LOST: “Happily Ever After” Review

Courtesy ABC/Mario Perez

by Sarah Carbiener

“I want to punch Damon Lindelof in the face.”

“Get in line.”

“I miss when the show was about polar bears.”

Clearly, a few of my fellow viewers were not fans of tonight’s episode even though it featured everyone’s favorite constant, Desmond Hume. I don’t know that I was as consistently and vehemently disappointed as the rest of them, but tonight’s episode, “Happily Ever After,” moved at a snail’s pace for me. The direction of each scene was immediately obvious, and yet everyone took their sweet time getting there. This is particularly disappointing as there were some really interesting, satisfying moments buried between the suspense-less hypothetical speeches where everyone took way too long explaining things we already know.

Because I don’t want to get in line to punch Lindelof in the face (while I could take Lindelof, the frighteningly tall Carlton Cuse would end me), let’s start with the good. One of my all-time favorite parts of Lost is the relationship between Desmond and Charlie after Desmond survives the hatch explosion. In large part because of Desmond, Charlie grows up. He becomes a man, the man Claire and her baby need him to be, and he willingly sacrifices himself to save them all from Widmore’s men. Desmond reluctantly gets close to a man he knows is doomed to die and tries to save him anyway. The scene in tonight’s episode where Charlie crashes Desmond’s car into the water to show them their other lives on the island, and the shot-for-shot recreation of the moment of Charlie’s sacrifices were an enormous and thrilling payoff.*

Everything around this payoff, however, bored me to tears. Lost’s love triangles and romantic troubles are a study in extremes. They’re either gut-wrenching in the best way or annoying as hell. If you’re Desmond and Penny or Sun and Jin during the first four seasons, you’re in a gut-wrenching relationship.  If you’re Kate or anyone who loves Kate, you’re annoying. But those relationships can only be one way or the other when the action revolves around the relationships and not hypothetical conversations about love at first sight. There were three long scenes where characters essentially asked, “Do you believe in love at first sight?” That’s not drama. That’s killing time until Desmond puts two and two together and decides that the rest of flight Oceanic 815 needs to know about this other amazing reality they’re missing out on.

Desmond is important. Desmond is aware of more than one reality at once and has the ability to slip through time and space. Desmond loves Penny more than anything. Desmond is not going to die between some big electromagnets because he survived the hatch explosion. Knowing these things, I thought it was incredibly obvious where everything was headed tonight. I love that they’re using Desmond to bring the sideways reality and the events on the island together, but this should have happened sooner. It doesn’t make up for all that time I spent not knowing why I should care about what was happening off the island.  Besides, no matter how relieved I am that the sideways flashes aren’t simply an epilogue in advance, I expect more from my Desmond episodes.

Maybe I’m holding a grudge against this episode because of all the terrible ones I’ve sat through leading up to it. I feel like Lindelof and Cuse are going to bust down my door in the middle of the night and scream, “What the hell do you want from us?”

To quote the little boy on the tricycle in The Incredibles:

“I don’t know. Something amazing, I guess!”

*In five seasons, weren’t there enough moments like this to mirror in the sideways flashes prior to this episode? Seriously epic things have happened on Lost. Why did they wait this long to do something this awesome in the sideways flash?  WHY?



  • Reply
    April 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    It’s hard not to like Desmond, but I, too, wish I could watch an entire episode without shaking my head at the tv.

  • Reply
    Rick M
    April 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I think you need to find new people to watch Lost with, this review seems very colored by the opinions of the people in your living room.

    First, I’d like to address the idea that we had three long scenes where characters just ask about, as you call it, “love at first sight.” The beauty of those scenes, and the idea in general, is that they aren’t talking about love at first sight. They’re talking about being fully and completely in love, feeling like you already have a relationship, with someone you don’t even know or, maybe, have never even seen. Why this is essential to the plot is that there is no other feeling this powerful and jarring that could make someone realize something as crazy as, “This isn’t my life. Something is wrong.” That’s a pretty wild idea to have put in your head, and it takes something as meaningful as Charlie, Daniel, and Desmond having visions of women they are consumed by to convince them of this.

    Furthermore, I’m curious as to your claim (with emphasis even) about these things we supposedly “already know” and, even more strangely to me, that the “direction of each scene was immediately obvious.” This episode gave us our first real explanation of what the alternate universe was (which is huge, this is the single biggest question of this whole season and it was given to us piece by piece throughout the episode), gave us back Faraday, had Charlie drive Desmond’s car into the harbor (again, !), had Eloise understand to some extent what was happening, gave us this massive machine that killed somebody (but not Desmond), and capped off with Sayid jumping out of the jungle to kidnap Desmond…how much of that was obvious? What about these things did we already know?

    Lastly, for someone who likes Lost as I assume most people who read these reviews do, it’s frustrating to like an episode and then read a review about it in which the reviewer not only doesn’t like it, but willingly admits that she doesn’t really understand why she doesn’t like it and offhandedly compares her ability to conjure criticism to that of a child. If you’re going to blast what (from what I’ve been reading and that may be a skewed viewpoint as well) was one of the best episodes in a long time, at least fully defend your point. If you can’t put your finger on why you don’t like it (other than nebulous remarks about the pace and complaints about other episodes and characters not involved in this episode) what are we even reading about?

    • Reply
      April 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

      I agree that they weren’t literally discussing “love at first sight” but love as you describe it, however, save for the moment where Charlie drives the car into the water, which I also agree was great, that’s all they do in this episode. Discuss. Yes, we see Eloise and Faraday, but do they do anything? Take any action? No, they discuss and explain and imply and dance around. I loved the reveal that the side flashes aren’t the life they’re meant to be living, but do all these conversations really make fugitive Kate sideflash better in retrospect?

      We got Faraday back, but the minute that Widmore said his son is arranging a concert, it was clear that his mother let him pursue the piano instead of physics. Then we actually get a scene with him, he’s explaining that the bomb caused this other reality (were we really in doubt that the bomb was somehow responsible with this?), and that he was a physics genius in the life he was meant to live. Again, is this new information? Desmond survived the hatch explosion, and I didn’t doubt he would survive an episode he was starring in even if he was placed between two scary magnents.

      Granted, when the Lost title flashed on the screen at the start of the episode, I obviously didn’t know where any of the episode was going. (Except for the Sayid thing. Flocke/Smoke Monster had sent Sayid to the island an episode or two ago. I was waiting for him and his gun to jump out of the bushes in every scene on the island.) But what I said was that once this hour of television was set up, it was obvious where it was going.

      And I didn’t compare my ability to conjure criticism to that of a child exactly. I was simply quoting a character created by one of my favorite writers, Brad Bird, and referencing the theme in his best movie, The Incredibles. I made the reference because I was aware that many people feel this is one of the best episodes of the season. As a huge Lost fan, I attempted to articulate that in a post, filled with my opinions and thought on a website where I doubt there is one objective review without a skewed viewpoint or two.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Fortunately for us rabid LOST fans, the show continues to delight. Yes, there are problems. Yes, Eirego, sometimes it is obvious to anyone watching regularly that the writers are drinking or smoking heavily. But, then again, the crew of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were admittedly imbibing as well and they were considered geniuses!

    So lay off the Lost ridicule and let us dig the show.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Okay, ScriptPimp, let’s be clear, I DID enjoy the show once. It was must see tv for me for a very longtime. Then it just became stupid. It’s like the writers feel the people still watching the show must have no intelligence or were and remain stoned out of their mind. I don’t expect anything on tv (aside from TLC, PBS or the History channel) to be all that intelligent, but the the shows I watch better make sense or I will stop watching.

      Oh, BTW, I am a huge fan of Monty Python, but they were intentionally trying to make us laugh by being absurd. I don’t think the writers of Lost are trying to be anything but obtuse.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      I love the show, but lay off the ridicule? Because we’ve all bought the boxed sets, tuned in live every show, and even with the DVR, inevitably sat through commercials because we have to start the on time, that means it’s creators are incapable of disappointing their audience?

      Monty Python is brilliant, but those guys didn’t take their audience for granted. I think Carlton and Cuse did by taking this long to give the side flashes context or at the very least, fill them with character moments than move the audience rather than nods to the mythology.

      And unless Eirego is talking loudly in your ear during the broadcast, there should be no effect how you dig the show.

      • Reply
        April 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

        I don’t own a box set of anything.

        This is not an attack on you per se, Sarah, it’s more a statement of the lack of substantial creativity coming from the show and its creators.

        The television I tune into regularly has to be smart. Lost is merely being dense on purpose to make viewers think that if they don’t “get it” they must not be “hip” when in fact it is really nothing but a bunch of fluff masquerading as something epic. A show called Twin Peaks did the same thing in the early ’90s, but they couldn’t figure out where they were going after the first couple of seasons either. The creators of Lost admittedly never figured they could get beyond season one. This is why the polar bear has never really been explained. They had no idea they could fool enough people into watching a story making no sense. Or did they? So they ended up stumbling around in the dark trying to make sense out of something they never thought they would have to explain.

        TV is best when it doesn’t condescend to the masses (i.e., the people who rushed to buy the pet rock, those who wear jeans sunk so low they can’t walk, idiots who think Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are stars). To be fair, there will always be people who will buy anything and swallow the pill just because they think it’s cool, but hopefully evolution will take care of that.

        I gotta have some substance, Sarah, otherwise what’s the point? Don’t blame me for merely pointing out the fact that the Emperor has no clothes.

        • Reply
          April 8, 2010 at 11:02 am

          Sorry, Eirgo, I was trying to reply to Script Pimp. And to paraphrase David Simon, fuck the middle. Here’s to shows that don’t condescend!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I loved this episode as the events give the characters legit incitaments for acting towards a goal – getting the life they were supposed to have.

Leave a Reply