Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #60-51

"But when he asked to see you, he gets marched straight up here as if he was Moses. So... why him? Hmm? What was it that was so wrong with me? What about me?!"

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

Welcome to the sixth 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

Today we have Moments #60-51. This is the last of the first half - we cross the halfway mark in this post. Pretty much all the humorous scenes are gone, now we're starting to get to the nitty gritty of Lost goodness! Starting next week: The Top 50 Moments in Lost. Namaste.

60) Ben kills Jacob

Episode: 5.16 - The Incident
Synopsis: Ben unleashes years of pent up frustration into Jacob's chest
Why it’s great: The loophole comes full circle

Putting aside the fact it never was fully explained why Smokey was trapped in Locke's body when he took his form or if Smokey's master plan was really to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob, you can't really argue with the results. This is the moment we realize Zombie Locke is really the MiB - certainly a WTF? moment on its own. But this scene is really great because of Ben - selfish, childish manipulative Ben, who finally finds himself on the wrong end of a scheme, and his speech to Jacob right before he kills him is one of the best of the show.

I said at the time it reminded me a bit of "Field of Dreams" in that regard, where Ray Kinsella asks the ghost of Shoeless Joe "What's in it for me?" Joe's response was "Is that what this is about, Ray? You?" In many respects that scene is a perfect parallel - albeit in an alternate twisted universe - to this one. Ben spent the entire show professing that everything he did was for the good of the Island, but really Ben was simply doing whatever he needed to do to remain in power. In addition, he also had a childlike need to feel wanted, needed, respected and important, in much the same way that Locke did, ironically. So Ben lashed out at Jacob like a child, just like Smokey hoped he would. Michael Emerson did an amazing job with this scene - one of his best of the show.

59) Smokey kills Eko

Episode: 3.05 - The Cost of Living
Synopsis: Smokey kills Eko for allowing the Hatch to implode
Why it’s great: Eko goes out with a great line. Plus: Did Smokey mock him at the end?

This is a scene that I hated at first, but has grown on me a lot in retrospect. Eko was my favorite character in Season 2 and I was greatly disappointed that the writers were forced to write him out of the show due to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's demands. But there are two terrific things about this scene. First off, there's Eko's unrepentance of his life. I love, love, love this line:
"I did not ask for the life that I was given. But it was given, nonetheless. And with it... I did my best."
When Eko was first introduced, it seemed he was truly trying to repent for his past sins. But upon reaching the end, he suddenly realized he wasn't repentant at all and took responsibility for all that he'd done. It turns Lost's major theme of repentance and starting over on its head - really Eko was probably the only character on the show who completely embraced his pre-Island self at the end, flawed as it was.

The second thing I love about this scene is something that may not have actually been intentional, but if it was, it was terrific. I first thought that Smokey's method of killing Eko by bashing him against trees was kinda lame, especially in contrast to the way he shredded the pilot. But after the episode aired, some people commented that Smokey actually made the Sign of the Cross as he was flinging Eko around. Did he really? Hard to say - judge for yourself. But if the writers intended to have Smokey mock Eko by killing him in that way, kudos all around. Simply brilliant.

58) Jack spikes the football
Episode: 3.12 - Par Avion
Synopsis: Kate, Locke and Sayid find Jack enjoying a nice game of football with Tom
Why it’s great: Kate's expression is priceless

The second half of Season 3 starts to pick up steam this episode as Sayid, Locke and Kate finally make their way to the barracks to find Jack. But when they arrive, they find the unthinkable - Jack happily playing a game of football with Mr. Friendly. As far as episode enders go, this one was hardly a shock - after all, we knew Jack had made an agreement with Ben to go home. But what really made this ending a classic was Kate's expression at the end. Her shock at seeing Jack happily cavorting with one of the main antagonists of the series to that point was simply hilarious, the perfect mix of incredulity and horror. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

57) Sawyer confronts Richard in 1974
Episode: 5.08 - LaFleur
Synopsis: Sawyer convinces Richard to keep the truce by dropping Locke's name
Why it’s great: Sawyer unwittingly reinforces Richard's opinion of Locke

LaFleur may very well make it onto my overall Top 10 list in the end and this scene was one of the very best of the episode. The best thing about the whole time travel storyline was how Richard's opinion of Locke was reinforced over the years by all the time travelers. The only reason Richard even considered Locke important at all was because he disappeared in front of his eyes in 1954. Twenty years later, Sawyer appears on the Island and drops Locke's name as he tries to keep Richard to preserve the truce:

SAWYER: Yeah, I know about it. I also know that 20 years ago, some bald fella limped into your camp and fed you some mumbo jumbo about being your leader. And then poof... he went and disappeared right in front of ya. Any of this ringin' a bell? That man's name is John Locke, and I'm waitin' for him to come back. So... you still think I'm a member of the damn DHARMA Initiative?

In doing so, Sawyer unwittingly helped reinforce Richard's opinion of Locke in 1974, and in doing so played a major role in Jacob's eventual demise in 2007. Goosebump inducing scene for me and very well played by Josh Holloway.

56) Ben is "judged" by Smokey

Episode: 5.12 - Dead is Dead
Synopsis: Smokey tricks Ben into helping him
Why it’s great: Great at the time, even better in retrospect. Plus: Smokey Alex is awesome

This is a scene that I think loses something by not having all the Egyptology stuff explained, especially the hieroglyphs of Smokey appearing in front of Anubis. Still, the scene was awesomely great at the time, made even better once we learned that Smokey and Zombie Locke were one and the same since this was probably the critical point which allowed Ben to be pushed over the edge into killing Jacob. After all, how was he supposed to say no to the visage of his beloved, dead daughter?

Speaking of which, Smokey Alex was simply terrific here. The part where she pins him to the stone column and tells him to do whatever John Locke says (and even accuses Ben of trying to kill him again) was darkly brilliant and effective. Made for a nice return cameo for Tania Raymonde too.

55) Jacob gives Katie a gift

Episode: 5.16 - The Incident
Synopsis: We see the first of the candidates being born
Why it’s great: All Jacob's moments are great, but Kate's is the best

I really wanted to put all of Jacob's flashbacks into one moment, but in the end I decided to pick just one to represent them all. Jacob's flashbacks are great because they answered one of the series' most important outstanding questions: Were all the Flight 815 survivors on the Island for reason? The answer was a most emphatic "yes" after seeing Jacob touch all the candidates at critical moments in their past. It was tremendously well done and another reason why The Incident is a standout episode.

The reason I picked Jacob's flashback with Kate is because of all the candidates, hers had the best Easter Eggs for the fans. Yes, it was cool seeing Sawyer write his letter and John hitting the pavement in the background, but seeing Kate getting caught shoplifting the lunchbox she used for the Time Capsule she buried with Tom was something that probably wouldn't have been picked up by everyone. And before you say "Hey, you always thought the toy airplane was lame," which it was, it's still Lost history and a very neat reference for observant watchers. If you prefer one of the other flashbacks to Kate's though, feel free to insert it here.

54) Hurley finds someone is not on the manifest

Episode: 1.10 - Raised by Another
Synopsis: Hurley discovers Ethan wasn't on the plane
Why it’s great: One of the most ominous moments of the show

And now we start the top half of the list! Woo!

First up is probably the most ominous moment of the first season, if not the entire show. For nine episodes we had gone along seeing weird things and getting the feeling the Island wasn't all it seemed to be. Polar bears and Monsters were menacing enough, but the former could be killed while the latter was rarely seen. However, when Hurley discovered that there was someone in their group who wasn't on the flight manifest it suddenly presented a very real, very tangible threat to the group.

I remember my heart sinking into my stomach when Hurley told Jack there was someone who wasn't on the plane. Then a quick cut to creepy looking Ethan staring at Claire and Charlie, alone in the jungle. It was one of those "oh ****" moments and one of the best trombone endings of the show.

53) Juliet and Ben have a little chat

Episode: 3.16 - One of Us
Synopsis: Ben outlines his plan to Juliet
Why it’s great: Terrific shock ending

Speaking of trombone endings, here's another one. We finally start to like and sympathize with Juliet. Jack trusts her, and tries to convince the group to do the same. And just when it seems she really is one of the group we get a terrific flashback of her and Ben, going over his plan to scout out the camp for pregnant females, stealing them away and killing the rest. And all of this was delightfully juxtaposed with Juliet setting up a tent at the beach as she's looking around and scouting out her new found friends.

Not only is this a terrific scene for Juliet, but it's also a terrific scene for Ben, solidifying his status once again as the master manipulator of the show. This is the way Lost episodes are supposed to end, on the edge of your seat and wanting more. One of the best endings of the third season.

52) Desmond Hume will be my constant
Episode: 4.05 - The Constant
Synopsis: Daniel reads his journal
Why it’s great: Terrific epilogue to the best episode of Lost

Yes, yes. The true ending and emotional high point of "The Constant," if not the entire show, was Desmond's Christmas Eve phone call to Penny. But nearly as good is the actual scene that The Constant actually ended with: Daniel, sitting on the beach and reading through his journal, coming across the words "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant."

Those words eventually became a catchphrase for the entire show, spawning a legion of fan related merchandise. It was the perfect ending to the best episode of Lost.

51) The Tailies reunite with the rest of the beach folk

Episode: 2.08 - Collision
Synopsis: The Tailies complete their trip across the Island
Why it’s great: Best reunion scene of the show

Of all the reunion scenes on the show, nothing tops the reunion on the beach as the Tailies arrive at camp with Sawyer, Jin and Michael in tow. Bernard and Rose were the centerpiece here, of course. But we also got to see Jin and Sun together again, Sawyer and Kate, Michael and Vincent and, to a lesser extent, Jack and Ana-Lucia. We had waited for this moment since the raft survivors discovered the Tailies on the other side of the Island, but in my book it exceeded all expectations. Not a dry eye in this household when Bernard and Rose embraced.

Lost tried many times to replicate the emotion of this scene, but I don't think any of them topped the original.

Moment Tally (updated through #51):

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 pulls away a bit in the character rankings, but the real change was in the seasons, with Seasons 3 and 5 leapfrogging Season 6 into the lead. After next week, I might split the rankings into Top Half and Bottom Half - remember the halfway point for this really at #54-55, with #54 being the first moment in the top half of the list.

Main/Recurring Characters:

Ben - 12
Jack - 9
Locke - 9
Smokey - 8
Sawyer - 7
Hurley - 5
Jacob - 4
Daniel - 4
Sayid - 4
Tom Friendly - 4
Charlie - 3
Claire - 3
Michael - 3
Eko - 3
Jin - 3
Kate - 3
Richard - 3
Charles Widmore - 2
Danielle - 2
Desmond - 2
Juliet - 2
Keamy - 2
Miles - 2
Pierre Chang - 2
Aaron - 1
Alex - 1
Arzt - 1
Bernard and Rose - 1
Boone - 1
Charlotte - 1
Eloise - 1
Frank - 1
Ilana - 1
Mikhail - 1
Nikki and Paulo - 1
Sun - 1
Walt - 1


Season Three - 12
Season Five - 12
Season Six - 11
Season One - 10
Season Four - 7
Season Two - 6

Next installment: The Top 50 begins! #50-41


Missie said...

Besides the merchandise, 52 also spawned some, well, aptly named spawn. :)

Jay said...

Well, that goes without saying! :)

Anonymous said...

Jack spiking the football would actually be my #1. I didn't watch it in the context of "Jack has cut a deal with the Others," I watched it in the context of "Cindy and the kids are completely loyal Others, and now they've somehow made Jack one too." It was incredibly creepy. Stuff like that was one of the #1 reasons I loved the show.

Of course it did simply turn out that he'd cut a deal, and we never got an explanation as to how Cindy and the kids were brainwashed...

Jay said...

Yeah, the Cindy and the kids thing was weird. You have to wonder what Ben and Richard said to them to make them decide to join their little community after being kidnapped in the dead of night. :P