3.17 Catch-22 (Desmond)

Desmond speaking with Penny

The title of this episode refers to a situation where you can not succeed no matter what you do. (link to full definition).

We see Desmond leading a band of “brothers”: Charlie, Jin, and Hurley through the jungle. As Hurley and Charlie argue about some comic book characters, we see Charlie step on a trip wire. As he lifts his foot off the wire, it activates a trigger which sends an arrow right through Charlie’s neck. Desmond runs to help, but Charlie “dies”. It turns out this this was an alternate ending to the trek we are about to begin.

At the beach camp:

Sawyer is glad to have Kate back and visits her at her tent. He wants to restart their relationship, but feels they need to let Jack know. He already knows, as Juliet told Kate that he saw the two of them together on the other island. Sawyer is relieved but Kate just walks away after Sawyer makes a joke about a “mix” tape. That night Kate is eating dinner by herself when Jack walks by. They make some friendly conversation about not having to escape cages anymore and how good it is to be back. Jack asks for spoon, Kate gives it to him and Jack walks away leaving Kate upset when she him together sharing a meal with Juliet. A crying Kate returns to Sawyer. He wants to know why she is crying but she tells him to just shut up and go along. The next day Sawyer brings Kate the mix tape of Phil Collins songs, Kate thanks him. But Sawyer wants to know what’s going on. He finds out from Jack what happened and when he asks Kate all she says is it’s not like that, implying she was not crying over Jack’s relationship with Juliet (but Sawyer knows better).

Desmond’ flashback:

Desmond is in a room reading the Bible and praying. In walks a monk. They are in a monastery. Desmond has just completed a self imposed vow of silence (note: so did Eko in season 2). We don’t know why he did this, yet. The monk is impressed, so he takes Des into the order of the monks. The next day, Des is labeling bottles of wine the monastery uses to raise funds for charity. As he is talking to his friend, a man comes out of nowhere and punches Des right in the nose. He quickly leaves after apologizing (but not to Desmond). Next we see Des at the doorstep of some girl we have never seen before. Her name is Ruth, and Desmond left her the night before their wedding. (I guess it was her bother who punched Des). He was scared about the marriage and got drunk when a man told him to follow him. This led Des to the monastery and a new beginning to his life. But his new life does not last for long. When he asks Ruth to forgive him, she only says that Des is a coward and that next time, he should just tell her to her face what he really feels. So he goes back to the monastery and drinks the wine meant for charity. The head monk finds him there drinking and tells him is really is not suitable to stay there. The experience he had there was part of the journey, but is not his final destination. He fires Des from being a monk and then tells him to follow the steps as God leads him.

The next day Des is packing up. He visits the head monk for the last time. We see on the monk’s desk a picture of him and Ms. Hawking (this is shown very quickly). Des heads outside to help load some cases of wine into a car. It’s there that he meets Penny for the first time. This begins a beautiful (but heart wrenching) romance between the two. As we know, Desmond ends up on Lost island dreaming about being reunited with Penny again.

On the island:

Desmond is having “flashes” again. When he has these he can see events into the future but only briefly and somewhat out of context. He sees Hurley pull a wire out of the sand, he sees them trekking through the jungle, he sees a picture of him and Penny, he sees a red light coming out of the sky, and he sees Charlie death with the aforementioned arrow. Des goes looking for Hurley and asks him to show him the wire. At first he is reluctant, but when Des convinces Charlie and Jin go to, Hurley goes along as well. Charlie knows that Des has predicted his death, he is reluctant, until Des says death won’t happen to Charlie this time, because Des is there is protect. So the “B” team sets out. I call them the “B” team whereas the “A” team (as Sawyer refers to them) are Kate, Jack, Locke and Sayid.

The B team finds the wire, but it is late, so they decide to camp on the beach. At night, Jin tells some crazy ghost story. Just after it’s over they hear a helicopter closing in. They feel that there rescue is close at hand, but are disappointed when the helicopter makes strange noises and then crashes into the ocean just off-shore. As they talk about going out to sea to rescue any survivors, they see a red light. [I thought is was some drone plane or pallet drop.] But it turns out that someone has ejected from the copter and has landed a few miles inland. Des (thinking it may be Penny, based on his flashes), wants to go immediately, but Charlie fearing for his life, says he won’t go until morning. Des worrying that the sequence of events in his dream must be followed to the letter, agrees to wait so Charlie will go with them.

The next day, they trek through the jungle. They find a hula doll along the way. Usually when someone finds a doll. It is trap set up by someone (presumably Rousseau) to catch or kill someone. This time though it is a sign, and when they look up they see a backpack stuck in the trees. Inside is a communications device (stops working), a book by Joseph Heller, and in the book is a picture of Des and Penny taken when they were a couple years ago. (It is the same picture Desmond had while in the hatch). So Des believes the copter survivor is probably Penny, but he tells no one. They pick up the pace, when it starts to rain.

Helicopter survivor cut down from tree

The exact scene from the beginning of the show plays out again. Charlie argues with Hurley when he steps on the tripwire, he lifts up his foot, the arrow starts to shoot,… but this time Desmond saves Charlie, by pushing him out the way at the last second. They go on a little farther and find the parachute and an unconscious copter survivor. It is a woman, but she is wearing a helmet. Desmond thinks he may have “killed” Penny by saving Charlie (which changed the series of events in his dream). They cut her down, take off the helmet, but it’s not Penny, it’ s another woman. She says Desmond’s name before she passes out.


  • We learn that Desmond calls people brotha’ from the time he spent with the “brother’s” in the monastery.
  • Jack continues to trust Juliet. Kate is worried about him, but mainly she uses Sawyer to block Jack out of her thoughts. Kate appears kind of desperate now. I am not sure what is going to happen with her and the other parts of the love quadrangle. Kate may get violent.
  • The helicopter rescue did not work. Something of someone on the island may have prevented it. Sort of like a force field, but more likely it was some kind of radiation or electromagnetic interference that caused the helo’s systems to shut down.
  • More Biblical name references: Ruth, Desmond’s old fiancé, and Naomi the helicopter survivor. In the Bible they followed God’s leading to a new country.

Naomi says Desmond's name

  • Could there be a ship nearby that launched the helo, and therefore was this a scouting mission? Most helo’s have a very short range and would not be able to travel across the ocean without support.
  • Why was Ms. Hawking’s in a picture with the head monk? Treat: Click for other connections to Desmond – The one with Libby is especially good and relevent with this episode.
  • Who is the mystery woman from the helicopter? I believe she did come the island to find Des. She was probably on rescue mission funded by Penny. This confirms that Penny does know the correct location for the island. And, I think, will try and make another rescue attempt.


How could Charlie leave Claire one day after she almost died? Why bring a guitar on this trip? Maybe he thought it could not be too dangerous a mission if Des let him bring it.

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