Tonight was a pivotal moment in the final season of "Lost," which should come as little surprise since tonight was the return of Desmond Hume to active duty.
"The Constant" is a dividing point for many fans. The ones who hate the time travel and the alternate timelines and the donkey wheel... well, "The Constant" is pretty much enemy number one for them. And I can see how if you don't like the way the "Lost" writers play with those ideas, the last few seasons must feel like a major letdown after getting invested in a story that was laid out, for all its mysteries, in a fairly simple and linear manner. One story on the Island, one story in flashbacks. People trying to survive, and the things that haunt them from their past. There was a shape to it that was fairly comfortable.
And then the show exploded. Literally. Timelines fractured. Structure caved in on itself. And it became a very different show. The characters are all still there, and we are definitely still dealing with story threads that were introduced five or six seasons ago, but so much more has happened since those early seasons that we're starting to realize now that we're not watching the show we initially thought we were watching. And that can be a disconcerting thing for a viewer, no doubt about it.
This season in particular has been an upset for some people thanks to the flash sideways storyline that's been the subject of much debate since the season premiere. I've read reactions calling the alternate timeline "confusing," "pointless," and "a train wreck." I've also read reactions from people who have been engaged by the puzzle presented to them by the show this year, at least a half-dozen different interpretations of what they're watching. I've certainly speculated about the nature of what we're seeing openly here in these recaps, and my theories have evolved over the course of the season. I've used a shorthand while describing the separate storylines, referring to one as TIMELINE A and one as TIMELINE B, although I'm fairly sure it's not as simple as a rift in time or space.