Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #50-41

"Widmore? Charles Widmore?"

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

Welcome to the seventh 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
Moments #90-81
Moments #80-71
Moments #70-61
Moments #60-51

Today we have Moments #50-41. The Top 50 Moments in Lost begins here! Namaste.

50) Locke meets a young Charles Widmore in 1954

Episode: 5.03 - Jughead
Synopsis: Seems there were some familiar faces on the Island way back when
Why it’s great: Terrific surprise, but it also sheds light on why Charles wanted the Island

Pretty much all the Desmond-centric episodes are classics and Jughead is no exception. Season 5 began with a whole slew of revelations as the time travel storyline began and quite possibly the biggest revelation of all was Locke discovering that the hot-headed young Other they encountered was none "other" than Charles Widmore himself! This revelation led to the further (correct) speculation that the curly, blonde gun-toting Other, "Ellie," was another familiar face - Eloise Hawking.

These revelations completely changed all speculation surrounding Charles. Up until that point, Charles Widmore seemed simply like a wealthy industrialist who wanted nothing more than to exploit the Island for personal gain. The fact he was an Other caused us to immediately question why he was no longer an Other and made us wonder just how deep his conflict with Ben went. It was a great plot twist and Locke's surprise on screen mirrored our own.

49) The Black Rock is a pirate ship?

Episode: 1.23 - Exodus
Synopsis: The Losties see the Black Rock for the first time
Why it’s great: One of the classic, all-time images from the show

The first time we heard the words "Black Rock," most people thought Danielle was simply describing an ominous Island structure. And when she volunteered to lead a group deep to the Black Rock deep into the "Dark Territory" in Exodus, I think pretty much everyone was expecting something along the lines of a lava field. So when the camera panned up onto the majestic, land-locked pirate ship in the middle of the Island, my mind was completely blown.

Not only was the shot gorgeously filmed, it remains to this day one of the neatest things I've ever seen on the small screen. Wonderfully imaginative, beautifully filmed, perfect in its execution.

48) Sawyer shoots a polar bear
Episode: 1.01 - The Pilot
Synopsis: The Island has an indigenous population of polar bears?
Why it’s great: Introduces one of the strangest mysteries of the show

Falling into the same "wonderfully imaginative" category is the introduction of the Island's indigenous population of polar bears. We already knew the Island had some sort of Monster at this point, but Monster Islands fall squarely into the category of fantasy. A tropical Island with polar bears, however, suggests there's also a more mundane mystery happening. Again, it's a brilliantly imaginative scene and also probably the best explained Island mystery of the entire show.

It's also worth mentioning that this scene sets up so much in terms of the characters. We learn Sawyer has a gun and handcuffs he got from a Marshall who was on the plane. We discover Sayid has some sort of military training since he knows how to disassemble a gun. And all this leads to a great Kate flashback where we discover not only that she's the fugitive, but that she's also a terrific liar (since she lied about not knowing how to handle a gun). As an added bonus, I also love Sawyer's t-shirt from the Pilot - one of the few pieces of Lost apparel I'd like to own (along with Miles' shark-bear t-shirt).

47) Locke forgives Ben
Episode: 6.17 - The End
Synopsis: Locke forgives Ben for killing him
Why it’s great: Ben gets a bit of redemption. Plus: We find out he's a great #2

This is my very favorite scene from "The End." Locke and Ben are simply terrific here, pure and simple. Ben's humility and sorrow are in such stark contrast to Locke's happiness. It's worth noting that probably for the first time, Locke is about to join a group of people he can truly call his friends. He was always very alone on the show, always thinking of himself as a leader. The only person he really bonded with was Walt, and that was more like a father-son relationship (or master-student, perhaps) than a true friendship, but now they're all inside waiting for him to rejoin them.

Ben, on the other hand, still isn't comfortable with the group, despite the fact they would probably accept him (Hurley definitely would). And while he does get a modicum of redemption here, simply apologizing to Locke isn't going to make up for all the things he did to that group of people in the church. The difference here is that he realizes this now, thus his hesitance to go in. Ben, like Locke, was also alone for much of his life, so he decides to stay with his Purgatory family - Danielle, Alex and his dad - instead. Both Terry and Michael deserved an Emmy for this scene alone.

46) Ben shoots Desmond in the carton, gets pummeled

Episode: 5.12 - Dead is Dead
Synopsis: Ben tries to murder Desmond and Penny, but gets pummeled instead
Why it’s great: Scene we were waiting for that didn't disappoint.

When Ben declared to Charles he was going to kill Penny back in The Shape of Things to Come, it set up some dreadful anticipation on the show. I don't think there was anyone actually rooting for Ben to succeed (and if you were, shame on you), but we all knew it was coming. And when Ben arrived on the plane battered and bruised after taking care of some "unfinished business," I certainly feared the worst for Penny, despite the fact it looked like she and/or Desmond put up a good fight. Little did we know we wouldn't actually get to see the scene for several more episodes.

But it was totally worth the wait - my heart leapt out of my stomach when Ben shot Desmond. But then he hesitates, gets tackled and pummeled by an adrenaline-pumped Desmond and thrown in the harbor. The scene runs the gamut of emotions - fear to horror to hope to relief. And when it's later revealed that Desmond's life was saved by the strongest jug of milk in existence, hilarity is added as well.

Goes without saying - drink your milk, kids. Just might save your life someday. :)

45) Hurley drives the DHARMA van to the rescue

Episode: 3.22 - Through The Looking Glass
Synopsis: Hurley saves the day in his own unique way
Why it’s great: Makes you stand up and cheer

The DHARMA van sold for the highest price by far from the Lost Auction - a cool $47.5K. I don't know if it was worth it, but it is quite possibly the most recognizable prop from the show. And who would have thought back in "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" that the van would have played such an important role in the story? That episode seemed like joke filler at first glace, but it was really there to set up two important scenes: Ben gassing his dad as a birthday present to himself and Hurley saving the life of his friends from the Others.

This is a scene that makes you stand up and cheer. When Hurley comes barreling out of the jungle and flattens one of the Others, it was awesome, plain and simple. I think the smile on Jorge Garcia's face right afterward was genuine, a reflection of our own.

44) The Listening Station finds the Island

Episode: 2.23 - Live Together, Die Alone
Synopsis: Penny's Russian friends pinpoint the Island
Why it’s great: Looks like the outside world exists after all

One of the primary questions of the first two seasons was where the heck is the Island anyway? Was it on Earth, in our time? Was it in a parallel dimension? Is it really heaven or hell (or purgatory)? And the corollary to all of this was does the outside world even exist? We didn't get the answer to that question until the very last scene of the second season where we learned that 1) yes, indeed it does exist and 2) Penny was actively looking for it to find her long lost love. It was an enormous revelation and one that instantly obliterated a whole category of theories that had been batted around for two seasons.

This scene is also a good example of finishing off an inconsistent episode with a bang. "Live Together, Die Alone" is not my favorite finale by any means, largely because 1) I thought the whole kidnapping storyline was weak and 2) those scenes were juxtaposed with Desmond's terrific flashbacks, which kind of made them worse. But by finishing off the episode with such a terrific scene, it sent me into the summer with a heady Lost buzz. Great capstone to a great season.

43) The teddy bear walks by

Episode: 2.05 - ...And Found
Synopsis: Jin and Eko watch the Others walk by their hiding spot
Why it’s great: Creepiest. Teddy Bear. Ever.

Early in Season 2, the Others were still a nebulous bunch. Ethan, the Other we had seen the most, seemed to have superhuman strength and endurance, though he was a very real human being who could be (and was) killed. Then there was the group that had kidnapped Walt who seemed to be a rag-tag bunch of violent hillbillies straight out of "Deliverance." But we really had no idea who or what they were, why they wanted Claire, Walt and the other Tailies and what happened to those they had kidnapped. Did they experiment on them? Eat them? Turn them into zombies for the zombie season? That latter one may sound strange, but after watching the Others walk by in this episode, it didn't seem quite so far fetched.

We hadn't seen Zack or Emma yet at this point - they first appeared two episodes later in "The Other 48 Days" - so we had no idea who the teddy bear signified when they walked by. But Jebus, this was a freaky scene at the time. Barefoot, silent and one dragging alone a teddy bear on a string - how could you not get the chills seeing that? And then, when we finally do see Zack and Emma with the bear, it made it even creepier because you had to think what the heck did the Others do to them?

Turns out, the answer was "nothing, really," but the teddy bear is simply terrific for giving us the creepiest toy this side of Stephen King's monkey.

42) "We're not going to Guam, are we?"
Episode: 5.06 - 316
Synopsis: Frank notices some familiar faces on his flight
Why it’s great: In a goosebump inducing moment, Frank returns with a terrific line

In general, I loved the getting-the-band-back-together, returning to the Island storyline. Some of the pieces didn't quite make sense after all was said and done, but watching everyone board and take their seats on Flight 316 was awesomely cool, especially when Ben came in and Hurley freaked out. But the very best part of the scene - the part that really gave me goosebumps - was when we heard Frank Lapidus' voice come over the intercom. Frank comes out to speak with Jack , surveys the cabin and sees Hurley... and Sayid... Kate... Sun... Ben... and realization slowly creeps across his face, prompting the best line of the episode:
"We're not going to Guam, are we?"
It's a terrific line, a terrific scene and one of the many reasons Frank was one of my favorite characters on the show.

51) "You guys got any milk?"

Episode: 2.16 - The Whole Truth
Synopsis: Henry Gale plays some mind games with Jack and Locke
Why it’s great: Moment when Ben became the best character on the show

I think many people might have placed this scene a tad bit higher on the list and I shuffled it around a great deal before settling on it here. After all, "Got Milk" is now classic Lost - and probably one of the most memorable moments of the second season. The Henry Gale story arc was by far the best Season 2 had to offer and "You guys got any milk?" was by far its most memorable line.

Thing is, as great as this scene was with Ben - and it's probably the scene that finally cemented him as the leader of the Others in the eyes of the writers - it's not the end of this story arc and I actually liked a few of the subsequent scenes even better than this one (and you'll be seeing some of those scenes very soon). So feel free to shuffle them around in the list if you disagree.

I think this scene might have been higher on my list had Ben actually set a trap for Ana-Lucia, Sayid and Charlie at the balloon. But that's nitpicking, I suppose. Instead we got Ben playing some delicious mind games with Locke and Jack... and eating cereal. And who eats cereal without milk? :)

Moment Tally (updated through #41):

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 maintains his lead in the character rankings and Season 5 pulls away a bit in the Seasons. I'm expecting a great deal of shuffling in both lists though in the weeks to come. The top of the list is quite different character and episode-wise from the bottom. Well, except for Ben - Ben's just all over the list. :)

Main/Recurring Characters:

Ben - 15
Locke - 12
Jack - 11
Smokey - 8
Sawyer - 8
Hurley - 7
Daniel - 4
Eko - 4
Jacob - 4
Jin - 4
Richard - 4
Sayid - 4
Tom Friendly - 4
Charles Widmore - 3
Charlie - 3
Claire - 3
Danielle - 3
Desmond - 3
Michael - 3
Kate - 3
Frank - 2
Juliet - 2
Keamy - 2
Miles - 2
Penny - 2
Pierre Chang - 2
Aaron - 1
Alex - 1
Arzt - 1
Bernard and Rose - 1
Boone - 1
Charlotte - 1
Eloise - 1
Ilana - 1
Mikhail - 1
Nikki and Paulo - 1
Sun - 1
Walt - 1


Season Five - 15
Season Three - 13
Season Six - 12
Season One - 12
Season Two - 9
Season Four - 7

Next installment: #40-31

Note: I'll be away this coming weekend for four days, so the next installment may be delayed a bit, depending on how much typing I can get done while I'm away. Happy Labor Day, everyone! :)


Missie said...

Except that I can hound you in person to get the next post up!

Jay said...

Hounding will not get you tasty wings! :)

Missie said...

Where's the new update? :)

Jay said...

Almost done - probably up this weekend. :)

Juanita's Journal said...

I found Sawyer's murder of Anthony Cooper the most infantile and sickening act I had ever seen - aside from Ben's murder of Locke, Locke's murder of Naomi and Kate's murder of her dad. It was sickening. And the real person who destroyed Sawyer's family was his dad, Mr. Ford. Not Cooper. But Sawyer was too immature and childish to face this and he used Cooper as a convenient scapegoat, because the latter cheated his father - financially and sexually.

Mr. Ford lacked the guts to face the fact that he had been cuckolded by his wife and stupid enough to be scammed by Cooper. And Sawyer lacked the guts to face the fact that his father was a murderous coward.