Lost's Most Devastating Death For Henry Ian Cusick

lost through the looking glass part 2 not pennys boat desmond charlie death

One of the most impactful TV shows of the 21st century so far was ABC's Lost, which took viewers on an intense, emotional, and complex journey of survival over a period of six seasons. Unfortunately, that journey happened to feature a lot of characters dying, and it seemed like more good guys died than bad guys. Lost was simply not a show for the faint of heart, and it was always a good idea to have a box of tissues handy when episodes aired. Henry Ian Cusick, who joined the cast in Season 2 to play Desmond, recently spoke with CinemaBlend, and he revealed which of the many deaths on the show was most devastating:

Probably Charlie Pace, I would say. Dominic [Monaghan] was leaving the show and I remember many times, working with him being very moved, even off-camera, by Dominic's acting. Just the fact that he was leaving the show. And also I had just sort of joined the show. That death was probably the biggest that I had to deal with. Also, we had some great scenes. The 'Not Penny's Boat' scene, that was his idea to put his hand up to the glass. His death was probably the biggest for my character.

Charlie's death has the distinction among Lost deaths of being both a long time coming and still shockingly sad. Desmond had spent Season 3 dealing with visions of Charlie dying in a variety of ways, and he did his best to keep Charlie alive... until it became clear that Charlie needed to die if the survivors were to be saved from the island. The end finally came in "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2" when Charlie chose to meet his fate and locked himself in a room in an underwater station as it flooded.

Moments away from drowning, Charlie nevertheless managed to scribble "Not Penny's boat" on his hand to warn Desmond that his lady love was not in the boat that was supposed to be rescuing them. Charlie and Desmond put their hands on opposite sides of a glass window for a moment, then Charlie pushed away and drowned while Desmond helplessly watched. The entire sequence was incredibly heartbreaking, even by Lost standards, and Michael Giacchino's haunting score didn't make the scene any less devastating. I'm guessing that there are plenty of Lost fans who would agree with Henry Ian Cusick that Charlie's death was the most devastating of the series.

lost charlie death not pennys boat desmond abc

Cusick went on to explain that the real kicker of the scene -- that is, when Charlie and Desmond hold their hands against the glass -- didn't come from the script:

That was [Dominic's] idea. It was his idea, when he put his hand up, I would put my hand up.

Apparently Dominic Monaghan was the person who came up with the idea of Desmond and Charlie having a moment despite the glass between them, and it made for the saddest death scene between two separated friends since Wrath of Khan. Given that Charlie wasn't resurrected by the beginning of the next season, his death in Lost didn't get any easier with time. The poor guy didn't even get his last wishes fulfilled, as Charlie's letter to Claire was undoubtedly ruined when Desmond ended up in the ocean and his ring was left undiscovered on the beach. I'm getting devastated all over again just thinking about how Charlie gave up his life this one terrible time when Desmond couldn't save him.

Well, in case you weren't already sniffling from this trip down Lost memory lane, I also asked Henry Ian Cusick about his favorite episode of the show, and he told me this:

It's gotta be 'The Constant.' That, for me, was...maybe not at the time of shooting it but in hindsight. That really was a great piece of writing and it was a lovely episode. That's always going to be the one I'm most proud of, I think.

While "The Constant" actually had a pretty happy ending, it was an emotional rollercoaster. After Desmond's brain was scrambled by the peculiar properties around the island, his consciousness was stuck flashing between 1996 and 2004, with no way of understanding where or when he was. His body could only take so much of his consciousness time traveling, and it wasn't until he was able to connect with his constant -- Penny -- that he could recover his senses and live. The phone call between Desmond and Penny has been reducing viewers to tears ever since the episode first aired back in 2008, and Michael Giacchino struck again with an evocative melody. Throw in Henry Ian Cusick and Sonja Walger's performances, and we have an unforgettable episode.

Interestingly, Henry Ian Cusick also happens to be the spokesperson for a new social media platform that could be perfect for Lost fans to compare notes on devastating deaths and favorite episodes. JamBios has been called the "anti-Snapchat," as it enables users to document their thoughts in a way that lasts, with the option to keep thoughts private or share with others. From the way he's described it, JamBios could be incredibly useful for TV fans to connect with others and celebrate what they love.

If you're now in the mood to rewatch some classic Lost, the entire series is available streaming on Netflix. Our breakdown of all the questions the Lost series finale answered and didn't answer is a solid refresher course if you want to relive the ending. If you're planning on watching "Through the Looking Glass" or "The Constant," I recommend making sure you have plenty of tissues and replenishing fluids handy.

Henry Ian Cusick will be back on the airwaves as part of a brand new project in the not-too-distant future. He'll play a character named Dr. Evan Declan on Marvel's Inhumans on ABC, which will air on Fridays this fall. Be sure to check out JamBios to discover a new kind of social media platform, and feel free to drop by our summer TV premiere schedule and our list of Netflix premiere dates for all your small screen viewing options.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.