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Dan forgets the Constants and focuses on the Variables in LOST’s 100th episode, #14 of this season:  The Variabledan journal

“I thought I couldn’t change things, but maybe I can.”

Dan’s Flashbacks

Playing Chopin with a metronome doesn’t make much sense, but I suppose that’s the least of my worries when trying to make sense of this show. Dan’s mom – Eloise – breaks it to him that he has to quit piano to spend more time with his fabulous brain.  She tells him it is her “job” to keep him on his path.  Now, of course, we know she wasn’t upset because she was forcing Dan to quit the piano.

We get to see Theresa in a non-coma state at Dan’s graduation; but mom quickly nixes any further screen time, she wants Dan all to herself.  She gives Dan his famous journal, and discourages him from seeing Theresa, or any women because ultimately they will be hurt (nice foreshadowing.  I mean flashbacking. I mean, oh whatever).   She looks surprised when she learns Dan’s research grant is from Widmore, but shakes it off like a pro.

Skip to a damaged Dan, watching the alleged 815 at the bottom of the ocean – we’ve seen this scene before, but not the whole thing.  Dan’s upset at the news broadcast, but he doesn’t know why.  He’s visited by Widmore, and an embarrassed Dan apologizes for not remembering him, he has a condition with his memory.  Widmore encourages Dan to go to the Island, reassuring him that the crashed plane on the news is a fake.  The Island will heal him, and his gifts are too tremendous to waste.

Dan’s mom visits soon after, also encouraging him to go to the Island.  Have Widmore and Hawking been communicating?  Does Widmore know that Eloise will shoot and kill her son?  Dan decides to go to the Island to make his mom proud of him.

1977

Dan has come back from DI HQ because he saw the picture of the Dharma New Recruits with Hurley, Jack and Kate in the picture.  Dan immediately goes to Jack (he must not have gotten the memo that Sawyer is the new sheriff in town), and demands to know how they got back to the Island.  Jack actually utters the word Destiny without flinching or cringing.  Too bad Mrs. Hawking was wrong: they don’t belong there, according to Dan.

Scare the Losties, check.

Miles takes Dan to the Orchid station, where Dan (who seems to be consulting his journal for everything) knows the exact time that Dr. Chang will show. Then, suddenly, we are watching the season premiere again.  Dan tries to convince Chang to evacuate everyone on the Island – he’s from the future, he knows. Come on, Chang.   Miles tries to intervene, I guess he doesn’t want the awkward so you are my son talk, and Chang brushes Dan off, even after Dan spills the Daddy beans.

Try to convince Chang to evacuate, check.

“You guys were in 1954?  Like .. Fonzie times?”

Jack, Juliet, and Sawyer try to figure out how to deal with Phil the Hostage, and are joined by Hurley, Jin, and Kate.  Sawyer’s two options:  leave via sub, start over at square one.  Dan and Miles join the party (“nice to see ya again, Twitchy, pound cake and punch in the kitchen”), and Dan tries to get them to lead him to the Others.   His mother (“Ellie, you met her in 54”) is there, Dan explains, and she is the only one who can steer them back to where they belong.    Jack is all for it, reciting again how they don’t belong.   Jack circumvents Sawyer’s authority by going to Kate for help.  Sawyer slips by invoking the old “Freckles” nickname, which is the nail in Juliet’s coffin.  She gives Kate the code key for the sonic fence (“it’s over for us here, anyway”), and Jack, Kate, and Dan head to the Others. Jin (not leaving because Sun might be … somewhere), Hurley (not leaving because it seems wishy washy), Miles (not leaving because he just met his dad), and Sawyer and Juliet (not leaving because they feel they are already home) start packing for the beach.

Get directions to mom, check.

“There’s no turning back now.”

Jack and Kate gun up, and Dan convinces a young Charlotte she needs to evacuate and never come back.  They are sidetracked by Radzinsky and co., and have a gunfight.  They make it to the sonic fence.  Jack cleans Dan up, and Dan explains to the doc that this is their present, “we shouldn’t be naive to think nothing can happen to us.  Any one of us could die.”  Thanks for foreshadowing your own death, Dan. We appreciate it.  Dan continues to explain things to Kate and Jack:  There will be an incident at the Swan station in a few hours, the workers will tap into a great electromagnetic energy that will cause the DI to cement things in, and push a button every 108 minutes so the energy will be contained.  When Desmond fails to push the button in the hatch, flight 815 crashes, and so on.  That chain of events will start this afternoon, he says.  Dan thought he couldn’t change things, put he was focused on the Constants, forgetting about the Variables:  people with free will.  The variables can change their destiny.  Dan plans to destroy the future hatch by detonating Jughead and preventing their current time line from happening.

Convince everyone I’m right, check.

“You always knew this was going to happen, but you sent me here anyway.”dead dan

Dan charges into the Others’ camp, looking for Eloise, and demanding Alpert to tell him where the bomb is; the bomb he told them to bury many years ago.  Before Alpert can put down his tin cup, Eloise kills Dan.  Great death scene!  So sad.

Change time and space?  Fail.

“For the first time, I don’t know what will happen next.”

Oh yeah, Desmond.  I suppose I thought Des was indestructible, didn’t realize Ben’s gun did that much damage.  While Penny is pacing the hospital waiting room, Hawking introduces herself.  (Is Hawking Penny’s mother, too?)  She feels responsible for Desmond, putting these chain of events in motion by sending Dan back to the Island.  She has always had some kind of knowing what would happen, but that has changed for her.

We confirm that Widmore is Dan’s father.  He spouts off to Hawking about the sacrifices he’s had to make, especially his relationship with daughter, Penny.  Hawking spits back, ‘don’t talk to me about sacrifice!’  She sent Dan to the Island knowing she would kill him.

Questions

Why are the Others, who are supposed to be peaceful, so violent?  Why would Eloise shoot a man in the back?

How does Dan know exactly when everything will happen?  Why does he know Chang will be at the Orchid station, and when the Incident will occur?

What is Eloise’s motivation for sending Dan to his death on the Island?  Does she believe by sending Dan back he’ll be able to change everything?  Or does she know that his Destiny cannot be altered, even as a Variable?

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