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Lost: Season 3 - Flashes Before Your Eyes (Review)

Lost: Season 3, Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond l © 2007 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the episode entitled Flashes Before Your Eyes from the third season of Lost.

What’s the story? When Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) rescues Claire (Emilie de Ravin) from drowning, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) attempts to find out why he seems able to predict the future. Desmond subsequently reveals what took place in the moments after he turns the key to the hatch [at the end of season 2].

Why so good? Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, Flashes Before Your Eyes came along and pulled the rug right out from under you…

It wasn’t one of the best episodes and lacked the excitement of its predecessor, Not In Portland, but it was a prime example of the show’s consistent ability to leave your head in a spin.

Digging a little deeper: Every time you think you get a little closer to cracking the secrets of Lost, something happens to make them appear further away than ever.

After the first season, many viewers were convinced that the island dwellers were in some form of purgatory. But the events of season 2 suggested otherwise and even hinted at wider, even global, ramifications.

Season 3, meanwhile, confirmed that events on the island do have some bearing on the rest of the world. But the episode entitled Flashes Before Your Eyes took it yet another step further.

The episode raised the possibility of time travel, destiny and fate using Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) as the lynchpin.

Having been forced by Charlie to reveal what happened after he turned the key to the hatch, the majority of the ensuing episode took the form of a flashback as Desmond recalled how he’d experienced a strange vision of his life prior to his Army days.

The vision in question took him [and viewers] to England in the days prior to him asking his fiance, Penny Widmore (Sonya Walger), to marry him.

Far from being able to do so, he was informed by a mysterious lady, Ms Hawking (played by Fionnula Flanagan), that he wouldn’t go through with the proposal – and that his life was destined to end up on the island where the fate of the world rested in his hands.

To complicate matters still further, he already knew of the island and was able to predict the future – referencing an evening in a pub where a televised football match had an unexpected resolution and the barman was assaulted.

Needless to say, every prediction came true and there were numerous references to deja vu. But what, exactly, did it all mean?

Is Desmond a time-traveller? Or were his “visions” the result of concussion? Have the writers given viewers another banana skin to slip up on?

Or are they finding new ways to drag out proceedings by hinting at an altogether different secret?

Desmond isn’t the first character to become involved in the mysticism surrounding the island. Series regular, Locke (Terry O’Quinn), believes in its power, while the fate of the late Mr Eko was intrinsically linked to it.

But Desmond’s involvement seems to be on a much wider scale and his revelation at the end of the episode – that it wasn’t Claire but Charlie he was trying to save – came as a real bolt out of the blue.

For if, as Ms Hawking suggested, Desmond is only able to stall what’s been pre-destined, then Charlie’s life hangs precariously in the balance.

But then was Desmond’s flashback real or imagined? The result of his “ability” to see into the future?

Once again, the creative forces behind Lost have left us with plenty to ponder…

what do you think?

  1. I’m sorry but were you watching the same episode that the rest of us were watching?

    “It wasn’t one of the best episodes and lacked the excitement of its predecessor, Not In Portland,” ?? I’m confused more than Des was when he met up with Charlie busking on the street.

    The most exciting thing about NIP was when Juliet’s husband was hit by the bus and Pickett got shot. Desmond was going from the rescue of Claire, the fight with Charlie on the beach, the fall with the paint cans, the meeting with Charlie on the street, the guy with the red shoes getting killed, Desmond getting whacked in the head with the cricket bat and finally to his telling Charlie he’s going to die no matter what he does. That sounds a LOT more exciting than NIP to me!

    But I am happy that you liked it. Henry Ian Cusick did an amazing job (as he always does with Desmond) and it’s really a great way to help start the final 16 eppys of S03.

    jbdean    Feb 21    #