Charlie says goodbye to his closest friends after Desmond reveals his latest vision of Charlie’s death comes with a happy ending for everyone else. Jack explains his dangerous plan to defend the survivors from an impending attack by the Others.

Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Stephen Williams

Flashback

After he left Sawyer and Kate behind (in 3.09 “Stranger in a Strange Land”), Karl covertly caught up with his girlfriend Alex and she helped keep him hidden from the Others while secretly supplying him with food.

Six hours prior to Karl’s arrival at the survivors’ beach, Ben returned from his trip to see Jacob with Locke. He lied to everyone, claiming that Locke “had an accident,” and that Jacob wanted them to move up their schedule to take the pregnant women from the survivors’ camp. He ordered a man named Ryan to take ten of his best men and leave immediately. Richard argued that Juliet couldn’t have marked the tents of the pregnant women yet, but Ben shot him down, ordering Ryan to take all of the women and they would sort them out afterwards. If any of the survivors’ men tried to get in their way, Ryan was to kill them. Alex overheard Ben’s instructions and ran to tell Karl that he had to go and warn the survivors. She told him to take an outrigger canoe so that he could reach the survivors before Ryan’s team did, and reminded him that he owed Sawyer and Kate for saving his life.

Drive Shaft’s band broke down on its way to one of their first gigs, their van broke down. Charlie was ready to quit the band because it wasn’t going well, when their single “You All Everybody” suddenly started playing on the radio. It was the first time any of them had heard one of their songs on the radio, and it changed Charlie’s feelings about staying with the band.

When Charlie was a little boy, he went to a public pool with his father and brother, but he didn’t want to go in the water. His father, standing in the pool, asked him to jump in and promised to catch him, but Charlie didn’t believe him. Finally he did it, and his father caught him as promised.

One night in December when Drive Shaft’s stardom was at its peak, Charlie was awoken from a post-concert threesome by his brother Liam, who had decided to surprise him with a unique Christmas gift: the “DS” ring Charlie wears in the present. The ring was revealed to be a family heirloom, passed down through generations, and the initials on it actually stood for an ancestor of theirs named Dexter Stratton (they named the band using Stratton’s initials). Charlie reluctantly agreed to take the ring.

One day on the streets of London, Charlie came to the rescue of a woman who was being mugged, and managed to drive away her attacker. The woman was none other than Nadia, Sayid’s long lost love. She told him that three people had passed by her before he stopped to help, and they did nothing. She called him a hero.

The night of the plane’s crash onto the island, Charlie introduced himself to Claire by offering her his blanket. He cheered her up by offering encouragement and a little dry wit, and they sparked immediately.

Now

Jack takes most of the survivors out to a secret location deep in the jungle to show them his plan for stopping the Others from kidnapping the pregnant women, including Sun, tomorrow night. Danielle Rousseau emerges from the jungle and Jack asks her to show the rest what the two of them have cooked up. Danielle detonates a massive explosion using the dynamite she recently procured from the Black Rock. Jack plans to use the explosives to spring a trap on the Others when they come to the beach camp for the pregnant women. With Juliet as his accomplice, they will lure the Others in, believing that Juliet has done everything Ben asked her to, but the survivors won’t be at the camp when the Others come — instead, waiting for them will be the explosives.

Back at camp, Charlie starts writing out a list on a piece of paper. But he counts down instead of up, with his first entry being #5. It reads, “The first time I heard myself on the radio.” Naomi approaches and asks who the survivors are about to go to war against. The two of them briefly bond when they realize they’re both from Manchester, and Naomi says that she recognizes the name of Charlie’s band from the plane crash. He was “the famous rock star” on the plane, and she says that he became even more famous after his supposed death — there was a memorial service, a Drive Shaft greatest hits album, and more. He’s thrilled until he sees Desmond watching him from afar, sending the unspoken message that he’s had another vision of Charlie dying.

Danielle returns with the survivors to the beach, where she helps Jack and Juliet rig up several tents with long wires that will allow them to remotely detonate the unstable dynamite. Sayid comes to them and says that Danielle’s distress call — the one that’s been transmitting for sixteen years — is preventing any other transmissions from being sent from the island. He can’t contact Naomi’s freighter unless they go to the radio tower and turn it off. But Juliet reveals that just powering down the radio tower won’t get the job done, because the Others are using a Dharma station to jam all radio signals except their own. Juliet says the station is called the Looking Glass, and that it’s underwater, but she doesn’t know where. But Sayid recalls the electrical cable running into the water that he found the same day he first met Danielle, and realizes that this cable must go down to the Looking Glass.

Charlie quietly calms Claire’s fears that the Others might attempt to take Aaron again, but their talk is interrupted by Desmond. He privately tells Charlie about a new vision he’s had of Charlie’s death. But this one is different, because if Charlie goes through with it and allows himself to die, then a rescue helicopter will land on the island, and everyone — including Claire and Aaron — will be saved. The two of them retreat to a more private spot, and Charlie writes down #4 on his list: “Dad teaching me to swim at Butlins.” Then he asks Desmond to tell him the details. Desmond says that in his vision, Charlie is in a Dharma station, in a room full of equipment. There’s a blinking yellow light above a switch. Charlie flicks the switch, the light goes off, and Charlie drowns. Charlie considers that Claire and Aaron will be saved if he follows this path laid out by Desmond, and decides to sacrifice himself so they can be rescued.

Sayid finds a schematic of the Looking Glass station and shows it to Juliet and Jack. Juliet says she doesn’t know anyone who’s ever been down there, because Ben told the Others a while back that there was an accident there that had flooded the whole place. Jack wonders how the station’s jamming equipment could still be working if it’s flooded. But Sayid says that he’ll gladly sacrifice himself by swimming down to the station and turning off the equipment, if it means everyone else will be rescued. He points out that the station has a moon pool, a large bay with an open floor exposed to the ocean, which Dharma sometimes used to dock its submarine. This is his way in. Desmond and Charlie approach just as Jack refuses to let Sayid do this, so Charlie volunteers, claiming to have once been named Junior Swim Champion in Northern England, and that he can hold his breath for four minutes. Still Jack refuses, saying that they’re going to focus instead on dealing with the Others, and then they’ll worry about contacting the freighter.

ernard, Rose, and Sun chip in to the dynamite-wiring efforts. Jin returns from retrieving more wire from the Oceanic 815 wreckage, and asks Sun to tell him why Juliet mentioned Sun’s name on her recorded message to Ben. She tells him that Juliet showed her their baby on an ultrasound, and that it’s very healthy, but she avoids telling him the rest — that pregnant women die on the island, and that the Others are coming for her.

Karl sails up to the beach camp on one of the outrigger canoes, and Sawyer vouches for him in front of everyone. Karl quickly warns them that the Others have misled Juliet; they’re not coming tomorrow night as expected, they’re already on their way and will be at the beach tonight. Karl is taken before the entire group so he can warn them all. After everyone hears Karl’s warning, Jack and Sayid confer about the dynamite’s readiness. There’s no way they’ll have enough wire to blow the bombs before the Others arrive, so Sayid suggests that a few of the survivors remain behind to set off the bombs by shooting them. Jack sets out a new plan: three things will need to happen at the same time. When the Others arrive at camp, they will be ambushed by three of the survivors and the dynamite. Meanwhile, Danielle will be leading everyone else to the radio tower, both to keep them away from the Others and to give them the chance to contact Naomi’s freighter. The third leg of the plan is assigned to Charlie: swim out to the Looking Glass and deactivate the jamming device. Desmond volunteers to join him.

Later, Charlie fills in the #3 item on his list: “The Christmas Liam gave me the ring.” He visits Claire’s tent, and she’s hurt that he never told her about his part in the plan to signal the freighter. He asks that while he’s gone on his mission, that she not worry about him. He takes Aaron and says an emotional goodbye to the little guy, and then gives Claire a very passionate kiss, saying he’ll see her soon. He returns Aaron to his crib and leaves his “DS” ring in it as well.

While Desmond prepares Karl’s canoe to sail out to the location of the Looking Glass, Charlie fills in #2 on his list: “Woman outside Covent Garden calls me a hero.” Hurley comes running up and wants to join them. Charlie knows that Hurley runs the risk of drowning alongside him if he comes along, so he’s forced to insult Hurley’s weight as being unsuitable for the tiny boat as a way of keeping Hurley from coming along. But as Hurley’s skulking away, Charlie catches up to him and gives him a big bear hug as a goodbye.

Bernard volunteers to stay behind as part of Sayid’s small team, who will ignite the dynamite by shooting it. He demonstrates his prowess with a rifle to Sayid, but Rose doesn’t want him to do this. Jack appears and talks her into it, but she’s not happy about it. When Rose and Bernard leave, Sayid says that he’s going to stay behind and shoot the dynamite, and that Jack should be the one to lead the survivors to the radio tower. Jack argues, but Sayid points out that as the group’s leader, Jack can’t divulge in his own desire for revenge. The survivors need him to get them rescued. So while the survivors gather for their trek — along with Juliet, Danielle, Naomi, and Karl — Sayid recruits his third shooter: Jin.

Desmond and Charlie locate the cable running into the ocean and use it as a starting point to cast off the outrigger. As they reach their destination, Charlie jots down the final item on his list, at the #1 spot: “The night I met you.” With this, we realize that this list is comprised of Charlie’s fondest memories, and that he intends to leave it behind for Claire, the “you” he’s referring to in his #1 memory. Desmond announces that they’ve arrived, and Charlie hands over his list to Des, asking that he give it to Claire. Desmond tries one last time to talk Charlie out of it, suggesting that he go instead. Maybe, he says, he keeps seeing Charlie die because he’s supposed to take Charlie’s place. But just as Desmond prepares to jump in the water, Charlie knocks him out with an oar so he can go through with the plan himself. After several deep breaths, Charlie works up the courage to dive in. It’s a very long swim down, and he barely makes it to the moon pool in time to pop up and take a needed gasp of air. He happy to find that the station isn’t flooded after all, but a pair of female Others suddenly appear and draw their guns on him.

  • Danielle was helping Jack with a secret plan to defeat the Others, who would soon attack the survivors.
    Question: Why was Danielle retrieving so much dynamite from the Black Rock? [3.19]
  • Radio signals are being blocked by a jamming device located in the underwater Dharma station called the Looking Glass.
    Question: What’s blocking radio transmissions to and from the island? [3.19]
  • It seems conclusive at this point that Juliet is genuinely on Jack’s side.
    Question: Whose side is Juliet really on? Ben’s or Jack’s? [3.18]

“Greatest Hits” is the fourth and final Charlie-centric episode of the series.

I still wonder why Desmond’s vision of Claire and Aaron being rescued didn’t come true. According to what Desmond saw, if Charlie died by drowning in the Looking Glass station, Claire and her son would subsequently be rescued from the island by helicopter. Only half of this came true — Claire was left behind while Aaron was loaded onto the helicopter. The simplest answer is that “something changed,” as Desmond has already revealed that his visions are subject to change if he does something to save Charlie. But he didn’t save Charlie. So what, if anything, changed Desmond’s vision?