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"Par Avion"
Season
Episode

3
12
Airdate
March 14, 2007
Running time
41:19
Production code
{{{pc}}}
Flashback
Flashforward
{{{flashforward}}}
Flashsideways
{{{flashsideways}}}
Centric character(s)
{{{centric}}}
Day(s)
Directed by

Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]


"Par Avion" is the twelfth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-first produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on March 14, 2007. After noticing some migratory birds, Claire hatches an impressive plan to get the survivors of Flight 815 rescued. Meanwhile, Sayid, Kate, Locke and Danielle continue their trek to the Barracks with Mikhail in tow.

Contents

Synopsis

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Flashback

2000

The car wreck

A left eye with heavy black eye-liner slowly opens; it is Claire. She awakens slowly to realize that she is sitting in her automobile immediately after a severe car accident. She is cut, her airbag is deployed and deflated, and her mother has apparently been thrown through the broken windscreen onto the pavement outside. When her door does not work, she crawls out through the windshield to her mother, who remains motionless.

At the hospital while Claire's forehead wound is being stitched, a policeman, Officer Barnes, enters and questions her about the accident. She becomes very defensive when she believes he is implying the fault was hers, or that her mother may die.

Lindsey and Claire learn from the doctor about the anonymous benefactor.

Returning to the hospital after briefly going home for a shower, Claire finds her aunt Lindsey in her mother's room. They have a brief confrontation where Claire is accused of not caring about her mother, when a doctor enters the room. He informs them that the surgery has stabilized her mother's condition, but upon further questioning from Claire, he indicates that her mother may be in a permanent coma. When Lindsey says that they can't afford such long term medical care, the doctor reveals that the entire medical bill has been covered by an anonymous benefactor.

Christian is revealed as Claire's father

Claire later returns to visit her mother to find an American doctor, Christian Shephard, in the room, lightly touching her mother's forearm. When Lindsey enters the room, she immediately demands to know why he is there and begins to argue heatedly with him. Claire is confused as to his identity and how Lindsey knows him. Eventually the man reveals that he is Claire's father, whom she had been told was dead.

Claire and Christian share a cup of coffee and discuss her mother's fate.
Some time later, Claire is working in a tattoo and piercing parlor when Christian enters, and asks her to join him for a conversation over coffee before he leaves Australia. Although she is angry, eventually Claire agrees.

During their meeting at a coffee shop, Christian explains that he had a fling with her mother some years ago that resulted in her birth. He also says that he had visited occasionally when she was younger, but that the fact that he had another family in the United States eventually made her mother and Lindsey too resentful for that to continue. Christian then attempts to persuade Claire that because her mother's prognosis is so poor, letting her die outright may be the right thing to do. When Claire does not agree, and stands and begins to leave without even knowing her father's name, he suggests that it is her guilt for her mother's condition, rather than hope for her recovery, that may be her true motivation.

2004

Claire tells her mother that she is pregnant.
Several years later, in 2004, Claire returns to the hospital to visit her still-comatose mother, which now seems to be a routine; she is sporting blonde hair and is obviously pregnant. She turns the television on to a nature program showing a scene of migratory birds flying in formation. She explains to her unconscious mother that she is pregnant, and is about to give the baby away for adoption. She also apologizes to her mother, explaining that she now understands how hard it was for her mother to raise her. She becomes overwhelmed with guilt and, as she begins to sob, apologizes for arguing with her mother during the fateful car ride, where she told her that she hated her and wished she was dead, and takes responsibility for the subsequent accident.


At the beach

Desmond interrupts Charlie and Claire's breakfast.

Claire opens her right eye, awakening in her tent to a plate of fruit beside her with a message attached to it that reads, "G-Day!" Charlie arrives at her tent, carrying Aaron, and tells her about a picnic he has planned on the beach, and arranged for Sun and Jin to take care of Aaron while they dine. Before Charlie and Claire can settle into their picnic, Desmond comes out of the jungle requesting for Charlie to come hunting with him. Although Charlie is reluctant, Desmond subtly implies to him that he has received a vision telling him Charlie will die if he remains with Claire. At the same time, Claire notices gulls flying in the air and announces that she has realized a possible way of getting off the Island.

Claire and Jin set up the trap.

Claire explains that the gulls are migrating south, and that scientists have tagged them to see where they land in comparison to where they took off from. She devises a plan to capture a gull and tie a rescue note to its leg in hopes that a scientist will find and read it, and enlists Sun and Jin to help. She attempts to persuade Charlie as well, however, he remains uncharacteristically pessimistic, refusing to help. While Jin prepares a net, Claire and Sun chop up fish to use as bait. As they do so, Sun muses that this is precisely what her mother feared - her growing up to cut bait. Claire and Sun briefly discuss their parent's expectations for them before the net is completed and they begin the gull catching. Eventually a lone bird is attracted into the trap, but the group's attempts to capture a bird are thwarted when Desmond fires a hunting rifle, claiming to be boar hunting, and scares the bird away. Frustrated, Claire demands that Charlie tell her why he and Desmond do not want her to catch a bird. When Charlie refuses, Claire stammers that she does not want liars raising Aaron.

Desmond explains his vision of Charlie dying to Claire.

Distraught, Claire decides to find out what is going on for herself. She surreptitiously follows Desmond to a rocky area off the coastline, where he effortlessly plucks a gull from a seaweed mound on the rocks. Claire confronts Desmond, saying that based on how easily he found the bird, which was hidden out of view, without searching, he must have known it would be there. After an initial denial, Desmond explains his visions of the future: he gestures to a rock and claims that it is the location where Charlie, attempting to get a bird for Claire, would have slipped and fallen into the ocean, then died in the treacherous currents under the rocky shoreline.

The gull being released with the message.

Returning to camp, Claire is no longer angry with Charlie; she writes a rescue note and Charlie ties it to the gull's leg. The note informs the reader of the survivors' current circumstances, and encourages whoever finds it to never give up hope on finding them. Claire releases the bird while Charlie solemnly stands beside her. As the bird flies away from the pair, Claire tells Charlie that Desmond told her everything about his visions of Charlie's death. She promises that they can face his supposedly doomed fate together, and that she has not given up hope on him either.


En route to the Barracks

Kate and Danielle talk about Alex.

The search party of Sayid, Locke, Kate, Rousseau, and Mikhail are resting momentarily while Sayid and Locke begin to argue about the relative merits of following the electrical conduit map found in the Flame Station, versus following Eko's stick. Meanwhile, at a rest stop by a stream, when Kate is alone with Rousseau, Kate asks her why she is not interested in as details about her daughter. Rousseau explains that her daughter will not recognize her, will not know of her years of efforts to find her, and quite possibly, Rousseau will not like what her daughter has become. Kate finds herself comparing Rousseau and Alex to herself and Jack.

Later in their journey, when Kate asks Mikhail how he arrived on the Island, he recalls that he was approached by a man when he was 24 and arrived on a submarine.
Mikhail calls the survivors by their full names.
He explains that the submarine can freely leave the Island, but since the recent deactivation of the underwater beacon after the electromagnetic pulse, it would not be able to return to the Island if it left. When Kate says that she can't understand why they would remain on the Island willingly, Mikhail replies that they simply are not capable of understanding. Upon further questioning, he says that only those on the list are able to understand their reasons, but that Kate, Locke, and Sayid are flawed, and therefore not on this list. He also explains that the list was made by the same "great man" who brought all of his people to the Island, and denies that this man is Ben. He also lists specific reasons for why they aren't on the list: Kate is flawed, Locke is angry, and Sayid is "weak and afraid".
The "A-team" at the sonic security fence.
When Sayid indignantly laughs that the Others are not really omniscient, Mikhail immediately begins addressing them all by their full names. He also sarcastically begins to say that everyone is a stranger to him, save Locke, but that he must be mistaken about Locke because the John Locke he was aware of was "para--". He is cut off by Rousseau, who beckons for the group to examine what she has discovered, while he and Locke share a grim knowing look-- no one else realized the significance of the unfinished word, which was, presumably: paralyzed. Rousseau has discovered a series of metallic posts with knobs on either side of the top, directly across their intended path to the Barracks. When asked what its purpose is, Mikhail responds that it once was supposed to guard the barracks, but that it is now broken. He also claims that the system entirely encircles the Barracks, so that going around it is not an option, and tells Sayid to confirm this on his map. Methodically, Locke suddenly puts down his pack, then forcefully pushes Mikhail forward into the line of the security fence between two of the poles.
Mikhail, thought to be dead, after he was pushed to the sonar fence
An intense buzzing sound begins, and Mikhail has time enough to reply "thank you," before he begins foaming at the mouth, then is thrown backward, blood gushing out of his nose and ears, apparently dead.

Sayid angrily questions Locke's motives for accompanying them, and Locke is further incriminated when Kate and Sayid discover C4 in Locke's backpack, showing that he may have been intentionally careless in the destruction of The Flame, contrary to his earlier claim. The four remaining travelers then devise a ramp made of a fallen tree to climb safely over the deadly sonar fence.

Jack playing football with Tom at the barracks.
They soon arrive at the outskirts of the barracks, which is revealed to be the same location as depicted in the opening scene of "A Tale of Two Cities": a more modern, suburb-like area, complete with inviting houses, sidewalks, decorative landscaping, and recreational utilities. As they continue hiding in the surrounding foliage, they suddenly see Jack racing toward their hiding place. Kate utters his name as she begins to move toward Jack, but is held back by Sayid long enough to see that Jack is nonchalantly playing football with Tom. As the scene comes to an end, Jack is seen spiking the football to the ground, happily simulating a touchdown.


Trivia

General

  • Par Avion is French for "by way of air" and is used to designate AIR MAIL. It is used on airmail letters like the one "sent" by Charlie and Claire. Avis is the Latin word for "bird."
  • For a transcript of the rescue letter, see gull.
  • Initially thought to have been a blooper, Mikhail can be seen breathing following his "death". This was debunked when he turned up alive in the episode "D.O.C."
  • Visible at the Barracks are men and women using a lawn fertilizer cart, bicycles, swing sets, carrying backpacks. There is also a child.
  • The name embriodery on the medical uniforms worn by Dr. Woodruff in the hospital in Claire's flashback are reminiscent of the DHARMA uniforms.

Production notes

  • Ben, Hurley, Juliet, Nikki, and Paulo do not appear in this episode.
  • A podcast rehash for the episode was released on March 20th, 2007. (Official Lost Podcast/March 20, 2007)
  • Par Avion is the first Claire-Centric where Aaron doesn't play a part in Claire's actions in flashbacks and real-time events.
  • The uncredited nonspeaking role of Carole Littleton (Claire's mother) was played by Arlene Newman-Van Asperen. This is the character's first appearance on the show.
  • This is the third Claire-centric episode in as many seasons to immediately follow a Sayid-centric episode.
  • This is the last Claire-centric episode to date.


Bloopers and continuity errors

The gull's rescue note hidden in Charlie's hand (a blooper)
  • After seemingly attaching Claire's note to the gull, part of the note can be seen tucked in Charlie's hand. This is a confirmed blooper.
  • After he finished reading Claire's letter, Charlie folds the paper before he says the words "Please don't give up on us". In the very next shot the paper is still unfolded and Charlie folds it again.
  • When Claire is in the car accident, the speedometer is clearly shown with miles-per-hour as the predominate measure of speed, whereas the norm in Australia would be kilometers-per-hour (the cars shown are right-hand drive, which would be correct for Australia). Also, the siren heard in the background is American, not Australian.
  • It is unlikely that Carole Littleton would be forced to fund any medical expenses as a result of a car accident in Australia. The cost of any medical expenses would be borne by CTP, or Medicare. Naturally, any insurance company would seek to limit their exposure to cost, but Medicare is obliged to fund the life threatening medical care of a "public patient", and CTP covers the medical care of any vehicle accident victim.
    • For Christian Shephard to fund this care, either Carole Littleton is not an Australian citizen, or else the vehicle was not registered and this implies that Claire is facing criminal charges of driving an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle.
  • In "Raised by Another", Claire claims that her mother will disown her if she found out that she was pregnant. This is odd, since in this episode it is revealed that Claire's mother was in a coma at that point.
    • Claire is most likely speaking hypothetically ("my Mum would disown me").
    • Claire still talks to her mother as if she were not in a coma.
    • Claire's mother's condition might have been something the writers in Season 1 hadn't yet planned on.

Recurring themes


Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime
  • Claire opens her left eye in the flashback, her right eye on the Island. (Eyes)
  • Claire survived a car accident. (Car accidents)
  • Claire's mother is in a coma, kept alive by life-support machinery. (Life and death)
  • Charlie still appears to be fated to death; Desmond is serving as his life-support in keeping him alive. (Life and death)  (Parapsychology)
  • Claire once told her mother she hated her and later rejects her father. (Parent issues)
  • Claire wants to use birds to communicate with the outside world. (Animals)
  • There are two instances where the flight of birds are featured prominently:
    • Claire sees them while standing with Charlie.
    • Kate and the others are about to cross the sonar fence. (Animals)
  • Claire and Jack are revealed to be unknown half-siblings. (Character connections)
  • Claire changed her hair from black to blonde. (Black and white)
  • Desmond insists that he was hunting boar when confronted by Claire. (Animals)
  • Christian insists that Claire's mother should go through euthanasia, instead of dying naturally or being preserved comatose. (Fate versus free will)
  • Until her mother was hurt in the accident, Claire was led to believe her father was dead. (Deceptions and cons)  (Secrets)
  • Claire initially tells Charlie to stay away from her, but in the end, says they will get through his situation together. (Isolation)
  • Unknown to be half-siblings, Jack and Claire are on the same flight and Claire happens to be on the same flight as her father's corpse. (Coincidence)
  • Claire thinks she can get everyone off the Island by attaching a message to a tagged gull before it migrates. (Salvation)
  • Claire apologizes to her mother for treating her badly. (Redemption)
  • When Locke is chopping down the tree, he hits it with the axe 8 times. (The Numbers)
  • The odometer in Claire's car ends in 10.8 in black and white letters (Black and White)  (The Numbers)
  • Mikhail claims that "He" is a "magnificent" man. (Good and bad people)
  • Claire works in a piercing/tattoo shop. Her half brother Jack has a tattoo which has only been partially explained to date. (Character connections)
  • When Claire and Charlie release the bird with the note attached, it is joined by 14 other birds, flying away. A few seconds later, opening another scene, are the same 15 birds, seen by Kate. (Animals)  (The Numbers)


Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Bondi Beach: Claire sets Aaron on a Bondi Beach t-shirt. This beach is a popular location in Sydney. (Pop culture misc. references)
  • The Fountainhead: Sawyer is reading Ayn Rand's 1943 novel The Fountainhead. The book's title is a reference to Rand's statement that "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress". Characters in the book include a con-man who is in love with a woman called "Katie." (Books)
  • American Football: Jack was playing catch football with Tom. (Games)
  • Barbie: while trying hard to honor his bet of not calling people nicknames, Sawyer almost slips and calls Claire "Barb...". Barbie is a best-selling blond fashion doll launched in 1959 by Mattel, Inc.. (Games)
  • Star Wars: In the first trilogy Luke and Leia fought the dark side together. In the last film they finally found out they were brother and sister. Also this was told to Luke by a dead person (a common theme in Lost as well). (Movies)


Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
A-MissionsCrimesEconomicsLeadershipO-MissionsRelationshipsF-MissionsRivalries


Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Mikhail appears to be breathing after Kate examines his body. This foreshadows his revival in a later episode. (Foreshadowing)
  • Locke pushing Bakunin into the fence parallels the flashback of Cooper pushing him through the window in "The Man from Tallahassee". Like his father, Locke doesn't hesitate to sacrifice someone he thinks is about to give him away...so ironically, like Sawyer, he is repeating the actions of the man he hates the most, and has done everything to avoid becoming. (Irony)  (Juxtaposition)
  • For unexplained reasons, Jack is seen enjoying himself playing a game of catch football with one of the Others. That scene was part of a series of scenes showing Jack in a context that intentionally leads both the other characters and the viewers into questioning Jack's loyalties. This was more than just a single plot twist and was an effort by the show's producers to mess with the viewer's minds. (Plot twist)


External links

  • ABC Medianet - Press release

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

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