Desmond brings Hurley and Charlie to a secret meeting with Locke and Sayid. Locke tells them Eko died, that he was killed by the "island." Locke doesn't want to cause a panic in the camp and needs their help keeping the calm.
Suddenly, Desmond takes off running back to camp. He sprints to the ocean and dives in. Charlie, Hurley, Sayid and Locke follow and see someone in the water. The person Desmond saves is Claire! Desmond brings her back to the beach and resuscitates her.
Charlie demands to know how he knew she was drowning, and Hurley tells him Desmond can see the future. Charlie is disturbed by Desmond's behavior. He doesn't buy Hurley's precognitive theory and plans to get Desmond drunk to get the truth.
They offer him whiskey from Sawyer's stash. They get good and drunk, but Desmond won't talk. Charlie calls him a coward. Enraged, he attacks Charlie, screaming they don't want to know what happened when he turned that key. We WHOOOSH back to the final moments of the hatch ripping apart as Desmond frantically climbs down to the fail safe switch, inserts the key and turns it FWOOOM!
[break]Desmond is blasted by a white light quick snippets of his life on the island flash before him and he wakes up lying in a pool of blood. In a room. Of his flat. In London. But it's not blood it's paint. Disoriented, Desmond tries to get his bearings. A woman runs to his side to help him it's Penny! She's moving in with him, and he fell off the ladder while painting the room. Desmond's happy to see her but can't shake the feeling something's wrong
Later, Penny helps Desmond with his tie. She tells him he doesn't have to go to the job interview with her father, but Desmond insists. He wants Widmore's respect. Then Beep. Beep. Beep. A sound so hauntingly familiar of a time pushing a button every 108 minutes Desmond tenses but is drawn to it. He follows it to the kitchen where Penny stops the beeping. It was just the microwave heating his tea. However Desmond can't help feeling a strange moment of déjà vu.
At Widmore Industries, Desmond checks in with the receptionist. A delivery man walks up and says he has a package for 815. Desmond reacts, sees flashes of a computer, an execute key, and the numbers 4 8 15 He can't shake the feeling those numbers mean something to him.
During the interview, Desmond confesses he isn't there for a job. He asks Widmore for Penny's hand in marriage. Widmore is impressed with the noble gesture, but tells Desmond he's not a great man. Desmond isn't worthy to share his whiskey, so how could he ever be worthy enough for his daughter?
[break]Angry and frustrated, Desmond rips his tie off and throws it in the street. Then he sees a musician performing on a street corner. Wait, is it Charlie? Desmond recognizes him, and starts to remember things. They end up on an island together, and there's a computer in a hatch and he remembers meeting Charlie on the street right before it started to rain. Right then it starts raining.
Desmond's convinced he's remembering his future, that he's traveling through time. He asks his friend, Donovan, a physics teacher, about it. Donovan tells him there's no such thing as time travel, that it's his anxiety about Penny moving in and her father. But Desmond tries to prove he knows what's going to happen by predicting things: how a football match ends and how the bartender gets his head bashed in. They wait, but nothing happens as predicted. Donovan's convinced it's all in Desmond's head.
While looking for an engagement ring at an antique store, Desmond meets Ms. Hawking. She surprises him by telling him his future: he doesn't buy the ring, he breaks Penny's heart, and ends up on the island pushing the button that saves the world until he's forced to turn the fail safe key. He can try to deny it or alter events but the universe has a way of course correcting. It is his path. He's supposed to go to the island.
[break]Desmond ignores Ms. Hawking's warning and buys the ring anyway. He meets Penny along the Thames River where they get their familiar souvenir picture taken together. But Desmond realizes he can't go through with it. He ends it, telling Penny that he can barely take care of himself, how could he take care of her? Moving in and painting the rooms was too soon and finally he admits the real reason: she deserves someone better. They're not supposed to be together. Penny is heartbroken, calls him a coward and leaves.
In his despair, Desmond joins the British Army and drinks his last night away in a pub. Then the events he previously predicted to Donovan start to happen. Desmond was right, he does know the future, he simply had the wrong day. But when he warns the bartender he's about to be attacked, it's Desmond who gets hit in the head and WHAM!
Desmond comes to in the jungle, lying on the ground, naked. He's back on the island after he turned the fail safe key. All that remains of the hatch is the photo of him and Penny taken by the Thames. He starts crying and pleads for one more time, promising to do it right the next time.
[quote-right]We WHOOOSH back, and Hurley is pulling Desmond off Charlie. Desmond admits ever since he turned the fail safe key he sees flashes of his life. He's tried but he can't save Charlie. Confused, Charlie asks what Desmond is talking about. Desmond explains when the lightning struck, it electrocuted Charlie. Then Charlie drowned while trying to save Claire. Charlie is on his own path, and the universe has a way of course correcting. Desmond can't stop it, because no matter what he does Charlie is going to die.