Lost 5:14 "The Variable"

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From the on-line description for tonight’s episode:

The Variable
Daniel Faraday comes clean about what he knows of the island.

Some useful Café Society links are given below:

Thread index for Season 1 Episodes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Thread index for Season 2 Episodes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Thread index for Season 3 episodes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Thread index for Season 4 episodes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Thread index for Season 5 episodes 1-2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

The Official Lost Jargon Thread

Official “Lost” Questions ThreadSeason 1, Season 2, Season 3

Here are some interesting external links:

The Tail Section: Excellent site for still frame photos of key scenes, along with some good analysis. But… beware of spoilers!

Sledgeweb’s Lost… Stuff: Pretty good site, but again beware of spoilers. I use it mainly for the Timeline section, which is an incredibly detailed breakdown of “how long since…?” for almost anything you can think of (pre- and post-plane crash).

Door Map from Episode 2.17. A nicely cleaned up version of the diagram Locke saw while pinned under the lockdown doors. No spoilers.

Lostpedia: The wikipedia of Lost information. Quite a comprehensive site, but beware of spoilers!

ThEmIsFiTiShErE: The Misfit offers his whacky commentary on “Lost”. Is he a nut-case or a clever insider? Careful, though, possible spoilers.

So tonight after the President talks about his first 100 days in office, we get the 100th episode of “Lost”. Coincidence? Bah! This has all been planned out long before. I’ll be interested to see how the press conference ties in. And how did they get the President to play along?

Faraday is back and our episode title refers back to The Constant. I’m avoiding spoilers and speculation, so I’ll see you guys after the show.

Somebody will ask him a difficult question, and he’ll start by saying “Well, it’s complicated…” and then a flaming microbus will careen through the press room and everyone will forget what the question was.

Since the episode is named “The Variable” I thought it would be a good idea to read the recap of “The Constant”. Probably the most significant take-away:

Eloise (the rat’s) brain short-circuited, she couldn’t tell the difference between the past, the present and the future as she didn’t have anything to attach herself to: she did not have a constant. Daniel tells Desmond about the need for him to have a constant, something that is present in both times and that he sincerely cares about and can recognize. Desmond grabs the phone and calls his constant, Penny, but the number has been disconnected.

You sorta stopped short there.

Desmond then found Penny’s father, got Penny’s current address from him, went to her home and got her to give him her phone number, along with a promise to not change it before the future date that Desmond’s mind keeps shifting back to (December 24, 2004). Desmond returns to 2004, Sayid fixes the ship’s phone and manages to get a call through to Penny, and Desmond is once again anchored properly in time.

Honestly, the only reason I haven’t committed suicide yet is that I want to know how Lost ends.

I’m curious to see how they’ll deal with the inherent contradictions between “Whatever Happened, Happened” and Desmond’s odd immunity. As time travel theories go, the idea that a time traveling Faraday can talk to Desmond in the past and then Desmond will suddenly remember it RIGHT when the TELEVISION audience tunes in to watch him remember it is pretty damn weird. I mean, really, why did Desmond remember that time-change right at that moment? The ONLY thing that actually connects those two events in terms of timing (Faraday talking to Desmond outside the hatch and Desmond waking up with the memory of Faraday telling him to find Eloise Hawking) is the fact that the producers put those two scenes right after one another in their own storytelling.

Pretty effin’ weird, no?

And then there’s the issue of Faraday himself. We now know that he met Desmond in the past. But at least in Season 4, he doesn’t seem to remember it, though it’s in his journal. The producers have hinted a little at this, saying that maybe the Island “healed” Faraday’s memory. But this is all turning into a big confusing clusterfuck as far as I can tell. And I’m super eager to find out if they can figure out some way for it all to make sense.

Will we find out tonight?

Or will my not killing myself have all been in vain?

I think there may be slightly more of a connection, if you want to consider relative time. For example, let’s say that I have a friend who has terminal cancer and has exactly one year to live. If he leaves for Peru today to live out his life, I will mourn his passing on April 29, 2010, because I know that he just died.

Now, let’s say that my friend has figured out how to go back 100 years into the past. We say our goodbyes, and he leaves April 29, 2009 for April 29, 1909. One year then passes for both of us, and he dies on April 29, 1910, but he would have died on April 29, 2010. On April 29, 2010 I mourn his passing because I know that, for him, he had just lived one year and died, even though it’s not the same year that I lived.

When Faraday talked to Desmond in the past, for Faraday it was 2 years (or whatever it was) since he had last seem Desmond. Desmond remembered it (or dreamt about it) at the same moment in relative time.

Whether that’s at all material to the storyline, or makes any sense, I cannot really say. But I think there’s a connection there that is greater than just the storytellers placing two scenes together.

This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with what you’re saying, but if you remember in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” there was a scene in which the camera focuses on a digital clock that’s saying “8:15.” Who cares? It’s obvious that there will be two 8:15s everyday. I guess it would make a little more sense if something of particular importance – and something extraordinarily rare, like a terrorist attack – happened at that exact time, but that’s something that has bothered me for a while because it seemed pretty idiotic.

It’s a decent theory at least, though it certainly makes little sense in terms of “whatever happened, happened” unless we stipulate that only MEMORIES can be changed, and they only become memories after a certain amount of time after two people’s timelines diverged.

Yeah, this doesn’t seem to make much sense. I think the explanation (if one is ever given) will be along the lines of “the island made it happen” for course-correction or some such. We have already seen where the island wouldn’t let Michael (or Jack) commit suicide while they were still necessary. So Desmond might be similar; he needs to remember exactly when he did so he’ll arrive to find Eloise just as Ben and Jack do, and events will continue on so the O6 get on the Ajira flight and end up in 1977.

The theory about the memories having to “sync up” for the people’s relative timelines is a good one, but I can’t find a way to make the timing work.

It’s just an instance of the numbers, right? They throw in these number references all the time.

Now, I’m not going to claim that the Lost writers have actually thought about this…

But actually, those events fit with each other in two ways.

First, yes, it was because the producers put those scenes together.


Second, Desmond remembered Daniel’s message at the time that DANIEL was doing it, if Daniel had been in his right time.

So, it’s T+3 hours, meaning Our Heroes have been bouncing around time for 3 hours (from their perspective). At that point, Daniel talks to Desmond in 2001. But, while Daniel is back in time, for him, T+3 SHOULD be 2007+3 hours. So, Desmond remembers it at T+3, which for him is now 2007+3 hours.


Maybe I need to draw someone a diagram?


Two things:

First, 8 and 15 are two of “the numbers”.

Second, that was the crappiest preview…“Kirk runs from monster one and it gets eaten by monster two and then Kirk runs from monster two.”



I know they were the numbers. My point was that, in that context, it didn’t mean anything at all. They were just numbers on the clock that the director of the episode decided to focus in on.

I think it was just more of the “These creepy numbers are everywhere” stuff.

Oh, and I love Juliet. “Why do you need to know that, Daniel?”. And she actually EXPECTED AN ANSWER.


8:37CST prediction - Daniel is on a suicide mission and probably won’t be getting out of this episode alive.


During the discussion in the house about what to do now that they’ve got that guy trussed up in the closet, I so wanted someone to say that we’ve got to go back to the future.

Once again, Jack and Kate screw all the people who DON’T have their heads jammed up their asses…


I’m not HUGE on LOST, but if they change the past, isn’t it likely none of them would exist? Let along getting into a plane crash?

I don’t see how changing the past would prevent them from existing, it would just change their pasts from the moment they boarded the plane.

Why? Even the smallest change could alter everything. Right?

They won’t change the past.
No matter what Daniel thinks now, they can’t and they won’t.

Also, I totally called Dan being Widmore’s son.