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Desmond Delivers: The Latest Internet Lost Theories

Leave it to a Desmond-centric Lost episode to rile up the series’ fan base. “Happily Ever After,” penned by producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse themselves, followed the great tradition of “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and “The Constant,” lending some credence to the argument some are now making that Desmond is the true protagonist of the series. And with a great episode comes a flurry of debate about everything from the cause of the sideways flashes to the symbolism of Desmond’s shirts. As always, we tapped into the Internet pipeline to check the latest mad and brilliant ramblings from our favorite bloggers, recappers, and commenters.

• With Charlie’s sense being that the life he’s living in the sideways timeline is somehow artificial, is Lost stepping into Matrix territory? Alan Sepinwall thinks it might be, but notes that even if other characters experience that feeling, only Desmond has the ability to transfer knowledge between the timelines. [What’s Alan Watching?]

• Judging from his “happy complacency” when faced with Sayid’s ambush, we have to assume that Desmond knows even more than we’ve been led to believe. And since he does know so much, is he going to attempt to almost kill everyone who was on Oceanic 815 in order to show them something from their sideways life? [TV Squad]

• As much as we don't want to make an ass out of you and me, this episode leads us to make a number of assumptions regarding Charlies Widmore: First, that he's known for quite some time that Desmond turned the fail-safe in the Swan, got doused with electromagnetism, and gained the ability to see multiple timelines. Second, that not only does Widmore know about our two current timelines, but knows that another dose of electromagnetism could give Des the ability to toggle between them. So does he believe it's possible to bring the timelines together, through love, perhaps? Also: Is Eloise trying to keep Desmond and Penny apart permanently, or is there a timetable they're supposed to be sticking to? [Televisionary]

• Speaking of timetables, Doc Jensen points out that Widmore and crew seem to have prepared a very specific schedule for their trip to the island, as Tuesday's episode was a second mention of not sticking to a plan. Will diverging from their preplanned timetable have an unintended effect? Doc also thinks it's not death that causes the worlds to bleed together, but just trauma: Remember how sideways Claire yelled, "Is Aaron okay?" when she was in the hospital with sideways Kate? [Totally Lost/EW]

• Eloise’s comment that Desmond got what he always wanted by earning Widmore’s acceptance is a pretty big reveal, since it seems to indicate that the alternate timeline is a place where characters see their wishes come true. But questions remain about how someone like Kate fits into this timeline. [Magic Lamp]

• The blogger who just started watching the series at the beginning of this season doesn’t have any theories about what this means, but astutely points out that it appears that Penny didn’t attend the Widmore charity event. [Never Seen Lost]

• How to account for Des’s strange behavior at the end? Maybe the electromagnetism caused him to switch places with his sideways self somehow. [Buddy TV]

• Or is it just that Des has plans of his own that don't fall in line with anyone else's agenda? [Inside Pulse TV]

• Vozzek69 ponders the role of sideways characters who died in the original timeline. Like Charlie, Keamy, Charlotte, and Faraday/Widmore, Minkowski appears to be knowledgeable about what’s really going on. His offer to help Desmond “with anything you might need” is a pretty good indicator of that. [Dark UFO]

• If Desmond really intends to show the Oceanic passengers a taste of their “real” lives, it’s likely that they’ll split into two groups: those who want that life and those who don’t. What’s important is to see how supporters of Jacob fare versus Smokey’s people. [Word Bribery]

• If Daniel’s notes are to be trusted, then we can interpret the alternate timeline as a parallel existence rather than some sort of prologue or epilogue to the series. Why this alternate timeline exists, however, remains a mystery, though Eloise’s remark that Desmond “wasn’t ready” to find out some of its secrets suggests that the sideways world serves a distinct purpose. [Tuned In/Time]

• Did sideways Faraday know he had to get Penny to meet up with Desmond somehow and stage the Driveshaft plot to bring them together? Along these lines, the Washington Post bloggers are also wondering what caused the characters' different consciousnesses to start bleeding together — could it be the act of pulling Desmond in between the worlds? One more thought to ponder: Des and Penny are about to meet for coffee. Was this the vision that Juliet saw right before she died? [Celebritology/WP]

• It's too difficult to reword or condense here, but this blogger has a pretty straightforward argument for why the sideways flashes may represent a "pocket universe" rather than an alternate universe. But one important implication of the pocket universe is that Smokey is definitely lurking and has shaped the characters' lives such that they wouldn't be able to act against his wishes. [Mistaking Coincidence for Fate]

• If the sideways world has been manufactured, as Eloise seems to suggest, then it has little to do with the real timeline, meaning we can abandon lots of logistical questions like wondering when the island was destroyed and how. [AV Club]

• It's worth noting that sideways Desmond appears to be the most different from his original-flavor self: He doesn't even know Penny (let alone devoted his life to her), and he's besties with Widmore, who says that nothing's too good for him. There's also no "chunka-swoosh-chunka" flashing noise when we see his two different worlds; this writer wonders if that means that Des actually isn't in this alternate-timeline world at all. [FilmFodder]

• The fact that Des is wearing a red shirt on the island (as opposed to a blue shirt in the alternate timeline) is definitely a bad sign. Along with Hurley, who’s also been wearing a red shirt lately, are Desmond’s days numbered? [MTV Movies Blog]

• Don’t believe everything you hear: Just because Faraday/Widmore told Desmond that he may have set off a nuclear bomb doesn’t necessarily mean that he did, or that it sank the island, created an alternate timeline, etc. [TV Club/Slate]

• “In our original timeline, we’ve seen the characters be miserable, and led to the island. What if the reason their lives were so miserable, is so that they could be led to believe the island was a much happier place. John Locke may be stuck on an island, but at least his father isn’t trying to kill him. With the island underwater, there’s no reason for our characters to ever come to it. And so they lead happier lives, getting the things they’ve always wanted.” [DocArzt's LOST Blog]

• Des may be special because he has Penny as his constant, but there must be something else that causes him to react uniquely to electromagnetism. Is there a big reveal about his character on the way? [Watcher/Chicago Tribune]

• Tom and Lorenzo think we haven't been seeing two timelines all this season, but rather one single altered timeline. After all, in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant" Desmond was jumping around in his own timeline — it had just been altered by future events. That would put all these "coincidental" meetings between our various characters in sideways world in the category of course-correction. So what's the game-changing event? Not the bomb, say these writers: It's Smokey's upcoming escape. [Tom and Lorenzo]

• What, according to Eloise, isn't Desmond ready for, exactly? In the island timeline, are Eloise and Widmore on opposing sides, and she's trying to thwart his plans? Or does she know that Widmore was just doing a "beta test" with Des, and that it really just isn't time yet? [TV Guide]

• This writer thinks that the sideways timeline might be Eloise Hawking's doing. What if everything she's done has been to, with the Man in Black, create a loophole (Sidewaysland) that would allow her son to live? [It Happened Last Night]

• Commenter JREESE3 loved the subtle reference to the Hatch in the MRI machine, when the tech warned Desmond that if he pushed the button, he'd have to start over. Also, could Jack's ex-wife be Penny?

• How was Sayid able to get past those pylons? (Remember that the ones surrounding the barracks fried your brain.) Pennywise thinks it's because of Sayid's new zombie [Editor's note: Really, there is no other word for it.] status.

• Widmore pointed out that Desmond is the only person he knows of that can withstand that kind of electromagnetism. R_Claw wonders if that's another hint that Smokey is related to the EM energy. Will Des have to use his "powers" somehow to contain MIB? Will he die in the process?

Tights_are_not_pants thinks Faraday might be Eloise's maiden name, and Hawking a married name she had. Could her ex-husband be MIB?

Chiyork poses quite an interesting question: "Did anyone else think of the fact that Desmond, Charlie, Claire, Katie, Jack, Sun, and Jin could have possible been at the same hospital at the same time?" It's certainly possible!

Photo: Mario Perez/ABC