Catch-22 was a small lull in the action, the calm before the storm of the final four episodes this season. As Jack foreshadowed to Kate, "Enjoy it. I'm sure something will go wrong soon enough". Things I Noticed:
This is Future Crap, Isn't It?
We get a good glimpse at Desmond's vision this episode, and for once it appears to hold more than just another Final Destination death for Charlie. We actually see Charlie's death first, and then in a type of rewind mechanism we see flashes of events that lead up to it, all except for one: the flash that happens afterward.
The final shot of the vision shows the parachutist falling into the chute held by Hurley, Jin, and Charlie. VERY significant. This may be the first time Desmond saw something that occurred AFTER the death of Charlie. If Charlie were fated to die during the jungle trek he couldn't be around for the discovery of the parachutist. Desmond is seeing multiple outcomes or possibilities for what could happen. This goes beyond simple 'changing' the future precognition... it means that Desmond is seeing images of different possible timelines.
I'm still of the opinion that the island is trying to save Charlie rather than kill him. There's no other explanation for why the visions are specifically showing Desmond the exact time and place of Charlie's demise. Recently I've read some good theories that indicate Charlie may already be dead (from Ethan), or should've been dead, which makes his presence on the island all the more intriguing. I'm thinking Charlie yet has a part to play in the grand scheme of things or he'd be buried in the sand by now.
Well we finally know why Desmond calls everyone 'brotha'. The first brotha to come out of his mouth was hilarious, too. "Thank you...brotha?" Totally cool.
Jack's a Red Shirt?
Slapping a red shirt on Jack might've given the writers a few good laughs at our expense as the infamous Star Trek reference would have him slated to die next. I'm pretty sure he won't, but the shirt still has meaning. Jack has changed.
Gone is the old, worried, always on edge Jack. Post-captivity Jack is casually cooking dinner and playing ping-pong. When Desmond asks for the first-aid kit Jack totally suspects something is up, especially after his lame ankle-twist story (mirroring Jack twisting his ankle the first time they met at the stadium). But you know what? Jack really doesn't care. Since seeing Kate & Sawyer carry on without him, Jack has shed a lot of the initial responsibilities he assumed during the first two seasons. His shirt is a reflection of a change in character. I just find it amazing he found another sleeveless one.
Kate is a Spoon-Licking Flirt
I think fans of team 'Skate' took a big blow this week, watching her fawn over Jack like a forlorn schoolgirl. After rejecting Sawyer and semi-confronting Jack to feel out any trace of emotion for her, Kate's jealousy toward Juliet drives her into Sawyer's arms for a scorned hump. This bodes well for Sawyer's sex life, but not for the future relationship between them. Kate crying as she kissed him made the sex very meaningless. And by making the sex meaningless it definitely cheapened, at least in my eyes, the feelings Kate and Sawyer might've developed toward each other during captivity.
It took courage for Sawyer to approach Kate about telling Jack what happened, and he seemed relieved that it was already done for him. The mix tape thing was more of the new sweet Sawyer. It was fun (yet a little awkward) to watch him confront Jack over ping-pong, "At least I can beat you at something" but Jack's indifference took away much of his steam "I wouldn't be too proud if I were you", which was basically slapping Sawyer in the face with the fact that Jack wasn't even trying. The ping-pong game, of course, being a metaphor for Kate.
Hopefully we saw a major regression in Sawyer this week. You have to give him credit for knowing the deal, and for confronting Kate with the fact that last night's sex was only an outlet for her frustrations over Jack. His con-man instincts served him well here. Maybe this marks the beginning of the more cynical 'old' Sawyer again.
If I Tell You That... It'll Change The Picture On The Box
Desmond's revelation included a flash of the photo of him and Penny. That coupled with her words on 'finding him' somehow convinced him that Penny would arrive on the island. Knowing that any change in the way things happened would alter the final outcome, Desmond makes the choice to sacrifice Charlie's life. He attempts to rationalize this because by his reasoning, Charlie's already dead anyway.
Sometimes the parallels to a character's flashback are more obscure, but this week they were blatantly obvious. Desmond's challenge of intent was passed. He became a monk, even if only for a little while. He learned of Abraham and Issac, of sacrifice, and of being tested against faith.
On the island, Desmond believes his faith is being tested. In his eyes the visions are convincing him that Charlie should be dead, and by finally allowing that event to happen he would be remaining loyal to the path of fate. But just as he does with the monastery, Desmond follows his own path. Once again he saves Charlie, thwarting fate, and convincing himself that he's 'failed the test'.
I think Desmond's wrong on that, and that just the opposite is true. Charlie's words: "Well I guess it's supposed to happen without me". Nope. It's supposed to happen WITH you. Just look at the final vision, where Charlie is helping with the parachute. That was the one flash showing Desmond the true path - that he needed to save Charlie, not allow him to be killed.
Jack Needs Some New Pickup Lines
"You a doctor or a carpenter?" Lame.
Superman Would So Totally Beat The Flash in A Race
Speaking of the Flash, there was a flash over Hurley's left shoulder shortly before the arrow trap. This was time being changed. This was the moment that Desmond decided in favor of Charlie's life. He looks for and sees the trap before it happens, giving him time to tackle and save Charlie once again. That flash represents the timeline skewing off in a different direction, another (alternate?) tangent - all at the complete mercy of Desmond.
Once again this defies what the old woman told him about not being able to change fate. Desmond doesn't give a crap, he keeps kicking fate in the ass. And if he kicks it long enough, maybe Charlie will get to fulfill whatever destiny the island has in store for him. And I'm thinking that will REALLY change the master plan.
The Island Sweats
Once again the rain foreshadows danger or an impending encounter. My opinion? It's a byproduct of the island acting out or manifesting something. It's not so much a cause as it is an effect.
Born To Run
Desmond bolting a week before his impending wedding makes Kate's flight issues look like preschool. Failing a six-year relationship Desmond was a monk, a soldier, an inmate, Penny's boyfriend, and then went sailing around the world... and these are just the things we know about.
Wherever he goes, Desmond can't fit. Yet everywhere he goes seems necessary. "A step along a path", he puts it. The monk uses the phrase "ultimate goal". There's a clock behind Ruth as he speaks to her, forever urging him on. He tries to explain, but Desmond doesn't even understand it himself. Whatever he's doing, wherever he is, it's time to keep moving. Desmond believes he's running away from these things, but the monk puts it in perspective for him "You've spent too much time running away to realize what you may be running to". All of Desmond's running leads to the island, where his ultimate goal may be realized. Pushing the button (or NOT pushing it) and turning the DHARMA key were other stepping stones along this path.
Over and over again, there's been a recurring theme to Desmond's character. That theme is rebirth. His words to Ruth were familiar echos of his naked appearance in the jungle at the start of this season: "I was lying on my back in the street and I didn't know how I got there". He then goes on to say "There was this man standing over me. I knew I was supposed to go with him". Could an identical scene have happened again after the hatch implosion? Was there a man standing before Desmond... perhaps even Jacob himself? Remember that Desmond was running full tilt through the jungle, and he looked scared out of his mind. Maybe once again he was running away from someone. This went through my mind as I watched this scene.
In any event, Desmond is reborn each time. Reborn as a monk, reborn into his life with Penny, twice reborn on the island - once with Kelvin, once after the hatch imploded. "See you in another life" starts to make some sense now.
Fun With Photoshop
The camera (overly conspicuously) lingered upon the monk's desk as Desmond turned in his robes, showing us a photo of him alongside the old woman from the antique shop. Not only that, but they sure looked very cut/pasted into the whole monastery background. If she's one of those 'watchers' I mentioned, she needs to use the blending tool.
But forget her. The BIG revelation this week was the other photo - the one in the backpack Desmond pulled out of the tree. Here we have an unfolded version of the same photo Desmond owns. The big problem with that? We know that photo was a one-shot deal. It was an instant photo - we watched it taken ourselves. Outside the scope of Penny scanning it in to reprint it, there cannot be two of them. This hints strongly at some type of timeline 'problem', which has always been a subtle thread woven into the storylines of LOST.
You Can't Eject From a Helicopter
Very true. You can't even bail out. Yet there's the parachutist, falling into LOST - eerily similar to when I was a kid watching TV and a parachutist fell into the Land of The Lost. Awesome, awesome show.
I'm not sure whether the woman in the jumpsuit was meant to be Penny or not. One could argue that pre-flash it was, but post-flash the 'picture on the box' was changed. Desmond seemed pretty sure of it: "Earlier I hoped it, now I know it"... at least up until he saved Charlie. That was the catch-22. Desmond was screwed if he messed with what he thought to be the proper sequence of events, but he was morally screwed if he didn't.
I won't speculate as to who that woman turns out to be, because I'll probably be wrong. Can't wait for next week.