Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long post)

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Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long post)

Postby Zarti1 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:31 am

I've been rewatching Lost, again, and I'm still absolutely stumped when it comes to Desmond. I can't make any sense of it.

Lost introduced the "whatever happened, happened" theory in season 5. I'm completely sure they hadn't come up with this theory yet when the writers wrote "Flashes before your Eyes" and "The Constant", so some inconsistencies are understandable. But it just annoys me that it doesn't make sense, period.

First of all, let's talk about "Flashes before your Eyes". I always wanted to fit that into the "whatever happened, happened" theory in the show. That all of that, only happened once. Desmond was a happy guy who lived with his girlfriend Penny, at that point. However, future Desmond's consciousness suddenly flashes back to Desmond while he was painting the room, he faints and falls down. When he wakes up, he's still 1996 Desmond, but with 2004 Desmond's consciousness partially in his head. His 2004 consciousness starts bubbling up more and more as things go on. Then when he goes to buy the ring and Eloise confronts him, that's something that always happened. The timing of him dumping Penny is also something that always happened. But eventually, 1996 Desmond gets hit in the head, and then I assume that when he woke up, he didn't remember anything of his 2004 consciousness, or Eloise. All 1996 Desmond remembers is him dumping Penny, the football game,... But nothing more. That would still make sense within the "whatever happened, happened" theory.

Things start going wrong in "the Constant", however. First of all, on-island Faraday remembers Desmond. Well, he doesn't remember him because of his memory problems, but he has met him. He has written about Desmond in his journal. After the events of "Flashes before your eyes", 1996 Desmond joined the army, having no recollection of everything that had happened. But suddenly, because of 2004 Desmond leaving the island, 1996 Desmond's consciousness flashes to the future. Again, since Faraday remembers Desmond, this is something that has always happened, still consistent with the "whatever happened, happened theory".

But here's the problem. If that always happened, then why the hell did 2004 Desmond not remember that eight years ago, his consciousness flashed to the future? Chronologically, we need to assume that 1996 Desmond flashed back and forth to and from the future, met Faraday in Oxford in 1996, told Penny to pick up the phone 8 years later, and after that, 1996 Desmond just continued his life in 1996. So, basically, Desmond should've remembered all that. The Desmond that crashed onto the island 5 years later, had already experienced the time flashes from the Constant. So why the hell didn't Desmond recognise Faraday in 2004, right before getting on the chopper? Faraday didn't recognise him cause he lost much of his memory, but what's Desmond's excuse? In this episode, the "whatever happened, happened" theory applies, since there's no other explanation for Faraday having written about Desmond in his book.

So what exactly DID happen to 1996 Desmond, when the flashes to the future on the Kahana stopped. After visiting Penny at her apartment, he sort of smiles and walks off. Did he just forget everything that happened there? When Desmond got on the chopper in 2004, going to the boat, why didn't he remember everything from the flashes 8 years ago? Why didn't he anticipate his 1996 would be flashing to him?

Eventually, in season 5, Faraday seemingly "implants" a memory into Desmond. But why did Desmond only just remember it three years after getting off the island? Faraday implanted the memory into Desmond at the Hatch somewhere between 2001 and 2004, from Faraday's perspective, just a few hours had passed after the time skipping started. From Desmond's perspective three years have passed, so why does he randomly get the memory in 2007 all of a sudden? To make it fit in the "whatever happened, happened" theory, all I can think of is that it's just something Desmond had forgotten about. But in 2007, he coincidentally (or by faith) dreams about it again, resulting in him remembering he had met Faraday before. That way Faraday didn't insert something into Desmond's mind, it again always happened.

So to sum up, my main questions are:
1) Why didn't Desmond remember what was going to happen when he got on the chopper to the freighter in 2004, and why didn't he remember Faraday before getting on said chopper?
2) What happened to 1996 Desmond after telling Penny to pick up the phone 8 years later. Shouldn't he have lived the next years of his life knowing that in 2004, he'd be on a boat with a guy named Sayid and a bunch of weirdos?

Feel free to answer some of the less important questions as well, but the two questions above me are the important ones that I can't get my head around.
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Re: Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long pos

Postby LOSTAddictsBlog on Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:49 am

It's not a perfect answer but I believe they tried to cover up Desmond's stories by having Faraday call him "uniquely special" and saying that the rules don't apply to him. (s5 e1 because you left)

They absolutely stuck to the same theory throughout lost that whatever happened happened. That's why Eloise talked to Desmond about course correction. The rules didn't apply to Desmond and he did slightly change things when he relived his past, but he still broke up with penny and ended up on the island. 1996 desmond post phone number is a good question. But it probably gets answered by their vague rule that he's special and the rules don't apply. It could be like how he received a "memory" from faraday in season 5. He doesn't remember things until it is necessary.

I just finished my rewatch last week. Such a great show. I thought it held up pretty well. The thing that still drives me crazy is how Eloise knew the red shoes guy was going to die. I understand most of the events she could have figured out from Dan's journal. But the red shoes guy? Naaa lol. But it was still a cool story at the time.
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Re: Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long pos

Postby Zarti1 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:03 pm

I love the show as well, it's just that the Desmond story... bugs me :D

They indeed tried to cover it up by saying that Desmond is uniquely special, and the rules don't apply to him. But that brings us to yet another gaping plot hole.

Faraday was convinced that it's impossible to change the past. You can't do it. He was convinced of this until Charlotte's death pretty much drove him crazy (crazier), and his opinion was changed when he came back to the island. However, during the events of the Constant, and throughout the first part of season 5, he kept saying you can't change anything. However, he did also know that Desmond was special and he knew that Desmond COULD change the past.

For someone as brilliant as Daniel Faraday, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that he never realised that his "everything only happens once theory" was simply incorrect, as he personally knew someone who could relive things. Faraday knew about it.

I loved Desmond's time-flashing episodes when I first saw them. In retrospect, I can't stand those episodes because they completely contradict the "whatever happened, happened" theme in the rest of the show. Again, the writers didn't know they would stick to the whatever happened, happened theory in season 5 when they wrote the constant and flashes before your eyes. But that whole thing was pretty much the most important thing in the entire show, so it's disappointing they didn't cover up that gigantic plothole any better. No matter how you look at it, Desmond's time traveling just doesn't fit at all in the Lost universe. It's, simply put, inexplicable.

And as you say, Eloise knowing about the guy with the red shoes doesn't make sense either. Unless she got her orders and instructions from Jacob. But then that doesn't really explain why Widmore only knew about Jacob and MIB until Jacob visited him after the Kahana explosion. Pretty much everything in Lost can be explained with some imagination, except this. The Desmond stories are simply plotholes.
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Re: Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long pos

Postby LOSTAddictsBlog on Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:40 pm

Oh there's definitely holes to poke in this show! But, I just use the information we've gotten over 6 seasons to apply my best guess at how they all tie together. Like you said, by using some imagination. lol So, I'll give this a shot too. :)

So Desmond could technically "alter" certain events in the past but the universe would always find a way to "course correct" those things. This plays into the whole season 3 storyline of Charlie's death. If we assume that Desmond's flashes were ACTUAL flashes of the future (and I think we are supposed to), then he prevented Charlie's death from happening several times. But, in the end, Charlie had to die. It still had to happen. Desmond's "ability/specialness" had to deal with his unique ability to be in contact with extreme amounts of electromagnetism. This plays into his season 2 role in imploding the hatch up and surviving, his consciousness time travel and visions of the future in seasons 3 and 4, his "memories" that suddenly came to him at the appropriate time in season 5, and of course his ability to uncork the island and get a glimpse of the Sideways universe before his actual death. It's all tied into that crazy electromagnetic ball of energy, light and goodness on the island called THE SOURCE. lol

I think "genius" Faraday knew that Desmond was special but he probably knew about course correction as well. Afterall, Eloise learned what she needed to learn from her son's journal. I think Daniel THOUGHT he could change things (as you said, he was obsessed with saving Charlotte and wasn't thinking clearly), but the minute he got shot by his mother he knew that this is what always happened. The fact that he said "you knew?" to younger Eloise seemed to tip off that he did exactly what he had done every time. The fact that he told Charlotte to leave the island after he tried to avoid it forever was another tip. This is a man that wasn't thinking clearly in the end.


Now, I'm a big LOST dork and I listened to all of the Darlton podcasts over the years. I remember when Flashes first aired that they started talking about how there's 2 ways to write time travel. The "Whatever happened happened" style where you can't change the past and the "back to the future" style where you can. The 2nd style gets very difficult to keep things in order as you tamper with time too much. So, they talked about how they were very interested in that first style. So, once we entered season 5, I remember having this idea in the back of my head. When Sayid shot Ben, I was thinking "how on earth could that ever work if they can't change the past?" And of course, we found out those were the very events that led to Ben becoming who he is. In fact, most of season 5 is showing us that our LOSTIES were very involved in the events that actually led to them coming to the island in the first place. This was the mindset I had for all of season 5, so I knew there was no way they were rebooting time in that finale. I went into that finale thinking, "wow, this is awesome. We've heard about the incident for 3 years now and we're actually going to see it. And, now we know our LOSTIES were involved in it the whole time. Crazy!" (I have a very intense inner monologue. :-))

So, what is my point? I think I lost it. lol While the writers did go out of their way to challenge the rules of time from season 3 through 5, events still transpired the way they were supposed to. So, Whatever Happened Happened remains the "CONSTANT" philosophy of LOST. As I said, Desmond's story isn't "perfect", but because of his "specialness" (a term used for several characters on LOST: MIB, Walt, Locke) it can be explained.

As for Eloise, her story definitely has some gaps in it. On my re-watch I thought I had it figured out. Since MIB/Smokey/Christian told Locke to find Eloise, I assumed that MIB had already corrupted Eloise or conned her into helping get everyone back. And maybe she THOUGHT she was doing Jacob's bidding as well. But, Eloise may have had her own motivation in making sure events happened the way they were supposed to. She knew Daniel's path was to the island. Maybe she secretly hoped that if he focused on his studies and gave up joys like playing piano, he'd be able to crack the code on time travel and end the loop that they were in. But, deep down she knew that when she told Daniel to go to the island she was sending him to his death. I think we just have to accept that the RED SHOES thing doesn't fit in with the show's answer to why she knew things ahead of time. (Dan's journal) It's unfortunate but a minor issue in the scheme of things!
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A lengthy summary explaining why everybody hates Kate

Postby Zarti1 on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:03 am

Okay, I more or less like that explanation :D

The whole Eloise thing is still slightly disappointing though. Well, I guess it's better not to think too much about the Desmond episodes. It's just that seeing these two Desmond episodes annoy me cause I can never come up with a half-decent explanation for it :)
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Re: Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long pos

Postby LOSTAddictsBlog on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:17 pm

Yeah, I hear you. Whenever I think about the show and get a little frustrated, I just remind myself of how much fun I had watching the show for 6 years and how entertaining it was from start to finish (Jack's tattoo story excluded lol). Sure, there are a few loose ends but every show has them. If that was a sacrifice that had to be made to put quality TV on week to week, I'm all for it! And of course, the fun part about LOST is that the loose ends can still be theorized about and the discussion can go on endlessly.
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Re: Desmond's story just doesn't make any sense... (long pos

Postby DarthLocke on Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:32 pm

Desmond story does make sense if you consider that the bigger picture is multiple universe and several iterations of any given time line.....You have to then consider that Desmond taps into many versions of said reality by various methods of time travel.

When it comes to Penny and consciencely time traveling during "The Constant" we have to consider that he went to some version of 1996 that may not have been the 1996 of the characters' timeline, as this is a way to "network" events from other timelines in order to get Penny to arrive. You could say he created a convergence.

Similarly, then you can say that Desmond's visions, like that with Charlie during season 3, were glimpses/memories into past timelines in which he witnesses several of the ways previous versions of Charlie had died, -which were often senseless deaths revolving around water and/or suffocation...It's Desmond's awareness and choice to tell Charlie that promotes a change for the future of our characters' timeline, and the next branch off of the new timeline our characters make when they time travel back to the 1970's....Charlie now aware gives meaning for his death, which IMO causes a chain reaction that trickles down so that in this iteration of the timeline a certain group of people (primarily the 815-ers) could eventually upon death "move onto" a life that didn't include direct contact with the Island (Hence it's innate state and SUBmergence of the Island in this other plane), as I believe the flash sideways is an ethereal plane that bridges corporeal lifetimes together. So the logic was that the characters could get a glimpse into their upcoming future, but they had to remember their former life times past in order to understand that they made the new version of the future together and that the new future still reflects things in the past.

With Mrs. Hawking after the swan implosion we can say the same thing for the physical time traveling as the conscience time traveling, since we don't know if it's just he doesn't remember the past of this timeline and the blanks get filled in, and/or if he went again to another alternative past to meet Hawking to network her and by extension Daniel back to him in this timeline.

If you look at the Island as "life extension" in evolutionary terms, then yo can argue that the Island wants to live and/or humanity to live, so it promotes ways for humanity to save "it" so that they can save themselves in every way imaginable.

There is also a type of time fold or a repeat in event history between two timelines from the events we see in "Because You Left" and "Follow The Leader". John Locke is able to exist alive, dead, and his identity stolen all at the same time. It's easier to think of multiple versions of the past being able to repeat in certain spots, but it is harder for people to do so with the future, but technically any one future of a timeline could exist before any state/any time of any other, and thus it's about which date existed first and not about the actual date. (ex: iteration 1-a's 2007 exists before iteration's 1-b's 2007)


Desmond and Locke play to MIB/Smokey, Jacob and TIME through Christmas Carol References. Locke and Hume both references to Empirical philosophers of the same name, whom believe that it is "the experience" that shapes your identity. Hume's view specifically believed that life was series of flashes, or in other words "memories"...

Because there's an argument to make about whether MIB became the smoke monster or if the smoke monster became MIB, it's hard to say what the smoke monster's true identity really is, but we could say the the role of the smoke monster is to play the role of the antagonist in order to motivate (proper motivation) others to save themselves through out all histories of the Island. When time traveling via the wheel on it's axis, James come to some past version of Desmond in the swan and calls him "The Ghost of Christmas Past". Later back in 2007 when James goes with Locke, whom seemingly appears to have escaped death via Resurrection (But more technically, memory projected through the poly-morphic smoke monster), James refers to him as "The Ghost of Christmas Future". Even though it is the smoke monster who sets himself in the image of Locke, we can see that he and the Island often "astral project" memories, including "Taller Ghost Walt" (because Walt has already been taller/older in a previous time line so the memory of that image is projected in this case via smoke monster to convey "futuristic" aspects and/or fate) exposing the characters to "fringe-like" events, which are really just proof of other time lines/time periods and the memories that the Island houses. Additionally the Island is coined by Alpert as "Hell". In the Christmas Carol it is "Jacob" Marley that comes back dragging his chains from hell and warns Scrooge that the ghosts of time are coming to show him various realities of time periods (with the future rendering an alternate image of what comes to pass) in order to persuade him to change his ways...In the flash sideways, we can presume that Jacob and MIB do not appear, because they are not of the time period of this groups importance, as the FS reflect the most important time in the 815-ers lives (generally 2004-2007)...as we can see Desmond takes on the role of the smoke monster by "violently" re-creating events to make the others remember the mirrored previous ones and Hugo takes to his Jacob/Island protector role as he also goes and tries to help and gather the others together.

The point was that death ("This place is death!") is not the end of life, but a transition in being able to continue on in every way (The Temple: Ancient Egypt Concept: "The Heart" = doorway "collective conscience" and Hinduism (like Buddhism) originates from Brahman = Dharma/Karma: Life, Death, and REBIRTH) ...from both the ability for the time line to continue on from where our characters have died, and for others to be able to create alternate timelines and life times for all of humanity to come to the Island (in variable sets/groups) to save it, as it ends only once, everything before that is just progress (Progress = motion, motion = evolution = the ability to exist)


Other Bad Robot works may help one understand Conformal Cycle Cosmology such as FRINGE ("The Day We Died") and the new time line created in 2009's Star Trek. Both are created by time traveling back in time to create branch offs of the timeline (aka alternate time lines from that point on). -With the primary difference in that LOST's Island (a time machine) comes with a much tighter course correction, making it slower to create extremely different alterations in some cases from time line to time line until the law of avergaes kicks in, although Fringe and Star Trek hint at the effects of Reciprocity. (balancing out universes when you exchange variables- what becomes the dominate DNA of a family of timelines?). We also can compare with history from before the time travel to when they time travel that also provides discrepancies. Other proof is Dr. Chang's videos. Like Charlie Pace (and looking at what Fringe coins as "white tulips") we can see 3 versions of Chang during the Incedent, one he looses one arm, another time line he looses the other instead, and in our go around he looses his hand instead, possibly showing progress in terms of Chang's and/or Miles possible upcoming variable set in being another group to save the Island in some upcoming iteration.

*Note: Additionally LOST hinted at this with Stephen Hawking references, repeated loop references, Daniel Faraday's Whatever Happened Happened (history repeats)/People are Variables (evolution = variation), and with several ALTERNATE reality media and games. (Bad Twin, The Lost Experience, Via Domis) that multiple universe is the truth behind what the main protagonists don't know, as the concept was they were LOST.
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