(S03E17) Poor Desmond. I know that everyone on the island has a sob story, but Desmond is easily the most tragic Lost character. He continues to test himself and seems to be desperate for a sign that he is doing the right thing. Henry Ian Cusick delivered another brilliant performance, proving that he deserves all the screen time that he can get.
The newest piece of Desmond's back story answered a lot of questions about his past behavior. I have always wondered what kept Desmond in the hatch all of those years (besides fear). His preoccupation with purpose, sacrifice, and tests began in a monastery.
It was pretty brutal of Desmond to bail on his six-year relationship with Ruth (a week before the wedding, no less) without telling her where he was going. Greater calling aside, he had that punch coming to him. Desmond is developing a pattern of testing himself in intense ways. As he was explaining his feelings to Ruth, a lot of his statements still apply now. Desmond's gift forces him to put his own desires second to the welfare of others (saving Charlie this week, even if it meant losing Penny). He also sacrificed his relationship with Penny in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" by allowing a sequence of events to occur in the same way.
Desmond has had a tough life so far, and I hope for his sake that his sacrifices are rewarded. Brother Campbell (was that the head monk's name?) kept stressing the value of sacrifice to Desmond, and his efforts have to add up to more than just saving Charlie. Even getting "fired" by the monastery had its benefits. Desmond met Penny for the first time as she came to collect cases of the Moriah Vineyards wine for her father. The man loves rare alcoholic beverages, doesn't he?
The great Sawyer-Kate-Jack love triangle has become a square, thanks to Juliet. Jack has to be the worst judge of character in the world. I was actually a little embarrassed for Kate as she engaged in dorky flirting over oatmeal with Jack. After being fairly cold to Kate, he ran off to dine with Juliet, and Kate had to "settle" for sex with Sawyer. Island living is brutal, isn't it? I love that Sawyer has become so desperate that he overlooked being second-best in Kate's eyes. He even stole Bernard's "Best of Phil Collins" tape for her!
At this point, I'm not that concerned with Juliet's role in the romantic tension on the island. If the Others show up in a week as Ben promised, Juliet's loyalties will be exposed eventually. There's no way that this relationship can last.
I would have gladly traded the entire beach romance subplot for more all-male camping scenes. Desmond was convinced that someone was coming to the island, and he was willing to sacrifice Charlie to make it happen. It's interesting that most of the crash survivors avoid the weekly jungle missions, but once Hurley called it camping everyone was on board.
We didn't get a Driveshaft sing-along, but we did get a Korean ghost story. The male bonding was cut short by the sound of the helicopter and its passenger. Was the splash in the ocean an indication that the helicopter crashed, or did it drop something into the water? It seems like a helicopter crashing into the ocean would make more noise, but what do I know? Someone also parachuted into the jungle, but Charlie had to ignore Desmond's hints and wait until daylight to check it out. Charlie really did not make the test easy for Desmond. No wonder Desmond was so conflicted.
I'd like to think that Desmond passed the ultimate test of putting someone else's life over his own happiness. When he saved Charlie from a brutal death (seriously, how awesome was that death scene?), he still thought the mysterious person was Penny. Desmond spent the majority of the episode agonizing over his vision, and I think he made the right choice by saving Charlie.
The mystery woman turned out to be Marsha Thomason, whose character is apparently named Naomi. Naomi knew Desmond by sight, and carried a photo of Desmond and Penny in a Portugese copy of Catch-22. Since the two men who detected the island's electromagnetic anomaly in "Live Together, Die Alone" were Portuguese, I have to believe that Naomi is working for Penny, too.
Sawyer was in rare form tonight. His references to afternoon delight and mix tapes convinced me that he has the emotional maturity of a teenager. But I loved that he called the Others "perverts" when he found out about the Hydra cage-cam. The best line had to be when he asked Juliet and Jack, "Arguing over who's your favorite Other?"
Was Hurley's reference to the Chupacabra a shout-out to Season One theories about the monster?
The campers had better bring that satellite phone back to the beach so Sayid can work his magic.
Did you catch the photo of Mrs. Hawking in the monk's office?
Desmond's episodes are always a little depressing, but he's still one of my favorite characters. Besides Ben and Juliet, he's one of the only characters whose flashbacks I really want to see. All in all, I would give this episode a 6 out of 7. See you next week for "D.O.C."!