Sunday, May 6, 2012

Favorite LOST episodes, Part 2 (TV 2004-2010)

Once again, spoiler alert. Do not read the following if you intend on or are in process of watching the show.

6. "Solitary” Season 1 Episode 9, "Numbers" Season 1 Episode 18, and “Trisha Tanaka is Dead” Season 3, Episode 9

“A doctor playing golf! Now I've seen it all. What's next? A cop eating a donut?”
Sayid wanders into the jungle to rid himself of his guilty past. He runs into another islander who tells him of some of the island's past. She tells us some crucial information about herself, her own experience when she came to the island, and the potentially that she could be insane. As time goes on, Rosseau looks less and less crazy, but it also makes for a sweet reunion when she meets her daughter for the first time. Rosseau, unlike Sayid, feels no remorse for what she has done, because she believes it to be the right thing.

This is probably the best Sayid flashback. His love for Nadia, and a certain blonde, whiny, princess, is what fuels him. It is the part of Sayid that goes on, even when he can't go any further himself.

To relieve the mounting stress of daily life involved with dodging death and the diminishing hope of rescue, Hurley builds a golf course. In episode 4, Jack tells them that they "don't have time" to do a particular activity to which Charlie responds that they have nothing BUT time. Cue a Hurley episode!  Kate tells Sawyer “one outlaw to another” that it would be best to participate in group activities, and there's no activity like a Hurley activity. Come to think of it, Hurley is the best person at getting Sawyer to participate (with the possible exception of Kate). He does it by being the funnest person on the island, and is one of the few people that can get away with making Jack smile. Really, he's the first person on the island to remind Jack to have fun now and then. However, Jack's a doctor, so he doesn't really store that information away.

"You believe in that? Luck?"
"I believe in a lot of things."

I would love a television show that is about Hurley on the island. It could be a sitcom. I'm convinced that it would be fantastic even if it sucked, which is why I'm putting that thought into the webosphere, in hopes that someone makes it.

Why are Hurley episodes great? To begin, Lost is a great show, because it sucks you in. The other reason is because it is so powerful that it gives people both the ability to hope, suspend belief (ugh, most of the time), and also to remind viewers that there are greater things than themselves at work--regardless of what one believes.

Hurley episodes are particularly good, despite any criticism I might receive for writing the above statement because Hurley is the ultimate buddy. He chases after Charlie so he doesn't have to do a hard job, he attacks the beach when plan A fails, he yells at people when they've lost hope, and he the ultimate optimist. Jack may be the leader, Sawyer may be the bad boy, but Hurley is the ultimate friend, and probably the number one person you'd want by your side if you were on a deserted island. Not because he hunts like Locke, or tracks like Kate (or Locke), or would kill your enemies like Sayid, but because he'd make you laugh and remember that at the end of the day, you're still alive. Hurley's theme song should be "Still Standing" by Elton John.

So watching Hurley question his predicament then turn around and come back even stronger like in "Numbers," "Solitary," and especially "Trisha Tanaka," is a testament to all. In "Numbers" we learn the origin of how Hurley came to the island and how he may be the most lucky, or unlucky, person on it. We also all need one person who reminds us we're not crazy.

Also, John making Claire feel needed without telling her he's making a present for her new baby on ironically what will be her birthday is super sweet. Which just goes to show that Locke is more than the sum of HIS crazy. This episode is all about depictions and labels.

“Let's look death in the face and say, 'Whatever, man.' Let's make our own luck.”
TtiD is without a doubt one of my top 3 favorite episodes (not counting the flashback). In times of trouble, Hurley shows leadership by forcing the other survivors to have fun. In TTiD he finds an old van and makes it his personal mission to get everyone out of their slump by working on a project to get it going again. Especially Charlie, his best friend who has found out that his future looks very grim.

There's something uplifting about the way Hurley tries to get everyone involved in something that feels pointless when their lives are constantly in jeopardy. To Hurley, that's exactly why everyone needs to do something fun now and then to remember that their lives are more than a series of misfortunes. The person he needs to prove this to the most is himself.

7. “Left Behind” and “One of Us” Season 3, Episode 16

“You tricked me into being decent? That's got to be the lamest con in the history of cons! ...What if I don't want to be the leader?”
“Yeah, well, I don't think Jack wanted it either. Sucks for you, dude.”

There are action sequences galore in addition to Kate and Juliet beating each other senseless. They become better acquainted when they are thrown together against their will—not that this makes them friends as they will have an anomosity that will brew from that season forward. They both have feelings for Jack, which make them natural enemies were they not already unfriendly. Juliet calling Kate out on Jack both times, and knocking her down and telling her to enjoy her food are probably the reasons that I like that episode in a nutshell.

In Kate's flashback, there is another connection between her and another woman who love the same man. This woman helps Kate, because she would want someone to do the same to her. Kate offers her advice despite her experience of being held in her own emotional prison because of the consequences.

Hurley tricking Sawyer into being a good person just shows that Hurley believes that Sawyer could lead, just isn't very nice. Or maybe Hurley believes that Sawyer is just feared enough and strong enough to be a leader. “We wanted to look to you.” Either way, Hurley does a good thing for him, and like Locke says two seasons ago to Shannon “everyone gets a new life on this island.”

“Let's just skip the part where you two pretend to be righteous.”
In “One of Us,” Juliet's flashbacks show her coming to the island and feeling ripped away from her family and all she knows. It leads her to make the decisions she does in season 3, and with the additional backstory we see about her in season 4, we see just how Juliet became the person that she did. One day, she discovered something no one had before, the next she was drinking Dharma orange juice because she was special. She's still special.

There isn't a Juliet flash I don't like, because she's just so awesome. When we get to seasons 5 and 6, it just goes to show that she has come a long way. As Jack so aptly puts it, Juliet doesn't need to explain herself to him, because at their shared moment, he knew exactly who she was. Who knows what would've happened if they got off the island together? All we know is that Juliet makes men the best versions of themselves. As much as I like her in seasons 1-3, Kate is the opposite of Juliet in a lot of ways, that being one of them.

On the island, Juliet is pushed to being the heroine when Claire needs medical attention that Jack can't provide. Juliet reveals why the Survivor's camp was infiltrated by the Others. No one, especially not Sayid or Sawyer, trust Juliet except Jack.

Touching moment where Sawyer is reunited with Jack and Kate. Also one of my all time favorite Lost lines as delivered by Richard Alpert.

As per usual, season 3 is full of great quotations, action sequences, and good ol' Others manipulation.

8. “Flashes Before Your Eyes” “Catch-22” “The Constant” and “Happily Ever After”

This is wrong. You don't buy the ring. You have second thoughts.”
Desmond and Penny sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-oh, hello, didn't see you there! Not only is Desmond a romantic hero and not a “coward” as Mr. Widmore so wonderfully coins it, but he is special, just like Ms. Hawking says he is. Hmm, I wonder if those two share some weird connection...

“Flashes” also leads us down different paths of what can and could be the resolution to the series. Is Desmond just crazy like Hurley? Speaking of connections, Desmond is always tied to Charlie and Penny, even when he's not. His reliving of the past shows up over and over again. It even features Charlie and pays future homage to another person from the Island as mentioned in “The Constant.” Des honorably saves Charlie repeatedly, and then he shows him a whole new world...that came out wrong. We're always rooting for Desmond.
His last episode from his point of view, we see that under different circumstances he could've been Mr. Widmore's righthand man. Love it or hate it, Desmond is always tied to the island. Clearly, Mr Widmore has always had his priorities in mind, and what's best for Penny may also be what's best for the island.

9. “Through the Looking Glass” Season 3, Episode 22 & 23
“There's No Place Like Home” Season 4, Episode 12-14

“We were not supposed to leave.”
“Yes, we were.”
“We have to go back!”

Before I start in on the episodes, I have to say that Ben has some terrific lines here. We're never really sure if Ben is a master chess player like TV tropes says or if he just improvises in addition to his master chess player self. To this day, I'm still not sure if Ben meant for Jack to see the x-rays, because it's Ben, and can we ever really trust him?
I'm good with my long distance carrier, but thanks for asking!
Shh together or be silent alone
What a difference a day and a season can make. TtLG turned me upside down! Jack at the end of season 3, or “Beardy” as I like to call him, wants everything he didn't want before, and he wants it back now. Who is dead? Who's alive? Who made it and who didn't?

You also get to see Desmond and Charlie at their most heroic. Risking their lives for the ones (or women) they love. Not to mention the sacrifices made by Bernard, Sayid, and Jin. And Hurley, can't forget about him. As usual, Hurley doesn't think like anybody else, and uses his creative ingenuity to come up with his own plan after failed attempts to tag along with everyone else.

If there were a drinking game, every time Jack breaks down and punches someone in the face, someone would take a drink, and/or every time someone beats up Benjamin Linus. In an interview, Michael Emerson was asked how many times his character had been hurt on the show, and he couldn't even count them. This episode is just proof as to why. By the time he's a prisoner (again!), he looks more like a drunk, dancing bear in a horrific circus than a man. Keep in mind that I appreciate the depths of this character, one of which is enjoying watching him tortured by various Survivors.
“How many times do I have to tell you, John? I always have a plan!”
TNPLH reveals more about the day everybody left the island, including how, and who died in the process. Ben gets revenge, and should've said “There's more where THAT came from” and looked at the camera. Well, that would've been if the show were a sitcom. Sawyer jumping out of a plane for Kate or because he's afraid of life off the island wins the unlikely hero award. Foreshadowing to the whole Kate and Jack versus another potential couple. The action sequences make every other season finale look like children sitting in a backyard kicking sand at each other. I can't say whether it trumps the finale, but I certainly enjoyed the fight scenes more. Especially the banding together of the group (that goes for season 3 finale as well).

Locke and Jack go back to arguing about the island and whether or not it should be protected. As usual, despite him thinking the opposite, it just further shows Locke shaping Jack's future even if Jack doesn't see it. Which is why these endings are further connected, in addition to the conclusion of TNPLH.

10. “Jughead” and “The Variable”

“BYL” was another fantastic season opener. It's hard to judge them against each other, because they're all so jarring. Where are we? When are we? These questions get taken to a whole new level when Season 5 starts.

When the Freighter people arrived, I was dubious. Change!? What is this, Gilligan's Island? What's next, the Harlem Globe Trotters? Their stories were originally supposed to be part of season 4, but then the writers' strike happened. Things got renegoitiated, and Lost ponied up for 2 more seasons for half the time (and sorry, writers, but a stupid amount of bullshit in between).
By the time Season 5 came around, I was so ready for it to be better than the previous season (and your mileage may vary, but I feel like it was good). Season 4 was all about action, and I was ready for Season 5 to show depth and substance vs. something I would see in a Michael Bay film. The flash forwards vs. current time left us wanting more episodes, but not reliving them. Not compared to season 5.

So when the season opened, and we are once again jolted by what we're watching, Faraday explains the what's going on with the island. Where does he come up with this stuff? Anyway, it went deeper, and by the time “Jughead” came and went, I was back into full throttle Lost mode.

When we finally get around to “The Variable,” and the backstory on Faraday, I was more than ready. I'd become attached to them although not as deeply as some of the original cast. I am surprised when people continue to say that their favorite episode was “The Constant.” Not to knock it or anything, but this episode trumps some of Desmond's as far as sacrifices to the Island go (although Desmond is definitely sacrificial in the previous episode, so I can't be too rough on him). We learn who Daniel used to be, and why he's so smart. He's not just some guy who squints and runs around the island doing random things and muttering to himself Doc Brown from Back to the Future style. Also, someone with mom issues? At last!

11. Season 5, Episode 11 “Whatever Happened, Happened” and “Some Like it Hoth” Episode 13
Miles proves he's more than just a ghostbuster, and he actually knows a thing or two about time travel. His amusing relationship with Hurley proves Hurley's original comment, “Oh great, another Sawyer.” Why he ends up on the Island just goes to show that Lost is about daddy issues.

In WHH, there's a controversy. Do they save someone that will ultimately grow up to be bad? Should they? Jack thinks not and gets yelled at by the two women on the island who care about him most. Miles explains that everything is happening for the first time, and that they can't change anything, which Jack takes to mean that Ben will be okay and no one will intervene in his place to do anything. He already believes, but he's still not quite Locke crazy about things. In a surprising turn of events, Kate (I still don't understand how she went from runaway to mommy mode) takes it upon herself to save Ben. As do Juliet (this makes more sense) and Sawyer.
The douche dad hypothesis
In addition to this, Sawyer resolves the very awkward relationship/what could have been discussion that he needed to have with Kate in an “I'm with Juliet, and she makes me a better man” type speech. He wants to do right by Juliet, because she believes in him (or came to by circumstance).

12. "Do No Harm" Season 1, Episode 20,  “Because You Left” Season 5, Episode 1
"I know you made me a promise. I'm letting you off the hook."
Things Sarah should've said to Jack? On the island, Boone is seriously injured. Jack tries to save his life. In the flashbacks, it reveals Sarah, Jack's wife and their marriage.

The episode shows Jack's commitment to marrying Sarah and his doubts regarding their upcoming marriage. "Commitment is what makes you tick, Jack," Christian Shephard says, which is the problem with Jack isn't it? If he doesn't know if he should be committed to Sarah, I'd probably go with that. It also shows on the island, Jack's commitment to being a doctor. Also the pain others go through of witnessing it (anytime someone is in the process of dying, the rest of the island visibly flinches). This is first time we see Kate as a protector and a provider. Before this, she and the rest of the camp rely on Jack to help deliver Claire's baby, but when he can't be at two places at once, Kate has to step up to the bat.

Going back and reviewing season 4 and episodes regarding Kate's feasibility as a mother were something I always wrote off. One friend referred to Kate's flashbacks as "random," and others flat out hate her. I think the hard thing to understand about Kate is idea that she could go from escape artist to mommy. Yet, if one revisits earlier episodes such as this one and Season 5, Episode 1, one can see that while she's afraid of babies, it doesn't necessarily mean she couldn't be a mother. As long as she doesn't hate her kid's significant other and sets fire to their abode, I take a lesser stance on the issue. Clearly, what else did Kate have going on? Of course, she does go back to the island, but it's to look for Aaron's real mom.

When Kate helps Claire overcome her mommy issues, we know there's something up with the television universe. If Claire can be a good mom, then I suppose I will relinquish some of my annoyance/hatred at Kate's attempts at motherhood.

Also, Jack pours his OWN blood into Boone to save him. Nothing says "to the bitter end" like Jack Shephard. In fact, that should probably be his motto.

"Everybody I care about just blew up on your damn boat. I know what I can't change."
"BYL" has an incredible season opener. As always--but maybe even more awesome. Daniel Faraday to the rescue! This first episode is a total breakdown moment by Sawyer. He just can't take it. This shit is getting too real also weird. Charlotte is dying, no one is making sense, the island included, and he just lost a bunch of people he cares about--the primary being Kate. The only person that can calm him down is Juliet, who secretly tells him that his idea is stupid, but it's better than nothing. Which he appreciates--just another reason why they belong together.

The flashes plus the weird interaction between John and Richard provide us with a better understanding of the island which at the time was just more confusing.

Favorite seasons: 1, 3, and 5.
Favorite flashes: Jack, Juliet, Kate, Desmond, and Ben

Best quips: Anything said by Sawyer, any true confession by Jack, any consolation or angry rant by Hurley

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