On Tuesday's episode of Lost, Desmond goes slip-siding through the time-space continuum again, and his role in Widmore's endgame for the island becomes slightly clearer — but only slightly.
Why does Charles Widmore bring Desmond to the island?
Once Widmore fills him in on his current location — which, needless to say, he's not happy about — he very matter-of-factly tells Des that he needs his help and afterward, he's going to need him to make a big sacrifice. Uh-oh. Specifically, Widmore is interested in the fact that Des survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event and hopes to put him through another one to test his abilities. As for the sacrifice, well, it seems like he wants Des to give his life since, as has been often repeated, "the island isn't done with him yet."
What happens during the test?
Widmore, Zoe & Co. lock Desmond in a rudimentary shed with a giant metallic donut in it. Once they power the thing up, it glows bright red-orange and looks pretty painful for its occupant — at least it did to the guy who died in there just before Des' turn.
There's a flash of white light and suddenly, Des is looking at an Oceanic Air arrivals board in LAX. He meets cute with Claire at the luggage claim and meets not-so-cute with his driver, George Minkowski (Fisher Stevens), who takes him back to "the office." There he meets his boss, Charles Widmore, with whom he seems pretty friendly. Widmore asks him to baby-sit a musician who's in town to perform at a benefit that Mrs. Widmore is having and had some trouble on his flight. "Ever heard of Driveshaft?" Widmore asks. Of course!
What's different about these flashes?
In the past, whenever people flashed — between time periods, between consciousnesses — they remained aware of the fact that they had flashed and had memories of their departure point, and thus were disoriented by their new, sometimes unfamiliar surroundings. This is not the case in "Happily Ever After." Desmond is perfectly comfortable in his L.A. timeline and appears not to remember having been on the island — or does he?
What did Charlie and Desmond "feel"?
Over a beer, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) reveals that when he was choking on his stash, he had a waking dream of sorts about a blond girl (presumably Claire), the love of his life, he says. He recognizes her. Normally, this could be dismissed as the fever dream of a heroin addict, but, well, this is Lost.
Des convinces Charlie to head over to the hotel and behave until the benefit — or at least he thought he did. Instead, Charlie forces the car off the road and into the harbor. Des frees himself from the car, and when he goes back under to save Charlie, something strange happens. He has a flickering memory of Charlie's death on the island — when he wrote NOT PENNY'S BOAT on his hand just before he drowned. It's there, and then it's gone in an instant.
Once he extricates Charlie from the car, they're brought to a hospital where Des is sent for an MRI, an electromagnetic procedure, don't you know! When the machine starts whirring, so does Des' brain, and it's overloaded with flickering images of NOT PENNY'S BOAT, sun-dappled images of Penny and his son, Charlie. It's too much for Des, and he hits the panic button. "I need to find the man I came in here with," he cries. He sees Jack and recognizes him from the plane, but nowhere else — or does he?
Once he corners Charlie, the rocker says that they both felt something, an apparent reference to their dreams/memories of their island timeline. "Who's Penny?" Desmond asks. Charlie tells him he should go find Penny.
What does Mrs. Widmore (aka Hawking) know?
With Charlie on the lam, Des has to go tell Mrs. Hawking, er, Widmore (Fionnula Flanagan) that there will no "You All Everybody" at tonight's festivities. There's a spot of recognition from the crafty bird, who accepts Des' contrition in an interesting manner. "What happened, happened," she says.
On his way out, he overhears a security guard reading names from the guest list, specifically Penny Milton. When he asks Mrs. Widmore who she is, she becomes irritated and starts spouting very Hawking-like warnings. "I want you to stop," she says. "What you're doing is in fact a violation. You need to stop looking for it." Huh?
What is Desmond not ready for?
And then she says this: "Because you're not ready yet, Desmond," Ready for what? Is it possible that Mrs. Widmore in L.A. is actually working against Mr. Widmore on the island. Or is she somehow aware that he's currently just undergoing the beta-testing phase of whatever cutesy nickname Mr. Widmore has for his plan back on the island? Operation Sunken Treasure perhaps?
What does Daniel Widmore (aka Faraday) know?
A scruffy Daniel Widmore (Jeremy Davies, I used to call him Shagaday back in the quaint days of "The Constant," when that was his name) tells Desmond that they need to talk. "Do you believe in love at first sight?" he asks. He reveals that he has had a run-in with Charlotte at the museum where she works. He says it was like he already loved her. So now we have three true-love dreams.
That night, he woke up and he drew very technical quantum mechanical drawings, which is weird since Daniel Widmore is just a musician. Dan's friend at CalTech explains that the drawing details an event that releases a huge amount of energy, like a nuclear bomb, to prevent a catastrophic event. "I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb," he says. "I think I already did."
Daniel lets Des know that Penny is his half-sister. "I can tell you where and when you can find her," he says. She's at a very familiar stadium running flights. He introduces himself, and when their hands touch, he comes to inside the box on the island.
Widmore explains that he was only out for a few seconds. Des' experience has changed his tune on helping Widmore. Now he understands. Oh, really? Help a brutha out and fill me in, please!
Where is Sayid taking Desmond?
Des is escorted back to somewhere by Zoe and two faceless henchmen. Sayid shows up, kills the henchmen and tells Zoe to run. Sayid tells Des that these people are dangerous and that they need to go. "Aye," says Desmond, and off they go.
What does Desmond need to show the passengers of Oceanic 815?
He flashes back to the stadium and wakes up there, where Penny tells him he lost consciousness. They make a date for coffee, and it still appears he has no memory of the island — or does he?
Back in the limo with George, he asks him to get him the manifest from his flight from Sydney. Why does he need that? "I need to show them something," he says of his fellow passengers. And thus Desmond's real journey actually begins.
What did you think of "Happily Ever After"? What do you think Desmond has to tell the Lostaways? Were you happy to see Charlie, Minkowski, Eloise and Daniel again? Do we no longer trust Sayid — or is he going to save Desmond?