Last week I said that while season four of Lost may be my favorite season thus far, each episode was hitting the same note: building tension for the horrible event that resulted in the "Oceanic 6" (or the story about them). I wanted something ELSE and this episode gave it to me in the form of looney time travel romance.
Back in season three and parts of two as well, there were flashbacks that had little relevance to the main story other than a thematic connection. In Season Four the flashbacks seem to all have blood in them again. Here it is less of a flashback and more of the main story occurring in two timelines, jacking up Desmond's first "time travel" flashback.
Desmond is flashing back from 2004 to 1996, but remembers only 1996 so that he has no idea where he is in 2004. The beats come fast and furious: Fisher Stevens is going through the same thing; Davies knows what is going on, and tells Desmond that when he gets back to 1996 to go to Oxford and look him up, and give him setting for his machine; he needs a constant and -- oh how silly LOST is but how much I love it for all of its "(Fuzzy )MATH = LOVE" foolishness -- Desmond can find a constant in his love for Penelope, which exists in both time periods and will prevent his brain from exploding. If only Fisher Stevens had been blessed with the swarthy good looks of the hero on a romance novel cover he would not have died bleeding out of his nose (did LOST actually hire Fisher Stevens for only one episode?). Hume is Davies constant -- many people thought Charlotte was testing Davies for psychic ability with the cards, but I thought, from the way he reacts, it would be a memory thing, and it is. That is why he does not remember meeting Hume before and why the only flashback we got of him in episode 2 was him crying -- he has no memory and thus no flashbacks not from someone else's perspective.
PLUS: the island experiences time differently -- a 20 minutes helicopter ride off of the island feels like a day and a half for the castaways. Plus Hanso is selling a diary off of the Black Rock Pirate Ship lost on the island to Penelope's dad. Nuts.
After the show my friend Jason launched into his big theory, which I am going to mangle a bit, but which I will let you know the gist of (we were all adding things and it is very ramshackle): the island is what remans of a collapsing, shrinking universe, something caused by the creation of a singularity (by Davies?). There is nothing outside the island. Communication and travel is essentially a time travel or an alternate universe thing. Time travel explains why all the castaways have intertwined pasts -- the universe getting smaller brings them together, or they were mechanically brought together by some outside force that controls it. The bunny from the season four preview -- plucked from the time stream. Locke's healthy body -- plucked from the time stream before he lost his legs (remember Desmond's body does not time travel which we established with the ink on his hands -- just his mind does). Ben's "magic box" plucked Locke's dad from the time stream. Babies cannot be born on the island if they were conceived on the island because they cannot be plucked from the time stream -- they were never born "out there" to get to the island.
By plucked I do not mean people would notice they were gone -- I guess I mean something more like copied?