Wow. Can we just say... wow. No summarizing here, straight to the good stuff:
Daniel was indeed off the island but still working for the Dharma-ites. And unexpectedly, he doesn't seem to be on the same "side" as his mother is in the past, telling Jack that she was mistaken to send them back.
Daniel's mother is still on the island in the 70s... amazing! I still don't understand how that works out time-wise, because it seems like Daniel is the same age as Miles or even a little older... but apparently not.
Widmore was responsible for the fake plane crash at the bottom of the sea after all, not Ben as people had started to hypothesize. I think it's clear that Ben has been somewhat delegated to a lesser role from here on out...
Daniel now believes that it is possible to change the past. Interestingly, at least what we saw of his speech to young Charlotte isn't the same thing she repeated to him 30 years later in the midst of the flashes ("You told me never to come back... that I would die if I came back") making me think that perhaps the future is indeed altering by degrees already. (!!)
YES! Daniel is Widmore's son! CRAZY! It makes perfect sense in so many ways, but at the same time I wasn't expecting it. Maybe I was just slow on that one, because I think people had definitely theorized that that might be the case and I just didn't believe them.
HOLY CRAP, is Daniel dead?? My vote: NO. Wishful thinking, yes, but also I think there will be less drive to the next couple of episodes if he is. So, no dead Daniel please. And in fact, this is a great chance for the Others to put the temple to good use, and give us some more information there... However, if that happens, will Daniel undergo the strange and apparently repulsive spiritual/emotional "change" that Ben did? Or is Daniel's "innocence" already gone, from what he has experienced and what he accidentally inflicted upon his research assistant girlfriend?
I don't believe Eloise-in-the-presnt knew she shot Daniel. She tells Widmore that, having sent Jack, Kate, et al, back in time, she doesn't know what will happen now. Dan hops a sub back to the island from Ann Arbor *because* she sent them back in time and he saw the photo, and the whole hydrogen bomb we-can-change-the-past thing goes from there. I don't think that the Eloise in the present knows that she shot him in the past. So, is the present shifting for Eloise even as we watch? As she drives away in the taxi, and simultaneously in Daniel's present he's being shot, is she suddenly aware of it as a memory? I'm thinking of Desmond encountering Daniel in the past, and waking up suddenly remembering it... Same thing, or no?
How on earth are our Dharma Losties going to get out of the custody of Crazy Paranoid Dude With a Gun?? Man oh man, somebody please take that thing away from him. If Juliet ends up dead, I'm seriously going to picket the ABC headquarters in protest.
Other "AHA!" Moments, and this and that:
Elaine Hawking is apparently hugely manipulative, and orchestrating much more than we had ever realized.
I still am surprised every time Jin opens his mouth and perfect English comes out. Poor guy -- all this and still inexplicably separated from Sun.
Daniel was certifiably damaged by his research before coming to the island, and it healed him. Whoaaa...
Juliet is willing to fight for her man, haha! It was pretty funny to see her reaction when Sawyer asked "Freckles" to stay with them. Less funny was their later exchange about whether she still has his back and vise versa. His pause after she asked him the question seemed a little ominous... or was it just that their conversation got cut off by the alarm, and their following apprehension by the Dharma-ites? I couldn't tell.
I loved the gun fight in Dharma-ville... way to shake things up, huh??
Hugo: "After all we did to get back here, now we're just going to run off again? Seems kind of wishy-washy."
Daniel, when handed a gun: "Um, do you have something for a beginner?"
The overarching theme of this episode was free will versus determinism -- pitting destiny against individual choice. And, interestingly, Daniel asserts that free will is the "variable" in even the most concrete equations; it even opens the possibility of changing the past. This isn't what the show was asserting before, but I think it's a necessary twist. First off, the Dharma Losties weren't there in the 70s the first time around, so things are already different from that. It is also their present now, so of course they aren't bound by the rules of "oh this already happened," because it hasn't. To use a garden metaphor, they've been transplanted there, and can grow in any direction they please. It was also a necessary twist because of how static it was making the show -- if the characters were just living out pre-determined paths, there is no space for suspense or real development.
And thank GOD this would seem to make that whole "huge loop" theory moot. If their goal is to change the future, then there's no way we're going to end up back where we started from. Umm... right?
Anything I missed, or things I'm misinterpreting? There was sooo much going on in this episode that I'm absolutely sure there is... fill me in and set me straight please! ;P
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