This article is about the episode. For the novel with the same name, see Catch-22 (book).
317 redirects here. For Jacob's candidate with the corresponding number, see Cunningham.

"Catch-22" is the seventeenth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-sixth produced hour of the series as a whole. 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 in finding the person.


Previously on Lost[]


3x17 BloodyDesmond

Desmond apologizes to Brother Campbell after Derek's violent visit.

Desmond is in a monastery in Eddington, Scotland in 1995. While in his quarters, he is visited by Brother Campbell, 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 sought 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 arrives to tell Desmond that someone is at the monastery looking for him. The man follows Brother Martin in and immediately punches Desmond in the face, bloodying his nose. He apologizes to the Brother and leaves.

3x17 DesmondAndRuth

Desmond tries to explain himself to Ruth.

Desmond visits and knocks on the door of a house and Derek, the man who punched him at the monastery answers. Desmond asks to see Derek's sister but Derek tells him to leave. Derek's sister, Ruth, lets him in. They sit down to tea and 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. She wonders how he could possibly 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 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 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 admit it's because he's scared instead of running away.

3x17 DrunkDesmond

A drunk Desmond is caught by Brother Campbell.

At night, Desmond is found by Brother Campbell singing and drinking the monastery wine (of which they've only made 108 cases this year). Brother Campbell tells 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. 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 simply replies, "whatever comes next."


Penny and Desmond meet.

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 meet for the first time--she is Penny. They joke with each other and flirt. He reveals that he is a recently fired 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, and they smile and laugh as they depart.

On the Island[]

3x17 DeadCharlie

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 is shot through 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, 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 wants to know why, so Desmond tells him it's important and that someone is coming.


Sawyer walks in on Kate as she dresses.

They go to see Jack, to borrow a medical kit, under the pretense that Desmond has a twisted ankle. Hurley suspects Desmond and asks if someone is going to get hurt. He refuses to help without an explanation. Desmond compares his flashes to puzzle piece except he does not to know what picture the pieces form. Hurley and the cable are the first piece of this vision but he can't tell more 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 above all else.

Sawyer enters Kate's tent, catching her in the middle of dressing. He is speechless as he looks her over. Kate is visibly irritated by his blatant ogling at her chest, so she points to her own face and says "I'm up here." He asks if she told Jack about her and him. She reveals that she didn't but that Jack saw them on camera at the Hydra. Sawyer offers an invitation for sex, but she rejects him; he jokingly asks her if she needs a mix tape. She replies, "Yeah, why don't you do that!" and leaves the tent and Sawyer behind.

3x17 ConvincingCharlie

Desmond tries to convince Charlie to join 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 but Desmond says no one is going to die. Charlie asks if he can bring his guitar and Desmond, having seen the guitar in the flash, agrees.

The foursome walk the beach, all but Desmond whistling, 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.

3x17 Jin'sGhostStory

Jin tells Hurley and Charlie a Korean ghost story.

At night at the camp, Kate eats oatmeal and attempts friendly conversation and mild flirtation with Jack, who is merely polite and reserved. Jack says goodnight and walks away to meet Juliet. Kate watches sadly as Jack and Juliet eat and laugh together. Kate goes to Sawyer's tent. Sawyer notices that Kate seems upset because she is crying. He attempts to inquire as to her obvious distraught state, but she interrupts his question with a kiss, and tells him to just shut up.

3x17 DesmondRemembersPenny

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. They hear the sound of a helicopter in the distance and Jin thinks it might be a rescue attempt. The helicopter's motors cut out and they hear screeching noises and see the helicopter crash far out in the water. Hurley says they should swim out, but then they see a red flashing light through the dark clouds.

They argue over who it might be. Desmond wants to go and find the parachutist, but Charlie refuses, wanting to wait until it gets light in two hours to avoid Danielle's traps. Desmond, afraid to lose Charlie's piece of the flash puzzle, agrees to wait until first light.

3x17 PingPong

Jack and Sawyer's Ping-Pong match.

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 "home". 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.

3x17 Ardil-22

Desmond finds a copy of Catch-22 in Portuguese.

In the jungle Charlie complains about not getting enough information from Desmond, who points out 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 the battery quickly dies. In the book, Desmond finds a printout of the photo of Penny and him.

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.


The parachutist hangs from a tree.

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. 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 and pushes him out of the way of the arrow. Desmond looks up, afraid that he has destroyed his chance to see Penny.

3x17 MeetNaomi

The woman wakes up, calling out Desmond's name.

Later, Jin and Desmond argue about which way the beacon they saw fell. They decide to split up, and Charlie insists on going with Desmond. Charlie confronts Desmond about knowing about the trap 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 run to find 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 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.



Brother Campbell with Ms. Hawking in a picture on his desk.

  • A "Catch-22" refers to a self-contradicting 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 considered proof of sanity. 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 is wearing a pressure-demand oxygen mask, as opposed to a continuous-flow mask (the kind released in airliners during emergencies). Pressure-demand oxygen masks make an airtight seal and allow for flight at altitudes up to 50,000 feet.
  • 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!" [1]
  • Sawyer mentions he took the tape he gave to Kate from Bernard. This is the first mention of Bernard this season. Rose and Bernard would finally return in "Greatest Hits".
  • Hurley says that the 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.
  • The Flash may 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.
  • This episode is rated TV-14-SV.

Production notes[]


The Flash.


This episode introduces an action motif that appears on the season 5 soundtrack as "For Love of the Dame".

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. Furthermore, the flashback should have taken place in 1994, because in "Flashes Before Your Eyes", in a conversation that occurred in 1996, Desmond says to Mr. Widmore that he and Penelope have been together for two years.
  • Ruth's Scottish accent is obviously false - the actor is from Bristol.
  • During the scene of Jack and Sawyer playing ping pong, the ball is CGI and never actually touches their paddles.
  • After Hurley takes the satellite phone from Jin, what we get in the close up shot of what is supposed to be Hurley holding the phone in his hands, clearly is not actor Jorge Garcia’s hands.
  • There are no commercial vineyards in Scotland. The Scottish climate is too cold to grow grapes, particularly a variety like Cabernet Sauvignon which is a later ripening grape.
  • After Derek's violent visit, blood on Desmond's nose changes size between shots.


Recurring themes[]

  • Sawyer calls the Others "perverts," Ben "Bug-eyed Freak," and Kate "Freckles," claiming she is exempt from his agreement not to use nicknames. (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. Ruth's House number is 234. (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. (Redemption)
  • Brother Campbell has a picture on his desk showing him 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 a form of self-imposed isolation. (Isolation)
  • 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)  (Religion)
  • Kate seduces Sawyer in his tent and they have sex. (Relationships)
  • Charlie dies in Desmond's vision, but Desmond chooses to save Charlie when it happens for real. (Life and death)  (Fate versus free will)

Cultural references[]

  • 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. (Literary works)
  • 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 and TV)
  • 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 [2]). (Literary works)
    • 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)
  • The Bible: Two of the women that Desmond encounters in this episode are named Naomi and Ruth. Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth, who went on to marry Boaz, a member of the Davidic line and therefore a direct ancestor of Joseph, the surrogate father of Jesus Christ. (Religion)
  • Monastery: Desmond was a monk in a monastery, but was eventually "fired". (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. Dominic Monaghan played the character of Merry Brandybuck in the movie adaptations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.(Movies and TV)

Literary techniques[]

  • Predestination paradox — Desmond's mission is a self-fulfilling prophecy; without those flashes of the future, the future wouldn't have happened. This is different from Desmond's previous flashes, which were of things that would have happened whether or not he saw them in advance.
  • 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. (Cliffhanger)  (Plot twist)
  • Desmond's use of "brother" is from his stay at the monastery in Eddington as a monk. (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • In his vision, Desmond lets Charlie die. However, when it actually happens, Desmond intervenes and saves Charlie's life at the last second. (Juxtaposition)

Storyline analysis[]

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

Unanswered questions[]

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Catch-22/Theories

External links[]