LOST knows its audience, and it knows that there's no character that fans love more than Desmond Hume. Oh you may say another character is your favorite, but the very possibility of Des dying or not ending up with his long lost love Penny is  unthinkable.  He's come a long way from the hatch, but it looks like his happily ever after wasn't going to stick. Sorry, brutha. Desmond episodes are almost always game changers in some way, and this one was no exception. It took place almost entirely in the sideways world, but it reassured skeptical fans that the sideways flashes are necessary to the end game of the show. We're just not really sure how yet.

Desmond wakes up after being shot by Ben Linus, and he's very confused and drugged. While he did manage to save his wife and throw Ben into the water, he is waking up in a random remote location with strangers all around. Except for Charles Widmore, the worst father-in-law of all time, who says he brought Des back to the Island. Des returns this by smashing him in the head with an IV pole, and everyone cheers. That's been a few years in coming, right? Unfortunately for Des there's no real way out of this, so he's manhandled around by Widmore's people. Widmore demands that they start 'the test' immediately, even though the dirty Liz Lemon is like whaaaaaat? Well you took Jin early, girl, so you can't complain.

The test involves this weird little box and electromagnetic waves going off inside it with a person (or rabbit) stuck inside. It doesn't work at first so random red shirt #1 goes to fix it, and then dies of course. Des is like oh hell no, brutha, and Jin tries to stop them, but Widmore says this has to happen. Whatever he's got planned for Des, it includes being beaten about by electromagnetic waves. He's the only person to survive it with his mind intact after he blew up the hatch, and because he's a special little snowflake the Island needs him. Widmore admits that he sacrificed his own son and his relationship with Penny for the Island, and he'll damn well sacrifice Desmond too.

When the waves start hitting him we flash to the Sideways world and meet the successful, suave Mr. Desmond Hume. He's still the nice man we love, because he helps Claire with her bags at the airport and offers to drive her anywhere she needs to go. She declines and will really be sorry for that since Kate kidnaps her right after. Desmond is picked up by George Minkowski, who fans remember as the communicator on the freighter who started getting bloody noses and died. Desmond almost died as well until he found his Constant, Penny. Anyway Minkowski is now his chauffer and drives him to the office, where it turns out he's working for Charles Widmore! And they're best friends! Also as a sly wink to the audience, Widmore pours Des some MacCutcheon's scotch, this is the same drink he said upon their first meeting Desmond wasn't worth. Now he gives him a great deal of it. The Sideways world is good to Desmond.

He's assigned to get Charlie out of jail, YES THAT CHARLIE, and bring him to the charity even that Widmore's son is playing music at. But Charlie starts going on and on about true love and that he had a moment when he almost died on the ship when he saw a beautiful blond girl (Claire) and felt nothing but love. Intense, overwhelming love. He's obsessive about getting that back, so obsessive that he drives Desmond's car into the lake and tries to drown. Des saves him, but under water he sees Charlie drowning with "Not Penny's Boat" written on his hand. At the hospital they try to give him an MRI but as you can imagine, electromagnetic waves and Desmond don't mix well. He starts getting flashes of his other life with Penny and freaks out. He sees Jack and tries to get him to help find Charlie, but the druggie runs by in a hospital gown. He can tell by Desmond's face that he is understanding now about the flashes, and tells him to find whoever this 'Penny' is.

Desmond is forced to go tell Widmore's wife that Charlie isn't coming, and Eloise seems very forgiving about it. She also seems a little uncomfortable about Desmond. He's leaving when he hears Penny's name and starts asking questions, and Eloise pulls him to the side. She seems to know exactly what's going on, and she tells him to let it go because he's not ready yet. Remember "Flashes Before Your Eyes"? Eloise always knows what's going on when it comes to time travel. Her son however proves to yet again be a variable she can't control, because Daniel stops Desmond from leaving. Oh Faraday. We missed you so much.

He babbles to Desmond about seeing a beautiful redhead at the museum (Charlotte!) and falling instantly in love. But not love at first sight, more like he'd always known and loved her. And then he started writing about quantum mechanices, things he could not know in this time line since he's just a musician here. He talks about a bomb and says he thinks he already set one off, and that this isn't the life they were supposed to have. He tells Desmond where his half-sister Penny will be. Daniel, you hopeless romantic you, never leave us again.

Desmond meets Penny and their chemistry is off the charts as always. The second he shakes her hand though, he flashes back to the Island and wakes up in a warm, fuzzy daze. He agrees to do anything Widmore wants without question. Then he's taken away and his guards are murdered by Sayid, except for Zoe who runs. Sayid says Des must come with him, and Des looks just as amiable when he says 'alright, sure, whatever.' Is his brain fried or does he know exactly what he's doing? Why does Widmore need Des and what does electromagnetism have to do with it? I was wondering if he was trying to turn Des into another smoke monster. Hmmm.

Back in Sideawys world, Desmond passed out in front of Penny and she still adores him, so they agree to go out for coffee. He's deliriously happy when he gets back to the limo and tells Minkowski to get him the manifest for the 815 flight he was on. He wants to 'show' them all something. Oooo, Sideways world is converging together. But the truth is it's kind of happy then the real world, isn't it? I guess not for Sun at the moment, though.

Next week Hurley gets an episode that is guaranteed to make you cry so bring the tissues.

LOST is on ABC Tuesday nights at 9 PM EST.