Jan 16, 2009

Lost Mysteries: Ms. Hawking

Where do I begin with today's mystery? I'm not even sure I can explain what I want to know about her, but the character of Ms. Hawking is a complete mystery on Lost.

Ms. Hawking first appeared in season 3's "Flashes Before Your Eyes," and her only other appearance on the show has been in season 3's "Catch 22" episode. Both of these are Desmond "flashback" stories. I use the term flashback, but really, these are the first two Lost episodes that directly deal with time travel, a rumored big theme of season 5.

So what is up with Ms. Hawking? She is first seen in the jewelry store where Desmond buys Penny's engagement ring. When Desmond is ready to buy it, she doesn't let him. This is where one of the most interesting speeches ever given on Lost takes place. Here's the recap from Lostpedia:

When she shows him a ring and he tells her he'll take it, she seems upset and responds by telling Desmond he will not. After Desmond refuses to give the ring back she explains to Desmond that she knows his name, that he will break Penny's heart, he will not marry her, instead entering the sailing race to prove Penny's father wrong, and that he went to the Island and pressed the button for three years until he was forced to turn the failsafe key. She says that if he "doesn't do those things", that "every single one of us is dead".

Now keep in mind, this is a flashback for Desmond, but he has jumped back in time from the moment he turned the failsafe key in the Swan Station. He is in his past body, but has memories of himself on the island. Confused yet? Good. I think we're all supposed to be.

The show hasn't touched much on Ms. Hawking since then. The only thing that become a recurring theme was her course correcting line later in the episode (basically, you can't avoid death ... the universe has a way of course correcting), which sucks for Charlie.

So who is Ms. Hawking? Is she an Other, a manifestation of the island or something else? How does she know so much about Desmond and the island? Was she the original person in the jewelry store or was she just there after Desmond jumped back in time? Why is she in the photo with the monk in "Catch-22"?

Who is she talking about when she says every single one of us are dead, if Desmond doesn't go to the island and push the button? Does she mean us, as in everyone in the world? The Others? Time travelers?

At the time of its airing, this episode blew away the Lost audience. Years later, we are still trying to figure out what is going on in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." That, my friend, is the definition of a good television episode, and this was one of the best on Lost.

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