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In flashbacks, Jack becomes obsessed with finding out who Sarah left him for. He decides it’s his father and attacks him at an AA meeting. Sarah bails Jack out of jail and tells him that Christian fell off the wagon. It’s all Jack’s fault. On the island, Sawyer and Kate are kept in old polar bear cages by the Others, and Jack is in a Dharma station called The Hydra. A teenager named Karl is also in a cage, and he tries to escape, using Sawyer as a diversion. They are both caught and Carl is moved. We find out that Ben is the others’ leader, the others have a modern settlement on the island (complete with houses and electricity), and we meet Juliet Burke, a blonde sent to befriend Jack.
This episode’s title is a funny way to start the season because season three is truly “the best of times and the worst of times.” It has some great, legendary LOST episodes, heavy on creepiness, mythology, and jaw droppers. It also has some of the worst episodes and a mostly terrible first part of the season. It was good to start with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, but what the Others were doing with them wasn’t particularly interesting. It ended up being all about Jack, but couldn’t the writers have come up with a purpose for Sawyer and Kate as well? The opening scene of this episode was incredible, as was the introduction of Juliet. It took a while for us to trust her, and with good reason. She’s one of the most mysterious, complicated female characters on LOST, and we love how the actress portrayed her. The flashback was sad and went a long way toward explaining Jack’s usual behavior. Still, the episode should have had more forward-moving plot because it was a premiere.
Episode grade: B-
The Glass Ballerina
In flashbacks, Sun’s father walks in on Sun having an affair, so he orders Jin to kill the man. Jin beats him up instead (a scene we saw in the first flashback), and Jae kills himself by jumping off a building immediately after, because of the shame. On the island, Ben offers to take Jack home if he goes with Ben’s plan once Ben decides to reveal it. Kate and Sawyer have to smash rocks. Sawyer kisses Kate. Sun, Jin, and Sayid fight on the sailboat until an Other boards and Sun shoots her. The Others steal their boat.
This should have been the third episode. By now, we want to see the aftermath of the hatch imploding, not some boring tripe about how Sun lies to her husband. We know Sun lies to Jin. We were sad that she had an affair. We don’t think it was necessary to their story. All the sailboat events were boring, even Colleen’s shooting. The interesting parts were Jack, Kate, and Sawyer’s scenes, and nothing really happened there anyway. We liked the scene where Ben showed Jack footage of the Red Sox winning the world series to prove that Ben had contact with the outside world. Often, LOST would drag its feet with a dull main plot, but then save the episode with a slamming final scene. This was one of those times.
Episode grade: D+
In flashbacks, Locke joins a commune, but then he ruins it. On the island, no one died from the hatch imploding, which is nice. Locke and Charlie save Eko from a polar bear, and Hurley finds out that Desmond can see the future. We liked the sweat lodge and the vision. No one is really a fan of the commune flashback, but we didn’t hate it. We thought it went a long way toward characterizing Locke further. He’s a screw up who wants to fit in and have a purpose as well. He wants a family and he wants to not mess things up for everyone, like he always does. Yeah, it’s weird, but we thought the episode’s real disappointment was that the post-hatch danger was a freaking polar bear. It redeemed Charlie a little bit though.
Episode grade: C
Every Man For Himself
In flashbacks, Sawyer cons a fellow inmate to get out of prison (and get some reward money for his daughter he just found out he had). On the island, Ben cons Sawyer into thinking that the Others planted a pacemaker in Sawyer’s heart that might kill him. Colleen (the woman Sun shot) is rushed to Jack and Juliet for surgery, but she’s too far gone and dies. Her husband beats Sawyer up. Kate admits she loves Sawyer. Ben reveals that they are being kept on a separate island, so there is no way Kate and Sawyer can escape by running away. Sorry Sawyer, you bored us. We don’t care about your daughter or your prison deeds. The heart thing we got all flustered over turned out to be a trick. Cute bunnies though, and Evangeline Lilly can sure act.
Episode grade: D
The Cost of Living
In flashbacks, Eko takes over as town priest after Yemi’s death, replacing his brother, and he kills to protect the town’s inhabitants. On the island, Eko tries to defend his actions to the smoke monster, but it just kills him. Juliet tries to get Jack to kill Ben during the spine operation Ben needs. We loved the video Juliet made and the music that accompanied it. Eko’s death was so lame. We hated his speech about how he didn’t sin. Um, yeah, he did. We’re glad the smoke monster ate him. By this time in the series, we didn’t care about him at all, so a flashback was boring and unwelcome. Then he died, making it an even bigger waste of time. We think, overall, the Eko character was pointless because the show was forced to kill his character before his time. They had to let the actor go.
Episode grade: D-
In flashbacks, Kate marries a cop and tries to live a normal life. She even calls the federal marshal and asks him to leave her alone. After realizing she doesn’t “do taco night,” she confesses everything to her husband, drugs him, and then runs away. On the island, Kate and Sawyer have sex, and Jack sees it. Jack stops Ben’s surgery to give Kate and Sawyer a chance to escape.
We know this episode doesn’t have a good reputation, partly because it was a mid-season cliffhanger that frustrated viewers at the time, but we liked it. We love Nathan Fillion from Firefly, Dr. Horrible, Blast from the Past, and Castle. He was a LOST fan dreaming of being on the show before he was on it. He seems like a really cool guy. His presence alone made this episode for us. He’s such a sci-fi staple that he had to make it on LOST at some point, just so he could be a small part of it. It might have been cool to bring him back to see Kate after she got off the island. Too bad they didn’t. We can’t decide if the sex scene was personal and hot, or disgusting because of where they were and the lack of baths.
Episode grade: B-
Not in Portland
In flashbacks, Juliet is a fertility doctor who is able to impregnate her sister, despite her sister’s cancer. Richard Alpert from the island interviews her for a job with “Mittelos Bioscience,” recruiting her to be an Other. She can’t take the job because her ex husband is a dick, so Richard arranges for him to get hit by a bus. Ethan shows up too. On the island, Alex helps Kate and Sawyer escape, as long as they take Karl with them. Juliet shoots Colleen’s husband, saving Kate and Sawyer. Jack finishes operating on Ben.
This is where the season finally started to pick up some steam. It was about time for a Juliet flashback. The stuff with her sister and her work was endearing and made us like the character where we didn’t before. Not only did this episode bring the heart, it was also SO CREEPY and introduced Richard Alpert. The brainwashing room was also eerie. We liked the “ye olde wookie prisoner” trick, as well as Jack’s surprising successful finish of Ben’s surgery. Finally, the main characters were out of their cages and the show could move forward. Great flashback, great on-island plot. This is what makes a good LOST episode. This was the best episode LOST could have returned from its hiatus with.
Episode grade: B+
Flashes Before Your Eyes
In flashbacks, Desmond remembers what happened to him after the hatch imploded. He was transported through time back to an important day with Penny. It was the day her father told Desmond that Penny was out of Desmond’s league and Desmond broke up with her. On the island, Charlie and Hurley try to get Desmond drunk so that he will tell them why he can see the future. Desmond pounces on Charlie after Charlie calls him a coward. Desmond reveals that Charlie is going to die.
Opinions differ on this episode. Some people think it’s annoying that it’s mostly flashback. We can’t believe some people hate this episode. It’s weird, it’s wild, it’s emotional, it’s exciting, it’s scary, and it gave us Eloise Hawking. Everything that happened in this episode ended up being important later. The time jumping, Charlie’s imminent doom, and the Penny relationship all cropped up. It’s one of the first really nerdy episodes of LOST, and it also redeemed the hatch implosion by showing us that there was actually a crazy consequence. We’d been waiting for that. This is a home run.
Episode grade: A+
Stranger in a Strange Land
In flashbacks, Jack sleeps with a woman in Thailand and she tattoos him. Then some dudes come beat Jack up. On the island, Juliet stands trial for killing a fellow Other, but Jack and Ben save her from the death penalty. Instead, she is marked. Jack and the Others leave to go back to the main island. This is notorious for being the worst episode of LOST. We agree that the flashback was pointless and boring, but the on-island plot wasn’t that bad. We were still entertained. The fact that we enjoyed this episode just goes to show that the worst episodes of LOST are still better than most things in life. We were actually worried for Juliet. There are some decent Kate and Sawyer scenes too. The story behind Jack’s tattoos were a letdown. No one really cared about his tattoos, but if you are going to bring that back story up, it needed to be worth hearing.
Episode grade: F
Tricia Tanaka Is Dead
In flashbacks, Hurley’s dad comes back after being absent from his life. Winning the lottery makes a guy popular… On the island, Kate and Sawyer make it back to camp broken up/fighting. Hurley finds a Dharma van in the jungle and gets it to run. Kate sets out to rescue Jack. A great opening scene (with an expensive explosion) starts off an underwhelming episode about Hurley’s daddy issues. The van stuff was fun and classic Hurley. There’s nothing wrong with a little hope and joy on this show every now and then. The on-island plot fit the show’s most uplifting themes, even if it seemed like a repetitive time-waster coming after a bad episode. We weren’t digging the flashback though. We hate Hurley’s dad and cringe every time he’s onscreen.
Episode grade: B-
In flashbacks, Sayid is kidnapped by the husband of one of his former torture victims. She forgives Sayid and tells her husband to let Sayid go. On the island, Locke, Sayid, Rousseau, and Kate find a Dharma communications station where they meet Mikhail, a Russian other. Locke blows up the station, pissing everyone off. They take Mikhail prisoner and march him into the jungle. At camp, Sawyer loses to Hurley in ping-pong and has to refrain from using nicknames for a week. This is possibly our favorite Sayid flashback. It’s powerful. While it doesn’t amount to much later, it’s a great standalone story. We also meet icky Mikhail, which is exciting. We like him. We also get some information about the Dharma Initiative. The ping-pong contest was adorable. There wasn’t a dull moment in this entry.
Episode grade: A
In flashbacks, Claire meets her father, Christian Shepherd, for the first time. She rejects him. Claire’s mother is in a vegetative state after a car accident in which Claire was driving. On the island, Claire tries to use birds to send messages off the island, and Desmond tries to keep Charlie safe. Locke tests a sonic barrier fence by pushing Mikhail into it, causing him to foam at the mouth and collapse. Sayid, Locke, and Kate cross the fence and make it to the Others’ camp where they see Jack happily playing football. Ugh. This episode. The bird thing was pointless and felt like the writers stalling for time. The flashback is only fun to watch the first time. Claire looks better blonde, but she looks nice with black hair too. The best moment was when Locke “kills” Mikhail, and the last ten seconds were pretty good too. It’s not a bad episode (again, none of them are), but it doesn’t crack the top 80.
Episode grade: D
The Man From Tallahassee
In flashbacks, Locke’s father pushes him out of a window, paralyzing him from the waist down. On the island, Locke, Sayid, and Kate are captured trying to get to Jack. Jack doesn’t need their help, because Ben has agreed to release him and Juliet on the Others’ submarine. Then Locke blows up the submarine, ruining everything. Ben shows Locke that he has Locke’s father here, on the island, locked up in a room. We finally find out how Locke was paralyzed, and the show doesn’t disappoint with that reveal. The flashback is almost painful to watch. The ending was a jaw-dropper, and we like how the show prevented Jack and Juliet from leaving just yet. Exciting, gut-wrenching, and entertaining all the way through.
Episode grade: A
In flashbacks, Nikki and Paulo’s time on the island is detailed, as well as their relationship history. Paulo wants Nikki. Nikki just wants some diamonds they stole. In the present, Charlie tells Sun he kidnapped her. Nikki and Paulo are bitten by a spider that paralyzes people for eight hours. The survivors think the couple is dead and accidentally bury them alive. Man, LOST sure knows how to kill annoying characters. No one liked these two, so the show decided to stall for time by making an excellent standalone episode about greed. We love the sick way it ended and feel like the whole episode was a lot of fun. Best stalling ever.
Episode grade: C
In flashbacks, Kate befriends Cassidy (Sawyer’s lover he conned/Sawyer’s baby momma) and tries to visit her mother, who doesn’t want to see her. On the island, The Others and Locke leave. Kate, Sayid, Jack, and Juliet are left behind. Hurley cons Sawyer into being nice to people. Hurley’s con was the best thing ever. (We’re exaggerating, but still, it was adorable and clever.) Kate and Juliet had good scenes together, and it was good to see that Cassidy wasn’t a huge waste of time since she cropped up again and has a connection to Kate. Not that the flashback was super good. In fact, it was kind of boring, like a lot of Kate episodes are (What Kate Does being the most boring). The on-island action saves it.
Episode grade: C+
One of Us
In flashbacks, we see Juliet’s early days on the island. She is unable to save the pregnant women on the island from mysterious death, but Ben won’t let her go home to be with her sister. On the island, Jack, Kate, Sayid, and Juliet arrive at the main camp, and no one trusts Juliet until she saves Claire from an illness. The illness that turns out to be a ruse concocted by Ben to help his mole, Juliet, win the survivors’ trust.
This is an episode where the on-island action is both misleading and not that interesting, but the flashback intrigues. The Goodwin affair was interesting, but the best part was when Juliet saw footage of her nephew. This is the episode in which we really started to trust Juliet. Yeah, we thought she was a mole by the end of the episode, but we knew her motives. She just wants to go home. As long as what she’s doing gets her closer to home, we can trust her to do it. She’s not a bad person, and she’s not a manipulator. She’s just desperate, and we feel for her.
Episode grade: B+
In flashbacks, Desmond tries to be a monk, but that doesn’t work out. He meets Penny soon after. On the island, Desmond has flashes that convince him Penny is about to parachute onto the island, but in order for her to be successful, Charlie has to die in the jungle. Desmond leads Charlie, Jin, and Hurley into the jungle, but he is unable to let Charlie die.
The on-island action was better this week. Penny and Desmond’s first meeting wasn’t epic enough to really live up to their great romance. Is everyone on this show Catholic? The monk stuff led to nothing. It just showed us that Desmond has a lot of trouble finding his place in the world, something we knew about him before. It wasn’t creepy or funny or anything. It’s the lamest Desmond episode, but it moves things forward with the arrival of Naomi, and Charlie nearly dying was exciting. We’re glad Desmond couldn’t lead him to his death.
Episode grade: D+
In flashbacks, Sun is blackmailed by Jin’s biological, prostitute mother, and Sun meets Jin’s wonderful father. On the island, Juliet gives Sun a sonogram in the Dharma medical station, confirming that the baby is Jin’s, which is bittersweet because it means Sun might die. Mikhail is alive and helps save Naomi, who reveals that Oceanic 815 was found, but there were no survivors.
The Naomi reveal was a mindf*** we loved. The Sun story was one of the best, sweetest Kwon stories in LOST history. We love Jin’s father and that entire flashback plotline. So, so nice. Finally, we were relieved that the baby was Jin’s. Remember, we didn’t like the adultery anyway. Who freaking does? The episode gets good marks for being so dang heartwarming, as well as showing one of the show’s only good fathers one more time.
Episode grade: A-
In flashbacks, Locke is trekking with the Others, and Ben is trying to get Locke to kill his father. In real time, Locke gets Sawyer to go kill his father for him. Turns out, the man from Tallahassee is the original Sawyer. Locke episodes are almost always winners, and this is no exception. The on-island flashbacks and present-day actions were equally enthralling. A prominent Sawyer plotline was closed. We were annoyed that Locke always has someone else do his dirty work, but we understand that he can’t kill his own father. Richard started emerging as a character to watch, separate from Ben’s authority. This one is tragic. And perfect.
Episode grade: A+
The Man Behind the Curtain
In flashbacks, we see Ben as a little boy with a really mean dad who blames him for his wife’s death in childbirth. Ben joins the others, grows up, and kills his dad…along with most of the Dharma Initiative. In the present, Ben takes Locke to meet the Others’ leader, Jacob. After Locke hears Jacob, Ben becomes jealous and shoots Locke, leaving him in a mass grave. Juliet is revealed to be working with Jack against the Others and Ben.
Ben is a liar. He wasn’t born on the island. That wasn’t the episode’s only surprise or revelation. This one answered major questions: What happened to the Dharma Initiative? Who was Roger Workman? Why is Ben such a tool? The stuff with Ben’s childhood crush didn’t amount to anything, but most of the episode was dark, relevant gold. Ben shooting Locke was a shocker worthy of a finale, but we weren’t quite there yet. How freaked out where you during the Jacob cabin scene?!! OMG, we are still freaking out. We were like, “What the hell?” the entire time. Jerk that he is, you can’t hate Ben. He’s just too darn entertaining and complicated. That’s got to be one of the best villains…no, characters...in TV history. He’s a small, cold man, but you feel for him. Perfection once again.
Episode grade: A+
In flashbacks, Charlie remembers the five greatest moments of his life…his “greatest hits.” On the island, Jack prepares for war with the Others because they are coming to take all the pregnant women. Charlie has to swim to an underwater Dharma station to enable Naomi to contact her boat. That way, the survivors can get off the island. Desmond tells him that he has to die in order for them to be saved. We weren’t Charlie fans throughout the first three seasons, but just before his death, LOST made him our favorite character. The flashbacks worked so well. We cried, we cared, we were impressed. Who knew our hearts would break a little over one of our least favorite LOST characters? We loved his connection with Nor too. By this point, LOST was on a roll. Could the finale deliver? (spoiler: oh, hell yeah)
Through the Looking Glass parts 1 and 2
The survivors beat the Others, with a significant assist from Hurley. Naomi makes contact with her boat, but Locke throws a knife into her back trying to prevent the survivors from leaving. Ben agrees that contacting that boat is a deadly mistake. Charlie has success in the underwater station before finding out that Naomi’s boat wasn’t sent by Penny. He is able to tell Desmond this right before he drowns. Stupid Mikhail kills him (and dies for real this time). In flashforwards, we find out that both Kate and Jack get off the island, but Jack screams, “We have to go back!” We only find out the flashes are of the future in the last scene. HOLY F***!
The twist at the end was possibly LOST’s best, biggest surprise. Everyone was fooled. Everyone was impressed. Everyone was pumped beyond belief for the next season. Who knew the castaways could get off the island and the show would not only still work, it would move into its geekiest seasons yet. Seasons four and five were solid. Just about everyone agrees on that. There were only two bad things about this finale. 1) Charlie shut the door on himself and didn’t have to. Maybe it was a moment of panic that killed him, and he was thinking unselfishly (and irrationally). Still, we don’t think his death was necessary, and the show should have had him die in a more convincing way. 2) Jack’s pubic beard. That was hard to look at. Bleck! The show needed a ballin’ finale, and it delivered, blowing would-be contender for the nerd throne, Heroes, away. Heroes turned out to have only one good season. LOST had six. WIN. This episode made us love TV the way we do today and set a bar for twists that has never been topped.
Episode grade: A+