Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lost - Season 3, Episode 8 - Flashes Before Your Eyes

I think I figured out how to enjoy LOST: Remove all expectations. For instance, tonight's episode, did you expect to see the Island? Sure, you knew there'd be some flashbacks, but you expected the Island story to progress in some way, especially after the death of Mr. Eko and the three-month hiatus. What we got instead was one long flashback that, if you expected something else, probably disappointed. For me, though, I threw all my expectations out the nearest window before the episode and thoroughly enjoyed this story about one of my favorite characters of the show, Desmond.

We start with Charlie and Hurley (hey guys! long time no see! remember when these two were the stars of the show?). They're rummaging through Sawyer's tent in search of, well, anything. They find food, medical supplies, and a ridiculous amount of porn. Suddenly Desmond shows up and tells them they're needed elsewhere. They arrive in a small clearing to find Locke and Sayid just returned from their journey. They inform Charlie and Hurley about Mr. Eko and ask them to try to stay calm when they tell the other survivors.

But before that could happen Desmond starts to act all weird and look strangely at nothing in particular. Normally, this is when LOST cuts to a flashback, but this is Desmond and we all know Desmond likes to run. He takes off! Towards the beach and the ocean and jumps in the water, Sayid, Locke, Hurley, and Charlie following close on his tail. The waves are high and they seem to be pulling him backwards. We see a shape in the water. Back on the beach, Sun arrives with Claire's son just as Locke points and shouts, "There's someone else in the water!" In a flash, Charlie dashes towards the water.

Desmond is fast, though, and a good swimmer. He grabs Claire amongst the waves and carries her back to shore. Charlie is clawing to get near her, but Desmond pushes him away and does CPR on Claire. After a terrifying minute, Claire coughs up some water and comes back to life. Charlie is thrilled, but suspicious of Desmond. He shouts after him, "How did you know?"

Later, Charlie and Hurley return to scavenging Sawyer's tent and find a bottle of whiskey. Charlie gets an idea.

The two of them approach Desmond in the early part of the evening. Charlie thanks Desmond and apologizes to him for his outburst. He offers a peace offering, the bottle of whiskey. Desmond initially refuses, saying he's "been drunk enough lately" (not sure what that meant..), but relents after he notices the kind of whiskey it is.

Cut to night-time and Charlie, Hurley, and Desmond, drunk as hell, singing songs about Hell and England and girls with one-leg. Charlie finally enacts his plan and starts to interrogate Desmond about his "powers." Desmond laughs him off and attempts to leave, but Charlie will not be ignored. He keeps asking Desmond what happened when he turned the fail-safe key that blew up the hatch. He calls Desmond a coward for not telling them the truth. Desmond gets angry and tackles Charlie, choking him and shouting "if you only knew what happened to me!"

There's a series of images that flash by that cover a lot Desmond's backstory in regards to the Island. We see the Hatch, the countdown clock, the buttons, and then various flashes of what happened after Locke destroyed the button.

Flashback time.

Desmond is on the floor covered in blood. There's half of a red wall behind him, a fallen ladder, and a spilled bucket of red paint. Penelope, Desmond's estranged girlfriend, is there and is asking him if he's alright. Desmond is disoriented, but quickly regains his composure. "This is my flat," he whispers in astonishment. He notices Penelope and smiles as brightly as we've ever seen him in the show. He doesn't really understand what's happening - wasn't he just on the island? - but he's so thrilled to see Penelope, he doesn't think much more.

Next we see him desperately trying to affix a tie to his collar (it's really not that hard, Desmond!). He's nervous. He's going to see Penelope's father, Mr. Widmore, for a job interview. Penelope tells him not to worry and that he shouldn't be trying to work for her father. Desmond disagrees. He says it's not about the job, it's about Mr. Widmore respecting him. (Reminds me of Jin's storyline with Sun's father.)

Later, Desmond goes to the Widmore Industries building to see Mr. Widmore. First we see Mr. Widmore, he's staring intently at Desmond's resume and says, "I didn't know you were an actor." Desmond corrects him, "i was more of a set designer." Mr. Widmore offers him a job in the Administrative department (trust an expert, don't do it!!) Desmond reveals that he's not really here for a job, but rather would like to ask Penelope for her hand in marriage and is seeking Mr. Widmore's approval.

Mr. Widmore respects the fact that Desmond came to see him, but that's it. He walks over to a cabinet to grab a familiar bottle of whiskey and goes into some story about the inventor of the whiskey and how Desmond doesn't deserve a swallow of it, let alone his daughter's hand.

Desmond is distraught. Outside, he flings his tie at the ground (God, i know what that's like), but is soon perplexed by a familiar voice. A young man playing guitar, singing Oasis' classic "Wonderwall," panhandling on the corner. It's Charlie! Desmond recognizes him. "Where do I know you from, brother?" Desmond asks him. Charlie is freaked out a little but tries to play it cool. He says, "this is why we don't do drugs!" Desmond is freaking out more, though. He's starting to feel his powers come back.

Everything seems like it's happened before. Desmond says, "I threw away my tie.. And then it started raining." He looks up. On cue, it starts to rain.

Next we see a soaked Desmond barge into a library (or possibly a University) and accost a friend, Donovan, a physicist. Desmond begs him for his help. They go to bar and Desmond lays the whole story out off-camera. Next we see them, Desmond is asking him about time travel. His friend is more than a little concerned and confused and seems to be about to call the guys in white smocks. Desmond hears a song on the jukebox and is convinced he can show his friend "what he can do" (hey, wait, is this Heroes?). Desmond guesses the outcome of the soccer game on the television and that a disgruntled man will come into the bar and hit the bartender with a croquet mallet. Neither of which happen.

Desmond returns home to find a sleeping Penelope. She wakes up and asks him how the interview went. Desmond is still troubled by his meeting with Mr. Widmore. She asks him more questions but he waves her off. He's having more strange flashes and Penelope keeps asking him if he's alright. Desmond looks into his girlfriend's eyes and knows that yes, when she's around, he's definitely alright (I know the feeling).

Desmond goes to a jeweler downtown. He looks first at a few expensive rings, but then the Helpful British Lady picks out a small, simple ring for him. Desmond goes to buy it but the Helpful British Lady says no. She adopts an authoritative voice and tells Desmond, point-blank, "you don't buy the ring. You have second thoughts." She then recounts Desmond's quick life story (solo race around the world, crash landing on the Island, in the Hatch pushing the button, leaving the Hatch, turning the key..). It's an eerie moment that reminded me a little too much of the Oracle scenes from The Matrix, but the episode quickly picks up from there.

Desmond and the Helpful British Lady step outside for some nuts. She points out a man wearing a suit and red shoes. A moment later, nearby scaffolding collapses and Desmond spots two red shoes pointing out of the wreckage. Desmond challenges her, "You knew that was going to happen! Why didn't you try to stop it?" The Helpful British Lady informs him that even if she did warn him about the scaffolding, he would have been killed some other way later that day or tomorrow. She then speaks on of the best lines of the season, "The Universe has a way of course-correcting." But Desmond is stubborn. He's determined to marry Penelope and make a good life for themselves.

He goes to meet Penelope at a pier. A photographer offers to take their picture. They take a picture behind a fake city landscape. The picture is familiar. We've seen it many times before in Desmond's hands. That's when Desmond realizes that the universe cannot be defeated and whatever happens is destined to happen. He breaks up with Penelope, using a number of excuses, but she doesn't buy any of them. I think he was trying to protect her, knowing that eventually they would break up and he would hurt her.

He goes back to the bar where he met with his scientist friend. He's distraught (again), but cheers up when he hears a familiar song and looks up at the soccer game. The outcome he predicted earlier comes true and the man with the mallet storms into the bar. Desmond attempts to block fate again and screams, "Duck, brother!" only to be slammed in the head himself.

Flash back to the island and Desmond choking Charlie for calling him a coward. Hurley, drunk, manages to pull Desmond off. Charlie doesn't hold a grudge (this time) and helps Desmond back to his tent. But he can't resist asking again, "How did you know? How did you do it?"

Desmond reveals the truth. It wasn't Claire he saw in a dream, it was Charlie drowning and dying. Desmond leaped into the water to save Charlie from even attempting to save her and thus saved them all. He also told him that the lightning rod he built in the early part of the season wasn't to save Claire, it was to save Charlie. Charlie is the man in the red shoes. Desmond says, "No matter what I do, Charlie, you're going to die."

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Blogger Shawn said...

Excellent Recap! You should do this more often ;)

I'm still not sure how I feel about almost the entire episode being a flashback on Desmond - I want to know more about what's going on with the people on the island. But still, it was a good episode.

February 15, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger elad said...

don't worry, Shawn, there's still a whole half season left to go!

February 15, 2007 10:44 PM  

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