Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Top 108 Moments: #70-61


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

Welcome to the fifth 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

Today we have Moments #70-61, starting to get into some more of the substantially great scenes from LOST, really only one humorous scene this week, and we're creeping ever closer to the really powerful moments which make up the Top 50. Namaste.

70) Michael talks to "Walt"

Episode: 2.09 - What Kate Did
Synopsis: Michael talks to someone using the Swan computer
Why it’s great: Great early shock ending...

In making these lists it has continually surprised me how many great stand alone moments are in overall poor episodes of the series. I think I speak for the majority here when I say that "What Kate Did" was a bit of a let down. We had been waiting for a season and a half to discover why Kate was on the run and who she murdered (remember she admitted to killing someone to Sawyer), but they fact she killed her abusive step-father just didn't quite fit with the intensity with which the Marshall pursued her. And the other minor plots in the episode - Kate tending to Sawyer (who appeared to be possessed by Smokey pretending to be Wayne) and Kate meeting a black horse that reminded her of one from her past - were similarly weak.

But it's easy to forget that this episode had the mind-blowing ending that helped Season 2 get its groove back. Michael communicating with "Walt" opened up so many new questions and possibilities. Was it really Walt Michael was talking to? (nope) If not, how did the Others know Michael was there? (the Pearl) Are there more working DHARMA stations out there? (yep) Is this all an elaborate trap? (yep)

The second half of Season 2 is one of the best overall runs the show had starting with 1) Eko's backstory and our first really good look at Smokey, 2) the introduction of "Henry Gale" 3) the Blast Door Map and the pallet drop, 4) Michael's shocking murder of Ana-Lucia and Libby, 5) our first look at The Pearl and 6) Desmond's return and the destruction of the Swan. But all that started at the end of "What Kate Did" and it was the moment Season 2 got back on track.

69) Locke makes a cradle
Episode: 1.18 - Numbers
Synopsis: Locke makes a cradle for Aaron
Why it’s great: Shaman Locke at his best

Most people consider "Season 1 Locke" to be the classic Locke - he's the hunter, the shaman, the all-knowing wise man who's on the Island for a purpose. When Locke realized he could walk again, he also gained the self-confidence he never had before in his life and he used that self-confidence to great effect in the first season. Granted, a lot of that was all wishful thinking on Locke's part, but his confidence didn't wain until the end of the second season (and the arrival of Henry Gale).

One of the best examples of classic Locke was actually just a sub-plot in one of my favorite overall episodes - "Numbers." The main plot of the episode was Hurley's backstory and his trek across the Island to find Danielle. It was the first time we had gotten any of Hurley's past and it was simply fabulous from start to finish. But intertwined with that story a curious series of scenes with Claire and Locke, where Locke asked a very pregnant Claire for some help on a project. At the end, Locke cleverly reveals they were working on making a cradle for Aaron, which became a prop staple for the remainder of the show.

And the really neat thing about it was that the way it was filmed, it was really hard to tell they were making a cradle until Locke flipped it over (I thought it was some sort of booby trap myself) so we were just as surprised as Claire was.

68) Eko tells Michael a story
Episode: 2.22 - Three Minutes
Synopsis: Eko tells Michael a parable as they mop up Libby's blood
Why it’s great: Eko at his best

This is probably my personal favorite overall scene of Lost, partly because it so perfectly encapsulates why I loved Eko during his far too short Lost run. When Michael shot Libby and Ana-Lucia I didn't but his motivation at first - thought someone so completely innocent as Michael would never stoop to murdering an innocent person to save someone they loved. It still bothers me a bit, but perhaps not as much as it used to now that I have a kid myself. Granted I'd like to think were I in Michael's situation, I would have tried to work out a plan with, y'know, the people I've come to know and trust instead of going off (including a certain Iraqi Guardsman) instead of murdering them.

That being said, after Libby died and her body was removed, we saw Michael staring guiltily at Libby's blood on the floor of the Swan. He was wiping it up with a rag when Eko came across him and they had this exchange:

EKO: Hello.

MICHAEL: I didn't hear you come in, man.

EKO: I left my shoes outside. They were muddy.

MICHAEL: Did you find him? Henry?

EKO: No.

MICHAEL: I hear you're a priest.

EKO: Yes.

MICHAEL: I guess you believe in hell, then.

EKO: [helping Michael clean the blood] For a brief time I served in a small parish in England. Every Sunday after Mass, I would see a young boy waiting in the back of the church. And then one day, the boy confessed to me that he had beaten his dog to death with a shovel. He said that the dog had bitten his baby sister on the cheek; and he needed to protect her. And he wanted to know whether he would go to hell for this. I told him that God would understand -- that he would be forgiven, as long as he was sorry. But the boy did not care about forgiveness. He was only afraid that if he did go to hell -- that dog would be there waiting for him.

It's an amazing scene, especially as Eko starts helping Michael wipe the blood he spilled off the floor. And he's right too in that Michael, at that moment, didn't really care about forgiveness; he did what he thought he had to do (even though it went against his very nature) to save Walt. He was sorry for what he'd done, but he was more afraid of what his punishment was going to be than being forgiven for it. Incredibly powerful scene, and one of my very favorites of the show.

67) Locke tells Walt a secret over backgammon
Episode: 1.01 - The Pilot
Synopsis: Locke tells Walt a secret
Why it’s great: Boy, does that Locke guy seem creepy. Plus: Foreshadowing

The first two episodes of the show, Locke looked like he was going to be the villain. Between the orange smiley face, his weird eye scar and his friendliness towards Walt, he gave the impression of a pedophile rather than a shamanistic hunter/tracker with delusions of grandeur. And nothing more encapsulates this than his conversation with Walt over backgammon where he asks him whether he "wants to know a secret." When I first saw this I thought "Yeeek, run, Walt, run!" But it's simply a great set up for "Walkabout" which came two episodes later.

Now that the series is over, however, it's really an even better scene in that it perfectly foreshadows the general plot of the show in the very first episode. In fact, now it almost seems like it should be Smokey Locke saying those words rather than the real thing. Who knows, maybe it was...

66) Ilana and Ben have words

Episode: 6.07 - Dr. Linus
Synopsis: Ilana confronts Ben over Jacob's death
Why it’s great: Ben finally shows some regret

Ilana really didn't do very much during her short run on the show. In fact, since I left her death scene off this list, I think this may be her only moment to make the list, and only because Ben is so incredible here. Ben never really redeemed himself in what we saw on the show. Yes, he apologized to Locke in Purgatory and it was certainly hinted he had a nice run at #2, but even after he realized he was used as a pawn by Smokey and may have played a key role in bringing about the end of the world, he still lied and connived and generally showed no remorse for what he'd done.

It wasn't until Ilana chained him up and made him dig his own grave that he actually started to think about the consequences of his actions. And so came this honest explosion of emotion from Ben where he actually admits how alone he is in the world and about how, on this Island where all these people formed wonderful relationships, he has no one to turn to, nowhere to go but to Locke, because Locke is the only person who would have him. Ilana, to her credit, then forgives him and allows him to rejoin the group.

The writers have repeatedly said the show was all about the characters, something I generally disagree with. But in Ben's case, I concede; Ben's character moments in the final season were by far the best of any we saw and this moment was near the top of his list.

65) Daniel witnesses the Orchid being built

Episode: 5.01 - Because You Left
Synopsis: We see the Orchid being built... and Daniel is there?
Why it’s great: Guess there's going to be time travel on the show, eh?

Back in my Best Season Opener poll, "Because You Left" didn't receive a single vote. Not surprising given that it really is the weakest of all the season openers, but it's so easy to forget that it opened with this terrific foreshadowing scene. Remember that, at this point in the series, there was no physical time travel yet, only Desmond's flashes and mental trip in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." And in the season finale, the Island had simply disappeared - we hadn't yet learned to where or when.

But this episode opened things up with a bang. What did this single scene have?

1) A look a Pierre Chang's life with DHARMA on the Island
2) The revelation that the Donkey Wheel was found by DHARMA on the Island
3) A look at the Orchid while it was being built
4) The revelation that Daniel was present while it was being built

And that last one was a huge "whoa" at the time. And to their credit, Darlton didn't leave us hanging as to how Daniel got there since we immediately saw the Losties on the Island were flashing through time. The time travel/DHARMA past portion of Lost was one of my favorite stretches of the show and this scene gave us a delightful taste of what was to come.

64) Miles and Hurley talk time travel

Episode: 5.11 - Whatever Happened, Happened
Synopsis: Miles and Hurley freak and geek out
Why it’s great: Because every fan had this exact same conversation

This is really two separate scenes, but I'm mashing them together as one. The screencap above is from the first brief portion where Hurley checks his hand to see if it disappears, ala "Back to the Future." But then the scene shifts and when it returns to our dynamic duo they have this conversation:

[Hurley is seated in the house, questioning Miles.]

HURLEY: Let me get this straight.

[Miles is pacing.]

HURLEY: All this already happened.


HURLEY: So this conversation we're having right now...we already had it.

MILES: [Claps his hands] Yes!

HURLEY: Then what am I gonna say next?

MILES: I don't know. [Shakes his head.]

HURLEY: Ha'! Then your theory is wrong!

MILES: For the thousandth time, you dingbat, the conversation already happened, but not for you and me. For you and me, it's happening right now.

HURLEY: Okay, answer me this. If all this already happened to me, then...why don't I remember any of it?

MILES: Because once Ben turned that wheel, time isn't a straight line for us anymore. Our experiences in the past and the future occurred before these experiences right now.

[Hurley's face tightens in confusion as he thinks, Miles stares at him.]

HURLEY: Say that again.

MILES: [Pauses in exasperation and pulls out his gun and holds it out for Hurley to take.] Shoot me. Please. Please!

HURLEY: Aha! I can't shoot you. Because if you die in 1977, then you'll never come back to the island on the freighter 30 years from now.

MILES: I can die because I've already come to the island on the freighter. Any of us can die because this is our present.

HURLEY: But you said Ben couldn't die because he still has to grow up and become the leader of the Others.

MILES: Because this is his past.

HURLEY: But when we first captured Ben, and Sayid, like, tortured him, then why wouldn't he remember getting shot by that same guy when he was a kid?

[Miles blinks and looks around. Hurley raises his eyebrow.]

MILES: Huh. I hadn't thought of that.

HURLEY: Huh. [Crossing his arms.]

We now know that Ben didn't remember Sayid because of the effects of the Temple Spring. But I swear I had this exact same conversation about time travel with my brother. In fact, I even wrote a blog post about it. It's a terrific scene for the geek in all of us. :)

63) Jack teaches Kate to count to five

Episode: 1.01 - The Pilot
Synopsis: Jack meets Kate and has her stitch him up
Why it’s great: Became a signature moment of the series

This is the second moment from the Pilot to make the list (along with the moment above) and I can tell you there will be more. The Pilot was so iconic, there are several moments from that episode that simply have to be included. And haters can hate, but Kate meeting Jack for the first time over suturing is certainly one of them in my book. Not only does this scene get referenced many times during the series (when Kate flees from the Monster later in the episode, as Kate is lowered into the Hatch by Locke, Jack's password for Kate when he knew she escaped from Hydra Island, etc.), and we actually get to see the story Jack tells about his botched surgery later on in The Incident.

It's a terrific scene, both Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly are super here and the latter looks fabulous (if you met her on the street you'd never know she was a fugitive who just survived a plane crash).

62) Jack sees Christian on the beach
Episode: 1.04 - White Rabbit
Synopsis: Jack sees his dad standing in the water
Why it’s great: Iconic image of the first season

When I first made the list, this image was one that immediately popped into my mind. When I went back and looked, I was surprised that this wasn't the first time Jack saw Christian on the Island; in "Walkabout" Jack sees his dad standing under a tree on the edge of the beach. That scene was the first time we got a clue there might be something going on with dead people on the Island. But this is the scene that sticks out in my mind for me - right after Jack rescues Boone from drowning, he looks and sees his father, wearing his funeral suit, standing in the breakers on the beach. It's such a striking image, it's one that's stayed with me throughout the series.

61) Alt Desmond runs over Locke

Episode: 6.12 - Everybody Loves Hugo
Synopsis: Desmond runs over Locke
Why it’s great: Shockingly great at the time

There are several "Theory Making" moments during Lost - moments that turned everything we thought we knew about the Island on its head. The finding of the Hatch was one, Jack's first flashforward was another, Locke being revealed as Smokey was huge. All of these fundamentally made us question the nature of the show itself and where the plot was heading and they made for great, momentous television.

And even though it turned out to be a bit disappointing in the end, Desmond running down Alt Locke was a mind-blower. At the time, we still had no idea that the Alt was Purgatory. In fact, the predominant theory was that it was an alternate timeline. So when Desmond ran Locke down in a way which really made it look like he was trying to kill him, my first thought was "What if Alt Locke was really Alt Smokey?" After all, he didn't have to seemingly kill any of the other Losties to wake them up - this was something totally different from how he approached the others, it made us think Alt Locke was different and needed to die. Alas, it was not the case, but it made for the best week of Lost discussion of the final season and was a terrific, heart-stopping ending to a great episode to boot.

Moment Tally (updated through #61):

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 not much change at the top of the character rankings and Season 6 also keeps its lead, but Season One leaps up with four entries on the list.

Main/Recurring Characters:

Ben - 9
Jack - 8
Locke - 8
Sawyer - 6
Smokey - 5
Hurley - 4
Charlie - 3
Claire - 3
Daniel - 3
Michael - 3
Sayid - 3
Tom Friendly - 3
Charles Widmore - 2
Danielle - 2
Desmond - 2
Eko - 2
Jacob - 2
Jin - 2
Kate - 2
Keamy - 2
Miles - 2
Pierre Chang - 2
Richard - 2
Aaron - 1
Alex - 1
Arzt - 1
Boone - 1
Charlotte - 1
Eloise - 1
Frank - 1
Ilana - 1
Juliet - 1
Mikhail - 1
Nikki and Paulo - 1
Walt - 1


Season Six - 11
Season One - 9
Season Three - 9
Season Five - 8
Season Four - 6
Season Two - 5

Next installment: #60-51


Missie said...

I always took Kate's confession of murder to be about her childhood friend who got killed during the car chase. She sounded remorseful during her admission, and I don't tghink she had any regrets about her stepfather. But either- still kind of weak for a Federal Marshall grand hunt, I agree.

Jay said...

I always took it as her stepfather - always thought of the latter as an accident, albeit one she blames herself for.

stefanie said...

I'm so surprised the locke backgammon scene is so far down the list! I can't wait to see what you have in store for the top 50 because that Locke backgammon scene is literally my favorite line in all of lost. I remember watching and just knowing it was big...so big it tells us basically the whole premise of the show!!

Jay said...

Y'know I actually had the most trouble with the middle of the list. I think my Top 25 are solid and the bottom of the list has the weakest group, but I think there's a lot of flexibility within 25-75 based on personal preference.

But that's partially why I made the list - to spur some discussion. I think I did try and make sure all the major moments made the list, but I'm sure if everyone made a list there would be a lot of variation in the placements. =)

Anonymous said...

Desmond running down Locke made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

The best part is several episodes later, after Locke has been released from hospital, when he tries to do the EXACT same thing.

Jay said...

Yeah, and didn't he end up beating the crap out of Ben instead? Hilarious. :)

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