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Quick Takes: Lost, Episode 4.5: “The Constant”

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageOnce Lost completes its disjointed, hectic and wildly uneven six-season run, I suspect that we fans of the show will look back on last week’s episode “The Constant” as one of its finest hours.
What a gem this episode is. For the first time in the show’s run, the writers technically abandoned the standard flashback (or flash-forward) structure in favor of a plot device that achieved the same end: hapless Australian ne’er-do-well Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) became unstuck in time, and instead of narratively flashing back to his past, we simply followed him as jumped back and forth between the present and the past.

If that wasn’t enough, the show finally started doling out some serious answers about the nature of the island. Here are some of the answers we got:

The island is somehow out of step with time. Most of us had already guessed that time was moving slower on the island than in the rest of the world, and we got more proof during “The Constant” when a 20-minute helicopter ride off the island felt like a daylong trip to the people back on the island.

Furthermore, time-travel seems to be a major device in the series overall. Dr. Faraday (Jeremy Davies) has been revealed as a time-traveling mad scientist of the highest order.

But as with all great science-fiction and fantasy, the mechanics of the plot are merely the chariot upon which this great drama is unfolding. I was watching this episode with my girlfriend, and at the end of it, she pointed out that when we saw Desmond and Penlelope right an old wrong that had lain between them, we saw a rarity: two people saying exactly what they needed to say.

The show’s editors indulged in a breathless flurry of edits during this sequence, cutting back and forth between Desmond and Penelope at least a dozen times as they apologized and confessed their love for each other. The staccato editing amplified the joy they felt, which reminded me that the truth doesn’t always hurt.

Sometimes – just sometimes – the truth makes you happy enough to soar.

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