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Lost: Season 4, Ep. 5 ‘The Constant’

OK, this was seriously one of the weirder episodes yet.

We start out on the helicopter, heading towards the freighter. Frank is keeping to the coordinates, just as Daniel instructed, but it takes them directly into a thunderhead. Sayid argues with Frank, but Frank just tells them to hold on. Desmond grabs his seat–and wakes up in a military barracks, being yelled at by his superior for not getting out of bed fast enough. Discombobulated, Des thinks he just had a bad dream. The platoon is sent outside in the rain to do calisthenics, and as Des is doing situps in the rain, he tells his mate next to him he was having a dream he was on a helicopter and it felt so real.

Suddenly, he’s back on the helicopter, totally and completely bewildered on why he is there. He tries to take off his seatbelt, but Sayid stops him, asking him what’s wrong. Desmond looks at him wide-eyed, “Who are you? How do you know my name?” Uh-oh.

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Back on the beach, Daniel tries to explain why the helicopter may not have reached the ship yet. If Frank doesn’t fly the exact coordinates, Daniel tells Jack there could be “side effects.” Yeah, like Desmond entering into some kind of time jump thing. The helicopter comes out of the electrical disturbance and makes it to the freighter. But Des is totally freaking out as they get out of the helicopter. Frank tells two of the boat people, Kingme and Omar, that they hit some weather and that’s when Des started losing. The two men look at each other, knowingly. Sayid is also quite concerned. Kingme says they’ll take Des down to the infirmary, so the ship’s doctor can take a look at him–but Sayid can’t come along.

Kingme and Omar take Desmond down into a holding room. They say a doc is coming in soon and leave, locking the door behind them. Des starts banging on the door, when he hears someone say, “It’s happening to you, too, isn’t it?” Des turns to see a man strapped in a bed: His name is George.

On the deck of the ship, Sayid wonders how they could have taken off at dusk and then landed in the middle of the day. Frank doesn’t know, but Sayid wants to call his friends. He gets through to Jack and explains that something happened to Desmond on the helicopter, that he doesn’t know who Sayid is. Daniel hears this and asks if Des has been exposed to large doses of radiation or electronic magnetism recently. Uh, yeah. He was in a hatch when it imploded, then he could see the future–and now he’s going back and forth in time.

The doctoe comes in to check on the patients. George starts screaming that he isn’t crazy and that it’s going to happened to all of them. The doc shoots him with a tranquilizer. Then he turns to Des and looking into his eyes asks, “What was the last thing you remembered?

And we’re back in the rain at the army base. Desmond realizes he has to call Penny, but when he contacts her, she sounds pissed. Apparently, he broke off with her and joined the army and she doesn’t want anything to do with him. OK, at this point, it’s safe to say this is NOT a flash forward. Whatever is happening to Des, he is going back in time.

Just as Des tells Penny he needs her, he is back in the boat’s infirmary. Sayid comes into the room, having eluded the other two and calls the folks on the beach again. Des speaks with Daniel. We find out Desmond believes it’s 1996, instead of 2004. Daniel tells him that if he jumps back into 1996, he’s to board a train, go to Oxford and find Daniel in the physics department. Once he does this, Des is to tell the past Daniel to set the device to 2.342 and that it must be oscillating at 11 hertz. Then Daniel says, “If the numbers don’t convince me, then you have to tell me you know about Eloise.” This is all very, very confusing.

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Of course, Desmond jumps right back to 1996 and does exactly what Daniel told him to do. He goes to Oxford, finds Daniel (now with long hair) and tries to convince him he came from the future. 1996 Daniel doesn’t believe him, of course, but then Des says to set the device at 2.342, etc.–and that he knows about Eloise. OK, that does the trick. Turns out, Eloise is a rat, and she’s going into some machine Daniel built that will send her into the future. Except she doesn’t actually disappear, but rather the rat’s consciousness does. If that makes any sense at all. Daniel knows his machine works because when the rat “comes” back, she runs through the maze perfectly–and he wasn’t going to teach her that until an hour later.

The rat unfortunately dies a short time afterward from what appears to be a brain aneurism. 1996 Daniel explains that the consciousness can’t take the time jump unless there is some kind of an anchor, a constant, something or someone that means a lot to Desmond that exists in 1996 and in 2004. Penny, of course. Such a love story with these two, eh?

Flipping back to the present, Des needs to get a hold of Penny as soon as possible, if he can. Sayid doesn’t know how that will be possible. Then George asks, “You’re Desmond?” Before they strapped him in, he was the communication guy, all calls came through him. There was one he was never suppose to answer, a flashing light, indicating calls coming from Penny Whitmore. Huh? Why wasn’t he suppose to answer?

George says he could get them to the radio room, but that someone had sabotaged all the equipment and they lost communication with the mainland (must be Ben’s spy). But as they get George out of his binds, George’s nose starts to bleed. Uh-oh, might be happening to him. Then Des is back in 1996 at an auction. Penny’s dad is there, the bastard who hates Des. Here’s something interesting: Mr. Whitmore is buying a book that was the only thing left from the Black Rock–yes, THAT Black Rock–being sold by the Hanso family. Hmmm.

Des really needs to get in touch with Penny, but her number has been disconnected. That’s because she’s moved, Mr. Whitemore tells him. It doesn’t look like he’s going to help him, but he ends up giving him her address. Flip, Des is back on the boat. Sayid is working frantically to reconnect the communication. Meanwhile, George explains how he got all messed up. He and another guy were bored, stuck on the freighter waiting for instructions. So, they took a boat out to see if they could make it to the island. The one guy starts acting crazy, and eventually dies. And just as George finished the story, he, too, collapses into violent seizures–and dies. Des’ nose starts bleeding. “Same thing is going to happen to me,” he tells Sayid–unless he can get a hold of Penny. Sayid wants to help but he needs a phone number.

Flip to 1996, Desmond is at Penny’s door. She doesn’t want to see him, is trying to make a clean break, but he insists he has to tell her something. “I need you to listen to me.” She lets him in. He then tries to explain what’s been happening to him. He desperately needs her phone number so that in eight years, on Christmas Eve, he can call her. She is fairly incredulous, but something in Desmond’s voice makes her give it to him–only if he leaves and never comes back. He agrees. Flip back to 2004, he’s got the number to call Penny. After many rings, she picks up. “Penny?” “Desmond? Where are you?” “I’ve been on an island, I’m on a boat.” “I’ve been looking for you for the past three years, I know about the island. I got a hold of your friend, Charlie so I knew you were alive.” They both end up swearing their undying love for each other, and vow they’ll find each other. That’s all it takes. When Desmond hangs up, he calls Sayid by name. It all catches up with him.

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Back on the island, Daniel is sitting alone, looking through is journal. He reads something he wrote many years ago: “If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be MY constant.”

Why, yes, I am Lost.

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