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~ Eulogy ~

What I know is that this island might just give you what you're looking for, but you have to give the island something. - Locke, The House of the Rising Sun

I really debated over what I wanted to say here. In case you haven’t noticed, it took me awhile. Should I get personal? Tell how much I identified with him and the parallels I see between this character, his fate, and my own life. Maybe I should praise him? Talk about the good and the bad of this incredibly complex character. Or should I complain about how he had to suffer a life and a fate he didn’t deserve? Rail against the injustice of his untimely and unnecessary death, and the missed opportunities his loss means - not only for the show, but for the story and the other characters. And should I keep the focus on Charlie, or expand it out to the show itself?

It finally came to me that I’ve already done all that, and most likely will continue to do so in the future. Others have also covered Charlie’s qualities much better than I. So instead I’ll talk about how I’m trying to get over this incredibly deep hurt that I never thought a television show could invoke in me. And oddly enough, I’ve found comfort in the following unlikely quotes from his portrayer, Dominic Monaghan:



Originally Posted by TVGuide

Charlie had been in so much pain all his life — he'd been a drug addict, a failed rock star, abused by his brother, he's not really had great success with women, he's let people down on the island. I think he was trying to work out who he was supposed to be and what his purpose was. And it turned out that this was his purpose, and I think that gave him a great feeling of serenity. To know that his legacy is that he saved [all these] people's lives is something that allowed him to die with dignity.






Originally Posted by Kristin from E!Online

He's been in so much pain on the island and just in his life: an addict, a failed rock star, a weird relationship with his brother, his dad, and his mom. Things didn't really work out with Claire the way he wanted. His relationship with Locke, and all these kind of things. Charlie's just always wanted to have a purpose, and do something, you know?




As I struggle to find meaning in this terrible unfairness - this tragedy that makes no sense to me - I have to realize that I am on the outside of Charlie’s life looking in. If I place myself in his Van shoes and try to see things from his perspective, I have to ask myself, how did Charlie view his impending doom?

The answer is in Charlie’s quiet resolution, and his actions in the face of his death. It turns out, fate may not have been picking on Charlie after all. Instead, it may have been trying to help him out. I think to Charlie, the Island gave him a gift. Granted, it’s not a gift I would have chosen for him, and it’s certainly not a gift I like - I personally much preferred the guitar. But that’s not the point of a gift, is it? The point is to give what the receiver would want, and Charlie got what he wanted: to love, be loved, and protect the ones he loved. To have a purpose. When it became obvious he couldn’t achieve this on his own, the Island stepped in and helped him out. In the end, the Island gave Charlie what he was struggling for but could never achieve, and Charlie gave his life in return.

I think that when preparing to go to the Looking Glass, Charlie must have reflected that:

  • He finally made meaningful friendships with people who weren’t trying to abuse him or use him. People who gave him a second chance after he screwed up, instead of slamming the door permanently in his face. He even gained a brother - two actually - who looked after him.

  • He was able to protect and take care of the people he loved. Charlie seemed to be happiest simply adoring and helping people, whether or not his efforts were appreciated or returned equally. He never hesitated when someone was in danger.

  • He fell in love, unconditionally and without reservation. Whether Claire loved him back in this way was inconsequential. It was enough for Charlie to simply be permitted to adore her. Perhaps most important: Charlie did have a relationship where he loved unconditionally and without reservation, and that love was returned - unconditionally and without reservation. His beloved Turniphead.

That despite his best efforts it wasn’t working must have only added to his pain. So when he was given a chance to make a difference, he didn‘t hesitate. To have a purpose, even though it would lead to his death. Finally something he knew he would not screw up. His sacrifice will lead to the rescue for the rest of the survivors. For some of those survivors, that rescue will even save their lives. More significantly, it would at long last give him peace. Which is all Charlie wanted anyways.

So I will mourn the loss of this man - this heart of the island - and the loss and squandered opportunities his death means. But Charlie was wrong on one point. All we have left of him is not his memories, it’s the memory of him. The legacy he leaves behind is of a person who despite a lifetime of pain, heartache, rejection, hurt, and stolen dreams, when push came to shove, stood up when it mattered. He came back and tried again, even after the door was shut. He faced his consequences, and he did it without complaint. While Charlie may have suffered through a sorry excuse of a life, he was not a sorry excuse of a man.

Often people ask after things like this If you knew then what you know now, would you still do it? For Charlie, I have no doubt the answer would be yes. He would not even hesitate to get on Flight 815. I have to say, if asked, would I still have watched the show and allowed myself to become so involved in this character? My answer also has to be yes. I really can’t say I regret getting caught up in watching Charlie Pace’s struggle for redemption from his ‘sorry excuse for a life.’ He was simply fascinating; and his portrayer, Dominic Monaghan; the people who created him; and the writers who gave him depth, deserve nothing but praise for bringing this incredibly rich character to life.

And because of that, I for one, will never look at peanut butter the same way again.

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