Monday, March 21, 2016

Lost: Season 1 Recaps

We are currently doing a weeklong tribute to my favorite TV show (or thing in general), the television series Lost.  For more articles about Lost week, click here.

(Editor's Notes: These episodes are judged on a curve.  Lost is my all-time favorite show and even at its worst, it's still better than pretty much anything I've ever experienced on television.  Additionally, Lost is a show that is built off of its mystique and mystery-if you haven't seen these episodes, SEE THEM NOW as they are the part of the best series ever put on television, and then come back and discuss as I get all spoiler-tastic up in here).

Pilot, Part 1 (#1.1)

Review: Starting off with a bang, quite literally, the series introduces in jaunts and in some cases, steady flows, each of the principle characters.  We spend the bulk of the show finding Jack, criss-crossing the island, and we see the sparks fly between he and the mysterious, intensely beautiful Kate.  Pilot as a whole is one of the finest episodes the show has to offer, but it’s really more the second half that makes it stand out in an iconic fashion.  While we certainly get some stories and scenes that would become part of the Lost lexicon (Jack’s eyes opening, the “angel hair pasta” surgery story, Charlie’s fingers, the hints of smoky things to come), it’s more of an introduction than a peak.

Signs of Things to Come: Claire’s pre-occupation with the Smoky noises in the jungle, Rose stating that “something seems very familiar about the noises in the jungle,” would be revealed in Seasons 6 and 5, respectively.

Hurley Dude Count: Just once, but it’s the best way of introducing our beloved Hugo (and wouldn’t that be anyone’s reaction to throwing a very pregnant, very contracting Claire at you?)

Best Moment: The opening shot of the smoldering plane, in one linear motion

Best Line: Kate, “Do you have a color preference?” before stitching Jack up.

Episode MVP: A tie between Jack, who for a brief moment is seen flirting with Cindy the stewardess and Charlie, whose one-liners are a much needed break from the seriousness.  Gun-to-my-head, I’d go with Jack, though.

Pilot, Part 2 (#1.2)

Review: Now here we have an excellent catalyst for the rest of the series.  With Jack sidelined playing the hero, the rest of our Losties run off into the jungle, in hopes of finding a signal (what they would find, of course, would lead to Danielle, Others, and the entire rest of the mystery-one has to wonder how things would have changed if that receiver hadn’t led them into the jungle).  Couple that with some awesome imagery (don’t you love the shot of Locke holding up the black and white stones, and what that eventually entails), and the first fight over guns (and polar bears).  We get to peer a little bit more closely into the world of Charlie and Kate, but it’s the island itself that sucks you in in this stellar masterwork of Lost.
Signs of Things to Come: See the photo
Hurley Dude Count: 4, all of which are uttered while getting to know Jack and Jin.
Sawyer Nicknames: None too original, just a throwaway Lardo.
Sayid Laugh Alert: Throughout the entire series, Sayid has only laughed three times-this was one, when the distress call goes out.
Best Moment: Arguably the best enigma of the entire first season (give or take that hatch), the distress call from the mysterious French woman is pure genius.
Best Line: “Guys, where are we?” –Charlie, asking a question we still don’t quite know the answer to.
Episode MVP: It’s going to be hard not to go with the central characters on all these, so I’m going with Sawyer-Holloway establishes his backwoods con man with a few short scenes.

Tabula Rasa  (#1.3)

Review: Well, time to welcome the formula we would soon grow accustomed to and love.  In an interesting (and not unfamiliar) twist, we get the two most mysterious characters of the premiere season in the first two episodes, Kate and Locke, as our centerpieces.  Kate’s episodes always have a sense of her own personal drama, but rarely give us anything from the island, which may be why she gets a bum rap (or it could be the beautiful women can’t act angle, which is highly untrue as we'll see in these recaps).  The episode is rather formulaic on its surface, but it provides a decent introduction to a character we would know and love for six more seasons, and shows why Kate can never let anyone in.
Signs of Things to Come: Sawyer and Jack have their first feud, over the dying U.S. Marshall.
Hurley Dude Count: 4
Sawyer Nicknames: Ahh, here are the classics-the first instance of a Freckles, and a rather hilarious take on Al-Jazeera.
Best Moment: The Patsy Cline exchange was lovely, but in hindsight, the ominous peering of Locke at a reunited and happy Walt and Michael shows layers of the show that we can’t help but wonder if Cuse/Lindelof knew about the whole time.
Best Line: “Al-Jazeera is a network.” –Charlie, somehow trying to correct Sawyer’s rampant racism.
Episode MVP: Kate, who shows that she’s not one to be trusted, even if that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Walkabout (#1.4)

Review: The first episodes may have started out iconic, but it’s this episode that started off the truly legendary stature of Lost.  This episode features Jack seeing his dead father across the way, Locke facing the thing he would become in the jungle, and a truly emotional realization during the funeral that this is the way of life from now on, and in some cases, forever, amongst the islanders.  To top it off, though, we are getting the best of the best with Locke’s sideline story-we see that this is a man who can so easily see the faith in the island, mostly because he was the first it touched.  His obstinacy in the face of impending doom would be his greatest ally on the island, and only when he gave in to it did he falter.  Locke is the most fascinating character in the show’s long history, and so it is fitting it starts out with such an emotional catalyst.
Sign of Things to Come: First time anyone sees someone in the jungle.
Hurley Dude Count: 3
Sawyer Nicknames: Does jackass count?  It’s probably the only one worth mentioning.
Best Moment: Yelling at the Walkabout tour director-Locke is so desperate, and the genius of the show is that he doesn’t get rewarded in the way we expect him to.
Best Line: “This is my destiny,” Locke, several times (and indeed, it is).
Episode MVP: Locke, always Locke, but especially with him fading so brilliantly back into a man with a purpose.

White Rabbit (#1.5)

Review: There is rarely a Jack storyline that doesn’t involve some sort of wounded, fight-the-hero sort of plot (complete with a set of daddy issues).  This is the one that started it all.  Beginning with Jack saving Boone, our noble hero spends the rest of the episode running through the jungle, trying to find the phantom of his father.  His sideways storyline is juicy, and gives enough mystery to keep us entertained.  Jack, at the end, brings the castaways into the heart of darkness, and between falling off cliffs and beautiful life-giving caves, we get to see a bit of the Island (at this point, who wasn’t desperately in love with the Island itself) that we longed for.  Outside of the brilliant speech at the end, a fairly routine episode, but a solid one nonetheless.
Hurley Dude Count: For the first time ever, Hurley doesn’t utter his favorite phrase.  And it’s lacking-something like, “Dude, why are you running around after your dead dad for in the middle of the jungle?”
Sawyer Nicknames: Sticks, his affectionate and grammatically correct one for Shannon (priceless exchange).
(Still) Unanswered Questions: What did Locke see when he looked into the face of the island-with all we know now, did he get a piece of his destiny?
Best Line: “If we can’t live together, we’re going to die alone,” –Jack (iconic) (closely followed by “I need to bury my father.”)
Best Moment: That speech-one for the ages on Lost.  The rare profound but not cheesy speech-the stuff that epic movies are made of.
Episode MVP: Jack, from start to finish-this is one of the best episodes of Matthew Fox’s run on the show.

House of the Rising Sun (#1.6)

Review: Whereas White Rabbit actually stands up better upon reviewing, this one gets sort of muddled in the crowd.  Granted, it stars one of the most complicated and brilliant characters in the series, Sun (for how she was wasted in the later half of the series, I’ll never forgive Damon & Carlton), but the Island storyline gets a little lost-there’s little movement on the mysteries, and moving to the caves was just inevitable, frankly.  Couple that with Charlie’s addiction beginning, and the feud with Michael, and you have for a fine filler episode with one unforgettable scene.
Hurley Dude Count: Just the one.
Best Line: “So what’s up with you and Kate?” –Hurley (leave it to Hurley to both be hilarious and get a laugh out of, of all people, Jack)
Best Moment: Sun, slowly moving out of the airport, is absolutely haunting-damn, Yunjin Kim can act.
Episode MVP: Yunjin Kim, the unsung hero of Lost.

The Moth (#1.7)

Review:  One has to feel terrible for poor Dominic Monaghan-he’s been part of the best TV series of all-time and arguably the best movie series of all time, and yet, his characters spend a good chunk of their time being ancillary, not much good to overall plots of the scripts.  Monaghan is a fine enough actor, at times he’s quite good, but his characters swim through the first two-thirds of their shows with little public support.  And so, we get “The Moth,” which is one of the weakest entries of the first season.  The island storyline gets overshadowed by several others, including Kate’s interactions with Sawyer (always delicious) and Sayid’s triangulation of the signal (and subsequent head-clubbing).  Both on and off the island, Charlie’s interactions seem a tad bit ridiculous-arguing with Jack over his usefulness (he’s done what, exactly, at this point?) and off-island (his brother seems far more reasonable).  The episode gave an introduction we would need for a character who would get better, but this one wouldn’t stand up against the masterpieces that were coming.
Hurley Dude Count: 7
Signs of Things to Come: Locke’s (sometimes successful) interventions
Sawyer’s Nicknames: Only a crack at Sayid?  Come on Sawyer, lazy lazy.
Best Line: “Nice work Charlie! You make excellent bait.” –Locke, remarking on the easiest way to catch a boar
Best Moment: The title sequence with the moth, some of the first moments with Locke the philosopher
Episode MVP: I’m going to make it a first here and give it to an off-island character, the eerily and beautifully-eyed (doesn’t he know that’s Boone’s department?) Liam Pace, who has the far more realistic reaction to rock stardom (even if it’s more morally distraught).
Confidence Man (#1.8)

Review: Ahh, now we’re talking-Sawyer, one of the sexiest, most unique characters to ever grace a television screen, gets his first shot at the sun.  It’s weird re-watching these first episodes, as they would become so iconic in the overall structure of the storyline, and it’s almost as if you’ve seen them a thousand times at this point, even if it’s just 3-4.  The brilliance of this story is seeing, over the seasons, how the Confidence Man himself changes, and yet always had the capacity for change-Sawyer’s reluctance to take from a family with kids, his anger over Kate discovering the truth of his letter-this is a great episode, and a great introduction to the ever-changing antihero of Lost.  Bonus points have to go to that killer last scene, with Sayid walking off into the sunset to some unsettlingly serene music.
Hurley Dude Count: 2
Sawyer’s Nicknames: Metro, for Boone, is hilarious, but Charlie actually gets the best one, calling the beach a Sandy Shore of Depression.
Best Line: “Why, you wanna see who’s taller?” –Sawyer, after Jack asks him to get up.
Best Moment: Sawyer and Kate’s (definitely coerced, but certainly steamy) kiss
Episode MVP: I’m going with Josh Holloway’s smile-Sawyer is so calculating, you have to assume that smile just comes naturally.

Solitary (#1.9)

Review: Perhaps the most fun that I’ve had while writing these and reviewing these (in most cases, for the fourth time), is remembering exactly how much I love the series.  However, in this case, it’s discovering how good some episodes exactly are.  Sayid is one of the best characters on this show, and an underappreciated one at that, but his role and his storylines are always dripping with too much macabre and solemnity, and not even a dose of the light.  Hence, why this episode’s storyline of Sayid being interrogated (oh how the tables…) by Danielle Rousseau is counterbalanced so brilliantly by Hurley and his golf course.  Even if you throw out the two main storylines, there’s plenty to love, from Michael’s shoddy parenting to Steve’s (or is it Scott’s) hypochondria to Sayid’s off-island love affair with Nadia.  To cap it off, we get an awesome thriller of an ending-Sayid, hearing for the first time, the mere whisper of the “Others.”  A bone-chilling episode, and a winner at that.
Hurley Dude Count: After a week off, it appears that our corpulent friend was duding up the golf course (8 times, to be precise)
(Still) Unsolved Myseries: Two that I think may go forever unsolved-what exactly was it that Rousseau and her team were studying (interviews indicate ‘time,’ but will that ever be confirmed in the canonical show), and did Jack sink that final putt?
Best Line: “You didn’t hear about the polar bear?” –Charlie, showing how news can travel slowly even on an island the size of Maui with 48 known people
Best Moment: All right, the part of me who begs Lost for a lighthearted moment or two wants to go with Michael & Jack discussing what golf club to use, but the legendary scene is Sayid hearing the “voices.”
Isn’t it Iconic: Danielle Rousseau makes her first appearance in name and face
Isn’t it Ironic: Rousseau’s speech about Sayid and how he will become infected.
Episode MVP: Mira Furlan, who as Danielle Rousseau gave the island a much-needed depth-six seasons later, she’s still maintained an aura of mystery.
Raised by Another (#1.10)

Review: Unlike Solitary before it, this one I remembered was a knockout killer of an episode.  It’s really all there-intrigue off the island (Claire and the psychic-more on that later), a compelling story on the island (Claire’s enigmatic nightly attacks), and Hurley keeping the mood just light enough (don’t you adore the exchange between he and Locke, as Hurley quietly questions the great white hunter).  It is proof that the writers know this show and its viewers so well that they would make Claire so compelling-this is a character who should largely be lost once her pregnant cache disappeared, and yet she remains a truly impressive characterization six seasons later, enough so that fans genuinely missed her when she disappeared for a year.  The closing moments are this episode at its spookiest, with Hurley and Sayid essentially running to Jack with the same news-they are not alone on this island.
Hurley Dude Count: 4
Sawyer’s Nicknames: His nicknames are unfortunately (as they are so cruel) the best, and this one was no exception, introducing Stay-Puff into the lexicon.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: I have a feeling that this one could be solved, as I think Aaron was of great importance, but why exactly was it necessary for Claire herself to raise the baby (and what was the result when she in fact didn’t)?
Best Line: “One sugar plum fairy, two sugar plum fairy” –Charlie, counting contractions
Best Moment: Oftentimes in the first few seasons, its counting the comic with the adventurous, but who can count out that final moment, with the eerie and menacing Ethan looking at his suddenly aware prey.
Episode MVP: Ethan Rom, even though he’s in only two brief scenes, slowly letting us realize that he has “other” intentions.

All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues (#1.11)

Review: Oftentimes, the Jack storylines tend to get a bit heavy-handed, and this would be the one that would set the precedence.  Bogged down by that very dense (though ultimately necessary) central storyline of Jack betraying his father (though really, who aside from Locke on this show hasn’t?), and a chase that literally goes nowhere, this episode follows its purpose of setting up the Ethan mystery, the missing Claire, and the renewed rivalry between Locke and Jack.  However, this really was more of a bridge episode-bringing the mysteries of “are there Others?” to “why are there Others?”  Of course, the last 90 seconds keep this in the great Lost pantheon rather than just being a throwaway hour.
Iconic: For the first time ever, we see perhaps the best mystery of the first season, the Hatch.
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Okay, it’s not Sawyer, but “I’m something of a warrior” is beyond awesome (thanks Hugo).
Hurley Dude Count: Just once L
You’re on a Deserted Island?: Has anyone else noticed that there is clearly a large amount of Color-Safe bleach on this island?  How else to explain that not a single shirt has faded?
Pause for Station Identification: This is the first of the Dharma stations on the island, as the Swan (aka the Hatch) is discovered.
Best Line: “If you don’t stop following me, I will kill one of them!” –Ethan, showing the intensity and creepiness that made me cringe in fear every time I saw him on the screen in the seasons that would follow. 
Best Moment: So you see, there’s this hatch (we don’t know it yet, but come on).
Episode MVP: Christian, who showed in a few short scenes why Jack strives to be so good and yet reacts so miserably when he is.

Whatever the Case May Be (#1.12)

Review: With the first season episodes, it’s a little funny watching, as I know the answer to basically every single mystery that’s coming up, and other than peering into the little hidden treasures and hints of things to come that Carlton and Damon have thrown around for us, it’s really only as compelling as the characters decide to make it that week.  This week, Kate was able to give us a couple of hidden delights (I love the way that Evangeline Lilly’s eyes change when she’s become caught and when she’s trying to pretend she’s gotten caught, and the subtle difference between the two).  However, as a whole, this storyline’s meat was less interesting than the profound effect it had on our befreckled Annie Oakley (the plane wasn’t really the most compelling enigma they ever threw at us).  On the island, continued strife between Sawyer, Jack, and Kate, Locke and Boone making no progress on the Hatch, and Shannon and Sayid’s budding romance all were kind of a snooze, though I loved the chemistry between Rose and Charlie, as she woke him from his pity coma.
Hurley Dude Count: Not a one, and we could have used a little more Hurley this episode.
You’re on a Deserted Island?: There is no way that some of these people would continue to be this pale after weeks in nothing but sun and sun.  And Shannon better be thankful this island is cancer free after weeks on end of sunbathing.
Best Line: “Impact velocity. Physics my ass.” -Sawyer
Best Moment: Kate, coming out of the jungle, to take the case (you knew it was coming but the reactions from both Lilly and Josh Holloway are priceless).
Episode MVP: Sorry, Kate, but Rose really owned this episode in her couple of scenes, acknowledging the blessings as well as the curses of this island.

Hearts + Minds (#1.13)

Review: It seems interesting that a character like Boone would only be on the show for less than a season, as his visage has appeared so frequently through the years in flashbacks and sideways plane visits.  In reality, he only received this one centric episode, and it contains that heeby-jeeby scene where he sleeps with his stepsister.  The storyline is an interesting psychological dip into the Island, however, as Boone struggles to figure out what is real and what isn’t, and realizes that Shannon being in his life is a poor idea.  The rest of the Islanders have a rather fun time, even if no mysteries are revealed or even progressed-Kate and Sun bond over the English secret, Hurley and Jin go fishing, Jack and John have a conversation that suspiciously mirrors a certain Season 5 finale.  One has to wonder if the show had let Shannon die rather than Boone, how things would have progressed and if this character could have had some time for more psychological torment.
You’re on a Deserted Island?: Okay, with Boone’s biceps and Shannon’s legs playing a central role in this episode, it’s time to acknowledge it-was this a flight designed by  With Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Claire, Sayid, Sun, Jin, Ana Lucia, Eko-it sure seems that way.
Dude Count: Thanks to the fishing with Jin, Hurley’s back to his dudetastic self with 6.
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Calling Detective Calderwald Croc Hunter, Sawyer makes his very small mark on this episode.
Best Line: “Your wife’s hot.” –Hurley, pointing out the obvious to Jin to test his English-speaking abilities
Best Moment: Boone, confessing to John Locke that he wishes his sister was dead.
Episode MVP: I’ve got to give this one to Boone, as the way he wrestles with the way Shannon, Locke, and the Smoke Monster toy with him simmers throughout the episode.

Special (#1.14)

Review: Possibly the most annoying trait of the show (no, not the polar bears-I heart them to pieces), was the way that Michael’s answer to every single scene was to shout Walt’s name into the hot Island night.  This episode started the beginning of this trend, with Michael and Walt’s (oddly, the latter’s only flashback) strained lack of a relationship explained.  The off-island storyline was again more compelling than the one on the island (which seems odd, because starting with the opening of the hatch, this was almost never the case).  A lot of mysteries ensued (mostly, why did Michael want so desperately to keep his son?), and there was a showdown with the polar bears that was deliciously enthralling.  However, Michael really only became interesting seasons later when he went over to the morally gray (and even dark) side.  This was a solid intro of one of the show’s least intriguing characters (Michael), with not enough attention to one of its most enigmatic (Walt).
Hurley Dude Count: All in the beginning, two dudes to Jack.
Signs of Things to Come: Walt, getting exactly what he wanted out of the animals-happens all the time.  One wonders why Vincent is so immune.
Unsolved Mysteries: Walt-I have a feeling this one will never be explained, but why was he so special?
Best Line: “You hit like a ponce!” –Charlie, to Sawyer, and no, I have no clue what it means.
Best Moment: The showdown with the polar bear-a thrilling ride of “who will make it out?” proportions.
Episode MVP: Walt, always a mystery.

Homecoming (#1.15)

Review: Charlie-centric episodes are a conundrum.  I love Charlie, but more so when he is supporting another person, rather than getting to be the center of the storyline.  When he’s at the center, he oftentimes appears to be all the things that he worries he is: selfish, impetuous, short-sided, and at times, downright stupid.  There are some killer scenes going on in this installment, from the ultimatum that Ethan gives Charlie (never enough William Mapother), and that final break-up scene with Lucy, but overall this simply tied into a (soon to be unraveled) bow the Ethan storyline.  I loved the ending of the show, however, as it’s always greatly rewarding for the crew to end on a softer note, rather than cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger.
Hurley Dude Count: Just once, and to prove how filler this episode is, I don’t remember when it was.
Really?!? with John: Two things-one, Charlie killing Ethan was stupid on his part, and I honestly don’t believe that he would do that, no matter how flighty he sometimes is.  However, the second thing is, one could argue that by killing Ethan, he almost certainly killed Ana Lucia, Libby, and Michael, all of whose deaths were caused by confusion from the very elusive Others.
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Hoss for Jack, one that I think you have to be from the South to understand, but I have actually used this one to refer to Jack before.
Best Line: “Why did you take the job?” –Lucy, exasperated in one of the best cameos in the show.
Best Moment: See best line.
Episode MVP: Sally Strecker as Lucy (the Moose)-heartbreaking, and still resonating.

Outlaws (#1.16)

Review: And we start inching back up the trail.  After five weeks of rather middling episodes (by Lost standards-other shows they would have been the top of the line), we’re brought back to the excitement, and we didn’t even have to go to the Hatch to do so.  Sawyer’s journey doesn’t progress the Island plot at all, but it’s so juicy and wonderfully revealing that I can’t help but love it.  There’s the revelation of Sawyer as a man who could truly commit murder, and that the real Sawyer is still at large in the world, though clearly not in Australia.  I also loved the playfulness between he and Kate, while going through a most-revealing game of “I Never.”  To top it off, we get amusing moments from both Sayid and Locke (the latter, having what would be an iconic moment of not even flinching when Sawyer pulled a gun on him).  The ending sort of just happened, but the rest of this is cut-above middle-of-the-season delight.
Hurley Dude Count: Again, just once.
Sawyer Nickname Alert: An all-time iconic one, Sassafrass.
Best Line: “It was the 80’s.” –Sawyer, on why he wore pink.
Best Moment: I really want to go with Locke, randomly coming across Sawyer and Kate (and really, why don’t more of these conversations get interrupted/eavesdropped on by the other 40 people on the island), but I have to go with that delightful game of “I Never.”
Episode MVP: The boar…kidding, from start to finish, this one is some top quality Josh Holloway.

In Translation (#1.17)

Review:  A killer character study of Jin and Sun, and Daniel Dae Kim’s finest hour in the series.  We start out with a burning raft, and we are then treated to the heartbreaking dissolution of a marriage.  Jin’s past is something that is rarely explored in the series (this is, in fact, his only solo flashback), but it's a killer, quite literally.  Jin, haunted by the father he realizes was perfect, and tormented by the father he had earlier hoped to have, must contend with accusations of arson and betrayal on the Island and off.  The sendoff of Jin and Sun’s marriage, which really needed a break to realize how much they loved each other, was heartbreaking and added an extra poignancy to this excellent hour of Lost.  We are left wondering and hopeful, and it has one of the funniest endings in all of Lost-dom (though really, is there any other funny ending to this series?).
Hurley Dude Count: 1
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Bruce, Chief, and Torchy, all for Jin.
Iconic: And so we bid farewell to Hurley’s walkman, one of the early icons of the show.
Get Out the Kleenex: Jin and Sun’s breakup was the first time that I ever cried in this series.
Best Line: “We’re not the only people on this island, and we all know it.” –Locke, finally admitting what everyone else was avoiding saying.
Best Moment: The break-up of Jin and Sun’s marriage, absolutely devastating, makes for some arresting television.
Episode MVP: Daniel dae Kim, knocking this one out of the ballpark.

Numbers (#1.18)

Review: In our long-awaited first run with Hurley, we get a look at a very troubled man behind the fuzzy one-liner demeanor.  Potentially crazy (not yet confirmed, but looking that way), a man who has been given the good fortune of millions of dollars, and the poor fortune of having it bring nothing but bad luck.  The on island storyline is decent too, with the introduction of the enigmatic numbers, which would begin to show up everywhere, as if an omen that the island is influencing this scene.  Hurley oftentimes gets some flack for not being entwined enough in the drama of the show, and his episodes sometimes veer into massive comic relief, but this is a snappy, delicious tale of signs and bumps in the night.
Hurley Dude Count: The motherload (that’s not a fat joke)-14.
Major Bummer: We never got to see the look on Charlie’s face when he realized that Hurley IS worth $156 million.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: The numbers-what’s their purpose?  Why did Lenny hear them?  Why do they bring misfortune?
Best Line: “She says hey.” –Hurley, relaying a message from Danielle to Sayid.
Best Moment: Hurley, lifting the unsuspecting Danielle off the ground, for finally agreeing with his curse theories.  Followed quickly by Claire’s birthday present of her crib.
Episode MVP: Hurley, so good on the sidelines, proved that he can more than handle the center stage.

Deus Ex Machina (#1.19)

Review: This is perhaps where the show truly began for me.  It was no longer a mere curiosity, it was no longer an excellent, bump-in-the-night sort of thriller, but in fact something more-something to ponder, something…higher.  It’s also the moment where the Island storylines would remain the more interesting aspects of the story.  Everything is in this episode, which of course features the one-and-only John Locke at its core.  There is deception, in the form of the most sinister father to enter Hollywood’s psyche since Noah Cross.  There’s a fascinating island co-storyline, with John Locke’s paralysis returning as he tries to unlock the mysteries of the hatch.  There’s even a hilarious side story about Sawyer needing glasses.  And yet, in those final moments of the episode, we are treated to something more-the light coming from the hatch, and a man so lost, he’ll desperately cling to anything, including a metal hole in the middle of an uncharted island, to find purpose.  And, as luck would have it, the meaning of his life would be hidden behind that door.  It’s a masterpiece, and the start of something wonderful.
Get out the Kleenex: For anyone who has ever had a doubt about a decision, the final two scenes, both featuring our exasperated John Locke, will have you clinging for hope amidst the tears.
Hurley Dude Count: Just once.
Best Line: “How long since your last outbreak” –Jack or “It looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter” –Hurley-a necessary tie.
Best Moment: Locke, pounding on the Hatch, and suddenly he sees the light.
Episode MVP: You could make the argument for Cooper, but this is really John’s moment in the sun (or in this case, in the depths of hell).

Do No Harm (#1.20)

Review: For those who worried that they had accidentally turned on ER this week, they are to be forgiven.  Between Boone’s death and Claire’s birth, this is by far the bloodiest and most medical episode of the show.  It doesn’t quite live up to the standard of the previous episode (what could?), but it’s still a thrill ride of an episode, and one where the Island storyline overshadowed that off the island, even with the off-island one being as intriguing as the suddenly married (at least at some point) Jack.  In one of the truest ensemble pieces of the series (picking an MVP is a difficult one when basically everyone brought some game), there’s something missing (maybe the divine of the island), but instead we get the divine of everyday life-love, birth, acceptance, and most jarring, death.
Hurley Dude Count: Just one (but kudos on not fainting over the blood, dude).
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Mamacita, for the mamacita to be. J
Main Character Body Count: Boone, the first person to receive star billing to die, bites it as part of an accident due to Locke’s flights of fancy across the island.
You’re on a Deserted Island?: Boone’s teeth, even as he’s dying look like they were just bleached earlier that morning. Never mind the obvious mascara and hair gel.
Best Line: “She likes me.” –Sawyer, so over confident, referring to Claire.
Best Moment: Claire’s birth, complete with dancing-and-hugging Jin and Charlie (birth, apparently is the universal language).
Episode MVP: I’m giving it to the chemistry between unlikely pairs, whether that’s Sawyer and Claire, Jack and Sun, or Charlie and Jin.

The Greater Good (#1.21)

Review: There are a couple of episodes that I rarely think about at all (very few, as I always think about Lost, but they exist) and I am occasionally curious why-are they of little consequence to the overall storyline, and really just a way to jump from Point A to Point huh?  This would be one of those episodes.  This could have been titled The Greater Petty, as that’s basically what everyone is doing.  Jack condemns Locke without so much as noticing what happened, Shannon goes traipsing through the jungle shooting Locke for a reason I still don’t understand, Sayid is willing to sell out a large number of people for the chance to be reunited with Nadia, and basically everybody but Charlie (of all people) is acting almost stupidly out of self-interest.  It’s a routine episode, with only comic relief to lend to it, along with that killer truck scene in Sydney. (D)
Hurley Dude Count: Two
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Okay, it isn’t Sawyer, but Turnip Head for Aaron is both hilarious and rather apt.
Really?!? with John: Shannon, trying to kill John Locke.  For starters, you constantly treated Boone like crap on and off the island-do you even care that he’s dead, or are you on a prima donna high?
Best Line: “John, no more lies.” –Sayid, closing the episode on a high note
Best Moment: Sawyer, reading from a car magazine to little baby Turnip Head.
Episode MVP: Sawyer, so funny as he has to entertain the baby.

Born to Run (#1.22)

Review: You always have to feel bad for the person who takes the penultimate (not really, but “Exodus” is a two-parter) episode of the season.  They want to save every good juicy detail for the finale, and so really there’s nothing for this one to share except setting up the spike.  Kate’s interactions with her mother are heartbreaking, to be sure, with her own mother turning her back on her (typically it’s the fathers, but Kate’s the only one who hits the hardest with the mama issues), and she watches as the man, the only man she ever loved, dies.  But this is bogged down by a “who poisoned Michael?” storyline a little too similar to “who burned the raft” a few weeks earlier.  All-in-all a middling episode, one brought down considerably by the 'is it Sawyer or is it Kate?' who will be fourth on the raft question that ultimately mattered very little in context to the series.
Hurley Dude Count: Not a one-and we needed one this week.
Really?!? with John: It’s been less than a week since Ethan kidnapped Claire and killed Scott-shouldn’t we be talking Others more often?
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Puddin’ and Sweetcheeks for our darling Ms. Austen.
Best Line: “Don’t open it.” –Walt, always so eerie-how did he know about the hatch?
Best Moment: Walt, so creepily telling Locke not to open the Hatch.  The question becomes-why?  What would have happened if they had just ignored the Hatch?
Episode MVP: Kate, but only for the off-island scenes and that final “me too.”

Exodus, Part 1 (#1.23)

Review: From start to finish, a blissful ride; the second part gets all of the credit, as we officially go down the rabbit hole in that episode, but this one’s a doozy too.  Every single flashback is relevant, even Shannon’s as she tries to incarcerate Sayid and proves how she does and doesn’t need her brother.  There are better ones, of course, with Kate pinning down Edward, Jack meeting Ana Lucia, and Sun’s sneaky smile about speaking English.  There really isn’t anything to put down in this episode.  Quite frankly, it’s the only episode in the entire series up until "The End" that I think, had this been the series finale, I would have been okay with it.  The iconic launching of the raft (one of the best moments in the history of Lost) steals the show, but there’s also the trek to the Black Rock, the haunting black smoke, Rousseau’s warnings about the Others.  The next week may be even better, but this was a killer and a thriller.
Iconic: First view of the Black Rock and the black smoke.
Get Out the Kleenex: For me, it’s always about Jin and Sun with the tears, so their goodbye got me.
Hurley Dude Count: Four, mostly directed at Leslie with his bitchin’ name.
Sayid Laugh Alert: Sayid, for the second time, laughs on the show as the raft is launched.
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Or should I say Arzt Nickname Alert, because Madame Nutso is a delicious one.
Best Line: “I think Leslie is a bitchin’ name.” –Hurley (oh Hurley) J
Best Moment: The launching of the boat, one of those great moments in television history.
Episode MVP: With this so spread out, I’m going to give it to the horribly funny Leslie Arzt (so easy, even a ninth grader can pronounce it).

Exodus, Part 2 (#1.24)

Review: And so we say goodbye to Lost’s first and probably best season, and head down the long winding road to the present day.  I’ve heard that the writers only planned the first season out, and then planned out the next five seasons.  While I question this, one could definitely believe it.  The series quite frankly could have ended with the two-part Exodus, and it would have made sense-this show needs mystery.  Thankfully, it didn’t, and we can enjoy this as a cliffhanger rather than a horizon.  The show is littered with iconic moments, from man of faith/science to the black smoke to the blowing of the hatch.  Like Part 1, everyone brought their A-Game, and in what is the longest episode in Lost until the finale, we really give everyone their moment to shine.  In the final moments, though, this becomes one of the best episodes in the history of the show, particularly with Walt’s kidnapping and the blowing of the hatch.  The legendary Locke/Jack rivalry came to a head-there’s so much to say about it, but at the end of the day it can be summed up with the photo above-looking ahead to the madness that would come from opening Pandora’s Box.
Hurley Dude Count: 4, including an hilarious one as Arzt becomes “bits of Arzt.”
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Always with the Star Wars references, Han and Chewie for Michael and Jin.
Iconic: Is there a scene that isn’t iconic in this episode?  It may be the most borrowed from episode after the pilot.
Unsolved Mysteries: It’s going to be mentioned several times in these write-ups, but what are the criteria of who gets kidnapped?  It’s obviously not just candidates.
Best Line: “We’re gonna have to take the boy.” –the creepiest, most horrifying line I’ve ever heard on television, by the soon-to-be-named Tom Friendly
Best Moment: Taking the boy, just above looking down the hatch
Episode MVP: Umm, everyone?  If I had to pick one, I’d go with John Locke, realizing his destiny.

Best Episodes

1. Exodus, Part 2
2. Deus Ex Machina
3. Exodus, Part 1
4. Walkabout
5. Solitary

Worst Episodes

1. Born to Run
2. The Greater Good
3. Whatever the Case May Be

Best Moments

1. The French Distress Call (Pilot, Part 2)
2. Locke Sees the Hatch Light (Deus Ex Machina)
3. We’re Gonna Have to Take the Boy (Exodus, Part 2)
4. Launching of the Boat (Exodus, Part 1)
5. Looking Down the Hatch (Exodus, Part 2)
6. The Whispers (Solitary)
7. Opening Shot of the Smoldering Plane (Pilot, Part 1)
8. Live Together, Die Alone Speech (White Rabbit)
9. Yelling at the Walkabout Director (Walkabout)
10. Sun Tries to Leave the Airport (House of the Rising Sun)

Number of A+/A Episodes: 4 (Exodus Part 2, Deus Ex Machina, Exodus, Part 1, and Walkabout)

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