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Lost Ruined Desmond Because You Loved Him Way Too Much

Lost was praised for its well-written ensemble cast, but in later seasons the writers ruined one of the show’s most beloved characters, Desmond.

NBC’s acclaimed drama, Lost, is known for its well-written ensemble cast, but the writers ruined one of the show’s most beloved characters: Desmond. Upon its initial release, Lost was immediately met with critical acclaim, with viewers praising the show’s intricate plot, intriguing mysteries, and well-rounded characters. However, in later seasons, the show drew a lot of criticism, with the negative response to Lost‘s final season mostly aimed at the many unresolved mysteries and how the writers handled certain characters.

One of Lost‘s most beloved characters was Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), who first appeared in season 2; and was responsible for entering the numbers into the computer in the mysterious hatch around which most of season 2’s mysteries revolve. In Lost season 3, Desmond gains time travel powers and thus becomes a character of major importance to the plot. The originality of his time travel storylines, combined with his touching relationship with Penny (Sonya Walger), is what makes Desmond such a fan favorite.

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However, the writers ruined Desmond by betraying his character arc in the last two seasons. At the end of Lost season 4, Desmond and a handful of the other main characters are rescued by Penny; they all reintegrate into society, while Desmond marries Penny, and the two live on her boat. This would’ve been the perfect conclusion to Desmond’s character arc. After all, his story is about his inability to commit to Penny. Being stranded on the island is a kind of punishment for him for running away from the relationship, and it is there that he overcomes his fears and insecurities and truly learns to cherish their relationship by the end of Lost season 3.


Lost Desmond Season 4

Unfortunately, the writers chose to pull Desmond back into the story in season 5 rather than giving him a happily ever after with Penny. In Lost season 5, episode 1, “Because You Left,” Desmond awakens on the sailboat with a memory of Ben Faraday (Michael Emerson) on the island telling him to seek out his mother in Oxford. While Penny brushes it off as a bad dream, Desmond decides to go to Oxford anyway. Again, this seems like Desmond is running away from his relationship (and child), using the idea of a greater purpose as an excuse, just like he did before. This storyline ends with Desmond returning to Penny’s boat, only to be shot by Ben. While he does recover from the gunshot, this twist feels particularly gratuitous, as if the writers were taking advantage of the audience’s love for Desmond for dramatic effect.


Of course, Desmond also returns in Lost season 6 – during which Desmond’s storyline feels even more superfluous. He is kidnapped by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) and returned to the island on a submarine, and used in some experiments involving electromagnetism. The problem with Desmond’s storyline in season 6 is that, once again, it adds nothing to his character arc. Desmond’s promise to Penny at the end of season 5 that he would never leave her again is ruined.

It’s likely that the show’s writers simply wanted to keep Desmond in the story due to him being a popular character and because of Desmond’s time travel abilities; however, this is done at the expense of good character writing. While Desmond started as one of the most interesting and well-developed characters in Lost, the last two seasons completely ruined the conclusion of his character arc by forcing him back into the story.


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