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


Missie said...

Great opening! Quick editorial thing: I think you want to refer to Season 3, not 6, in the suprise death by bus segment. I had to read it a couple of times before I figured out what was trying to be said.
The whole Future #1 and #2 dynamic probably makes more of all of Hurley and Ben's scenes together. I'm kind of sorry I didn't know about their future posts when I rewatched the first 5 seasons a few months ago. I imagine the dug up crackers will be further up on the list... :)

Missie said...

Sorry, Jay. The Season typo is in the description for the tumor scene in "I Do".

Jay said...

Ah - got it! Thanks Miss! :)

Yeah, everything does look a bit different when you know Ben and Hurley are going to end up together for a while. :)