You and I are the rewatch's constants
You and I are the rewatch's constants
Thanks for always watching kiddo.
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A final reminder that no matter how I die, even if there's video of me peacefully dying of natural causes, it was murder.
Lost has been a serialized show from the start, meaning that you have to watch all of the episodes in order to get the jest of what's going on, so to our surprise comes an episode where we don't have to watch the other episodes to understand what's going on here; we can just jump in and watch without any worry or confusion about what's going on or what has happened. Desmond has always been one of Lost's most interesting characters, a person forced to live in isolation, someone who tries to prove his worth, someone who can't seem to exactly find his purpose in life, someone who tries so hard to love but fails; he has always proved himself to provide one of Lost's best episodes and this episode is no different but in this case, this is one of Desmond's (and Lost's) best episodes yet.
First off, even though you don't have to watch any prior episodes of Lost prior to watching this one (it even ends with an truly surprising and weird ending that doesn't lead into any episode but adds to the episode as a whole), there are things that will seem foreign if you haven't watched previous episodes of Lost prior to this one, things such as the scenes on the island involving Jack and all your favorite island characters and references to previous episodes that happened nary a long time ago. Hell, this episode starts off as a continuation of the previous episode with them headed towards the freighter; it's reveal is done in a way that expects you to watch the previous episodes, I mean you'll still be surprised when you see it but the entire scene revolves around having watched the previous episodes. This may not be a problem have you watched the episodes prior to this one but since you're going into this review under the perspective of a viewer who has never watched Lost, this may be a problem.
The episode has an odd concept behind it, a person jumping from one time to the next. Many people would think that this concept wouldn't work well mainly because it would be impossible to manage it with a Desmond plot without seeming cheesy and it would be impossible to explain to the viewer the mechanics behind it; but in this episode it works like a charm and it's one of the major things the episode has going for it. Dave and Carlton go the extra mile to make sure that this is possible, doing the research and including tons of stuff that explains to the viewer how this might be possible; theories, variables, constants, radiation, formulas, metaphorical stuff. All of it is there and all of it is included at various times that don't interfere with Desmond's main story, in fact they help to enhance it because it help us understand what Desmond is going through and what may ultimately happen to Desmond if he shouldn't make it back. (Hell, they even subtly hint at how would happen) It has been mentioned as the point in time where the Lost creators decided to just say "Hey, we're a sci-fi show; why not drop the act and include complex science stuff?" But there was science in the show before this episode so this isn't the major turning point for the show in terms of science, but it is a turning point in the usage of science in order to create an engaging and unique plot.
Science; used to advance plots.
This concept is applied to our main attraction Desmond who's has been through some weird stuff before but ends up being almost natural to him as previous episodes of Lost have proven. The writers put Desmond through a plot of magnificent design, a plot which showcases the best and only the best of Desmond's character and also gives us one of the best romance plots in recent history; they spare no expense in getting the story across the way they want it, every setting is as grand as the next one yet manages is essential to Desmond's plot as a whole, from the Freighter (the Freighter has got to be one of the most hostile and friendly places there is; I mean the people are nice and friendly but they definitely have deadly intentions, definitely sets the mood) to the Army Base to Oxford, no setting has a lack of significance and every one of those settings plays an essential part in Desmond's plot. Some of those may not be overly obvious but every setting plays an essential part; every one. We also get a sense of progression; throughout the suspense, the opposition (the Freighter is one of the few places which can be both hostile and friendly at the same time) the jarring cuts and the ever shortening window, we become more invested in Desmond as he learns about his condition and what he has to do to save himself, to the point where we begin to think he may not have a chance at making it, it's always something when a show manages to make you think a character is going to die.
That doesn't mean that he goes about it alone, on the present; we have people who appear constantly in Desmond's plot, people like Sayid, Frank and the communications officer Minkowski; each of these people play a part in Desmond's plot and most of these people feel like they're a part of Desmond's life even though two of these characters were just introduced. Sayid is portrayed as well as anybody expected, being the lovable hardass that we all know and love; his pairing with Desmond is one that drives a lot of the episode, mainly because plays the role of the concerned friend well; if you ever wanted an entire episode featuring Sayid and Desmond well, this is it. I liked how they set up Minkowski to be the significant other to Desmond, they're both having the same things happen to them and both are aware of what will happen. They invest so much in him that we become sad when he does pass away; while it appropriately shows what happens to Desmond, it just makes us mourn the passing of a minor character who's time never came. Faraday also plays a major part of the episode and a lot of his scenes explore his character that has been as yet unknown at this point, he even has a part in helping Desmond though not as big as a part as you'd think... As the episode builds up to it's climax, these people are placing themselves in Desmond's situation and as Desmond is doing all of these things in the freighter and in the past, one can not forget about that one obvious thing, that one thing that ties the episode together...
No, not him.
That thing is Penny. Why is that? Well a lot of focus is given to Desmond as he attempts to solve the problem but there are sighs and mentions of Penny wherever you look; regardless of which part of the episode he's in. From the beginning of the episode, Penny lays the groundwork for the episode to come (in the most subtlest way possible) and as the Desmond progresses through the plot, we learn more about the relevance of Penny in his life; that shows that even though he can't express the love and feels himself to be unworthy, he is willing to do anything to be with her because he ultimately needs her, anything; including meeting her father and begging under the most unflattering of conditions. Penny is just like the rest of us, she has emotions, she has anger and she even has remorse for anybody close; she's also like us in that she's the girl that most of us would want and the girl who's willing to stand for anything, she's the girl from around the way and because of that, she plays an ultimate part in bringing the episode full circle; leading to a very, very sweet and moving ending that proves to us that no matter what Desmond has been in, (as evident through the entire episode.) there will always be someone who will love you, even if you're thousands of miles away.
Of course, all that can't matter if the acting chops are up to par and the actor behind Desmond; Henry Ian Crusik utilizes all of his acting chops, managing to turn in a performance that tricks you into thinking that what you're seeing is actually happening in real life. It's always something to watch the scenes and actually connect with what's happening; we're feeling him when he screams out "I don't know you!", when he tries to reconnect with his estranged girlfriend and we're feeling him when he on the clock too. There are no scenes where we feel disconnected to him, to us he feels like a real dysfunctional person; Henry manages to utilize humanity to his advantage, using emotion and personality in a way that raises the question of whether we can discern from real people and people we see on TV, I mean are the people on TV as real as the ones we see on the streets? Thanks to Crusik's performance, that question will have discussion for years to come. The other characters fare as well as they usually but they take a back seat to Desmond; now that I think about it, all of the scenes take a backseat to Desmond. The island scenes seem to exist only to provide Faraday a backdrop to portray his character and also provide some explanations for those longtime viewers watching the series and the freighter scenes seem to be lacking; I mean as I said before, it sets the perfect mood (because of the mixed perception), it provides the perfect opposition and a lot of the episode takes place on the freighter yet there isn't enough of it; I feel disappointed because there was a lot they could of done (with a few exceptions.) with the environment the freighter had.
Ah Desmond, looking into the light.
But those faults are few compared to the pluses the episode had; the show always had a cinematic feel to it and the writers take advantage of that here with the episode having the felling of a $40 million dollar movie made on the budget of $4 million dollars. I mean the camera angles do a good job at being fancy while capturing whatever feeling is on the screen and they certainly do a good job with some extravagant helicopter shots, they do such a good job in fact that it may trick you into thinking that you're watching some HBO or Showtime show/movie; seriously, it's that good. Let's not forget about the music by Lost composer Michael Giacchino who manages to incorporate musical pieces that manages to reflect the feeling of the scenes shown. They say that music can be a powerful thing if used correctly, I mean a lot of the best moments in TV have had very powerful music to back it up right? Well this entire episode might as well be the best TV moment ever; every musical piece that's in this episode is powerful as hell and every one of them gives impact to every scene that it's featured, whether it be light or dramatic or romantic. I can't list specific scenes but I can say that Michael Giacchino has the piece to guarantee you that you will feel something; whether it be a tear or even something else entirely, you will feel something.
There are only so many words that can go into a review without ruining the whole thing so I'll close out with this. "The Constant" is one if not perhaps the best episodes of Lost ever and it's the pinnacle when it comes to dramatic relationship episodes. There is barely anything that can top this, the concept is good, the story is amazing, the characterization is unbelievable and it's an exhilarating experience from start to finish. This is something that you need to see to believe and you don't have to watch the previous episodes of Lost to see it, which is a super big plus; save your $20 bucks, go buy this episode, watch it (presumably with others, including your family or significiant other) and be taken back by the emotional powerhouse this episode is; hell, this episode could be your constant!
Last edited by Zombies Rise from the Sea; 04-12-2012 at 10:24 AM.
Watch this space.
Zombies, this is awesome. I love this episode as well, but i never thought of it (or any episode, tbh) as a stand alone.
Thanks for providing a new perspective into the workings of an old friend. A good read
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