Sunday, 21 September 2014

Top 5: Lost episodes

This post contains spoilers for Lost - duh!

This September sees JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof's much-lauded TV drama Lost turn 10. Premiering on ABC back on September 22nd 2004, Lost captured the imagination of audiences worldwide for six gripping seasons, before everything came to a head in 2010's controversial finale 'The End'. 

I never watched Lost during its original run, but was talked into marathoning the entire six seasons earlier in the year by my girlfriend, an avid fan of the show since in began. I was skeptical at first, but the show quickly won me over with its variety of three-dimensional characters, in-depth backstories and convoluted plotting. Plus, Evangeline Lily is nice to look at.

In order to mark the date, I've put together a Top 5 of my favourite Lost episodes; what happens, who features heavily and why I think they're great. There's also a further feature on Lost to be posted tomorrow. Give them a read, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Honourable mentions: The Beginning of the End (S4, E1), Greatest Hits (S3, E21), Walkabout (S1, E4), Deus Ex Machina (S1, E19), Happily Ever After (S6, E11), What Kate Did (S2, E9), Whatever Happened Happened (S5, E11)

5th - Lockdown (S2, E17)

Curious and curiouser...
Ahh 'Lockdown' - back in the days when Locke was obsessed with 'the Hatch', Ben was still 'Henry Gale from Minnesota' and the various different Dharma stations (the Pearl, the Hydra, the Flame) were merely black light scribblings on the back of a blast door. 

I remember this episode as being one of my favourites for that exact reason - the game was slowly changing and bigger pieces were falling into placed, tantalisingly teased piece by piece, something that Lost was inarguably masterful at. In this episode, we get our first glimpse at the other numerous Dharma Initiative stations on the Island, something which played a really big role later on. 

As Locke (Terry O'Quinn) ends up trapped underneath a heavy blast door when the Hatch goes into lockdown, he decides to enlist the help of 'Henry' to save him, as well as enter the numbers into the computer and prevent disaster. It doesn't go quite to plan, with the Hatch plunged into darkness and a glowing blue map revealed to be scrawled across the door - later, 'Henry' plays mind games with Locke, telling him that he never entered the numbers into the computer.

The flashback in this episode shed's more light on Locke's tragic backstory, revealing how he was conned (again!) by his father, Anthony Cooper, and his long-term partner Helen refuses his marriage proposal. Tragic!

Then, to top it all off, the twist at the end reveals that Sayid's (Naveen Andrews) suspicions about 'Henry Gale' being an alter-ego were right all along, and Ben was in fact working for the villainous (at this point) Others. 

4th - The Shape of Things to Come (S4, E9)

Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) was in no way, shape or form my favourite character on the show, but he sure did have some really interesting story lines to wrangle with. In this episode, Ben's daughter Alex is killed by Keamy, a mercenary hired by Charles Widmore to kill Ben and return the Island to his ownership.

Look at the hair! It's because he's worth it. 
Ben, mistakenly believes that Keamy is bluffing, and refuses to accept the soldier would kill Alex in cold blood. He isn't bluffing, and to Ben, and the audiences surprise, Alex, a fairly major and popular character, is abruptly cut short by a bullet to the head. 

This bombshell also comes after the double whammy of Roseau and Karl being killed in the previous episode, and a number of Oceanic extras biting the dust as Keamy blows the Other's village to pieces. 

Meanwhile on the beach, Farraday reveals to Jack that the people on the freighter never intended to save them from the Island. Conspiracy ensues, as does confusion when the group discover a body that just washed up on the beach is of a man who is still alive and well on the freighter...

In true Season 4 style, the flash-forward bombshell just kept coming in this episode, with it being revealed that Ben somehow mysteriously appears in the middle of the Tunisain desert, before recruiting Sayid to hunt down and kill everyone who conspires with Whidmore. Lastly, we see a dramatic stand-off between Whidmore and Ben, the latter threatening to kill Penny after Whidmore changed the rules of engagement - the shape of things to come indeed!

3rd - The Constant (S4, E5)

Widely considered one of the best episodes of the whole series, 'The Constant' sees all sorts of (to paraphrase Doctor Who) crazy, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey shit going down. The show was always great when it deviated from the formulaic present-past-present-past format, and 'The Constant' proves this consistently for what is a barmy and baffling 45-minutes.

I'll try my best to keep this one simple - Desmond, upon leaving the island with Sayid in Lapadis' helicopter, starts flipping out. Why?! He's experiencing time jumps, his consciousness ricocheting back and forth between the present (leaving the Island) and the past (his life prior to the Island).

Why the episode works, in hindsight, is that is sets the tone for the rest of the series. It's a pivotal moment in the show, as time travel starts to play a bigger part and Desmond's integral role is revealed. If you didn't gel with 'The Constant', then Season 5 and 6 were going to be a long hard slog. But if you did, things were only just starting to get interesting. We're also treated to a brilliant love story, one that excels despite the constant (heh) time hops and jumps. 

2nd - The Candidate (S6, E14)

In this heart-breaking 45 minutes, Lost pulls the rug completely from under our feet. Only two episodes before the finale, and we're thrown twist after twist after twist - in my mind, a brilliantly devastating crescendo before a comparatively vanilla ending.

For all of Season 6's flaws (the endless to-ing and fro-ing between Locke's camp and the temple), it did have one trick up its sleeve - the sense that pay-off and conclusion was brewing for our survivors. A happy ending perhaps?

Not if your Jin, Sun or Sayid there isn't.

In a fantastically staged submarine explosion, this trio of much-loved characters are swept aside with little more than a how-do-you-do. All this only a mere episode after Jin and Sun were reunited after a whole season spent apart. How could you Lindelof - how could you?

Amidst all the heartbreak, this episode also provided one of the best side-ways flashes of the sixth season, with Jack and Locke showcasing some wonderfully written parallels with their real world variants.

1st - Through the Looking Glass (S3, E22)

I don't think it's undue hyperbole to proclaim 'Through the Looking Glass' to be one of the best season finales ever produced in TV history. 

There's a lot of different interweaving plot strands here, with multiple characters getting their moment to shine - Hurley saving the day with the Dharma van, Sayid, Bernard and Jin taking the fight to the Others, Alex and Roseau reuniting, Jack beating Ben to a pulp - not to mention Charlie's ultimate sacrifice...

Not only is it massive in scope and loaded with tension, it also knocks the audience for six with one of the best bombshells ever - they got off. It's that simple; they got off. Only three seasons into the show, and suddenly it's revealed that Jack and Kate make it home through an unexpected flash-forward. All of sudden a billion more questions erupt in the imagination of audience ("How, when, why them?!") and then, another bombshell lands in our laps. They have to go back to the Island...

Argh, the immense frustration and enjoyment of knowing no questions have been answered and only more have been added to the pile. 

So there we have it - my pick for the Top 5 Lost episodes. What're your favourites? Which episodes of Lost did you get 'lost' in? Let me know below!


  1. So, I could literally write my comments for the next 6 hours, but I will try to keep it short! If you didn't know, I love LOST like I love my family. I've actually watched the show straight through three times and no telling how many random episodes. Our relationship knows no bounds!

    Through the Looking Glass is the greatest television episode, ever, in my opinion. If you thought it was special during your marathon, just imagine having to wait for answers. That was also the first time that the viewers had to wait until spring for new episodes, which just fueled the fire even more.

    Lindelof and Cuse claim that their favorite episode is The Constant, which isn't surprising. Can you imagine writing that? It would be a blast!

    The one episode that is missing (that I would rank very high) is The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham. John Locke is my favorite character, by far.

    Also, why no love for Ben Linus? He is fantastic!

    Alright... I'll stop there.

    1. No please, by all means go on! I'd love to hear your full thoughts on the show after watching it through so recently, it's very fresh in my mind. It doesn't surprise me that the show runners love the Constant so much, it certainly sticks in the mind as one of the most wacky and memorable episodes. That twist at the end of Season 3 would've been unbearable watching it on TV, I can only imagine! :D

      Yeah, I started out liking Locke lots but that changed around Season 4/5. Whilst I really liked his messed up backstory, he really started to grate in the later seasons, especially Season 6 - even though he wasn't 'technically' Locke at that point.

      I do like Ben, but only because he came good in the end. All through Season 3 I was yelling at Shepard to just let him die on the operating table! I think my favourite characters is Sawyer, Kate or Sayid :)

    2. Oh and Daniel and Juliet! How could I forget them?! :)



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