"The Moth" is the seventh episode of Season 1 of Lost. Charlie struggles with withdrawal symptoms after giving his remaining heroin stash to John Locke. Elsewhere, Sayid sets his plan in motion to isolate the origin of the French distress signal, in the hope that it could provide means of finding a way off the Island. Flashbacks in this episode center around Charlie's struggles with the temptations involved with being a rock star and also his older brother's (Liam Pace) massive ego.



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Charlie at confessional.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned," says Charlie as he sits in the confessional of a church. He discusses his recent promiscuous experiences and attributes them to his band, Drive Shaft, which is becoming extremely popular locally and causing him a lot of temptation. Through counsel, Charlie decides that he must quit the band. Outside the confessional, he finds his rebellious brother, Liam Pace, who shows Charlie a record contract. Their band is finally going to make it big.

Leaving the church grounds, Liam tries to convince Charlie to take up the opportunity. Charlie is unsure, but Liam says he'll watch out for him and promises that if Charlie says so, they will immediately walk away.


Drive Shaft performing in concert.

At a gig, the band is playing to a hungry crowd when Liam steals Charlie's lines. Charlie's love for the music conflicts with Liam's "in the moment" attitude, and he is shocked to see Liam's disregard when he retires to the dressing room with a girl in one arm and some gear in the other.

Liam steals the show

Liam steals Charlie's lines during the chorus to "You All Everybody"

At a later show, Charlie enters the dressing room, ordering Liam's girls to get out. The main singer has missed the sound check, and seeing his brother in the state that he is in, Charlie asks Liam to make good on his promise to walk away. Liam won't allow it, saying that without the band, Charlie is nothing. Liam storms out of the room. Charlie sits down and finds Liam's heroin stash. He begins to cry as he looks at it.

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Charlie leaves to catch his plane.

Years have passed, and Charlie is in Sydney visiting Liam. His older brother has started a family now, but Charlie wants him to return to the band, which has been given a new opportunity to try to reach out to a US audience in Los Angeles. Liam flatly tells Charlie, however, that he doesn't want to come back, despite the fact they will only be signed if both Pace brothers are willing to return. Liam recalls the night of his child's birth, and how he and Charlie were looking for a fix at the time. He won't return to such a life. He realizes that Charlie is still using heroin, and Charlie shouts back that "you did this to me!" Liam offers to help Charlie kick his addiction, but Charlie leaves, saying that Liam never looked out for him and he has a plane to catch.

On the Island[]

Day 8

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Charlie begins to suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

Charlie sits playing his guitar in an attempt to keep his mind off the worsening withdrawal symptoms he is experiencing from his heroin addiction. Locke decides to aid him and suggests that the two of them go for a walk; the fresh air will do him good.

On the beach, Jack is talking to Kate about the caves. He wants Kate to join him, but she refuses to give up on rescue. While she believes they will be saved sometime soon, Jack does not share her faith. Sawyer arrives and, as Jack is vacating, tells him that he wants his tent. He waves farewell as Jack heads back to the caves.

Charlie is strolling in the jungle when he hears strange sounds. He begins to run as a boar chases him. He manages to get to high ground, but to his astonishment the boar gets caught in a trap. Locke thanks Charlie for playing the bait, but Charlie simply states that he wants his drugs back. He regrets handing over his stash to John, and in response John says that he can ask for it three times, and he'll return it to him on the third. With Charlie's first request already up, Locke warns Charlie to separate himself from instinct and temptation.

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Sayid explains his plan to Kate and Boone.

Meanwhile, Sayid has hatched an impressive plan to find the source of the French signal. With three antennas positioned at different locations, he can triangulate the source of the signal in the hopes of communicating with whoever might be there. Kate will position one in the jungle, Boone will keep one at the beach, and Sayid will take the third to high ground inland. Unfortunately, the antenna power cells are so dry that they could cut out at any moment. Thus, they must all activate their antennas at the same moment. To do this, Sayid gives them each a bottle rocket (which he says he found on the plane, thanks to fireworks smugglers). When all three rockets are up, they must activate their power cells.

Another problem is that Sayid needs more power, from some sort of electronic equipment. Kate goes to see Sawyer, who has been hoarding numerous items since the crash. He gives her the power cells to a laptop.


A cave-in occurs.

At the caves, Charlie offers to make himself useful by carrying Jack's luggage. The case falls open, however, revealing medicine, and Jack sees Charlie inspecting a bottle of diazepam (Valium). Charlie claims he is looking for aspirin and Jack says that he is looking a little ill. Elsewhere in the caves, Jin tells Sun to cover herself up more. However, Sun says it’s too hot and refuses to cover all her bare skin. When Hurley tells Charlie that Jack wants him to move his things as they're "in the way," Charlie stomps into the cave and tells Jack to stop treating him like a kid. His shouting, however, causes a cave-in, and the other survivors look on in shock as plumes of dust rise around them. Charlie makes it out of the smoke, and when asked where Jack is, he simply points back at the covered cave entrance.

Hurley orders Charlie to go down to the beach for help and to get Kate at once. He does so, enlisting help from Michael, Steve, Scott, and Boone. Boone was involved in Sayid's plan, however, so he reluctantly asks Shannon to take his place in firing the bottle rocket at 5 p.m. Charlie shouts for Kate, and Sawyer says he will go after her.

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Sawyer finds Kate, but neglects to tell her about Jack.

Out in the jungle, Kate and Sayid discuss the plane crash. If the tail section broke off in mid-air, and the middle section cartwheeled through the jungle, there is no way that they should have survived. Kate says things just happen in life, and that Sayid should just accept some things are without explanation. Sawyer catches up to them, and is about to tell Kate what happened to Jack, but Kate acts curtly toward Sawyer when he joins the group. This causes Sawyer to lie to them, saying that he just came to help out.

Meanwhile, Michael takes over at the caves due to his experience in construction work. He issues the instructions, impressing Walt. Elsewhere, Charlie finds Locke in the jungle, skinning the boar he caught, and tells him about Jack. However, Locke realizes the real reason he is there, and Charlie asks for the drugs a second time. In response, John shows Charlie a moth cocoon. He points out that he could release the moth with his knife, but it would die from being too weak. The struggle is what strengthens, Locke explains, comparing the creature's plight to Charlie's situation.

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Kate learns the truth.

Sawyer, Kate, and Sayid arrive at Kate's triangulation position. Sayid warns Kate about Sawyer before heading out to his own position. At the caves, the team manages to make a hole and hear Jack's voice. He is trapped under the rubble and someone needs to crawl through to help him. Charlie volunteers, saying that he can do this. Back at Kate's position, Sawyer asks why she is attracted to Jack. He comments, perhaps accidentally, about what might have happened "if he had survived a few more weeks," causing Kate to immediately demand to know what he means. Sawyer admits the truth about Jack and the cave-in, and Kate throws him her bottle rocket before running into the jungle.

At the caves, Charlie enters the hole and reaches Jack. A small cave-in occurs behind him, however, leaving both men trapped inside. Following Jack's directions, Charlie fixes the doctor's dislocated shoulder. Kate arrives on the outside and joins the workforce. Not knowing if either man is alive, they start again trying to dig them out. Inside, Jack reveals that he knows Charlie is suffering from withdrawal symptoms, but Charlie notices something else: a moth. He follows it through the dirt and finds light. Fighting through the rocks, Charlie manages to break through just outside the main caves. Meanwhile, Kate refuses to swap shifts, working herself to exhaustion despite Michael's claims that she is going to kill herself. Charlie and Jack show up behind the others, much to their surprise, and a relieved Kate hugs the doctor. The group congratulates Charlie for saving Jack.

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Sayid is knocked unconscious before he can finish the task.

At five o'clock, Sayid initiates his plan by setting off his rocket. Both Shannon (almost not seeing it) and Sawyer set off their rockets as well, and Sayid turns on the transceiver. He receives a strong signal, but before he can interpret it, someone knocks him unconscious.

Charlie begins to shake at the caves from withdrawal, and Jack lies to Hurley, saying that Charlie is suffering from the flu. Charlie goes for a walk, and Kate takes his place, giving Jack a handmade sling for his arm. She jokes about the "safe caves" Jack told her about, but he assures her that Michael has checked the rest of the area for its integrity (he is in the construction industry). Kate confirms that she is still heading back to the beach, where she hopes to find out whether Sayid's plan was successful.

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Locke, proud of Charlie.

Charlie finds Locke and asks for the drugs a third and final time. John gives him a sad, betrayed look and gives them to him, asking if he's sure, but after a moment of staring, Charlie throws the whole stash into the fire. Locke smiles, touched, and says, "I'm proud of you." As Charlie looks up, he cries as he sees a moth fly away into the night.


  • In the flashback, Drive Shaft performs "You All Everybody" live and in concert.
  • For the first time, most of the survivors get a wardrobe change in this episode.
  • Patterns of three are a major theme in this episode:
    • In confessional, Charlie recalls three sinful experiences (though occurring at the same time).
    • Locke gives Charlie three opportunities to ask for his heroin back.
    • Sayid's plan to isolate the distress signal involves using three antennas and three individuals located at three different points on the Island.
    • Charlie sees the moth three times (though once in a cocoon).
  • This episode is rated TV-14-L.

Production notes[]

Cut material[]


Charlie "sees Jack" in the jungle.

  • When Sawyer claimed Jack's tent, the script originally had Jack refuse, identifying it as an infirmary, before giving up and telling Sawyer he could have it. After Jack left, Sawyer would have repeatedly invited Kate to join him.[1] Sawyer and Kate's next scene contained more dialogue as well and did not run directly after Kate's scene with Sayid.[2]
  • Kate was to have instinctively shivered when Jack suffered the first cave-in. During her conversation with Sayid, she would have mentioned her father and would have jokingly suggested that they'd all died and gone to hell, a theory Sayid would have dismissed.[3]
  • Shannon would have mocked the triangulation mission as something from Gilligan's Island before accepting her task with conviction.[4] When she set off her rocket, the survivor with her would have spoken a line.[5]
  • Charlie and Liam's first backstage scene would have featured a record executive. He would have congratulated Liam on his performance and offered Charlie champagne.[6]
  • Where Did You Go?: Charlie was to have hallucinated seeing Jack in the jungle dressed as Liam, referring to the cave-in and then singing "You All Everybody" before disappearing.[7] The scene implied Charlie had asked Locke for his heroin the third time and had taken some, and not till Jack later identified the hallucinations as withdrawal symptoms would we have known Charlie was continuing to resist the temptation. A line referencing the hallucination made it into the final episode, sounding like just a joke.
  • Sun would have volunteered to enter the cave and save Jack.[8] Later, when Kate asked why no one was digging, she would have received a reply: Michael would have said, "There's nothing left to dig to." Those gathered would have all explicitly thought Jack and Charlie dead, but would have started digging for Kate's sake.[9]
  • Charlie's final scene called for a cluster of moths hovering around a flame instead of a single one flying away.[10] Rather than end on this, the episode would have followed with Jack and Kate's last scene and an additional scene of Sayid waking and discovering that someone had smashed his transceiver. [11]

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

Episode 1-7

The reflecting in the mirrors and the boom-mic in the window.

  • In the flashback scene where Charlie visits his brother's home, the boom mic is reflected in the top of the window on the left side of the screen as Charlie knocks on the door.
  • As the scene changes from the cave where Charlie volunteers to get Jack, to the tree where Sawyer and Kate are waiting for Sayid's signal, a shot of the valley landscape is shown and a line of fence posts can be seen.
  • In the dressing room scene as Liam exits, various film crew members can be seen in the mirrors. Post production has attempted to blur them out.
  • Although Sayid talks of "triangulating," this process only requires two sensor locations, not three. The third point of the triangle is the target's location. It is possible that he means trilateration, a process requiring three sensors, or that the writers specified three sensor locations for purely dramatic purposes (see Literary techniques).
  • When Jack and Charlie reunite with the rescue group, their faces and clothes are almost completely clean, but a few moments earlier, they were covered with black dirt and sweat.


This episode introduces two themes for Charlie: his main theme, which here characterizes his addiction, and a second theme for his redemption.

Charlie's early flight from the boar introduces a Boar motif associated with boar and another associated with animal attacks in general. A later motif is introduced after the first cave-in, and the light action motif that plays during the escape from the caves returns years later in the track "Maternity Hell".


Recurring themes[]

  • Charlie goes to confession in a church. (Religion)
  • A moth is among many insects seen on the Island. (Animals)
  • Liam refuses to rejoin Drive Shaft on account of his daughter, whose birth he missed. (Children)
  • Jack and Charlie are trapped in cave-ins. (Imprisonment)  (Isolation)
  • Jack lies to Hurley about Charlie's withdrawal symptoms. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer begins to overcome being an outcast from the rest of the group. (Isolation)
  • Charlie overcomes his drug addiction by choice. (Redemption)  (Fate versus free will)
  • Kate comments to Jack, "We crashed 8 days ago." (The Numbers)  (Time)
  • Charlie plans an 8-week tour for Drive Shaft. (The Numbers)  (Time)
  • Michael tells the others he worked in construction for 8 years. (The Numbers)  (Time)
  • Symbolically, Charlie and Liam are slaves to the drugs. (Imprisonment)
  • The shirt Charlie wears for the Drive Shaft performance reads "St Tropez", the French town where Shannon lived briefly with her boyfriend. (Character connections)
  • Charlie has a poor relationship with his brother Liam during the flashback period. (Relationships)
  • In the flashback scene with Charlie and Liam alone in the dressing room, a picture of the Egyptian god Anubis can be seen on Liam's T-shirt. (Religion)
  • In the last flashback scene, Liam wears clear glasses, whereas Charlie wears opaque sunglasses. (Black and white)
  • Sawyer tells Kate that he could "run the Island" too. (Leadership)

Literary techniques[]

  • When Charlie is leaving the confessional, you can see a statue of the Virgin Mary in the foreground. (Foreshadowing)
  • After Charlie tells the priest he is going to quit the band, he learns the band has a recording contract. After Charlie tells Jack that he is a "bloody rock god," the rocks begin to fall in the cave. (Irony)
  • Charlie chose to join Drive Shaft, to give in to the drugs, and to not move on with his life. By contrast, on the Island, he chose to save Jack and give up his drugs. (Juxtaposition)
  • Liam originally needed Charlie for the band, and then told him that he was nothing without it; Charlie seems to believe that, on the Island, people treat him like a child and "don't need him," whereas he actually manages to save Jack from the cave-in. (Juxtaposition)
  • Sayid gets knocked out by an unknown assailant. (Plot twist)
  • Like the moth, Charlie's struggle against his drugs strengthens him enough to be a hero and save Jack. He also follows a moth out of the cave. (Symbolism)
  • When Locke and Charlie first found the cocoon of the moth, Locke said that a moth is much stronger than a butterfly, even though a butterfly is more beautiful. By comparison, Charlie represents a moth and Liam represents a butterfly. (Symbolism)
  • Locke tells Charlie the moth must struggle out of the cocoon to become stronger. Charlie must struggle into the cave to become stronger. (Irony)  (Juxtaposition)

Cultural references[]

Storyline analysis[]

  • Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Shannon and Boone try to discover the source of the signal and the location of the Radio Tower. (A-Missions)
  • Sawyer tells Kate that he could lead the survivors too. (Leadership)
  • Someone strikes Sayid over the head from behind. (Crimes)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

  • In the flashback, Charlie performs You All Everybody, which he had previously sung to Kate. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • Sayid continues to try to locate the source of the French transmission. ("Pilot, Part 2")  ("Walkabout")