308 – Flashes Before Your Eyes



Here it is!  This is arguably the best mid-season episodes ever (it’s hard to compare the finales to the other episodes).  What makes this episode so wonderful is that it’s so blatantly sci-fi.  After this point there is no way that a viewer could ignore the unrealistic parts of this show.  Sure Smokey is mysterious and the sky turned purple, but when Desmond went back in time something changed.

Charles Whidmore also factors into the main storyline in this episode.  Now that we know how important he is (or could be) this episode has a higher significance.

This episode also starts off the “Charlie’s going to die” story.  This is a great and original way to kill a character.  Dominic Monaghan was probably one of the higher paid actors on the show (I’m assuming) and he has a relatively large career.  His character, on the other hand, was about to become a side character.  There was little left for him to do.  He was going to leave sooner or later, I’m glad that he was able to leave on his own terms and in a memorable but not upsetting way.

But back to this episode.  Desmond and Penny are dynamite.  It’s been said many times before but I’ll say it again, Those two have such good chemistry.  They look so good together and the characters are made for each other.  To watch Desmond go through that part of his life again was heartbreaking.

Great episode 10.0/10.0  (I have a very hard time not comparing this episode with The Constant, which I loved even more.  IN the end I could find nothing wrong with this episode so I’ll give it 10.)

308-desmond-claire-charlie-01Character Impressions:


-At the beginning of this episode while Locke is telling people about how Eko died, he gets a look in his eye and then he goes running.  He runs out of the jungle for a long ways then he dives into the water and rescues Claire.  I love this misdirecting.  The writers make it seem like Claire is the person that Desmond keeps on saving and then at the end it 308-desmond-01turns out to be Charlie.  So even if you suspected that you knew what was going on with Desmond’s precognitive powers you were probably wrong.  It’s twists like this that I love.  They motivate me to make up crazy completely unlikely theories.

-It’s almost as if Desmond got a wish when he turned the key.  He said, “I love you Pen,” then he turned the key.  At that moment could he have been asking for a second chance?  It doesn’t seem unlikely.

308-desmond-penny-01-Here’s a list of Desmond’s deja vu moments in his flashes:
He looks at the clock and it’s 1:08.
Penny says “it’s not the end of the world.”
He hears the microwave and it’s beeping like the Swan computer.
A delivery comes in for Charles and it’s package number 815.
He sees a painting in Charles’ office with a polar bear on it.
Charles says, he’s sponsoring a race around the world.
He sees Charlie singing on the street corner.
After that Desmond apparently remembers everything.
308-whidmore-01He also has a slight flash when he sees the picture of him and Penny.

-Desmond’s alcoholism is a storyline seems pretty important.  It seems like in all of his episodes that is a common thread.  It’s really quite sad, he’s had many, many things go wrong in his life and he always has a bottle with him, trying to forget.

-Desmond has a moment when he is talking to Charlie and 308-desmond-whidmore-01he says, “then is started to rain.” It immediately starts to rain.  It reminds me of Locke.  I doubt that Locke has precognitive abilities though, I think it was just a coincidence.

-Desmond meets Charlie in the past.  I think that the writers made sure the scene wasn’t memorable so that Charlie wouldn’t remember it.  I do believe that it happened in the past though.

308-desmond-whidmore-02-When Desmond’s Indian friend, Donovan, is introduced he’s talking to his red-haired friend about scientific stuff.  He says, “run the same test 10 times and you’ll get 10 different outcomes”.  Was he the opposite of Ms. Hawkins?  It sounds as though he thinks that Desmond has a chance to make things different.  I believe Ms Hawkins more though, her theory makes things more logical, and besides, she proves her point with those red shoes.

-Desmond apparently told Donovan that the island is a place 308-desmond-charlie-01with a bunch of mysterious hatches.  I think that Desmond isn’t telling us everything.  In his on-island flashback it looks like he stays in his hatch forever, but he talks about other hatches.  He knows about the blast door map, but I doubt that’s what he’s referring to.

-Desmond says about Penny, “I’m going to spend the rest of my life with her”, Ms Hawkins says, “no you’re not Desmond.”  I hope that was just refering to the fact that they spent those years apart when he was on the island.

308-desmond-charlie-02-“Pushing that button is the only truly great thing you will ever do.”  That’s pretty depressing, hopefully it’s not true.


-Penny is just perfect in this episode.  They wrote her to be completely idyllic, she’s wonderfully humble and understanding, she’s beautiful and there isn’t a moment when you doubt her sincerity.

308-desmond-penny-02-It’s absolutely heartbreaking when Desmond breaks up with Penny.  They both completely lie about it, saying that they aren’t supposed to be together, when they know that it’s not true.  I am usually completely indifferent to love stories, but this one really gets me.


-Whidmore asks Desmond if he has any military experience.  Did he really want him to join the army.

308-mrs-hawkins-01-Charles sounds like Christian, “You will never be a great man Desmond.”

Ms. Hawkins

-As soon as Desmond walks into her store she says, “never done this before, have you?”, he says, “is it that obvious”, she says, “I can always tell the first timers.”  The obvious translation of what she’s talking about is wedding rings, but after watching it again, it seems more likely that she’s 308-desmond-mrs-hawkins-02talking about time travel.  I wonder if she’s talked to others about this?  I’m betting that Daniel gets to visit her sometime soon.

-It’s so creepy when she starts to tell him what he does instead of buying the ring.  “And if you don’t do those things, Desmond David Hume, everyone sing one of us is dead, so give me that sodding ring.”

Flashbacks (what we knew then):

308-desmond-penny-03-I remember being very surprised when there wasn’t a flashback for the first 10 minutes of this episode.  It seemed like it was going to be a Desmond Flashback, but I wasn’t expecting this.

-The part when Desmond throws that ring into the water is exactly like Swept Away.  That movie was equally heartbreaking.

Flashforwards (what we know now):

308-desmond-02-Desmond waking up naked, I really do think that’s him being reborn.  That flashback wasn’t his second chance, that was.  From season three on he’s had a chance to make things right.  Luckily we see him take his second chance in season 4, when he reunites with Penny.

-Desmond, “When I turned that key, my life flashed before my eyes.  And then I was back in the jungle, still on this bloody island.  But those flashes, Charlie, those flashes, they didn’t stop.”  Charlie, “So you’re telling me you saw a flash of 308-penny-01Claire drowning this morning, that’s how you knew how to saver her.”  Desmond, “I wasn’t saving Claire, Charlie.  I was saving you.  This morning you dove in after Claire.  You tried to save her but, you drowned… I’ve tried brother.  I’ve tried twice to save you but- the universe has a way of course correcting and I can’t stop it forever.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry because, no matter what I try to do, you’re going to die Charlie.”
Pretty epic.  I bet Desmond was very tempted to not tell 308-desmond-03Charlie anything, and just let him die.  It would have been easy to think that it was inevitable.  Obviously he did the right thing.

-People have told me that they believe that this episode was nothing more than an interactive flashback with Desmond.  Implying that it didn’t really happen, he was just experiencing it again.  Kinda like a “Choose your own adventure”, you’ll always end up at the same spot.  I like to think that he did actually go back, even if he couldn’t or 308-desmond-04didn’t change anything.  To say that it was all just a dream takes the magic out of the story, therefore I refuse to believe that.  (People tried to tell me the same thing about Pan’s Labyrinth, saying that she was just delusional, and that the fantasy portion of the show wasn’t real.  I say to them that they lack imagination, or perhaps are just too jaded.  I like to think that I’m enjoying life more than them.)

– Izi

8 Responses to “308 – Flashes Before Your Eyes”

  1. 1 Kyle
    December 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    When this episode first aired, I absolutely hated it. Coming after 7 episodes that revealed a lot about the Others and the island, this was like a giant wrench backwards. Nothing happens on the island, we get a whole episode in the past, Desmond’s time traveling, seeing the future, there’s some ridiculous mystic lady that knows everything Desmond will do, “Everyone will die!” so corny. It introduced so many ridiculous tings and raised far too many questions just when the show was getting on track. I still do hate it but can see that it sort of fits with the direction the show is going currently, with the time shifts and islands moving and whatnot. But really I just don’t like this episode at all. Was he really re-living the past? OR did everything that happen in the “flashback” actually happen the first time around and he knew his destiny and just stuck with it? This episode is just frustrating.

  2. December 3, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, that’s really interesting. I thought everyone liked it. You’re right though. It’s a complete U-turn on the main story of season 3. And it certainly does raise far too many questions.
    Probably my devotion to Desmond and Penny blinded me to other peoples opinion.
    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing Kyle.
    BTW, how did you feel about “The Constant”? It’s almost more mind-bending that this episode.
    – izi

  3. 3 Kyle
    December 8, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    When The Constant started, I felt very much the same way, as in “Oh here we go again.” But as it went on, especially when he met Daniel, I could tell there was a much bigger connection to things happening on-island, plus if I recall it was when they were just introducing the notion of time travel, with the timed rocket. I liked The Constant more than this ep, but still was very annoyed with it.

  4. 4 SB
    May 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    “Namaste” was also on the painting in whidmore’s office.

    Love your blog!

  5. 5 Jason
    January 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    After thinking about it, it does seem more and more like Desmond actually had no say in that flashback. If he had really gone back in time, what was with all the déjà Vu moments? Why did he instantly “wake up” back on the island the moment he decided to repeat history? The whole part once Ms. Hawkins is so much like when Morpheus re-introduces Neo to the matrix. The man with the red shoes is a play on the woman in the red dress. That it was a world that could be predetermined if not manipulated. I hate to have such a pessimistic view about it, but it seemed to me that Eloise was holding all the cards and manipulating his reality.

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November 2008

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