"Par Avion" is the 12th episode of Season 3, and originally broadcasted 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, John and Danielle continue their trek to the barracks with prisoner in tow.
A left eye with heavy black eye-liner slowly opens; it is Claire. She has awakens to slowly realize that she is sitting in her automobile immediately after a severe car accident. She is cut, her airbag is deployed and deflated, the windshield has been completely shattered, and her mother's body has apparently been thrown through it 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 immediately becomes very defensive when she believes he is implying the fault was hers, or that her mother may die.
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 Aunt 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.
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 what he is here and begins to argue heatedly with him. Claire is confused as to his identity and why Lindsey knows him. Eventually the man reveals that he is Claire's father, whom she had been told was dead.
Sometime later, Claire is working in a tattoo and piercing parlor when Christian. Shephard 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.
Many months or years later, 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 better how hard it was for her mother to raise her. She then 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 camp
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 seagulls flying in the air and announces that she has realized a possible way of getting off the island.
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 seagull 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. While a lone bird is attracted to the trap, 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.
Distraught, Claire decides to find out what is going on for herself. She 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, he knew it would be there. Desmond whimsically replies, "How would I know that?" After a long silence, Desmond gestures to a rock, saying that that's where Charlie fell into the ocean, was slammed repeatedly against the rocks by the current, and subsequently died.
Returning to camp, Claire 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 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
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.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. 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 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". 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. 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 sonic security fence.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 shouts his name and 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 touch down.
- Par Avion is French for "by way of plane". It is used on airmail letters like the one "sent" by Charlie and Claire.
- There are two instances where the flight of birds are featured prominently (Claire sees them while standing with Charlie, and as Kate and the others are about to cross the fence). Romans used augurs to examine the flight of birds and determine whether a course of action already decided upon met with the approval of the gods.
- Aves is the Latin word for "bird."
- Matthew Fox played wide receiver for the Columbia Lions during his college football years.  Fox also starred in the film "We Are Marshall", a film about the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team.
- Mikhail appears to be breathing after Kate examines his body.
- Claire sets Aaron on a Bondi Beach t-shirt. This beach is a popular location near Sydney.
- Visible at the Barracks are men and women using a lawn fertilizer cart, bicycles, swing sets, carrying backpacks. There is also a child.
- In Claire's tattoo shop there is flash that says "Alex".
- The uncredited nonspeaking role of Carole Littleton (Claire's mother) was played by Arlene Newman-Van Asperen.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Claire opens her left eye in the flashback, her right eye on the island. (Eyes)
- Claire's mother is in a coma. (Life and Death)
- 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)
- Sawyer is reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. (Books)
- Claire and Jack are revealed to be unknown half-siblings. (Connections)
- Claire changed her hair from black to blonde. (Black and White)
- Desmond insists that he was hunting boar when confronted by Claire. (Animals)
- The flashback and island scenes begin with close-ups of Claire's eye. (Eyes)
- 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)
- Jack was playing catch football with Tom. (Games)
- Claire apologizes to her mother for treating her badly. (Redemption)
- 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 (Connections)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- The rivalry between Lindsey and Christian Shephard is clarified. (Rivalries)
- The rivalry between Sayid and Locke is intensified when Locke kills Mikhail. (Rivalries)
- Part II of the A-Mission to rescue Jack is complete when the A-Team reaches the Barracks. (A-Missions)
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Par Avion/Theories
- How do Sayid, Kate, Locke, Danielle intend to pass the fence when getting out?
- The rescue note looks like it's just paper - isn't it likely that this will get wet/damaged pretty quickly?
- Why do the barracks require such extreme security measures?
- Will Claire's plan for rescue yield any results?
- Why Charlie kept the rescue note in his hands after give back the seagull to Claire (just before she released it)? Doesn't he want to be rescued?
- How did Mikhail know the surnames of the survivors?
- Why didn't he address Danielle at all during his short captivity?
- Has Jack made a deal with the Others or somehow been "converted" by them?
- What is the list that Mikhail referred to?
- Why does Mikhail thank Locke for killing him?
- How do the Others safely cross the Sonic Barrier? When Flight 815 crashed, Ethan and Goodwin had limited amount of time to make it to the wreckage.
- If subterranean passages are available, why did the team not attempt to search them out?
- Will Claire and Jack realize that they are half-siblings?
- Was the fence built to keep people in or out?
- How had Rousseau never come across the fence in her 16 years on the island?
- Why did Christian Shephard tell hospital staff he was the doctor attending Claire's mother? Why did he not just say he was a visitor?
- Why did Christian return to Australia and demand to see Claire (in "Two for the Road"), after stating that he would be out of her life permanently after their cup of coffee? Was he trying to warn her about flying on 815?
- Christian was in a deep, alcohol-realted depression at that time therefore his visit can be attributed to that.
- If the fence was sonic, why did it not affect the rest of the group? How was the sound contained so precisely?
- Why is Desmond so secretive about his ability?
- If Desmond foresaw Charlie dying in an attempt to catch a bird, why did he thwart Claire and Sun when they were just about to catch one?
- Why does Kate not try to reach Jack with a boat? At this point she could not know Jack was moved to a new location.
- Although she did know that the others live on their island, and she could have been trying to find the others who know how to get to Jack.
- With the subterranean map-making mention of a Barracks Key, does this mean there is a gate/door that is access controlled, allowing only Others of certain security levels access outside/inside the Barracks?
- ABC Medianet (Press Release)