See, this is why I love LOST
: these people are totally unafraid to introduce plots that will take the audience into a completely different room. LOST
‘Flashes Before your Eyes’ was that kind of episode. Fans who thought Lost 'Not in Portland
' was coy with its insinuations of time and space will be blown away with the bluntness that those issues are dealt with. It’s disclosure on a level unknown to LOST
fans, I think. Certainly if 'Not in Portland' was the first line in the conversation of time and space, ‘Flashes Before your Eyes’ is the long string of exclamation points at the end.
‘Flashes’ starts out as a conventional episode of LOST, quick recap on Desmond’s mysterious precognitive strokes and the fact that he was nekkid after the hatch went ker-blooey, or is that bloo-kery? Then smack dab into island time as Charlie and Hurley poke around through Sawyer’s stash. Desmond pops up and summons the boys to the deep jungle where Sayid and Locke await to announce Eko’s demise.
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They are looking for Hurley and Charlie to gauge and control the crowd reaction to Eko’s ‘disappearance’. Desmond becomes agitated and before long is bolting through the jungle for the beach where he quickly jumps in and swims furiously for the deep waters. Soon he retrieves Claire and pulls her back to shore. Charlie tries to help but Desmond keeps pushing him back. Hurley confides to Charlie ‘That dude can see the future.’ And the game is on.
That night, Hurley and Charlie conspire to get Desmond drunk and find out his secret. At first he resists, but after choking Charlie out and mellowing down a bit, he agrees to tell Charlie just exactly what is going on. It is at this point that the show takes a giant step away from its usual ‘embedded flashback’ motif, and in an entirely new direction. From this point on, the episode takes place entirely in Desmond’s flash back, but how it gets there is just as important. We get a brief recap of the events leading up to the failsafe key being turned THEN we get to see what happened from his perspective. Desmond was literally thrown through time.
He awakens covered in red paint. He has apparently fallen off a ladder, Penny is there and helps him orient himself. He seems to know that he has come there from somewhere else, but he can’t quite place it. There is a beeping, familiar to that of the hatch alarm, he recalls the hatch, the logo, the timer. We can assume that he remembers everything but as the story continues, it seems as though he does not. He is preparing to go to Widmore Industries to meet with Penny’s dad. Once there a delivery guy says he has a package ‘For eight fifteen’ and another string of loose memories goes through his mind.
Cameron Widmore is a real piece of work. Desmond asks for Penny’s hand in marriage and Cameron pours a glass of whiskey and tells him he’s not worth more than that swallow. It’s a well written scene, Widmore not only turns him down, he turns him down COLD!
Outside, Charlie is performing in the street, doing a tone-deaf rhythmless version of Wonder Wall. When Desmond encounters him, he gets a rush of memory of the island. Charlie responds to him like an accosting lout.
Desmond goes to get the assistance of his University friend Donovan, who is a physics professor. Desmond believes he is living his life over, but with memory of the future. He tells Donovan some things will happen, first a surprise recovery by a soccer team (okay, foot ball…), and then a guy comes through with a cricket back and bonks the bartender in the head. None of these things happen though. Donovan convinces him to keep his mind on marrying Penny. And he does.
The next scene is a killer. Desmond goes to a jewelry story, and picks out a ring. He is going to buy it but the shop-keeper refuses, telling him he is supposed to reconsider and walk out the door. This is where the story becomes very interesting. The shopkeeper knows about his destiny. She tells him he must follow it through and go to the island or they are all dead. He is being stubborn about it so she takes him outside. While they continue to discuss his destiny, she points a man out to Desmond who is later crushed under a collapsed scaffolding. Desmond asks why she didn’t save him; she tells him that even if she did, he would still die another way… the universe has ‘Course Correction’. We get treated to learning how Desmond and Penny’s infamous marina picture got taken, and then Desmond breaks things off with Penny, realizing his destiny is on the island.
He goes to the pub and the events he predicted the previous day happen, except this time he gets hit with the cricket bat and wakes up on the island.
Back to the real time, he explains to Charlie that when all this transpired, he saw flashes of the future as well. He reveals to Charlie that he hasn’t been saving Claire all along, he’d been saving Charlie. Originally it was Charlie who was struck by lightning, and in his vision if was Charlie who dove in after Claire and drowned trying to rescue her. He tells Charlie about the universes course correction and his inevitable demise, and the episode comes to an end.