Is there such a thing as too much character development? The very fabric of "Lost" is build upon the idea that our intrepid castaways all bring extensive emotional baggage to the island, revealed to us in bits and pieces when certain events from their pasts seem to bear on the current situation in the show. But tonight, when we were given our second look at the sad, sordid tale of has-been musician Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), his character became a little bit less interesting.
Charlie's constant doting on the pregnant Claire (Emilie de Ravin) was endearing, and the slow build of their relationship reached a gripping climax when Claire was quite literally snatched away earlier in the season. Her abduction affected a transformation in Charlie, perhaps the first real present-tense character development we've seen in the show. In fact, Charlie is probably the only character who's actually changed in any significant way since the crash. In literary terms, that would make him the hero of this story, as opposed to the natural leader Jack (Matthew Fox), who fills the leading man role well, but is largely static.
Unfortunately, the writers felt that Charlie needed a reason to be protective of Claire, so viewers were treated to a less-than-flattering anecdote from Charlie's drug-addled, post-rock-star days, when he had to resort to picking up rich women in bars and stealing from them just to secure a fix. Now, previously, we saw how Charlie's brother got him hooked on drugs and then cleaned up his act, only to leave Charlie as a pitiful junkie. The additional knowledge and supposed motivation took something away from his character, rather than add to it. The idea that Charlie is taking care of Claire to make up for his past wrongs seem disingenuous, if not outright forced.
There appears to be genuine affection between the two of them, and, frankly, that should be enough.