Goddammit, I can’t believe it’s nearly over already – oh Darlton, you giveth, then you taketh away. In preparation for this week’s second and third parts to season finale “There’s No Place Like Home”, I decided it’s high time to browse back over what may have been the best season of Lost thus far… and prepare ourselves for the traditional two-hour blow-out of Mystery Freakin’ Island manna the episode promises to deliver. (The Orchid, anyone?) If you guys disagree over these being the best moments of the season – I’m notoriously picky when it comes to neat little character stuff, in all honesty – or agree with me, feel free to fire off in the comments section below. Namaste!
WARNING: IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP AND READ AHEAD, FACE THE WRATH OF SPOILAGE. WRATH!!
15. “You heard me.” (Matthew Abaddon, from “The Beginning of the End”)
When Lance Reddick first appeared in Lost, I found it hard to break myself away from his Cedric Daniels character on The Wire – matter of fact, I had to stop myself from squealing “Daniels!” when he showed up on screen. Yet through rewatching the episodes for the recaps, I enjoyed watching one of my favourite TV actors sink into a completely different role, making the mysterious Abaddon his own. Who is the man? Where do his allegiances lie? How has Reddick’s trademark million mile stare turned into something completely terrifying? (Example: when he asks Hurley if the non-O6 survivors are still alive. Creepy.)
14. “ Manhattan , huh?” (Tom, from “Meet Kevin Johnson”)
True story: I was watching “Through The Looking Glass” for what must have been the twelfth time with a bunch of friends last year, when it came to Sawyer’s killing of Tom a.k.a. Mr Friendly. The gunshot goes out and one of my friends yells, “No! Gainey!” Let’s admit it, in the end we really did like M.C. Gainey’s Tom, even though he was one of the baddies. (But then again, Lost makes you continually question what terms such as “good” and “bad” really mean. Does evil really exist in the show’s universe? That’s another question for another time, though.) That’s why it was such a joy to see Tom back on the show, pressurising Michael to head back to the island, dropping the bomb that the island won’t let certain people die, getting it together with a tall young thing in his penthouse suite and basically lording it over the entire episode in a short period of time. If there’s any casting directors out there wanting to make Gainey the next sitcom hero or the new Danny Huston (who, IMO, he shares a grizzled resemblance to), either would be lovely.
13. “I dunno Miles… how stupid are ya?” (Jack, from “Confirmed Dead”)
The tables turn on freighter folk Miles and Daniel in a second here – Miles has threatened Jack and Kate to take him to Naomi’s body with the help of a trusty handgun, when suddenly, at the site of death, Jack warns him that Juliet and Sayid are amongst the surrounding greenery with guns in their hands and them in their targets. A very Other-esque move, I noticed, but one that Miles, stupidly enough, did not take heed to. It’s a pretty Indiana Jones moment for Jack with him barely suppressing a smirk under his anger the freighter folk may not be all they say they are. Wink for the camera, Foxy.
12. “I made… dinner.” (Jin, from “Ji Yeon”)
It’s a given rule that whenever ridiculously underused Jin starts speaking pidgin English to his ridiculously gorgeous wife Sun, my little emo heart breaks and I stumble wildly on the verge of tears. (Past examples are to be found in “Through The Looking Glass” and, taking the grand prize, “The Whole Truth”. Le sob.) This was no different, as he accepted Sun’s past infidelity as punishment for his past sins, vowing to stay with her no matter what. The cincher: Yunjin Kim’s tearful, voice-breaking line-reading of “I swear the baby is yours”, swiftly followed by Jin promising she will never lose him. Thanks to the flash-forward/flashback twist, now with added heart-shattering poignancy!
11. “What do you mean – instead of his wife?” (Ben, from “The Other Woman”)
The Goodwin Affair, as it shall be capitalised from here on in, was a controversial storyline amongst fans (despite being explicitly referred to in “One of Us”) and probably helped this Juliet-centric episode to be considered the weak point of the season. That’s arguable. In my opinion, the tragic romantic melodrama of Juliet’s flashbacks held some pretty meaty character stuff, most of which exploded on-screen in the final flashback. Over Goodwin’s Ana-Lucia’d corpse, Ben finally, chillingly loses his cool, throwing a tantrum over the heartbroken fertility doctor not returning his advances: “After everything I did to get you here… after everything I’ve done to keep you here, how can you possibly not understand you’re mine?!” Go on and call it his “quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” moment.
10. “They need you, Hugo. You know they need you!” (Charlie, from “The Beginning of the End”)
As anybody who watches Lost knows, death is not the end. (Look at Mikhail. Dude died, like, twelve times in season three.) So when Charlie drowned in the Looking Glass at the end of season three, after all the angst had peeled off, we were left to wonder if we’d ever see the Driveshafter ever again. Lo and behold, THERE HE IS TALKING TO HURLEY IN THE FUTURE. He’s cut his hair, bought some new clothes and seems to have driven to the Santa Rosa Mental Institute in a newish car to see his friend, which is odd, because he’s most definitely dead. “I am dead,” he reassured Hurley, “but I’m also here.” I’m sticking to my theory that Hurley, like a lesser Miles, can see the dead, hence why Charlie seems to come back to him, passing out warnings from beyond the grave and such (see “Somewhere Nice Back Home”). But theorising aside, this scene allows both emotional release (Hurley asking Charlie if he knew he was going to die in the Looking Glass) and the beginning of some very puzzling questions. “They” need him? There’s folk left on the island?
9. An awkward silence. Some crumpling. (Hurley and Ben, from “Cabin Fever”)
Some people probably hate this scene. I think it’s hilarious. Here we have a BIG reveal within Jacob’s shack that Christian Shephard is his spokesperson, Claire is there and completely untroubled when it comes to Aaron’s whereabouts, and John is finally grabbing hold of his destiny. Then we have a scene (consisting of one long take and entirely free of dialogue) in which Hurley, to offset the awkwardness of being left along with uber-Other Ben, takes out an Apollo bar from his backpack. Ben looks at it like he’s never seen a chocolate bar in his life, and suddenly Hurley notices, and reluctantly extends a very chocotastic olive branch. They sit and chew. I have a theory about this scene: the Whispers are being controlled by Ben’s supposed telepathic abilities (see “The Other Woman”) and it’s just a test to see if Hurley can be turned around. Maybe Hurley believes the dude just deserves a chocolate, what with his home attacked and daughter slain. Maybe this is the most important scene in Lost mythology ever and we just didn’t notice. Maybe. But at the same time, preferably not.
8. “I’m so glad that you’re here.” (Kate, from “Something Nice Back Home”)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been great, but this season has also been a pretty depressing experience. The Oceanic Six get off the island, but a lot of bad stuff went down between them; the other castaways may or may not be alive, seemingly stuck in Craphole Island purgatory; Michael returns to face his demons only to be ostracised and hated even more; to top it off, nobody’s seen Vincent for a while. So the scene where Jack reads Alice in Wonderland to Aaron is here on this list because it’s one of the very few flash-forward scenes this season that doesn’t carry great amounts of emotional baggage behind it. (Ignoring the potentially tragic Aaron subtext, as well as the rest of the episode’s flash forwards…) It carries a great poignancy as we know there’s a good chance we may never see these characters this happy ever again – when Kate shares how grateful she is Jack’s with her and Aaron, it’s a necessary ray of sunshine in a dark hour of television. Oh, and they make out and more than likely frak afterwards, which never hurts matters.
7. “We are in shock, Jack.” (Sun, from “There’s No Place Like Home, Part One”)
I was unable to analyse this episode for a recap last week due to the episode unwilling to play a second time for me, so indulge me here. The unease between the Oceanic Six in the plane’s hanger is something you can tell gets worse over time, but let’s not focus on the sadness of all that. My focus has to go towards the incredibly touching reunion scene in Hawaii of the Oceanic Six with their families. Sun heads straight for her mother yet sent reeling from Jin’s death (?), shuts her father out completely; Hurley, always the most familial of men, rolls into the arms of his parents (probably the most underrated characters on the show); Jack smiles at his not-glimpsed-since-season-one mother, Margot, before embracing her; Sayid looks around uneasily before being introduced to Hurley’s family (so sweet!); Kate, holding on to Aaron for dear life, looks lost already with no-one to comfort her. I’ve always been a fan of the group reunions in Lost (see “One of Us”, for example) but this one is something else – exhilaration (did you ever think one of these scenes was possible a mere season ago?) mixed with understated poignancy over everything unspoken that went down in… well, this week’s season finale.
6. “Enjoy your breakfast.” (Locke, from “Eggtown”)
Played by Ken Leung with a sly intensity, Miles made his mark as probably the best of the new characters this season, and in “Eggtown” he really got to let loose, stealing practically every scene he’s in, even with a grenade in his mouth, which is what happens here. Unfairly overlooked in my recap at the time, the scene is a number of things: it’s a horrifying example of Locke flying totally off the handle, but it’s somehow hilarious. It’s detestable that somebody could go to such measures, but with Terry O’Quinn, you believe that, yes, rules broken do deserve punishments – but to what extent can might make right? It’s a troubling, daring scene – it’s also utterly ridiculous, to be honest – but what makes it an instant classic Lost moment is Miles’ bulging, terrified eyes and mumbled screeching. One problem, though: how the hell did they get the grenade out of the guy’s mouth without it blowing up?
5. “Now tell me John, which of these things belong to you?” (Richard, from “Cabin Fever”)
Not only did “Cabin Fever” allow for the return of fan-favourite Other Richard Alpert, but it showed us that he’s known John a lot longer than any of us previously thought. In possibly the season’s most cryptic scene, he appeared at Locke’s house some time in the late 50s and, posing as a teacher at a school for “extremely special” children, put a young John to a test. Because I was away when I was hoping to cover this episode, I didn’t get the chance to theorise, but here’s some quick stuff: baseball mitt (life outside of the island); Book of Laws (gospel of Jacob); sand (the ashes that previously surrounded Jacob’s cabin); a compass (marked 305 to the island?); a knife (hunting rather than science – John’s chosen path compared to his destiny); Mystery Tales comic book to do with a “Hidden Land” (telekinesis, a la Walt). Put to this the scribble of what looks like the smoke monster smiting somebody and, well… we have this odd, delicious scene to analyse relentlessly over the hiatus. (Kudos to the young actor playing Locke, he really makes the scene what it is with his big ol’ eyes.)
4. “It’s a rocket!” (Daniel, from “The Economist”)
AKA the moment the show finally shows us real world time isn’t really the same as island time. This, if you need reminding, is a bombshell. Even if Lapidus doesn’t pay much mind to Daniel and his experiment, it’s still damn important. Also, you have to love Daniel’s almost childish glee when the rocket finally reaches the beacon.
3. “She’s a pawn, nothing more. She means nothing to me.” (Ben, from “The Shape of Things to Come”)
Entertainment Weekly columnist Jeff Jensen (or “Doc Jensen” as he’s more widely known to us, his students) has compared this scene to the “bastard in a basket” scene near the end of There Will Be Blood, which is a pretty fair comparison to make. Ben, no longer in control, fights to use his regular manipulative abilities on Keamy to save Alex’s life. “She’s not my daughter,” he says, throwing away one of the things closest to him and going headfirst into the abyss, with spectacular results. The execution of Alex is, by far, the most upsetting thing to happen in the show’s history yet is also one of its biggest triumphs. A triumph of acting, direction, lighting, scoring… and it’s capped off by director Jack Bender panning the camera across to show a shocked and stunned Ben, the perfect touch. Ooft.
2. “I love you, Penny. I’ve always loved you… I’m so sorry. I love you.” (Desmond, from “The Constant”)
When Desmond finally – finally! – makes contact with his true love Penny in the all-round-amazing-shoulda-been-nominated-for-a-Hugo-Award-episode “The Constant”, it’s enough to make grown men cry. There’s so much I could say, but really, it’s just worth it to watch the scene again instead:
1. “I know who you are, boy, what you are. I know that everything you have, you took from me.” (Charles Widmore, from “The Shape of Things to Come”)
For a long, long time, Charles Widmore has stood as an important name in the massive Lost mythology – Widmore Industries comes under the Hanso Foundation umbrella, which founded the Dharma Initiative etc etc etc – but never quite as important as in this scene: on one hand a massive download of series arcana, on the other a scene allowing two superb actors to bite their teeth into some excellent conflict-fuelling dialogue. As Ben breaks into his hotel suite to lay the death of Alex at his feet, we learn their relationship spans a number of years. Were they friends at any point? Was one mentor to the other? (I guess Widmore was Yoda to Ben’s Luke.) The scene raises a lot – A LOT – of questions but amongst them all, seemingly sets the stage and the stakes for the big endgame come 2010: Widmore vs. Linus. “I suppose the hunt is on,” Widmore says. Indeed.
Well, if you disagree, want to say what you think is better, or think I’ve got it mostly spot on, then leave a comment below. Until the finale recaps next week, namaste!