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Flashes Before Your Eyes
Season 3
Episode 8
Air Date February 14, 2007
Writer(s) Damon Lindelof
Drew Goddard
Director Jack Bender
Flashback Desmond Hume

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Prev: Not in Portland
Next: Stranger in a Strange Land

After drinking with Charlie and Hurley, what happened to Desmond after he turned the fail-safe key inside the hatch is finally revealed.


Charlie and Hurley are ransacking Sawyer's stash of hidden goods when Desmond approaches and asks them to come with him. The trio head off into the jungle where they meet Locke and Sayid. Locke informs them that Eko has been killed and that they need Charlie and Hurley to remain calm as an example to the others when they break the news. Charlie wants to know how Eko died; when Locke says the island killed him, he grows angry and demands a better answer. Suddenly, Desmond sprints off; the other four follow him. He runs down to the beach, dives in, swims out and rescues Claire. Charlie wonders aloud how Desmond knew Claire was drowning; Hurley tells him that Desmond can see the future.

Claire thanks Desmond for saving her life. Charlie hatches a plan to get Desmond to explain his precognitive ability: they'll get him drunk. The pair offer him some alcohol as a truce offering, but Desmond declines, saying he's spent far too much time drunk already. However, he changes his mind when he sees the brand of whiskey: McCutcheon 60. Later, after several drinks and cheerful songs, Charlie inquires about Desmond's ability, but Desmond excuses himself. Charlie calls him a coward; Desmond turns and tackles him, shouting that Charlie doesn't want to know what Desmond has seen.

A flashback begins back in the hatch, when Locke destroyed the computer. Desmond crawls to the failsafe switch, turns the key, and suddenly finds himself sprawled on the floor of his old apartment in a pool of what appears to be blood, but is revealed to be a puddle of red paint. Penelope appears and asks if he's alright; when he asks what just happened, she tells him that he mixed ladders, painting and alcohol. Desmond kisses Penelope.

Later, Desmond is dressing for an interview with Penelope's father. The beeping of the microwave is reminiscent of the warning timer in the hatch, and Desmond appears confused. As he arrives for the interview, he overhears a deliveryman mention the time 8:15 and remembers the numbers in the hatch. During the interview, Mr. Widmore tells him that he can work in Administration. Desmond demurs, saying he didn't come for a job; he came to ask for Penelope's hand in marriage. Widmore gets a bottle of McCutcheon 60 whiskey and two glasses, then pours only a tiny amount in one glass. He says that this one swallow is worth more than Desmond makes in a month. He gulps it down, then tells his prospective son-in-law that he's not worthy of his whiskey, and certainly not his daughter.

Desmond storms outside and meets Charlie, playing Oasis' song "Wonderwall" on the corner for change. He confronts him, asking how he knows him; Charlie shrugs him off, laughingly telling the crowd that Desmond's why you shouldn't do drugs. Desmond is suddenly certain that he's not only met Charlie back on the island, he's been snubbed by Widmore before. He tries to explain that immediately after leaving the building the first time it began to rain...and suddenly, it begins to rain.

Desmond, now convinced that he is living his life over for a second time, hunts down an old friend named Donovan, a physics teacher. The pair discuss time travel in a pub. Desmond notices a soccer match on the television, and says he remembers this night: the team that's behind is about to score the first of two goals that will earn them the win, and Jimmy Lennon will burst in with a cricket bat and attack the bartender over a gambling debt. Donovan waits patiently; the goal does not materialize, nor does a man with a bat.

Desmond goes shopping for a engagement ring for Penelope. The shopkeeper, an elderly woman, shows him a modestly-priced ring. When he says he'll take it, she demands the ring back, telling him that he can't marry Penelope, he's supposed to lose his nerve, sail around the world, end up on the island and push the button in the hatch. She goes outside with Desmond, where she points out a man in red shoes. Desmond tells her that he believes she is his subconscious. Minutes later, a scaffolding collapses and the man in red shoes is killed. Desmond asks her why she didn't warn him; she tells him the universe has course correction; if she prevented this accident, he'd simply die some other way. Desmond, unconvinced, leaves to propose to Penelope.

The couple are going to lunch and stop to get their picture taken. Desmond suddenly changes his mind; not only can he not support his girlfriend, he doesn't have five quid for the photograph. He tells her she deserves better; Penelope angrily tells him not to hide behind excuses and to simply admit he's a coward. He says they're not supposed to be together. Penelope walks away, hurt, and Desmond throws the ring into the River Thames.

Desmond returns to the pub. He notices a bottle of McCutcheon 60 on the shelf, but asks for a pint of their cheapest to celebrate the biggest mistake of his life, which he says he's pretty sure he's made twice now. He suddenly notices the soccer match on the television; a team has just scored a goal. Desmond realizes he was remembering the past, he was just a day off, and says aloud that there's still time to fix the problem. Suddenly Jimmy Lennon enters with a bat, swings at the bartender, misses and hits Desmond.

Desmond awakens back on the island, naked. He finds a photograph of him and Penelope, then begs for one more chance to fix his error. In quick snippets, his actions between the destruction of the hatch and his fight with Charlie are shown. Hurley pulls him off Charlie; Desmond falls to his hands and knees, sobbing. Charlie then helps Desmond to his tent and demands the truth, one last time.

Desmond tells Charlie that he saw his own life flash before his eyes, then found himself back in the jungle. But he's still been seeing the flashes. First, he saw Charlie electrocuted by a lightning bolt; then he saw Charlie drown while trying to save Claire. Desmond tells Charlie that he's prevented his death twice now, but no matter how hard he tries, eventually, Charlie will die.

Memorable QuotesEdit

"That guy... he sees the future, dude."

- Hurley

"This is why we don't do drugs."

- Charlie (referring to Desmond's flashback realization that they'd met before)

"You're a good man, Charlie. I'm sorry I tried to strangle ya."

- Desmond

"No matter what I try to do... you're gonna die, Charlie."

- Desmond

Background InformationEdit

Dramatis PersonaeEdit

Guest StarringEdit



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