"Par Avion" is the twelfth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-first produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on March 14, 2007. After noticing some migratory birds, Claire hatches an impressive plan to get the survivors of Flight 815 rescued. Meanwhile, Sayid, Kate, Locke, and Danielle continue their trek to the Barracks with Mikhail in tow.
The car wreck
A left eye with heavy black eye-liner slowly opens; it is Claire. She awakens slowly to realize that she is sitting in her automobile immediately after a severe car accident. She is cut, her airbag is deployed and deflated, and her mother has been thrown through the broken windscreen onto the pavement. When her door does not work Claire crawls through the broken windscreen to reach her mother, who remains motionless.
In the hospital, Claire's forehead wound is stitched and a policeman, Officer Barnes, enters and questions her about the accident. She becomes very defensive when she believes he is implying the fault was hers, or that her mother may die.
Returning to the hospital after briefly going home for a shower, Claire finds her aunt Lindsey in her mother's room. They have a brief confrontation where Claire is accused of not caring about her mother, when doctor enters the room. He informs them that the surgery has stabilized her mother's condition but that her mother may be in a permanent coma. When Lindsey says that they can't afford such long-term medical care, the doctor reveals that the entire medical bill has been covered by an anonymous benefactor.
Christian is revealed as Claire's father
Claire later returns to visit her mother to find an American doctor, Christian Shephard, in the room, lightly touching her mother's forearm. When Lindsey enters the room, she immediately demands to know why he is there and begins to argue heatedly with him. Claire is confused as to who he is and how Lindsey knows him. Eventually the man reveals that he is Claire's father, whom she had been told was dead.
Claire and Christian share a cup of coffee and discuss her mother's fate.
Some time later, Claire is working in a tattoo and piercing parlor when Christian enters, and asks her to join him for coffee before he leaves Australia. Although she is angry with him, she agrees.
At the coffee shop, Christian explains that he had a fling with her mother that resulted in her birth. He also says that he had visited occasionally when she was younger, but that the fact that he had another family in the United States eventually made her mother and Lindsey too resentful for his visits to continue. Christian suggests that Claire should consider taking steps which are not illegal; and would allow her mother's suffering to end. Claire can not agree, and tries to leave without even wanting to know her father's name. Christian cautions her not to allow her guilt for her mother's condition to cloud her decision.
Claire tells her comatose mother that she is pregnant.
In 2004, Claire's mother is still in hospital in a coma. Claire visits her, a visit which is routine. Claire is now a blonde and is obviously pregnant. She turns the television on to a nature program showing a scene of migratory birds flying in formation. She explains to her unconscious mother that she is pregnant and is about to give the baby away for adoption. She also apologizes to her mother, explaining that she now understands how hard it was for her mother to raise her, especially because she was such a difficult daughter. She becomes overwhelmed with guilt and, as she begins to sob. She apologizes for arguing with her mother during the fateful car ride, where she told her that she hated her and wished she was dead, and describes the guilt she feels for the accident. ♪♪
On the Island
At the beach
Desmond interrupts Charlie and Claire's breakfast.
Claire opens her right eye, awakening in her tent to a plate of fruit beside her with a message attached to it that reads, "G-Day!" Charlie arrives at her tent, carrying Aaron, and tells her about a picnic he has planned on the beach, and that he has arranged for Sun and Jin to take care of Aaron while they dine. Before Charlie and Claire can settle into their picnic, Desmond comes out of the jungle asking for Charlie to come hunting with him saying his time would be better spent hunting. Charlie is reluctant but Desmond persists, he has an ulterior motive. Just then Claire notices gulls flying in the air and announces that she has realized a possible way of getting off the Island.
Claire and Jin set up the trap.
Claire explains to Charlie that the gulls are migrating south, and that scientists have tagged them to see where they land. She devises a plan to capture a gull and tie a rescue note to its leg in hopes that a scientist will find and read it and enlists Sun and Jin to help. She attempts to persuade Charlie as well but he is uncharacteristically pessimistic, refusing to help. While Jin prepares a net, Claire and Sun chop up fish to use as bait. As they do so, Sun muses that this is precisely what her mother feared - her growing up to do mundane fishing work. Claire and Sun briefly discuss their parents' expectations for them before the net is completed and they begin the gull catching. ♪ Eventually a lone bird is attracted into the trap, but it is startled and flies off when Desmond fires a hunting rifle. He claims to be boar hunting. Frustrated, Claire demands that Charlie tell her why he and Desmond do not want her to catch a bird. Charlie spins a story about false hope and sends Charlie away saying that she does not want liars raising Aaron.
Desmond explains his vision of Charlie dying to Claire.
Distraught, Claire decides to find out what is going on for herself. She surreptitiously follows Desmond to a rocky area off the coastline where he effortlessly plucks a gull from a seaweed mound on the rocks. Claire confronts Desmond, noting he went straight to the hidden bird so he must have known it would be there. After an initial denial, Desmond explains his visions of the future: he gestures to a rock and claims that it is the location where Charlie, attempting to get a bird for Claire, would have slipped and fallen into the ocean, then died in the treacherous currents under the rocky shoreline.
The gull being released with the message.
Returning to camp, Claire is no longer angry with Charlie; she writes a rescue note and Charlie ties it to the gull's leg. The note informs the reader of the survivors' current circumstances, and encourages whoever finds it to never give up hope on finding them. Claire releases the bird while Charlie solemnly stands beside her. As the bird flies away from the pair, Claire tells Charlie that Desmond told her everything about his visions of Charlie's death. She promises that they can face his supposedly doomed fate together, and that she has not given up hope on him. ♪♪
On the way to the Barracks
Kate and Danielle talk about Alex.
Sayid, Locke, Kate, Rousseau, and Mikhail are resting momentarily while Sayid and Locke begin to argue about the relative merits of following the electrical conduit map found in the Flame Station, versus following Eko's stick. By a stream, when Kate is alone with Rousseau, Kate asks her why she is not interested in as details about her daughter. Rousseau explains that her daughter will not recognize her, will not know of her years of efforts to find her, and quite possibly, Rousseau will not like what her daughter has become. ♪
Mikhail calls the survivors by their full names.
He explains that the submarine can freely leave the Island, but since the recent deactivation of the underwater beacon after the electromagnetic pulse, it would not be able to return to the Island if it left. When Kate says that she can't understand why they would remain on the Island willingly, Mikhail replies that they simply are not capable of understanding. Upon further questioning, he says that only those on the list are able to understand their reasons, but that Kate, Locke, and Sayid are flawed, and therefore not on this list. He also explains that the list was made by the same "magnificent man" who brought all of his people to the Island. Kate laughs thinking he is talking about Ben but Mikhail explains that Ben is not that man. He also lists specific reasons for why they aren't on the list: Kate is flawed, Locke is angry, and Sayid is "weak and afraid."
The "A-team" send Kate over the sonic security fence.
When Sayid indignantly laughs that the Others are not really omniscient, Mikhail immediately begins addressing them all by their full names. He also sarcastically begins to say that everyone is a stranger to him, save Locke, but that he must be mistaken about Locke because the John Locke he was aware of was "para--". He is cut off by Rousseau, who beckons for the group to examine what she has discovered, while he and Locke share a grim knowing look.
Rousseau has discovered a series of metallic posts with knobs on either side of the top, directly across their intended path to the Barracks. When asked what its purpose is, Mikhail responds that it once was supposed to guard the barracks, but like everything else it is now broken. He also claims that the system entirely encircles the Barracks, so that going around it is not an option, and tells Sayid to confirm this on his map. Locke deliberately puts down his pack and forcefully pushes Mikhail forward into the line of the security fence between two of the poles.
Mikhail, foaming at the mouth after he was pushed through the sonar fence
An intense buzzing sounds, and Mikhail has time enough to reply "thank you," before he begins foaming at the mouth, then is thrown backward, blood gushing out of his nose and ears, apparently dead. ♪
Sayid angrily questions Locke's motives for accompanying them. ♪ Kate and Sayid then discover C4 in Locke's backpack, showing that he may have been intentionally careless in destroying The Flame. Kate suggests going over the pylons and the four devise a ramp made of a fallen tree to climb over the deadly sonar fence. ♪ Kate goes safely over first, and Locke follows. ♪♪
Jack playing football with Tom at the barracks.
They soon arrive at the outskirts of the barracks, which is revealed to be the same location as depicted in the opening scene of "A Tale of Two Cities": a more modern, suburb-like area, complete with inviting houses, sidewalks, decorative landscaping, and recreational utilities. As they continue hiding in the surrounding foliage, they suddenly see Jack racing toward their hiding place. Kate utters his name as she begins to move toward him, but Sayid holds her back long enough to see that Jack is enjoying a game of football with Tom. Jack spikes the football to the ground, happily simulating a touchdown. ♪♪
- Par Avion is French for "by way of air" and is used to designate AIR MAIL. It is used on airmail letters like the one "sent" by Charlie and Claire. Avis is the Latin word for "bird."
- For a transcript of the rescue letter, see gull.
- Initially thought to have been a blooper, Mikhail can be seen breathing following his "death." This was debunked when he turned up alive in the episode "D.O.C."
- Visible at the Barracks are men and women using a lawn fertilizer cart, bicycles, swing sets, carrying backpacks. There is also a child.
- The name embroidery on the medical uniforms worn by Dr. Woodruff in the hospital in Claire's flashback are reminiscent of the DHARMA uniforms.
- It is revealed in this episode that Claire's father is Christian Shephard, and that she is thus Jack's half-sister. This will not be addressed in-show until the end of the fourth season, and Jack and Claire will not meet as siblings until "The Last Recruit".
- This episode is rated TV-14-V.
- This is the 61st produced hour of the series out of 121 hours, making this episode the halfway point of the series.
- A podcast rehash for the episode was released on March 20th, 2007. (Official Lost Podcast/March 20, 2007)
- Par Avion is the only Claire-centric episode where Aaron doesn't play a part in Claire's actions in flashbacks or real-time events.
- The uncredited nonspeaking role of Carole Littleton (Claire's mother) was played by Arlene Newman-Van Asperen. This is the character's first appearance on the show.
- This is the third Claire-centric episode in as many seasons to immediately follow a Sayid-centric episode.
- This is the last solely Claire-centric episode of the series. Onwards, she only had flashes in multi-centric episodes, namely in "The Last Recruit" and "The End".
Bloopers and continuity errors
The gull's rescue note hidden in Charlie's hand (a blooper).
- After apparently attaching Claire's note to the gull, part of the note can be seen tucked in Charlie's hand. This is a confirmed blooper.
- After he finished reading Claire's letter, Charlie folds the paper before he says the words "Please don't give up on us." In the very next shot the paper is still unfolded and Charlie folds it again.
- When Claire is in the car accident, the speedometer is clearly shown with miles-per-hour as the predominate measure of speed, whereas the norm in Australia would be kilometers-per-hour (although the cars shown are right-hand drive, which would be correct for Australia). Also, the siren heard in the background is American, not Australian.
- It is unlikely that Carole Littleton would be forced to fund any medical expenses as a result of a car accident in Australia. The cost of any medical expenses would be borne by CTP, or Medicare. Naturally, any insurance company would seek to limit their exposure to cost, but Medicare is obliged to fund the life threatening medical care of a "public patient", and CTP covers the medical care of any vehicle accident victim.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Claire opens her left eye in the flashback, her right eye on the Island. (Eyes)
- Claire survived a car accident. (Car accidents)
- Claire's mother is in a coma, kept alive by life-support machinery. (Life and death)
- Charlie still appears to be fated to death; Desmond is serving as his life-support in keeping him alive. (Life and death)
- Claire once told her mother she hated her and later rejects her father. (Parent issues)
- Claire wants to use birds to communicate with the outside world. Birds also appear when Kate and the others are about to cross the sonar fence. (Animals)
- Claire and Jack are revealed to be unknown half-siblings. Claire works in a piercing/tattoo shop, and Jack has a tattoo which has only been partially explained to date. (Character connections)
- Claire changed her hair from black to blonde. (Black and white)
- Desmond insists that he was hunting boar when confronted by Claire. (Animals)
- Christian insists that Claire's mother should go through euthanasia, instead of dying naturally or being preserved comatose. (Fate versus free will)
- Until her mother was hurt in the accident, Claire was led to believe her father was dead. (Deceptions and cons) (Secrets)
- Claire initially tells Charlie to stay away from her, but in the end, says they will get through his situation together. (Isolation)
- Claire thinks she can get everyone off the Island by attaching a message to a tagged gull before it migrates. (Salvation)
- Claire apologizes to her mother for treating her badly. (Redemption)
- When Locke is chopping down the tree, he hits it with the axe 8 times. The odometer in Claire's car ends in 10.8 in black and white letters (Black and white) (The Numbers)
- Mikhail claims that "He" is a "magnificent" man. (Good and bad people)
- When Claire and Charlie release the bird with the note attached, it is joined by 14 other birds, flying away. A few seconds later, opening another scene, are the same 15 birds, seen by Kate. (Animals) (The Numbers)
- Desmond saves Charlie's life again. (Life and death)
- Claire is pregnant with Aaron in her last flashback scene. (Pregnancies)
- Mikhail knows that Locke used to be a paraplegic. (Secrets)
- Locke pretended not to know the Flame was rigged with C-4, when he had actually taken some of the explosive with him. (Deceptions and cons)
- Mikhail mentions the electromagnetic pulse. (Electromagnetism)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- Bondi Beach: Claire sets Aaron on a Bondi Beach t-shirt. This beach is a popular location in Sydney. (Pop culture misc. references)
- The Fountainhead: Sawyer reads Ayn Rand's 1943 novel The Fountainhead. The title is a reference to Rand's statement that "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress". A character in the book is a con-man who is in love with a woman called "Katie." (Literary works)
- American Football: Jack was playing catch football with Tom. (Games)
- Barbie: While trying hard to honor his bet of not calling people nicknames, Sawyer almost slips and calls Claire "Barb...". Barbie is a best-selling blond fashion doll launched in 1959 by Mattel, Inc.. (Games)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Mikhail appears to be breathing after Kate examines his body. This foreshadows his revival in a later episode. (Foreshadowing)
- Locke pushing Bakunin into the fence parallels the flashback of Cooper pushing him through the window in "The Man from Tallahassee". Like his father, Locke doesn't hesitate to sacrifice someone he thinks is about to give him away...so ironically, like Sawyer, he is repeating the actions of the man he hates the most, and has done everything to avoid becoming. (Irony) (Juxtaposition)
- For unexplained reasons, Jack is seen enjoying himself playing a game of catch football with one of the Others. That scene was part of a series of scenes showing Jack in a context that intentionally leads both the other characters and the viewers into questioning Jack's loyalties. (Plot twist) (Cliffhanger)
- Rousseau asks Kate how she would feel if 16 years in the future, Jack did not recognise her. A similar scenario does happen in the flash sideways, when a number of years after leaving the Island, after her death, Jack has no memory of Kate. (Foreshadowing)
- Mikhail tells Kate she is not on "the list" because she is flawed. In "What They Died For", Jacob tells his candidates that he had chosen them precisely because they were flawed. (Irony) (Juxtaposition)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- The rivalry between Lindsey and Christian Shephard is clarified. (Rivalries)
- The rivalry between Sayid and Locke is intensified when Locke "kills" Mikhail. (Rivalries)
- Part II of the A-Mission to rescue Jack is complete when the A-Team reaches the Barracks, and Part III begins. (A-Missions)
- Claire was worried that her mother would disown her when she found out Claire was pregnant. In this episode, she tells her the news, although she is still in a coma. ("Raised by Another")
- Christian is revealed to be Claire's father. She was the daughter he went to visit with Ana Lucia. ("Two for the Road")
- Mikhail says the underwater beacon stopped emitting a signal two weeks ago, after an electromagnetic pulse. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
- Desmond tells Claire about his visions. ("Every Man for Himself") ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
- Kate says to Mikhail, "If Ben's so magnificent, why did he need one of us to save him?" ("I Do")
- Sayid and Locke argue about the Flame being destroyed. ("Enter 77")
- Sawyer begins to call Claire "Barb..." but quickly remembers that he's temporarily not allowed to use nicknames. ("Enter 77")
- Charlie says he decided to "seize the day." In a flashback, Charlie used the phrase "Carpe Diem", which is Latin for "seize the day." ("Homecoming")
- ABC Medianet - Press release