- This article is about the episode. For the novel with the same name, see Catch-22 (book).
Special guest star(s)
"Catch-22" is the seventeenth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-sixth produced hour of the series. It was originally broadcast on April 18, 2007. When Desmond has a flash of a stranger arriving on the Island, he recruits Charlie, Hurley and Jin to join him. Meanwhile, Kate seduces Sawyer after witnessing Jack and Juliet together.
Desmond apologizes to Brother Campbell after Derek's violent visit.
Desmond is in a monastery in Eddington, Scotland in 1995. He is visited by Brother Campbell in his quarters, who tells him that Desmond's vow of silence, a test to become a monk, has ended successfully despite the Brother's doubts. He tells Desmond he is "one of us" and says, "Welcome, Brother."
Some time later Desmond and Brother Campbell talk while putting labels on the Moriah Vineyard wine bottles they make at the monastery, and packing them in crates. Desmond remarks on how Moriah is an odd name for a Monastery wine since it was the location where Abraham was asked to kill Isaac in the Bible. Campbell reminds him that God ended up sparing Isaac. Desmond says that God could have not asked for the sacrifice to begin with, but Campbell counters that it was necessary as a test of faith and a lesson in the value of sacrifice. Brother Martin tells Desmond that someone is looking for him. The man enters the room and punches Desmond in the face, bloodying his nose, apologizes to the Brother, and leaves.
Desmond tries to explain himself to Ruth.
Desmond visits and knocks on the door of a house and Derek, the man who punched him the other day answers. Desmond asks to see Derek's sister but is told to leave. The sister, Ruth, lets him in. They sit down, drinking tea. Desmond explains that he is still a novice at the monastery but she cuts him off and asks curtly why he is there. Desmond felt he owed her an explanation after his initiation. She wonders how he could explain leaving her one week before their wedding and disappearing. He says that he had a calling but she claims his only religious experience in their six years of dating was "Celtic winning the cup". He tells her he was scared and got drunk, and asked God if he was doing the right thing. He then woke up on the street and a man asked him "Can I help you, brother?" Desmond says he realized he had to sacrifice everything precious to him for a greater calling. Ruth snidely remarks that it was a good thing he wasn't found by a shepherd or he'd be "off with the sheep". She tells Desmond that next time he breaks up with someone, he should tell the girl it's because he's scared instead of running off to a monastery.
A drunk Desmond is caught by Brother Campbell.
At night, Desmond is found by Brother Campbell singing "The Celtic Song" and drinking the monastery wine. Campbell tells him the wine sells for over 100 quid and they've only bottled 108 cases that year. Desmond remarks that it's good they've taken a vow of poverty, to which the monk tells him they've also taken a vow of charity. Desmond gives him the bottle, which he pushes gently away on the table, telling Desmond he isn't cut out to be a monk. Desmond apologizes and offers to do penance, but the Brother says that it's too late for that. Desmond asks if he is being fired and the Brother says he is, and that although he "heard the call," the Abbey isn't where Desmond was meant to end up. God has bigger plans for him, and he's spent too much time running away to realize what he is running towards. Desmond asks what he should do now, and the Brother replies, "Whatever comes next."
Penny and Desmond meet each other.
Desmond enters Brother Campbell's office the next day to say goodbye and return his habit. Campbell says Brother Martin can give him a ride into town if Desmond helps load some wine crates into a customer's car. Outside, the Brother talks with a female customer about her father's donation as Desmond wheels the crates out. Desmond and the customer's eyes meet for the first time--she is Penny. They joke with each other and flirt. He reveals that he is a recently fired ex-monk, and that God allegedly has bigger plans for him. She suspects he doesn't believe that and he agrees. Penny offers to bring him along with her to Carlisle. He jokes he doesn't get into cars with strangers, so she introduces herself as Penelope, then Penny. He introduces himself, and they smile at each other and laugh.
On the Island
Charlie dies by being hit with an arrow in one of Desmond's flashes
Charlie, Hurley, Jin and Desmond trek through the jungle in the rain while Hurley and Charlie playfully argue over who would win in a footrace: the Flash, or Superman. Charlie steps on a trigger thread and lifts his foot, activating an arrow which impales his neck. They try to help him but Charlie dies. There are flashes of different images: a reverse version of Hurley pulling the cable, a blinking red light behind dark clouds at night, the photo of Desmond and Penny, next an image of Jin, Charlie and a set of hands holding a parachute, the feet of a person in gear hanging from a tree, the helmeted head of the same person and a fast image of the face of Penny with a green backdrop which might suggest the Island.
Desmond looks up, startled from his flashes of imminent future events. He drops his fishing pole and runs up to Hurley to ask him about the cable. Hurley resists, so Desmond, recalling his flash, tells him it's important and that someone is coming.
Sawyer walks in on Kate as she dressed up.
They go to see Jack, who lends them a medical kit, under the pretense that Desmond has a twisted ankle. Hurley suspects Desmond has had another vision and asks if someone is going to get hurt. He refuses to help him without an explanation. Desmond compares his flashes to puzzle pieces, claiming not to know what picture the pieces form, but that Hurley and the cable is the first piece. He can't tell Hurley the rest without compromising the vision. Remembering himself kissing Penny, Desmond admits to Hurley that the end result of this vision is something he wants to ensure and not prevent.
Sawyer enters Kate's tent, catching her in the middle of getting dressed, and is speechless as he looks her over. He asks if she told Jack about her and Sawyer. She reveals that she didn't but that Jack saw them on camera at the Hydra. Sawyer comes on to her but she rejects him; he jokingly asks her if she needs a mix tape. She leaves the tent and Sawyer behind.
Desmond tries to convince Charlie on joining them for camping.
Desmond brings Hurley to enlist Jin for the journey, remembering a flash of Jin helping pull on the cable with Hurley. Desmond isn't sure how to break the communication barrier but Hurley manages to convince Jin, with his limited but improving English, to come along on a "camping" trip. Next, Desmond tries to recruit Charlie alone. Charlie knows it isn't a camping trip and suspects another vision of his death. Desmond reveals someone is coming to the Island but won't give him details. Charlie is worried about the danger of someone dying but Desmond says that won't happen. Charlie asks if he can bring his guitar and Desmond, seeing Charlie with his guitar in the flash, agrees.
The foursome walk the beach, all but Desmond whistling the "Colonel Bogey March," and Hurley recognizes the spot where the cable should be, and where he entered the jungle and encountered Rousseau's traps. He and Jin pull the cable from under the sand, and Desmond decides they should set up camp before it gets dark.
Jin tells Hurley and Charlie a Korean ghost story.
At night at the camp, Kate eats oatmeal and tries to make conversation with Jack, who is merely polite. Kate mentions how strange it is to be back in the camp and she doesn't know what to do with herself now that she no longer has to worry about escaping a cage. Jack asks for a spoon and she licks it clean before giving it to him. Jack says goodnight and meets Juliet. Kate watches sadly as Jack and Juliet eat and laugh together. Kate goes to Sawyer's tent. She pushes him to the ground, crying as she kisses him, and tells him to just shut up and give in.
Desmond tells Charlie about the woman in his picture.
At the cable, Charlie plucks his guitar strings as Jin tells a scary story in Korean with a flashlight shining under his face. Jin gets to a particularly scary part of the story and shouts, causing Hurley to get scared and yelp. The three laugh while Desmond stares at his photo at a distance. Hurley remarks on the part of Jin's story he thinks is about a bird, (indicating his growing understanding of Korean) and then starts his own story about the Chupacabra. Charlie offers Desmond some food and asks about his picture. Charlie asks why he left his girl behind, and Desmond says it's because he was a coward. He had run away, but she had tracked him down--and maybe she is still looking for him. Suddenly, they hear a sound like a helicopter in the distance and Jin thinks it might be a rescue attempt. They hear screeching noises and a helicopter crashes far out into the water. Hurley says they should swim out, but then they see a red flashing light through the dark clouds.
Jack and Sawyer's Ping-Pong match
They argue over who it might be. Desmond prepares to find the parachutist but Charlie wants to wait until it gets light in two hours to avoid Danielle's traps. Desmond insists but Charlie refuses so Desmond, afraid to lose Charlie's piece of the flash puzzle, agrees to wait until first light.
The next day at the beach camp, Sawyer interrupts Jack and Juliet building something for her tent. He challenges Jack to a game of ping pong, joking that if they don't play every 108 minutes that the Island will explode. Sawyer is happy to be beating Jack the first round and states how strange it is to be back on the Island. Jack mentions a conversation he had with Kate the night before, and that she had said the same thing. Sawyer asks if they ate together, but Jack reveals he ate with Juliet instead.
Desmond finds a copy of Catch-22
in a foreign language
In the jungle Charlie complains about not getting enough information from Desmond, who retorts that saving his life three times should buy him some trust. Hurley stops to rest and Charlie finds a hula doll. Desmond looks up and sees a backpack in the tree. He climbs up by stepping on Hurley's shoulder to retrieve it and spills out the contents, which include a Portuguese version of the book Catch-22 and a satellite phone. Hurley turns on the phone, but it quickly dies out. In the book, Desmond finds a printout of the photo of him and Penny.
At the beach camp, Sawyer hands Kate his "mix tape", a cassette of "The Best of Phil Collins" he stole from Bernard. He asks her why she "jumped him" the night before, if it had anything to do with her seeing Jack and Juliet together. She denies it, but he says sadly that she doesn't have to use him, she only has to ask.
Charlie realizes Desmond saw his upcoming death.
In the jungle, Charlie asks if Desmond thinks the parachutist is Penny, and Desmond says he is certain now. He says he didn't want to tell Charlie so that nothing would change. Charlie says if they knew Desmond would be reunited with Penny, they would have helped him willingly. Desmond sees the flashes of Charlie's death again and it starts to rain. Hurley makes a comment about Desmond not warning them to bring an umbrella.
Jin asks who Penny is, and Hurley explains that she's Desmond's girl. Jin doesn't understand but Hurley says it wouldn't make sense in Korean either. Hurley and Charlie start arguing about the Flash and Superman and Desmond remembers this from his flash, realizing Charlie's death is imminent. Desmond spots the arrow and the trigger line. Charlie steps on it, lifts his foot, and Desmond, after a moment of deliberation, yells for Charlie to duck, pushing him out of the way of the arrow. Desmond looks up, afraid that he has destroyed his chance to see Penny.
The woman wakes up, calling out Desmond's name
Later, Jin and Desmond argue about which way the beacon is. They decide to split up, and Charlie insists on going with Desmond. Charlie confronts Desmond about knowing Charlie would be in danger and not telling him, as well as accusing Desmond of planning to sacrifice him to find Penny. Desmond explains that if he doesn't follow the flashes, the overall picture changes. Desmond wonders out loud if saving Charlie does any good since he keeps getting into danger again; maybe he is being tested by God like Abraham, but so far has failed the test. They hear Jin shout and follow his voice to a parachutist hanging from a tree, not moving. Desmond, believing the parachutist to be dead, says, "Sorry, Penny".
Desmond climbs up the tree and cuts the parachutist loose, who falls into the parachute the others are holding to catch her safely. Hurley hears the parachutist moan and announces that she is alive. Desmond runs up to her and removes her mask but it isn't Penny, it's an unknown woman who says only "Desmond" before she passes out again.
- A "Catch-22" refers to a no-win situation or a double bind. In Joseph Heller's novel, the only way to get out of a dangerous mission is to plead insanity, but pleading insanity in order to be exempt from a dangerous mission is proof of sanity. Sane or insane, you have to go on the mission. In Lost's Catch-22, Desmond's vision suggests he cannot find the parachutist without Charlie; but if Charlie comes along he will be killed by one of Rousseau's traps and they won't find the parachutist.
- The hula doll found in the jungle looks like Hurley's doll in his Hummer.
- The satellite phone's menu icons in order from top left to bottom right are: GPS, "Home" symbol, Files, Clock, Phone, Settings, Mail, and Uplink. Below that is a hazard sign that says: "INTERNAL ERROR". (More details on the satellite phone article).
- The parachutist was wearing a pressure-demand oxygen mask, as opposed to a continuous-flow mask. Continuous-flow masks (such as of the kind released in airliners during emergencies) are typically used in unpressurized aircraft that fly between 12000 and 25000 feet, and do not make an airtight seal around the mouth. Pressure-demand oxygen masks like the one worn by the parachutist make an airtight seal and allow for flight at altitudes up to 50000 feet (if the aircraft is pressurized and the composition and pressure of the oxygen can be controlled). Flight above 50000 feet typically requires an astronaut-like pressurized suit. While some helicopters have flown to 40000 feet for the sake of claiming records, few helicopters can fly higher than 20000 feet, and most operate at 10000 feet or below (and thus are not pressurized).
- Desmond and Penny speak of Carlisle, a city in the northwest of England near the Scottish border. The homophone Carlyle was Boone's surname.
- Charlie has a Pearl station notebook.
- According to the label, the wine is a 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, limited production of 500 bottles, grown and bottled by Moriah Vineyards, Eddington, Scotland, UK, 75cle.
- Desmond's flash shows Charlie getting shot with the arrow but later shows Charlie holding the parachute in the flash.
- The arrow pierces Charlie's neck in the flash, while the actual arrow pierces the neck of Charlie's guitar.
- In Desmond's flash just after they've seen the crash and the parachute, a voice shouting "Hey, can you hear me?" can be heard in reverse. This is most likely Hurley's voice as he says this later when they cut the parachutist down.
- In "real-time" Charlie says "Kryptonite BALLET SLIPPERS" before setting off the trap, while in the flash he stops at "Kryptonite".
- Jin's Korean language ghost story translates as: "And the girl turned to the man who saved her and said, 'Thank God. I was afraid you were the Hook Man.' And the man looked at the girl with a smile and said, 'Don't worry, little girl. My hook is....STILL IN YOUR FATHER'S HEAD!" Dark UFO's blog
- Sawyer mentions he took the tape he gave to Kate from Bernard. This is the first mention of Bernard this season, ruling out the theory that Rose and Bernard had been replaced by Nikki and Paulo. Rose and Bernard would finally return in "Greatest Hits".
- Hurley says that Flash would beat Superman in a race. The comic which features the Flash was brought onto the plane by Hurley. Furthermore Superman and the Flash have raced each other a number of times before as detailed on this website.
- During Desmond's flash when Charlie is just about to step on the wire, you can hear someone mention Superman. Superman flew around the world to go back in time to save Lois Lane. Also during another mini flash of the previous premonition you can only hear the word SUPERMAN prominently.
- The Flash could be a reference to Desmond's flash, thus turning the race between the Flash and Superman (who went back in time to save Lois Lane) into a metaphor for fate versus free will.
Bloopers and continuity errors
- The vintage of the wine bottles and Ruth's mention of Celtic winning the Cup date this flashback to 1995 or later, where he first meets Penny. Desmond's later flashback where he breaks up with Penny takes place in 1996. Normally wine is dated based on the date of the grape harvest, and Cabernet Sauvignon is usually aged in barrels for years before being released, so the date on the bottle is likely a production error meant to show the date of the flashback and not a realistic vintage date.
- Also note that the year stamped on the box the bottle comes from is 1989. This may be an intentional reference to the time "shifts" that Desmond has experienced throughout the series.
- Ruth's Scottish accent is obviously false - the actor is from Bristol.
- Although Desmond tackles Charlie onto his back (while trying to save him from the arrow in the jungle), Charlie's guitar is totally unharmed.
- The flashback should have taken place in 1994, because in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" Desmond says to Mr. Widmore that he and Penelope have been together for 2 years, yet that conversation occurred in 1996 which is only one year later.
- Sawyer calls the Others "perverts" and Kate "Freckles", claiming she is exempt from his agreement not to use nicknames, and Ben "Bug-eyed Freak". (Nicknames)
- It starts raining both in Desmond's premonition and when the search for Penny is coming to a climax. (Rain)
- Brother Campbell tells Desmond that they have only made 108 cases of wine. (The Numbers)
- The whole story of Desmond's "call" and his final dialogue with Campbell brings up the question of Desmond's "fate" being imposed over his "free will". (Fate versus free will)
- Desmond goes to talk to Ruth in search of redemption for his mistake (leaving her before the wedding). He doesn't get it from her. (Redemption)
- Brother Campbell has a picture on his desk portraying himself together with Ms. Hawking. (Character connections)
- Desmond mentions raising up his eyes to see the man who would allegedly save him. (Eyes)
- Desmond's vow of silence is not a physical isolation, but it is a form of self-imposed isolation. (Isolation)
- Ruth's House number is 234. (The Numbers)
- Brother Campbell lectures Desmond on the value of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac in the Bible. Desmond tells Ruth he had to sacrifice his former life for a greater calling. Charlie accuses Desmond of having been willing to sacrifice him to be with Penny again. (Sacrifice)
- Kate seduces Sawyer in his tent and they have sex. (Relationships)
- Catch-22: The title of the episode is the name of a book by Joseph Heller. In the novel, Heller initially uses "Catch-22" to describe a no-win situation. (A bombardier is told he can only avoid flying more missions by pleading insanity, but attempting to preserve his own life by pleading insanity is proof of sanity, meaning he must continue to fly missions. "That's Catch 22.") Later in the novel, "Catch 22" is used by people in power any time they need to justify their actions. (Books)
- The copy found in the jungle is a Brazilian edition Ardil 22, published by Editora Record (identifiable by the logo). In Brazil, the language spoken is Portuguese, the same language the men spoke in the listening station at the end of "Live Together, Die Alone." The book has an old edition's cover. It says "Um dos maiores best-sellers de todos os tempos. Mais de 4 milhões de exemplares vendidos nos Estados Unidos" ("One of the biggest best-sellers of all time. Over 4 million copies sold in the United States"). (Books)
- The Colonel Bogey March: The tune Jin, Charlie, and Hurley are whistling is most famously used in The Bridge on the River Kwai; also in Lawrence of Arabia, The Breakfast Club, The Parent Trap, and Spaceballs. (Music) (Movies)
- Flash and Superman: Hurley and Charlie argue about who's faster, the Flash or Superman, with Hurley taking the Flash's side. The comic book Hurley brought to the Island was a Flash comic. (Incidentally, Superman and Flash had foot races several times, the first one starting in Superman #199 in August, 1967 ). (Pop culture misc. references)
- The Flash character not only has the ability to travel through time, but to travel to alternate universes as well.
- Charlie mentions Kryptonite. The material has detrimental effects on Superman. The word kryptonite is used in speech to describe someone's or something's weakness.
- Scottish Cup: According to Ruth, the closest Desmond had come to religion until he disappeared was "Celtic winning the cup". The cup win Ruth refers to occurred on May 27, 1995. Celtic hadn't won the cup since 1989. Significantly, Celtic is supported by the Catholic community of Glasgow (the Protestant team is Glasgow Rangers). (Games) (Religion)
- Christianity: Ruth was wearing a cross as a necklace, and a depiction of a crucified Jesus was shown over her shoulder hanging on a wall. The cross on the necklace, monasticism and crucifixes on display in Western Europe are most commonly found among Catholics. Christians in general believe that Jesus is a savior, and his crucifixion was a required sacrifice. (Religion)
- Monastery: Desmond was a monk in a monastery, but was eventually "fired". (Religion)
- Moriah: (Hebrew: מוריה, Moriya = "ordained/considered by YHWH") The Moriah Vineyard shares the name given to a mountain range by the book of Genesis. After saving Charlie's life, Desmond said: "Like God, testing Abraham, except I failed, because I changed what I saw." In the Bible, Moriah is the location of the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. (Religion)
- Book of Ruth: The characters Ruth and the parachutist share their names with the two women in this book from the Bible. The story centers on the life journey of the two women in desperate straits. (Religion)
- Phil Collins: Sawyer handed Kate a "Best of Phil Collins" audio tape. (Music)
- "Afternoon Delight": Sawyer refers to this Starland Vocal Band song with thinly-veiled euphemistic lyrics about having sex in the afternoon, when hitting on Kate. (Music)
- Chupacabra: When telling "ghost stories" on the beach, Hurley begins to tell a story about this mythical beast that sucks the blood from goats. The Chupacabra was also mentioned by DJ Dan in his August 11th Podcast. (Pop culture misc. references)
- The Lord of the Rings. Printed on Charlie's T-shirt is what appears to be J. R. R. Tolkien's white tree of Gondor.
- Additionally, in the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf sacrificed himself in the Mines of Moria. Moria's name is derived from the same Moriah that is a theme of this episode.
- Dominic Monaghan played the character of Merry Brandybuck in the movie adaptations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Doctor Who: Hurley nicknames himself The Master. The Master is a recurring character in this British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He is a renegade Time Lord who is the greatest individual enemy of the Doctor.
- Purple Haze. Sawyer claims the ping pong table fell from the "purple haze" (referring to the implosion of the Swan), a reference to this song recorded in 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. (Music)
- Predestination paradox — Desmond instigates the mission after seeing flashes of it; without those flashes of the future, the future wouldn't have happened. This is different to Desmond's previous flashes: Charlie struck by lightning, drowned, or smashed against the rocks would all have happened without Desmond's flashes; but the trek to find the parachutist would not have happened without Desmond's flashes of it.
- In a flashback, Desmond meets Penny for the first time. In the next scene, he yells her name, thinking she is the parachutist. (Juxtaposition)
- For the entire episode, Desmond prepares to meet the woman he loves, Penny. When he finally finds "her", he pulls off her mask, and is desperately disappointed to find a different woman. This sudden reversal of Desmond's fortune is called peripeteia. (Plot twist)
- When the parachutist wakes up, she looks at Desmond and speaks his name. No information is provided to the viewer to ascertain how or why she knows Desmond's name. This plot twist can also be categorized as a cliffhanger. (Cliffhanger) (Plot twist)
- Desmond's frequent use of the name "brother" is found to be from his stay at the monastery in Eddington, Scotland as a monk. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Brother Campbell tells Desmond he has "spent too much time running away to realize what you may be running toward." He later tells Penny that he isn't running away, he's running toward getting his honor back. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
- The word "flash" has played a significant role in several past episodes. Desmond's previous flashback episode was called "Flashes Before Your Eyes." while Catch-22, (being the very next Desmond flashback episode), brings clear references to the comics character The Flash. Additionally, during an episode in between these two, the Monster was seen in Juliet's episode flashing lights at her and Kate. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes") ("Left Behind")
- The parachutist's beacon and parachute were similar to the ones seen in the supply drop. ("Lockdown")
- Desmond's comment about taping ankles refers to "Man of Science, Man of Faith." when he taped Jack's ankle in the flashback. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
- Ruth came in first upon saying the same words Penny would say to Desmond within a few years: "Have the decency to admit that you're a coward". ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
- Desmond is the second person on the Island that had taken a vow of silence in the past. The other is Eko. ("The Other 48 Days")
- Ruth tells Desmond it was a good thing he wasn't found by a shepherd or he'd be "off with the sheep". In "Live Together, Die Alone," Desmond is found by Jack (Shephard) in his boat, and eventually he joins the Losties. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
- Desmond saves Charlie by yelling him to "duck", just as he yelled to the bartender in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" to save him from being hit by Jimmy Lennon. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
- Campbell says to Desmond that he's "one of us now". ("One of Us")
- The wire was originally found by Sayid during his exodus from the survivors, eventually leading to Rousseau's trap. ("Solitary")
- When the group trekking out to the parachutist found some of the stuff belonging to said parachutist, Charlie explains that they couldn't be Rousseau things because a huge rock would have flown at his head. ("Exodus, Part 2")
- Hurley mentions that the last time he followed the wire, he was almost "kebabed" by one of Rousseau's deathtraps ("Numbers")
- Do not answer the questions here.
- Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Catch-22/Theories
- Primetime grid: Excel Doc
- ABC Medianet Press Release Bundle (04/02/07): Word Doc/PDF