It seems like only yesterday that Flight 815 crashed on a Mysterious Island in the Pacific Ocean and we started on our pilgrimage through the world of Lost but here we are with season three in the books. We’re officially at our halfway point. It’s been revealed that SOME of our heroes actually make it off the Island, but everything went to shit after that so they have to go BAAAAAAAAAAAACK.
Before we do go back to the Island, Sage, Shannon, and I are taking a look back at the highs and lows of a season that changed the face of Lost forever. And with a new season, comes a new member of the #GuysWhereAreWe twitter crew; we’re thrilled to welcome our resident Eurovision Expert and Hockey Podcaster Rachel Donner to the season three recap post! What did we think of this epic season? Read on to find out and, as always, come join us on Twitter with the hashtag #GuysWhereAreWe! — Kim
- Favorite Episode?
Sage: I found it especially difficult to pick a favorite episode of this season. There are the highest-rated ones, which are wall-to-wall story and action, and on the other end of that, the not insignificant, but certainly more character-driven episodes that I particularly enjoyed in Season 3. (Minus Jack and his tattoos, but that’s for later.) To me, “Enter 77” is the best of both worlds. In the A story, we’ve got Sayid, Locke, Kate, and Danielle stumbling on the homestead of Mikhail, who Sayid, love of my damn life, instantly clocks as an Other. In the B story, we have Sawyer playing Hurley in ping pong for all his stuff back and the right to keep calling people by the nicknames he keeps in his bottomless pocket.
Maybe this one rose to the top for me because a tactical mission minus Jack Shepherd soothes my soul. Maybe it’s because I get so excited for him every time Locke meets a new computer. Maybe it’s because the flashback was actually exciting, and I got to look at two cats. Whatever put it over the edge for me, “Enter 77” is a mid-season episode that’s decidedly not filler, setting the stage for many things to come and to be revealed.
Shannon: There are more legendary episodes this season than “Not in Portland,” and several of them are episodes I love a whole lot. But at the end of the day, this one’s top of my list. “Not in Portland” has everything, up to and including two sequences that I would point to when asked why I love this show. First, the bizarre, Clockwork Orange-esque torture of Alex’s boyfriend Karl. (If you revisit with eagle eyes, you’ll see one frame that reads “God loves you as he loves Jacob.” Take that as you will!) And second, Juliet’s shitty ex husband getting, uh, HIT BY A GODDAMN BUS days after Juliet tells Richard Alpert that his sudden death by bus would be the only thing that means she could leave home. I mean come on!
On top of all that, “Not in Portland” shows us a relatable, interesting character who CHOOSES to go to the island, and gives the audience our first real proof that people are physically capable of leaving. Those developments alone open up a world of possibilities. When you add in the tension of Jack performing surgery on Ben and the three of them squaring off, with the audience never really knowing who’s on who’s side? Exceptional television!
Rachel: I keep trying to not pick “Through the Looking Glass,” but dammit it just has to be “Through the Looking Glass.” There is so much to unpack here and it’s bonkers through and through. The culmination of the Desmond/Charlie protectorship leads the way throughout the Island side of the story, while the show blows another season ending, albeit metaphorical, hatch by upending its structure with the introduction of the Flash Forward.
The use of Jack’s downward spiral in the flashbacks over the course of the season to turn the show on its head is one of the smartest things this season had to offer, and it hits just as hard now as it did when it first aired. Add the Danielle/Alex reunion, the Jack vs. Locke dynamic, the “Not Penny’s Boat” shocker/heartbreaker, “Tall Walt” showing up to get Locke out of the pit, yet ANOTHER I killed Kenny moment for Mikhail, and Sayid, Jin, and Bernard being alive and I was exhausted in the best way possible. “WE HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE!” sets up Season 4 perfectly.
Kim: I am as much of a sucker for the Dharma Initiative lore as I am for Benjamin Linus, so I am going with the magnificent “Man Behind the Curtain” as my favorite episode of the season. It’s packed with so much goodness that it’s almost overwhelming. In the present day, we have the murder boyfriends going on a pilgrimage to Jacob’s cabin. (More on that when we get to the weird Island happenings, trust me.) But the real meat of this episode is in the flashbacks.
In the cold open, we get the wonderful fake-out that Ben’s been lying this whole time about being born on the Island, that he actually came to the Island as a small child (a MARVEL of work done by the Lost casting department to find a dead ringer for Michael Emerson) after his mother died in childbirth and his father couldn’t escape his grief. We learn that the OG Dharma initiative was actually just a big group of hippies that wanted to live in a socialist commune and do science experiments. We meet Richard Alpert (who, um, doesn’t age!!) and the “Hostiles,” who are the disciples of Jacob. We find out that Benjamin Linus didn’t just commit patricide by gassing his monstrous father after one too many forgotten birthdays, he committed GENOCIDE by wiping out the entire commune in one go. Oh, and, Ben shoots John at the end of the episode in a fit of jealous rage, pushing him into the Dharma mass grave just because John was able to hear Jacob’s voice. In 44 minutes, it opens up a whole new can of worms in the Lost mythos and it sets the tone for so much of what is still to come.
- Least Favorite Episode?
Kim: It’s well known in Lost canon that “Stranger in a Strange Land” is the episode that made ABC go “Okay, so you guys clearly need an endpoint here” and honestly, for good reason. As well as the flashbacks worked in the first two seasons, they really scraped the bottom of the barrel with this one. Honestly, who thought it was a good idea to construct a full story around Matthew Fox’s tacky tattoos that didn’t just involve terrible taste and bad judgement? The whole Thailand flashback is poorly executed by writers that didn’t dig any deeper than racist Asian stereotypes. And then they try and paint Jack as some sort of White Savior whose destiny is literally marked on his skin? Y-I-K-E-S. Not even Giacchino’s glorious score for that final sequence of Jack and the Others traveling to the barracks can save this one.
Sage: Matthew Fox’s tattoos do require explanation, but is this really the best they could do? “Stranger in a Strange Land” is what happens when you mix orientalism with your show’s most irritating character. More points deducted for Kate treating Sawyer like trash as they make their way back to the beach.
Rachel: Much like with “Through the Looking Glass” for my favorite episode, I tried really hard to not pick “Stranger in a Strange Land” here (“I Do” is the only one that comes remotely close because I despise the Kate/Sawyer pairing) but wow is this one bad! Not only do we not care about Jack/Matthew Fox’s tattoos one single bit, but it is a tremendous waste of guest star Bai Ling, who does the best she can with this garbage. The main point of this episode is essentially to be another milestone in the unraveling of Jack in the flashbacks, but they really should have tried something else to accomplish that task. Not to mention the atrocious makeup job in trying to cover up Matthew Fox’s tattoos, pre-inking in the plot. YOU CAN STILL SEE THEM.
Shannon: “Stranger in a Strange Land” is one of the ultimate Lost punching bags and honestly, fair. The notorious “tattoo episode” is a hot mess. Like most of the show’s low points, this episode DOES have some good stuff – everything happening on the island with Juliet being tried for murder is extremely interesting! But man do I not care about how Jack got his tacky-ass tattoos. (Sorry not sorry, Matthew Fox. Get better ink!) Especially when the backstory involves him wandering around Phuket and pulling some Eat, Pray, Love nonsense that somehow culminates in him forcing a woman to give him mystical tattoos against her will. Spare us all.
- Favorite Character?
Rachel: There was no hesitation here, it’s Juliet. From her introduction, mirroring Desmond’s in Season Two, through her double, triple, quadruple crossing Ben and the Losties, she added an air of mystery, empathy, and steely eyed looks that enraptured me all season long. Anyone that pick’s Carrie for a book club selection gets the benefit of the doubt from jump, and the way she so easily lies and manipulates everyone is to be commended here. You can see she’s been done wrong by Ben. And everything she does is so carefully plotted, you just want to root for her, no matter what the end result of her intentions may be.
Kim: Season three reminded me why I have always been ride or die for James “Sawyer” Ford and why I turned into a massive pile of goo when I was five rows away from Josh Holloway and his smolder at San Diego Comic Con one year. I had been holding off on picking him as my favorite, mainly because season five Sawyer is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE Sawyer. But in one of our chats, Shannon wisely pointed out that we wouldn’t have gotten season five Sawyer without season three Sawyer. And for that reason, he takes my favorite spot this time.
It’s in times of crisis that true character is always revealed and that’s what happens with Sawyer in season three. For as much as he cries “every man for himself,” Sawyer is always the first person to mutter “son of a bitch” under his breath and turn around instead of saving his own skin, be it rescuing Karl in “Not in Portland” or heading back to the beach to save Sayid, Jin, and Bernard in “Through the Looking Glass.” With presumed leaders Jack, Sayid, and Locke off gallivanting around the Island for most of the season, it’s Sawyer who (albeit reluctantly) takes up the leadership mantle back at camp, all the while learning how to become a better person under the tutelage of Hurley.
And finally, while he deserves infinitely more than the jerking around he gets at the hands of Kate, falling in love with her (for real this time, not that “I love her” nonsense in season two) opens up a previously unseen vulnerability in Sawyer that softens his harder edges. No one on this show, other than perhaps Jin, has grown as much as he has and that’s what makes his arc this season so fucking satisfying.
Sage: I was skeptical, but Kim promised me – PROMISED me – that I would one day learn to love James “Sawyer” Ford. As usual, she was absolutely right.
There is nothing more appealing to me on this earth than the guy who pretends not to care while he’s caring SO MUCH. Being in the custody of the Others really forced Sawyer to step up – if not to give a fuck about all the weird politics happening around him, which I hope he never does – than at least to save Kate. And as much as he deserves better than whatever man-written nonsense she is pulling with him, falling for her does, I think, bring about Sawyer 2.0. He has to be a citizen of their world now. (You can also see Josh Holloway relaxing into his character, uncovering all these new shades that are really compelling.)
So many of my favorite moments of this season were all him. The mixtape, awkwardly complimenting Aaron, playing detective in the case of Nikki and Paulo. But beyond the comic relief and lone wolf thing, there’s a reason why the other survivors started to think of Sawyer as a leader in the absence of Jack. He has it in him, he always has. It’s the fact that he doesn’t want it – that he finds it very difficult to consider himself a hero – that makes Sawyer the better man.
Shannon: Here’s the thing: I would die for Benjamin Linus. All through season two, I kept yelling at Kim about how much I just wanted to use his right and proper name – because as great as Henry Gale is, there’s something in the name Benjamin Linus that expands and illuminates his character into the one I adore.
Benjamin Linus is fundamentally incapable of single definitions. He genuinely loves and cares for Alex; he’s willing to torture her boyfriend without a shred of remorse. All he’s ever wanted is a family; he’s comfortable slaughtering the entirety of the Dharma Initiative in a single blow. He’s so impressed with his cleverness at choosing the name of his alter ego despite the obvious tell; he’s happy to feign ignorance of Steinbeck before quoting it back at Sawyer. He’s a man of faith and certainty and whoever it is he sees in that chair, he believes in more than anything else he’s ever encountered. So again I say: I would die for Benjamin Linus. And he wouldn’t even blink.
- Least Favorite Character?
Kim: As a whole, it’s not a good season for Jack, and that’s putting it in the kindest of terms. While his obstinance plays well when he’s in captivity with the Others for the first six episodes, it decidedly does not when he’s back with the rest of the castaways. His flashbacks are boring. He makes infuriating, inconsistent, and impulsive choices. He was fully ready to fuck off and leave the rest of them when Benajmin Linus dangled that option in front of him. He keeps the infinitely smarter people in the camp (that would be Sayid!) in the dark when he’s strategizing but gets hella offended when the same thing is done to him regarding Naomi. And the worst thing is that he whines about leading! He whines all the time about being the self appointed leader, to the point where Sayid has to TELL him to man the fuck up. No wonder Rose is ready to punch him in the face. It’s the biggest mood.
Sage: When Rose threatened to punch Jack, I cheered. He’s pushy, holier than thou, perpetually uninteresting…it would take a miracle to redeem him for me at this point.
Shannon: Oh, Kate Austen. Why are you like this?
Kate and Jack are always on the bottom of my list, but this season, she’s egregious. I mentioned in the first season wrap-up that I was frustrated by her inconsistent characterization, especially the ping-ponging between Jack and Sawyer without so much as a single moment of believable emotion. That fatal flaw builds and builds until we get to the close of season three, as Kate screws around with Sawyer and spends every waking moment yelling at or about Jack for… reasons? Because she actually loves him, despite her dedication to Sawyer when they were being kept in cages? Because she’s pissed Jack was willing to leave them, even though it was meant as a sacrifice to keep the survivors safe? (And by the by, let the man play football with Tom in peace. He’s more interesting with them anyway!) Because she’s jealous of Juliet? We’re clearly meant to think it’s a combination of all three, but I don’t buy any of it for a second.
Rachel: I hate to single out Claire when Nikki & Paolo are right there, but yeah. Claire was in the least number of episodes this season except for the aforementioned buried alive duo and Eko (RIP). She mostly does mom stuff or wondering about Charlie stuff, which is fine. But not interesting in the grand scheme of this season, which had massive arcs for everyone else it seemed! Even Locke (who only appears in one more episode than Claire!) has a tremendous presence throughout the series. I guess that flashback episode car crash where she finds out Christian Shepard is her father (but not that she’s related to Jack?) is something, but yet oddly forgettable.
- Most Underrated episode?
Shannon: If he had to go (and Adewale-Akinnuoye-Agbaje said he did!) then at least “The Cost of Living” gives my man Mr. Eko a beautiful farewell. The flashback keeps its flawed focus on Nigeria as a land of murder and militiamen, but on the island, things are far more nuanced. The vision of Yemi, continually commanding his older brother to confess his sins, is – to me – more effectively chilling than Christian Shepard’s mystery appearances. Eko building a church with Charlie suddenly carries so much more weight when we know the motivating factor. And most movingly, Eko has full agency over his final scene. He has done what he needed to survive. No confession is owed. Not to any form of god, and certainly not to the mystical manifestation of a smoke monster.
Rachel: The first block of six episodes in Season 3 is definitely weaker than the charge to the end following the hiatus as it originally aired. “Every Man for Himself “could be the best part of that first block. Sawyer’s past is once again mined for his con man with a heart backstory, this time to get him out of jail. He’s also trying to escape with Kate on the Island, except we come to find out this is a whole different island! That reveal, plus the torture Sawyer receives at the hand of Ben (the bunny!!) making him think he can’t let his heart rate go up is such a Ben thing to do. Add in the Of Mice and Men references & Sawyer punching Ben, this episode was a thriller with deep Sawyer feelings.
Sage: “Exposé” is a delight from start to finish. That there were people who didn’t get it at the time doesn’t surprise me, but it was a wickedly smart way to course-correct the Nikki and Paulo thing.
Kim: “Exposé” Defense Squad unite!! As I was sitting down to pick out the organized watches of the season, I publicly tweeted that I was pondering including “Exposé” in them, and I promptly got some clapback from other fans. “Ugh, just skip it!” “There’s no point to it!” “Well, best of luck to your newbies.” People LOVE to shit on “Exposé” as one of the worst episodes of Lost, which is ridiculous. I staunchly stand in the episode’s defense because guess what?
“Exposé” is a goddamn delight and it’s time we all said so. (And we DID say so, as the #GuysWhereAreWe tag was full of love for it.)
Listen, in a crowded season that fully integrates Benjamin Linus and Desmond Hume into the ensemble AND introduces Juliet Burke and a whole score of far more interesting Others, I think we can all agree that Nikki and Paulo were not the brightest idea that Damon and Carlton ever had. But they course corrected in such a great way! As Sage so wisely put it during our Twitter watch, the fact that these characters failed so spectacularly gave the writers the freedom to do whatever the fuck they wanted when writing them out. The episode is executed so well too! For as much as people bitched about a story centering around Nikki and Paulo, it’s our established actors that shine in this episode, Josh Holloway and Jorge Garcia in particular as they lead the investigation into Nikki and Paulo’s deaths. It’s a heist story, CSI: Jungle of Mystery, and Lost’s Greatest Hits: Volume One all rolled into a wickedly smart and funny episode with one hell of a twist ending. Skip this episode, my ass.
- Favorite Cameo/Guest Star?
Sage: Nathan Fillion is always a welcoming, strapping presence, but how can you not go with “Billy Dee Williams as himself”?
Kim: Nothing can beat Billy Dee Williams AS HIMSELF in “Exposé” but Doug Hutchison aka The X-Files’ Eugene Victor Tooms showing up as Dharma hippie Horace Goodspeed comes very close for me.
Shannon: Last season I was obligated to call out a member of the Frasier family, and the next bullet down in my Head Over Feels contract clearly states that I must point you in the direction of Shaun Toub, aka Yinsen from Iron Man. His episode is complex and moving and his performance is excellent. BUT. Did y’all realize that Bill Duke is not just the Warden in “Every Man for Himself,” and not just a renowned character actor with credits as long as your arm, but also the director of the modern masterpiece Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit? This is the man who gave us “your teacher says take off your robes” and he deserves every possible accolade.
Rachel: There are so many great cameos and guest appearances this season! It seemed like every new story brought a delightful familiar face that was either an old favorite then (Cheech Marin!), or someone that went on to greater things since Lost (Hello Rob McElhenney!). And Nathan Fillion!
But I had to pick Zeljko Ivanek as Edmund Burke in “Not in Portland” for a couple of reasons. First off, Zeljko is THAT GUY. He pops up everywhere it seems, so why not Lost! And he does such a fantastic job of painting a full picture of Juliet’s smarmy ex-husband/colleague, throwing both his shiny new toy young girlfriend and Juliet’s sister’s cancer in her face. We sort of agree with Juliet that it would be nice if he metaphorically got hit by a bus and disappeared from her life. But to see it actually happen, thanks to Richard Alpert and The Others, was a delicious comeuppance for this guest role.
- Best New Addition?
Rachel: Sorry to be a broken record about Juliet, but it has to be Elizabeth Mitchell. It’s incredibly difficult to add a full time character in Season 3 of an ensemble show and not be at least a little resentful of their presence taking away screen time from other cast members, but she manages to accomplish this with ease. Elizabeth says so much with a look, or a slight head turn that you are glued to the screen every second she is there. The way she builds that character, gradually adding depth and sincerity over the course of the season is masterful. We have no idea what side Juliet is on at any given moment, and Elizabeth Mitchell sells all possibilities throughout.
Sage: I DO think she suffers for being saddled with Jack for most of the season, but I can’t take my eyes off of Elizabeth Mitchell anytime Juliet is on screen. She’s such a perfect foil to Ben – her warmer intensity to his cold stare – that I wonder if they had her read with Michael Emerson before she got the part.
Kim: Is it too bold of a statement to say that Elizabeth Mitchell’s Juliet Burke is the female character that this show has been waiting for? The moment she appears on our screens in the opening seconds of “A Tale of Two Cities,” crying at her reflection as “Downtown” blares in the background, I let out a sigh of relief. “She’s here,” I thought. “She’s finally here.”
Juliet is like a perfect storm of Liz Mitchell’s extraordinary acting skills, focused character motivations, and sharp, concise writing. She’s the enigma the writers WISH Kate could have been because when it comes down to it, the only side Juliet is on is her own. Her genuine empathy is what makes her dangerous. She will do whatever it takes to get back to her sister, even if it means killing people or flipping sides. She can go toe to toe with Naveen Andrews when it comes to an impassive face-off, she’s the only one who can out snark Josh Holloway and she even makes Matthew Fox marginally more interesting. She’s the lawful good to Ben’s chaotic evil and I’m just…I’m so glad she’s finally here.
Shannon: We’ve heard so much about Alex before we spend any real time with her. We’ve known she was with Tom during his cosplayed showdown with Jack. We’ve seen her ever so briefly as she broke Claire out from the Other’s nightmare fertility lab. But this is her first proper season, and I’m always so delighted when she gets a sequence. Teenagers can be hard characters to get right, but Alex is a realistic teenager while still being the perfect combination of the forces that have raised her in this weird island world. She’s got the dogged determination of everyone’s favorite island boss, Danielle. She’s just as ferocious and loyal, but without unbridled paranoia that came from years of solitude. She’s got the sharpness and wit of Benjamin Linus. And both of them gifted her with a frightening unpredictability. Alex will fuck a bitch up, and she’ll do it in the name of something right and good.
- Best Flashback?
Rachel: This is another tough one to choose. An obvious choice is Locke’s confrontation with his father, leading to his fall from an 8th story window in “The Man from Tallahassee” (that also won the brilliant Terry O’Quinn an Emmy), or even “The Man Behind the Curtain,” where we get to know a young’n Ben. But with some recency bias acknowledged, I’m going to go in a different direction and choose Sun’s flashback in “D.O.C.”
Look, I think the “pregnant women die on the island” subplot is as uninteresting as the next person, but we really get to know a whole other level of Sun Hwa Kwon here. She is fiercely protective of her yet to be born child and her husband Jin on the island. And we see that protectiveness in a magnificent flashback where she faces off against her massively controlling corporate overlord father and wins. You can see now why she absolutely would and did shoot Colleen. At the same time, she deftly figures out a way to buy off Jin’s mother without anyone getting hurt.
But I think my favorite part of this flashback story was her tea with Jin’s father. She is so compassionate and warm toward him, and while she understands why Jin might deny his father, given who her father is, she makes him feel loved and appreciated. I think it sets up just how much she ultimately loves Jin when they got on that fateful flight.
Sage: Sun threatening her blackmailing mother-in-law, hands down. She may not approve of her father’s business dealings, but she IS his daughter and she is not to be fucked with.
Shannon: The bar for this season gets set at the first episode and for me, it’s never matched. And yes, that sure is saying something in the season that gives us “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” But I stand by it, and here’s why. The flashback that opens “A Tale of Two Cities” gives us a window into the Others’ bizarrely suburban world in the middle of the island, including book clubs and mini muffins. It’s a step beyond the unnerving opening of season two; not only do the Others have record players and functioning kitchens, they also have sunlight, interior design and front lawns. That’s unsettling enough all on its own. But then we get Benjamin Linus, dashing outside to watch the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. The thing that kills me is the immediacy of his orders. It’s like Ben has been waiting for this moment for years. There’s barely a pause before he ships Ethan out to our survivors and Goodwin out to the tailies, demanding lists in three days. It’s chills every time.
Kim: I really, really, really love the flashbacks in “One of Us” so much. While “Not in Portland” tells us the story of how Juliet came to the Island, but “One of Us” tells us what’s happened to her in the three years she’s been there, from losing patient after patient after patient to her relationship with Goodwin (her BACK in that scene though, hoo boy!) to the numerous times she begged Ben to let her go home. I loved that we got to see what drove Juliet to the broken moment where we first see her in “A Tale of Two Cities.” I love that we got to see how Ben once again convinced Juliet to stay on the Island by dangling a carrot in front of her face. The brief video connection of Juliet getting to see that Rachel is not only alive but that she has a healthy son named Julian before just as quickly cutting it off is quite possibly the cruelest thing Benjamin Linus has ever done and that man has done a lot of cruel things. Everything in this episode brings us that very moment of Juliet setting up her tent at the beach at Camp Lostie and the reveal that she’s actually working as a mole for Ben. (OR IS SHE?) It’s all so masterfully done.
- Favorite Ship?
Rachel: Charlie & Desmond. Look, Desmond just doesn’t want Charlie to die, okay?
Sage: Ben tried to force Locke to kill his own father and yet, they’re less problematic than any canon Lost ship.
Kim: Benjamin and John, sitting in a tree. M-U-R-D-E-R-I-N-G. First comes manipulation, then comes carnage, then comes Jacob with a baby carriage.
Shannon: I cannot unsee the love affair between Benjamin Linus and John Locke! I cannot unsee it! And I am 100% on board! The only person who loves Ben Linus as much as me is John Locke. Both of them must be full-named at every opportunity and by that alone, they are bonded. These two were made for each other. Their love language is murder. Don’t tell them what they can’t do!
- Best Shipper Moment?
Rachel: Anytime Sun & Jin say “I love you madly” to each other.
Kim: If you look up the term “heart eyes” in the urban dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Benjamin Linus’ face when John Locke shows up alive and well despite, y’know, Ben shooting him and shoving him into the Dharma mass grave, and promptly shoots Naomi in the chest, declaring that there will be NO calling of her freighter on this day. Ben’s nothing short of enraptured. That’s love, bitch.
Sage: I’ve been up and down with Charlie and Claire. He’s infantilized her, he’s judged her ability to take care of Aaron, and – seemingly just to torture himself – he doesn’t tell her that he loves her before he heads out on what he knows will be his final mission, ripping away her only chance to say it back. BUT it is the hope of being able to save them – the little family he’s made for himself on the island – that allows him to be at peace with what’s destined to happen to him. So yeah, when “The night I met you” made the top of his five greatest hits, a bitch teared up.
Honorable mention to the look on Sawyer’s face when Kate arrived safely back on the beach and the way he stroked her hair. (Kill me.)
Shannon: I have gone through a journey with Charlie this rewatch, and I have to admit that while I still hold him in great affection, he’s fallen off my list of faves. But. The entirety of “Greatest Hits” is a magnificent character send off. I’m such a sucker for top five lists, and when that top five list slowly clarifies as the list of the greatest moments in his life – with meeting Claire as number one, with a bullet? Beautiful.
- Best Warm Fuzzy?
Sage: Hurley is by no means a favorite yet, but he’s climbed up quite a few rungs from being my most loathed character of last season. It seems like the show finally figured out how to write for him, looking at moments like his tricking Sawyer into being friendly with the rest of the camp or his insistence that getting the DHARMA van running is a meaningful task, whether anyone else can see it or not. So take Hurley’s evolution, add a boys trip (one of my favorite Lost things, I’m learning) and a dead vehicle, and you get a moment of pure exhilaration and joy that really helped to ground the season and remind us why we’re invested in these people.
Shannon: Unexpected friendships bring us some of the most delightful and sweet moments that Lost has to offer, especially in the rare occasions when the survivors are not in immediate, horrific danger. Jin, Hurley, Desmond and Charlie heading out into the jungle to head off Desmond’s flashes in “Catch 22” does has a tinge of immediate, horrific danger, but when the boys are whistling their way across the beach in to the tune of “Colonel Bogey March,” it’s all fun and games. This is one of the small, beautiful moments that can only happen because of the goddamn delight that is “Tricia Tanaka is Dead.” Because the community has come together not just in trauma, but in joy. So when they can walk down the beach whistling in unison, it’s genuine and loving and very warm and fuzzy.
Kim: Can an entire episode be called a warm fuzzy? Because that’s what “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” feels like to me. It’s funny that when we were outlining the group watches of the season that every Lost veteran piped up for this one as a sentimental favorite. The first nine episodes of the season are either non-stop intensity or they are “Stranger in a Strange Land,” so “Tricia Tanaka” feels like a breath of fresh air and a respite at the same time.
Of course, the sequence where Hurley finally gets the van started and our boys go on a much needed joy ride is the warmest of the warm fuzzies of but there is so much more to love in the episode. It’s Sawyer’s joy at finding Dharma branded beer, so happy to have the chance at that simple pleasure that he drinks it warm. (Gross.) It’s Sawyer teaching Jin English by telling him the three phrases all women need to hear like he’s All the Way Mae teaching Beverly to read with erotic novels. It’s Hugo going all Goonies on us by saying that he’s gonna make his own luck. It all reminds us how FUNNY Lost can be and it reminds us that there can be just as much human drama in restoring a van as there is in fighting with the Others.
Rachel: “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” is low key one of my all time favorite episodes of Lost. There is some GREAT Hugo content in both the flashback and the Island happenings. And it’s funny as shit, too! I am not someone who laughs audibly at much on TV & the movies but there were so many cartoonishly delightful moments over the course of this episode that I was genuinely chuckling throughout. I mean, “That’s just Roger!” But the best moment in my estimation, was that pure joy our hero dudes experienced riding around in that old Dharma van. Sawyer (taking a break from Kate angst), Jin (taking a break from the language barrier and Sun pregnancy angst), Charlie (taking a break from “I’m gonna die” angst) & Hugo (trying to not feel cursed for once) were actually legitimately happy, if only for that one brief moment, all jamming to the perfect soundtrack of “Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
- Thirstiest Moment?
Kim: Listen I was fine (I mean I was absolutely NOT FINE, but we’ll pretend I was) with knowing that Sawyer is not only 100% good in bed but also a bit kinky with the whole having Kate HOLD ON TO THE BARS when they finally fucked it out. I mean, that’s to be expected, right? What I was not expecting was post-coital Sawyer wanting to talk about his feelings while gently carding his fingers through Kate’s hair. To make matters worse, later in the season we learned that not only is Sawyer a cuddler, but he’s a little spoon. Not ONLY is he a little spoon, but he’s a needy little spoon, one that wants to be held ALL NIGHT, as evidenced by the fact that he’s perfectly willing to switch tents before he realizes that Kate’s doing a runner on him. (I CANNOT WITH THAT BY THE WAY.) Y’all. My HEART is thirsty.
Honorable mention to Desmond gallivanting around the camp in Hurley’s t-shirt, post Hatch explosion. Nice Stems.
Sage: I don’t know what’s hotter, Sawyer giving Kate the business against the bars of a cage while sad Jack watches on closed-circuit TV or Sawyer IMMEDIATELY being soft and wanting to talk about his feelings afterwards.
On the more violent tip, there’s also a bound and gagged Sayid breaking a man’s neck with his legs like he’s snapping a dry strand of spaghetti.
Shannon: Bless and keep Desmond Hume and his steadfast refusal to button his shirt at all moments, but especially when said unbuttoned shirt is cerulean blue, and ESPECIALLY when said unbuttoned cerulean blue shirt is soaking wet and he’s barreling out of a locker and brandishing a shotgun to take out Mikhail and rescue Charlie. My hero.
Rachel: There were two major thirst moments for me this season. The first of which was right off the bat in A Tale of Two Cities. Jack was being held by The Others in the Hydra and holy smokes did they do good work with the lighting there. At times slightly green, at times a cool blue, it was the perfect setting for Jack/Matthew Fox to be grasping at chains hanging from the ceiling, or staring down Juliet through the glass walls.
My second instance was a fleeting moment in Enter 77, which is a Sayid episode so of COURSE there had to be a thirsty element here. I think we’re all suckers for a good Sayid thirst moment! This one in particular is simple yet effective. Sayid is just picking fruit in the jungle, as you do on that island, and glances at the camera for a split second and I was DONE FOR.
- Right in the Feels Moment?
Rachel: Not Penny’s Boat. That’s it. That’s all you have to say.
Kim: As per usual, Lost delivers an excellent send-off episode for a character right before killing them off. “Greatest Hits” plays only the good notes for Charlie Pace and it does a wonderful job of reminding us why we all were endeared to him in the first place. Dominic Monaghan really delivers in the episode too, especially in his last scene with Desmond where they tearfully talk about their girls and Desmond tries one more time to take Charlie’s place, to no avail.
However, where this episode REALLY punches you in the feels is when Charlie says goodbye to his surrogate son Aaron. First of all, it’s one of those magic moments when you’re working with a live baby and you actually have no idea what they’re gonna do, and in that moment, that fucking baby chose to reach out and grab Dom’s face. And second, yes, I know that Charlie’s ring looks like something he bought at Hot Topic (once Sage said that, I couldn’t unsee it), but let’s just go with the idea that it’s a family heirloom that he’s supposed to pass along to his children. If you don’t get at least a little bit choked up when the camera pans out and you see the ring nestled in the corner of Aaron’s cradle then I don’t know what to do with you.
(Editor’s note: we all fill these surveys out independently, doing our best not to consult with each other as to not shade our answers. Anyone who has followed along a live-tweet sees how often we can mind meld. Imagine my delight when everyone sent their answers and we got a complete and total mind meld for this post! -Kim)
Sage: “To whom it may concern: We are survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. We have survived on this island for 80 days. We were six hours into the flight when the pilot said we were off course and turned back toward Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed. We’ve been waiting here all this time – waiting for rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are. We only know you have not found us. We’ve done our best to live on this island. Some of us have come to accept we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived since the crash. But there is new life, too, and with it, there is hope. We are alive. Please don’t give up on us.”
Shannon: “To whom it may concern: We are survivors of Oceanic flight 815. We have survived on this island for 80 days. Six hours into the flight, the pilot said we were off course and turned back towards Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed. We’ve been waiting here all this time, waiting for rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are. We only know you have not found us. We are doing our best to live on this island. Some of us have come to accept we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived since the crash. But there is new life, too. And with it, there is hope. We are alive. Please don’t give up on us.”
- Best WHAT THE FUCK Moment?
Rachel: In “A Tale of Two Cities” we learn a little about Juliet but a LOT about her dynamic with Ben and the power he wields in Othersland (though we don’t know that’s his name yet!). There was no more impactful scene than when Ben threatens to AND actually does the thing that could make Juliet drown. This throws everything off kilter and kicks off the “which side are you on?!” mystery for Juliet, and further makes us all wonder exactly who in hell is this guy, what is he trying to accomplish here, and what is he capable of.
Shannon: The list of phenomenal WHAT THE FUCK moments in season three is long, and for that, I love it even more. It’s an embarrassment of riches, y’all! But for the combination of shock value and extreme, lingering unease, this one goes to Fionnula Flanagan’s eyes turning cold when Desmond decides to buy Penny an engagement ring in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” She transforms from a kindly antique store manager who wants nothing but the best for this bumbling Scotsman to an ultimate authority who knows WAY more than she’s letting on. And she’s letting on a lot! “Flashes Before Your Eyes” is a whole episode of what the fuck moments, but they live or die by THIS what the fuck moment. She’s a woman out of time. She knows who will live and who will die. She knows Desmond Hume is destined to spend three years pushing a button, and that the fate of humanity very literally hangs in the balance.
How does she know these things? Who the hell is she? And how is Desmond’s consciousness snapping back and forth from the island to London? We don’t know – but Fionnula Flanagan sure as hell does.
Sage: Locke’s father shoving him out of a glass window several stories up, leading to his paralysis. (HOW IS HE NOT DEAD.) Bad dads everywhere, but his takes the cake.
Kim: IT’S NOT PENNY’S BOAT YOU GUYS!!! WHAT THE FUCK?! That revelation, combined with the flash-forward made it one HELL of an agonizing wait between seasons, doubly so because Season Four didn’t premiere until January 2008.
- Favorite Weird Island Happening?
Sage: I didn’t forget, even though we see it early on in the season, that Smokey can take human form. How and why and what the fuck and I don’t trust ANYBODY.
Shannon: I’m sorry, but how exactly is an ageless Richard Alpert hanging in the jungle decades before his first character sighting in the modern day northwest? And why is he welcoming tween Benjamin Linus into the fold of his fellow “hostiles,” inciting Ben to flat-out murder forty some odd people in one go? What is HAPPENING? WHO ARE YOU, RICHARD ALPERT?
Rachel: The introduction of Jacob adds so much to the mythology of the show. Is he even real? Why is Ben the only one who can see him (well, at first)? What’s going on with that cabin? So much to unpack!
Kim: It’s hard to put into words just how much I love the whole Jacob’s Cabin sequence. It’s so deliciously creepy, like right out of a horror movie kind of creepy, and Michael Emerson sells the FUCK out of it. I 100% believe that he sees someone sitting in that chair and I 100% believe he’s hearing the other side of the conversation that we’re not. And to top it off we get that disembodied “Help me” and Jacob going completely berserk. It’s one of the most iconic WHAT THE FUCK moments this series ever produced and that’s saying something.
- Best use of an episode title within the script?
Kim: I love how Sawyer keeps saying “Every man for himself,” especially in the context of trying to get Kate to leave him behind once she figures out that she can squeeze her way through the ceiling of her cage. It sets up the moment of her climbing BACK into her cage and defiantly saying “Live together, die alone.” The “bitch” is implied.
Sage: See, this isn’t fair, because “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” is also just the best episode title, period.
Rachel: The way Hugo says “Tricia Tanaka is Dead,” completely in shock, with debris from the chicken joint explosion all over me gets me every damn time.
Shannon: John Locke has never met a button he won’t push, especially when those buttons involve a numbers sequence. The computer game in “Enter 77” is John Locke catnip so it’s no wonder he enters 77 when prompted. Technically speaking, there WAS an incursion from the hostiles, and woe betide John Locke ignoring computer generated instructions!
- Favorite Sawyer Nickname?
Sage: It was a close call for “Captain Bunny Killer,” but then he reminded me that the word “jabronies” exists and is, indeed, a fitting descriptor for “Nina and Pablo.”
Shannon: If the only thing we get from “Stranger in a Strange Land” is the nickname “Captain Bunny Killer,” it honestly might just be enough.
Rachel: This one’s a tie: Chachi (for Karl in “A Tale of Two Cities”) and Skeletor (For dead Roger in “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”). Friends, I chortled at both.
Kim: Sawyer calling Kate “Shortcake” after kissing her (like STRIDING ACROSS THE BEACH AND TAKING HER FACE IN HIS HANDS AND OPEN MOUTH KISSING HER IN DEFIANCE OF ALL THE OTHERS KISSING HER HELP ME) and saying that she tasted like strawberries is…something else. I am a simple woman with simple needs and that is one of them.
- Sum up your feelings of the season as a whole.
Rachel: Lost Season 3. My goodness. In the same way Season Two told us about the Dharma Initiative, here we dive headfirst into Othersville, learning more about their history, how they took over the Dharma Initiative stations, and how they manage to creep around the Island in costumes, kidnapping crash survivors. Ben is revealed to be their leader, and we get a whole other level to the brilliant Michael Emerson’s performance. His face-offs with Locke, Jack, and Juliet set the tone for the power plays at hand, and he elevates every scene he’s in.
Other than the aforementioned “Stranger in a Strange Land,” there isn’t a truly terrible episode in the bunch. They all serve a purpose, moving our 815’ers forward toward their ultimate destinies on or off the Island, while adding more to the mystery of the Island itself. We sadly had to see Eko go due to external forces, but the rest of the plot was purely story & character driven, accelerating up to a finale that might just be the best in the series as a whole. They even managed to course correct on the Paolo & Nikki front with their charmingly weaved tale of doom in “Exposé.” The core characters’ relationships to each other deepened, and some that might have seemed lighter found their footing.
Sage: This is the season when the show clicked for me. I know there are more folks to come, but it feels like, as we’ve met the Others for real, that most of our players are here. I’m more invested in the backstory of the island itself than I am in anything that happened to our survivors before they got there, so the DHARMA/Others turf war is really working for me. I love that we’re now playing with TIME, between ageless people, Desmond’s visions/time slips, and the flash-forward in the finale. I like knowing that there’s dissension in ALL the ranks and the neatly planned chaos that Ben continues to deliver.
Yet, three seasons in and some of our original characters (Kate, Charlie) are infuriatingly inconsistent. Growth has been sacrificed to the ship wars and/or on the altar of what NEEDS to happen, which had to be confusing for the actors as well. And truly, I just wish the show would give in to the idea of Jack going full villain, like the privileged and over-confident white male that he is.
Shannon: After every season, I keep thinking “no THIS is the season when Lost becomes Lost!” But for real this time, season three is the season when Lost becomes Lost. The journey feels SO long, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Think of where we started! For the first few episodes, we still didn’t even know the name Benjamin Linus, much less Richard Alpert or Jacob. Uncovering yet another Dharma station goes from world-shaking to pedestrian. Time travel is on the table. We learn how Locke lost the use of his legs. Claire and Jack are half siblings! Locke’s dad is the con man Sawyer’s been hunting his entire life! This season is chock-full of mythology and character development and for the first time, it feels like they’re on equal footing. As a viewer, it gives me all I could ever ask for and more. Season three is everything. And yet… Come back next season wrap up, when I inevitably tell myself that no, season FOUR is the one when Lost becomes Lost.
Have I mentioned lately that I love this show?
Kim: I tend to think of Lost having two chapters, the first three seasons of the show comprising Chapter One, while seasons four through six make up Chapter Two. “Through the Looking Glass” brings the first chapter of Lost to a thrilling close, flipping everything we knew about the show on its head and completely changing the game. Lost got its ending point in the middle of production of season three and it shows in the way they start trimming the fat and the story just starts hurtling forward, fully embracing the weirdness that already existed in the DNA of the show while deepening its mythology AND adding off the wall concepts like time travel into the mix. I think what I appreciate most about season three is the fact that Lost stops coddling the audience by doling out a steady feed of exposition and answers. Gone are the days when it would keep reminding you of character attributes every few episodes. Now you just have to hold on for the wild ride and stop expecting to get told exactly what’s going on at any given moment. That’s what makes Lost so fucking thrilling, even after all these years and even when I know all the answers already.
But at the same time, even with all the story going on (and there is SO MUCH STORY), Lost never forgets its characters. Season three has some of my favorite human moments of the entire series and I love the way it constantly experiments with new groupings and unexpected pairings that produce wonderful B-plots that always ground the driving force of the main story. (Truly, who thought in season one that Hurley and Sawyer would make such a delightful combo?) Yes, our supposed “leads” Jack and Kate are still the most boring and one dimensional people on the Island, but I almost don’t even care anymore. Not when there is such an embarrassment of riches in the rest of the ensemble! I’ll gladly put up with those two when I also get Benjamin Linus, John Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Sun, Desmond, Hurley, Sayid, Danielle, Charlie, Claire, et al. Those characters are the reasons I tuned in every week back when it was airing and they are the reasons the show still sticks with me now.
Bring on Chapter Two.
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