Desmond interrupts Charlie and Hurley as they are rifling through Sawyer’s stash, and tells them they must come with him into the jungle. There, Locke and Sayid are waiting. Locke tells them that Eko is dead. Desmond suddenly runs at high speed back to the beach, with the others following. Desmond dives into the water for no immediately apparent reason, but soon we see a body floating further out. Desmond rescues Claire – she had gotten caught in an undertow while swimming.
Charlie wants to find out how Desmond knew that Claire was drowning. When he finds a bottle of scotch in Sawyer’s stash, he has his weapon. With Hurley in tow, Charlie invites Desmond to have a drink. Desmond initially refuses, but when he sees it is McCutcheon whiskey, he agrees. Charlie gets Desmond drunk, but Desmond reveals nothing, and when Charlie calls him a coward, Desmond almost strangles him.
Charlie carries Desmond to his tent, where they trade apologies. Charlie asks Desmond for information one more time. Desmond says his life flashing before his eyes won’t stop. Desmond explains that he was not saving Claire – he was saving Charlie. He says Charlie dove in after Claire and tried to save her and drowned. He also says that Charlie was electrocuted by the lightning as well. Desmond says he can’t protect him forever.
Desmond’s backstory / time travel: When Desmond turned the key, he was transported to time to his flat, three years ago. Penny has moved in with Desmond (after he refused to move in to her luxury flat). Desmond realizes immediately that he has been there before. Desmond visits Penny’s father, ostensibly to get a job, but in reality he asks to marry Penny and wants her father’s blessing. Instead, he gets an insult to his character – that he is not good enough to share a drink of fine McCutcheon whiskey – that he will never be a great man. Outside the office, he runs into Charlie, busking. He tries to convince Charlie that he knows him, but is seen as a nut. He visits a scientist friend, who tells him that time travel doesn’t exist. Desmond looks at the soccer game on TV in the pub and predicts – incorrectly – that one team is going to come from behind.
Desmond goes to buy a ring for Penny. The clerk tells him he cannot buy the ring, because he is not meant to marry Penny – he is meant to go to the island and push the button. Somehow, this woman is aware of his traveling through time and knows the way the timeline is supposed to play out. Desmond ignores her, and prepares to ask Penny to marry him anyway, but at the last minute, he backs out, saying that they are not meant to be together. Later, back in the pub, his soccer game prediction comes true, and he realizes he is not crazy.
All over, Desmond sees the numbers. A delivery man is bringing something for room 815. The clock says 1.08.
It’s ironic that Charlie is busking an Oasis song (Wonderwall), since Charlie and Liam have always seemed like they are very similar to the two brothers from Oasis.
I know from my Star Trek that when it comes to time travel and alternative timelines, you shouldn’t think about the logic of it too much, because it will make your brain hurt.
[Charlie and Hurley are ransacking Sawyer's stash]
Hurley: Dude, I don't know about this.
Charlie: See, you're looking at this all wrong. He would want us to do this.
Hurley: He'd want us to ransack his tent and take his stash? Yeah, that sounds exactly like Sawyer.
Charlie: Well, he stole all this in the first place. I mean, people need food, they need medical supplies, they need... [Finds adult magazines] ...shocking amounts of pornography.
Charlie: So, you're telling me you saw a flash of Claire drowning this morning so you knew how to save her?
Desmond: I wasn't saving Claire, Charlie... I was saving you. This morning, you dove in after Claire. You tried to save her but you drowned.
Charlie: What do you mean? I didn't drown.
Desmond: When I saw the light hit the roof, you were electrocuted. And when Claire was in the water, you drowned trying to save her. I dove in myself so you never went in, I tried, brother, I've tried twice to save you, but the universe has a way of course correcting and I can't stop it forever. I'm sorry - I'm sorry because, no matter what I try to do... you're gonna die, Charlie.