"Lost: Flashes Before Your Eyes" - Mania.com

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  • Episode: Flashes Before Your Eyes
  • Stars: Jorge Garcia, Henry Ian Cusick, Dominic Monaghan
  • Directed By: Jack Bender
  • Created By: JJ Abrams

"Lost: Flashes Before Your Eyes"

By STEPHEN LACKEY     February 17, 2007

Lost Screen Cap

In the good seasons of LOST there were two types of episodes, the fast past high action sort, and the complex mind numbing episodes.  Last week’s episode and now this week's are a real return to form for the series.  First, we get fast paced and action packed, along with a solid flashback, and now we get a fascinating and cerebral episode. 

This was a Desmond specific story that’s been a long time coming.  It actually answers a question; “what happened to Desmond when the hatch exploded?”  Charlie’s jealousy and Hurley’s curiosity compel them to get Desmond drunk and interrogate him.  They’ve decided that he can tell the future so they hope that getting him drunk will dull his abilities so he won’t know what’s coming until they’re ready for him.  The assumption that he can tell the future is a reasonable one because he did build a lightening rod outside of Claire’s hut just before a lightening bolt strikes and in this episode, he saves her from drowning when nobody else has realized that she’s even in the ocean.  Oh and he prophesized a speech from Locke about saving the kidnapped members of their group, which came true, even if we never saw him follow through with an actual rescue attempt during the first half of this season. 

So, they drink, they sing, and Charlie pulls a Jekyll and Hyde and suddenly switches gears bad cop interrogation mode.  After taunting Desmond and nearly getting himself strangled, Charlie does get Desmond’s flashback going.   

First off we see Desmond switching the key again, which let’s us know this isn’t your average flashback, and then he appears in his loft lying on the floor covered in red paint.  His girlfriend, someone we haven’t seen in way too long, appears asking if he is ok.  She has just moved in and apparently Desmond is upgrading his place with a spicy new paint job.  Immediately Desmond begins seeing flashes of his life on the island.  He tries to ignore it, even though he quickly realizes that he’s re-living these days again but many things are different this go around.  He sees people from the island, and while he does predict the weather, he fails to predict the end of a soccer game and repercussions in the bar where he’s drinking with a friend.  Desmond meets with his wife’s father in order to get his permission to marry his daughter.  The meeting doesn’t go well, to say the least,but Desmond apprehensively continues forward with his plans to marry his girl. 

The episode gets truly bizarre when he picks out an engagement ring and the clerk behind the counter refuses to sell it to him.  She tells him that he’s not supposed to buy the ring, that he’s supposed to change his mind, leave the shop, and break his girlfriend’s heart.  She also tells him that if he doesn’t do this, everyone will die. 

The idea of time travel has been approached in countless science fiction books, movies, and television, and while the approach here isn’t completely unique, the effects it has on Desmond and the island are fascinating.  The jewelry store clerk offers Desmond a quite brutal example of how the actions of time can’t be changed; only delayed.  When a man dies in the street, she tells Desmond that if she had saved him that he’d die some other way the next day. 

Once Desmond accepts his fate and ditches his girl Penny, all the things he predicted that misfired before started falling into line.  The soccer game ended as he knew it would and when a man came into the bar to beat down the bartend ant Desmond stepped in the way and took the pounding which sent him through all the events on the island leading right back to where he was on the beach after getting drunk with Charlie and Hurley. 

Charlie presses Desmond for answers and that’s when we got a big plot twist.  He in fact hadn’t been saving Claire, he had been saving Charlie.  He knows that Charlie will die, but he’s been working to delay it as long as he can stepping in to save Claire where if Charlie had made the attempt he would have been killed, once by the lightening and again by drowning.  As I said, this idea of not being able to stop death is familiar, you could even maybe call it a little Final Destination-ish, minus the time travel, but the effect on the characters, and especially Charlie is pretty intriguing.  You want hints at how the series will end, well Charlie will eventually die and Desmond will play an important part in the saving of the world, which could be attached to the climax of the series.  So, the series isn’t just about castaways getting off this bizarre island, it’s also about saving the world!  I’ve already been seeing folks chatting about Desmond’s ability to see the future, but what if he doesn’t have this ability at all?  What if he’s just already lived all the way to the end of the series and the events that lead up to it are coming to him in flashes?  Desmond was a character I never cared about when he first appeared, but like Juliet; one episode makes him one of my favorites to watch. 

Now, back on the island there was one clunker of a scene.  I actually forgot that not everyone yet knows that Mr. Ecko was beat down by the smoke monster.  Locke and Sayid want Hurley and Charlie in line with them when they tell the rest of the group what happened in order to boost morale.  This scene was just dumb, and maybe just a reason to get a few more characters some screen time.  It is over quick though and we get back to the meat of the episode. 

This episode has everything die hard LOST fans expect, riveting plot twists, foreshadowing, and as many questions as answers.  During Desmond’s “flashback” there are a ton of nods that cue Desmond’s flashes of the island, some obvious and a few not as much, fun stuff for LOST fans to analyze.  I’m really starting to feel like LOST has found its stride once again pushing it back closer to the top of my must see TV list right behind Battlestar Galactica.


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DarkJedi_home 2/17/2007 12:12:42 AM
There is no doubt about it, Stephen. Last week's Desmond focus episode reminded me why this show sucked me into its mysterious vortex in the first place. The week before on Juliet was of course good but last week's was even better. I'd have to rate it as one of the best in the last two seasons. Irony was halfway through I was questioning whether they were going to go from Desmond's backstory back to the island or if we were going to see any more of the beach islanders. I said it aloud and thought it was a negative. However, by the end of the show, I was greatly invested into the storyline. The ending quote from Desmond had me laughing and had me appreciating the show much like I was in the beginning of the series(season 1). This is the quandry with understanding "Lost". I admit to being peeved at the writers focusing solely on the Kate-Jack-Sawyer love triangle as I wrote it in our Lost Forum here at Mania.com. I also get a little tired lately of Kate crying every single week this current season. The quandry is that the writers seem to get in a stalemate over the "holy trinity"(as we call them) and yet those same writers perform so excellent on additional characters like Desmond, Juliet, Locke, Jin & Hurley. Lindeoff and Co. give us such wonderfully written episodes like the last two weeks after the initial beginning of the season where there was 7 straight episodes focused on the holy trinity having the fanbase questioning the direction of their favorite show. There needs to be a happy medium between the other characters and the main "3" characters where the writers do not lose their focus and do not get bogged down in just one storyline(focusing on a love triangle). If the writers continue shows such well written as "Not in Portland" and "Flashes Before Your Eyes", then ABC and the executive producers of Lost have absolutely nothing to fear. The fanbase will not abandon it and the great writing /acting will offset the occasional "miss" every few episodes that crawl under the skin of that same fanbase. I'd give "Flashes Before Your Eyes" an A too. It was very well acted and even more well written.
miko34 2/17/2007 5:30:30 AM
I think this episode was the best episode of the season. This really opened up questions on time and space... I just didn't like the "others" area that much from the first 6-7 episodes (it's a zoo...great). They spent too much time in it and nothing really happens to progress the story (though the Clockwork Orange homage from last week was pretty cool). Ratings weren't great this week. Too bad for anyone who missed this one. I still don't know why people prefer to watch reality shows over drama. I can watch reality outside... TV is supposed to escape reality. I just hope Lost doesn't succumb to Invasion or Surface's fate.
VerbalKent 2/17/2007 10:37:51 AM
Speaking of questions about space and time, check out what happens when you view last week's brain-washing scene backwards: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z7swZaOWO3c
kaybar 2/17/2007 11:29:41 AM
you have to be sh*tting me verbalkent, you think that's actually in the episode and someone didn't just add on the track? I'll need to play it on abc.com now to see if that track is actually in there. If it is real, my god i didn't think that scene could get any crazier. I definitely did enjoy this episode although many might consider it "filler". The fact that they were able to explain Desmond's story, add to the mysteriousness of it, and keep it all credible is mind-boggling. Great touch at the end connecting charlie's fate to desmond's war against stopping the very acts of time (I immediately thought of charlie hanging from the tree in season 1). And the sequence in this episode of desmond meeting the father-in-law... pure gold.
bherstig 2/17/2007 1:23:10 PM
kaybar and Merlin - it is real and was from the original audio from the episode. Which just goes to why this show (and Battlestar - I agree with the reviewer) are the BEST shows on television. (Before someone flames me, I like Heroes also - but it has a ways to go - in longevisty and consistent story telling - before it matches up with these two.) Lost is a cool show you can drop in on. It's an incredible storytelling device you can look for intricate connections within. And, on a deeper level than all of that, it is a carefully thought out, nuanced, and complexly layered animal. If you have not been over to the Fuselage and been involved in the Whispers thread or the discussion on the potential purpose of what the red flowers on the island are or the possibility that there are children hidden in every jungle scene with masks and goggles on, you are missing half of the show. Even on its worst day (which this was NOT), Lost is better written, acted, and directed than 90% of the other stuff on TV.
kaybar 2/17/2007 2:05:42 PM
agreed bherstig
jppintar326 2/17/2007 4:55:38 PM
I haven't watched Lost since the dreadful season premiere. I heard this episode got the lowest numbers of the show's history. Unfortunately, when a show starts to lose viewers, chances are they have lost them permanently. I may give this show another shot, but I think they should stick to the core characters, not to the Others or anybody who was in the tail section (are any of them still alive?). The Others were annoying and the tail section people were boring. Let's see if the writers can regain those viewers like me.
jon41380 2/17/2007 7:56:12 PM
If you thought the season premiere of Lost was dreadful, then don't bother watching anymore. Stick with American Idol...
theCOLLECTOR 2/17/2007 9:10:35 PM
You know what is hilarious?! That Lost will be cancelled by the end of this season. Wanna know what else? That Lost only had 12.8 million viewers with the last episode. So obviously, the show is not up to par. The audience is turning away. Lost is.......well....lost. I never liked the show, and I said from the beginning that the writers have no clue what they are doing. Don't believe me? the Writers and Creators go on Yahoo!Answers and ask the users what they thought the mysterious monster is. They obviously have no clue what it is and want to get ideas from viewers and then take credit for it. That is wrong. Lost is dying, and it will be gone soon.....thank goodness. Now maybe we can get some good programmin on. Back to BG and heroes for me. I was joking on Heroes.
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Lost: Writers doing better.

by theolddarkjedi
Grade: A
There is no doubt about it, Stephen.

Last week's Desmond focus...