Last Night on LOST: The Variable

Do you want an excuse? I hope you don’t want an excuse. Yes, this one is late. And really, there’s no reason for that, other than the reasons you’ve heard a million times before. So, let’s just move on, okay? Let’s just move on and discuss last night’s week’s episode of Lost, “The Variable”.

We are the variables…

In explaining to Jack why he suddenly believes that it’s possible to change the past, Daniel explains that they, as human beings, are the variables in the equations he’s been studying his whole life. He tells the Doc that he’s spent too much time thinking about constants, and not enough time thinking about the things in any equation which can change. I’d like to take this idea a step further.

Thematically, this season has been about parents and children. The whole show, really, has been about this, to one extent or another. Each of our Losties wants to know why their parent (or parents) ended up the way they are today. Lost, in so many cases, has been about what happens when you finally begin to understand why your father, or your mother, is the way he (or she) is. And, in this season, those moments have happened, at least twice, thanks to the craziness of time travel. Miles sees that his father really did love him, something he never could have seen without traveling to the past. And Daniel, Daniel learns the hard way why his mother was always harping on him about destiny, and about not having enough time.

So, let me throw this theory out there for you: Children are variables. The constants in life are birth and death. The relationships we forge with other human beings, but particularly with children (should we choose to have them), are the variables.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this—I spent the entire day yesterday sick in bed, so forgive me if I’m not making sense—so maybe you can help me out.

I’m from the future…

Just before the second commercial break, Daniel gets to say the fantastic line that sets up the remainder of the season. By coming clean about where he and LaFleur and that whole crew came from, he is setting up everything that’s to come. And I love that Dr. Chang is hesitant to believe him, even though he’s here working on crazy, crazy things.

Bullet points

  • “The women in your life…” / “I don’t want to fight with you, Daniel. That’s not why I came.” / “No matter what, I will always love you.” / “Don’t you talk to me about sacrifice.”—Isn’t it amazing how the Powers That Be on this show always manage to take characters who you thought were only ever going to be minor players and turn them into completely full-fledged characters? And isn’t it heartbreaking to watch this episode the second time, knowing what’s coming? Hawking’s lines are all delivered pitch-perfect.
  • Why do all of the brilliant/broken/misunderstood men in this show play piano? Jack, Ben, and now Daniel—they all play.
  • “Come with us, Freckles.”—I loved that this was the line that broke Juliet’s heart. It’s absolutely the sort of thing that would hurt her to the core, hearing her lover/husband speak the nickname he’d given to his former love.
  • Yay for the gunfight! Been a long time since we had some honest-to-goodness gunfighting, right? And the stakes felt very high, as if this might the moment that Daniel bought the farm.
  • Daniel tells Jack exactly what Jack wants to hear, doesn’t he? Telling Jack that he can change the past—that was absolutely the right move, or the wrongest move ever, depending on your perspective. Dude is motivated now. It don’t matter that Daniel’s dead. Jack is going to get this done.