SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched last night’s Lost yet, go and do it now… lest you change the future!
To those of us who hold Charlie as our least favorite major Lost character, last night’s episode presents a conundrum. On the one hand, seeing him take an arrow in the throat in Desmond’s vision, only to be saved again, was something of a letdown. On the other hand, the possibility this presents–seeing Charlie killed over and over and over again–is tempting. Maybe he could die in every episode. They killed Charlie! You bastards!
I could have done without 90% of the flashback last night, though, I will admit, when Des met Penny for the first time, I was all, awwwww! (Whereas the Jack-Sawyer-Kate-Juliet love quadrangle is getting perilously close to a Tivo fast-forward moment for me. Though I did love Sawyer’s line after getting shot down for some afternoon delight: “You need me to make you a mix tape?”)
But I am enough of a geek that I get a charge from the alternative-world-spinning possibilities of Desmond’s premonitions and his ability (or lack thereof) to change them. Last night, for instance: Desmond saved Charlie from eating Rousseau ammo, and thus changed his vision. Or did he? Was there an alternate universe in which Penny parachuted onto the island? Did he change her through his actions into another woman?
I doubt it. We never quite got a sense in his flashes that it was actually Penny in the tree. The backpack that the expedition discovered–before Desmond saved Charlie–contained a Joseph Heller book titled “Ardil-22”; that is, Catch-22 in Portuguese. We know from the last season finale that Penny had people working for her searching for Desmond, and that they spoke Portuguese; it would make sense that she would send one of her crew on a reconaissance mission. (Speaking of which: the sat phone is broken! Of course the sat phone is broken!) Which suggests that Desmond can change elements of his visions without changing their outcomes altogether. Or I think it does. This time-warp business makes my head hurt.
Of course, that suggests a horrible possibility: that Des may ultimately be able to save Charlie after all. And even that–contra his reading of the Abraham and Isaac parable–God, moving in mysterious ways, intends Desmond to. Perhaps his saving Charlie even made possible their recovery of the parachutist, thus getting the gang closer to rescue.
Then again, this could all be moving to a situation in which Charlie learns that he must sacrifice himself in order to make a vision of rescue come true. Will Charlie have to die to be saved? It would be quite the Ardil-22.