Henry Ian Cusick as <EM>Lost</EM>'s Desmond Henry Ian Cusick as Lost's Desmond
Our favorite castaways thus far have been on the island a few months, but for Lost fans, it's been more than 260 days since Jack's super-freaky flash-forward. As the Jan. 31 season premiere (finally) draws closer, TVGuide.com is offering daily profiles — "refreshers," if you will — of the key players in ABC's island-based odyssey.

Desmond, By the "Numbers": Desmond (played by Henry Ian Cusick) has resided in Halstead, Essex, England and in Scotland. He was a former set designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company, entered a monastery for a brief period, was dishonorably discharged from Royal Scots Regiment of the British Army, and became successful as a numbers puncher. Desmond is sensitive regarding the love of his life, Penelope, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Respectful enough to ask her father's permission to marry her, Desmond is a proud man who would not move into Penelope's upscale flat. While willing to risk his life to save another (Charlie), he has accidentally killed a man, his hatch-mate Kelvin. Desmond is athletic and shows determination when training for a sailboat race around the world. Though he left university to support his brothers Desmond is cultured, has read every book by Charles Dickens except for “Our Mutual Friend”, and listens to pop music ("Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Cass Elliott). Though not a passenger of Oceanic Flight 815, Desmond washed up onto the island shore after being knocked out and swept away while sailing through a nasty storm.

Things got interesting when...: Desmond realized that it was he who caused the crash of Flight 815 by not punching in the numbers and creating an electro-magnetic force. Doubting the validity of repeatedly entering the numbers, Locke smashed the computer. This prompts a freaked out Desmond to run and turn the failsafe key as the sky turns purple and the hatch is then blown up. It is after this incident that Desmond begins to see glimpses of the future.

'Tis Better to Have Loved and Get Lost?: Desmond was once engaged to a woman named Ruth, but left her to enter a monastery. Realizing a monk's life is not for him, he leaves and meets Penelope ("Penny") Widmore. When her father rejects him as a suitable husband for his daughter, he enters a sailing race sponsored by the Widmore foundation, to show his worth and prove her father wrong .

Six Degrees of Serialization: An encounter with Libby in a coffee shop leads to her offering Desmond the boat of her deceased husband. (They never met on the island.)…. Desmond meets Jack while training in a stadium in Los Angeles…. Des spots Charlie playing guitar on a street in London.

Desmond's Season 3 Story: With newfound flashes of the future, Desmond evades tragedies (Claire from drowning, from lightning, etc.) particularly saving Charlie from dying but eventually realizes that some things were meant to be. When Desmond's visions convince him that Penelope is on the way and "sees" Claire and Aaron rescued, he and Charlie head to the underwater Looking Glass Station. Charlie realizes they are mistaken when Penelope appears on a monitor and lets Desmond know that it's "not Penny's boat" before he drowns.

How Desmond Has Us Puzzled: Desmond encounters Ms. Hawking when hoping to purchase an engagement ring for Penelope. But he is reliving this day and she won't sell it to him insisting that he's not supposed to buy the ring and shouldn't course correct destiny. Ms. Hawking tells him that the one great thing that he will ever do is go to the island, push the buttons and save the planet. Could this instance have instead been a dream while unconscious after the hatch explosion? Or is there really some time-traveling going on?

Our Wild Prediction: As Desmond's visions become more intense and frequent he realizes that he can actually control them to travel off the island and through time. His first stop is to see Penelope, who is delighted to have him back until they learn that he disappears from each destination every 108 minutes.

Read other Lost character profiles for Sun Kwon and Michael Dawson. Catch up with Lost clips in our Online Video Guide.

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