If keeping track of two independent realities with the same familiar faces seemed confusing before, “Lost” climbed to a new level of “huh?” Tuesday night as those timelines crossed in a big way. Of course, as longtime “Lost” lovers know, “huh?” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s just a confusing, head-scratching, exciting and sometimes revealing thing — which means it’s the stuff that made this show great in the first place. It’s also the stuff that usually involves some wacky reality-bending electromagnetism.
Enter Desmond Hume, the hatch-blast surviving veteran of such phenomena — also the underutilized, easy-on-the-eyes character that typically packs plenty of drama. Drama along the lines of smacking Charles Widmore around after Desmond awoke to realize his least favorite person had transported him to his least favorite island of doom.
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Of course, Widmore’s team of flunkies soon held Desmond back and took him to the next phase of his involuntary visit — an experiment that Widmore insisted was all-important. It involved placing Desmond in a shack with a couple of enormous, fully charged copper coil doughnuts. The fact that the same setting had just killed a member of Widmore’s crew hardly left Desmond feeling confident. But being bound and out of choices, what’s a guy to do?
Travel to the other dimension, evidently. That’s just what an unwitting Desmond did. Much like his sudden appearance on Flight 815 in Jack’s alternate rundown, Desmond popped into LAX and assumed his other timeline without a hitch. It was as if island-Desmond never existed.
This Desmond was a businessman, the sort who takes a limo (driven by George Minkowski of time-sick freighter-guy fame) to work. He’s even the sort who hugs his corporate suit of a boss.
Which ... who does that? As it turned out, it was just an odd and heavy-handed way to demonstrate that Desmond and his boss-man, Widmore, really get along in this reality. If that didn’t prove it, then their back-and-forth banter about who was more blessed to have the other one around, followed by the shared swilling of Widmore’s famous 60-year-old scotch sure did. They’re totally BFFs. Got it?
With that awkward bit of chumminess over, Widmore asked Desmond to fetch Drive Shaft’s drug-addled bassist from the police station and deliver him to a musical event Widmore’s wife and son were planning. His wish was Desmond’s command.
But rocker Charlie wouldn’t make that an easy command to fulfill. He preferred drinking booze and talking about true love — something Charlie claimed he had a vision of when he nearly choked to death on the plane. Desmond dismissed the lovey-dovey hallucination talk and swayed Charlie into his car, which, thanks to some quick wheel and pedal work, soon ended up in the ocean.
The reckless behavior was Charlie’s way of prompting a vision for Desmond. While the car sank, Desmond swam out and tried to save Charlie, who in turn slapped one hand against the window. The scene was so similar to island-Charlie’s last heroic act (when he scrawled “Not Penny’s boat” on his hand) it brought that very memory back to the mind of alt-Desmond. Whoa!
More memories from the other reality, this time featuring Penny, flooded back to Desmond during a post-crash MRI that gave him just the magnetic boost he needed. Charlie, who also survived the not-an-accident, refused to be of any more help and also refused to go to the Widmore gig.
That left Desmond in charge of giving Mrs. Widmore, aka Eloise Time-Tinkering Hawkins, the bad news about the planned performance. Not that she cared. She just shuffled Desmond on his way. And off he went, until he heard Penny’s name was on the invitation list. Suddenly he was full of curiosity about the woman from his visions and just as suddenly, Mrs. Widmore tried to put a stop to it.
Stepping out of her carefully composed, alt-reality self, the boss’s wife explained that Desmond needed to stop whatever he was doing and abandon whatever he was searching for. In other words, quit nosing around and ruining this fine “Matrix.”
After meeting Mrs. Hawkins-turned-Mrs. Widmore, Desmond met Daniel Faraday-turned-Daniel Widmore! This Daniel knew more about music than quantum mechanics, but thanks to his own visions, he had filled a journal with everything he didn’t know — the same journal he had carried on the island. Daniel didn’t understand it all, but he was fairly certain reality changed and he (along with a big bomb) had something to do with it. Smart guy.
Of course, all that quantum-this and explosion-that info wasn’t really of any interest to Desmond, at least not half as much as Daniel’s half-sister, Penny. As soon as Daniel revealed her whereabouts, Desmond was off to introduce himself to the woman he already knew he loved.
There’s just no time or dimension those two can’t overcome — a fact the starry-eyed Desmond was all too aware of when he awoke again in Widmore’s electromagnetic experiment shack.