Lost Monday – "The Constant."

Season 4 – Episode 5: “The Constant.”

Another Lost Monday is upon us. We have much to discuss; I’m jumping the shark this week!

A bizarre and meandering episode begets a bizarre meandering review, so I apologize in advance for this week’s Lost Monday not staying incredibly true to form. Also, I’m more than a little hung over. There’s no such thing as poor professionalism when you’re writing for free.

I, my friends, had a wonderful weekend. Madison hit 45 degrees on Sunday, allowing a lot of snow to melt and make way for a fresh batch early this week. We’re making minimally positive progress into Spring, but it’s just enough to keep me from deep-throating a shotgun. I’ll take it as a small victory. I also quite enjoy the obliterated back roads and nine-foot deep sinkholes that accompany them as the temperature rises. If I can make it to April with all axles and shocks in proper working order, it would be an absolute miracle.

Me and the Missus also looked into a condo we wished to purchase, and it appears as if we’re teetering on it being a possibility. So, if you notice me selling out like crazy over the next few weeks, singing soda jingles and getting ‘GoldenPalace.com’ tattooed on my forehead, don’t get too upset, just know that it may be moving me into a bigger house. Punk or not, I need equity if I want to survive this recession. Our next President will need the following four years to right the wrongs of the previous eight, so he or she* won’t be depended on by myself to make sure I don’t starve to death under an overpass.

*Not going to happen, sorry.

Johnny 5!
(I like how the guy that was in Short Circuit died when his brain short circuited.)

On Saturday night, I drank some of JT’s moonshine and fell asleep at a Pizzeria Uno, giving me a very small window of sobriety in which to do my weekly Lost research. I’m actually happy about this, as I’m sure that message boards are being flooded with nerd arguments about Lost jumping the shark for the 18th time with its bizarre, time-traveling ways. I needn’t be involved with such rubbish; I can assure you that Lost will be just fine, regardless of if ‘The Constant‘ thrust us further into sci-fi territory than we’ve ever been before.

Such fickle fans we are. Considering all of the non-nonsensical bunk we put up with on a daily basis on Lost, as soon as they come forward and give us a theory as to why things are so messed up, we instantly dismiss it as hooey and demand a second opinion. Shame on you! Sci-fi has always been in the background of Lost, although most of the strange events on the island seem to have a semi-logical and reasonable explanation. As the story moves forth, you may have to start believing more and more unbelievable things.

Sorry 'bout that.
(Within a matter of two weeks, Daniel ruins the show.)

Furthermore, any and every Desmond-centric episode allows the writers to go hog-wild with insanity, and some of the things we saw shouldn’t be analyzed any longer than the next couple days. Desmond is a little soft in the head, and not everything we see him do should be viewed as the gospel truth and the future of the television series. It appears as if the writers use Desmond episodes as a vehicle to bust out all of the crazy stuff they know wouldn’t fly during any other character-themed episodes, and I don’t have a huge problem with that.

This episode contained no flash-forwards nor flashbacks, theoretically. It was more of Desmond’s conscious getting warped because of the polarity of the Island to the rest of the Earth, and going on a time-traveling mission to save himself and the rest of the survivors.

I pooped 'em!
(Desmond realized that he was slightly off-course when he saw a dolphin approach the helicopter.)

Yeah, I’ll admit that sounds pretty stupid. And in reality, it kind of is. As I was watching the episode, I kept getting more and more concerned with my beloved Lost, especially the intelligent spin they put on seemingly paranormal and unexplainable elements. The truth of the matter, however, is that this episode was a brilliant piece of television, containing fantastic acting by Henry Ian Cusick, ridiculous jump-cuts and editing, a truly emotional love story and at least two brain aneurysms. That’s good TV, right there!

I’ll be honest with you; I’m not a big sci-fi fan. In fact, as I get older and write more and more non-fiction, I’ve grown to be quite disgusted with it. I think that writing Science Fiction is cheating on a creative level, because any plot device that you throw against the wall can be explained away with little to no rationality. If a realistic story isn’t working for you, just throw a spaceship, some aliens and a made-up galaxy into the mix, and you’re set to go.

(“Time Travel? Are you f***ing kidding me?”)

When it comes to creative writing, there’s nothing more lazy and cheap than creating your own world (what?). Made-up languages, quests for various elements and one-piece unitards are ludicrous and not at all brilliant. Crowning yourself the God of a realm that you’ve created for yourself isn’t genius; finding a new way to make the world we all live in seem fascinating and epic is.

That’s why I enjoy Lost, and that’s why we were all a little concerned when things started to get wonky last week. “Please don’t get stupid! Please don’t get lazy! Please don’t explain things away with nonsensical, non-rational plot devices! You’re better than this, Lost! BETTER!

So here’s the skinny. I won’t dwell on it too long, because there’s nothing all that funny with this episode, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that there was a ton to talk about.

Might want to call Digger's Hotline next time.
(Penny Widmore gets electrocuted by her wireless phone.)

Frank’s helicopter ventures slightly outside of the 305 degree heading, and Desmond’s prolonged exposure to electromagnetism starts to scramble his brains. His conscience starts to bounce back and forth between the present and a specific day or two in 1996; almost exactly 8 years prior. As we soon find out with Minkowski, this is an illness that can effect anyone within earshot of the island; due to the time-warping powers it possesses.

Yeesh, it hurt to write that last sentence. Give me a second to collect myself.

Desmond’s freaking out, but eventually starts to figure out what’s going on with help from Daniel on the island. Daniel seems to know what’s happening to him, as he has been researching this anomaly for quite some time (it also seems to be the reason he wanted to go to the island in the first place). He instructs Desmond to visit himself in the past the next time he bounces back to 1996.

I have a PHD in Douchebagology.
(Apparently, Daniel was a PHD in Douchebagology at Oxford.)

1996 Desmond visits Daniel, where they work together to save his ass. Daniel informs Desmond that his brain will explode should he not be able to find a ‘constant;’ a familiar link between the past and the present. Desmond realizes that Penny is his constant, and emotionally finds a way to reunite with her in the present day, saving his life and giving Penny the hope that they will see each other again.

Anything else that happened in this episode was either rubbish, or will be explained in greater detail next week, I can assure you. All of the calculations, theories and insanity all amount to this: TIME TRAVEL IS NOW A VIABLE OPTION ON LOST. Take it for what it’s worth; I know I will. At its core, ‘The Constant‘ was a love story that introduced the theory that the Island is operating on a slightly different clock than everywhere else in the world.

That’s it. There ain’t no more.

Great, you broke the show.
(Perfect. Officially nothing makes sense anymore. Thanks, notebook!)

When Lost hits you with something like this, you have to just wait another week and see where it takes you. No, the entire show won’t spiral out of control. No, the time-travel motif won’t thrust the series into a bizarre world where we’re expected to believe increasingly sillier things (although we have been doing just that for four years now). It was just a trippy episode that answered a question, raised a new mystery and brought some depth to an already-great character.

Shake it off. We’re going to be okay. You still like Lost. Let’s talk about next week’s episode, shall we? SPOILERS AHOY!

The Other Woman.
(Every morning, Ben and Locke would watch Good Morning America and wait for Diane Sawyer to take her top off, but each day they were left more disappointed.)

1 – Episode 6 will be titled ‘The Other Woman.’ It is Juliet-centric and will be told via flashbacks.

2 – The official press release from ABC reads: “Juliet receives an unwelcome visit from someone from her past and is given orders to track down Charlotte and Faraday in order to stop them from completing their mission — by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Ben offers Locke an enticing deal.”

3 – This is going to be a good one. We’re venturing into a new and dangerous DHARMA station: The Orchid. Juliet’s flashbacks will deal with the death of her hubby Goodwin at the hands of Ana Lucia, and we’ll see her relationship with Jack include more kissing into their daily routine.

4 – Despite the fact that all of Juliet’s flashbacks take place on the island, you can plan on seeing Charles Widmore make a cameo. His connection to the island has always been theorized as being quite huge, and we’ll get a taste of that next week.

5 – Aside from Goodwin, we’ll see the return of Others Ethan and Tom. Good; I really like Tom.

And with that, I’m out of here. Sound off in the comments section, send erotic photography to communistdance@yahoo.com and catch up on far-funnier Lost Mondays by following the links below. Thanks much; enjoy your day.

Lost Monday – Episode 1 Recap.
Lost Monday – Episode 2 Recap.
Lost Monday – Episode 3 Pop Crunch Recap.
Lost Monday – Episode 4 Recap.http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Es/blogspot/TheCDP?i=http://communistdanceparty.blogspot.com/2008/02/lost-monday-eggtown.html
Lost Monday – Episode 4 Pop Crunch Recap.

43 thoughts on “Lost Monday – "The Constant."

  1. I liked this episode. The time-travel device was lifted from Slaughterhouse-5, and I always enjoy a good nod to Vonnegut. One of Desmond’s grunt buddies was named Billy–as in Billy Pilgrim. And the episode title may have been a reference to Malachi Constant, a character in the Sirens of Titan, another KV book that deals not exactly with time travel but with experiencing time in a different way. So I don’t think the Constant was about time travel per se. See the Wikipedia entry on Slaughterhouse-5, the Major Themes section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-5#Major_themesBut many things were revealed in the Constant:Faraday is a space cadet because he failed to wear a lead hemet while conducting his rat experiments.For all the hoopla over time on the island moving differently than the outside world, it turns out that island time is only off by a day or so.Drunken Pilot Guy is most likely Ben’s plant on the boat.Desmond and Faraday obviously become lovers.


  2. I’ll defend the episode to a certain extent, but next week will determine the direction in which the remainder of the season is heading. I read up on the Vonnegut references in the episode, and it goes without saying that this isn’t the first time this has happened. The writers and producers always pay homage to those that helped pave the way.It’s a shame, however, that every Desmond episode is a freaking psychadelic experience, because I really want another episode that expands on his alone time in the Hatch.Not <>that<> kind of alone time, weirdos.


  3. Was I truly the only one shouting “Yes!” when Desmond’s brain did a time-slip? I <>LOVED<> this episode for finally acknowledging one of the underlying themes of the show that has been hinted at and coyly bandied about since the beginning. And how is it that you’re just now to the point of noticing that time travel is a plot device in the show? It’s been there all along. <>Lost<> is full of sci-fi elements and references! I mean, random walking, talking dead folks and unexplained polar bears are okay, but not alternate realities and rifts in the continuum? The concept of time being non-linear and fluid is not new either in sci-fi (obviously) <>or<> in scientific theory, and I think the writers and producers are using it in a very creative way. (By the way – the notation in Faraday’s book could be a bit of foreshadowing. Yayy!) Oh, and I was probably the only one who left the room all disgusted by Desmond and Penny bawling all over themselves over their star-crossed love-story crapfest, too. But I really don’t enjoy that kind of thing generally anyway. <>“When it comes to creative writing, there’s nothing more lazy and cheap than creating your own world”<>…Seriously? I can understand not being a fan of science fiction and fantasy (especially fantasy), but to so utterly dismiss the accomplishments of a writer such as JRR Tolkien…that just makes me a sad panda.


  4. Huh…so the Missus is like one of the hugest KVJ fans ever, and I totally missed the Slaughterhouse Five homage. Although that is honestly one of my least favorite books of his, so I haven’t read it as religiously as the others. Crazy surprised that I would have missed it though!!!


  5. <>“When it comes to creative writing, there’s nothing more lazy and cheap than creating your own world”…Seriously? I can understand not being a fan of science fiction and fantasy (especially fantasy), but to so utterly dismiss the accomplishments of a writer such as JRR Tolkien…that just makes me a sad panda.<>You need to understand that we went to a fantasy store yesterday, expecting to find rare video games and fun toys. Instead, it was just a sad display of D&D memorabilia and a 10-year-old boy talking the shop owner’s ear off. We’re a little sour on alternate universes at the moment.


  6. Hah, always love the SNL Digital Shorts (pretty much the only worthwhile thing left on the show). Did you happen to catch the final sketch of the show? It was surprisingly…sweet. Not sure what to make of it.Also, I’m trying very hard not to read your Lost Mondays until I’m all caught up, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t difficult. I console myself by reading your photo captions, which are delightful and don’t really spoil much.


  7. Also also, I’m pretty sure CDP and the Missus have swapped bodies and/or consciousness. What else could possibly explain the above comments?


  8. I’m sure this a terrible thing for a sci-fi geek to admit to, but Kurt Vonnegaut is nearly impossible for me to read…I never finished reading Slaughterhouse-5. And stores still sell D&D merch? People with disposable income still play it? There are no words to describe people over the age of 12 who still engage in traditional old-school RPGs and have not moved on to things such as WoW.


  9. Come to the Dragon’s Lair in Sun Prairie, WI, and you shall find all the D&D merchandise you wish to aquire.For my money, Kurt Vonnegut is not sci-fi. He’s a moral satirist who uses sci-fi as an ocassional means to tell a story. I more or less hate sci-fi, so if he were a sci-fi writer, there is no way in heck I’d read him.


  10. I don’t know what to think of either one, honestly (neither is really my thing at this point in my life) – but I can remember playing D&D with my friends when I was around 11 or 12, and the only people I know who play WoW are adults.


  11. <>Also also, I’m pretty sure CDP and the Missus have swapped bodies and/or consciousness. What else could possibly explain the above comments?<>We’re pretty much the same person, only I have boobs, and he has a wenis.


  12. EMILY – I quite enjoyed the final sketch, too. Mainly because Ellen Page was at her most adorable. She seemed a little nervous and tenative throughout the night, but it all came together at 11:57pm. It was great.I had a huge “Why I Hate Sci-Fi” rant written, and Blogger deleted it by accident. It was for the better, I’m certain.


  13. HATHERY – OK, consider my mind officially blown. I hadn’t considered the possibility that the CDP was run/written by a split personality, but now that you mention it, the clues were there all along….Perhaps drinks are in order, if for nothing else than to complete my spiral into total incoherence.


  14. KV is most definitely not a sci fi writer. And I agree on Slaughterhouse-5. It’s my second least favorite novel, my least favorite being his last novel, Timequake. S-5 and Timequake are the only KV novels I haven’t read more than once.


  15. I thought that this was great, borderline brilliant. It would have been brilliant if Fisher Stevens would reprise his Indian character from the Short Circut movies. That would have been ass kicking; a little Johnny Five alive on the island. Oh and guess who FINALLY mailed his CDP mix CD? This guy!(The unintended benefit of my lack of blogging is increased commenting and trips to the post office)


  16. My least favorite KV novel is Slapstick. I really did not enjoy that book. The essay collections are difficult to get through, because I’ve heard many of those stories soooooo many times before. I don’t care for Galapagos either.


  17. Alright Will! Looking forward to it! It’s good to see that you’re becoming more productive on a boring and mundane now that the Blog is on hiatus. DO WORK, SON! DO WORK!


  18. I totally missed the short circuit reference. DAMMIT.I really did like this episode. Maybe the time travelling thing suckered me in, but this was one of the most riveting episodes I’ve seen in a long time. Thank God for DVR because if I had to sit through commercials near the end I would have started chewing on my cup.


  19. Indeed. It was put together beautifully and the acting was fantastic as always by Henry Ian Cusick. I even enjoyed the sappy ending, if only because it meant that Desmond’s life would be spared for the time being.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s