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Flashbacks: Misc



Up to date as of February 07, 2010

From Lostpedia

Flashback redirects here. For the magazine issue, see Flashback (magazine)

In literature, film, television and other media, a flashback (also called analepsis) is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened prior to the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory. In the opposite direction, a flashforward (or prolepsis) reveals events that will occur in the future. The technique is used to create suspense in a story, or develop a character. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashback to before the narrative started.

Flashbacks are a major part of how Lost tells its story and one of the major components that makes it such a unique and distinctive television program compared to other TV shows. Each main character has been featured in one or multiple flashbacks that portray what happened in their life before being stranded on the Island.


Main format

In general, each episode's flashbacks follow these norms:

General exceptions

  • The episode "The Other 48 Days" was the first episode to take place entirely in flashback - it follows the Tailies from the crash until they reach Sayid and Shannon, and had screen titles indicating "Day X".
  • The flashbacks in "Maternity Leave" are signaled differently. Instead of a close-up of the character and the "whoosh" sound, Claire's flashbacks begin with sudden flashes of mental images as her memory is jogged followed by a thwanging sound. Additionally, her flashbacks are from her time on the Island, specifically during her kidnapping.
  • The "flashbacks" in "Three Minutes", while narratively similar, are not true flashbacks. They do not contain the "whoosh" sound, they are labeled with captions (like "Thirteen days earlier"), and they occur on the Island.
  • Charlotte, Libby and Walt are the only main characters who did not get their own flashback episodes, although they had minor point-of-view (POV) flashbacks and have appeared in other people's flashbacks.
  • Rose and Bernard were the first guest stars to get a flashback episode ("S.O.S.").
  • Desmond's flashbacks in "Live Together, Die Alone" were the first from a character who was not on board Flight 815.
  • In "Flashes Before Your Eyes" Desmond relives events of his past, aware that the events have already happened. Even though one could say he is aware it is a flashback, that's not precisely the case: he is aware it is his past, but even those events were part of a larger flashback segment which included the scene in the Hatch when Desmond switches the failsafe key and the scene when he is alone in the jungle, which take place before and after his "conscious flashback", respectively. The only actual difference between this flashback and the main format flashbacks is that this one is continuous, instead of intercut with on-island scenes as usual.
  • Nikki and Paulo's flashbacks in "Exposé" had both off island and on island segments, and had "X days ago" titles.
  • Juliet's final flashback in "One of Us" did not feature the usual "whooshing" noise since it occurred a long time after the crash of Flight 815.
  • In "Through the Looking Glass", there was a flash-forward centered around Jack, instead of a flashback. This would be repeated in season four with Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Sun and Ben.(("The Beginning of the End") ("The Economist") ("Eggtown") (("Ji Yeon") ("The Shape of Things to Come"))
  • Daniel, Charlotte, Miles & Frank were never on the plane but they had flashbacks nonetheless which take place after the crash, but before they got to the Island. ("Confirmed Dead")
  • When Naomi had a flashback she was already dead. ("Confirmed Dead")
  • Desmond's flashes in "The Constant" are similar to his flashes in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" in that they have to do with his consciousness moving through time rather than just his memory. However, he is aware that they are happening, and when he returns to the present, it's as if no time has passed at all. ("The Constant")
  • "Ji Yeon" was the first episode to feature both flashbacks and flashforwards intertwined.
  • "Dave" is the only episode to end on a flashback.

Multiple characters

Most flashbacks are from the POV of one character. For instance, while the "Hearts and Minds" flashbacks feature Shannon, they are clearly Boone's flashbacks, from his POV. There have been some exceptions to this rule:

Temporal exceptions

For the first two seasons, most flashbacks took place before the plane crash. However, there are some exceptions:


  • The producers dismissed the theory that the flashbacks are fake or implanted.[source needed]
  • Occasionally flashbacks open up with a character other than the centric character. Examples of this include the Emily Locke scenes at the start of "Cabin Fever" and the Frank Lapidus scene at the start of "The Lie". These flashbacks however do contain the centric character and advance their story, thus counting as their flashbacks.

See also


This article uses material from the "Flashbacks" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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