Season 3 Episode 8

Flashes Before Your Eyes

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 14, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,760 votes

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Episode Summary

A suspicious and determined Charlie enlists Hurley to help him wrestle the truth out of Desmond, who has been acting strangely ever since the implosion of the hatch.

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  • Wow Amazing - Desmond rules!

    Upfront must explain mitigating reasons for loving this ep so much, beyond the fact of it being SUPERB and OUTSTANDING in terms of the craft of drama and writing. I'm a Brit and it was lovely to see that quaint buffed up version of Londonium paraded out, yank-style. And a host of British voices. Lovely.

    Also, Henry Cusick was very familiar to me before Lost, as the actor who played Jesus, yes the one and only, in an excellently rendered version of the Gospel of John, that I have watched several times. Fortunately the character of Desmond is loving, peace abiding and warm.

    And wow, was that a flashback or flash forward? Call it a quantum flash lol as Desmonds life is pieced together for us, and he is present to the paradox of it, being a re-run.

    And Charlie is potentially doomed? I wouldnt miss him. He's too small minded, suspicious, distrustful and his 'dark side' takes over too readily. He's moody and boring.

    Hope Desmond stays!moreless
  • Possibly the greatest and most heartbreaking romance ever depicted in a TV series

    The star-crossed love between Penelope and Desmond may be the greatest and most heartbreaking romance ever depicted in a TV series!

    Flashes Before Your Eyes was feature film grade story telling.

    The love between these two truly lovable individuals overshadows even the tortured love triangle between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer.

    Cleverly integrates elements from sources as diverse as "'Somewhere in Time" "The Matrix" and Homer's "The

    The scenes between Sonia Walger and Henry Ian Cusik were masterful, and heart-rending.moreless
  • This is how you write an episode!! Awesome!! (possible spoilers)

    I absolutely loved this episode! This by far is the best episode of the season. It's a breath of fresh air!! I appreciate the fact that it's very different from the other episodes where a specific character has back stories infused with what's happening in the island. In this episode Desmond is the only story and what a story! Some parts are almost too painful to watch, especially the part where he gets hit by the bat and he wakes up on the island. You just know that he will never have the chance to return to the past again and be with the love of his life.This episode reminded me so much of "somewhere in time" and "final destination". The reveal in the end reminded me almost of "sixth sense". Though it's not the most original, i still think that the writers were able to come up with a fresh take on a used concept and made it even more interesting and mind blowing!!moreless
  • Awesome.

    Charlie and Hurley attempt to get Desmond drunk so he will explain to them how he is able to see the future. An extended flashback reveals what happened to Desmond after the implosion of the hatch. Desmond relives a day of his life with Penny before coming to the island. He finds himself on the island again with the ability to see flashes of the future, most notably Charlie's approaching death. I love the start with Charlie and Hurley going through and stealing all of Sawyer's supplies - so funny, I love them together. I lovve Desmond he is awesome plus he can kind of see the future. I love the scenes between Charlie, Hurley and Desmond - extremely funny when they are all singing I cry laughing! I love Desmond's sortyline - awesome. I also love the way he is saving Charlie and not Claire's life, which means my favourite character will soon die, badtimes!moreless
  • The exact reason i watch this.

    If you payed attention, this was a complete flash of the future back when desmond was still in england, but yet the old woman passed this power she has to him somehow when he turned the key in the hatch. Then his life flashes before his eyes..why? im afraid i dont know. watching it again right now. you can watch this episode, and still not get the full effect and meaning after 3 times! My point is that you have to put these things into perspective and ascertain them with an open clarity and mind. he didnt dump her for good, but to become that man you would be proud of like that sign said at that army place in the episode. she and he will get back together in my point of view. i havent seen an episode like this since season 2 and 1 so it is a great way to keep me watching this. To be or not to be is the question....so im asking you..... do you feel lucky??moreless
Shishir Kurup

Shishir Kurup


Guest Star

Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle


Guest Star

Jeremy Colvin

Jeremy Colvin

Delivery Man

Guest Star

Sonya Walger

Sonya Walger

Penny Widmore

Recurring Role

Alan Dale

Alan Dale

Charles Widmore

Recurring Role

Fionnula Flanagan

Fionnula Flanagan

Eloise Hawking

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (19)

    • Goof: Just after Desmond resuscitates Claire, Charlie is asking how he knew she was drowning. There is an editing mistake with Hurley's position behind Charlie. Hurley starts to walk up to Charlie, then he is back where he started and then it cuts to him standing behind Charlie again.

    • When Penny and Desmond get their picture taken, the photographer hands them one photo. Yet, everyone seems to have a copy...Desmond, Penny on her night stand and later Naomi has one in her pocket.

    • Location

      When Desmond goes to the University, the location used for the filming is the Supreme Court building of the State of Hawaii. Mainly, the rotunda area. The same rotunda was used in filming an episode of E.R. when Noah Wylie's character goes to Africa to save Luka.

    • When Desmond is being interviewed the paintings keep disappearing and reappearing from shot to shot, this has probably been mirrored because there are some paintings on the other side of the room. If he sat in a left hand seat and looked to his left that would have worked well to make it look like the word "Namaste" was painted backwards.

    • Island events on this episode take place on December 3rd 2004.

    • When we see Desmond and Locke in the hatch, just before Desmond turned the failsafe key, we hear the words "system failure" coming through the speaker whilst the numbers are changing to hieroglyphics. However, in the episode "Live Together, Die Alone" it didn't say "system failure" until after the last symbol appeared.

    • When Desmond is knocked out, and awakens with paint all over him, the paint can has the label 'Futu' on it. One is lead to believe this says 'Future' but the end of the word is covered with paint and is not visible.

    • During Desmond's interview with Mr. Widmore, there is a painting on the left with swirls of color. This painting is the exact same one created by Claire's boyfriend, Thomas, in the episode "Raised by Another." During scenes in the apartment, this painting can be seen on a shelf.

    • Goof: Desmond's tie is knotted differently in three scenes: at his house, at the reception and at Widmore's office.

    • When Desmond passes an army careers office, he stops to look at a poster for 'The Royal Scots' which has some inaccuracies proving it is not a poster that would be found in Britain. First of all, the word 'honor' is spelt 'honour' in Britain. Secondly, the small print refers to 'boot camp', which is not a phrase used in the British military.

    • When Desmond orders "A pint of your cheapest," at the pub, he is not asked for money right away and pays (with a banknote) as he is leaving. This is not common whatsoever in the UK. Banknotes also start in £5 notes ($10) - he is leaving behind a lot of change!

    • The digital clock in Desmond's apartment reads 1:08. Not only is 8 one of the numbers, but 108 is the total of all the numbers and is also the number of minutes that the hatch's Doomsday Clock counts down from.

    • The delivery man states he's delivering a parcel "for 815." His actual words were "for 8:15" The flash of the numbers being typed in are 4, 8 and 15. 815 is also the Oceanic flight number that the survivors were on.

    • Ms. Hawking, the woman who tries to prevent Desmond from buying an engagement ring and tells him about the unavoidability of destiny, curiously wears a brooch depicting an Ouroboros (a serpent/dragon swallowing its own tail and thus forming a circle). And although the one she wears does not have the usual shape of the symbol, it generally represents the ideas of cyclicality, primordial unity, or the "vicious circle."

    • We learn in this episode that Charlie's middle name is Hieronymus. "Hieronymus" Bosch was an artist whose many works often depict sin and human moral failings. This could possibly relate to the drug problem Charlie once had. Also, this name is a variation of the name Geronimo (as in Geronimo Jackson) or Jerome. Its origin is Ancient Greek, where it means "sacred name".

    • MacCutcheon was made up for the show as it is not a real brand.

    • When Desmond is showing Donovan the soccer game, there are ads for Oceanic Airlines, Apollo Candy, The Hanso Foundation, and Mr. Cluck's Chicken across the side of the field. Moreover, during the soccer game the next day, there is also an ad for Ganon Car Rentals. This company was previously shown on the back of the passengers' plane tickets. Also, a Butties Diapers ad is shown. (This is the brand of baby diapers that Driveshaft once did an ad for.)

    • During Desmond's interview with Mr. Widmore, there is a painting on one of the walls of the office. It is a painting of a polar bear amongst other things and across the top the word "NAMASTE" is painted backwards. This word plays an important part in the mythology of the Dharma Initiative, and was Dr. Marvin Candle's sign-off in the DHARMA Orientation videos.

    • The sound of the microwave in Desmond's flashback is the same sound that was made when the clock was counting down the last four minutes.

  • QUOTES (25)

    • Charlie: We need supplies we need...(Finds magazine) Shocking amounts of pornography.

    • Desmond: I'm celebrating.
      Bartender: Oh, what is the occasion?
      Desmond: I think I have made the biggest mistake of my life. (Pause) And the worst part is I'm pretty sure I have made it before.
      Bartender: That is what they call deja vu, mate.

    • Penny: Well, I say we celebrate. I say we celebrate that fate has spared you a miserable existence under the employ of Widmore Industries. Let me take you out tomorrow. Let's go for lobsters on the pier. My treat.
      Desmond: I don't think my failure to impress your father is any occasion to celebrate.

    • Desmond: Why do you love me?
      Penny: Because you're a good man. In my experience they're pretty hard to come by.

    • Penelope: How's that concussion?
      Desmond: Well, my severe head injury is a small price to pay for the pleasure of having you move into my humble... is rat trap accurate?

    • Charlie: (about Desmond) Well, whatever happened to him, we're going to have to find out what it is.
      Hurley: You do realize he's going to know your plan before you even come up with it, dude.
      Charlie: In that case, (he grabs a bottle of whiskey) we're going to have to get him really bloody drunk.

    • Desmond: All right then, let's have it. (Charlie offers him a cup) No, the bottle, brother. I mean, if you've come to drink, let's drink!

    • Charlie: This morning...I'm sorry I wasn't more grateful. Thank you for helping Claire not drown.
      Desmond: No harm done.
      Charlie: Excellent. Brought a peace offering, you know, make the truce official.
      Desmond: Thanks, but no. I've spent a wee bit too much time drunk as of late.

    • Desmond: I can't do this.
      Penny: You can't do what?
      Desmond: Us. This. This relationship.
      Penny: What are you talking about?
      Desmond: How can I? I - I can't look after you. I haven't got a job. I don't have any... I can't even afford 5 quid for a bloody photograph. You deserve someone better.
      Penny: I know what I deserve. I chose to be with you. I love you.
      Desmond: Love's not enough. Being a good man is not enough.

    • Photographer: Eh, take your photo, lovebirds?
      Desmond: No thanks, mate.
      Photographer: Come on, something to show the grandkids.
      Penelope: Oh, come on, Des, let's do it... for all those grandkids!

    • Ms. Hawking: You may not like your path, Desmond, but pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do.

    • Donovan: Penny's father berates you for not being a great man, and voila, you've dreamed a future where you push a button to save the world.
      Desmond: These things are not in my head, brother. I remember things.
      Donovan: All right, then, what happens next?
      Desmond: It doesn't work like that. I don't remember everything, just ... just bits and pieces.
      Donovan: How wonderfully convenient.

    • Desmond: How do I know you?
      Charlie: I don't, uh...
      Desmond: Where do I know you from?
      Charlie: Look, I don't know, but I'll remember if I could get some help. (We see a flashback to the island when the hatch is imploding: Desmond looks for the key, and Charlie enters. Now, back on the London street.)
      Desmond: You're Charlie.
      Charlie: Yeah, name's on the sign.
      Desmond: (slightly crazed) Who, they ... they. It, it was in the hatch. I remember seeing you. There was a ... there was a computer. There was a button. We ... we were on an island.
      Charlie: We are on an island, mate. This is England.
      Desmond: No, it was real, man. I remember!
      Charlie: Hey, all right. (to the crowd) This is why we don't do drugs.

    • Charlie: Hey I don't know what you're doing, But you'd best tell us. Oy! You think because you turned some key that makes you a hero? You're no hero, brother. I don't know how you're doing what it is you're doing, but I know a coward when I see one. (Desmond turns around and angrily tackles Charlie)
      Desmond: You don't wanna know what happened to me when I turned that key. You don't wanna know!

    • Ms. Hawking: That man over there is wearing red shoes.
      Desmond: So? What then?
      Ms. Hawking: Just thought it was a bold fashion choice worth noting.

    • (Desmond, after the hatch implodes, sees his picture, of Penny and him, lying on the ground)
      Desmond: Please, let me go back. Let me go back one more time. I'll do it right. I'll do it right this time! I'm sorry, Penny. I'll change it! I'll change it.

    • (After Ms. Hawking shows Desmond a ring)
      Desmond: It's perfect; I'll take it.
      Ms. Hawking: No, you won't. Give me the ring. Give it here.
      Desmond: I don't understand.
      Ms. Hawking: This is wrong. You don't buy the ring! You have second thoughts. You walk right out that door! So, come on, let's have it.
      Desmond: I don't know what you're on about.
      Ms. Hawking: You don't buy the ring, Desmond!
      Desmond: How do you know my name?
      Ms. Hawking: Well, I know your name as well as I know you don't ask Penny to marry you. In fact, you break her heart. Well breaking her heart, of course, is what drives you, in a few short years from now, to enter that sailing race to prove her father wrong. Which brings you to the island were you spend the next three years of your life entering numbers into the computer until you are forced to turn that fail-safe key. And, if you don't do those things, Desmond David Hume, then every single one of us is dead. So, give me that sodding ring!

    • Desmond: When I turned that key, my life flashed before my eyes. And then, I was back in the jungle, still on this bloody island. But those flashes, Charlie, those flashes didn't stop.
      Charlie: So, you're telling me you saw a flash of Claire drowning this morning? That's how you knew how to save her.
      Desmond: I wasn't saving Claire, Charlie. I was saving you. This morning you dove in after Claire. You tried to save her, but you drowned.
      Charlie: What are you talking about? I didn't drown.
      Desmond: When I saw the lightning hit the roof, you were electrocuted. And when you heard Claire was in the water, you drowned trying to save her. I dove in myself so that you never went in. I tried, brother. I've tried twice to save you, but the universe has a way of course-correcting and I can't stop it forever.

    • Charlie: I don't buy all this precognitive insanity rubbish. Look, if the bearded wonder could see the future he wouldn't have ended up here, would he?

    • Charlie: What happened?
      Locke: Eko is dead.
      Sayid: We found his body in the jungle. Buried him yesterday.
      Charlie: How did he die?
      Locke: (He and Sayid look at each other)The island killed him.
      Charlie: What do you mean the island killed him?
      Locke: You know what it means.

    • Desmond: I'm sorry. I'm sorry because . . . No matter what I try to do . . . you're gonna die, Charlie.

    • Ms. Hawking: Had I warned him about the scaffolding, tomorrow he'd be hit by a taxi. Had I warned him about the taxi, he'd fall in the shower and break his neck. The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course-correcting. That man was supposed to die; that was his path. Just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.

    • Hurley: Dude, I don't know about this.
      Charley: See ... you're looking at this all wrong. Sawyer would want us to do this.
      Hurley: He'd want us to ransack his tent and take his stash? Yeah, that sounds exactly like Sawyer.
      Charley: Well he stole all this in the first place. I mean people need food, they need medical supplies. They need ... (he picks up a stack of magazines) shocking amounts of pornography.

    • Hurley: (about Desmond) I'll tell you how he knew. That guy...he sees the future, dude.

    • Desmond: Mr. Widmore, I know I'm not--
      Mr. Widmore: What you're not, is worthy of drinking my whisky. How could you ever be worthy of my daughter?

  • NOTES (9)

    • Henry Ian Cusick and Dominic Monaghan submitted this episode for consideration on their own behalves in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" at the 2007 Emmy Awards.

    • A podcast rehash for the episode was released on February 20th, 2007. According to the producers, Desmond really did travel back in time and the events he relived occurred in 1996.

    • International Air Dates:
      Denmark: March 14, 2007 on Kanal 5
      The Netherlands: April 20, 2007 on Net 5
      Finland: October 4, 2007 on Nelonen
      The Czech Republic: October 21, 2007 on TV Nova
      Spain: Monday October 1, 2007 on FOX TV Spain
      Macedonia: Thursday November 8, 2007 on A1
      Germany: Monday December 3, 2007 on Pro7

    • Episode Title: The title for this episode once again comes from a character line, as well as the events portrayed in this episode. When Desmond turned the key in the hatch, his life literally flashed before his eyes. It is also said that just before meeting your doom, your life flashes before your eyes.

    • Even though they are credited, Michael Emerson (Ben), Matthew Fox (Jack), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet), Kiele Sanchez (Nikki), and Rodrigo Santoro (Paulo) do not appear in this episode.

    • Music featured in this episode:
      "Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLachlan
      "Wonderwall" by Oasis

    • Jukebox Song: The song playing in the jukebox is the same song Desmond used to hear when he lived in the hatch (as we previously saw in S02E01: "Man of Science, Man of Faith")
      The song is "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass Elliot.

    • This episode is unique for three reasons: there is a flashback within a flashback; the flashback sequences are not interrupted by events currently occurring on the island (a trait shared with only one other episode of the series, season 2's "The Other 48 Days"); and within the inner flashback, the character having it knows what his future will be and attempts to prevent it by changing the past.

    • A Desmond-centric episode.


    • Mrs. Hawking is a reference to Stephen Hawking a scientist well known for his work in theoretical physics and quantum gravity (which relates to "black holes").

      Time and its function has been a recurring theme on the show, and Desmond's new ability revolves on perceiving time in a new manner.

    • The Matrix Reloaded

      The scene with Desmond and Mrs. Hawking sitting on the bench and discussing improbability to change the future is a reminiscent of a similar scene in the film The Matrix Reloaded where the Oracle explains to Neo the nature of the "flashes of the future" he experiences and tries to convince him that the choice leading to that future was already made and therefore the future cannot be changed. The Oracle also offers Neo a candy, just like Mrs. Hawking offers Desmond chestnuts.

    • When Desmond is having his flashback a building collapses on a guy wearing red shoes and all you can see of him is those shoes, which is exactly how the Wicked Witch of the East dies in "The Wizard of Oz"

    • Laughter In The Dark

      Hurley can be seen reading this novel by Vladimir Nabokov. It is a story set in 1920's Berlin, and follows a middle-aged art critic Albinus, whose sexual obsession is the means of his destruction.

    • David Hume

      This episode gives us another reference to an Enlightenment philosopher in the fact that Desmond's full name is Desmond David Hume. Hume was an Empiricist philosopher of the Age of Reason, famous for his ideas of the causation of events and how connections between events cause other events to happen. This is very appropriate considering the events surrounding Desmond in this episode.