Second, you should know that last Friday, after resisting for days upon days, I caved and clicked on the spoiler to learn Charlie's fate. Then on Tuesday, I clicked on the "MASSIVE SYNOPSIS SPOILERS" for not only this episode but also the two-hour finale. So I'm going to vent my reactions to those spoilers first, and then continue on with the review as if I hadn't seen them.
I hate the Lost writers.
The only other spoiler I want to talk about right now is the flash-forward where Jack and Kate are off the island, and she apparently hates him. GREAT. For Kate to go from hero-worship to hating him means something very, very unpleasant that I probably don't want to know about happens between now and then. So I can look forward to worrying about that for the next three years.
I SO hate the Lost writers. Geeze, if I'd known this was the alternative, I'd never have complained about your stupid flashbacks.
Okay, on to the episode. It's not so much a review, actually, as extended fangirl fawning over Charlie. And it's largely in reverse chronological order.
*gathers collected arrows with which to shoot Desmond* I'm going to kill him. I hate this character more every week; he's creeping up just behind Locke on my hit list. He's already surpassed not only Rose and Bernard (the irritatingly average lugs), but even Hurley. I'll gladly take the bumbling annoyance over the RAVING LUNATIC. Oh, I guess he's technically not insane, but I don't believe he's entirely mentally stable, either. He's done nothing but cause problems in his blind quest to get back to Penny, for which I no longer have even a shred of sympathy since it is entirely his fault for leaving her. These people need to rise up against destiny. If it takes an eternal struggle against "course correction," do it. 10 to 1 says Destiny eventually gives up and concedes the fight.
"But RS!", you say, "Desmond saved Charlie's life! Several times!" Did he? Perhaps. I'm not entirely convinced of that fact after the bird incident, but for simplicity's sake let's say he did. Where I take particular issue is in this episode, where Desmond is so damned insistent that Charlie MUST sacrifice himself in order to get the other Lostaways rescued. Um, really? That's odd; according to you, Charlie was supposed to be dead several weeks ago. By rights he shouldn't be alive to go on this mission, so do your flashes in fact adapt to the fact that other events change? I think they do, in which case you cannot convince me that someone else going in his stead would automatically doom the Lostaways to eternal isolation.
But, just for kicks and giggles, let's say it did. Would that really be so bad? Let's apply Titanic logic here. Is it better to die beside your husband, or live on alone? Some women chose the former, and I've always kind of admired them. Similar question, different context: do you want to remain on a deserted island - which, by the way, is not entirely deserted and has various places with buildings, electricity and indoor plumbing if you can stake a claim on it - with the man you love**, or make it back to the real world with your baby, alone again?
[** = It is futile to attempt to convince me that Claire is not in love with Charlie. Let's just make that clear now.]
Personally, as much as I love conveniences like grocery stores and toilet paper, I'm going to raise my hand for the island. My #1 concern would be making sure my baby grew up with a loving father. I suppose I don't get to make that conjecture with any kind of authority unless I've actually had a kid
Desmond almost won some points back when told Charlie he didn't have to do this. Me: *double take* "What?" And he...he...was so logical about it! He gave Charlie a guilt-free way out! I had what was in retrospect a rather painfully hopeful look on my face, thinking that the spoilers must have been wrong and rejoicing in the fact that everyone had come to their senses just in the nick of time. It went down something like this -
Charlie: Memories...are all I've got.
RS: Yes, it is sad that that's all you have. Oh wait. YOU ALSO HAVE THAT WOMAN AND BABY BACK AT CAMP. MORON. [a/n: but in retrospect, the way he says these are the five greatest moments in his "sorry excuse for a life" = tears.]
. . .
Desmond: Maybe I keep seeing you die because I'm supposed to take your place.
RS: EXCELLENT IDEA! *claps hands* Into the water with you now, quickly-quickly!
Charlie: What about your girl?
RS: *shrieks furiously* WHAT ABOUT YOUR GIRL?!
Desmond: What about your girl?
RS: *showers Desmond with kisses* Oh, you might also want to remind him about not just his girl, but the little boy who might as well be his.
Oh, and the fact that they're alive right back there behind you on the island, waiting for him to return. You, on the other hand, ditched Penny, who would probably not be terribly shocked to learn you were dead since you've been apart for YEARS. Penny also has the luxury of the real world at her fingertips, whilst Claire and Aaron live on Craphole Island, which doesn't have a whole lot going for it. The point I'm trying to make here is that it would clearly cause less damage if Desmond died today. (Not to mention we survived two seasons without needing his help around camp) I'm rambling on and on in order to distract myself from the fact that Charlie just KNOCKED DESMOND UNCONSCIOUS WITH AN OAR AND DOVE INTO THE WATER ANYWAY.
OMGWTF, Hobbit?! Here, gimme that oar; after I give you a fwap on the noggin for your utter idiocy, I'm going to smack Desmond again once or twice, because this is still all his fault. I blame him 100% for having so steadily drilled it into Charlie's head that destiny is pre-determined but certain actions must be undertaken in order to achieve that outcome OR IT'S DOOOMED! Unless, of course, the end consequence is a negative one, in which case it's going to happen no matter what. Funny how destiny works. Whatever, it's Desmond's fault for messing with Charlie's head until he's able to convince himself that getting Claire off the island is more important than anything in the world, including his own life. And
And yes, I know Charlie didn't die. I took no comfort in that fact, since he might have made it into the hatch alive, but with two highly pissed-off women leveling guns at him, I doubt he'll ever see the light of day again. At least Claire kind of got to say goodbye. Even if she didn't know it was forever. And the damn hobbit never told her he loved her, either. *kicks sand*
I guess, ultimately, that's what I'm most frustrated about - that their relationship was never fully realized. ("Realized" is not a synonym for "consummated.") I mean they literally spent over half their time together with Charlie being overprotective and badgering and Claire in a snit over it. Their official pairing moniker is PB&J, but I called them the Molasses ship because they inched along so slowly. And I was okay with that. I figured the longer we dragged it out, the greater the payoff in the end, and along the way we'd get plenty of cute tidbits. For example, the end of last season, I thought we'd made a noticeable step forward when she kissed him (it was the only worthwhile part of the entire finale). But then the season was spent backsliding; there was a kiss in the promo pics for 3.02, but it never made it to air. They were a largely hands-off pair, on the rare occasion they were even seen, which again, I was (mostly) okay with. But how is it only now at the end of season 3 and with death in the wind, that we finally get their first - and apparently, only - proper kiss?
Despite my staunch belief to the contrary, I'm not sure that Claire ever really fell in love with him. Liked him, cared about him, yes. As deep as love? I don't know. I wonder if it would have made a difference in Charlie's ultimate decision. Because the tiny part of me that's struggling to understand the oar-smacking thinks that Charlie probably feels that all he's ever really done is follow Claire around and try to help. His whole existence on this island has been centered around his desire to protect them, take care of them. As raged about in the paragraph above, more often than not he's had to do his caring from a distance, wearing the longing look of a chained dog. In the process, it's been established that Claire is perfectly able to get along on her own. There's no reason for him not to think she'll be able to move on with her life once he's gone, eventually slide back into the world she knew pre-island. Pre-Charlie. Not that she'll be doing cartwheels upon learning of his death, but it won't cripple her
God, I'm long-winded today. And really, really negative so far. Let's talk about some positives now!
The goodbye scene, such as it was, was so sweet it ached. Especially him kneeling beside Aaron's crib, with the baby patting his face. That's the part where I shattered into a thousand pieces. I detest the baby when he's in the company of anyone else, which is why I'll probably dislike Claire intensely next year when her only role is to be a mommy, but with Charlie...it is pure squee. *wibble* I refuse to think about him dying!
I was really touched by the idea of Charlie writing that list to give to Claire, ending with "the night I met you." I saw the last one coming a mile off, but that doesn't make it any less endearing. Or prevent me from almost bawling. I don't even care about his other 4 flashback clips right now, because that last one was so nice.
DS RING! Is left behind! In abandoned camp that will probably be wrecked to kingdom come when the Others arrive, where it shall be lost forever! Okay, that really made me want to cry. Claire didn't have to know the story behind it; the fact that it was Charlie's is symbolic enough. And I really, really wanted to see her find it and realize that he knew he wasn't coming back. I can't believe she doesn't have it. I had dreams, people. Dreams of her keeping that ring safe and sound, close by at all times, her last link to remember him by. (yes, yes, it was technically left to Aaron - which incidentally, SEE. TOLD YOU. FAMILY - but Claire can hold on to it) And if anyone important is listening, there's still time to prove me wrong and have Charlie live! Please?
Back to real positives: Alex! And Karl! I almost forgot, they're my fifth 'ship for this show. I love them so, so, so much. Alex is all-around amazing as she rebels against her father and the rest of her horrible society of every turn, and I love how Karl's this poor naive pacifist . "No, it's okay, they're just going to take the pregnant women." Well, that sounds fine and dandy! Actually, I can understand why he doesn't think that's so horrible. In twisted Otherville, they know what's best for you, but it's too complex to explain so they just take action and get it done, and everyone's better off in the end. Luckily, Alex quickly snaps him into reality, where the Others are less like government officials capturing and selling young Mustangs for the overall health of the herd, and more like a party of raiding savages - capture the women (and children, if there were any); kill the men.
Random humorous note: I see Alex has inherited her father's love of rabbits.
I love Karl for racing into camp, all panicked and screaming warnings, only to get slam-tackled by Sayid. HEE. Lucky thing Sawyer's there to stick up for him, even if Kate decides to keep her bitchface on. Poor boy looks so bewildered when she hesitates on the question of whether or not he's trustworthy. And I felt bad for him when tried to win back points by ratting out Juliet, only to have his thunder stolen. Kinda feel bad for Juliet, too. People are always turning on her. No wonder she never seems to fully align with anyone, they're always stabbing her in the back.
And finally? I will NEVER stop being amused by a wild-eyed Jack snarling "We're gonna blow 'em all to hell."