Monday, February 1, 2010


Before a whole new game starts tomorrow night with "LA X", it's important to first reflect on all the times that LOST produced game-changing moments, or as Ben Linus would say, "changed the rules." Part of the fun of watching this show is that at least twice a season, it completely the knocks the storyline "off its axis" so-to-speak. Now, a lot of spooky things happen on the island, but that doesn't mean they are pivot points of the show (for example, "Help Me"). Also, you won't find fluff like Hugo driving a VW, or sappy stuff like Charlie/Claire. You won't even find Smokey running amok. Nor will you see distractions like Libby, Jin/Sun, Charlotte, or even Waaaalt. Nope, listed below are just the most mind-blowing, frog-squishing, earth-shattering moments from LOST's five glorious seasons. Enjoy. (NOTE: Ranked in chronological order of viewing. You decide which is most profound.)

"Walkabout", Season One
Not since Andy's poker face has something so slight meant so much. With the simple wiggle of his right big toe, John Locke discovers this ain't your typical Sandals vacation. Sure, the island housed mysterious jungle creatures, ominous radio broadcasts, fugitives, and general disarray, but let's be honest -- wasn't that the basic plot to Lord of the Flies? The wiggle changed all of that. Of course, for us, the payoff doesn't hit until 40 minutes later; but when it does, both Locke and the Island are seen in an entirely new light. After that, we are left hanging on every bit of Locke's non-sense. After that, dead people walking around doesn't seem so absurd. This moment took network TV story-telling to a new level, as Locke's "condition" was hung directly under our noses the entire time yet we didn't even notice. Over 100 episodes later, it's the best idea that Lindelof never thought of. Not just a game-changer, but a tone-setter for the entire show.

"Raised by Another", Season One
For 9 or 10 episodes, the show seemed to be playing out like an expanded version of Cast Away. One shattered plane. Dozens of survivors stranded on the island. Trouble signs all over the place, but by all indications, the island was generally deserted. That is, until Sayid found a cable, a French woman, and whispers. And when he came stumbling back into Jack's arms, shrieking, "WE'RE NOT ALONE," it was LOST's equivalent of 5-Hour Energy. Only seconds later, Hugo had the manifest, Ethan had Claire, and the adventure was on. What followed was a season-long string of fantastic events, from Scott's Murder, to a jungle stakeout of Ethan, to "RUN HIDE OR DIE", to "We're gonna have to take the boy."

"All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues", Season One
While Boone was easily the most overrated character on Herb's Top 90, there's no denying the fact that he was a huge part of LOST's genesis. Just think...if Boone catches that flashlight, gingerly tossed to him from Locke, then everyone is on an entirely different trajectory (hmmm....reboot idea?). Locke himself probably just hunts boar for the next 3 months before stumbling into a Rousseau trap. But instead, the loser drops it....and HATCHMANIA is born. From this moment onward, the Hatch became THE central plotline and spawned endless developments. Don't forget, 13 long episodes went by before the door was actually blown open. Trebuchets. Numbers. Glowing Lights. C4. Quarantines. Desmond. Shelter. Guns. And eventually, DHARMA. The hatch led to Jack and Locke not seeing eye-to-eye. And don't forget that Desmond's brains might be splattered next to Radzinsky's had Locke not come apoundin' on the Hatch door one night. "The Hatch, Jack -- all of it -- all of it happened so that we could open the Hatch."

"Man of Science, Man of Faith", Season Two
While this moment is ultimately a byproduct of finding the Hatch door weeks earlier, it's still huge because of all the massive anticipation as to what was actually inside (Aliens? China?). The eventual answer was always going to change the game. And whether you agreed with the revelation or not, part of what made the moment so profound was that the writers delivered an answer immediately. Who will ever forget the peaking heads of Jack and Locke playing us out of Season One....then playing us directly back into Season Two? From there, Desmond tells us the world is gonna end unless we develop a season-long obsession with the 'EXECUTE' button. That leads to a myriad of questions like, "What DO the numbers mean?" to "Why do you find it so hard to believe?" to "Walt?...Dad?"

"Lockdown", Season Two
Season Two tried so hard to make the 815 Tail Section a game-changer, but we all know how awesome the Tailies weren't. So it's a good thing that they had an ace up their sleeve with stranger getting "caught in a net". Already paranoid, most of the survivors didn't buy his story about crashing in a hot air balloon. After 3 episodes of beatings, torture, and arguments, some started to believe that this man was actually Minnesotan. Afterall, he wore shoes, spoke intellectually, and didn't mention anything about wanting to steal children. Then one afternoon, creep-o Sayid dug up the Real Henry Gale's body and brought back some ID. From that moment, the Others became smarter and more sinister than we knew. It was only a matter of time until Henry Gale né Benjamin Linus was able to manipulate pretty much everyone, capture the A-Team, start a war, and kill some of the most famous people in island history.

"Live Together, Die Alone", Season Two
While pushing the button certainly offered many overly dramatic moments that made Carlton Cuse giggle, the only moment that really mattered was when they DIDN'T push it. The result was a sweet electromagnetic pulse which exposed the island and alerted a snowy scientific base. When Penny Widmore answers their call, we realize that for the first time, someone OFF the island has noticed its position! This was a big deal for viewers, especially after zero rescue attempts, Hugo's theory that they were all dead, and Desmond's talk of snowglobes. This was a BIGGER deal for a guy named Charles, who also happened to witness this same anomaly. I wonder how many seconds passed before he speed-dialed Keamy, started digging up graves, sunk a phony 747, and ordered Matty Abbaddon to assemble a shady freighter team???

"A Tale of Two Cities", Season Three
"New Otherton" was a game-changer because it blew open the show's entire landscape, both plot-wise and geography-wise. Who knew the island was big enough to have an entire civilized town go unnoticed? Or a submarine? Or a SECOND island? Up until they revealed New Otherton, we pretty much assumed that Henry Gale and The Others were all about beards, barefeet, blowdarts, and homemade nunchuks (so dumb at 7:25). Then we caught a glimpse of their perfectly modern village, seemingly stolen from The Truman Show. Suddenly it opened our eyes to a community of wholesome people who did things like bake muffins, throw football, start bookclubs,....and annihilate hippie scientists. It didn't really come into focus as to why it was built until later, but "New Otherton" was necessary in order to show distinction between DHARMA and The Alperts, both in 2005 and 1977. And let's never forget how it saved the show from its dark times of polar bear cages and fish biscuits.

"Through the Looking Glass", Season Three
Yeah, yeah, the survivors did some sweet things in the Season Three finale, like finally contacting Penny's Boat (or not), but we saw that coming. Jack whooped Linus, Chaaalie sacrificed himself, and Tom got popped, but those were all well overdue. Great finale right? Just when America thought that they'd wrap up the evening with some parting Jack redemption on his ex-wife or dad or booze or whatever...BAM!!!!! Kate walks out of the shadows. HUH???? "We have to go BAAAAAAAAACK". The black L O S T screen hits. America collectively shits itself. Recap: Not only is there a future Jack, but he's a waste of life, and wants to GO BAAAAACK to the very island he was just begging to be rescued from. The entire 4th Season is almost exlusively payoff from this one moment. A jaw-dropper.

"There's No Place Like Home: Part 2", Season Four
The real moment here was probably when "Christian" told Locke to "move the island", but those orders seemed so absurd that it was probably a waste of your time to try and figure out what it all meant. Until, of course, the island did exactly that. Lapidus' perplexed squint said it all. I'm not sure that moment could have been executed in a cooler way, with Ben falling down a hatch to a frozen room and pushing a donkey wheel that effectively moved the entire island (islands?). It was even sad to watch him do it. But what followed completely changed the dimensions of the storyline. Dave's favorite subject -- Time travel -- got introduced, and with it: Faraday's variables, Desmond's flashes, Eloise's pendelum room, and Jim LaFleur - Head of Security. As bizarre as it all seems, so far it's been executed to near-perfection. Until the jughead popped.

"The Incident", Season Five
The opening scene between Jacob and the MIB was startling, confusing, and amazing all in one. But the dots didn't connect until much later, when Ilana revealed what was inside the Ajira crate. From there, "Dead is Dead" finally clicked, and we became all too aware of who fake Locke really was, and what he was about to do. It's still tough to gauge the impact from this moment, or what it will lead to, but the key here was more greatness from LOST's story-telling. MIB and all his cryptic comments were under our nose the entire time, yet the writers did a phenomenal job of masking its significance. It's safe to say that once deities can assume the lifeless bodies of plane crash victims, that's a severe game-changer. And hey, who's to say all the survivors aren't "assumed" in one way or another??????

"The Incident", Season Five
Juliet pounding that "son of a bitch" to its detonation (?) was another top moment in network television. It probably changes everything from the "rules of the island", to who lives there, to who even crashed there. I'm sure timelines were altered or probably even created. Then again, perhaps it changed NOTHING, and its detonation was merely just "the incident" that Pierre Change spoke of in his DHARMA films. Until we know for sure, it makes the Jughead explosion -- and the white screen that followed -- one of the cooler moments in show history, and maybe its most profound. To be continued..........................

Is this Season One scene awesome in a new way....or just a reach???

1 comment:

Andy said...

my top 3 (no particular order)

-Desmond in the Hatch
-We Have to Go Back
-Dead is Dead