Charlie was Arnold's son. His favorite 'song' was Rêverie, a solo piano piece by Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918). Arnold would play this music for Charlie when he wanted to sleep. One of Charlie's toys was an old-fashioned ball-in-a-maze puzzle game.
In Bernard's 'memories' Charlie had cancer and died, This devastated Bernard and his ex-wife, Lauren. It can be assumed that Arnold's son, Charlie, also died of cancer.
In the Behavior Lab/Diagnostics area, Bernard holds a photo of Charlie. He says to a host, "Sometimes I envy your forgetfulness."
Arnold tells Dolores that he used to read Alice in Wonderland to his son at night. When she asks where his son is, he replies that she wouldn't understand where he is.
Ford says to Bernard, "I know that the death of your son, Charlie, still weighs heavily on you."
Bernard talks to his ex-wife, Lauren, in the communications room at the Mesa Hub. During this conversation, Bernard remembers seeing Charlie in a hospital room, and Charlie dying. Bernard's emotional response seems 'off' during this conversation - even when taking into account his grief. He doesn't seem to be looking at Lauren at all, and his pupils move back and forth rapidly (like someone in the REM cycle of sleep).
Arnold tells Dolores about how he taught Charlie to swim: how after hours of holding on to Charlie while practicing kicking, he finally let go of him.
At the sector 17 cottage, Ford asks Bernard: if he could see his son again, wouldn't he want to?
Bernard (Arnold?) is sleeping in a chair by Charlie's bedside in a hospital. Charlie calls for him until he wakes up, and reminds Bernard that he was reading a book to Charlie. Bernard resumes reading, but stops again to gently reassure Charlie, who looks sickly and tired, that everything will be okay. He begins looking for a different book to read, when Charlie calls him again. Bernard looks up as Charlie slumps to one side and loses consciousness, dying. Bernard says his son's name repeatedly, and stands up to shake him awake; he's panicked. Bernard jolts awake in his bed, and realizes that he's awoken from a dream.
Ford is potentially evasive when Bernard asks if Charlie and Lauren are real. Instead of answering, "yes" or "no", he only says, "Every host needs a backstory, Bernard. You know that. The self is a kind of fiction, for hosts and humans alike."
As Bernard is searching his memories for his first memory - his moment of creation - he 'remembers' being in a hospital room with Charlie. Hospital staff attempt to resuscitate the boy. Bernard orders the staff to stop and to leave, and they just disappear. He commands Charlie to 'come back'. Charlie awakens and sits up and Bernard embraces him.
Bernard tells his 'son', "You're a lie, Charlie". He states that revisiting the pain of this loss is the only thing holding him back (even though he longs for the pain), and that he has to let Charlie go.
Charlie tells Bernard to "open his eyes". Bernard then hears Ford say the same thing.
Ford says that Arnold got his idea for The Maze from one of Charlie's toys. He also tells Bernard that he needed the backstory of a dying son in order to awaken and become conscious; that suffering was the key to this. And, he says to Dolores, "What he had lost in his son, he tried to rekindle in you."
Arnold tells Dolores that Debussy's Rêverie was Charlie's favorite piece of music and that he would play it for Charlie when he wanted to sleep.
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- Season One
- Debussy's Rêverie is heard playing on a harp in Bernard’s 'memories' of Charlie.
- It can be assumed that children (and adults) no longer die of cancer 34 years after Arnold's death.