a destiny that he doesn’t want but knows that he must.
Back at the pub, he eyes the MacCutcheon but orders a pint of the cheapest. Once again he hears that familiar song and events unfold as he predicted to his friend the previous night.
He channels Ebenezer Scrooge and realizes he can “Still change things.” A quick warning to the bartender gets him to duck out of the way of Jimmy Lennon’s cricket bat. Of course Jimmy Lennon’s cricket bat has to go somewhere when it misses the bartender. That somewhere is upside Desmond’s head. He might want to rethink this changing things business.
The crack of the bat brings him back to the island, lying naked in the jungle after the hatch implosion. He runs frantically for the hatch and finds the giant pit where it used to be. He knows that this is VERY bad.
At least someone is paying attention to the fact that the hatch represented something real and probably really dangerous.
In the rubble, he finds the picture of the once happy couple. He begs to be given another chance to go back and change things.
Once again, we are back at the beach with the boys. The previous “Choke the Hobbit” scene is replayed for us and after that, Charlie helps a bloody drunk Desmond back to camp. He pushes for an explanation. Desmonds “Life Flashing Before Your Eyes” moment has continued happening. He’s still seeing the flashes, but now he’s seeing flashes of things that haven’t happened yet.
He has tried twice now to save, not Claire, but Charlie. The lighting strike he diverted from Claire’s tent would have killed Our Man Pace and when he learned it was Claire in the ocean, non-swimmer Charlie would have drowned trying to save her. Desmond prevented both, but since the universe has that way of “Course Correcting”, Charlie’s going to die.
I’m gonna miss him!