Par Avion is the twelfth episode of the third season of Lost, and the sixty-first episode overall.
Claire becomes suspicious of Charlie when he exhibits peculiar behavior after she comes up with an idea that could get everybody rescued. Meanwhile, tensions mount between Sayid and Locke as they continue their trek to rescue Jack.
Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Michael Emerson (Ben), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), Kiele Sanchez (Nikki), Rodrigo Santoro (Paulo).
- At the beach camp, Claire wakes up in her shelter to the sight of a makeshift fruit basket. Charlie tells her that it's a little something before a breakfast picnic he's set up in her honor a short walk down the beach, and entices her to join him. As the two arrive at the picnic site, Desmond comes out of the jungle and firmly suggests to Charlie that he spend his time hunting boar with him. While Desmond talks to Charlie, Claire notices a flock of birds, gets an idea on how to get everyone off the island and rushes off to the camp. She enlists the help of Sun and Jin to trap some seabirds, telling them that scientists tag them and because they are migratory they'll end up in Australia or New Zealand. If they can catch and tag one with a message, there's a chance someone will find it. She asks Charlie for help, but he doesn't see the point and walks off as she notices Desmond watching her.
The group set up their net trap and are about to catch one of the seabirds when two shots ring out from the jungle, scaring the birds away. Desmond runs out and apologizes, telling them he was shooting at a boar. Claire thinks it's rather convenient that Desmond was hunting a boar as the same location she was trying to catch a bird, telling him that he and Charlie don't want her to catch one of the birds. Desmond asks her why he wouldn't want her to catch one and, after Claire is unable to answer, she walks off.
Back at the beach camp, Claire confronts Charlie about Desmond and the birds. Charlie tells her he's been with Aaron all day and professes to know nothing about Desmond. He tells her that the glint she saw on the seabird could have been anything, and he doesn't want to advocate false hope. Upset, Claire tells Charlie that she doesn't want a liar around her baby and tells him to leave. Sun talks with Claire and points out Desmond and Charlie arguing. Claire asks Sun to watch Aaron, and she follows Desmond along some rocky outcroppings on the shore before finally confronting him as to what he's doing. Claire sees that he's found one of the seabirds and successfully catches it. She demands to know how he knew the bird was going to be there, that he marched straight to that rock and to that bird. Desmond initially plays dumb, but finally tells Claire that Charlie fell into the water at this point and was slammed repeatedly into the rocks until his neck broke.
Claire returns to the beach camp with the seabird and Charlie realizes she was right as the bird is tagged. She tells Charlie that Desmond told her about his visions of him dying. Later, Claire composes a note to attach to the seabird and tells Charlie that she's not giving up on him. She believes he'll be okay, and they'll get through it together. Charlie attaches the note to the bird and Claire frees it.
- In the jungle, Sayid uses the map he obtained from the Flame to deduce that they are roughly two miles away from the barracks. Mikhail informs them that they're going the right way, but Locke asks the group why they're keeping him alive, a statement Rousseau agrees with. Continuing on towards the barracks, Kate and Rousseau gather water from a nearby stream. Kate asks Rousseau why she hasn't asked any questions about her daughter. Knowing that her daughter wouldn't know her or know she ever cared about her, Rousseau tells Kate that she hasn't asked any questions about her daughter because she doesn't want to know the answers. Rejoining the group, Kate questions Mikhail about how he got onto the island. Mikhail tells her he arrived on the island by a submarine and that his people can come and go as they please. However, the underwater beacon stopped emitting its locater signal after an electromagnetic pulse occurred, making it impossible to come back to the island. Asked why he would want to come back, Mikhail tells the group that they wouldn't understand, that they're not capable of understanding because they're not on the list. He goes on to tell her that the man who brought him to the island is a magnificent man, but that man isn't Ben. Rousseau interrupts the questioning and motions them over to see something. Coming into a clearing, the group see a series of pylons set into the ground, stretching as far as the eye can see.
Sayid surmises that the pylons are a security perimeter and that the sensors on the side would be triggered if anyone passed between them - an alarm system or a trap. Mikhail agrees that it is a security system, but tells them that, like everything else on the island, it hasn't functioned in years. Sayid believes Mikhail is lying, but Mikhail tells him the pylons circle the barracks completely and the map confirms his claim. Locke grabs Mikhail and tosses him between the pylons, and the pylons activate. Mikhail thanks Locke before his head begins to bleed profusely and his mouth foams. His body is thrown back from the pylons and he dies there on the ground. Asked why he did that, Locke tells Kate that the Others would never have given up Jack for Mikhail, that Mikhail shot and killed one of his own to prevent them from being in this exact situation. Locke sarcastically apologizes for not knowing about the Others' "sonic weapon fence" and that Mikhail would die, but reassures Sayid that he's with them to rescue Jack. Sayid gets the axe from Locke's backpack and discovers a block of C-4 inside. Locke tells him that he thought it could come in handy, but Sayid knows he's lying.
The group cut down a tree and position it atop one of the pylons. Sayid believes the system fires a sonic pulse when an object breaks the plane between two pylons, so they should be safe by going over and giving the sensors a wide birth so as not to break the plane. Rousseau asks why they shouldn't use the C-4 to destroy one of the pylons, but Locke thinks it would be dangerous approaching the pylon from the ground. Kate volunteers to go first and successfully makes it over to the other side, and the rest of the group follow. Traveling back into jungle, Sayid scouts ahead and discovers the barracks, leading the rest of the group to it. The group see the Others in normal clothing going about mundane tasks when Kate sees Jack running towards them. Sayid stops Kate from signaling Jack, and the group watch as he catches a football and tosses it back to Tom. Jack catches another pass from Tom and spikes the football.
- Flashback: Claire
Claire regains consciousness in the driver's seat of a car; a cut above her eye and broken glass littered throughout her hair. She sees a woman laying in the road, and is forced to exit the wrecked vehicle through the broken windshield and over the crumpled front end. Rushing over to the woman, Claire tries to get her mother to wake up as a crowd of bystanders gather around her.
At the hospital, a doctor stitches up the cut over Claire's eye and Officer Barnes questions Claire about the accident. She tells the officer she was driving when a truck forced her off the road. He asks her if her father had been notified, but Claire tells him her father died when she was two. Officer Barnes apologizes and goes on to tell her the truck driver is fine and told him she hit the truck. Claire denies the allegation, but can't remember how fast she was traveling when the accident occurred. Officer Barnes informs her these questions are standard procedure in the event of a fatality, but Claire tells him her mother is in surgery and the accident isn't her fault. Officer Barnes tells her he never said it was her fault and leaves.
Arriving at her mother's room, Claire finds her aunt, Lindsey, waiting inside. Questioned as to where she was, Claire tells her she went home to shower and get the glass out of her hair because she was told her mother was still in surgery. Lindsey sarcastically tells Claire she's glad she's feeling refreshed. Dr. Woodruff enters and tells Claire that they managed to stabilize her mother's immediate injuries, but she suffered a severe head trauma and they'll have to wait for the swelling to go down before they can determine the full extent of the injuries. The machines she is hooked up to are the only things sustaining her life, and he can't say if she will ever wake up. Dr. Woodruff tells Lindsey that Claire's mother will be well looked after as her expenses have already been taken care of by a confidential source.
Arriving at the hospital to see her mother, Claire is informed that there is a new American doctor seeing her. Inside the room she finds a man watching over her mother - Christian Shephard. He tells Claire that he's a doctor and was about to leave, but Lindsey arrives and demands to know why he's there. Lindsey seems to think Claire's mother wouldn't want her to be there, but Christian tells her that she wouldn't be acting like she is. Claire asks Lindsey who Christian is, but she tells her that he's no one and should leave. Christian believes otherwise and the two argue, but Claire tells them to stop and asks Christian if he's the one paying the bills. He tells her that he is, and informs her that she's his daughter.
Later, Christian comes to see Claire at her place of work, a tattoo and piercing parlor. He tells her he's leaving that night and will be out of her life forever, but wants to buy her one cup of coffee and speak with her. Grabbing that cup of coffee, Christian tells Claire that he learned about her mother's condition the moment she went into surgery through a doctor friend in Sydney. He had a fling with her and was back in Los Angeles when he learned that she was pregnant and was going to have the baby. After she was born, Christian visited her numerous times when she was a baby, giving her toys and singing to her. But he stopped visiting because Lindsey hated him and Claire's mother didn't like the fact Christian had another family. Christian informs Claire that her mother is alive, but not really living. He believes it's time to look at alternative means to ease her pain. He goes on to tell Claire that it is illegal to turn off the machines keeping her mother alive, but he knows of other ways to achieve the same effect without legal consequences. Upset at Christian's words, Claire tells him to go back to his real family and, although he may be her real father, she doesn't even know his name and wants it to stay that way. Claire tries to leave, but Christian stops her and tells her not to keep her mother alive for the wrong reasons. There is hope and then there is guilt, and he knows the difference.
Months later, a pregnant Claire visits her mother in the hospital. With her mother still hooked up to machines keeping her alive, Claire converses with her. She tells her mother that she's pregnant, but she's giving the baby away. Claire doesn't know how she raised her alone, especially with how awful she was towards her. She apologizes to her mother for all the awful things she said to her in the car, that she hated her and wished she was dead. Claire blames herself for the accident and everything, and cries over her mother.
- Who is the "magnificent man" Mikhail spoke of?
- Why did Locke take the C-4?
- The woman that Christian visited was Lindsey, Claire's aunt. (2x20 - Two for the Road)
- Jack's half-sister is Claire. (2x20 - Two for the Road)
- Eko and Locke did not find the question mark. The question mark is the barracks. (2x21 - ?)
The Cursed Numbers
- The odometer in Claire's wrecked car reads (at least partially) 10.8 miles. 108 is the sum of the numbers.
- Hospitals: Claire and her mother were taken to Sydney New South Medical. Much like Jack's St. Sebastian hospital in Los Angeles, this hospital does not actually exist.
- Not Dead? Mikhail is noticeably breathing in two of the close-ups after Kate has climbed over the sonic fence. This may be a production error, but in the March 20, 2007 official podcast the producers kept hinting that Mikhail might not be dead.
- The rescue party come across a sonic security fence and, after Mikhail is killed by it, successfully get past it.
- Claire succeeds in sending a note with a migratory seabird.
- Desmond prevents Charlie from dying again.
- Claire learns of Desmond's visions of Charlie's deaths.
- Mikhail is killed.
- Claire is Jack's half-sister
- 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone: Mikhail refers to an electromagnetic pulse. This occurred from the activation of the fail-safe device in "Live Together, Die Alone."
- 3x06 - I Do: Kate refers to how Ben needed one of the survivors to save him, notably Jack in "I Do."
- 3x07 - Not in Portland: Claire's mother has a car accident after Claire tells her she wishes she was dead. This is similar to Juliet's husband dying in the bus accident in "Not in Portland."
- 3x11 - Enter 77: Locke and Sayid argue about the destruction of the Flame in "Enter 77."
- Missing in Action: Ben and Juliet do not appear in this episode.
Behind the Scenes
- Location, Location, Location: The Sydney New South Medical hospital was shot at Kahuku Hospital in Kakuku, HI. The security system pylons were shot on Kualoa Ranch in Kualoa Valley in Ka'a'awa, HI. The tattoo parlor Claire worked at is Odyssey Tattoo Gallery in Schofield Barracks, HI. The mall Christian and Claire had a cup of coffee at is Kahala Mall in Honolulu. The Others' barracks is YMCA Camp Erdman in Waialua, HI.
Allusions and References
- Episode Title: "Par Avion" is French for "by air" or simply "airmail." Its literal translation is "by aircraft." The term "par avion" is used to indicate a letter being sent by airmail and is usually seen in conjunction with the phrase "AIR MAIL" on stickers.
- The Fountainhead: Sawyer is seen reading The Fountainhead (1943) by Ayn Rand. The book's title is a reference to Ayn Rand's statement that "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress."
- Fed up with Mikhail, Locke tosses him through the pylons where the sonic defense system kills him. After Mikhail's death, Locke offers up a simple "sorry."
- Locke: It's an electrical wiring map, Sayid. I'm not sure it's as accurate as you think.
Sayid: Well, it's certainly not as infallible as the magical carvings on your stick.
Locke: Hey, the stick did get us to that station.
Sayid: Oh, the station which you accidentally blew up.
Locke: Well, if you had warned me that the basement was rigged with C-4, I might had been a little more careful.
Kate: [to Mikhail] Why don't you just tell us if we're going the right way?
Mikhail: You're going the right way.
Locke: Remind me why we're keeping him alive?
Sayid: What do you suggest? We shoot him like a dog?
Locke: No. I like dogs.
- Mikhail: They brought me on the submarine.
Kate: So your people, they can just come and go whenever they want?
Mikhail: Oh yes. But two weeks ago our underwater beacon stopped emitting its locater signal. There was an event. An electromagnetic pulse. It would be impossible to come back.
Kate: Why would you want to come back?
Mikhail: You would not understand.
Kate: Try me.
Mikhail: I misspoke. What I meant to say is you're not capable of understanding.
Kate: And why am I not "capable"?
Mikhail: Because you are not on the list.
Kate: What list?
Mikhail: The man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here, he is... a magnificent man.
Kate: If Ben's so magnificent, then why did he need one of us to save him?
Mikhail: Ben? Ben is not him. I will try to make this as simple as I can. You are not on the list because you are flawed. Because you are angry. And weak. And frightened.
- Claire's Note:
To whom it may concern:
We are survivors of Oceanic flight 815. We have survived on this island for eighty days. We were six hours into the flight when the pilot said we were off course and turned back towards Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed. We have been waiting here all this time, waiting for rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are, we only know that you have not found us. We have done our best to live on this island. Some of us have come to accept that we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived since the crash, but there is new life, too, and with it there is hope. We are alive. Please don't give up on us.