Through the Looking Glass, the finale of LOST's third season, has really stuck with me this summer, and while I was contemplating what good could arise from Charlie's demise, it occurred to me that each of the seasons has essentially ended with a character laying down his life for the other castaways.
Boone's death came a little earlier in the first season, and while he failed in his aim of securing rescue with the plane's radio, his death sent John into a tail-spin of misery that ironically kept Desmond from killing himself, which might well have resulted in the deaths of everyone on the island. Granted, Jack could have saved Boone in the meantime, but it was the life-threatening degree of Boone's injuries that sent John off the deep end; I don't think he really had much chance of recovery.
At the end of season two, it certainly looked as though Desmond expected the hatch implosion to kill him, and common sense might dictate that it should have. But he survived, only to appoint himself Charlie's personal savior but ultimately lead him to his own sacrificial death. Now we're all scratching our heads and wondering whether there really was a point to it, but I suspect the positive ripples from Charlie's heroism will one day be as evident as Boone's, though quite possibly very different than anything he might have anticipated.
Desmond is the curious link between the two, another indication of the deep significance his character has for the progression of the show. In a sense, while Boone and Charlie are condemned to die, Desmond is compelled to live, plucked from the jaws of death every time it approaches, for which he's not likely to be too grateful while calamities follow him. Why him? There must be a method behind the madness...
Of Sacrificial Death and Life
The sanctity of sacrifice
Propels the island's grim events,
For death has taken heroes twice
And spared, for reasons yet unclear,
Another who, in brave defense
Of all, dispatched the dread device
Whose purpose John, bereft of sense,
Had doubted, making doom draw near.
'Twas John who led the youthful Boone,
Whose eagerness to make his mark
Encouraged him to stay and tune
The radio. Boone's fateful choice,
Embracing risk to snatch a spark
Of hope, cost him his life, but soon
The anguished John dispelled the dark
Despair of Desmond with his voice.
And hence, though Boone could never know
The consequences of his fall,
In causing Desmond to forego
His suicide, he did as much
As anyone to save them all.
Now Desmond, in the eerie glow
Of liquid light, has ceased to call
To Charlie, just beyond his touch.
His soul has left the fragile frame
That Desmond labored to protect,
The ending of a grievous game
Whose architect he can't forgive.
And yet someday in retrospect,
When wisdom takes the edge off blame,
He'll see how martyrs intersect
As catalysts so others live.