First, Daniel Faraday loses the love of his life, Charlotte, to the volatile side-effects of the island’s time-skipping. Then he’s sent back to the ’70s and is forced to confront Baby Charlotte and warn her to leave the island and never come back — knowing that, because whatever happened, happened, it will be to no avail. And finally, to top things off, he gets shot and killed. By his own mother.
In last week’s episode, “The Variable,” we learned that despite his many scholarly achievements, Daniel led a stunted life. Part of this was because his mother, Eloise Hawking, was adamant that Daniel apply all of his energy to his talent for math and science. “The women in your life will only be terribly hurt,” she tells him on the day of his graduation from Oxford.
She couldn’t be more right. Earlier this season we met Daniel’s erstwhile lab assistant, the comatose Teresa, whose consciousness is skipping through time, courtesy of Daniel’s experiments. And we already know what happened to Charlotte. Further proof to the ladies that it probably isn’t a good idea to hook up with Danny-boy.
We also learned that Daniel’s father is Charles Widmore. I have to admit this one wasn’t a huge shock. I’m more curious about who Widmore hooked up with to have Penny. Any bets on that one, folks? I’d be willing to guess that whoever it was, she’s the reason why Eloise and Charles don’t get along anymore.
I’m not entirely sure I bought all of Daniel’s talk regarding constants and variables. Maybe he and the rest of the Losties are the variables, but I still don’t think they can change the past. If they can it would go against everything the writers and producers have been saying about time travel ever since they introduced the concept on the show. No alternate realities!
More likely, the characters are supposed to think they can change their destines and this is what leads them on the path to detonating the Jughead bomb, which will cause the Incident, which will cause the Dharma folks to create the infamous button that must be pushed every 108 minutes, and so on, and so on.
One of the things that was finally resolved in this episode was why Daniel didn’t recognize Desmond on the island if in fact they had met when Desmond time-jumped back and met him at Oxford (got all that?). Intermittent memory loss might seem like plot convenience if they hadn’t set it up early on last season. Remember when the freighter peeps first arrived on the island and Charlotte and Daniel were playing with that deck of cards? She was testing to see if the island was healing Daniel’s condition, as both his parents said it would be.
As horrible as it is to know that Eloise Hawking sent her son to the island only to be killed (and by her own younger self, to boot), it’s hard to see this as premeditated infanticide rather than one person simply serving her own destiny.
It’s not pleasant, but that’s fate for you. Sometimes it throws you a curve ball, sometimes it shoots you in the back.