Desmond and more...
Desmond, the Dearest
If Jack Shepard is the brain of the series and John Lock is its faith, then Desmond Hume is certainly Lost’s heart. Sure, we’ve had the Jack-Kate-Sawyer love polygon with us from the start, but the sweeping romance of the series belongs to Desmond and Penny. For her, he’d enter a sailing contest around the world to prove his worth. For her, he’d conquer Time itself (using her as his constant—so romantic). With her, he’d have a happy family [with a baby named Charlie, (tear)] so fairy-tale perfect.
I’ve had a number of people tell me that if the finale somehow messed with them, they’d throw their TVs out the window. Rather than choose allegiances between Jack and Locke, Ben or Widmore, or Jacob and the Man in Black, Desmond has always played for Team Desmond—with Penny, not the power of the island’s electromagnetic properties, as his ultimate prize. Through this, it seems like he quietly has gotten the better of everybody, understanding more about the island and time travel than anyone else, making subtle mockery of Jack’s “live together, die alone” mantra. (Desmond does far better on his own.) Besides, it just sounds really cool when he calls people “brother”.
“I’ll see you in another life, brother.” With that immortal line, Desmond Hume became the coolest/most quotable character on Lost (not counting John Locke, of course). He also became something that wasn’t apparent until this season’s sideways world storyline: a prophet. Given Desmond’s role within said storyline, another thing becomes clear in hindsight: Desmond Hume is the unsung hero and heart of Lost. As we’ve been told a hundred times, Desmond is “special”.
Looking back at Lost’s best episodes, many of them have been Desmond-centric: we’ve seen him in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, “The Constant”, “Jughead” and the current season’s best episode (so far) “Happily Ever After”. Of course, Desmond is also “special” because he’s been portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick with the kind of warmth, charm, and organic sex appeal that makes every hetero woman swoon and every man (hetero or not) want to be him. This portrayal is exactly why the love story of Desmond and Penelope “Penny” Widmore (played by the gorgeous and utterly endearing Sonya Walger) is the love story of Lost. Their romance is so integral to the story of Lost that their reunion in season four might as well have been the series finalé.
He Wasn’t Long for This World
For many Lost fanatics, Mr. Eko was a tantalizing lost opportunity. The character’s arc was cut unfortunately short by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s desire to leave the show, leaving even creative gurus Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse pining for more of the imposing Nigerian gangster-cum-priest and his menacing “Jesus-stick”. In his one season on the island, Eko helped to deepen the thematic and philosophical possibilities of Lost. His uncompromising and hard-won faith exposed the limits of John Locke’s more experiential approach to belief, a schism that would climax in their destructive disagreement over the pushing of the hatch’s mysterious button.
With the benefit of hindsight, however, we can see that Eko’s shocking demise in the smoky clutches of the malevolent entity we now know as the Man in Black was a strong hint as to the intentions of the saga’s ultimate villain. The being that Eko called “the devil” has preyed again and again on the emotional baggage of the castaways in the final season, using their lingering guilt and pain to manipulate them to his will. Mr. Eko, however, was unapologetic about his past sins, leaving the Man in Black no room to maneuver, and so he had to die. To me, that courageous stand is worthy of a humble salute.
Martin, at Least, Could Handle a Gun
Although he only appeared for a handful of episodes in season four (and a flash-sideways appearance in season six), Martin Keamy proved himself to be the toughest mortal adversary that the castaways faced. Sure, he was doing Charles Widmore’s dirty work… but what dirty work it was! Finally, here was someone who knew how to handle a gun. He killed several Oceanic Flight 815 survivors, a couple of Others, the freighter’s doctor and captain and, by way of the dead man’s trigger attached to his chest, killed Michael and nearly everyone else left on board the Kahana.
In a show increasingly complicated by vague “rules”, Keamy flipped the bird to the rules when he shot Ben’s daughter Alex in the head at point-blank range. It’s doubtful that anyone else in the island’s long history, aside from the Smoke Monster/Man in Black, ever singlehandedly racked up such an impressive bodycount in such a short span of time. In fact, when Ben “unleashed” Smokey on the freighter’s mercenaries, Keamy was the sole survivor of the attack. Perhaps ol’ Smokey saw a little of himself in Keamy’s bloodthirsty eyes?
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.