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‘Lost’ Season Three: Ep. 8 “Flashes Before Your Eyes”

We are back with the Losties, as the reverberation of Mr. Eko’s death rumbles through the camp. But the real query is Desmond. Just as Charlie and Hurley are being told Mr. Eko has died, Des runs off towards the beach. He jumps in the water and grabs Claire, who is drowning, and safely brings her back to shore.

Guess Desmond’s powers of future telling are in full swing. Charlie doesn’t get it and, frankly, is a little jealous that Des keeps saving Claire’s life, just like he did when he averted the lightening strike earlier in the season. Hurley admits he thinks Desmond can see the future. Charlie doesn’t believe in all that precognitive rubbish, but he wants to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Charlie and Hurley decide to get Desmond drunk, so they can get him to tell what happened to him when the hatch imploded. Desmond isn’t keen on spilling the beans, even though he’s had about a half a bottle of really good scotch. But then Charlie calls him a coward. This riles Desmond up and he charges Charlie, choking him and screaming at him that he doesn’t want to know what happened to him.

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Flashback to the hatch, the day it imploded. Locke has smashed the computer, the time is up and everything’s going haywire. Desmond knows he has to turn the fail-safe key, and climbing down underneath the hatch, Des tells Locke he’ll see him in another lifetime. He turns the key, the flash of bright light and….he finds himself in his London flat, on his back after falling off a ladder, with red paint all over him. Penny, the love of his life, is there, tending to him.

Thing is, this isn’t an ordinary Lost flashback. Desmond keeps seeing flashes of the island: A delivery guy calls out the number 815; a microwave beeps like the clock in the hatch; Desmond meets Charlie, singing on the street. He remembers everything about the island.

What Desmond believes is that he has gone back in time, reliving a pivotal moment in his life: The time when he was going to ask Penny to marry him, despite the obstacles (her dad, class differences, etc). Desmond even tries to convince a friend he’s been here before by describing what will happen while they are there in a pub. The soccer team on TV scores an amazing goal, and a guy with a cricket bat comes in to whack the bartender in the head. But it doesn’t happen the same way, leaving Des even more bewildered.

It doesn’t matter, though. He is still going to ask Penny to marry him. Shopping for rings, the sales lady shows him a beautiful one. Desmond thinks its perfect and wants to buy it. But then the sales lady demands the ring back, saying he isn’t supposed to buy the ring. He is suppose to have second thoughts, walk out and never ask Penny to marry him. Instead, he will break her heart and then two years later, enter the sailing race, which brings him to the island, where he’ll push the button for three years. Then this bizarre sales lady says that if he doesn’t do exactly all this, “we will all die”

Like the Matrix’s Oracle, she then tells him there is only has one path he can take–and it’s to the island, where “pushing the button will be the most important thing [he’ll] ever do.” She also says he can’t change the way the universe works. If he were meant to die, there would be nothing to stop the inevitability of it. Do you reckon the Lost creators have seen The Matrix a few hundred times? And when it comes time for Desmond to really change things and give Penny the ring, he can’t go through with it. He can’t be with her. They are not suppose to be together. She calls him a coward.

In the same pub as before, Desmond realizes the moment he had described earlier to his friend starts to happen. He had just gotten the wrong day, and he has an epiphany—maybe he can make things right. But just as he is about to run out of the pub to find Penny, the man with the cricket bat storms in. Desmond tries to stop it and wham! gets hit instead. Desmond opens his eyes, and he’s back on the island, naked, the way Hurley found him. Des is distraught, begging the heavens, “Just let me go back one more time and I’ll do it right this time!” But he can’t–and now Desmond has somehow acquired the Oracle’s nifty power to see the future.

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Charlie hears the whole story, how Desmond’s life flashed before his eyes, but still doesn’t believe it. How does Desmond know to save Claire? Des explains, “I’m not saving Claire, brother, I’m saving YOU.” It was Charlie who was supposed to drown trying to save Claire, and it was Charlie who was supposed to get hit by the lightening. Des tells Charlie the universe has a way of catching up to you, and he can’t keep saving Charlie forever. Charlie is going to die.

Oh boy.

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