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The Unapologetic Geek


Lost Top Fives, Part 2

With the strike-induced hiatus causing massive withdrawals in fanatics of ABC's hit show Lost, I find my mind constantly dwelling on the show. For this reason, I've decided that I shall spend this week on a new set of top fives, all centered around Lost. Before I get right on into it, though, know that there are massive spoilers in store for you if you haven't been keeping up with the show. So, without further ado, here are my top fives for Lost.

Top 5 Tearjerkers

This list is probably the most subjective of them all, even moreso than the Top 5 Best Episodes, because different people are moved by different things. “S.O.S.” is a good example of an episode that I find touching—though it didn’t ultimately make this list—but most people cite as a dumb story. Therefore, if you disagree with my take on the most tearjerking episodes—which you probably will—please don’t take it personally.

"...And Found"
Lost sure likes its metaphors
Lost sure likes its metaphors

When Jin leaves on the raft at the end of season one, he takes with him a collection of messages in a bottle. Near the beginning of the second season, however, this bottle washes ashore and when Sun finds out about it, she buries it, not willing to accept the possibility that Jin has died. Jin, of course, is actually on the other side of the island, working hard to keep up with his friend, Michael, and get back to his wife.

The flashbacks of the episode “…And Found” focus on how he and Sun first met, and it often splices between the two characters as though they, despite being separated, are remembering the same events and thinking about each other.

On the beach, Sun loses her wedding ring, which gets her in a panic, and she can’t deal with the possibility that her marriage to Jin is over. Even though everybody she talks to assures her that the ring is just an object and not indicative of the state of her marriage, she doesn’t tell them—mostly because she doesn’t even realize it herself—that her fears are more rooted in the possibility that Jin has died. When she finally does come to grips with this, she stops looking for the ring and tells Kate about the bottle. It is when she unearths it to show Kate, naturally, that she finds her ring buried in the sand, and she sobs, not out of fear, but out of newfound hope.
"The Beginning of the End"
The saddest part is knowing what Charlie would have gotten had he lived
The saddest part is knowing what Charlie would have gotten had he lived

Charlie’s death at the end of “Through the Looking Glass” is an amazingly beautiful and heart-wrenching moment, but the tearjerking part comes a season later, when it is revealed to Hurley, Claire, and everyone else that Charlie is dead. At the start of “The Beginning of the End,” Hurley is the happiest we see him, having shrugged off his numbers curse and having saved the lives of his friends. Encouraged by the always-lovable Bernard and sporting an enormous grin, he does a cannonball in the ocean. Little does he realize it is the last truly happy moment he’ll have for some time.

Hurley, who has already been forced to deal with the death of Libby, surfaces to learn about Charlie’s fate. The resulting grief and anger dictate his actions and choices from that moment on, but as we learn in the same episode’s flashforwards, those actions do not ultimately lead to happiness.

The moment that might have you reaching for the Kleenex, though, is when Hurley meets up with Claire and, weeping like a baby, gives her the bad news.
"The Constant"
Yep, those are genuine tears being jerked
Yep, those are genuine tears being jerked

While fans are always talking about the annoying love “quadrangle” of Kate, Sawyer, Juliet, and Jack, there are a few really powerful love stories going on in the background. One of those is Desmond’s story, and it finds its first sweet taste of resolution when Desmond, at the brink of death, seeks out his lost love, Penny, in two different time periods.

He pleads with her in the past to not let go of whatever romantic notions she may have left, which is what probably starts her on her quest to find him, and then, in the present, he calls her from the freighter and they share an all-too-brief exchange of joy at finally finding each other again. Despite the crazy sci-fi trappings of the episode, it is one of the most heart-warming stories on the show.

Faraday’s cure for Desmond’s unique problem, finding a “constant” in two disparate times of your life, is something altogether special. Instead of the more religious notions of soul-mates or holy matrimony, Lost has found a way to insert a quasi-scientific form of romantic, monogamous love into the modern pop-culture dictionary. I’m sure there are already more than a few lovesick geeks out there who, instead of asking someone to marry them, have asked prospective mates, “Will you be my constant?”
"...In Translation"
Jin is sad. :(
Jin is sad. :(

No marriage on the show has been through more turbulence than that of Sun and Jin, who make this list a second time. However, though the first entry was a happy one filled with hope, this second-most tearjerking moment in Lost is a far more depressing point in the story of the island’s resident Koreans.

Through flashbacks in season one’s “…In Translation,” we learn about Jin’s employment with Sun’s father, Mr. Paik. We are given our first glimpse of what made Jin into the bitter and violent man we see in the first few episodes of the series, and it is easy to be sympathetic of him. We even learn in those same flashbacks how Jin mourns his transformation, when he confesses to his estranged father that he worries about what is happening between him and Sun. We see this strong and kind man break down in tears hoping to find a way to save his marriage, and it is heart-wrenching.

On the island, however, he very dramatically learns that Sun has been keeping a huge secret from him, that she can speak fluent English. He sees the sexual tension between Sun and Michael, rightfully wonders what other secrets Sun is keeping from him (and there are plenty more), and makes the decision to move out of the caves, leaving Sun behind.

The most tearjerking moment, I think, is when Sun tries to stop him, pleading with him by saying, “I want to go back to the beginning. Why can’t we just start over?” Jin stops, as though moved by his wife’s sadness, and replies, “It’s too late.”

Fortunately, it isn’t too late at that point, and Jin and Sun manage to repair the rift in their marriage and find happiness. There is still turbulence ahead, of course, as Jin, who has learned about Sun’s infidelity and his own infertility, still does not know all of Sun’s dirty little secrets, and it would appear that he is separated from her in the future, either by death or something else.
"Everybody Hates Hugo"
Bernard learning that Rose is alive
Bernard learning that Rose is alive

Hurley’s story in the second season episode “Everybody Hates Hugo” is certainly a poignant one, but it is not what makes my eyes water when I watch the episode. He is distressed over Jack’s inexplicable decision to put him in charge of the newly discovered cache of food in the Swan Station, and that distress parallels the upheaval in his life when he won the lottery. Not wanting a repeat of history, Hurley decides to obliterate the food with the leftover dynamite, but is stopped by Rose, the wisest character on the show, who listens to his pleas and reassures him that there is a better answer.

That answer is to give all of the food away in one night, to have a little beach party with Dharma brand peanut butter, crackers, summer sausage, ranch dip, etc. Still, though moved by these events and the happy atmosphere of everybody loving instead of hating Hugo, my eyes remain dry.

It is the final shot, when Rose takes an Apollo candy bar, sticks it in her pocket, kisses the ring on her necklace, and smiles serenely that jerks the tears out. She’s saving the candy bar for her dentist husband, Bernard, who we know has a sweet tooth and who was in the tail section of the plane when it crashed. She alone has an intransigent faith that her husband is still alive, something the audience just had reaffirmed on the other side of the island, and that’s what makes her simple gesture so damn special.

Top 5 Cliffhangers

It is certainly popular for this show to end an episode with a cliffhanging revelation or shocking event. More often than not, these cliffhangers come at the end of a block of episodes, either right before a hiatus in a season or at the closing moments of the season finale itself. These cliffhangers do precisely what they’ve always been designed to do—keep people interested—but with the five listed below, they’re maybe a bit too nailbitingly intense.

"Meet Kevin Johnson"
Curse you, writer's strike!
Curse you, writer's strike!

Say what you will about the rest of the episode “Meet Kevin Johnson,” which marks the not-so-triumphant and not-so-shocking return of Michael, but the final moment of the episode, in which Danielle Rousseau is shot and seemingly killed, has caused more anxiety in Lost fanatics than I can remember. We’ve been promised a Rousseau flashback by the showrunners on multiple occasions, and if she has died before delivering us her true backstory, a lot of fans are going to find some torches and pitchforks. The fact that this twist came right before the month-long strike-induced hiatus definitely made it harder to take.

Personally, though, I’m not that worried. If the shot is a fatal one, I don’t think she’ll die immediately. Chances are that, if she’s going to die from her wound, she’s going to have a slow death in the near future, during which we will finally be given her flashbacks. Otherwise, I don’t expect that the gunshot is really fatal, seeing as how several important characters on the show have been horrifically injured (even shot, in the case of Locke) and, due to the influence and healing properties of the island, have not died.

Amusingly enough, though, nobody seems to care about Karl, who was shot only seconds before Rousseau.
Keep in mind this guy can kill you with just his feet
Keep in mind this guy can kill you with just his feet

From early on in the first season, we are given plenty of reasons to assume the tail section of Flight 815 contained survivors. We know that Rose has a husband who was in the tail section, Bernard, and we know that Ana-Lucia, with whom Jack shared a drink at the airport before take off, was also in the tail section. Early in season two, Michael, Sawyer, and Jin, after failing to escape the island on their makeshift raft, encounter the so-called tailies and are beaten senseless by a large Nigerian before being tossed in a hole for their troubles.

Eventually, Michael, Jin, and Sawyer convince the tailies to trek off in search of the main camp, but the two sets of survivors don’t meet until the fateful collision in “Abandoned.” Lead by Vincent and a wet hallucinogenic Walt, Shannon and Sayid are running deep into the jungle where gun-crazy Ana-Lucia is leading her group in the opposite direction, away from the creepy whispers.

Cue gunshot. Shannon stumbles—with the signature post-coital gunshot wound to the belly—out of some bushes towards a stunned Sayid. Ana-Lucia holds the smoking gun and a big “oops, my bad,” look on her face as Sayid holds his dying girlfriend with a look of sadness and fury that is downright frightening.

This cliffhanger is apparently good enough to use twice, for in the following episode, “The Other 48 Days,” the story ends in precisely the same place, and the story doesn’t continue until the episode after that, “Collision.”
"I Do"
Jack is most upset about the unsanitary conditions in this operating room
Jack is most upset about the unsanitary conditions in this operating room

The third season was an interesting experiment in which the show was split into two parts: a 6-episode mini-season to air in the fall and a 16-episode block to air a few months later. The first 6 episodes were frustratingly slow and revealed little, which made fans eager for Jack, Kate, and Sawyer to just escape already so the writers could get on with the rest of the story. Indeed, more viewers walked away from the show at this point, including my own dear mother, than at any other time in the show’s history.

However, the mini-season, though it was a spectacular failure, ended on a great cliffhanger. “I Do” contained some of the most intense moments of the show, with Sawyer nearly being executed in front of Kate while Jack begins surgery on Ben. Jack uses the moment to his advantage, and turns the surgery into a clever hostage situation, which leads to Kate and Sawyer being freed. Jack doesn’t know that the Hydra station is on its own separate island, but Kate is too distraught to explain it to him before he shouts into the walkie-talkie, “Dammit, Kate, run!”

Though my opinion of Jack has drastically changed since that moment, I think it is his most heroic, self-sacrificing act. And it’s also a pretty nerve-racking cliffhanger.
"Two for the Road"
Time for another post-coital gut shot
Time for another post-coital gut shot

I mentioned the jaw-dropping final scene of “Two for the Road” yesterday, as the most shocking moment in all of Lost. It was so shocking, in fact, that it pulls double duty as the second most intense cliffhanger. There wasn’t a hiatus between it and the next episode, but the single week was more than enough time for fans to obsess over the meaning of these events.

What happened to Michael? Was he brainwashed? Was he doing it for his son? Would the castaways figure out what he did? What’s going to happen to Henry? I even remember going to work the night after the episode aired, asking people I never talked to if they watched Lost, just so I could talk about what had happened.
"Exodus, Part 2"
Hey look, Jack, a bunch of suckers!
"Hey look, Jack, a bunch of suckers!"

By far the most infuriating cliffhanger, though, happens at the end of the first season. Much of that season is focused on the mystery of the hatch, which Locke and Boone discover buried in the middle of the forest and try to open for weeks. After Boone is sacrificed, Locke even bangs on the hatch in frustration, only to have a bright shaft of light shoot up from inside.

So when it became clear during the airing of the season finale that the castaways would be using dynamite to blow the hatch open once and for all, viewers anxiously waited to find out what was inside. With bated breath, we watched as Jack and Locke carried dangerously old dynamite through the forest and placed it on the hatch. We waited as Locke detonated it, undeterred by the shouts of Hurley to stop because the numbers were bad, and we sat eagerly up to the edge of our seats as Jack and Locke stepped over to the now open hole in the ground, peered in, and saw…

the closing credits for the first season.

-e. magill 04/15/2008

Check out the other installments:
PART 1:Mysteries
WTF Moments
Most shocking Moments

PART 3:Least Fave Minor Characters
Least Fave Major Characters
Favorite Minor Characters
Favorite Major Characters

PART 4:Most Underwhelming Episodes
Most Underappreciated Episodes
Best Episodes


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