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‘Lost’ recap: We obsess over ‘The Variable’


Wow, Mrs. Hawking. You’re actually disgusted by the thought that Benjamin Linus could be your son?

Ben’s got nothing on you.

Not only did you know your own son was going to die if he returned to the island, but you’re the one who killed him. (Well, a younger, blonder version of yourself, that is.)

That is seriously cold-blooded.

Our Losties have always had Bad Daddy issues, but now, we’re veering into Bad Mommy territory. And poor Daniel Faraday got the poor luck of the draw in the parental gene pool, didn’t he? Both his mother AND his father set him up to die.


Yes, we do have to say RIP to Daniel, and hopefully in death, poor Professor Twitchy can indeed have some peace. Because his life was a completely sad, micromanaged, mommy-manipulated affair from beginning to end.

His childhood was marked by an absent father (Charles Widmore! We saw it coming, but it was nice to have that confirmed. More on that later…) and an obsessive mother bent on shaping his scientific mind.

He wasn’t allowed the pleasures of the piano (though Daniel outwitted Eloise on that one) or girlfriends (and Theresa seemed nice before her mind melted, didn’t she?) because that could distract him from becoming a brilliant scientist who could master time travel.

Even as an adult, Daniel couldn’t manage to get together with Charlotte before he failed in his attempt to save her life. And how heart wrenching was the futile warning scene between Dan and a young Charlotte?

So whatever happened, happened, right?

Nope, as Daniel explained – and at this point, we assume he’s right – our destiny isn’t completely predetermined. We need our constants – as Desmond and Penny proved – but we humans are the variables.

Our free will can, in fact, change the future. Maybe not the ultimate outcome – we’re all gonna die at some point – but our actions do affect our lives and those of others.

Um, I think.

Either way, it’s interesting to wonder what might happen if Daniel – or, from the looks of next week’s trailer, Kate and Jack – succeeded in preventing the incident at the Swan station.

What if Oceanic 815 never crashed on the island?

So shall we explore the episode further, Lost-philes? And do all of these questions mean your brain is now the consistency of microwaved Cheez Whiz?


Wow, we’ve got one warped Widmore family tree.

Confirmation that Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking are Daniel’s parents means that Penny and Daniel are half-siblings. Which also means that Daniel is Desmond’s brother-in-law and uncle to wee Charlie.

Does the family tie between Eloise and Desmond have anything to do with why she didn’t want Desmond to marry Penny back in Season 3? Or why the island isn’t done with him?

And did Eloise and Charles set up Daniel’s death for some perceived greater good? Do they think that, as Eloise put it, he’s a “sacrifice” that had to be made to save the world? Or are they the “bad guys” that Ben thinks they are?

Anyway, it was interesting that for the first time, Eloise didn’t know what was going to happen, in terms of whether Desmond would live or die. Turns out Des did recover from his gunshot wound (courtesy of Ben), but is that because it’s his destiny to go back to the island at some point?


So Jack, Kate, Hurley, Jin and Miles gathered at Sawyer’s and Juliet’s house to weigh their options, thanks to Daniel’s surprise appearance. And the fact that Phil’s tied up in the closet.

Option No. 1: Commandeer DHARMA’s submarine and get outta Dodge.

Option No. 2: Head for the jungle and start life over on the island.

Option No. 3: Bring Daniel to the Hostiles and his mother.

Hurley and Jin don’t want to leave the island. Jin wants to find Sun, and Hurley…well, Hurley doesn’t want to skip town after all the work they’ve done to get back.

(And we still don’t know what convinced Hurley to come back OR what’s in that guitar case he brought with him, do we?)

Kate and Jack agree to bring Daniel to the Hostiles, and Juliet helps by giving them the code to the sonic fence. She and Sawyer decide to head for the beach, until Radzinsky and his DHARMA sidekicks discover what happened to Phil.

Radzinksy also attempts to foil the Kate-Jack-Daniel escape, but thanks to Jack’s janitorial keys (lame!), they had access to the motor pool gun case (huh?) and shot their way out.

On the way to the Hostiles, Daniel lets Kate and Jack in on the whole “variable” theory and the fact that he’s going to detonate the hydrogen bomb to prevent “the incident” – and later on, the crash of Oceanic 815.

Anyway, that leads us to the shooting of Daniel by Eloise, who thought a gun-toting Dan was going to kill Richard.

And what were Daniel’s last words? The realization that Mommy Dearest knew he was going to die and that she would pull the trigger. Oh, and by the way, Eloise? I’m your son. Sniff.


• Maybe it was just me, but I’d always thought that the woman taking care of a memory-deficient Daniel off the island would turn out to be a character we’ve seen before. Unless I missed something, it seems his caretaker was just a caretaker. Oh well.

• Best lines of the night came from Sawyer and Miles about Daniel:

Sawyer: “He still crazy?”

Miles: “It’s on a whole new level, man.”

• Sawyer made a major faux pas when he tried to convince Kate to come with him and Juliet by calling her “Freckles.” Nothing spells romantic trouble like calling an ex-girlfriend by a pet name.

• A young Charlotte told Daniel that she isn’t allowed to have chocolate before dinner. Sadly, those were adult Charlotte’s last words to Dan before her time-tripping brain exploded.

• How did Eloise know that Desmond had been shot and to come to the hospital? Why exactly did she come?

• Why do Daniel and Eloise have different last names? Sure, she wouldn’t have called him Widmore, but why Faraday instead of Hawking?

• Why could the show hire a third actress to play Eloise Hawking (circa 1977), but couldn’t hire one to play a late ’80s Ben during the previous scenes that showed him kidnapping baby Alex?

• Shameless Plug Alert! Did you notice that in the title sequence, there was a tiny Starship Enterprise sailing through the “O” in LOST? I know “Lost” co-creator J.J. Abrams is directing the upcoming Star Trek movie, but does that movie really need any more promotion? Much less such a sleezy, unrelated tie-in?

• Shameless Plug No. 2! Charles Widmore picked up a copy of Wired magazine when he visited Daniel’s house. J.J. Abrams is the guest editor of this month’s issue, which includes hidden puzzles and clues (some related to “Lost”).

That’s all for now, Lost-philes. Tune in next week for more island adventures. And can you believe that next week’s episode – in which we’ll see Locke, Ben and Sun again – is the last one before the May 13 finale?

(Photos courtesy of ABC)

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 9:33 am by Heather Salerno. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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