Thursday, 30 April 2009

Review: Lost #514 ('The Variable')

514: 'The Variable'

Wr: Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Dr: Paul A. Edwards

On the 100th episode milestone for the series, the time of reckoning has begun when Daniel Faraday comes clean regarding what he knows about the island.

For its 100th hour, Lost treats us to the life and times of Daniel Farraday, one of the most complex and intriguing figures on the show. 'The Variable' has been a long time coming, since we've been missing the crazy time-travel-obsessed fruitloop for a good six episodes now, but thankfully, it's worth the wait. This is effectively the sister episode to season four's fantastic 'The Constant', with Daniel the counterpoint to Desmond (hell, there's even a relation exposed midway through the episode) and while it doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of that one, it's only really because we've become so familiar with time travel as a concept, and the fashion in which it works in Lost, by this point that it's no longer an intriguingly original technique. Back in year four, Des's time-hopping beguiled and fascinated; here, ther narrative's similar predilections are almost passé. Still, that doesn't stop this from being a quality hour of television. There's a prominent feeling of impending doom running throughout the hour as things begin to unravel... and when all hell does break loose, it's gripping, as first Dan and co. are forced to take up arms and then Radzinsky exposes LeFluer's deception. God knows how they're all going to get out of this one.

Off Island, the dual juxtaposing of Desmond's current condition with an exploration of Eloise and Daniel's turbulent history is an interesting one, particularly as it exposes the somewhat callous nature of Dan's mother herself. It's also immensely satisfying to see Alan Dale caught up in the mix - the revelation that he is Farraday's father isn't particularly unexpected but it is rather satisfying nonetheless and the scene between the two is beautifully and delicately handled. Of course, all of this begs the question of Dan's birth and why, exactly, Eloise left the Island but given the cyclicality implied at hour's end, it could merely be that, paradoxically, she knows she has to. I must confess, I did become a little concerned when Farraday began telling Dr. Chang the truth, and started spouting off about 'variables' and the possibility if changing the future, but thankfully, it appears the writers have remained faithful to their original principles by sticking to the 'what happened, happened' adage. In fact, the episode goes one better, as it makes the entire time travel concept come full circle, creating a paradox wherein Eloise meets her son before he is even born and is thus made aware of the unalterable nature of his 'path', his 'destiny'. This event will surely become the catalyst for her own dalliances in relativistic physics, completing the cycle. How apt, too, that she mistakenly murders the only hope of change, thereby sentencing everyone to the current timeline and sealing their fates. Poignant. But Daniel... poor Daniel! It's certainly sad to see him go (I'm going to assume that with such a fatal looking wound and the diegsis of the episode, he has snuffed it) but a decision to be commended nonetheless. Unquestionably, this is a fantastic episode on the whole that illustrates still further the intelligence and skill of the writing staff, proving yet again that they are in complete control of their vehicles. I defy anyone to watch this and imply that they're just 'making it up as they go along'. Top class. 9.4

No comments: