Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #90-81

"So... when do we leave?"

(Thanks to Dark UFO and Lost Media for all the screencaps).

Welcome to the second part of the Top 108 Moments in Lost!

Previous installments:

Honorable Mentions are here, which you might want to read first to get some of my thought processes on what made and was excluded from the list.

Moments #108-101
Moments #100-91

Today we have Moments #90-81 - keep in mind that most of the really powerful moments are reserved for the Top 50. A lot of the bottom of the list goes to humor and cool character pieces. Namaste.

90) Locke beats the crap out of Patchy

Episode: 3.18 - The Man Behind The Curtain
Synopsis: Locke makes his point to Ben... emphatically
Why it’s great: Because it put the exclamation mark on the fact Patchy was the Scream killer of Lost

Mikhail was one of my favorite characters from the third season, especially because of his hilarious propensity of bouncing back from a beating. First he was roughed up by Sayid at the Flame, then thrown through the sonic fence at low power, scrambling his brain and knocking him out. Later on, he ran into Desmond and crew in the jungle while they were looking for the helicopter pilot and got kickboxed into submission by Jin.

When he finally reappeared at the Others' camp to report that Naomi had landed on the Island with a satellite phone, Locke was in the middle of trying to convince Ben to take him to see Jacob. And that's when Locke - the real Locke, mind you, not Smokey - finally let out all the anger and frustration that had built up over two seasons, landing it all squarely on Mikhail's face. It was hilarious because it was unexpected; Locke is not a violent man at heart. But seeing him finally let out some of his anger was one of those moments which made you stand up and cheer.

And the fact Mikhail bounced back from that beating as well solidified his status as the "Scream" killer of Lost. For those of you unfamiliar, one of the running gags of the Scream series was that the killer was always someone who gets repeatedly pummeled by his victims as they're trying to get away, only to keep shrugging it off, bouncing back up and continuing the pursuit. And that perception of Mikhail is why so many people (including myself) expected him to have survived the grenade explosion that killed Charlie at the Looking Glass.

But alas, it seems there are some things you just can't bounce back from anymore.

89) Sayid works for Ben

Episode: 4.03 - The Economist
Synopsis: Sayid reveals he's become Ben's personal assassin
Why it’s great: It's raining on Sayid's wedding day. Plus: It's a classic Ben move

The Economist is another very underrated episode, IMHO, and it just might be Sayid's best episode. Lost really got its mojo back in the fourth season with the flashforwards which not only rejuvenated the Lost formula, but also gave us fresh looks at all our favorite characters. Sayid's episode was neat in that it featured a James Bond-like plot, with Sayid stalking his target in Berlin while romancing his prey's partner. I'm sure many people *ahem* didn't complain about the Sayid eye candy this episode either.

But the ending, finding out Sayid was doing all of this for Ben was simply mind-blowing. First of all, it told us that Ben also got off the Island somehow, despite not being part of the Oceanic Six. Secondly, it opened the possibility that all the rest of the O6 was in some sort of danger. But the best part about this scene were the character developments it brought about for Sayid for the rest of the show, all leading to him attempting to kill young Ben and briefly embracing his dark side when he kills Dogen and Lennon in the Temple.

And then there's the great scene later in the season where Sayid professes he will never work for Ben, ever. Awesome.

88) Ben gives a blunt eulogy for Locke

Episode: 6.04 - The Substitute
Synopsis: Ben says a few words over Locke's body
Why it’s great: Again, classic Ben. Plus: Frank gets a one-liner

This scene could be labeled as Ben Comedy, but it's really not. Ben was trying to be serious and genuine here. He was manipulated into killing an innocent man, one he really had no reason to hate as much as he did. His very blunt apology "I'm very sorry I murdered him" shocked the heck out of Ilana and the others and made us laugh with its honesty.

But it's Frank who gets the punchline here with his "Weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to..." comment afterward. Comedy gold, Jerry.

87) Young Eloise kills her son

Episode: 5.14 - The Variable
Synopsis: Eloise completes a time loop with herself
Why it’s great: One of the biggest shock deaths of Lost

This was a total surprise to me and if certain elements of this scene didn't quite feel right with me it would be a lot higher up on my list. Still, as imperfect as the scene is, the idea that Eloise spent all her life training Daniel and pushing him in the direction of the Island to ensure he gets killed by her hand in the past was a pretty dark and brilliant idea by the writers.

What bothers me a bit about the scene was how it all developed. Daniel's death in the Others' camp seemed a bit forced to me; he certainly didn't have to head in there waving a gun as he's not a violent man by any respects. Seemed there would have been better (and more tragic) ways of pulling this off without making it feel so contrived. But the shock was genuine and the scene fits perfectly with one of the major themes of the show: Free will vs. fate.

Eloise was convinced that time couldn't be altered. That's why she sent Desmond to the Island, that's why she raised her son to be sacrificed at her hand. She believed in destiny - the the universe was ordered and set in stone and did everything she could to help it along. Was she right? Really hard to tell - the fact the Incident really didn't change history at all (all it did was create a Purgatory somehow) seems to suggest it really is immutable.

Yeah Daniel believed otherwise, but look what happened to him!

86) Sawyer gets a fish biscuit

Episode: 3.01 - A Tale of Two Cities
Synopsis: Sawyer gets a tasty treat
Why it’s great: One of my favorite humorous scenes. Plus: Tom Friendly gets a one-liner

As bad as the bear cages were as the mini-series edged forward, Sawyer's initial introduction to them was hilarious. First of all, it did solve a major Island mystery for us: How did the Island get its indigenous population of polar bears? Turns out DHARMA was experimenting on them and they escaped after the purge. That in itself was pretty cool, but Sawyer figuring out the polar bear cage task was hilarious. And the fish biscuits became fan favorites too, even inspiring fans to make their own (presumably much tastier) versions.

But the punchline to the scene just might have been the best line of the season by Tom Friendly. After noticing Sawyer had gotten himself a fish biscuit he blithely says "It only took the bears two hours." And with that line he completely surrendered the "major villain" title to Ben. Not that that's a bad thing.

85) Locke's smokehouse vision

Episode: 3.03 - Further Instructions
Synopsis: Locke gets a tour of the future with Spirit Guide Boone
Why it’s great: Best of all the Lost dreams and visions. Plus: Stephen King reference

Out of all the dreams and visions on Lost, Locke’s airport tour of the future with Spirit Guide Boone was my very favorite. First off, it was so well filmed; I loved the brighter-than-normal quality of all the shots, where all the colors are ethereal and incredibly vivid, especially Eko's blood at the top of the escalator that closed the scene. Reminded me a bit of "Sin City" in that respect. And all the sequences with the various factions of characters were really cool, especially as they were paired with Boone’s comments to Locke (and I like that Boone wasn’t especially kind to Locke during the vision too).

But I also love this scene because it's a direct reference to one of my favorite Stephen King novels of all time: "IT." There the young group of kids in the novel, who have been tormented by a malevolent force living in their town, decide to create a smokehouse in order to see if they can find some way to kill the creature. All the kids go in, but only one is able to stand the smoke and has a vision of IT arriving in the town, shown by a Spirit Guide who happens to be a turtle (as in the turtle with the world on his back).

I can't do the scene justice, but it's one of my favorite parts of the book and that reference makes this vision my favorite of them all.

84) Crazy Claire's creepy Aaron doll

Episode: 6.05 - Lighthouse
Synopsis: Claire shows Jin something very disturbing
Why it’s great: Best. Prop. Ever.

When Season 6 began and we first saw Claire, we knew something was a bit... off about her. After all, she had been apparently living alone on the Island for the past three years (admittedly I wasn't totally sure she was some Smokey zombie or something, but we knew she was off-kilter). And even though the writers really didn't follow through on Crazy Claire's potential as the season went on (I mean, c'mon, not only did she not kill Kate, she actually left the Island with her), she was one of the best parts of early Season 6. But Crazy Claire's pièce de résistance was her Aaron doll, made out of some sort of animal skull with a body of black fibers, just like the picture of Smokey on the temple wall.

When Jin looked in the cradle and saw that, we saw all we needed to know about Claire. "Run, Jin! Run for your life!"

83) Hooded Charlie admits to the con

Episode: 2.13 - The Long Con
Synopsis: Sawyer's con partner is revealed... and it's Charlie?!
Why it’s great: Best use of Charlie in the first two seasons

Season Two Charlie was fairly awful. His addiction storyline had run its course, his relationship with Claire was annoying and his flashbacks were actually worse than Kate's; I spent much of Season 2 simply wishing him dead. But the one shining moment Charlie had in Season 2 was something where he did something so very un-Charlie like: Helping Sawyer pull a long con on everyone by pretending to kidnap Sun and drag her into the jungle. And his motive for doing it? Revenge on Locke for embarrassing him in front of Claire.

The reveal that Charlie was Sawyer's assistant in the con, gave him a new, darker side that was, well, interesting. And the touch with his hoodie was great too, made him seem like he changed into a different person under there. Sadly, Dark Charlie was never seen again and even though Sun eventually found out it was Charlie who kidnapped her, she even forgave him.

Charlie redeemed himself in Season 3, of course, it's just a shame he had to die in order to do it.

82) Hurley writes "The Empire Strikes Back"

Episode: 5.13 - Some Like It Hoth
Synopsis: Hurley tries to change Ewok history
Why it’s great: Even Lucas would have to laugh at this

Miles and Hurley became the dynamic duo of geekdom during the fifth season, something that was greatly entertaining to watch. I really enjoyed "Some Like It Hoth" too - it's the only true Miles episode, had a very good flashback and I enjoyed the whole Hurley trying to get Miles to know his father storyline.

But the second-best (yes, you read that right) set of banter between Hurley and Miles was Hurley re-writing "Empire Strikes Back" for George Lucas "with a few improvements." Now it's an entertaining scene enough in itself and you kinda saw it coming considering Damon and Carlton are about as equally geeky as Hurley and Miles and probably even bigger "Star Wars" fans; you knew they weren't going to set an entire season in 1977 and not ever mention it was the same year "Star Wars" came out.

But the really great part about the scene is how later in the episode Hurley brings it up while trying to get Miles to talk to his dad, saying just like them Luke and Vader should have "communicated better." Yeah, it's a bit of a contrived stretch, but one that makes me laugh.

And Ewoks do indeed suck. :)

81) Locke is "alive"

Episode: 5.07 - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
Synopsis: Locke is alive?
Why it’s great: We didn't realize it at the time, but it's the true beginning of the end

TLADOJB was a rather up and down episode for me when I initially watched it. I thought a lot of Locke's efforts at recruitment were lame and most his conversations with the Oceanic Six (except for Jack) kinda shallow and disappointing, though the episode was redeemed by Locke's death at Ben's hand and his rebirth on the Island. But now that the show is over, this entire episode is a true masterpiece to me.

Locke's efforts at recruitment were lame because Locke was genuinely clueless. He was tasked with a quest that was destined to end in failure for the sole purpose of making him frustrated enough to kill himself, the seed of which was planted by Smokey himself in the future after Locke was already dead (see last week's list). And the fact Ben ended up doing the deed himself, while all the more shocking to us, while it may not have been exactly in Smokey's plan, was welcome all the same.

But the true shock of the episode was the fact "Locke" appeared alive, no different than before, on the Hydra Island beach. We didn't know it was Smokey at the time, so it kind of made everyone think Locke really was the mystical Island savior. And that's the really cool thing about this scene in retrospect. The entire show I had been arguing Locke really wasn't special - the only reason the Others considered him special at all was because he visited Richard in 1954, setting up his own destiny for himself. And the frustrated, Season 2 button pushing Locke was closer to the real Locke than anything we'd seen on the show.

So when "Locke" appeared alive on the beach, all of a sudden he really did appear to be special to the Island. It was a brilliant move by the writers, not just to keep us all in the dark as to "Locke's" true nature, but to keep Terry O'Quinn in the dark as well until the finale. Made the scene in the finale all the more powerful when we (and Terry) finally realize who he really is.

Moment Tally (updated through #81):

I'll be keeping a running tally of the number of times main or recurring (not minor) characters appear in these moments, along with which seasons they came from. I might even do a Power List later on - giving each points based on where they are in the list (1 point for #108, 108 points for #1) and so on. Depends on how ambitious I am. :)

This week Ben takes over the lead from Jack (it was actually a Jack-less week) and Season 6 keeps its lead over Seasons Five and Three. Also, just to make note of it here, Smokey in Locke's body counts as Smokey in the tally. Thus pretty much any time we see Locke after "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" it's actually a Smokey appearance even though we didn't actually find out it was really Smokey until "The Incident." Just FYI.

Main/Recurring Characters:

Ben - 6
Jack - 4
Locke - 4
Hurley - 3
Sawyer - 3
Sayid - 3
Smokey - 3
Charlie - 2
Claire - 2
Daniel - 2
Tom Friendly - 2
Aaron - 1
Boone - 1
Charles Widmore - 1
Charlotte - 1
Danielle - 1
Desmond - 1
Eko - 1
Eloise - 1
Frank - 1
Jacob - 1
Jin - 1
Juliet - 1
Kate - 1
Keamy - 1
Mikhail - 1
Miles - 1
Nikki and Paulo - 1
Pierre Chang - 1
Richard -1


Season Six - 7
Season Five - 6
Season Three - 6
Season Four - 4
Season Two - 3
Season One - 2

Next installment: #80-71.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #100-91

"Razzle freakin' dazzle"

(Thanks to Dark UFO and Lost Media for all the screencaps).

Welcome to the second part of the Top 108 Moments in Lost!

Previous installments:

Honorable Mentions are here, which you might want to read first to get some of my thought processes on what made and was excluded from the list.

Moments #108-101

Today we have Moments #100-91 - keep in mind that most of the really powerful moments are reserved for the Top 50. A lot of the bottom of the list goes to humor and cool character pieces. Namaste.

100) Nikki and Paulo meet a satisfying end

Episode: 3.14 - Exposé
Synopsis: Who the heck are Nikki and Paulo?
Why it’s great: The writers serve up some tasty fanboy service by offing the two most hated characters of the series in spectacular fashion

"Exposé" is another one of those episodes that fans either love or hate. Personally I'm firmly in the love category because, as miscalculated as the addition of Nikki and Paulo was in Season 3, the way they were subtracted was both brilliant and inspired in its hilarity. First off, I loved the fact that the writers did string tidbits of the overall plotline to "Exposé" throughout the beginning of the first season. Secondly, The whole episode played light and loose with the fourth wall, with even Sawyer shouting "Who the heck are Nikki and Paulo?" at one point.

But Nikki and Paulo's ultimate demise - with Nikki starting to recover just as dirt is shoveled on her - was an homage in tried and true fashion to a classic "Alfred Hitchhock Presents" with Joseph Cotton, where Cotton plays a paralyzed car crash victim who everyone thinks is dead. It's dark, it's awful and it's a tongue-in-cheek mea culpa to fans who had wanted them dead and buried as soon as they appeared on screen. Kudos to the writers.

99) Jack needs Christian's coffin on board

Episode: 1.05 - White Rabbit
Synopsis: Jack delivers an emotional plea to get his father's coffin on Flight 815
Why it’s great: Because we see it over and over again from so many different points of view. Plus: Party of Five Jackface!

One of the signature moments of the first season, Jack's emotional plea to "Chrissy" to allow him to take his father home and bury him so "this can be over" was a fine piece of acting by Matthew Fox and was probably the first time in the series I thought - "Whoa. That was so Party of Five." But the moment is also neat in that we see it again and again from different points of view. Sun and Jin are standing in line behind Jack and we get to see it again in two of their flashbacks and we see Jack going up to the counter in the background of several other shots. It's also one of Jack's best monologues on the show - much better than his "Live Together, Die Alone" speech which comes later.

It also comes in the midst of one of my favorite episodes - one of my original Top 10's - "White Rabbit" and the flashback is juxtaposed alongside Jack finding his father's coffin empty on the Island. That was a great transition and it led to Jack smashing the coffin to pieces and giving us our first clue that there might be something up with dead people on the Island.

98) Desmond gets the Dr. Manhattan treatment from Widmore

Episode: 6.11 - Happily Ever After
Synopsis: Desmond gets zapped for the second time in his life
Why it’s great: It's a great reference to an even greater comic

As disappointing as the ending of Lost was for me, the ramp up to it was pretty terrific, highlighted by "Happily Ever After." All Desmond and Ben episodes have been pretty much universally great throughout the show and Desmond in particular has two of the top episodes of the entire series in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant." HEA doesn't quite live up to those two, but it certainly had its share of great moments - the backwards Alt version of Desmond's office meeting with Charles, Desmond's flash of NOT PENNY'S BOAT and, of course, Charles' twisted little box experiment that sent Desmond's consciousness into the Alt in the first place.

The entire scene was a direct homage to the accident that created Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen and I thought it was incredibly well done. Because they accidentally fried one of Widmore's henchmen right before they threw Desmond in, the look on Des' face as he entered the box was priceless. Not to mention, in a season where I was underwhelmed by the special effects, this scene stood out as incredibly well done from that standpoint. And to think, Des didn't even have to reassemble himself afterward. :)

97) Richard Malkin makes an impression on Claire

Episode: 1.10 - Raised By Another
Synopsis: Claire gets a creepy ultimatum from a supposed psychic
Why it’s great: Because it's one of the things that hooked me on the show

This is a scene that could have dropped off my list entirely, largely because to me it's still an unanswered question as to why somebody hired Malkin to put Claire on Flight 815. Paula points out there's a deleted scene where Malkin states he was paid $16K by a couple in LA to get Claire to give up their kid, but that's still kinda unsatisfying to me and kinda nonsensical (how did an LA couple hear about Claire?). I'd almost rather theorize that Jacob tipped off the couple to get Claire on Flight 815 because she and/or Aaron were candidates. That's a pretty plausible explanation given everything we saw in the final season and wouldn't it have been cool to see Jacob doing things like hiring Malkin, getting Hibbs to lure Sawyer to Sydney, tipping Kate's farmer friend off as to who she was, etc...? Anyhoo, I digress...

I kept this scene on here because for someone watching through Lost for the first time, this is a scene that grabs you. Not only does it suggest Claire and her unborn child are critically important to the show, but by extension it also hints might be an actual reason they - and all of Flight 815 - crashed on the Island (which is a theory the LA couple explanation would have negated). I still get goosebumps when I watch this scene and I wish it was something they could have returned to, perhaps from Jacob's perspective. This was one of the first season scenes that hooked me on Lost for good.

96) Jack's a "Work Man"

Episode: 5.09 - Namaste
Synopsis: Jack gets his assignment from Pierre Chang
Why it’s great: Hilarious, brilliant touch by the writers

Mid-season five was brilliant, with the dual storylines of "Locke" coming back-to-life in 2007 and the time-traveling quartet in 1977. The run of "This Place Is Death" to "Dead is Dead" just might be the best run of episodes Lost ever produced. "Namaste" is smack-dab in the middle of them and while overall the episode didn't have a lot of epic moments (largely because it was kind of transitory), it was action-packed from start to finish, highlighted by the Sawyer taking charge and trying to figure out a way to save all his friends from being discovered by DHARMA.

But one of the best touches amidst all this chaos was Jack being given his assignment by Pierre Chang and finding out he's a "Work Man." Not only is it a terrific reference to Ben's father, but it's also the writers letting Sawyer get in a subtle dig at Jack, something he does much less subtly when Jack confronts him at the end of the episode. It's a great moment and the look on Jack's face when he gets his jumpsuit is perfect.

95) Mr. Friendly draws "The Line"

Episode: 2.11 - The Hunting Party
Synopsis: Mr. Friendly delivers an ultimatum to the survivors
Why it’s great: Lost got a villain for the first time and he was... competent!

Sometimes it's easy to forget that before Smokey and Benjamin Linus there was Mr. Friendly, arguably the main villain of Season 2. He kidnapped Walt in "Exodus," then wasn't seen again until this scene in "The Hunting Party." And oh, what a scene it was.

Lost always looks visually spectacular at night, but this was probably the best night scene of the show, moody and atmospheric with the dark jungle and torches. But the best part was the fact Mr. Friendly wasn't exactly the dirty rube he seemed to be on the boat; on the contrary, he turned out to be a well-spoken, smart and competent antagonist. The best villains to me are effective villains, and this scene demonstrated that 1) the Others lured Michael to the jungle, 2) clearly knew everything about the survivors, and 3) seemed to have a plan as to what they wanted from them as well. It basically set up all the conflict for the next season and a half in terrific fashion and set Mr. Friendly on the road to becoming a fan favorite. It's too bad Lost didn't film more at night during its run - the cinematography is simply gorgeous with the jungle shadows and the torchlight.

94) Smokey comes roaring out of the Source

Episode: 6.15 - Beyond The Sea
Synopsis: Jacob kills his brother and a Smoke Monster is born
Why it’s great: It's the Origin of the Smokey

Am I really putting a scene from "Beyond The Sea" on this list, one of the most controversial episodes of the show's final run and one that I was personally disappointed with? Why, yes. Yes, I am. Origin stories, even if you don't agree with them (and I certainly was disappointed by this one), are always interesting to say the least and upon further reflection it might have been a good thing for the writers to leave open the question of Smokey's true nature - much of what has been speculated is probably better than anything they could have put forth on the show.

And say what you will about the motivations of Jacob and Smokey, the cheesiness of the Source special effects and the lingering questions regarding what exactly the Source and Smokey could do, the moment where Smokey emerged from the Source was a terrific one. Smokey's special effects have always looked great on the show and this scene was no different. This scene also gave us a new perspective on the Jacob/Smokey conflict - one I'm still not sure I agree with, but one that grabs your attention for sure - in that Jacob is responsible for creating Smokey.

In reviewing this episode, I stated I really didn't like that dynamic because it makes Smokey sympathetic and I kind of preferred it when he was simply evil incarnate. While I still think this, the flip side of that is it does make Jacob a more complex and interesting character.
If ABC was ever going to make a bit more Lost to fill in some of the blanks not addressed while the show was on, I'd love to see an episode set shortly after this one - with Jacob and MiB having their first conversation post-Smoke Monster. Now that would be awk-ward!

93) Smokey completes a time loop with Richard

Episode: 5.15 - Follow The Leader
Synopsis: Smokey has Richard tell Locke he has to kill himself... while he's inhabiting Locke's dead body!
Why it’s great: Best use of time travel on the show

This was exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to see when time travel was introduced on the show. The only reason Richard ever considered Locke special was because Locke visited him in 1954, giving him the compass and telling him he's going to be their leader. But that whole scenario was put into motion because in the future Richard tells Locke he's special, helps him kill Cooper and sets him on a path to go back in time. It's really everything you want time travel to be, which is why I'm so disappointed they ended everything so abruptly and the only result of the 77ers causing the Incident was that they created a Puragtory for themselves when they died. *sigh*

But the absolute pinnacle of that whole storyline was Smokey completing a time loop with himself (since he's in Locke's body at this point). When Locke was time traveling alone with a wounded leg, Richard came and found him (knowing exactly where he would be), gave him his compass back and told him he was going to have to die. Here we see the reason he knew where Locke would be - Smokey told him so, culled from Locke's own memories. Awesome. Doc Brown would be so proud.

92) "Hello, Aaron"

Episode: 4.04 - Eggtown
Synopsis: We finally meet Kate's son... and it's Aaron!
Why it’s great: It's surprising, creepy effective and very ominous for Claire.

Part of the reason I try to avoid spoilers at all cost are for scenes like this one. "Eggtown" wasn't the best episode ever, but I was surprised the reaction to it around the internet was so negative. But it seems a lot of the negative reaction stemmed from the fact people knew Kate's son was going to Aaron. I absolutely had no clue and it blew me out of the water. A lot of the speculation early in Season 4 was who the Oceanic Six really were - the fact Aaron was one of them changed things entirely (and there was also a lot of debate as to whether or not Aaron even counted as one of the six - that wasn't confirmed until Ji Yeon).

But the best part of this reveal wasn't the fact Aaron left the Island or that Kate had been raising Aaron for three years, what was really great was that it implied something very, very bad had happened to Claire. All of sudden, the storyline of Season 4 changed from speculation of who the Oceanic Six were to what the heck is going to happen to Claire to make her give up Aaron? Turns out she got blown up, got mind screwed by Smokey and was slowly driven insane. Not a bad answer.

91) Daniel tells a young Charlotte she has to leave

Episode: 5.14 - The Variable
Synopsis: Daniel full-fills Charlotte's memory of him
Why it’s great: We had been waiting for it all season and it didn't disappoint

Another very good use of time travel on the show, this was another foreshadowed event that didn't disappoint. Daniel was one of my favorite characters on the show and I actually loved the crush he had on Charlotte from the beginning. But that crush was made even better by the fact Charlotte knew Daniel as a child - she just didn't realize it until it was too late; in her dying breath she told Daniel she knew him as a kid and her last words were she wasn't "allowed to eat chocolate before dinner." Eight episodes later we finally got to hear those words from young Charlotte herself.

It was a great setup, and when we did finally get to see the actual scene Jeremy Davies didn't disappoint. In fact, you could say the scene was given even more gravitas considering Daniel was killed by his mom shortly after - thus Daniel completes a time loop with Charlotte by telling her never to return to the Island, then Eloise completes a time loop with Daniel by killing him, thus completing the destiny she'd always prepared him for. Not exactly poetic, but very cool nonetheless.

Moment Tally (updated through #91):

I'll be keeping a running tally of the number of times main or recurring (not minor) characters appear in these moments, along with which seasons they came from. I might even do a Power List later on - giving each points based on where they are in the list (1 point for #108, 108 points for #1) and so on. Depends on how ambitious I am. :)

Main/Recurring Characters:
Jack - 4
Ben - 3
Hurley - 2
Locke - 2
Sayid - 2
Smokey - 2
Aaron - 1
Charlie - 1
Charles Widmore - 1
Charlotte - 1
Claire - 1
Daniel - 1
Danielle - 1
Desmond - 1
Eko - 1
Jacob - 1
Juliet - 1
Kate - 1
Keamy - 1
Nikki and Paulo - 1
Pierre Chang - 1
Richard -1
Sawyer - 1
Tom Friendly - 1

Season Six - 5
Season Five - 3
Season Three - 3
Season Four - 3
Season One - 2
Season Two - 2

Next installment: #90-81 (and maybe a link dump in between). :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #108-101

"What if I don't? You going to beat me with your Jesus Stick?"

(Thanks to Dark UFO and Lost Media for all the screencaps).

Welcome to the first installment of the Top 108 Moments in Lost! My Honorable Mentions can be found here, which you might want to read first to get some of my thought processes on what made or what was excluded from the list.

Today we have Moments #108-101 - keep in mind that most of the really powerful moments are reserved for the Top 50. A lot of the bottom of the list goes to humor and cool character pieces. Namaste.

108) The Jesus Stick

Episode: 2.10 - The 23rd Psalm
Synopsis: Eko forces a disgruntled Charlie to lead him to the beechcraft wreckage.
Why it’s great: Favorite one-liner of the series

Before I begin, remember that this is the moment that will be bumped when you insert “The End” somewhere into the list. This really isn’t deserving of a slot of its own – after all, there are a lot of funny quotes and one liners that I’d love to include and the list already has a fair share worth of comedic moments. But I did want to at least acknowledge that Lost did a generally good job with banter, most coming from Sawyer and Hurley.

But Charlie asking Eko “You going to hit me with your Jesus Stick?” was probably my favorite of them all, just narrowly edging Sawyer's nickname of Ben as “The Artist Formerly Known As Henry Gale.” It also helps that the Jesus Stick comment came in one of the best episodes right before one of the best scenes of the entire show (Eko confronting Smokey for the first time). In fact, you can kind of almost consider this an extension of that scene, but I really wanted to give the line a little bit of attention of its own.

107) Alt Keamy Makes Some Good Eggs

Episode: 6.06 - Sundown
Synopsis: Keamy makes the mistake of threatening Sayid
Why it’s great: Keamy makes an even better villain in the Alt than he did in the real world. Plus: Jin!

Figuring out everyone’s role in the Alt was one of the most enjoyable parts of early Season 6. Just about everyone had changed to a degree – some for the better, some for the worse. Keamy really hadn’t changed at all – he was still as evil as ever – but his slick, Christopher Walken-like mafia goon impression was simply hilarious.

This was also the first time the show really let us know for sure the Sideways Flashes were going to all intersect. Yes, we had gotten a glimpse of Ben in Locke’s flash, but there was no guarantee we’d come back to that. But Sayid finding Jin tied up and bloodied in the fridge without explanation told us for sure we’d be seeing this scene from Jin’s point of view later in the season. Lost has gotten had some really nice character actors in lesser roles and it was nice to see them bring Kevin Durand back in Season 6.

106) Jack tells Ben "At least you won't have to be disappointed for very long."

Episode: 3.06 – I Do
Synopsis: Pretty much the only time in the show Jack gets the better of Ben verbally.
Why it’s great: When it comes to a war of words, Jack never gets the better of anyone, let alone Benjamin Linus.

The early part of Season 3 was a mistake by the writers. A lot of stuff from the mini-series – Ben’s breakfast with Kate on the beach, Ben conning Sawyer for no apparent reason, using Kate and Sawyer to build the runway, Jack taking Ben’s kidney hostage – really didn’t make a whole lot of sense if you looked at the overall picture. But after looking back at those episodes again, there were a lot of diamonds in the rough once you scraped off all the polar bear poo. And of all the episodes of the mini-series, "I Do" was probably the worst of the bunch - the cliffhanger was kinda silly and Kate's flashback was boring, despite the fact she married Captain Mal. But the start of the show had one terrific scene that holds a warm place in my heart today: Jack bluntly confronting Ben about his tumor.

Jack never does well in confrontations throughout the show. He’s good at speeches and pep talks, but when he’s one-on-one with one of the other characters, especially Sawyer and Ben, he almost never gets the final word and is usually ends up with a despondent Jackface at the end. But in this scene, Ben confronts Jack about his x-rays and tells him his marvelous, nonsensical plan to manipulate him was “shot to shit” when he saw them. Jack understandably refuses to operate on him and Ben responds that he’s “disappointed” in him. And then, with one of the best expressions ever (it’s actually kinda evil-looking), Jack leaves Ben speechless with the line above. It’s a great scene not just because of the interaction between the two, but because it’s so much fun to see Jack confidently have the upper hand for once on the show, even moreso over Ben.

105) Sayid redeems himself

Episode: 6.14 – The Candidate
Synopsis: Sayid proves once and for all he’s not an Evil Smokey Minion
Why it’s great: Because Sayid deserved to go out with a bang

One of the big problems with Season 6 was the inconsistency in the writing. Early on in the season, Sayid looked like he was going to be Zombie Locke’s second-in-command – a darker version of himself from which there was no coming back. But as the season progressed, Dark Sayid started to wilt. He first saved Desmond, then rebelled against Locke by getting the other candidates to the submarine. Part of me really didn’t like this at all, partly because it became clear they weren’t going to explain exactly what happened to Sayid in the contaminated Temple Spring and partly because it seemed kinda weak to suddenly have Sayid become good again.

That being said, I really did love the bomb scene on the sub. Yes, I saw the backpack switch coming from a mile away, so I knew the bomb was there. But I thought that whole sequence was very well done and I loved the shot of Sayid running down the sub corridor with the bomb after telling Jack “It’s going to be you.” Of all the characters on the show, Sayid is probably the one most in need of some redemption and it was really nice to see him get it in really awesome fashion.

Now if he only ended up with Nadia instead of Shannon in the Alt. *sigh*

104) Dr. Edmund Burke gets hit by a bus

Episode: 3.07 – Not In Portland
Synopsis: The Others "bus" in a badly needed fertility doctor
Why it’s great: 1) It literally came out of nowhere and 2) it showed exactly how ruthless the Others (and Ben) could be when there's something they want

This is the surprise death scene that I really wanted to leave off, but kept laughing at every time I tried to drop it. I think “Not in Portland” is a rather underrated episode. It introduced us to Juliet and Richard, had plenty of Easter Eggs for the die-hard watchers (Mittelos Bioscience and the Room 23 video) and gave us a very solid return from the hiatus after the mini-series. But it was the sudden demise of Dr. Edmund Burke that gave us the best, most hilarious moment of the episode: Richard tried to recruit Juliet, but she resisted because she knew her ex-husband, Edmund, wouldn't allow it unless he was “hit by a bus.”

Two scenes later it literally happened, with an Apollo Candy Bar ad on the side. Simply awesome.

103) Danielle has Ben over for dinner

Episode: 6.16 – What They Died For
Synopsis: Purgatory Ben gets a chance to start over with Alex and her mom
Why it’s great: Because the thought of Ben and Danielle together somehow... works

Alt Ben was the most interesting character to me in Purgatory Land, largely because his ghostly self still had elements of everything that made him ruthless on the Island, but was reined in by his love of Alex. This one scene I thought was so perfectly done in its brevity, showing us that this version of Ben actually has a chance at happiness, not only with Danielle (since they seemed to hit it off so well), but also at a second chance at being Alex’s (step)father. Michael Emerson was great in this scene – his facial expressions have always been the best on the show, but when Danielle told him she'd make sure to "use less onions next time" his face was simply perfect. And even though it was only one scene, I really thought the two had some good chemistry. Too bad we didn't get more from them.

One of my favorite little moments of the final season.

102) Hurley and Ben share a candy bar

Episode: 4.11 – Cabin Fever
Synopsis: Hurley shares an Apollo Bar with Ben outside Jacob's Cabin
Why it’s great: Best of the Ben Comedy scenes

This, to me, is one of the best of the Ben comedy moments, better than the burrito for sure. Nothing needs to be said here, just a quiet, solemn moment between the Future #1 and #2.

101) Sawyer, Locke and Hurley play Risk

Episode: 4.09 The Shape Of Things To Come
Synopsis: Because Locke fell victim to one of the classic blunders
Why it’s great: It’s Risk, people, Risk! How could it not be great?

The set up for this was great - after all the stress and tension throughout the season, the opening at first glance seemed serious - but then it turned into something wonderful in its hilarity. Honestly I'd love to see a blooper reel of this scene because I don't know how they kept straight faces filming it. Out of all the cultural references in Lost, having the guys play Risk was probably my favorite. And I so love this exchange:

HURLEY: We're all gonna die.

SAWYER: Calm down, Chicken Little. The sky ain't falling just yet.

HURLEY: This is exactly what he wants--to fight amongst ourselves. You're making a big mistake, dude.

LOCKE: It's his to make, Hugo. (To Sawyer) Let's get on with it.

SAWYER: Right ... I'm attackin' Siberia.

[Sawyer and Hurley roll the dice, and then Sawyer laughs, picking off some of Hurley's pieces.]

SAWYER: Sorry.

HURLEY: Can't believe you're just giving him Australia. Australia's the key to the whole game.

SAWYER: Says you.

I've now used that Australia line myself while playing. It never gets old. :)

Moment Tally (through #101):

I'll be keeping a running tally of the number of times main or recurring (not minor) characters appear in these moments, along with which seasons they came from. I might even do a Power List later on - giving each points based on where they are in the list (1 point for #108, 108 points for #1) and so on. Depends on how ambitious I am. :)

Main/Recurring Characters:
Ben - 3
Hurley - 2
Sayid - 2
Charlie - 1
Danielle - 1
Eko - 1
Jack - 1
Juliet - 1
Keamy - 1
Locke - 1
Sawyer - 1

Season Six - 3
Season Three - 2
Season Four - 2
Season Two - 1

Next installment: #100-91

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Emmy Nods...

Lost got a haul this year. The short list:

Outstanding Drama (Expected)
Outstanding Actor in a Drama: Matthew Fox (Nice!)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama: Michael Emerson, Terry O'Quinn (Expected)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama: Elizabeth Mitchell, "The End" (Yay!)
Outstanding Direction for a Drama (Jack Bender, "The End")
Outstanding Writing for a Drama (Darlton, "The End")
Outstanding Art Direction for a Drama (For Ab Aeterno)
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Drama (For "The End")
Outstanding Original Dramatic Score: Michael Giacchino, (For "The End")
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Drama (For "The End")

Pretty sweet. Elizabeth Mitchell so deserves an Emmy for her work on Lost, even if it's only for her guest shot in the finale. Nice to see Matthew Fox get nominated too. I think Lost is going to win a bunch this year as a way for the Academy to send it off with a bang. Congrats to all. :)

Also, a quick note: My Blogger polls have been acting funny lately - I'm going to delete this one and try again later.

UPDATE: Yeah, Blogger Polls seem to be down, so I created a free account at PollDaddy instead. Really quick to set up, easy to use. Thanks to DarkUFO for the suggesting it in the Blogger help forums. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top 108 Moments: Honorable Mentions

"Have a cluckity-cluck-cluck day, Hugo."

(Thanks to Dark UFO and Lost Media for all the screencaps).

And so it begins! Sorry for the delay - work simply buried me last month, ending with a week-long conference in sweltering Orlando. And so I return... to sweltering New York? Sheesh.

I can't tell you what an undertaking this was for me, but it's really a labor of love and I'm fairly satisfied with the final list. Yeah, some of these can be shifted around a bit, but my hope is that this is a very good overall list that, with a couple exceptions (see below), most fans would probably agree with.

My final list had over 150 entries and cutting it down was hard. Very hard. I realized after poring over it for a couple days taking various entries on and off, it that there were several types of scenes where I really just had to pick the cream of the crop and leave the rest out, even if those moments by themselves were very enjoyable. So think of this list as a "wild card" - if there's a scene on here that's one of your favorites, feel free to substitute it in where you feel appropriate.

Here I'll present what ended up on the cutting room floor, along with my train of thought in the snippings. I really tried to capture a bit of everything that made the show great and I hope I caught all your favorites. The first bunch are all categories of cuts, along with the specific examples:

10) Surprise Death Scenes

Frogurt gets "arrowed" (5.02 - The Lie)
Ilana blasts off (6.12 - Everybody Loves Hugo)

Ah, the Arzt treatment. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of death scenes on the list - for the most part they're 1) shocking 2) memorable and 3) very well done on the show. But after Arzt blew up in "Exodus," the writers almost made it a running gag to off someone in a darkly amusing fashion once in a while. I have two of these I kept - one of which could have easily been left off except that every time I tried to remove it, I chuckled.

In fact, it's making me chuckle right now. Heh.

9) Visions and Dreams

"Theresa falls up the stairs..." (1.19 - Deus Ex Machina)
Claire's dream of Locke with the backgammon eyes (1.10 - Raised By Another)
"Have a cluckity, cluck, cluck day, Hugo." (2.04 - Everybody Hates Hugo)
Charlie dreams Hurley is Jesus (2.12 - Fire + Water)

Lost tended to do the creepy dream/vision thing fairly well and fairly often, the latter largely because Smokey was so adept at inducing them. Of course, this was more prominent in the early seasons than later on since Smokey kinda left the vision inducing business once he took Locke's form.

Many of these were hard to cut, especially the first three. Locke with the backgammon eyes was probably one of the most disturbing scenes of the first season, if not the entire show. Boone's "Theresa falls up the stairs..." vision to Locke was just a step behind that one and Hurley as Jesus was the only redeeming scene in Fire + Water, one of my least favorite episodes of all.

The one vision that did end up making the list was my personal overall favorite from the show, though any of these could be easily substituted for it.

8) Reunions and Meetings

Hurley's family gives Sayid a hug (4.12 - There's No Place Like Home, Part I)
Sun and Jin meet for the first time (2.05 - ...And Found)
Sawyer and Michael finally meet Bernard (2.04 - Everybody Hates Hugo)
Alt Hurley finally sees Charlie again (6.17 - The End)
Alt Sun and Jin, Sawyer and Juliet wake up (6.17 - The End)
Alt Locke meets Dr. Linus (6.03 - The Substitute)
Claire meets her father for the first time (3.12 - Par Avion)
Jin talks to his dad (1.17 - ...In Translation)
Sun meets Jin's father (3.18 - D.O.C.)

Lost also did the emotional reunion/surprise meeting fairly well, though I think some of them lost their potency in the later seasons. All of these cut scenes had things I loved. The scene where the Oceanic Six is rescued is great, not just for Hurley introducing Sayid to his parents, but for Kate standing there alone holding Aaron (though I'm actually a bit surprised Jack didn't introduce her to his mom - too soon?) I love the scene on the waterfront where Sun and Jin bump into each other - Jin's looking for someone wearing orange and turns as a girl in an orange dress walks by only to bump into Sun. That whole flashback was much better than I remembered it being.

Bernard's introduction was one of the best parts of the early second season once we met Ana-Lucia, showing us there were survivors from the tail section of the plane. And when he finally introduced himself to Sawyer and Michael asking if Rose was okay, it was a terrific payoff after a season of buildup.

There are lots and lots of neat meetings from "The End" and, while I didn't agree with the ending of the show, I did enjoy all the reconnections. Hurley seeing Charlie in the hotel room and tranquilizing him was probably my favorite - Hugo's smile as Charlie opened the door was awesome. And Sun/Jin, Sawyer/Juliet were probably the two best emotional payoffs in the finale. Instead of all these, I chose one other meeting scene from the finale to represent them all. Alt Ben revealing himself as a European History teacher early in Season 6 was great as well.

Claire meeting Christian was one of those big moments that was totally expected by the time it came around, especially since it was strongly hinted at in the "Lost Connections" extra on the Season 2 DVD set. Plus, Goth Claire was cool. Jin's dad was one of my favorite flashback characters on the show. Loved the scene where he finally met Sun - that was a really hard one to leave out.

All of these were cut because there's an excess of these types of scenes in the list already, but all are certainly worthy scenes.

7) Ben Comedy

Hurley throws a burrito at Ben (5.02 - The Lie)
Ben asks Locke whether the rabbit had a number (4.06 - The Other Woman)
Ben cheerfully says 'See you guys at dinner!" (4.06 - The Other Woman)

During the Jimmy Kimmel, Live! Lost special after the finale, Michael Emerson was asked what his favorite scene was to film. He responded with the one above about the rabbit and the number saying "That's when I realized I was in a comedy." I thought it was an amusing comment at the time, but after making this list I finally see that he was serious.

Yeah, there are a lot of "Evil Ben" scenes on the list, but there are also a lot of "Funny Ben" - dark humor for the most part, but humor nonetheless. All the scenes above are great, the latter one especially for Sawyer's WTF look, but all were cut in favor of other Ben moments. I'm going to keep a running tally of character representation on the list and I suspect Ben will be at or very close to the top.

6) Locke Abuse

Locke discovers his father conned him out of a kidney (1.19- Deus Ex Machina)
"Henry Gale" plays mind games with Locke in the Swan (2.19 - S.O.S.)
Alt Rose tells Locke to accept who he is (6.03 - The Substitute)
Ben shoots Locke in the non-kidney (3.20 - The Man Behind The Curtain)

Locke (and Smokey as Locke) will also likely be near the top of the list in terms of appearances, but in Locke's case a lot of the scenes are heartbreaking ones. Locke had a screwed up life, largely because of Cooper, and Terry O'Quinn simply did an incredible job making us feel awful for John over and over again throughout the series. The hardest ones of these to cut were the scenes in Deus Ex Machina where Locke learns from his mom that Cooper conned him out of his kidney and where the security guard refuses to let Locke into his father's estate. Thing is, that wasn't the worst thing Cooper would do to Locke (and, in fact, it actually saved his life later on) and these scenes were cut in favor of others.

Now we move on to three individual scenes - the last three I cut from the list.

5) Assassin Sayid kills Ben's final enemy in Russia (5.10 - He's Our You)
4) Sun wears a bikini on the beach (1.17 - ...In Translation)
3) Kate interrupts Sawyer and Juliet in the sub (5.15 - Follow The Leader)

These three scenes are all great - Sayid looks awesome in the first scene and his realization his life has no real purpose beyond killing for Ben at the end of it was some fine acting on Naveen Andrews part. Sun wearing a bikini on the beach is an iconic moment from the first season (one that was made into a toy) and a reminder of just how far the characters came over the course of the show.

The final scene listed above wasn't really wasn't a great moment. In fact, it was an awful, sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach moment that made you feel so very sorry for Juliet. But it also, almost inconceivably, made me care about the outcome of the stupid love triangle and for that monumental achievement it deserved some consideration.

Now we get to the last two moments...

2) The Island is underwater in the Alt (6.01 - L.A. X)

When I first saw this scene, I jumped up and clapped. Now it just saddens me because it's kind of meaningless - it really was shown for no other reason than to make us think the Alt was an alternate timeline where the Island was destroyed and Smokey escaped, greatly diminishing its potency. Probably would have been a Top 10 otherwise, which brings me to...

1) The end of The End (6.17 - The End)

I know many of you would have this in their Top 10, if not first overall. And I did try and place it somewhere in my list, but in "the end" I just couldn't figure out where to place it, especially since there's so much disagreement over it, so I'm copping out and leaving it up to you. It certainly deserves a place on the list, but I don't think I'm qualified to choose the position.

So think of this as a wild card - place it in your own list wherever you deem appropriate and bump #108 off, which is a guilty pleasure scene of mine put there as a kind of placeholder (as you'll see).

The Rest of the Rest:

Other scenes that were cut from the final list, offered without comment. They were all just father down the list for me and, well, we only have 108 spots here...

1) Miles tells Ben Jacob hoped he was wrong about him (6.07 Dr. Linus)
2) Locke asks Ben what the Monster is (4.02 Confirmed Dead)
3) Jack sees the lighthouse dial (6.05 Lighthouse)
4) Jae Lee takes a dive (3.02 The Glass Ballerina)
5) Hurley beats Sawyer at ping pong (3.11 Enter 77)
6) Hurley cons Sawyer into being nice (3.15 Left Behind)
7) Hurley gets a lecture from Ana-Lucia (5.02 The Lie)
8) Young Ben brings Sayid a sandwich (5.09 Namaste)
9) Infected Sayid kills Dogen and Lennon (6.06 Sundown)
10) Smokey rampages through the temple (6.06 Sundown)
11) The Hatch lights up (1.19 Deus Ex Machina)

Upcoming Schedule:

So my plan for this list is to post them in groups of ten (except for #108-101). I'm also going to keep a running tally of character appearances and seasons all these moments were taken from so we'll be able to look back once this is complete.

The schedule is going to be fairly erratic, but be assured this list will be completed at some point this summer - really the hardest part was deciding what was on it - now that I've got my outline the rest is semi-difficult-to-bake pie. But my goal is to try and post once a week until I'm done. See you soon! :)