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Review: 'Lost' - The Constant

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Season Four of the ABC series, "Lost," specifically the episode "The Constant."

My first reaction to this week?s episode of ?Lost? was one that even surprised me: I was disappointed that it was a Desmond-centered episode.

I have nothing against Desmond -- it?s just that I think his character has gotten less interesting over the last year or so. Sure he has visions, but so did Doyle and Cordelia in ?Angel,? and Johnny Smith in ?The Dead Zone.? In short -- we?ve been there, seen that.

Still, it was an entertaining episode, and a fine acting performance by Henry Ian Cusick left me caring about Desmond more than I have in quite some time.

Last week?s shocker (if you can call an episode so predictable shocking) showed Jack perjure himself by testifying that only six passengers survived Oceanic Flight 815, and revealed that Kate has assumed the role of Aaron?s mother. In typical ?Lost? fashion, it left a ton of unanswered questions that weren?t even remotely acknowledged in this episode.

?Lost? is just one big, giant puzzle, and every episode should reveal something of importance. This episode connected Daniel Faraday to Desmond and to the island, and it showed the extent of the time shifting, but outside of that, I can?t see any developments in this episode that appear to fit the bigger picture.

Maybe the time shifting will come into play in the future, making this a pivotal episode. Maybe the diary Penelope?s father bid on at the auction will hold some major clues. But I also though Paolo and Nikki would be important at some point too, so who knows?

Desmond has spent a better part of two seasons confused by his visions and pining over Penelope. This episode did very little to advance the character beyond that. Still, I did very much enjoy his phone conversation with Penelope. Ironically, this is one element of the future he could control?he promised he would call Penelope in eight years on Christmas Eve, and he did so. In that regard, it was nice to see Desmond get a little bit of control back in his life, even if it was just for a moment.

Don?t get me wrong -- I am enjoying this season of ?Lost? far better than the last two. But after such an interesting, yet predictable episode the previous week, ?The Constant? just seemed to be killing time, or, at least, distorting it.

What Worked

I like the disorienting shifts in time. It was reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut?s ?Slaughterhouse Five,? which saw Billy Pilgrim unstuck in time.

I am glad to finally have a scientific viewpoint to help contextualize these occurrences. Daniel Faraday is emerging as an intriguing, important character.

What Didn?t Work

Sadly, I can?t say the same, at least yet, about the other three new characters recently introduced. Jeff Fahey is a fine actor, but so far, his character just hasn?t really evolved enough for me to care yet.

?Lost? raises three questions for each one it answers. This episode didn?t seem to really raise or answer anything of major importance, so I can?t help but feel that it was nothing more than mid-season filler.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

"The Constant" was written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and was directed by Jack Bender. It stars Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O'Quinn, Jorge Garcia and Henry Ian Cusick

About the Author

Dr. Dan Compora is an associate professor at the University of Toledo. He specializes in science-fiction and fantasy literature and folklore. He lives in Lambertville, Mich.
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