LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 14: “The Variable”

1 05 2009

First off, let me just say…Congratulations LOST!  Reaching 100 episodes is a fantastic milestone, and I couldn’t be happier that this show has made it that far.  It seems almost funny now to hear Team Darlton talk about how they weren’t sure that the show would even last a full season.  Now, it almost feels as though they don’t have enough episodes left to tell the full story!  In any event, I’m thrilled to have been aboard this ride for so long, and I wish I could personally thank everyone who’s had a part in making this show as great as it is for this long.  Take a moment and give yourselves a pat on the back guys and gals!

As far as the 100th episode itself, we definitely had the action cranked up a bit.  Leave it to Faraday to create all kinds of havoc everywhere.  His appearance seems to do that in a general sense, but he may have bitten off more than he could chew this time.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and start at the beginning…

“I’ve got some bad news for you Jack, you don’t belong here at all.  She was wrong.”


How’s that for a way to start off the episode?  But I’ve got a question for you: how does Faraday know that?  Why is he so sure that Jack shouldn’t be there?  Unfortunately, I didn’t see or hear anything throughout the rest of the episode that substantiates his claim.  We know that he’s trying to change the past, but I’m not sure how that is related to Jack’s presence on the island.  And with the way the episode ended, I doubt that we’re going to get much else on that topic.  Strange.

BTW, a little off-topic here, but for those of you that watched the episode live on ABC, how did you like that little snippet of Star Trek?  I was already pretty geeked to go see it, but now, with little tastes of goodness like that scene, as well as all of the positive reviews, I can’t wait for May 8!  It’s going to be a good one!

“What’s wrong, Mom?  Didn’t you like it?”


Certainly, with Eloise getting emotional in this scene, we were given some serious foreshadowing of the ending early on.  But what strikes me even more about this scene is that we’re given a glimpse into the difficulty that Ms. Hawking is having over her decision to send Daniel to his death.  And make no mistake…even at this age, Eloise knows that she’s going to send her son to her death in the future, but she’s resigned to do it.  Right at this very moment, she could foster Daniel’s desire to play the piano.  She could steer him away from any science-related studies in this very instant.  But she doesn’t.  She even gives him a lecture on “destiny”.  She’s making a very clear choice to put Daniel right back in the position where she’ll end up shooting him.  There’s no doubt she has a very specific reason.  We’re not privy to it just yet, but I wouldn’t doubt that it has everything to do with making sure that Daniel completes all of the things he did before, and on the island…for the greater good.  I have no doubt that this will become much clearer in subsequent episodes.

“Right on time…be back in ten minutes.”

OK, so Faraday’s from the future.  He knows about the pockets of electromagnetic energy, and the fact that the Dharma folk are drilling too close to them and releasing the energy.  But how the heck does he know minutia like the exact time when Dr. Chang shows up at the Orchid?  That seems like a bit of overkill for me.  I’ll go with it for now, but I have to admit that even being from the future shouldn’t give you insight to that level of detail…should it?

“I need you to order the evacuation of every man, woman, and child on this island.”


Perhaps this is the moment that Faraday’s mom sends him back for.  Getting certain folks off the island before “The Incident” occurs may be especially important for some future events to occur.  In any event, although it appears as though Dr. Chang drives off in disbelief, I’d have to imagine that he’s going to find a way to believe what Faraday is telling him, and begin the evacuation…starting with a young Miles…

3 years, or 3 months?


As I stated in a previous entry, I thought it might be interesting if the folks from Dharmaville ever had to make a choice about their loyalties.  After all, they’ve been living in the Barracks for 3 years, while they knew their fellow LOSTies for only 3 months.  While it played out much longer for us the opposite way on the screen, it would be crazy to think that Sawyer would decide to do anything different than stick with Juliet and see if they could find a way to continue their relationship, even if it wasn’t in Dharmaville.  And that’s exactly what happens.  Jack and Kate go with Faraday, whereas Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles, and Hurley stay behind.  I think the split factions makes perfect sense within the context of the show, and the character’s actions.

“One of them is my mother, and she is the only one who can get us back where we belong.”

This statement actually seemed very odd to me at the time Faraday said it…after all, isn’t it Dharma that is close to the frozen donkey wheel, and that can provide access to it?  Why the heck does he need Eloise?  Of course, by the end of the episode, it makes much more sense.  Daniel thinks that the best way to get everyone “back where they belong” is to detonate the H-bomb near the Swan station, and obliterate it’s energy.  And who knows where the bomb eventually ended up?  Why, Eloise, of course.  Daniel’s going for the bomb, not the frozen donkey wheel, or any other form of time travel.

Widmore goes to recruit Faraday…


…and the truth regarding the staged Flight 815 wreckage is revealed.  And while the discussion regarding Faraday’s recruitment is interesting, it’s very much secondary to contemplating just what it means for Widmore to reveal this.  For awhile now, we’ve been left to guess who’s been telling the truth about the faked wreckage: Widmore, or Ben.  And now, it seems as though Widmore has been the one lying all this time, not Mr. Linus.  To me, that means that Widmore is indeed trying to hoard the island all for himself (if he can ever find it again), and that Ben, amazingly, may actually be telling the truth when he said that he was one of the good guys.  While it certainly could be possible now that there are more than 2 factions to this upcoming war (the “Shadow” people come to mind), it’s less clear than ever who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are.  But you can put a tick in the bad column for Widmore.  It’s quite clear that he’s been greatly misrepresenting himself, and that he’s been doing at least as much lying as Ben has.

“The code for the fence is 141-717.”

If not for the dire circumstances of the situation, Juliet’s line might actually be funny.  She’s obviously tremendously taken aback by Sawyer’s willingness to bring Kate along, and she’s going to give her just enough of a push to take Jack and Faraday and head out to the Others’ camp.  Juliet is truly getting the sense that it’s all over for her and Sawyer, but she’s not giving up without a fight.

“I’ll meet you at the motorpool, I need just a minute.”


As expected, Faraday breaks down and gives the “stay away from the island” speech to Charlotte, just as before.  Even as he tells her, he wishes that he could bring himself not to, but alas, whatever happened, happened.  He must give her the speech, even though he knows that she’ll one day disregard him and return to the island…to meet with her demise.  When coupled with Faraday’s fate, the two of them almost seemed destined to become a couple, don’t they?

Shootout at the Dharmaville Corral


Kinda fun to get a little on-screen firefight, even if it was short-lived.  It’s never a bad thing to get a little action mixed in, even if it’s at the expense of plot advancement.  It’s just too bad that Faraday didn’t just learn from the experience and ditch the gun altogether after that exchange…

“You really want me to go?  Will that make you proud of me?”

Wow, when you watch the episode over, you really get a feel for just how little effort Eloise goes through to save her son.  I’m hoping it’s because his role back on the island in 1977 is so much more important than we’ve come to know right now, and not because she’s an uncaring woman.

“Get down on the ground now!”

Well, for the moment anyway, things don’t look too good for the folks that stayed behind imn Dharmaville.  They found Phil, which means soon they’ll find the tape, and Sawyer will be completely exposed. It looks like he may have needed Jack’s help after all…

One other thing to mention here…Hurley’s running off with something…a guitar case!  Unles he’s using that to carry his clothing, he seems to have something going on up his sleeve…

“Do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack?”


Once out of Dharmav ille, Faraday finally comes clean and reveals what his plans are.  And it’s a shocker: despite everything we’ve seen so far to the contrary, Faraday has jumped off the “whatever happened, happened” bandwagon, and now subscribes to the idea that he *can* change the past, because humans are variables in the equations of time travel.  It makes you wonder what kind of experiments he’s been doing back in Ann Arbor, doesn’t it?  And the bottom line for me is this: I don’t believe him.  There’s been just too much evidence to the contrary (see: Sayid and young Ben Linus for proof) to make me suddenly think that “whatever happened, happened” is not valid.  But it sure as heck wouldn’t surprise me if Jack and/or Kate decided to really do everything they could do to test that theory…

“For the first time in a long time, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

While this may seem innocuous enough at first, the comment by Eloise here may actually be very important.  There seems to be a definite limit to what she knows and what she doesn’t, and perhaps it’s related to time.  Maybe everything up to this point was on some kind of record that was brought back in time to the island’s past, so she knew what the outcome was supposed to be.  But maybe now that we’ve hit a certain point in the future, there is no record.  And thus there is no way to know what the universe will course correct to.  This will be important because a) no one will be able to give advice for the “correct” actions to take, and b) there will be no “whatever happened, happened”.  There will be no ability to dictate events into what they “should” be, because no one knows what they should be.

“I had to send my son back to the island, knowing full well…”


So, if you didn’t pick up on it before, it should have become at least a little more ominous at this point.  But the big reveal here is that Daniel is actually Widmore’s son as well as Eloise’s.  I’m sure some of you were guessing that, but it was still somewhat surprising to see it confirmed on-screen.  But here’s the real question to take away from this encounter: are Eloise and Widmore on the same side?  Are they working together?  It’s hard to tell for sure in this scene, but it certainly didn’t look as though they were in cahoots…

Is it me, or does entering the Others’ camp with a loaded gun seem like a really bad idea?

And Daniel pays the price for it.  Of course, the big reveal is that not only does his mother send him back to the island to his death, but that it’s his mother herself that ends up pulling the trigger.  In a way, it’s really sad to see Faraday go.  I really lioked his character, and was really looking forward to more more adventures with him over the next few episodes and into next season.  But he looks very dead, and I guess that gives us the answer for the “major-ish” character that was going to die prior to the end of the season…

Post-episode questions:

  1. Will Jack and Kate try to carry out Daniel’s plan of detonating Jughead on the pocket of electromagnetic energy over the Swan station?  Will the Others really tell them where the bomb is?
  2. What’s going to happen to Sawyer and Juliet now that the ruse is officially up?
  3. Will Dr. Chang order the evacuation of the island as Faraday hoped?
  4. How will the journey of Locke, Ben, and Sun intersect with everything that’s going on in Dharmaville?
  5. What’s in Hurley’s guitar?  🙂

That’s all for this week…thanks for checking in!




2 responses

1 05 2009

From the dialog, it seems that Daniel’s death is pretty final. But what of the Temple? If it really can revive dead people, wouldn’t you think his mother would want to do everything possible to try? I’d at least like them to offer some dialog as to why it wouldn’t work (or maybe why they don’t even want to) (although I don’t think it’s confirmed that the Temple can even do that).

1. I don’t think so. The audience knows that that plot thread can only go so far (i.e. i think an H-bomb would mostly annihilate the island). I will say this however, about the upcoming “war”, I think there’s going to be a major struggle to gain control of said bomb! I think they’ll listen to Jack and Kate about the impending incident and try to help, in the interest of protecting the island. As far as Daniel’s concerned, I’m more curious about what they’ll do with his body. I’d like to see Miles take a gander at mining any information out of him.
2. My wild prediction: They’re put under arrest and Radzinsky eventually kills Sawyer for being a traitor.
3. Dr Chang may discover that Daniel was right and issue the order. Might not be too difficult to just ferry everyone to the other island until after the incident.
4. I think they’re headed over to The Orchid now. Locke may have an idea to somehow jiggle the FDW to get the island in merry-go-round mode again. Maybe he could tie some rope to it and stand at a distance to make sure he doesn’t end up in Tunisia, haha.
5. Charlie’s head. Just kidding. I’ll go with: A guitar.

3 05 2009
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