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Season 3, Episode 17
Airdate April 18, 2007
Production Number 317
Written by Jeff Pinkner
Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Stephen Williams
← 3x16
One of Us
3x18 →
LostSeason Three

Catch-22 is the seventeenth episode of the third season of Lost, and the sixty-sixth episode overall.

Desmond coaxes Charlie, Hurley and Jin on a trek across the jungle after experiencing one of his future-prophesizing "flashes" - but is he purposely placing Charlie’s life in harm’s way? Meanwhile, Kate turns to an unwitting Sawyer after seeing Jack alone with Juliet.

Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Michael Emerson (Ben), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (Locke).

Guest Starring: Sonya Walger (Penelope Widmore), Andrew Connolly (Brother Campbell), Marsha Thomason (Naomi).

Co-Starring: Joanna Bool (Ruth), Jack Maxwell (Derek), Andrew Trask (Brother Martin).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • In one of his flashes of future events, Desmond sees himself hiking through the jungle with Hurley, Charlie and Jin. Charlie and Hurley argue over whether Superman or the Flash is faster, but Charlie inadvertently steps on a trip wire, triggering a crossbow that shoots an arrow into his neck. Charlie dies in Desmond's arms, but then Desmond sees brief flashes of events leading up to Charlie's death. With the flashes past, Desmond rushes over to Hurley for his help in finding the cable in the sand, believing someone is coming to the island. Hurley wants to know what's going to happen, but Desmond refuses to tell him as he worries any information might lead to the future changing. Hurley gets on board and helps Desmond recruit Jin, telling Jin that they're going on a camping trip. Charlie proves to be a harder sell, but Desmond promises him that he isn't going to die and the flashes are about something else.

    With the group formed, they travel down the beach until the cable is found. Hurley picks it up and warns Desmond of how he almost got killed by one of Rousseau's traps the last time he followed the cable. But Desmond tells him they aren't going into the jungle - yet - and are going to make camp for the night. While Jin and Hurley trade ghost stories around the camp fire, Charlie goes off to see Desmond who is sitting off alone. Desmond shows him the picture of himself and Penny, telling him he left her behind because he's a coward. "With enough money and determination, you can find anyone", and thus Penny was able to track Desmond down when he ran away. Desmond had hoped that Penny hadn't given up on finding him, that she's been searching for the past three years. The group hears the noise of a helicopter overhead, but the engine sounds problematic and, soon after, they spot it crashing into the ocean off shore. However, Jin points out that someone has parachuted from the helicopter with a red emergency beacon and is going to land somewhere in the jungle. Believing the parachutist is Penny, Desmond wants to head out into the jungle immediately but Charlie stops him. Desmond reluctantly agrees to wait two hours for first light.

    Continuing into the jungle with the sun up, the group find a backpack caught up in a tree. Emptying its contents, the group discover a Portuguese language copy of "Catch-22" and a satellite phone. Realizing that it's a satellite phone, Hurley attempts to use it but the phone indicates there's an internal error and shuts off. Inside the copy of "Catch-22", Desmond finds a copy of the photograph of himself and Penny. Desmond reveals that he believes the person coming to the island is Penny. Continuing onward, Hurley and Charlie begin to argue about Superman and the Flash and which one is faster. Charlie accidentally steps on a trip wire as Desmond sees Rousseau's crossbow trap. He yells for Charlie to duck as he tackles him, preventing the arrow from striking Charlie's neck and instead striking the neck of the guitar.

    Moving on again, the group decides to split up to find Penny, but Charlie elects to stick with Desmond. Alone with him, Charlie confronts him about how he knew he was going to die. Desmond finally tells Charlie that he was supposed to let him die, that he keeps saving his life but he keeps happening again and again. Perhaps he's supposed to let Charlie die, like how God tested Abraham by ordering him to kill Isaac. Jin's yelling grabs their attention and the two discover that Jin and Hurley have found her hanging from a tree in a flight suit and helmet. Using the parachute as a safety net, Desmond cuts Penny down and her unconscious body is safely caught in the net. Desmond quickly rushes to Penny's side and removes her helmet — discovering the woman isn't Penny.

  • On the beach, Sawyer stops by Kate's shelter. Barging in, he finds Kate in the middle of getting dressed. Eying her chest more than her face, Sawyer finally gets his question out to her about whether or not she told Jack about them. Kate tells him she hasn't, but he knows as the Others had a camera on the cage at The Hydra. Relived that Jack knows, Sawyer immediately propositions Kate for some "afternoon delight" - sex. Kate walks out and Sawyer sarcastically asks her if she wants a mix tape, which Kate tells him to do.

    That night, Kate sits by herself eating when Jack comes up to grab some food. Kate tells him that it's strange being back at the beach camp instead of locked inside a cage or running off into the jungle, and Jack tells her she should enjoy it as something will go wrong soon enough. Borrowing a spoon from Kate, Jack wishes her goodnight and heads over to Juliet to have a meal together. Kate watches the two conversing and laughing and, upset at the sight, heads into Sawyer's shelter. Straddled by Kate, Sawyer notices she's crying but Kate tells him to shut up and the two have sex. In the morning, Sawyer approaches Jack to inform him of a new development while he was gone - table tennis. The two play a heated game of table tennis with Sawyer happy he's found something he can beat Jack at. Making small talk with the doc, Sawyer tells him it must be strange being back to the camp after all that time. Jack tells him that Kate said the same thing to him the other night, piquing Sawyer's interest so much he misses Jack's serve.

    Sawyer later finds Kate cooling off and hands her a cassette tape — the mix tape she wanted. Kate notices it's a Phil Collins tape, but Sawyer tells her to not be picky and to not let Bernard know about it if he comes looking for it. Broaching the subject of why she jumped him the other night, Sawyer asks her if she did it because she saw Jack with Juliet. Sawyer simply tells her that she doesn't need to use him, she only needs to ask.

The Flashback

  • Flashback: Desmond

At a monastery, Brother Campbell enters Desmond's room and hands him monk's robes. As Desmond puts them on, Brother Campbell tells him of how their vow of silence is a test for those who wish to join the monastery, and is as long as they see fit. Personally, he didn't think Desmond would make it, but now Desmond is one of them.

Brother Campbell and Desmond bottle wine that the monastery produces. Desmond points out the vineyard's name, Moriah, and believes it to be ironic that the brothers have named the vineyard after the mountain on which God asked Abraham to kill Isaac. Brother Campbell reminds Desmond that God spared Isaac, but Desmond believes God shouldn't have asked Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place. Brother Campbell points out that, in that case, it wouldn't have been much of a test and that Desmond may be underestimating the value of sacrifice. Another brother brings a man to see Desmond, and the man immediately punches Desmond in the face and leaves.

Desmond knocks on the door of a house in the suburbs and the door is answered by the man who punched him, Derek. Asking for Derek's sister, Desmond is told to leave, but Ruth appears and agrees to talk to him. The two sit and have some tea, and Desmond tells her that he felt it was time to give her an explanation. Ruth believes he could never give an adequate explanation, seeing as how after six years of dating he left one week before the wedding when everything was planned, bought and paid for. Desmond tells her he was scared about the wedding and got drunk. When he woke up, a monk helped him up and he knew he was supposed to go with him, to leave everything that mattered behind for a greater calling. Unconvinced by his story, Ruth tells Desmond to simply tell the girl he's too scared the next time he wants to break up.

Returning to the monastery, Desmond proceeds to get himself drunk off the monk's wine in the middle of the night. Brother Campbell finds him and asks him what he's doing, telling him the bottle of wine he's drinking fetches over £100. Desmond tells him it's good that they've taken a vow of poverty, but Brother Campbell reminds him they've also taken a vow of charity. Desmond apologizes for drinking the wine and agrees to take penance for it, but Brother Campbell tells him he's beyond penance and is fired. He believes God has different plans for Desmond than being a monk, that Desmond has spent too much time running away to realize what he may be running toward. Desmond asks him what he's supposed to do now, and Brother Campbell simply tells him to do what comes next.

The next day, Desmond returns his robes to Brother Campbell. Before Desmond leaves, Brother Campbell informs him that Brother Martin is heading into town in a few hours and could give him a ride if he doesn't mind doing some heavy lifting. Outside, Desmond prepares ten crates of the monastery's wine while a woman, Penelope Widmore, meets with Brother Campbell and informs him that her father, Charles Widmore, has already sent a cheque for the wine. Brother Campbell says his goodbyes to Desmond and leaves. As he loads her vehicle, Desmond strikes up a conversation with Penny, telling her that the monastery only makes a limited number of cases each year because the monks are lazy. Asked how he knows so much about monks, Desmond tells her he used to be one until he got himself fired, that God allegedly has bigger plans for him. Penny tells him that they might be right, that if he hadn't gotten fired then they wouldn't have met and then he couldn't help her unload the crates in Carlisle. Desmond asks her if he said he was going to Carlisle with her, but Penny tells him he hasn't - yet. Telling her he doesn't usually get into cars with strangers, the two introduce themselves to one another.



  • Who is the helicopter pilot?


The Cursed Numbers

  • Sawyer jokingly claims they have to play table tennis every 108 minutes or the island will explode. 108 is the sum of the numbers.
  • Brother Campbell tells Desmond they've only bottled 108 cases of the wine he's drinking. 108 is the sum of the numbers.


  • Oops: In Desmond's flash forward in the beginning of the episode, he sees Charlie die from one of Rousseau's traps. However, in the subsequent quick flashes, Charlie is seen holding the parachute to catch the parachutist. If Charlie had died like he was supposedly going to, then he wouldn't have been present.
  • Arithmetics: Brother Campbell says they've bottled 108 boxes of wine, but the label on the bottle claims that 500 bottles are made each year. This would mean that there are 4.63 bottles in each box. Usually, wine is packed in boxes of six or twelve bottles.
  • Sunny Scotland: The label on the bottle says that the wine was "grown and bottled" in Eddington, Scotland. Scotland does not have the appropriate climate for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Arc Advancement


  • Desmond, Charlie, Hurley and Jin find a mystery woman who ejected from a helicopter.


  • Kate has sex with Sawyer after seeing Jack with Juliet.
  • Desmond has second thoughts about saving Charlie.


  • 1x18 - Numbers: After finding the cable in the sand, Hurley warns Desmond of how he almost got killed by one of Rousseau's traps the last time he followed the cable. In "Numbers", Hurley followed the cable into the jungle while looking for Rousseau.
  • 2x17 - Lockdown: Jin suggests the red emergency beacon seen in the night is another pallet drop. In "Lockdown", a DHARMA Initiative pallet is dropped near the Swan station with a red strobe marker.
  • 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone: While talking to Charlie about Penny, Desmond tells him about how she tracked him down. In "Live Together, Die Alone", Penny tracked Desmond down to a stadium in Los Angeles, California, telling him that "with enough money and determination, you can find anyone."
  • 3x06 - I Do: Sawyer asks Kate if she told Jack about them. She tells him she hasn't, but Jack already knows. In "I Do", Sawyer and Kate slept together, and Jack saw them together over a video monitor.
  • 3x08 - Flashes Before Your Eyes: Hurley initially believes Desmond got the first aide kit from Jack because someone is going to get hurt, just like how Desmond knew that Claire was drowning. In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond knew Claire was about to drown and Charlie was going to drown while trying to save her, so he saved her to prevent Charlie's death.
  • 3x11 - Enter 77: Sawyer refers to Kate as "Freckles", resulting in her reminding him about losing his bet. In "Enter 77", Sawyer loses a table tennis match against Hurley and so must refrain from using nicknames for a week.


The Show

  • The Flash: While arguing with Charlie over whether Superman or the Flash is faster than the other, Hurley takes the position of the Flash being faster. In season one's "Exodus, Part Two", Hurley is seen boarding Oceanic flight 815 with a Flash/Green Lantern comic book that's written in Spanish. After the crash, Walt finds the comic in "Pilot, Part One", but it is later burned by his father, Michael.
  • Sprained Ankle: Desmond gets a first aide kit from Jack under the pretense of a sprained ankle. Desmond and Jack first met at a stadium in season two's "Man of Science, Man of Faith", when Jack hurts his ankle while trying to keep up with Desmond. After taking a look at Jack's leg, Desmond comes to the conclusion that it isn't sprained.
  • Monastery: The monastery Desmond stayed at was the fictional Moriah Vineyards at Eddington, Scotland, United Kingdom.
  • Oatmeal: As Jack looks to get something to eat, Kate tells Jack that the "oatmeal is awesome." In "One of Us", Hurley is seen making a big batch of oatmeal while Charlie tries to tell him that the way he's making it is too soggy.
  • Ardil: The helicopter pilot's copy of "Catch-22" is in Portuguese, hence "Ardil-22". The two men in the listening post who detected the electromagnetic anomaly from the activation of the Swan's fail-safe device were Brazilian (who speaks Portuguese).
  • Satellite Phone: When Hurley activates the satellite phone found in the jungle, it shows that it's receiving a signal. However, the phone indicates it has an internal error before shutting off.
  • Mrs. Hawking: When Desmond returns his robes to Brother Campbell, there is a picture in a frame on Brother Campbell's desk. The picture is a badly composited photo of Brother Campbell and Mrs. Hawking in front of an abbey. Mrs. Hawking is the woman from Desmond's flashback in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" who tells Desmond that the universe has a way of course correcting and that Desmond is supposed to end up on the island.

Behind the Scenes

  • Satellite Phone: The satellite phone found in the jungle is a Motorola 9500 Portable Satellite Phone used by Iridium Satellite. However, the entire front face of the phone and its graphical user interface is a prop created specifically for the show and does not actually exist on the real unit.
  • Location, Location, Location: The Scottish abbey Desmond stays at is St. Andrews Priory in Honolulu, HI.

Allusions and References

  • Catch-22: Catch-22 is a novel by Joseph Heller. In it, a squadron of air force soldiers during WWII have to fly endless bombing missions. The only way to get home is to be declared insane. However, to be declared insane they must claim insanity, but doing that proves that they're sane and they must stay. If they stay willingly, they are clearly insane, but because they are not claiming insanity, they can't get out either. Based on the plot of the novel, the term "Catch-22" has been used to describe lose-lose situations. In the episode, the catch seems to be that Desmond can either meet Penny, which means Charlie has to die, or he can save Charlie, which means he can't meet Penny.
  • Superman and the Flash: Hurley and Charlie argue over who is faster: Superman or the Flash. Superman and the Flash are two superheroes of DC Comics. Superman was traditionally described as "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound", but his multiple powers have grown since his character's inception in the 1930's. He had flight, super-strength, super-speed, vision powers, super-hearing and super-breath. The Flash, on the other hand, has only one super power. He can move, think and react at superhuman speeds due to his connection to the Speed Force, an extradimensional energy source. The Flash and Superman have held several races to determine which one is faster, but most have ended in ties or indeterminate results.
  • Afternoon Delight: Finding out that Jack already knows that he slept with Kate, Sawyer asks if she's up for an "afternoon delight". "Afternoon Delight" is a 1976 song by the Starland Vocal Band with sexually suggestive lyrics. The lyrics include "Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight/Gonna grab me some afternoon delight/My motto's always been 'when it's right, it's right'/Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night?/When everything's a little clearer in the light of day/And we know the night is always gonna be there any way". In Arrested Development episode titled "Afternoon Delight", the show's main character, Michael Bluth, sings a karaoke version of this song while becoming increasingly aware of the song's sexually suggestive lyrics.
  • Whistling: While trekking down the beach, Charlie, Hurley and Jin whistle the "Colonel Bogey March", a march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts. The march was used most famously in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), but was also used in U.S. movies like The Breakfast Club (1985) and Spaceballs (1987).
  • Moriah and Isaac: While bottling wine, Brother Campbell and Desmond speak about Moriah and Isaac. Moriah is the name given to a mountain range in the book of Genesis and is the location of the near sacrifice of Isaac. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah and Abraham set out to obey God's command without question. God wished to test Abraham and, at the last second, an angel of God stops Abraham from killing Isaac. Many Biblical commentators argue that God was testing Abraham to see if he would follow through and kill his own son, but some commentators believe that Abraham misinterpreted God and that God only demanded a symbolic sacrifice.
  • Chupacabra: When it's Hurley's time to tell a ghost story, he starts off asking if they know about the chupacabra. "Chupacabra" is Spanish for "goat sucker" and comes from the creature's supposed habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock. It has been seen in the Americas, particularly Puerto Rico in the early 1990s. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines from its neck down to its tail. Scientists and experts generally contend that the chupacabra is an urban legend.
  • Celtic: Desmond tells Ruth that he had a religious experience, which makes Ruth tell him that, in the six years they dated, the closest thing he had to a religious experience was when Celtic won the cup. The Celtic Football Club is a Scottish football club based in Glasgow, Scotland that competes in the Scottish Premier League. As the flashback takes place around 1995, the cup Ruth refers to is most likely the Scottish Cup in the 1994-1995 season or the 1989-1990 season. The Scottish Football Associate Challenge Cup, or The Scottish Cup, is a national cup knockout competition in Scottish football. The trophy has the distinction of being the oldest national trophy in the world. Desmond later sings a few lines from a fight song for the Celtic. Significantly, Celtic is part of the Catholic community of Glasgow (the Protestant club is Glasgow Rangers).
  • AWOL: Sawyer tells Jack that there's been some new developments since he went AWOL. AWOL is a military acronym for Absent Without Official Leave. Military personnel become AWOL when they are absent from their post without a valid pass or leave.
  • Purple Haze: While playing table tennis with Jack, Sawyer refers to the purple sky from the Swan's fail-safe activation as "purple haze". "Purple Haze" is a song recorded in 1967 by Jimi Hendrix. It's often cited as one of his greatest songs and his first international hit. The song has been claimed to be about Hendrix's experiences with LSD, from a dream Hendrix had, from a phrase Hendrix read in a science fiction novel, and that it's about love.
  • Phil Collins: Sawyer gives Kate a "mix tape" of Phil Collins. Phil Collins is an English rock and pop musician. He's best known as the lead singer and drummer of the rock group Genesis and as a Grammy and Academy Award-winning solo artist. Kate says the cassette tape is the "Best of Phil Collins", but there is no compilation album of this exact title in his discography.

Memorable Moments

  • Jin tells a ghost story at the camp fire with a flashlight in his face, scaring the hell out of Hurley even though Hurley can't understand what he's saying.


  • Sawyer: You need me to make you a mix tape?
  • Jack: You a doctor or a carpenter?
    Juliet: What? Your dad never taught you how to use a hammer?
    Jack: No, my dad taught me how to drink.
    Juliet: Well, at least it's something.
  • Sawyer: Hope I'm not interruptin'. You two arguin' over who's your favorite Other?
  • Sawyer: If we don't play [ping-pong] every 108 minutes, the island is going to explode!
  • Kate: What's this?
    Sawyer: Your mix tape.
    Kate: (laughs)
    Sawyer: Well, are you gonna take it or ain't you?
    Kate: "The Best of Phil Collins", huh?
    Sawyer: Don't get picky.


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