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"Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1" is the 23rd episode and two-hour season finale of Season 2 of Lost. Events come to a head as Michael leads his friends across the Island to confront the Others. Meanwhile, Desmond returns to the Island on a sailboat, and he and Locke make a decision to see what happens if the countdown in the Swan goes beyond zero. This episode was also Desmond's first flashback episode.

Synopsis

Flashbacks

Live Together 3

Desmond, looking at his unopened letters

Desmond was incarcerated in a military prison and was dishonorably discharged from the British military upon his release. At this time, his possessions were also returned to him, among them a copy of Charles Dicken's Our Mutual Friend. Immediately afterward, he was met by Charles Widmore, the father of Desmond's estranged girlfriend, Penelope. Widmore revealed that he had intercepted all of Desmond's letters to Penelope and that she was soon to be married to another man, and offered Desmond a large sum of money to stay away from her.

Desmond later arrived in the United States, and met Libby, a stranger in line at a coffee shop, who had offered to pay for his purchase when he realized that he had no American currency. He told her that he needed money to obtain a boat, to win a race around the world sponsored by Charles Widmore, whom he refused his bribe to keep away from Penelope. Libby revealed that she had been recently widowed, then suddenly offered him her deceased husband's boat, the Elizabeth, whereupon Desmond gratefully accepted.

Later in Los Angeles, Desmond was preparing to run the steps of a sports stadium (This information sets the scene as immediately preceding Jack's stadium flashback of "Man of Science, Man of Faith"). Penelope then suddenly arrived, having tracked down Desmond's whereabouts. During their ensuing conversation, Penelope asked Desmond if he read his book (Our Mutual Friend), to which he replied the negative.
Live Together 4

Desmond, washed up on the Island's shoreline


She also revealed the she hadn't set a date yet for her marriage, and tried desperately to convince Desmond to stay, asking him of the reason for his attempt to run away. Desmond, however, answered that he had to win the race sponsored by her father first, to regain his honor.

During the boat race, Desmond was caught in a heavy storm and knocked unconscious. He later washed up on a shoreline where he was barely aware of a man in a yellow HAZMAT suit who collected him from the beach and brought him inside the Swan Station. The man revealed himself to be named Kelvin. He then enlisted Desmond as his Swan Station partner after showing him the Swan Orientation Film. Kelvin also showed Desmond a vial of vaccine and an injector, and instructed him to inject himself every 9 days.

After living with him for approximately a year, Desmond had seen Kelvin trigger a fake lockdown many times, and one day Desmond hesitantly did it himself under Kelvin's instructions. Kelvin then continued his project of painting the map with detergent. He revealed that his partner, Radzinsky, was the one who figured out how to trigger a fake lockdown, and also had the idea of creating the map. Kelvin also revealed that Radzinsky had killed himself with a shotgun, leaving a stain on the ceiling. When Desmond then complained that he had not left the Hatch since his arrival, and asked if he could go outside, Kelvin replied that he must follow his orders and stay inside to push the button.

Live Together 9

A drunk Kelvin, showing Desmond the fail safe mechanism

Some time later, Desmond found Kelvin drunk under an unknown floor access of the control room with a key in a lock marked "Caution: System Termination". Kelvin explained that this was the fail-safe, and behind the wall lay a unique source of electromagnetism. He also claimed that the Incident had been a leak from this source: "So now the charge builds up and every time we push the button it discharges it before it gets too big." Kelvin then questioned whether Desmond himself would have the courage to release all of the pressure using the failsafe, using an analogy of "blowing a dam".

One day, Desmond noticed that the HAZMAT suit had a large tear in it while Kelvin was donning it to go outside. Desmond realized he had been deceived about the quarantine, a realization that was confirmed after he followed Kelvin outside and saw him remove the suit. As he continued following Kelvin, eventually they arrived at a cove containing Desmond's sailboat, at which point Kelvin announced he was aware of Desmond's presence. Desmond confronted Kelvin and became increasingly emotional, while Kelvin resignedly admitted he had been going outside to repair Desmond's boat to leave the Island. Believing he could have left the Island long ago, Desmond became enraged and threw himself at Kelvin, accidentally smashing his head against a rock and (likely) killing him. After the shock subsided, Desmond quickly took the fail safe key from Kelvin and sprinted back to the Hatch, where the countdown has already reached zero. The hieroglyphs were locked in on the timer and system failure alarms were in effect. As Desmond struggled to remain calm enough to input the number sequence, the entire hatch was visibly shuddering, while metallic objects were seen flying towards the magnet wall area. The shaking and alarms ended as Desmond finally entered the full sequence, resetting the timer.

Later, Desmond was sitting disconsolate and drinking alcohol with a gun at a table in the Hatch, possibly considering suicide. When he opened his book Our Mutual Friend in preparation to read it, he discovered an envelope containing Penelope's letter. The letter had been written before he entered prison. In it, Penelope explained that she has hidden the letter in "the one place you would turn to in a moment of great desperation", which explained why she had asked about the book at their encounter at the stadium. The letter was a message of love and hope in the midst of despair, and ended with, "All we really need to survive is one person who truly loves us. And you have her. I will wait for you. Always." The letter made him enraged and he began to throw about the contents of the Hatch. At that moment, he heard the sound of someone else screaming in despair and pounding on a wall; that person was Locke, after Boone's death. Desmond looked up to the Hatch entrance and turned a light onto the Hatch window, placating Locke, and calming Desmond from thoughts of suicide.

Realtime events

The story continued from the previous episode ended with the arrival of a sailboat during the funeral for Libby and Ana-Lucia. Jack, Sawyer, and Sayid then swam to the vessel with guns and discovered Desmond inside the cabin, who revealed that he had attempted to sail towards Fiji, but mysteriously he had found himself back at the Island. Sayid had previously told Jack about his suspicions about Michael and his plan for Walt's rescue. The arrival of Desmond's boat inspired him to ask Jack to use it for a secret flanking maneuver on the Others' camp before the Jack and the rescue mission arrived. So as Jack, Kate, Michael, Sawyer and Hurley departed on their rescue trek, Sayid searched for a pilot for the sailboat, and after Desmond's refusal, he asked Jin, who agreed after consulting with Sun, who insisted on accompanying their mission.
In the Hatch, Locke's crisis of faith was continuing, and when he tried to convince Eko to let the timer run down, they came to blows, ending with Eko locked him out of the computer room. Charlie later discovered Locke was weeping in the jungle, and informed him of Desmond's return. Later that night, Locke told Desmond about the revelations about pushing the button in the Pearl Orientation Video. Desmond, who also had put his faith in the Swan computer, became curious and together they planned to discover the consequences of not pushing the button the next day.
During the journey to the Others, the party encountered a large bird much like the one from "Exodus, Part 1", and Hurley believed it squawked his name. Later, Michael became upset when Kate and Sawyer suddenly shot at two people who had been following them, whereupon Jack confronted him about his betrayal. Michael was forced to tell the truth, admitting that he had killed Ana-Lucia and Libby, freed the false Henry Gale, and led the rescue party upon the Others' instructions, in order to free Walt. Jack then convinced the skeptical party to continue onward, citing Sayid's plan that he had not yet revealed until now.
Sailing on the ocean, Sayid, Jin and Sun discovered the remnants of a gargantuan statue on a shoreline: a giant, four-toed foot in a sandal. Soon afterwards, they arrived at the Others' camp. When Sayid climbed up to the camp to investigate, he discovered that the huts were abandoned, and that the (supposed) DHARMA station was a fake, as only a rock wall lied behind the Door. He then started a fire to signal Jack with smoke.
As they had planned, Locke and Desmond tricked Eko into leaving the computer room by triggering a false lockdown, then rushed in and locked Eko out. Eko left and returned with Charlie's assistance in forcing his way back in with dynamite, but the blast was not successful in opening the door. Meanwhile Locke and Desmond discovered that they had met earlier at a distance when Locke had been pounding on the Hatch door after Boone's death-- Desmond had heard the commotion and turned on the light. In retrospect, Locke now took this supposed omen to be yet another example to doubt his earlier faith, while Desmond realized that Locke had saved his life as he had been considering suicide that night.
When Locke showed Desmond the log printout from the Pearl, Desmond discovered that the crash date of Flight 815, September 22, coincided with the "SYSTEM FAILURE" entry in the log printout. That was the day he had accidentally killed Kelvin and did not enter the Numbers in time, causing a system failure in the Swan. His conclusion was that this event had been the cause of Flight 815's crash, and that pushing the button was a real phenomenon, and not a fake experiment.
An enormous mound of pneumatic tube containers was discovered by the rescue party (although none of the members knew about the Pearl Station). At this location Jack saw Sayid's smoke signal, unexpectedly far away. As he confronted Michael, who had led them here, the party began to hear whispers, and they were soon ambushed by the Others who used drugged stun darts, and captured their entire party. The rescue party was brought by the Others to a pier labeled "Pala Ferry", where they had their first conversation. Kate told Mr. Friendly that she knew his beard was fake. Ms. Klugh revealed his name as "Tom", and Tom revealed her name as "Bea." The false Henry Gale soon arrived in the same boat from Walt's kidnapping, and was revealed to be an authority figure among the Others.
Back in the Hatch, Locke and Desmond continued to argue whether pushing the button was real. As the timer approached zero, their conversation became heated, leading Locke to smash the computer. Desmond then opened the doors to retrieve the fail-safe key he hand hidden in his copy of "Our Mutual Friend"; meanwhile the timer had reached zero and was displaying hieroglyphs. As the system failure alarm progressed, metallic objects began to fly across the room as if drawn by an enormous magnet. Returning, Desmond explained that it was now his turn to return the favor and save Locke's life. Charlie revived Eko from the shock of the dynamite and tried to make his escape while Eko rushed into the control room, where he was met by a despondent Locke acknowledging his cataclysmic mistake, stating simply, "I was wrong". Meanwhile in the lower fail-safe, Desmond turned the key and triggered the discharge, resulting in a flash of white.
The flash was visible by characters across the entire island, which was engulfed in a bright white/violet glow lasting several seconds that covered the entire sky and was accompanied by a loud low droning sound, causing everyone to cover their ears in pain. Henry Gale was the only person that didn't seem surprised by the discharge. At the camp, the "QUARANTINE" Hatch door fell from the sky, indicating some great blast, and of the Hatch's occupants, only a partially deaf Charlie emerged soon afterwards. Later that night, Charlie and Claire partially reconciled, with Claire giving him a small kiss.
At the dock, Henry Gale concluded the deal with Michael; since he had brought the requested people from Flight 815, he was given the boat, as well as custody of Walt, and given instructions to escape the Island by following a bearing of 325 degrees. As Michael departed, the Others also freed Hurley with the mission of telling the survivors not to come to this side of the Island. The rest of the captives, Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, were then hooded by the Others in preparation for transport.
As the episode drew to a close, the scene suddenly switched to an unknown location that appeared to be a remote outpost within landscape of snowy peaks in a blizzard. Two Portuguese-speaking men were playing chess when one noticed a message on a computer screen reading "7418880 Electromagnetic Anomaly Detected", prompting a frenzied response from both. One shouted, "That's it, isn't it? We missed it again," while the other made a phone call. On the other end was Penelope Widmore, who was awakened at a bedside adorned with the photo of her and Desmond. The episode, and season, ended as the man told her, "It's us...I think we found it." This final scene marked the first time a real-time event was depicted off the Island. It also negated the theory that the storyline was fundamentally based on Purgatory or a dream, as well as several other fan theories.

Trivia

General

  • According to the May 26th Podcast, the crew started writing "Live Together, Die Alone" four weeks prior to its airing. The episode was shot in 17 days with 2 simultaneous crews, and the final scene with Penelope was shot just 5 days before airing.
  • The title of the episode was initially a quote from Jack in "White Rabbit", and was later stated by Kate in "Every Man for Himself".
  • This episode was the first flashback episode of someone not on flight 815.

Cultural References

Recurring themes


Recurring themes
AnimalsBlack and whiteCharacter connectionsChildrenCoincidenceDeathDeceptions and consDreamsEconomicsElectromagnetismEyesFate versus free willGamesGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLeadershipLife and deathLiterary worksMirrorsMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersPairingsParapsychologyParent issuesPregnanciesPsychologyRainRedemptionRelationshipsReligionRevengeSalvationSecrets
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