See you in another life, brotha

Continuing the trend of Desmond-centric episodes being great, “Happily Ever After” brought a whole side of the family to dinner who we hadn’t seen much of this season.
Grab a glass of 60 year scotch and set sail to the spoilers coming up for “Happily Ever After” (Lost Season 6, Episode 11)

“Happily Ever After” provided a better idea of what the flashes to the sideways timeline mean — this is definitely not an epilogue or ahppy ending. For whatever reason, in the alternate timeline, the characters get something that they want (in Desmond’s case, for example, the approval of Charles Widmore) at the price of having to give something up (not yet having met Penny.)
But Desmond is special. He can survive extreme minion-frying electromagnetic fields. He can see into the future — his consciousness flashes and skips through time. He can leap, er, tall steps. He may be the first person from the original timeline who can see the alternate, vice versa or both. Cuse and Lindelof gave him enough sense of purpose at the end that the action before exposition wasn’t too jarring or anyone.
Like the Richard-centric episode of two weeks ago, this one spent most of its time off of the Island. Here, after some necessary continuation of the plot at the Hydra, it was the longest stretch of show that we’ve spent in the alternative universe at a time. And while it didn’t reveal a tremendous amount of detail about why we’re seeing this parallel world, it did bring us alternate versions of Charlie, Minkowski, Faraday (here, Daniel Widmore, musician rather than physicist), Eloise, Widmore and Penny.
The single most effective moment in the season to date may have been Charlie putting his hand to the window of the underwater car, and then flashing to Desmond’s POV of Charlie’s hand up against the porthole of the Looking Glass station with NOT PENNY’S BOAT written on it. The shot of Charlie was held just long enough to evoke the memory of that scene from “Through the Looking Glass” and then quick enough of a flash to and back to be chilling. Great work by the editing on that scene.
But like the last Richard episode, perhaps the most interesting feature of this episode is that it didn’t feature an original character from the plane crash. Even though this season started by focusing on the characters from the first season, who we’ve spent the most time with throughout the course of the series, some of the most interesting ones have joined later. This is probably because the characters who we discovered on the Island have more interesting or compelling reasons for being on the Island. The passengers from Flight 815 may have gotten onto the flight for various reasons (and been destined or brought to the Island by Jacob or some other agency), but we know exactly why they’re on the Island itself– something brought them to Australia and back or to LA. But the people who were on the Island as Others or Dharma-ites or Desmond, there’s more mystery as to how and why they got to the Island (which made for interesting and compelling episodes for Ben, Juliet, Desmond and Richard) as well as what their roles are.
Of course, like with many of the other characters, Des will probably spend the episode after his feature completely off the map. Let’s hope for the best. After all, everyone loves Hurley! He won the lottery and he likes chicken!