On the island: Hydra island:
- Widmore orders a test to be conducted on Desmond earlier than expected
- Zoe and Seamus check the equipment to see if they can create a functioning EM field; initially it doesn't work
- A member of Widmore's team is caught in the shed when the equipment starts working and is killed
- Desmond is forced inside the shed
- Widmore explains if this doesn't work, then everyone will die
- Desmond is knocked out for a few seconds but survives
- After the test, Desmond is very Zen-like and says he now understands that Widmore brought him back to the island to do something very important
- Desmond is picked up at LAX by his driver, George Minkowski
- They go to Widmore's office where Widmore is happy to see him and says he's blessed to have Desmond in his employ
- Widmore asks Desmond to babysit Charlie, who is scheduled to play at his wife's charity fundraiser
- Desmond picks up Charlie once he is released from jail
- Charlie tells Desmond about his spectacular, consciousness altering love; Charlie has seen what's real; he's seen the truth
- Charlie causes their car to crash off the pier and plunge into the ocean
- While Desmond is trying to rescue Charlie, he sees flashes of Charlie from the Looking Glass station
- At the hospital during an MRI, Desmond experiences more flashes and sees Penny
- Desmond goes to the charity fundraiser and apologizes to Eloise for not being able to bring Charlie there
- He hears the name "Penny" on the guest list and asks about her
- Eloise tells Desmond he isn't ready yet; that someone has affected the way he sees thing and it's a serious problem, a violation
- Daniel tells Desmond his story about seeing a red-headed woman and feeling like he loved her already; then that night writing down physics equations in his journal
- Daniel asks what if all this around them wasn't supposed to be their life; what if they had some other life and somehow changed things
- Daniel tells Desmond that Penny is his half-sister and where and when to find her
- Desmond meets Penny at the stadium as she's running the stairs
- There's an instant attraction between them, and they agree to go for coffee
- Desmond asks Minkowski to get him the manifest for Oceanic 815
Desmond wakes up groggily in the Hydra infirmary. Zoe is there and tells him he's been unconscious for the last three days, but he's off the IV sedation and she's given him a shot to wake up. He's no longer in the hospital; they moved him. Alarmed, Desmond asks about his wife. He wants to see Penny. Widmore walks in behind Zoe and says that won't be possible but assures him Penny and his son are safe. He's sorry Desmond had to be taken from them, there wasn't time to explain. But even if there had been, Desmond would never have come. Desmond asks where he is, and Widmore says back on the island. Desmond stares at him -- this is literally his worst nightmare. He grabs his IV stand and smashes it into Widmore's head, beating him with it. Two men run in and yank him off. Desmond yells to Widmore to take him back! Widmore says he can't, the island's not done with him yet.
Jin watches Desmond from the hallway and asks Widmore why Desmond is here. Widmore says it'll be easier to show him. He tells Zoe to take Jin to the generator room along with Desmond so they can start the test. Zoe is worried. The test wasn't scheduled until tomorrow. Widmore knows and says to get it ready now. On the way to the generator room, they pass a hastily built shed, and it's all made out of wood. There's no metal nails or joists. Power cables attach to the shed at each end, feeding into giant solenoids. Zoe leads Jin into the generator room. Scientists are rigging gear to the generator, and there's a video monitoring system set up with a view into the shed. Seamus tells Zoe they're not even close to ready, and Zoe says Widmore doesn't want to wait.
Seamus orders a test to see if they can get a functioning EM field. They start the generator, and nothing happens. It has to be a faulty contact somewhere, and Seamus orders them to find it. Simmons goes down to check the solenoids in the shed. He tests the circuit on the solenoids. They're fine. At the generator, a techie finds a bad breaker and reroutes it. He announces he's putting it back online -- and Zoe yells for him to wait! But it's too late. A high-pitched whining sound powers up, and inside the shed electricity shoots and arcs across the room between the two solenoids. Simmons looks around, confused. The shed glows brighter and brighter, searing light spills through the slats, and then the white light intensifies into a blinding FLASH! Seamus yells at them to turn it off, and finally they get it to stop. They race to the shed and find Simmons on the floor. Dead.
Widmore walks up and orders Desmond to be put inside. They remove Simmons' body and force Desmond in. Desmond fights back, but a guy punches him in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. Widmore apologizes for forcing this on Desmond, but once it's over he's going to ask Desmond to make a sacrifice. And if Desmond doesn't help him, all of this will be for nothing because everyone will be gone forever. They go into the generator room and Widmore orders them to turn it on. Jin wants them to stop, but Widmore says that Desmond is the only person to survive a catastrophic electromagnetic event. He needs to be sure he can do it again or they all die. Widmore throws the switch, the power revs up to full -- and FSSZZZTZZOOM!
A white light fills the screen -- and then Desmond is standing in LAX, dazed, as if coming out of a daydream, and heads off to get his luggage. He sees a guy holding a sign with his name. It's George Minkowski, and he's Desmond's driver. Minkowski takes him to an office, and Desmond goes up to meet with Charles Widmore. Except here they are happy to see each other. They even hug, and Widmore welcomes Desmond to Los Angeles. He explains their celebration of the Australian deal will have to be cut short. Widmore's son is a musician, and his wife is putting together a charity event. His son wants to mix classical music with modern rock. The bassist from the band Drive Shaft just overdosed on his flight from Sydney and got arrested. And if he doesn't get this junkie to his wife's event, she will destroy him. Desmond guesses Widmore wants him to babysit this guy. Widmore knows it's beneath Desmond, but he needs someone he can trust to do the job.
Widmore offers Desmond a drink of MacCutcheon and says Desmond really has the life. No commitments and free of attachments. Desmond says he is blessed, but Widmore says he is the one who is blessed to have Desmond in his employ. They drink to Desmond's indispensability.
At the courthouse, Desmond pulls up in a rental car and meets Widmore's lawyer bringing out Charlie. She says bail is taken care of, but Charlie can't leave the state. Charlie doesn't care who Desmond is and heads across the street to a bar, ignoring traffic and almost getting hit. Desmond runs off after him, and inside they talk. Charlie asks Desmond if he's even been in love. Desmond says thousands of times, but Charlie doesn't mean that. He means spectacular, consciousness altering love. Does Desmond know what that looks like? Charlie's seen it -- on the plane from Sydney. He explains that he saw a woman in handcuffs sitting with a cop and got scared. He had a baggie of heroin, and knew the cop knew he was holding. So he went to the bathroom to get rid of the evidence, and they hit turbulence. The baggie was caught in his throat. Everything starts to go dark... and then he sees her. A blonde woman. Rapturously beautiful. And he knew her. They were together and always will be. He was about to be engulfed by a feeling of love when he opened his eyes and a guy was asking if he was okay. But Charlie saw it just for a moment. He saw what it looked like. He saw the truth.
They leave, and Charlie says he feels sorry for Desmond. Desmond thinks he's happy, thinks he's got it all, but he doesn't. Charlie offers to show Desmond what he's talking about. He reaches over and grabs the wheel of the car, pulls it hard -- and the car careens off the pier and into the water. It sinks fast as water fills the inside. Charlie sits prone, but Desmond struggles to get out. He swims to the surface, gulps some air, and swims back down. Charlie holds up his hand to the window -- FLASH! -- Desmond sees a different Charlie underwater. He sees the Charlie from the Looking Glass station with his hand pressed to the window, and written on his hand are the words "not Penny's boat." FLASH! Desmond blinks and sees the sideways Charlie in the car. Desmond yanks open the door, fumbles with the seatbelt, and drags Charlie to the surface.
At the hospital, the doctor says Desmond sustained a pretty bad bump. She asks if he experienced any nausea? Double vision? Hallucination? That gets Desmond's attention. The doctor tells Desmond his CAT scan was inconclusive and wants to send him down for an MRI. Desmond needs to find the guy he was with, but the doctor says not until after the MRI. Downstairs, the MRI tech explains the machine to Desmond: it's loud, and they have to strap him in to keep him in place. In case he needs it, there's a panic button. The MRI machine starts up -- and FLASH! Desmond sees Charlie in the Looking Glass station again -- FLASH! -- now he sees Penny. But he doesn't recognize her -- and FLASH! He's back in the machine. Desmond pushes the panic button and runs out.
At the nurse's station, he asks about Charlie, but the nurse won't give him any information since Desmond's not a relative. A doctor walks by, and it's Jack! Desmond recognizes him from the flight and asks for his help. Just then, Charlie runs down the hall screaming, "None of this matters!" Desmond takes off after Charlie down the stairs to another floor. Desmond catches up with him and asks why Charlie tried to kill him. Charlie says he wasn't trying to kill him but show him. Desmond looks at Charlie's hand, but nothing is written on it. Desmond asks if he know who "Penny" is. Charlie guesses that Desmond did see something, that he felt something. Desmond denies it and wants to leave. Charlie says the concert doesn't matter. None of it matters. Charlie strides off and tells Desmond to stop worrying about him and start looking for Penny.
Desmond goes to the museum and talks to Mrs. Widmore -- who turns out to be Eloise! He explains that Charlie Pace won't be able to make it. Eloise understands and isn't angry. What happened, happened. She thanks him for coming down in person. Desmond is walking away when he hears the name "Penny" being read off a guest list. He stops and asks to see the list. Eloise strides over, her smile gone and all business now. She won't let Desmond see the guest list -- it's confidential. Desmond just wants to see one name on the list, and Eloise orders him to come with her. Off the side, she tells him someone has affected the way he sees things, and it's a serious problem. It's a violation in fact. So whatever Desmond thinks he's looking for, he needs to stop. She doesn't know why he's looking for anything -- he has the perfect life. And he's managed to attain the one thing he wanted more than anything -- her husband's approval. Desmond asks how she knows what he wants, and Eloise says because she does. Desmond asks again just to see the list or she needs to tell him why he can't. Eloise says he isn't ready yet. And with that, she walks away.
Desmond goes to his car and is about to leave when Faraday walks up. He introduces himself as Daniel Widmore and says they need to talk. Desmond thinks it's going to be about Charlie, but Daniel asks if he believes in love at first sight. Daniel explains he saw a woman at the museum a few weeks ago. She works there and she was taking a break. She was eating a chocolate bar. She had incredible blue eyes and red hair... and as soon as he looked at her, he knew he already loved her. The next morning, Daniel wrote something different in his journal. He shows Desmond, and inside are musical notations and the jottings of a composer. But then in the middle are mathematical equations. Daniel doesn't understand it and wrote it when he was half asleep. He took it to a friend at CalTech, who said it was quantum mechanics equations. Stuff so advanced that only someone studying physics their entire life could've come up with them.
Desmond asks what they mean. Daniel says to imagine something terrible was about to happen, and the only way to stop it was to release a huge amount of energy -- like setting off a nuclear bomb. Desmond is worried and asks if Daniel wants to do that. Daniel says he thinks he already did. Daniel gestures around him and asks what if all of this wasn't supposed to be their life? What if they had some other life and for some reason changed things? Desmond asks what it has to do with him, and Daniel says he overheard him asking about "Penny." The same thing had happened to Desmond -- he felt love. Desmond says it's impossible. He doesn't know who this Penny is, where she is or what she looks likes. Daniel says she's his half-sister, and he can tell Desmond exactly where and when to find her.
Desmond pulls up to a football stadium. He sees a lone figure running the stairs and walks over. It's Penny! She sees him and smiles back. There's instant chemistry. He introduces himself. They reach over to shake hands, and the moment they touch -- FLASH!
Desmond is alone in the wooden shed. He blinks, dazed, not quite sure what happened. Widmore and his team come in. Seamus is amazed Desmond is okay. Widmore tells Desmond he was unconscious for only a few seconds. He starts to explain why he did this to him, but Desmond cuts him off. He understands. Widmore brought him to the island to do something very important. When do they start?
As Zoe is leading Desmond back along the path, Sayid attacks the group. He kills the guards and tells Zoe to run. She does, and Sayid tells Desmond they need to go. These people are extremely dangerous. Desmond understands and tells Sayid to lead the way.
WHOOOSH to Desmond at the stadium. He passed out, and Penny is helping him up. She asks if they've met before, and Desmond thinks they'd remember it if they had. He asks her out for coffee, and she says okay. They'll meet in an hour. Desmond gets back in the car with Minkowski, who asks if Desmond needs anything else. Desmond says yes -- the manifest for Oceanic flight 815. Minkowski asks what for, and Desmond says he needs to show them something.