Orientation Film 271
Season 4 Episode 5

The Constant

October 5th, 2008 / Dean

So… Its only taken about 6 months to get back to finishing this post, it was going to be tough to get it to make sense to begin with, but with a huge break in the middle of writing it it was even harder, sorry about that. Lets get on with it.

Des flashes back…then forward…repeat. Flashback? no, not really. Remember the episode ‘flashes before your eyes’ from last season, kind of like that only way better.

The episode picks up where we left Sayid and Des a couple of episodes back, they are on the helicopter and heading towards the freighter. Des is looking at the photo of him with Penny. Frank is looking at a map that Daniel drew for him, which he was told to follow very closely. Struggling to control the chopper Frank flies straight into what Sayid calls a “thunderhead”… we’ll call it a storm.

Des awakes, all clean shaven, and at an Army barracks. He says that he was having a dream, and that he was on a helicopter, and he was in a storm… hang on a second. We snap back to the chopper, and Des is freaking out, he’s got no idea where he is, what he’s doing, or who on earth Sayid is.

Meanwhile Jack is still trying to get in contact with the boat, emphasizing that they’ve been gone for a day. Juliet questions Charlotte as to why she’s not at all worried that it seems to be taking rather long time to get to the freighter. Dan interrupts suggests that maybe “they should just tell them”. He says that their perception of how long they’ve been gone (over a day) is not necessarily how long they have actually been gone for. He warns Jack and Juliet that if Frank didn’t follow his directions correctly that there could be “side effects”.

Back on the helicopter and they emerge from the storm and sight the boat. Interesting that the sky is now a wide expanse of blue, not a storm in sight. Once they land on the freighter (and after he has another freak out) a couple of the crew take Des to see the doctor. Jumps back to the army. Des is standing, in the rain, while everyone else around him is doing sit-ups. He looks just a tiny bit confused (who wouldn’t).

A bit later he tells his mate that earlier he ‘left’, and that he was on a boat, and then all of a sudden he was back. He remembers that he had a photo with Penny in it when he was on the boat and goes to a phone booth to call her. Just before he goes in he drops his change and as he bends down to pick it up he’s suddenly back on the boat.

When asked “where are we” a couple of the freighter say that their last port was in Fiji “so at least (they) know (they’re) in the south pacific”. Just after they’ve locked Des in a voice gets his attention from the other side of the room. There is another man in the room with Des, and he’s tied to the bed. “It’s happening to you to isn’t it?”.

Sayid confronts Frank about why when they took of from the island it was dusk, yet when they landed (presumably less than an hour later) it was the middle of the day. Question is which day? Is it before they took off, or after? I’m guessing probably after but that doesn’t explain why. He gets the phone off Frank and calls Jack. Dan asks Jack if Desmond has been exposed to large amounts of radiation or electro-magnetism recently. Pretty safe bet since he was if the hatch when it ‘exploded’. Dans says that occasionally people get ‘confused’ going to and from the island. How would he know that unless they’ve made (or attempted) numerous trips?

The doctor arrives to see Des, and the other man starts to freak out a bit, the doctor fairly quickly sedates him. He asks Des what he remembers and we jump back to the phone booth. Desmond calls Penny, he tells her that he’s in trouble, that he’s confused and that he needs to see her. Then it jumps back to the boat.

Dan speaks with Desmond over the phone, and when he asks Des what year he thinks it is Des replies ‘1996’. Dan asks him where is supposed to be in 1996 (the army). Dan tells Desmond that ‘next time it happens’ to go to Oxford and find him. After referring to his Journal Dan tells Des that he must tell Dan (in 1996) to set the device to 2.343 and 11Hz. and that is he doesn’t believe him to say that he knows about Eloise. Des scribles this all down on his hand so that he can remember it.

Flashes back to the phone booth, and when Des checks his hand all the information is gone. We then see Des arrive at Oxford where he finds Dan. Now how on earth does he know what Dan looks like? Anyway, he explains to Dan that he thinks he’s just been to the future. Dan thinks it all a prank, then Des tells Dan the numbers, and that he knows about Eloise.

At his lab Dan tries to explain things to Des, and tells him that “you can’t change the future”. Really. After entering the numbers that Des told him, Dan places Eloise (who is a lab rat) into this maze, and points this weird light thing at her, and turns it on. After he turns the light thing off, he says he has to wait for her to “return”, when she does he releases her and she runs the maze perfectly.

The catch is that he only completed the maze that morning and hasn’t taught her to run it yet. In other words he just sent her to the future and she came back knowing how to run the maze. Dan explains that he sent her consciousness to the future. Desmond tells Dan that in the future he’s going to end up on an island. Jumps back to the boat.

He ‘jumps’ back into the middle of a disagreement with some of the freighter people. Once they leave, he says he needs to get back. Sayid calls Des by name which catches the attention of the guy strapped to the bed in the room with them. He says that his name is George Minkowski (the same George the freighter people had been trying to contact from the island in previous episodes). He says that he is/was the communications officer for the boat, and that before they strapped him down all calls to and from the boat went through him.

George says that every so often there would be a flashing light on the console, an incoming call and they were under strict instruction not to answer it. He tells Des that the calls were coming from Penelope Widmore. Back to the past.

Desmond awakes in Dan’s laboratory. Dan tells him that he was ‘out’ for about 75 minutes, Des said that he was only back in the future for about 5 minutes. Dan says that it seems like everytime Des jumps it gets harder for him to jump back. Des asks what happened to Eloise, Dan explains that she died, possibly from a brain aneurism. Des asks if that will happen to him as well, is he going to die. Dan says that he thinks Eloise’s brain might have short circuited, due to the jump back and forward in time. Dan tells him that he needs to find his “contstant”, something that is familiar to him in both times. Des tries to call his constant (Penny), the number has been disconnected, Des leaves and as he’s heading down a flight of stairs he flashes back to the boat again.

Des explains to Sayid that he needs his help, that he needs to call Penny. Minkowski interrupts telling them that 2 days ago they lost all communication with the main land. He says he can take them to the communication room. As they are untying George they notice that the door (that was locked) is suddenly open. George says “it looks like you’ve got a friend on this boat”. Jumps back the the stairs.

A journal from the black rock, which was found in Madagascar (in the Indian ocean, yet we know the Black Rock is on the Island which we assume is somewhere in the Pacific) 7 years after the ship disappeared in 1845. It is stated that the contents of the journal have never been made public and are only known to the family of the seller, Tovard Hanso. The journal is lot number 2342. One of the people bidding on the journal happens to be Charles Widmore, he eventually wins the auction for the journal. After the action Des fronts up to Widmore asking how he can contact Penny, a little surprising (to me anyway) was that Widmore didn’t really question it, and gave Des her address. Back to the boat.

George takes Sayid and Des to the communication equipment, he then goes off on his own time adventure. Sayid starts to work out if he is able to fix the equipment. George has a little bit of a fit, and Des looks up at a calendar on the wall which reveals that its Dec 24th 2004, Des is surprised that its 2004. George wakes partially, and appears to be having a seizure, he’s now bleeding from both his eyes and his nose, he says that he “cant get back”, and then he dies.

Des flashes back and returns to the bathroom where he’d been talking to Widmore. He goes to see Penny, her address is 423 Cheyne Walk (which was a ‘clue’ that was revealed during the Find 815 ARG prior to season 4). He asks her for her phone number and tells her that he needs to tell her something and he knows its going to sound ridiculous. He tells her that 8 years from now he needs to call her, and that is why he needs her phone number. He promises that he won’t call her for 8 years, 24th Dec 2004. She gives him the number 7946 0893. Back to the boat.

Once he returns Des has to remember the number that Penny gave him, which he does. When he calls the number Penny eventually answers, and it’s Christmas where Penny is (ie, its 2004 Penny, same timeline as 2004 Desmond). Penny asks Des where he is, he tells her that he’s on a boat, and that he’s been on an island. Penny believes him and says that she has been searching for him for three years (remember the polar monitor station thingy at the end of season 2). She says she knows about the island, that she’s been researching, then there is some interference on the line. She says that she knew that Desmond was still alive after she spoke with Charlie (in the looking glass station communication room). They promise to find each other, then the line goes dead.

Back on the beach, Dan is looking through his journal, looks like he’s searching for something, he turns to a page which says “if anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be MY constant”. So, was this always in Dan’s journal? Or did it only appear after Des went back and met with him? Any number of possibilities probably, perhaps its one of the reasons Dan came to the island.

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