Thirty Days of Feelings: Day Eight

This year I’m undergoing a bit of an experiment: Thirty straight days of doing/watching/listening to/reading something that makes me feel – however fleetingly – like an actual human being, in the hopes that this will thaw a layer of ice off my frozen shriveled little heart, and allow me to not be such a buzzkill this year. So let’s get to it.

Day Eight: Lost 4 x 05 – The Constant

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call from a loved one.

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call from a loved one.

Someday, I will re-watch all of LOST, with the full knowledge of how everything turns out. And I will be able to finally, after years, come up with a definitive summary of my feelings for this series. By which I mean, I will decide whether it was in fact my favorite show at the time, or my favorite show ever.

I started watching LOST on September 22, 2004 – the day it premiered – and watched it every single week until it ended on May 23, 2010. Roughly 95% of the time, I watched it live. I delayed homework, ditched parties, scheduled events around it, and hung out with strangers to ensure this. I was absolutely hooked from that first brilliant episode, which to this day remains the single best pilot of any TV show I have ever seen. [Close seconds: Battlestar Galactica, Awake, Heroes] So when it comes to picking a single episode of this show that makes me feel feels, you’d think I’d have a tough choice ahead of me.

But I didn’t. Sure, there are a TON of amazing moments full of heartbreak, triumph, and death. There are several character deaths that hit me really hard, and for the sake of spoilers I won’t share them. But if you’ve seen the show, you know that most of them involve drowning. The end of the show was – in my opinion – wonderful (a controversial opinion, I know), and paid off on six years of character investment. And there are many other great moments scattered throughout that are just as powerful – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” – for example. But one episode stands above the rest. One episode that had a room full of men reaching for their hankies. That’s right, I’m talking about “The Constant.”

The premise – which is bound to confuse those of you that haven’t watched the show – is thus: Desmond’s consciousness has begun to wander through time, travelling back and forth between 1996 and Christmas Eve 2004, with increasing erraticism (which apparently is a word). The problem, of course, is that the human brain isn’t built to handle time travel, and Desmond is going to die unless he finds something in the present that was also present in the past. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except that he’s spent the last three years on an island that is displaced from the rest of the world in both time and space. So he doesn’t have a lot of consistency going on.

What ensues is a desperate attempt to connect with ex-girlfriend Penny in both times – in the past, to tell her to expect a call on Christmas Eve 2004, and in the present to actually make that call. Complicating matters are Desmond’s failing body, as well as sabotage of the communications equipment. But ultimately, love prevails, and Penny and Desmond share a tearful reunion. Michael Giacchino brings his A-game musically, and all the acting is top-shelf. At this point in the show, we’ve seen first-hand how much Penny means to Desmond and the unfortunate circumstances of their breakup. We’ve waited and hoped and longed for this reunion for years, and all that time is finally paying off. It’s a moment of triumph on a show where those are all too rare. It’s a testament to the power of love – both in its ability to always find a way, and in its ability to overcome any curse or challenge. It’s almost fairy-tale, actually. And I love fairy tales.

TL;DR: “The Constant” is consistently ranked as one of – if not the – best episodes of one of the definitive series of the 2000s, and it made a room of grown men cry because love is beautiful and will always find a way.

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