Our pilgrimage through Lost continues! In case you’ve missed it, in the ongoing pandemic and extra time we’re all spending at home, we’ve decided to embark on a series rewatch. Earlier this week, we finished season two, so we’re coming together to reflect on the adventures in the Hatch before we move on. Our group, which gathers a couple of times a week to tweet our way through episodes using the hashtag #GuysWhereAreWe, consists of veteran watchers of the series as well as newbies. All are welcome to join us! (You can find our thoughts on season one are here!)
Since so many of us are watching together, we thought it would be a good idea to widen these recap posts to include some of the dedicated Twitter crew. Our lovely friend Joy (co-producer of Reality Bomb podcast, as well as co-host of the Five Years Rapid podcast) will be joining us for the season two panel. Like Sage, she’s working her way through the series for the first time. So what did we think? Read on to find out. — Kim
Shannon: There’s a select few sequences from Lost that are burned into my brain. The opening sequence of “Man of Science, Man of Faith” is top of the list, and for that alone, I’ve got to call it out here as my favorite of the season. I love me a thesis statement, and “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is PERFECT for season two. Listen to the woman herself and think about this season:
In case you missed it, those lyrics were “You’re gonna be nowhere / The loneliest kind of lonely / It may be rough going / Just to do your thing’s the hardest thing to do.” It’s Desmond! It’s Locke! It’s the hatch! It’s discovering two people on the island who knew each other from another life! It’s everything I love about Lost!
Joy: Ever since season one, I’ve been craving an alternate look at island life from one of the background people. What does Scott or Steve do all day? I want to know! “The Other 48 Days” scratched that itch tenfold by introducing us to the tail section survivors and showing us what happened to them. They’ve been living ROUGH, y’all. It’s the ultimate look at “how the other half lives.”
Kim: After MUCH deliberation, “Lockdown” wins out over “?” by the smallest of margins. Locke-centric episodes are almost always “event” episodes and this one is no different. It’s an absolutely genius move to have Locke and Henry trapped together in the hatch, to where it’s almost a bottle episode, especially as Henry continues to subtly drive in the wedge between John and Jack. (“Why do you let him speak to you that way?”) Henry also plants the seeds of doubt in John’s mind regarding the hatch and whether or not the button actually does anything in this episode! And you have the Dharma map on the blast door, an image that we ALL studied grainy screenshots of for hours back in the day.
“Lockdown” is a turning point for Locke that fuels his motivation for the rest of the season, to a disastrous end. Also, it’s just so! Fucking! Great! to put Terry O’Quinn and Micheal Emerson in a room together and just…let the sparks fly. They are such spectacular scene partners with a once-in-a-lifetime type of chemistry and this is merely the beginning for them. Plus, you have the great B-plots of Jack and Sawyer’s poker game for the meds, Sayid/Charlie/Ana finding Henry’s balloon, and Locke and Helen’s relationship falling apart in the past. It’s the Stefon of episodes; it truly has EVERYTHING.
Sage: There are a handful of great episodes to choose from in this season (and some certified clunkers, which we’ll get to), but I’m going to go with my heart and say “Two for the Road.” It propels the show through the finale, setting up a third act that never stops to catch its breath.
Finally, someone has sex with Sawyer – even better that it’s an enemies-to-lovers, we-hate-each-other-but-we’re-in-a-compromising-position kind of jam. (Or maybe it was all a ruse to steal his gun!! “Give Sawyer my best,” please.) There’s more of Henry being the president of the John Locke Fan Club. Hurley almost accesses a grown-up emotion. And the turn with Michael is so brilliant, because even though everything he says about the Others when he comes back sounds like bullshit, why on earth would he lie? I do think it’s wild that people were more upset about Libby dying than Ana-Lucia, when the latter is clearly a better character. Who cares whether or not she’s nice? That island needs a bitch, to put it in semi-offensive terms.
Least Favorite Episode?
Kim: I hated “Fire + Water” when it aired in 2006 and I hate it just as much in 2020. Every time I rewatch the series, I keep telling myself “Maybe it’s not as bad as you remember,” but every single time it’s as bad as I remember. Listen, I know there are far more problematic episodes of Lost, especially watching now in 2020. But “Fire + Water” is just garbage, y’all. I mean, seriously. What were they thinking? In the span of 43 minutes, they take Charlie, one of the most well liked supporting characters on the show, and render him unrecognizable. Many critics derided the whole “You All Every Butty” sequence, but clearly, they’ve never seen the ridiculous things other bands have done to sell products/stay relevant. No, the flashbacks aren’t what bother me in this episode; in fact, all the Charlie/Liam stuff is compelling! (HE! SOLD! MUM’S! PIANO!) It’s the Island stuff that’s a shit show. The whole is he using/is he not using debate? The weird and completely unfounded jealousy over Locke and Claire? The sudden hyper fixation with religion and baptizing Aaron? None of it makes sense. NONE OF IT. It’s so wildly out of character. Luckily, the whole “Dark Charlie” period lasted the entirety of two episodes and by season’s end he’s pitching the heroin into the ocean and is back into Claire’s (and our) good graces.
Joy: It’s a tie: I never ever bought into Charlie’s baptism obsession in “Fire + Water” but the visuals are still kind of cool. “Dave” thinks it’s much more clever than it is. Plus, now that we know that the Libby reveal will lead nowhere, I feel like the whole episode is a wash.
Shannon: It was a close one between “Fire + Water” and “Everybody Hates Hugo,” but I’m going with the latter because it’s just so much worse than I remember it. I love Hurley, I think he’s good hearted and genuine. Yes, he can be childish and frustrating, but everyone’s got their faults. Even with those character issues, the island storyline just doesn’t work. I hate that everyone insists Hurley take the job of divvying up Dharma supplies even after he says he won’t handle it well. I hate that Hurley buys into the Locke-and-Jack power plays. I hate Jack implying that whatever Hurley decides is fine, mere moments after he demanded Hurley come up with a strategy for even distribution. I hate the fat phobia. I hate the mishandling of the (VALID AND INTERESTING!) issues of class in the flashback. It’s all real bad and I don’t like it!
Sage: Perhaps you saw me losing my mind in real time when we watched “The 23rd Psalm.” I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate everything about Eko’s backstory, which I would hope wouldn’t fly now. It says a lot about the writers that the occupation they came up with for the only character from Africa is “warlord,” and that the show’s depiction of Nigeria is a typically Western one — i.e. centered on violence and poverty. On top of that, the “good” brother is the one who’s adopted a religion forced onto communities by white Western missionaries, and, in the present, Eko is othered by his vow of silence, his strength, and maybe even some kind of supernatural ability. What a waste of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s performance.
Shannon: This season, it’s Mr. Eko. All day every day. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje rises above the admittedly problematic and troublingly careless backstory to make the most of every moment on screen. His performance is hypnotic, dense, engaging. Some of his sequences with Locke are the high water mark for going toe to toe with Terry O’Quinn, which is REALLY saying something in the season that brings us Michael Emerson. But it IS in the writing, too. I’ve been screaming all season about how Eko is the true man of faith on the island: he’s not following blindly the same way Locke does, which means he cannot be shaken. There are no temper tantrums when Eko’s certainty is challenged. His beliefs are stalwart. His dedication is steady. Eko has no illusions that only he, somehow, knows the secrets of the island. He’s comfortable with things he does not understand. That dynamic is SO important in a show that’s circling mythos, religion, morality, and illusion. The season would be so much less without him.
Joy: Even though Locke is my boy, If I’m judging solely for this season, it’s my guy, Mr. Eko. Pretty much every scene he’s in, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is doing something interesting; he’s just so damn fun to watch.
Kim: For me, this season belongs to John Locke, our Doubting Thomas in the Man of Faith’s clothing. His initial blind devotion to the hatch and his subsequent crisis of faith is so fucking compelling, especially when it all literally blows up in his face. This is the role of Terry O’Quinn’s life and he knows it too. You can’t NOT watch him. Every move he makes, every squint of his crow’s feet adorned eyes, every enigmatic smile…it’s all well calculated and thought out and a fully realized aspect of his character. He knows exactly what he’s doing with John even when the show doesn’t necessarily know, and that’s what makes him one of the greats.
Sage: He may not have had all that much to do in the back half this season (besides mourn Shannon, which, uhhhhhh…), but it’s Sayid. What a calming presence that man is. Every time he shows up, I know that we’re finally in good hands. Also, he is just so nice to look at.
Least Favorite Character?
Joy: I’m sorry but Ana-Lucia could’ve been at the center of a great tragedy if her backstory explained or revealed anything interesting about her and if Michelle Rodriguez brought even a little more warmth and vulnerability to the character. Even stone cold bitches show the cracks every now and then.
Kim: It frustrates me to say Ana-Lucia, but it’s Ana-Lucia. I had such a violent dislike of her when the series aired in real time and just…some things are impossible to change. What frustrates me is I think it’s one of those kind of perfect storm combinations of actor and writing. She could be a really good character! One only needs to watch “The Other 48 Days” to see that Michelle Rodriguez has the potential to be great, because she’s stellar in that episode. But the rest of her performance is so one note, she doesn’t know how to play anger without it being at THIS LEVEL, and her backstory is really muddy with the whole trigger happy traumatized cop out for revenge thing. And the worst thing is, she has very little chemistry with the rest of the cast. She just doesn’t gel with the ensemble and that’s why she sticks out like a sore thumb.
Shannon: Ana Lucia grates on every single one of my nerves. I was hoping she’d hold up better this rewatch, but alas, she still makes me roll my eyes into the back of my head every time she speaks. The thing that frustrates me the most is the lost opportunity. She could be an examination of trauma, both in flashbacks and on the island. She could be an antithesis to Jack as the group leader, exploring the repercussions of the Others psychological terrorism. Instead she just… runs around with guns and acts petulant and misunderstood. So tiresome.
Sage: Honorable mention to Charlie for slipping out of character to physically attack Sun (Will this ever be addressed???), but it’s Hugo “Hurley” Reyes all the way.
I don’t understand what’s happening here. Joy hit the nail on the head on Twitter when she asked how old Hurley is even supposed to be, because the show portrays him as being unable to understand even basic human behavior and emotions. I couldn’t abide his meltdown over the supplies; I don’t think it’s charming that he calls everyone “dude”; and his backstory is a minefield of triggers.
Most Underutilized Character?
Sage: I’m having a hard time with this question because, even though we’ve added so many more characters, Season two seems more balanced overall. Even the characters who fall off the face of the earth for a while have good reason to. I’m still hoping for more adventure for Sun and was very proud of her when she insisted that she was coming with the boys to the other side of the island. And my kingdom for Claire to have anything to do that doesn’t involve a baby. (The least they can do is have someone teach her how to convincingly hold a doll.)
Kim: Oh, Libby. So much set up, so little follow through. Don’t drink and drive, kids!
Shannon: It makes sense to sideline Sayid this season because he does not give a fuck about that hatch, which is ALL season two gives a fuck about, but I still missed him! Especially now that he’s out from under that painfully dumb romance with Shannon! He finally steps back into the spotlight with “Live Together, Die Alone,” and thank god for that because our island friends really needed some leadership.
Joy: I always need more of my fave couple, Rose and Bernard! Yes, I know that Lost can’t actually devote that much time to them and there were probably scheduling issues with the actors, but some of my favorite Lost stuff is when we check in with the folks who aren’t in the leadership circle. Truly, I just want to know what everyone else is doing.
Favorite Cameo/Guest Star?
Shannon: I am contractually obligated to rep Frasier at every opportunity, so this one goes to Saul Rubinek, also known as Donny Douglas, Niles Crane’s schlubby and highly skilled divorce attorney. Saul is basically playing the dramatic version of Donny as Michael’s divorce attorney, though sadly he’s not quite as effective as he was when he was taking Maris to task. Miss you, buddy!!
Sage: Brett Cullen and Josh Randall as Goodwin and Nathan in “The Other 48 Hours,” because I love The Replacements, and it delights me to no end that two members of the Ed main cast have shown up so far. (If Michael Ian Black is going to end up on this island too, please warn me now.)
Joy: This is kind of a cheat since the finale makes it clear that Desmond is gonna be a major player, but Henry Ian Cusick is a delight every time he turns up. My favorite moment is when he decides he needs to run away. The determination that suddenly appears and the swift movements! He scampers off and it’s equally hilarious and mysterious.
Kim: The episode as a whole is a bit of a clunker, but God, I love Evan Handler aka Sex and the City’s Harry Goldenblatt as Dave in “Dave.” It’s a hell of a part and Evan really digs in with his performance shifting easily from goofy sidekick to the malevolent presence in Hurley’s mind in the blink of an eye.
Best New Addition?
Joy: I’ve already talked about Mr. Eko so my runner up is: THE HATCH. I love a new location and they get the most out of it in season two, with major scenes happening in pretty much every area of the place. Plus, who doesn’t love creepy black light maps drawn on blast doors?
Shannon: His name is (not) Henry Gale and he is (not) from Minnesota!! Desmond is my man and I love him with everything I have, but this season lives and dies by the whims of the Artist Formerly Known as Henry Gale. Michael Emerson brings out the best in everyone who shares his cell. He pokes and prods and instigates and inspires. He’s friendly and creepy and mysterious and smart as hell. The best moments of season two happen because of him and his machinations; he psychologically rips the survivors apart with a shockingly small amount of effort. Lost is a better show because Michael Emerson is in it.
Kim: It’s hard because season two brings us two iconic characters in Desmond and Henry Gale. Ultimately, I HAVE to go with Henry because his arrival is a much needed shot of adrenaline when the show started to sag under its own weight through the middle of the season. And Michael Emerson goes balls to the wall from moment ONE with this performance. His performance makes everyone ELSE up their game too. The back ten episodes feature a revolving door of armory scenes that almost feel like a long audition sequence to see who wins as Emerson’s scene partner. In the world of the Island, Locke wins. In the world of the show, we all do.
Sage: How dare this season make me choose between Desmond and Henry? It’s unfair, but I’m going to give a leg up to Desmond because I really respond to his chaotic good guy energy. He also looks very cute in his Dharma Initiative jumpsuit.
Sage: My Lost truth is that I think all of the off-island flashbacks are a little bit lame, mostly because they’re sooooooo broad and allegorical. (Cop who killed a guy, doctor who can’t heal himself, unlucky lottery winner, etc, etc.) So it’s great news for me that we’re now getting on-island flashbacks! As per above, I’m very invested in Desmond’s time in the station and all of that Dharma mythology, so everything about “Live Together, Die Alone” worked for me, up to and including the moment when a desperate Desmond hears Locke knocking at the hatch and turns on the light, showing us that moment from another perspective.
Shannon: This is close to cheating, but I’m going with the entirety of “The Other 48 Days.” A key structural habit for Lost is revisiting moments and plots we’ve already seen from a different angle. This is the moment we hear the other side of Boone’s radio call declaring themselves the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. This is how we come to understand the trauma and horror that could have so easily fallen upon our OG survivors, had the Others decided to focus on them instead. It expands the show and our understanding of the island and lights a fire under the plot, all at once.
Joy: Even though the episode resets Sawyer back to his manufacturer settings for the sake of paralleling the island plot, “The Long Con” is such a neatly contained story and Josh Holloway is so good here. The heartbreak!
Kim: I came REAL close to naming “Maternity Leave” as my favorite episode of the season because I really loved how it sent Claire, Kate, and Danielle off on an adventure together and further showed how much BETTER Kate is as a character when she’s not hamstrung by the Jack-Sawyer triangle. But for me, it’s definitely the best flashback. It closes up the loop of what happened to Claire when Ethan abducted her in season one while simultaneously setting up a storyline that will move to the forefront in season three. William Mapother is so deliciously creepy as Ethan, we get to meet Alex for the first time, and I love the twist that the scratches on Danielle’s arm were due to a drugged out Claire fighting against her, not realizing that Danielle was actually trying to SAVE her. Danielle Rousseau carried a woman who was nine months pregnant ON HER BACK and chose not to take credit for it! A hero!
Shannon: Bernard and Rose! Rose’s certainty all through season one that her husband survived gets the ultimate payoff when the tailies drag themselves into this side of the island and Rose and Bernard are reunited, making for one of the most memorable moments in the season. Their backstory is sweet and tragic, but their relationship is just SOLID. I love that we get to see them bicker, healthily, and move on, never questioning their connection with each other. I love that it’s an imperfect relationship and I love that they are always, unquestioningly, each other’s priority.
Kim: They share a total of ONE SCENE together, but in that one scene, Desmond Hume and Penelope Widmore become the ship that all other ships on Lost are measured against. They are the stuff of legend.
Sage: Kim has assured me that Penny and Desmond will be extremely my shit, but for Season 2, I’m going to go with Charlie and Eko, a very pure friendship that I didn’t expect to develop. Eko seems to understand that Charlie needs work and a purpose to keep him steady and provides that without making a big deal about it. And Charlie, in the face of other people telling Eko that they preferred him as silent muscle (!?!?), tells Eko that he likes him exactly the way he is. How very Mark Darcy of him.
Joy: I really thought Locke and Eko had a deep connection going until we saw Locke and Henry. When Locke says, “You came back” breathlessly as he’s still trapped under the blast door, I mean, if you don’t hear love in his voice, you should watch that scene again.
Favorite Shipper Moment?
Sage: Sawyer and Ana-Lucia in the jungle. He has been begging for hate sex from anyone who’ll give him the time of day, and he finally got it.
Kim: I am going with Jin replanting Sun’s garden after he destroyed it in a fit of protective rage in “The Whole Truth.” Sure, he shouldn’t have destroyed it in the first place, and the fact that he does feels like a bit of a backslide character wise. But this is the thing with Sun and Jin: while they love each other deeply, they don’t always know how to LOVE each other, much less communicate that love. Their journey on the Island is all about learning to love each other in the way the other needs and learning how to communicate. Jin acknowledging that in replanting Sun’s garden he’s fixing a mistake? And then tearfully admitting that he hates being this way, that he wants to communicate with the rest of the castaways, and that he needs Sun? That’s called growth, bitch.
Joy: I’m PB&J neutral, but that said, I was very happy for the two of them when Claire reached out for Charlie’s hand at Ana-Lucia and Libby’s funeral.
Shannon: Wherever it is, that corner of the beach where Sayid brought Shannon is clearly cursed. Still, it doesn’t stop me from loving that Hurley tried SO HARD to give Libby a romantic getaway. It’s so sweet that he asked Sayid for help and that he genuinely tried to do something special for her, even though he fell all over himself the whole time and forgot the blankets. The fact that Libby going back to the hatch to get said blankets is what lands her in front of Michael at the worst possible moment… well, y’all know I love sad shit!
Best Warm Fuzzy?
Shannon: It’s tinged in sadness, but AGAIN, all my favorite ones are! It’s the moment when Sun finally finds her wedding ring. Sun had been carrying the burden of knowing that shit went down on the raft alone, keeping hope alive for the rest of the crew while mourning her husband. The idea that she’d lost her ring on top of everything else – the one symbol she still has from Jin – was too much to bear. Which makes her discovery gloriously hopeful. Giacchino’s score is gorgeous and illuminates how buoyant Sun still feels in that moment – against all odds.
Kim: The episode is problematic as hell, but I love the ending of “Everybody Hates Hugo” and the communal feast that the castaways have when Hurley gives the go ahead to raid the Hatch pantry. Maybe because I’m a Survivor fan and that kind of feast always means you’ve made it to the merge. Maybe because it’s just that satisfying to see Claire finally get her peanut butter. (Please, my Chinese place was closed for six weeks during the COVID lockdown and I cried when they reopened and I was able to get sesame chicken. We’ve all been there.) But really it’s just because this kind of universally uniting moment for our ragtag group of castaways and the background players is the very definition of living together and dying alone.
Sage: I want to know all of Sawyer’s thoughts on Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Joy: Sawyer reading Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret triggered an automatic awww for me. It’s the book choice and the fact that we regularly see him spending his free time reading and who doesn’t love a man who reads?
Joy: Maybe this is recency bias, but the moment when Sawyer and Sayid strip to jump into the ocean when they spot Desmond’s sailboat. Jack’s there too, but keeps his clothes on. Regardless, strip boys, strip!
Kim: For most of the season, Sawyer digging a bullet out of his own damn arm in “Adrift” was it for me but then there was the extremely gratuitous moment of Sawyer, Sayid, and Jack stripping down and swimming out to Desmond’s boat in “Live Together, Die Alone” and really, how can you argue with that much wet hot man flesh? Sure, Jack may have kept his shirt on, but we only care about his arms and shoulders anyway, and Henry Ian Cusick didn’t have any pants on, so his thighs made up for it. Pass me my smelling salts!
Shannon: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not strong enough for Henry Ian Cusick swilling liquor and wearing half a shirt! I am not! He’s so hot it hurts me.
Sage: A shirtless, glowing, post-coital Jin greeting the day. Need I say more?
BONUS THIRST CONTENT:
Right in the Feels Moment?
Sage: It’s a tie between meeting Bernard and learning that Rose was RIGHT when she insisted that he was still alive and their eventual reunion on the beach. The flashback tarnished him a little for me (*man taking over the life of a woman at peace with dying*: “I’M HELPING YOU.”), but we also stan a late-in-life love story.
Joy: When Rose and Bernard are finally reunited, it’s such an emotional climax and feels so earned after everything they’ve been through and knowing how they kept faith in each other.
Kim: Hurley tearfully telling a dying Libby that he’s sorry that he forgot the blankets is so rough. It perfectly captures how sometimes you can only focus on the stupidest shit in times of crisis and it’s beautiful work by Jorge Garcia. It’s literally all Hurley can say to her, he’s not able to say how much he cares about her or that she’ll be okay or any other words of comfort. (Though I imagine many heads would have exploded had one more man on this island played fast and loose with the word “love”, so maybe it’s best he didn’t say that.) All he can do is keep saying “I’m sorry I forgot the blankets,” and that just hits real hard, y’all.
Shannon: Michael and Walt reunited in that tent for the briefest of moments absolutely rips my heart out. At this point, Michael’s been held captive for days and has just been told he must surrender his friends. The audience already knows that he’s willing to doom Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer to whatever nightmare the Others have waiting for them, and now we know why.
I personally never lost any goodwill for Michael (partially because Harold Perrineau is SO damn good), but the show asks us to go along with a dramatic character shift and still understand why he would do what he does. And I do! I get it. Michael will do anything for Walt. No matter what happens, he’ll never forgive himself for building that raft and putting Walt in danger. The devastation and desperation and hope all mixed together? Instant tears.
Best WHAT THE FUCK?! Moment?
Kim: How can you not say Michael’s double murder of Ana-Lucia and Libby?! Like, I KNEW it was coming and I still spent the entire episode hella tense, especially once Ana and Michael sat down together and he oh, so casually convinced her to give him the gun. Michael is someone we had been taught to trust and root for over almost two full seasons, so it is a spectacularly awesome and shocking turn of events to have him turn around and murder two of his own.
Sage: I fully screamed when Michael shot Ana-Lucia and Libby.
Joy: There’s a black light map! On a blast door! I definitely screamed, “WHAT?” alone in my apartment.
Shannon: When I so much as THINK about Goodwin quietly telling Ana-Lucia that one of her group got killed because he wasn’t a good person and “that’s why he wasn’t on the list,” I jump out of my damn skin! The whole list concept is creepy as fuck. The idea that this group of mysterious, dangerous Others are literally out there making lists of people they want to kidnap, sweeping them away to an unknown location for god knows what – never to be seen again! – AND that they’re successfully plotting for all of the above in plain sight?? WHAT. THE FUCK??
Favorite Weird Island Happening?
Joy: All of it? The island is weird! It’s truly a jungle of mystery out there. I guess if I have to pick though, I’ll say the whispers. No one likes hearing voices.
Kim: So much WEIRD SHIT happens in season two that you almost completely forget that, over the course of the first six episodes, Shannon kept seeing visions of Walt in the jungle!!
Sage: WHOMST is Michael talking to in the computer? And not that you asked, but my least favorite are the miracle pregnancies.
Shannon: I live for all the “is hitting the button saving us all from mortal and existential danger or is it all just a psychological experiment” shit. LIVE FOR IT. The key to Lost, for me, is that the answer is way less important than the question. But THAT SAID. The fact that Oceanic Flight 815 crashed because of a magnetic crisis caused by Desmond failing to hit “execute” in time blows my whole entire mind. I LOVE IT SO MUCH I CANNOT BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT WHY IT IS JUST SO EXTREMELY COOL.
Favorite Use of an Episode Title in the Script?
Sage: The automated message counting down to “lockdown.”
Kim: How could it be anything other than “One of Them”? It’s one of them. One! Of! Them! ONE OF THEM! One of themmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Shannon: This one goes out to John Locke’s favorite movie and mine, the Dharma Initiative orientation videos! I know it’s corny and a little on the nose, but titling episode three “Orientation,” after the instruction videos left behind in the hatch, absolutely kills me. Maybe it’s because I’m just so thrilled to see the Dharma Initiative logo come back to me, maybe it’s the pitch-perfect narration from Francois Chau, maybe it’s that I’m just the target audience for tongue in cheek hatch shit. Either way, I’m here with a bucket of popcorn and heart eyes every single time.
Joy: Another slight cheat from me, because it’s “?” I always think punctuation is a bold move in titling and it shows up in dramatic fashion when Eko finally makes it to the top of the cliff and looks down on a spot that’s been familiar to us for a season and a half.
Favorite Sawyer Nickname?
Kim: First of all, I have to point out the VAST difference in writing for Sawyer in season two. It’s like night and day, right from the season premiere, and for me, it was like “Oh THERE YOU ARE, Sawyer!”
And the answer to this is “The Artist formerly known as Henry Gale,” with “Mr. Clean” coming in at a very close second. (I actually can’t believe it took them a season and a half to drop the Mr. Clean joke re: Locke!)
Shannon: I have laughed at “The Artist Formerly Known as Henry Gale” every damn day. It is the best of the Sawyer nicknames, full stop.
Joy: Tie between Mr. Clean for being hilarious and Sunshine for being swoonworthy.
Sage: When he calls Charlie “babynapper,” I take it as meta-commentary on how terrible “Fire + Water” and indeed all of Charlie’s characterization through the middle third of this season is.
Your Feelings on the Season as a whole?
Sage: Last season, I wrote about Lost being an entirely different show when binged than I’m sure it was when it was on week-to-week. In Season 2, it feels like the writers have started to put more trust in viewers, which I’m sure had something to do with the response (especially online) to its debut. If your audience is hungry for clues to pour over, that’s what you give them!
I watched a few episodes here and there during the original run and was vaguely aware of what was happening – Season 2 feels a lot more like the Lost I perceived from outside of the fandom. It needed the jolt of malevolent energy provided by the Others and Henry in particular. (I haven’t really touched on it yet, but how GOOD is Michael Emerson?) And everything Dharma Initiative is irresistible if you’re the kind of person who likes to sleuth out in your spare time. All in all, the show feels even more confident in its own weirdness, which is definitely a welcome development.
Joy: Season two showed signs of growing pains because developing an arc around the Dharma Initiative and the Others means anyone not directly connected to the hatch or tailies (like Claire and Charlie) are hanging chads. And even for our cool kids (who refuse to admit that they’re the cool kids), there are missteps in character development–remember Sawyer’s powerplay for the guns and heroin that is not a significant obstacle at all when they really need the guns? The actors really pick up the slack here, playing emotions and motivation that aren’t explicitly said, but show the audience that there’s a whole person there; exhibit a: Michael Emerson as Henry Gale. When the actors only play what’s on the page, well then you get exhibit b: Michelle Rodriguez as Ana-Lucia.
Overall though, season two really commits to the sci-fi elements of the show that were only sprinkles on top of a season one story arc that was mainly concerned with the survivors’ basic, well, survival. I wasn’t super interested in the various island mysteries in season one, but from the moment we saw Desmond going through his daily routine in the hatch I was all in. The weirder, the better, I say! Which hatch experiment is the experiment? Why do some hatches have better tech than others? Is the whole island a big test case? What’s in that vaccine? Are the Others hillbilly cosplayers? Seriously, how do people not get lost every time they set foot into the jungle?
Kim: For me, season two represents the best and worst of Lost. As Shannon and I were trying to plan out the organized group tweetalongs, we kept saying “Season Two is that bitch!” and it’s true. When the show is on, it’s ON, firing on all cylinders, engaging and challenging the audience even as it moves at a breakneck pace. When it’s off…it’s challenging in an entirely different manner. I remember getting really frustrated with the middle of season two when the show was airing, and I felt just as tested by episodes 9 through 13 this go around.
Lost is fantastic at beginnings and more often than not spectacular at endings. They always seem to struggle in the middle, especially in these 24 episode traditional network length seasons, so they clearly end up spinning their wheels a little, just to fill time. (And, as we see in Watchmen, Damon Lindelof CLEARLY works better with a smaller span of episodes.) There were some obvious growing pains with season two. Those growing pains led to some missteps with the characters we grew to love in season one, but those were mostly righted by the finale. The season also took some massive swings between introducing the Tailies, the Others, and the building of the Dharma Initiative mythology. Some of those big swings were obvious misses. But the swings that connected? Those went straight out of the park.
Shannon: Season two builds on everything we got in the first season and goes even harder. That means its valleys are lower, but its peaks are also higher. Now we’re invested in our faves, we know to expect the unexpected, and the mystery is running at a clip. My favorite thing about season two is that they let the cracks show: the grand debate over pushing the button fizzles out until it doesn’t. We uncover countless hatches and a pneumatic tube, only to discover later – with a different away team! – that it doesn’t go anywhere. The Others are psychological terrorists with a full suite of costume changes and set design. Alex is alive and well and running interference. The hatch is a psychological experiment, but on the observers – not on Desmond and Kelvin. As I’ve said, the point is in the questions, not in the answers – but we get some of those, too.
This season has a perfect balance of island chaos and character evolution, and they both roll up to the larger theme of myth. Only now, after we know Locke and Jack and understand how they both react in a crisis, can we dig deeper and appreciate their struggles as men of faith and men of science. The mythos and mysteries demand that characters take a stand, believe in what they believe in, and that they find a way to do it together.
And that’s it – that’s the show.
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