We finally get to see Desmond. Desmond has always been deeply connected to the island. We never quite understood why, but knew that he was special. He had a connection long before he was ever “brought” there.
This episode starts out with Desmond waking from sleep to see Zoe at his bedside. He still thinks that he’s in the hospital recovering from the gun shot wound inflicted by Ben. Widmore is in the room waiting and tells Desmond that he’s not to worry about Penny and his son. He assures him that they are both safe. He then drops a bombshell by telling Desmond that he is back on the island. This enrages Desmond and he attacks him. Desmond is restrained and Widmore tells him that the island is not done with him yet. He tells Zoe that they need to start the test now.
We see two large buildings connected with overly large wires. Once inside, we find that the larger of the two is a generator and the smaller is the “machine”. They try to start the generator, but it fails. One of Widmore’s lackeys enters the “machine” to check the connections. A broken connection is found inside the generator and repaired. Once repaired, the generator starts. But, the lackey is still inside the “machine”. We hear a large sound and see a blinding light. Then we hear those in the generator room screaming to turn it off. Once all is off, we see that the man who was in the “machine’ is now dead.
Widmore orders Desmond to be taken to the machine and strapped to a chair. Widmore tells Desmond that when they are done he will be asked to make a sacrifice and if he doesn’t, everyone and everything will be gone forever. He tells him that his talent is vital to the process. The door is closed and the machine is turned on. Again, we hear the noise and see the blinding light. When Widmore is asked why he is doing this, he explains that Desmond is the only man who has ever survived an electro magnetic charge.
We are then taken to Desmond’s flash sideways. We see him at the airport arriving back from Sydney where he was on a business trip. He is picked up by George (the limo driver) and taken to his boss. We find that Desmond is rich and the right-hand man of a very influential businessman. We also find out that he has never even met Penny. Who is this businessman? Charles Widmore.
While in Widmore’s office, after Widmore pours on the praise for a job well done, he gives Desmond a very seemingly inconsequential job; to baby sit the lead guitarist of a rock band called Drive Shaft. Widmore’s wife is throwing a banquet and this band must play along side their son. The guitarist has been jailed for drug possession and Desmond must make sure that he appears at the banquet in time to play. Desmond picks up the guitarist at the jail. (Ok. We all know who the guitarist is. Charlie.) Charlie leads Desmond in to a bar across the street from the jail and starts telling him about what happened on the flight from Sydney. He tells him about almost dying and “seeing” a woman that he knew he loved. He wants to know if Desmond has ever “felt it”. This leaves Desmond thinking that Charlie is crazy. He gets Charlie in the car and as they come close to the marina, Charlie grabs the wheel and yanks. The car lands in the water and quickly sinks. Desmond climbs out of his open window and swims to the passenger side to try and save Charlie. While he’s trying to get the door open, he sees a memory flash. He sees Charlie in the underwater Darma station drowning. Charlie holds his hand up to the window and written on his palm is “Not Penny’s Boat”. This is how Charlie died on the island. Desmond is back in the present and pulls Charlie to safety.
Then we see Desmond at the hospital. The doctor wants to have an MRI done before releasing him. During the MRI, Desmond has more flashes. He sees flashes of his life with Penny. He sees his son being born. This freaks him out and he is promptly removed from the MRI machine. He sets out to find Charlie. During the search for Charlie, he asks a doctor for help (Jack, of course). He finally finds Charlie running down the hallway and gives chase. Once Charlie is cornered, Desmond wants to know what is happening and who Penny is. Charlie is certain that Desmond has “felt it”. He tells Desmond that playing in the band is nothing now; that there are more important things to be done. Desmond is back to thinking that Charlie is crazy or just a strung out rock star.
Desmond returns to the limo and George, the driver. He must tell Mrs. Widmore, personally, that the band won’t be able to play during her banquet. George gives him a look and says “good luck”. Desmond finds her and we also find out that her name is Eloise Widmore (we know her as Eloise Hawking; Daniel Faraday’s mother). He gives her the bad news and she takes it surprisingly well. As Desmond is leaving, he overhears one of the banquet workers reading off of a seating chart. He says the name Penny. Desmond asks to see the chart. The worker refuses and Desmond persists. Eloise overhears them and becomes extremely upset. When Desmond pushes, she tells him to stop. She tells him that this is a violation. He pushes harder and she tells him that he’s “not ready yet”.
Desmond goes back to the limo more confused than ever. There is a rap on his window, so he lowers it. Who is it? Daniel Faraday. He asks to speak to him. They have a private conversation about how Daniel met this beautiful woman and just knew he was already in love with her. He asks Desmond the same question Charlie did, have you ever “felt it”. Daniel tells Desmond about a dream he had and that when he woke up he wrote in his journal. He shows Desmond the journal and there are scientific quotations written there. We see a quick glimpse of the page and see a diagram with “imaginary time” written on it. He tells Desmond that he showed a friend and was told that only someone studying Quantum Mechanics for a lifetime could have written it. (In the flash sideways, Daniel is a pianist instead of the scientist we knew him to be.) He also tells Desmond that this could only happen after a catastrophic release of energy as in setting off a hydrogen bomb. He says that it feels like things have been changed and that this isn’t the life they were supposed to lead. Desmond kind of laughs this off and says, “You act like you want to set off a hydrogen bomb.” Daniel answers with, “I think I already have.” Desmond then thinks that this guy is crazy, too. But Daniel stops him by telling him that Penny is his half sister and he knows where to find her.
Desmond takes the limo to a stadium. The stadium is empty except for a woman jogging the steps. (I hope all of you caught the significance of this. This is the way Desmond and Jack first met.) You can tell by the look on Desmond’s face that he has finally “felt it”. He introduces himself to Penny and they shake hands.
We are then flashed back to the island and Desmond, who has survived the “machine”. He sits up and Widmore starts to speak, but Desmond cuts him off and tells him that he now understands.
Desmond, Zoe and a few others are walking in the forest when they are assaulted by Sayid. Sayid kills the men and puts a gun in Zoe’s face. He tells her to run; which she does. He tells Desmond that these people are extremely dangerous and that he must follow him. Desmond gives Sayid a knowing smile, agrees, and follows.
We then are sent back to Desmond and Penny at the stadium. Penny is leaning over Desmond asking if he is alright. Desmond fainted as soon as their hands touched. He asks Penny out for coffee and she agrees to meet him.
Back in the limo, George asks Desmond if he found what he was looking for. Desmond doesn’t seem confused any longer and tells George that, yes, he has found it. He asks George if he can get the manifest from the flight he took home from Sydney; Oceanic Flight 815. George confirms that he can, but questions why Desmond would want that. Desmond says that he has something to “show” his fellow passengers.
This was a brilliant episode; one of the best I’ve seen yet. Desmond has always been a favorite of mine. He’s been an enigma of sorts. We’ve never really figured out why the island “needed” him, but always knew that he was important. Now we know that he is a key component to all of this. His “talent”, as Widmore called it, may be able to set things right. What right is, of course, is up for debate. But, then it wouldn’t be Lost if it wasn’t.
This episode put a lot of emphasis on love and the power it has. Will the love that these characters feel for each other be enough to save them? What’s that saying? … Love conquers all.