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Lost: Flashes Before Your Eyes

Charlie: "I don't buy all this precognitive insanity rubbish. Look, if the bearded wonder could predict the future, he wouldn't have ended up here, would he?"

Holy wow.

Unlike most Lost episodes that alternated between the present and the past, this one was spent almost entirely... I have no idea. It reminded me of one of the great science fiction novels, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Billy Pilgrim was unstuck in time, bouncing around in his own life, powerless to do anything to change what always happens. Did Desmond get unstuck in time when the Hatch exploded? Or was it the blows on the head that preceded every shift in time?

Desmond is a tragic figure. He can never change the past, never go back to his beloved Penelope, never win Widmore's approval. I was freaked out by the woman in the jewelry store, and those last ten minutes just floored me. She told him that the universe "course corrects," like in Final Destination. Desmond saved Charlie's life twice. But Desmond says Charlie is going to die, anyway, no matter what Desmond does.

Loved the clever little bits of the Island that popped up all over. My favorite was the painting in Widmore's office with the upside-down Buddha, the polar bear, and the word "Namaste" written backward. (Upside down and backward?) Did Desmond really see Charlie performing on a streetcorner years ago in England, or did he just insert Charlie into his... whatever it was? The sign on Charlie's guitar case said, "Musical stylings of Charlie Hieronymus Pace." Hieronymus Bosch was an artist who did strange, fantastical paintings several hundred years ago. The most famous included Adam and Eve. Remember Adam and Eve in the cave?


There was lots of red, too, which I can only assume symbolized blood. Desmond first woke up, concussed, covered with red paint. Exactly how he woke after the Hatch exploded, except it was blood. A man wearing red shoes died under some fallen scaffolding. The bottle of MacCutcheon had a red label. (MacCutcheon, according to Google, is a chess move.) Des was wearing a red shirt in the photograph of Des and Pen that we've seen so many times. Which was taken with a fake backdrop, symbolizing unreality.

(Oh, my. I can't believe I missed it the first time. The red phone booth. Doctor Who.) (And forgive me – my ignorance of Doctor Who is showing; I've been told it's a blue police box. But wouldn't it have been a cool reference? I still like the synchronicity.)

Penelope is a sweetie pie who loves Desmond with a passion. Actually, that's all we really know about her, other than her father is a complete and utter prick. Widmore was actually nice right up until the moment he learned that Desmond was involved with his daughter. That nasty little speech about the whiskey was devastating.

Why would Desmond want Widmore's approval so badly? It must be tied in to Desmond's self-esteem. He was unemployed. He doesn't think he's worthy of Penelope. But still. Why didn't Desmond tell Widmore where to stick that bottle of whiskey?

Character bits:

The flashback (or whatever) started with a closeup of Desmond's left eye. It was the first eye closeup that wasn't at the beginning of an episode.

Desmond was a set designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has three younger brothers. (Maybe that's why he calls everyone brother.) "I had to look after my three brothers after my father..." died? When he woke up at the bottom of the ladder, his hand was covered in red paint. Blood on his hands?

Charlie died once before, too: Ethan killed him, and Jack brought him back. Time on the Island goes a lot more slowly... which I always thought was just because the story is compact. Is it related to Desmond's time travel, too?

Hurley called Desmond "Desmondo," and Charlie called him "Dezi." Guess they had to fill in for Sawyer.

What's with the physicist Donovan, Desmond's friend? He felt important.


The strange woman in the jewelry shop was played by Fionnula Flanagan. I knew her face and thought she'd been in another Lost episode, but no; she's just been a working actress since the 1960s and I've seen her in other stuff. I kept looking at her eyes. Were they emphasizing them for some reason? They were like Penelope's eyes, weren't they?

Bits and pieces:

— There were so many bits of the Island in the "flashback": the clock with 1:08 on it; the delivery for 815; the Mama Cass song. Pen said, "It's not the end of the world" right before the microwave started beeping like the Hatch. I'm sure I'm missing other stuff, too.

— The red paint can had the word "future" on it. The red shoes under the scaffolding reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.

— I know this was shot in Hawaii. And yet, they got Big Ben in there. I love CGI.

— The photo of Desmond and Penelope reminded me of Kyle's very important photo of Sarah Connor in Terminator.


— Sawyer's stash included a copy of Playpen that had a feature on the "15th annual Girls of Fiji Pictorial." Fiji, huh? There were also pieces on the brothels of Singapore, a nun turned stripper, best nude beaches, and how to make her say yes. The writers love to play with us.

— This week's addition to the reading list was Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov, best known as the author of Lolita. Anyone have a plot synopsis?

— In Desmond's flat, we heard the song "Building a Mystery."

Quotes:

Charlie: "He stole all this in the first place. I mean, people need food. They need medical supplies. They need... shocking amounts of pornography."


Donovan: "There's no such thing as time travel, Des. From what I understand, true love can be just as unlikely."

They're two for two. I don't understand how the ratings can be dropping when they're giving us quality material like this. Four out of four polar bears,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

ChrisB said...

The end of this episode really, really sent me into a spin. They won't kill off Charlie, will they? And, if the older lady in London is so adamant that bad things happen when fate is interfered with, why is Desmond continuing to do so, saving Charlie's life twice now.

I just hope he keeps doing it. I would miss Charlie.

celticmarc said...

Gerbil in her wheel.

Being a French Canadian, we do not have "it" in our vocabulary. Everything is a he or a she.

A plane is a he. An house is a she. A car is both a he and a she.

Josie Kafka said...

Even in the pilot, Charlie almost died. He nearly gets crushed by a gigantic piece of shrapnel.