Season 3 – Episode 8: “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”
Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.
Folks, I’m not going to lie to you; I feel like absolute twice-baked crap today. I called in sick this morning, hoping to shake the feeling of lingering death and general pukery that’s been following me around for the last three days. After sleeping in to the obscene hour of 9am (blasphemy!), I tottled into the kitchen (naked, naturally) to realize that I had absolutely nothing to eat in the house.
I had been holding off on grocery shopping for a week or so, mainly because it’s 85 below zero in my neck of the woods and the market is at least 50 whole yards from my doorstep. That being said, I needed something to eat, so I made my way to Cousin’s Subs, where I purchased a 16-inch veggie sub on Garlic Herb bread with an extra quart of mayo. I ate the whole thing in under five minutes, collapsed on the couch and slipped into a light coma.
As you can imagine, this did nothing for my immune system. All I know for certain is that I’m just one step closer to a full-blown Myocardial Infarction. On the bright side, Wednesday’s episode of Lost was one of the trippiest and left-of-center flashback encounters we’ve ever seen, throwing Desmond into the character forefront and turning in an emmy-worthy performance in the process.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the Thick & Meaty. Chew 30 times before swallowing.
ON THE ISLAND (PART I):
The episode starts with Charlie and Hurley dividing up Sawyer’s stash of embarrassingly dated pornography. Desmond shows up and tells them that Locke and Sayid have a surprise for them (candy!) in the jungle. The second they scamper away, Desmond snatches an armload of Playpens and heads for his tent. The September 1976 issue has Shannon Tweed on the cover, so you’re not going to want to miss out on that.
Locke lets Charlie and Hurley know that Eko is dead, but they need to save their schoolgirl freak-out for another day, as it might frighten the rest of the castaways. To add to the “WTF?” nature of the conversation, Locke informs them that “the island killed Eko.” Charlie then pretends to hear someone calling his name, backs away slowly and is never seen again.
(Yoon-Jin Kim probably made $50,000 for two seconds of airtime, but it was totally worth it.)
It should be noted here that even though Eko’s corpse is probably still warm, I miss that guy like crazy. I can almost see him in heaven, bashing guys with rocks for all of eternity.
Desmond, who has been looking squirrelly the entire time, makes a beeline for the beach, where he finds Claire being washed into the ocean. Apparently, Claire thought that the ocean “was trying to hurt [her] bay-bee!” and took offense. Desmond, looking as rugged and bristly as ever, saves Claire as Charlie acts like a nebbish on the sidelines.
Charlie wants to know how Desmond knew that Claire was in trouble, especially considering that he has already saved her once before. Desmond doesn’t give an answer, and tries several times to get back to his newly acquired porno stash. Charlie stays on him though, and tricks Desmond into getting absolutely, retardedly plastered* with him and Hurley on the shore.
*Line stolen from JT.
(Hurley is completely drunk….on HAM!)
After several hours of boozing it up, Charlie starts to grill Desmond for answers, to which he responds by getting up and leaving. When Charlie calls him a coward, Desmond flips his well-groomed wig and tackles our favorite smack-addict, screaming “Yah dooon’t want to knoooow, broootha!“
Sure we doooo, Desmond. Sure we doooo.
We’re treated to a scene from the Season Two finale, where the Swan Hatch starts imploding faster than Ryan Leaf in NFL training camp. Desmond grabs the ‘Blow Everything Right The Hell Up‘ Key and gives it a quick turn. The screen goes white, the world seemingly ends, and we’re sent back even further in time with Desmond.
The following flashback recap comes to us courtesy of Lostpedia. I don’t plan on making a habit out of copy/paste jobs, but as I said earlier, I feel terrible and need a nap. Enjoy this little bit of plagiarism:
(This looks just like my Dad’s senior yearbook photo.)
He wakes up lying on a wood floor, with what looks like blood all over him. He looks around and sees a can of red paint and a ladder turned on its side. Penny runs over to him and asks if he’s okay. He realizes that they are in his old flat in the past. Delighted to be back with Penny, he kisses and embraces her.
Desmond is fixing his tie and glances at the clock, which reads 1:08. Penny helps him as he tells her how glad he is that she just moved in. They discuss Desmond’s impending meeting with her father, and Penny says that if it doesn’t go well it won’t be the “end of the world.” This phrase disturbs Desmond, especially since he hears the sound of the countdown timer beeping – but it turns out to just be the microwave. Penny asks if he’s alright and he says he just has deja vu.
Desmond checks in with the Widmore receptionist. A delivery man arrives with a “parcel for 815”. The mention of “815” brings up a flash of the numbers in the mind of Desmond and momentarily unsettles him again.
Mr. Widmore discusses Desmond’s resume with him. Desmond was a set designer for the Royal Shakespeare company. He didn’t graduate from University because he had to look after his brothers after something happened to his father. He had no military experience. Desmond compliments Mr. Widmore’s ship model, and Widmore says that he is sponsoring a race around the world, which causes Desmond to flash on his own future boat. He offers Desmond a position in the administrative department, but Desmond tells him he isn’t there for a job. Instead, he wants to ask his permission to marry Penny.
Widmore calls it a noble gesture and takes out a bottle of MacCutcheon Scotch Whiskey and two glasses. But he only pours whiskey into one glass, saying that one swallow costs more than Desmond would make in a month, and sharing it with him would be a waste because he will never be a great man. Not being worthy to drink his whiskey, how could he be worthy to marry his daughter?
(Claire, putting on one of her better performances in awhile.)
Outside, Desmond comes upon Charlie playing guitar and singing “Wonderwall” to the crowd for change on the sidewalk. Desmond claims to recognize him and flashes to Charlie during the hatch system failure. Desmond says he knows Charlie’s name, but Charlie points to the sign below him with his name written on it. Desmond has more flashes and starts freaking out. He starts remembering the time he has just experienced and how it started to rain. Just then, it begins to pour.
Desmond finds his friend Donovan at a research library, who is a physicist, to ask him about time travel. Desmond ask him if it’s possible that he’s reliving part of his life, but Donovan suggests his mind is just reacting to his failure with Widmore by giving him a role of importance on the island. Donovan says that if he is reliving his life, he should be able to predict what happens next. Desmond says he can’t remember everything, but then the song “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” comes on the jukebox, and he gets another flash. He says that Graybridge comes back from two goals down in the final two minutes of the game and wins. Right after, someone will come in and hit the bartender with a bat because he owes him money. They watch the game, but the team fails to score. Desmond, disappointed, accepts Donovan’s advice to get on with his life and marry Penny.
Desmond comes home and tells Penny he didn’t get the job. She suggests they go out and celebrate the occasion that she loves him. He asks why she loves him and she says it’s because he’s a ‘good man,’ and in her experience, they are hard to come by. They kiss.
Desmond looks at rings in a jewelry shop. Ms. Hawking says she can tell he is a first timer and asks his price range. Desmond says he is not ‘a man of means’ and she finds a ring for him that won’t ‘blind a queen’ but still ‘has the sparkle of life.’ He says he’ll take the ring and she says “no, you won’t.” Ms. Hawking tells the astonished Desmond that he isn’t supposed to take the ring, because his not buying it led to his original fate of ending up on the island and turning the fail-safe key. That “if you don’t do those things, David Desmond Hume, every single one of us is dead.”
(Ms. Hawking reminds me of Zed in Pulp Fiction.)
Ms. Hawking decides that Desmond needs persuasion and brings him outside. She buys some chestnuts and points out a man wearing red shoes. Desmond theorizes that she is really his subconscious but she only smiles. Desmond says he is determined to marry Penny, but Ms. Hawking says that won’t happen. Suddenly scaffolding falls on and kills the man wearing red shoes. Desmond accuses Ms. Hawking of knowing what would happen and asks why she didn’t try to stop it. She says it was his fate to die and that no one can change their fate. If they manage to forestall it, the universe will “course correct” and find another way of forcing them back on their prescribed path. Desmond takes the ring anyway.
Desmond goes to meet Penny and is unsettled by a Royal Scots recruitment poster. He meets her near Westminster bridge and is propositioned by a photographer. Penny convinces him to get their photo taken together. They change the pull-down scenes until they find one Penny likes, and he takes off his coat so that they end up matching the photo that Desmond carries with him on the island. Desmond stares at the photo and comes to a realization about his fate. He tells Penny that he isn’t the man he needs to be and that they aren’t supposed to be together. She runs off crying, and he throws the ring into the River Thames.
Desmond is back at the pub and tells the bartender he thinks he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, and that he thinks he’s made it before. “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” starts playing on the jukebox again, and Desmond sees another football game on the television but this time the team makes the goal. Excited that his vision of the future was correct, he decides that he might have a chance to change his fate after all. The third part of his prediction comes true too, and Jimmy Lennon storms into the bar to accost the bartender. Jimmy swings a bat at the bartender and Desmond yells for him to duck, causing the bat to hit Desmond instead.
Desmond’s world fades to white, and he wakes up naked in the jungle with injuries all over from the hatch implosion, and also still hurting where he was hit with the bat. He runs to where the hatch was and is dismayed at seeing the hole in the ground. Among the debris he finds his photo. He cries and pleads to be given another chance to change the past.
Thanks, Lostpedia. You’re an inspiration to this entire operation. Could someone be a lamb and call me an ambulance?
ON THE ISLAND (PART II):
(Charlie turns right to the short story by Kurt Vonnegut.)
We’re then sent back to the present, with Desmond choking the life out of Charlie. Desmond comes to his senses and apologizes, calling Charlie a “good man.” He explains that when he turned the hatch key, his life flashed before his eyes, but they haven’t seemed to stop yet. In tune, he’s starting to see things that haven’t yet happened. As an example, he graphically describes a poop that he plans on taking in no less than 15 minutes.
Charlie is disgusted and understandably intrigued, as Desmond waves his arms around a whole lot and includes sound effects.
As the episode ends, Desmond explains that he hasn’t been saving Claire this entire time, but that he’s been saving Charlie. However, the universe will have its say, and Charlie will eventually die. Charlie nods and goes to find as much heroin as he can get his mitts on.
I thought this was a fantastic and not-at-all run-of-the-mill episode. There were throwbacks-aplenty, clues all over the place and a return to interesting and deep flashback storytelling.
To fully understand the little things that made it so great, we have to Break It Down!
4 – Clocking in at well over 25 minutes, this episode showcased more flashbacks than any other episode. Sure, one can argue that these ‘flashbacks’ only existed in Desmond’s mind, but we were still along for the ride. The style of storytelling was also original from anything we’ve seen on this show thus far. Bottom line, though, we really didn’t learn anything about Desmond’s current condition. I guess we just have to accept the fact that he can predict the immediate future, and hope that a logical explanation will eventually result. Mmm-hmm.
Also, when Desmond started talking to that Indian physicist about time travel, was anyone else reminded of Heroes?
8 – During the Eko conversation at the start of this episode, Locke refers to Jack as “the doctor.” This stuck me as odd, as I don’t remember Locke calling Jack “the doctor” for a very long time. Everyone within earshot of Locke knew who Jack was, why didn’t he just call him ‘Jack?’ I’m probably reading too far into this, but I suspect that the ‘real’ Locke has been replaced by a fraudulent, ‘alien’ Locke. Let it be known that I came up with it first.
(“We fooled you, ya’ nerds! WE FOOLED YOU!”)
15 – I really like how they resolved where the ‘Desmond & Penny’ photograph came from. I remember all the speculation and analysis that picture got when it was first shown in the Season 2 premiere. People had theories all over the place concerning the location and the identity of Penny. To have it turn out that they were standing in front of a fake backdrop was brilliant, as far as I’m concerned. Take that, scrutinizing Internet nerds! You know nothing!
16 – There were a ton of ‘throwbacks’ and other various clues during Desmond’s ‘flashback.’ Not only were there mentions of the Numbers and other Island mysteries abound, there were also various quotes that sent Desmond’s mind reeling. For my money, the best Easter Egg in the entire program was during the soccer game he watched at the bar. Take a look at all of the sponsors surrounding the soccer field.
(Proof that someone out there has less of a life than myself.)
Also, I got a kick out of the ‘Wizard of Oz‘ reference when the scaffolding landed on the dude with the red shoes.
23 – So, Charlie’s going to die, huh? That doesn’t really bother me, except for the fact that I think he’s going to take someone down with him. My guess is that someone will try to save him somewhere down the line, and pay for it with their life. It will probably be someone that brings more to the show than Charlie, like an inanimate shrub or a grain of sand. For shame.
During the flashback, I liked how Charlie was singing ‘Wonderwall‘ in the vicinity of Desmond. Especially the line of “maybe, you’re going to be the one that saves me.” Oasis still sucks a six-pack of ass, however.
(Let this be a warning to all fans of Chuck Taylors…we’re coming for you.)
42 – I just found out that Playpen magazine never actually existed in reality. I guess it’s just a made-up thing that television shows have used in many programs to represent a dirty magazine. It’s the pornographic equivalent of the 555-5555 telephone number. I’ll be darned.
Enough of this week, let’s talk about next week’s episode. TINY SPOILERS AHOY!
4 – Episode 9 will be titled “Stranger in a Strange Land,” and it will be Jack-centric. Duke sucks.
8 – The official press release from ABC reads; “A power play ensues between Jack and The Others as Juliet’s future hangs in the balance. Meanwhile, Kate, Sawyer and Karl continue on their journey away from “Alcatraz.“
Clearly, this means that the bulk of the episode will take place on ‘Alcatraz.’ I’m also assuming that they’re saving the all-important Karl flashback episode for sweeps. That’s a joke, and a funny one at that.
15 – In flashbacks, we’ll see Jack travel to Thailand and meet an intriguing woman. We will also find out the source and meaning of his tattoos. My guess is that they’re translated to read “Scott Wolfe 4EVA.”
(“Crap…the producers just realized that I’m irrelevant.”)
16 – Also during this episode, we will see Cindy and some of the abducted children again. It’s speculated that we will finally get an answer as to why the Others like to steal kids. My guess is they they have a soccer ball factory somewhere on the island, and those things ain’t going to stitch themselves, you know.
23 – During one of the flashback scenes, we will see Jack in a fight. That’s the word on the street, yo.
42 – During this episode, I will be sitting quietly in front of the fireplace, petting my cat and eating tortilla roll-ups. I will slowly ponder what has become of my life, and take a long bath upon the conclusion of the show. At some point during said bath, I will pen a short note and slit my wrists with a Remington Mach 5 razor, and slowly drift into an eternal slumber.
Well, there you have it. Another Lost Friday come and gone. Start the conversation in the comments section, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel like supporting the CDP, feel free to make a donation or buy some of my sweet merch. Once you’re done with that, head on over to The Coconut Internet and say hello. They’ll be glad you came.
As always, here are links to every Lost Friday so far this season. Look back, reflect and cry. See you next week.
Season 3 Preview
Season 3 – Episode 1 Review
Season 3 – Episode 2 Review
Season 3 – Episode 3 Review
Season 3 – Episode 4 Review
Season 3 – Episode 5 Review
Season 3 – Episode 6 Review
Season 3 – Episode 7 Review
NEXT WEEK: American Idol predictions, fan photographs and yet another Lost Friday!