Desmond Hume/Theories

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Desmond Hume
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Inspiration for Character

An unfortunate amateur British sailor named Donald Crowhurst has some interesting parallels to the character Desmond in Lost.

  • Both unsuccessfully competed in an around the world sailing competition
  • Donald Crowhurst apparently went insane creating a philosophy of the human condition centered on the number 243 that would some how allow for an escape from his impossible situation.

Desmond is a Candidate

  • MiB sends Sayid to kill Desmond: he needs someone else to do it because MiB cannot directly kill a candidate
    • Jacob told Ilana there were 6 Candidates left she had to protect. They were Locke, Sayid, Jack, Hurley, Sun or Jin, and Sawyer. Desmond is not a candidate.
      • Its possible since MIB couldnt kill him himself and tried to get Sayid to do it
      • Ilana might not know about Desmond, and she was wrong about there only being six candidates left anyway. Claire and/or Aaron's surname is written on the Cliffside cave, both characters are still alive, and though the names are crossed out, Jacob implied that this did not mean anything. There are more than the seven candidates who are alive.
        • Yes but they could be killed by MIB since they were crossed off, based on the fact that Eko was a candidate but was killed by MIB. Jacob needed Ilana to watch out for the other 6. Miles, Kate, Ben, and Claire's names were all there but crossed out for various reasons
          • Desmond is candidate number 108. Jacob has Hurley set the lighthouse to 108 to see him and says another candidate is coming to the island. 108 is the sum of the 4 8 15 16 23 42 series and symbolic since Desmond pushed the button for three years. This is most likely why he was the one to bring everyone back together in the flash sideways life.
            • Jacob tells Kate that her name was crossed off because she became a mother. It stands to reason that Desmond's would be crossed off once he became a husband and father. Jacob selects people as candidates because they are alone and flawed. Desmond was certainly alone and flawed when he came to the Island, but he isn't by the time he comes back.

Widmore's Master Plan involving Desmond

As it has been made abundantly clear by the producers by the middle of season six, that the Man in Black is a prisoner of the island, yet, except for the natural barrier (water) this "prison" has no buildings for imprisonment like for example previously Alcatraz in the bay of San Francico. Alcatraz had a double system for protetion: The cell blocks inside the prison building AND the icy cold water surrounding Alcatraz Island.

It is fair to assume that the island's electromagnetic properties (and pushing the button every 108 minutes in the Hatch) have provided the means to keep the Man in Black "chained" (think of the Alcatraz cell block as an analogy / allegory). The Man in Black had been manipulating events to the outcome that the electromagnetic energy had been released in the Discharge caused by Desmond and further depleted by the turning of the Frozen Wheel. Now, the Man in Black has actually gotten out of his "cell" and merely has to overcome the remaining natural barrier (water) to leave the island.

It seems necessary to relocate the Man in Black into his "cell" by restoring the island's electromagnetic energy (this is why Zoe interrogates Jin about his survey of the electromagnetic pockets). How this could be accomplished currently remains unclear but probably requires someone immune to electromagnetic energy (= Desmond). To this end Widmore has brought Desmond to Hydra Island, tested his resistance to electromagnetic energy and allowed Desmond to be captured by "Team MiB" that takes him to the main island, where he is going to execute a yet unknown task (should Desmond fail, Widmore can still blow up the plane as a last resort...).

  • The barrier to the MiB leaving the island was Jacob and now is the candidates. Presumably, if the MiB can kill all the candidates, he will be able to leave the island. Widmore wants Desmond to do something near the source where the electromagnetic energy is strong. Perhaps he could enter the source and not become a smoke monster because of his immunity to electromagnetism. Or, perhaps Widmore wants Desmond to destroy the wheel.


  • Desmond is the son of Jacob.
  • While the possibility of Desmond being Jacob's son is uncertain, it can be assumed that Desmond's time-travelling could be a strange manifestation of the fact that Desmond is "special", which could explain why Desmond could have flash-backs, flash-forwards and flash-sideways, and still retain conscious memory of both the flashes and the present.

Importance of "jumps" to Desmond's History

  • Desmond's "jumps" are responsible for his breakup with Penny (shown, when he 'remembers' the photo from the future) and his discharge from the army (implied). Desmond took off from the base during basic training (presumably when he should have been STAYING at the base). This occurred on a day that he was already getting into a lot of trouble with his drill sergeant and probably resulted in his dishonorable discharge and imprisonment (although it is possible something more severe led to his incarceration).
    • Desmond said he had two days leave when he called Penny, and everything he did during the flashes back to 1996 probably took place within those two days. His discharge was due to something outside of these flashes.
  • Desmond seems to run opposite to everyone else in that he completely repels the island. He seems to want no part of Charles or his plans. He doesn't really see the connection between him and anyone else. He's so focused on Penny that he simply doesn't care about anything else. To put it simply he just doesn't get it. He's trying to do anything to be with Penny he's blind to whatever other purpose he may serve. It's only when he gets pulled in and even then he resists. On the second trip back, he decided not to go basically putting himself outside the circle. He can try to ignore what is happening around him, but it only seems to delay the further the true outcome.
    • This is terrible to say. Desmond willingly intended to give his life to save the world by imploding the hatch. I doubt you've ever been in love if you don't understand why Desmond thinks about Penny all the time. He tries again and again to save Charlie, and now intends to do whatever he can to help Charles save the world, and more importantly his family.

"Time Travel"

  • Desmond has yet to push the button that Mrs. Hawking predicted; he has only fulfilled one of her prophecies: turning the fail safe key. Therefore, the button in the Swan is not the button Desmond is supposed to push to do a "great" thing.
    • The creators have made sure to refer to the computer & numbers as "pushing the button" many times -I just saw it in Dave again. Surely this is what Hawking was referring to and she said that turning that key is the "only truly great thing you will ever do" - in other words one thing. This is NOT a two-part prophecy she is giving. It's not a prophecy at all, its history of the future.
  • Desmond has gained a 4th-dimensional presence -- now his periodic prescience spans his entire life, as he basically exists in the present in all possible moments on the timeline. We only saw part of what he now remembers experiencing in the past -- knowledge of the future. Other aspects of Desmond's timeline may now be different.
    • Agreed, Desmond will remember bits and pieces (as he sees it) but in reality someone (e.g. Faraday) interferes in his past and "changes things." Not really changing it though. Desmond's selective amnesia and recall is indicative of the bits and pieces being "changed." It should be noted though, as Faraday puts it "you can't change the past" so Desmond lives ONE timeline and remembers pieces or has flashes at key moments . He remembered Faraday @ the Swan at the same "time" Faraday was talking to him on the island -thats why the scenes were shown in sequence- we know time is skipping on the island while it is also passing normally outside the island. The memories aren't "activated" until they are made- that's the best I can put it in 3D speech.
      • That doesn't make any sense. When Faraday gives his message to Desmond, only hours have passed from Faraday's perspective. three years have passed from Desmond's perspective before Desmond remembers.
        • The island is jumping through time, not Faraday and company. After Ben turns the wheel, think of all the characters as still being on the same timeline. Those on the island are not traveling through time, the island is traveling through time right under there feet. Therefore when Faraday finds Desmond at the Swan and tells him that he needs to find Faraday's mother, Desmond instantly receives the "memory" in real-time when he is on his boat in 2008. The Faraday outside the Swan talking to Desmond is 2008 Faraday, telling 2004 Desmond to find his mother. At this very moment 2008 Desmond wakes up on his boat with this new memory as it has literally just occurred.
          • I think everyone needs to read this paragraph carefully, as it does a great job of illustrating how the 4D nature of time is perceived by the characters and an audience that has a (more or less) linear perspective. I'd say a detailed understanding of the way time-travel is being portrayed will be very useful in making accurate predictions and theories for Season 6.
        • Actually it does make sense. Daniel and the others are unstuck in time, moving to various points in the Island's timeline with each flash. This means that they're also traveling in space, at least during some flashes. In order to travel almost instantaneously from one point to another, they have to be traveling close to the speed of light. Time slows down for those traveling near the speed of light. So what seems like 3 years to a person sitting still (or traveling at normal speeds, like Desmond) might seem only like a few days or weeks to someone like Dan, who is spending a lot of time traveling near the speed of light.
        • Alternatively, it can also make sense by considering that since Daniel et al are unstuck in time, they don't experience time the same way Desmond, and others in the normal world do. Kind of like in Narnia, where 1 year in earth time can be either 4 years in Narnia time or 1000 years in Narnia time. They just aren't connected in time at all. If the Island works this way, when skipping, then a short time on the Island can certainly correspond to a longer time in the real world.
      • It's always been that Faraday spoke to Desmond at The Swan's back entrance; Desmond's chronologically altered conscience and special connection to Daniel allowed Faraday to trigger another instance of Desmond's past state of being consuming his consciousness (like in The Constant) in 2008 when he is sleeping in his boat at an exact moment that would set course a chain of events that leads Desmond arriving at Eloise Hawking's door at the very same time as Jack, Ben, and Sun and will ultimately result in Desmond making his return to the Island. Daniel caused this by personally (rather than Sawyer) knocking on the Swan's door. The past Desmond's memories are treated in the same manner as his experiences in The Constant and Flashes Before Your Eyes.
  • The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics should be consulted by Desmondian Theorists, whether or not the writers are in fact utilizing quantum theory. If Werner Heisenberg and Neils Bohr were correct, it is legitimately plausible that Charlie Pace and Desmond Hume are both temporally immortal.
      • Going off of the idea above with Quantum Physics. There is also a theory that their is an infinite number of parallel universes. For e.g. if you decide in one universe you want chocolate ice cream desert, in the other you may want vanilla, or strawberry, or maybe none at all. This goes on into an infinite number of ways.
        • Having explained that now, look at Desmond like Jacob and the nemesis. There is only "one" Desmond living in "one" universe like Jacob etc. This gives them extreme power, especially if they understand this. They could literally do anything they want, like a genie. All they would have to do is bring themselves into a specific universe by interacting with it (like Jacob touching the losties). This would connect everyone in that universe, no matter there decisions, to Jacob/Desmond/etc. Desmond has his visions, because he is subconsciously looking into other parallel universes. This allows him to alter the universe he is in to what he thinks is best. That is why he could save Charlie so many times, before Charlie made the ultimate decision himself to terminate his existence in that universe.
  • Desmond has become "unstuck in time" like Billy Pilgrim.when Desmond was inside the swan he was pushing the button keeping time from moving past 1996 but since it would eventually get past that point or Desmond would he already has a future.

so he should be able to remember everything that happens up to the time in the real world, when he turns the key time starts again and his mind merges with the current times consciousness.

  • Desmond isn't traveling through time. If time is cyclical, then whatever happened at the Swan could be allowing Desmond to remember things he has already experienced. Ms. Hawking may know so much because she has been doing the same thing longer than Desmond. Also, Desmond has yet to have a premonition about something that he wasn't involved with.
  • Desmond can no longer see into the future. (evidence: he said to Sayid that he was 'perfect') ""
  • Another way to consider the matter of Faraday's encounter with Desmond is to think of its having occurred a little less than two years before it happened relative to Faraday's non-shifting baseline date of 12/31/04 - 1/1/05, compared to, say, sometime in early 2002 shortly after the crash of the Beechcraft and the 3rd Time Shift. This time gap might exactly correspond to the one between Faraday's baseline and when Desmond has his memory of the encounter in late 2007, after which they sail to England and then, L.A. by January 2008; he and Penelope would not fly for fear of being picked up by her father's figurative "radar."

Connection to Eloise Hawking and Time Travel

At some point in 2007, I think Desmond wakes up from his coma, setting off the following chain of events:

  • In 2007, Hawking is waiting for him in the hospital; she tells him that 30+ years ago she was visited by Desmond at which point he tells her he needs her help in stopping the bomb from going off.
  • At some point in 1977, Hawking is visited by Desmond. She doesn't believe him right away but when he predicts that Jack, Kate, et al. will also come looking for the bomb, she sees he's telling the truth.
  • Desmond explains the sequence of events that will lead to the current situation. Somehow, she helps him disarm the bomb before Jack gets his hands on it.
  • Jack then throws the unarmed bomb down hatch. The bomb doesn't go off and the incident happens and transports Jack, Kate, et al. back to 2007.
  • Desmond, still alive in 1977, tells Hawking that she needs to do everything in her power to ensure the sequence of events happen exactly the way they've always happened. That includes sending her son back to die AND making sure that Desmond doesn't buy a wedding ring so that he can marry Penny in 1996.
  • In 1996 Hawking, now an old woman, and with all the knowledge bestowed upon her by time traveling Desmond, stops Desmond from buying the ring in 1996 and tells him he must go to the island and push the button or "we'll all be dead" (i.e. in a nuclear explosion)
  • 11 years later, 2007 Hawking hears Desmond's in coma and goes to see him. Because this is, in essence, the point in time from which Desmond departed to first meet Hawking in 1977, Hawking has "run out" of information on the future; at this point she says, "for the first time in a long time, I don't know what's going to happen next"
  • Finally, Desmond wakes up and she starts the cycle all over again, telling him everything she's learned her whole life

Here are a few more possibilities to go with this theory:

  • 2007 Desmond lives for some time with 1977 Hawking, before leaving the island with Hawking. She goes on to live her life in some fashion. He subsequently changes his name to Campbell Wallace and lives in a monastery.
  • Thus, in the episode “Catch-22”, the picture on Brother Campbell's desk showing himself and... Hawking.
  • And thus the lighthouse number requested by Jacob, 108, with the inscription…Wallace.

Interestingly, the historic David Hume was friends with Robert Wallace (1694–1771), an Edinburgh minister. See the third entry here.

(counter argument): I do like the above theory quite a bit, except that Wallace didn't come back - it's our own lovable Scotsman instead.

"Premonitions" & possible psychic abilities

Why did Desmond say that he had a vision of Aaron and Claire leaving the island by helicopter, when this hasn't happened?

    • Desmond lied about his premonition of Aaron and Claire leaving the island together by helicopter if Charlie died; instead, if Charlie died, Desmond saw himself on the helicopter (along with Sayid) and also in the Season 4 finale got off the island himself. This is further proven by his cowardice ways, referred to many times throughout the show.
      • I agree, above all because, even though he himself saw Charlie's message, he chose to stay with Jack to get out of the island.
      • In the episode Further Instructions John Locke goes into the sweat lodge as sees Desmond. Boone states that "he is helping himself." This could have something to do with how he may have lied to Charlie about Claire leaving the island, as he saw himself being reunited with Penny instead.
    • Or, Desmond wasn't lying, but his future visions are fallible and he got this one wrong.
      • In Catch-22 we see that Desmond's flashes can be a bit shaky. He brings Charlie along because he died in the vision, however in another flash we can see Charlie is one of the people holding the parachute. Desmond himself says if he changes anything the picture changes (an allusion to him being special and holding the power to change the future). Any action taken by Desmond, direct or indirect could have changed the outcome on the helicopter. He risked killing Penny (or so he though) by saving Charlie's life, he isn't a total coward.
    • This could be an event that will happen at some point in the future. Desmond never said when it would happen.
      • Except Aaron is already off the island...and is no longer a baby for that matter. So it will be interesting to see how they manage to explain that one in any other way besides he was lying, or just wrong.
    • The producers have stated that they are aware of this, and that they 'have a plan' regarding the issue (CC 2008). So it's not clear if Desmond was lying or not. Looks like this will be resolved in future episodes.
  • The psychic ability has nothing to do with the discharge, or was perhaps only amplified by it; rather, Desmond has always had this ability, as Charlie believes that some have "the gift" ("Raised by Another"). After all, Desmond did successfully predict Sarah's recovery ("Man of Science, Man of Faith"), and the prison officer who administered his dishonorable discharge reminded him that having a last book to read before you die is good, "if you know when you're going to die". ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1") Though he did not seem to know how the rest of the world might be affected by not pushing the button, perhaps it simply "doesn't work like that," but rather comes in flashes.
  • Desmond will predict his own death, as suggested by the officer who discharges him in "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1", who says, "As long as you know when you're going to die.", and begin to read his book, Our Mutual Friend.
  • Walt's powers may be, in essence, a "younger version" of the same abilities that Desmond has.
    • Another possibility is that Walt's abilities pertain to the concept of "space" (being in multiple places at once, manipulating physical elements such as backgammon dice and weather) and Desmond's pertain to "time" (crossing from present to past, seeing future events and thus having the capacity to alter the "direction" in which time flows).
      • Desmond's powers may, like Walt's, manipulate more than time.
        • Example: upon meeting Jack and learning that Jack had been unable to fix his patient as promised, Desmond asked, "Just one thing -- what if you did fix her? ... But what if you did?"[1] Perhaps Jack's medical expertise was initially correct, and, upon completion of surgery, Sarah's spinal column was still irreparably damaged. However, once Desmond imagined the possibility that she had been healed, she suddenly was.
      • This is what 'Only Fools are enslaved by Time and Space' is referring to in the reversed audio heard in Room 23
  • Most if not all of Desmond's flashes have been focused around Charlie dying. With Charlie's death Desmond has lost his ability to see the future.
    • Desmond's flashes disappeared when he find his "constant" in season 4.
  • Desmond is being fed his premonitions somehow from Jacob in order to manipulate him. His premonitions in the second half of season three all relate to things that are triggered by him knowing they'll happen (his premonition about finding Penny led him to gather the others for the expedition, his premonition about Charlie's death led his volunteering for the diving mission), so the premonitions themselves must be a way of getting Desmond to action them.
    • If the case is true, why does Jacob "feed" Minkowski? (unlikely explanation)
  • When the hatch exploded, as well as being in the hatch for so long, would have caused him to be exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which would give him visions.
  • I believe Desmond is a DHARMA Baby, like Ethan and Miles. Ethan equipped with superhuman strength, born on the island, his parents are Amy and Horace. Miles is Pierre Chang's baby, giving him his speaking-to-the-dead power from being born on the island. Desmond has the power to see the alternate future timelines, so he may have been born on the island during the DHARMA times. But this theory may also be false because he doesn't get his powers til later in his life after being on the island, after the blast from the electromagnetism hitting him, this theory is very open!
    • Because he bests Jack in a fight he suddenly has "super-human" strength? Unless, of course, I'm forgetting an instance that evidences this. Like when he blocked the bullets shot by Charlie's gun. Oh wai-
      • No, an instance that evidences Ethan's strength is when he single-handedly hangs Charlie 15 feet off the ground. It might not be "super-human," but Ethan definitely ate his Wheaties.


  • Desmond has joined Charles Widmore. Both are angry at Benjamin Linus for the attempted murder of Penny. Desmond is also angry at the island for taking so much of his life.
  • By turning the fail safe key he somehow upset the course of events in the universe and became "unique" and "special" as described by Faraday in the sense that he can now control his own destiny. He can change his own future or timeline which is why Daniel can talk to him and tell him to see his mother; Desmond is not restricted by "the rules" but instead lives by free will. Hence his name being a reference to David Hume.
  • Although he has spent years searching for Penny and although he promised Penny he would never leave her again, he will break his promise and return to the island in order to save those left behind.
  • Charles Widmore called him a "coward." He was imprisoned for desertion from the army (e.g. fleeing a combat situation) or treason.
    • He was dishonorably discharged because of his going AWOL in "The Constant".
      • He told Penny over the phone he had a few days of leave and wanted to visit her, he most likely visited Daniel, Widmore and then Penny during this time.
  • He was imprisoned because he (intentionally) failed to do something in order to be in jail, so he could fulfill his destiny on the Island; he knew he needed to be imprisoned (for some unknown reason) and he knows exactly the time of his death as well (Our mutual friend).
  • Desmond was the only one in Widmore's race. Widmore gave directions to Desmond, based on the Black Rock Diary, of where he thought the Island might be, knowing that he would contact Penny at all costs on the phone number he had already given to Desmond through allowing him to contact Penny (by giving him the address). He either didn't know when this would be and was banking on Penny's actions, or he knew that when Desmond had seen Penny (1996) he had told her he would call on the stated date and time and on that number. The freighter was already in place waiting for the call and ready to jump the island.
    • I like this idea a lot, but I don't know enough about sailing races. Wouldn't he have seen the lack of boats at the start?
  • His mentioning to Jack that he was "almost" a doctor isn't a reference to being a medical student but to being a combat medic.
  • Desmond's character is influenced by and perhaps similar to the protagonist in Doctor Who; the long running British science fiction series about a wandering time traveler. Doctor Who can regenerate, in effect be reborn when he is near death, very similar to the possible "rebirth" Desmond experienced during the Hatch explosion. Further, the Doctor travels in a vehicle much larger on the inside than it appears from the outside, rather like the Hatch, which when discovered was simply a door but leads to a large interior. Desmond's attire when he meets Ms. Hawking and walks with her specifically the long coat and scarf is very similar to the outfit worn by the most famous Doctor Who, Tom Baker.
  • Took a stuffed rabbit from the bed when packing to leave the Swan. There was something inside the rabbit to help him.
  • Penelope waiting for Desmond to come home can be considered a reference to the Odyssey where Desmond is Odysseus trying to find his way home. It is also of note that in The Odyssey, Penelope has 108 suitors. (Note: According to Wikipedia, she had 117 suitors.)
  • Desmond seems to have been on the Island about as long as Juliet has (since 2001). If the Island can only be approached at certain times (say, a barrier being lifted), then perhaps Juliet's arrival on the Island is what caused Desmond to be captured there, too.
    • We will see the time-traveling Losties on the island jump to 2001 and witness Desmond's (and possibly Juliet's) arrival.
  • The question that Desmond asks Locke "what did one snowman say to the other snowman" could be the question that is told to ask Daniel Faraday when he arrives on the island. Knowing that he sees Faraday in later life, he uses this question as Daniel Faraday's constant.
    • Daniel did not know the answer to this question when he asked him on the island.
      • Desmond did not ask him the question; he just asked, "Are you him?"
  • His father is dead or abandoned Desmond and his brothers.
  • Desmond's parents are still unknown; one of the only main characters on the island whose parents we know nothing about. Surely not a coincidence but perhaps a set up for a later twist. Desmond could be the second son of Eloise Hawking. Making him half brother to Daniel Faraday and step brother to Penny, much like Boone to Shannon (assuming that Penny is not Hawking's daughter & Charles Widmore is not Desmond's father). This might help explain the special connection he has with Faraday and why Widmore does not want him to be with Penny. This is also supports reason as to why both Hawking and Widmore were present at the hospital when he got shot by Ben and in his time traveling when he met Eloise. Hawking could be trying to direct both Desmond and Faraday to the Island so they can save each other. If Desmond does not crash the plane, he will never turn the key, meaning Daniel will never go to the Island to save everyone.
    • Desmond and Faraday are quite close in age. Desmond may have been present in Faraday's childhood. Making him an even stronger constant in Daniel's life.
    • Hawking told Desmond that the Island is not done with him. This could be a hint that he has to go back in order to save Faraday after getting shot by her.
      • Desmond had three Brother's.
      • We have not seen any flashbacks of Desmond's brothers. So this may not even be fact.
        • If Hawking were his Mother how come he does not recognize her in his time travels?
        • Maybe because he was born on the Island, making his Mother appear a different age off the Island. We don't know when Eloise left the Island or if she even came back at some point. They may have got separated from each other or she might have even kept distant from him in order to keep him safe.
        • It seems Hawking was apart of Desmond's life for quite some time without him knowing. She is seen in a picture with Brother Campbell.
  • Except for a brief moment by the cockpit Desmond and Ben never truly meet on the island. Not knowing that Desmond was on the island at all Ben can't possibly be aware Desmond is one who needs to go back. When Desmond shows up in L.A. to talk to Daniel's mother Ben will realize the truth and do whatever it takes to recruit him as well.
    • Actually, it is quite possible that Ben did know of the existence of Desmond

(he surely has watched him working at The Swan in The Pearl's television)

  • Desmond will return to the island. Ben killed Penny, as promised. That's why he was seen bloody and beaten using the payphone at the docks. (Desmond and Penny were living on a boat). Penny is the reason Desmond wanted to leave the island so bad. With her dead, and the killer on the island, of course he's going to go back.
No longer a possibility since we know that Ben is bloodied because Desmond beat him after Ben tried to kill Penny.
  • Desmond is the Variable.
  • Ben killed Penny in "316". Desmond will have to seek out Widmore's help to return to the Island to exact revenge on Ben. Widmore will lie to Desmond and tell him that because he is "special" he can use the Orchid to change the past to restore Penny but in doing so, Desmond will realize that most of his life has been manipulated by Widmore as part of a plot to lead Widmore back to the Island. (This accounts for Desmond telling Jack that they are all pawns in a game) Widmore's plan was always for Desmond to go to the Island and become "special" (via the Implosion) so that Desmond could alter Island history in such a way that Widmore's place as leader on the Island will be restored. Desmond will sacrifice himself to ensure that neither Widmore nor Ben gains control of the Island and the resulting Time Space event becomes known as "The Incident".
  • Somehow Widmore knew that Desmond was alive and on the Island (was he connected with the regular restocking of The Swan?), because of the photograph that Naomi carried and her ruse (how did he get a copy? ... of course, she could have also been a double-agent for Penelope). The question would be: If or how Widmore could have foreseen or manipulated Desmond's ending up on the Island. Curiously, aside from Naomi, no one else with the freight crew seemed to have had any instructions or knowledge respective to Desmond. Ben should also have become aware of Desmond's existence at the Swan and investigated his background and connection to Penelope Widmore, and he might have learned more from Sayid (in happier times) about how they all (really) got rescued. Then, upon seeing Desmond at the church, Ben appeared rather startled and might have surmised that Penelope could then be found at a cash-friendly Marina in the L.A. area. It seems safe to say, however, that neither Ben nor Widmore are much aware of or appreciate Desmond's somehow "special" relation to the Time continuum and with the Island, as they might have less information on that score than even the audience.
  • Desmond is Charles Widmore's son, that's the reason Widmore never wanted Desmond to be involved with Penny.
  • Desmond is Jacob's son!
  • Desmond Hume's real life namesake, David Hume, came up with the Black Swan metaphor, which roughly states that you can witness any number of white swans, but that still doesn't prove that all the swans are white; yet it only takes one black swan to prove that they're not. No matter how many times you witness something in the past, it is still not proof that it will be that way in the future. For instance, many people used to believe that all swans were white, but when a black swan was discovered in Australia, it proved otherwise.
    • Perhaps Desmond Hume is a black swan in matters that regard time. Faraday and Eloise Hawking both state that the events of time cannot be changed, and yet when Eloise Hawking meets him, but maybe they're just "looking at the white swans".
      • When Eloise Hawking meets him and talks him out of buying the ring for Penny, she tells him that time can't be changed...but the very act of talking him out of buying the ring seems to indicate that she might suspect that time can be changed.
    • This analogy is more practically shown in The Incident, where Jacob is trying to convince MIB that the Black Rock will be different.
  • Reason why He didn't go to the Island a second time was because the Island was finally done with him
  • Desmond's role on the island is much like Richard. Richard was never ment to replace Jacob, but he was part of his plan to be replaced, always destined to be Jacob's mediator. In Desmond's case, he may or may not be a candidate, but he kept coming back. This was because although he was not a candidate to replace Jacob, Jacob brought him to the island twice because he played a major role in its fate, and he was supposed to unscrew the 'cork'.

Connections to Watchmen

  • Desmond's visions may parallel Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan. After Manhattan's accident, he acquired powers, but did not know their extent initially, gaining more power (while also becoming less human) through time. Desmond may have received a similar power of clairvoyance, meaning he's aware of all points in his life. Instead of existing in the "present" he's aware of the future and the past simultaneously. His brain probably can't process these new power(s) correctly, so his "visions" of the future come in the flashes. In contrast he perceives memories as normal memories because if his preconceived notion of the past. Unlike Dr. Manhattan, he does not believe the future is unchangeable, so he tries to save Charlie. An underlying plot of the flash-forwards will be Desmond and others trying to alter the future.
    • Desmond also reappeared naked, much like Dr. Manhattan.

Connections to The Dark Tower (DT-related spoilers!)

  • Desmond may have been on a journey similar to that of Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The events in The Dark Tower occur on a loop. Desmond is on a lengthy quest, the beginning and end of which are unknown. His "flashes" are simply his remembering that he has, in fact, done all of this before. The fail safe somehow interrupted this iteration of his quest, fast-forwarding and forcing him to start again. Normally, he forgets the events of his quest, but the fail-safe has interrupted this.

Differences between Survivor's vs Desmond's Time travel

Why Desmond is Special.

  1. The Survivors traveled on the Island timeline only. Desmond traveled between the Island and the outside world.
  2. Desmond making a change in the outside world makes a change on the Island. Example: He gets Penny's new number and tells her he will call her in 8 years, leading to their rescue.
  3. Desmond flashes to the outside world and inhabits himself at that time and place. When the survivors flash to a time where they already exist on the Island, they don't inhabit themselves. Example: Locke and the rest walk past the Hatch when the light goes on. Locke, of that time, is knocking on the Hatch which makes Desmond turn the light on.
  • Well, we could do this all day. Desmond's time travel experiences are demonstrably entirely different to those the Losties experienced. The only major connection is the nosebleeds.
  • Desmond has the same time traveling experience as Minkowski, so far he is not that special.
  • It seems that Desmond's travel is comparative to Theresa Spencer's, in that her body remains in place in the time stream but her consciousness moves through time. There is one startling similarity between these two that is distinct from other demonstrated time travel; These "time travels" occurred off of the Island. This could mean that your body is only able to follow you through time on the Island.
  • Teresa Spencer's experiences are like Daniel Faraday's, not Desmond's. Daniel, with the aide of his laboratory light thingy, sent his mind to his future on the island. This is how he wrote his journal and injured his brain.


  • Desmond's exposure to electromagnetism when he turned the fail safe key caused Desmond to "time-travel". Dharma built the Swan to experiment with electromagnetic radiation. Desmond had to "push the button" to regulate its intensity in order to prevent the inhabitants of the Island from receiving a dose too high, which would cause "time-traveling" in the person. The fail safe release gave everyone on the Island (and maybe some people in range of the Island) a mega-dose of electromagnetic radiation, opening them to the possibility of having "time-shifts."
    • This is supported by the fact that both Daniel's radiation device and the sky during the event emitted purple light
    • Desmond's premonitions about Charlie dying started after the explosion of The Swan. They were not premonitions: it was time-traveling into the future. Desmond's consciousness was traveling to a future consciousness where he saw Charlie dying. If this is the case then he would have never been able to stop Charlie from dying. Remember, it has been said at least twice, once certainly by Daniel in 1996 that you cannot change the future.
      • I keep seeing this but it doesn't seem right to me. Isn't the lesson of Charlie/Desmond, that you CAN change the future, but you CAN NOT stop it from happening all together? Remember Charlie was not always going to die in the Looking Glass, he was "supposed" to die by lighting strike.
  • Desmond had been time traveling ever since he first arrived on the island. Minkowski was nowhere near the island when the Swan exploded, yet when he approached the island by boat, he and his friend both began time traveling and became so physically ill that they have already died. Unless Desmond by a highly unlikely chance was on the proper bearing and never got off that bearing during the storm as he ran aground on the island, it would be reasonable to think that he has been time traveling for three years.
    • The Swan implosion clearly had a major impact on Desmond. It enhanced his time travel capabilities and allowed him fragmented glimpses of the future and/or caused the time travel to become more frequent.
    • Perhaps the island offers some protection, but once off the island time travel becomes uncontrollable if the bearing is not followed.
    • Desmond's daily injections may have mitigated the effects of the time travel, but he became worse once he stopped taking them. Ray is injecting the same chemical into Minkowski to try and save him.
    • Perhaps one can only experience the time-travel of ones consciousness if one actually IS conscious when crossing the "barrier" surrounding the island. We have seen that Desmond was knocked unconscious before his ship ran aground, and only regained consciousness once on-shore. This could also be why Juliet was sedated for her journey to the Island.
    • This is also supported by the fact that anyone brought to and from the island in the sub is rendered unconscious.

Further unanswered questions

  • When Desmond flashes forward, he experiences time compression (75 mins becomes 5 mins). However, when the mouse flashes forward, in a few seconds she learns the maze. What causes the difference?
    • The mouse doesn't learn the maze in a few seconds; its consciousness is away a few seconds, which is a different matter. The mouse is not seen learning the maze, only running it.
    • The difference may just be that a person has a more complicated brain than a mouse.
    • If we were to view the episode from the mouse's perspective (Eloise) it would have learned how to run the maze in normal time, then at some point it would have had a flashback (similar to Desmond's) and found itself back at the beginning of the maze. But this time, because it has already been taught how to run it, it doesn't need to learn it again. So it appears to Desmond and Daniel that it automatically runs the maze without learning.
    • It's clear that there is a difference in the perceived passage of time from one setting to another; Desmond appears to be in the future for a mere 5 minutes, but Daniel has him timed at close to 75 minutes gone; the mouse appears to be "gone" for mere seconds while sitting in the maze, but would have taken a much longer period in the future learning the maze. So what accounts for the differences in the passage of time?
    • There seems to be no constant relation between past time and future time in a jump. In Faraday's office 75 minutes in the past was compressed to 5 minutes in the future; when picking up the coin in the rain a brief moment in the past expanded to a longer time in the future.
  • If past Desmond's consciousness was time traveling to the present, why wasn't he sick in the past (i.e. nose bleeding)? Alternatively, if present-day Desmond's consciousness was time traveling to the past, why couldn't he remember anything about the present? It seems present-day Minkowski's consciousness was time traveling. He was sick in the present and he remembered the present.
    • If Minkowski was traveling to the future, then his future consciousness would remember his present situation, and that would explain why he didn't suffer memory loss.
      • But Minkowski has no future self to travel to, because he dies on that day. There is not much of a future to travel to for him. He's more likely to have been traveling to the past.
  • Which way did Minkowski's consciousness travel? Since he died shortly after traveling - thus having no future, was it past?
    • He went into the past. When Desmond saw his "future" self in the mirror, Minkowski mentioned that Desmond must look older now.
      • Or when Minkowski's 2004 consciousness went into the future, he saw himself older in a mirror, and remembered this experience when his consciousness returned to 2004 and he mentioned it to Desmond.
        • How? He died after traveling. Therefore, he has no future self and can't have seen himself as an older person.
  • When an individual's consciousness travels into the past, where does his past-self's consciousness go? The answer is that it goes nowhere: the past and future minds are present in a single brain, with one or the other predominating. In Minkowski's case, the 2004 Minkowski remained conscious during his time-oscillations. In Desmond's case, while it was his future consciousness that traveled back from 2004 to 1996, the shock of finding himself back in time caused Desmond's future mind to shut down, leaving his past mind with a few confused images of the helicopter. For the remainder of the episode, it is 1996 Desmond who is active, while 2004 Desmond is in a catatonic state. Finding his Constant, a person of great importance in both 1996 and 2004, allows Desmond's brain to integrate both 1996 mind and 2004 mind into a single, unified whole. The interesting thing about this is, whereas 2004 Desmond would be relatively unchanged, 1996 Desmond might well have the memories of 2004 Desmond, just as if 2004 Desmond had physically replaced himself in the past.
    • The producers have said that 1996 Desmond traveled to the future. 2004 Desmond did not travel to the past. We still have no answer as to where/when his 2004 consciousness was while his 2004 body was occupied by his 1996 consciousness, and the episode ended before we could see any repercussions of the entire ordeal on the fully restored 2004 Desmond.
      • So if it was 1996 Desmond traveling into 2004, then I assume that the very first time skip (from the helicopter into the barracks) was 1996 Desmond returning to himself. So if that's the case, then how long was 1996 Desmond in 2004 prior to that? Has it been since the turning of the failsafe key? Maybe when he first crossed over the island's barrier when he came to the island during the boat race? Before that even?
        • 1996 Desmond was asleep the first time his consciousness traveled to the future (while 2004 was in the helicopter). Because he was asleep, his consciousness did not take over the body (or push 2004's consciousness out, or whatever happened); instead, the 1996 consciousness experienced the 2004 reality as a dream. The next leap forward, though, was while 1996 Desmond was conscious, and thus freaked him out.
          • The only way that works is if 1996 Desmond briefly (and I mean, briefly) traveled to 2004 in the helicopter--just long enough for him to look around and see that he's in a helicopter, anyway--and then immediately return to his body in 1996. Is that what you're proposing? I didn't watch that part of the episode closely enough to see if that's maybe what happened. That actually makes sense now that I think about it, because the helicopter seems to be the only thing 1996 Desmond remembers when he's asked what he was dreaming about. He doesn't say anything like, "I dreamt that I was on a world boat race, and then crashed on an island, and then started pushing a button, and then..." etc. etc.
  • When Desmond was exposed to electromagnetism after turning the failsafe key, he skipped time just once. Is it possible that on the island if you're exposed to radiation or electromagnetism that the full effects are put on "pause" until you try to leave the island? Perhaps everyone else who was exposed to the resulting electromagnetism from the Swan's explosion is also on "pause", like ticking time bombs waiting to go off the second they try to leave the island.
  • Does the device settings (2,342) that Faraday mentioned to Desmond have any significance to the Swan computers numbers? The last pair of these are 23 and 42. Faraday's numbers: 2,342. Does this mean 23 and 42 in the numbers represents some kind of time failure for the world?
    • The numbers have significance to the whole show and are snuck in everywhere. Sometimes you have to count to notice (ex: Juliet hit Jughead 8 times before it exploded, Jacob dunked Richard in the water 4 times, etc.).

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