|Henry Ian Cusick [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
The best thing about this season was that it came just after the writers got their end date. They started charting a nerdy course to the end. We believe strongly in end dates for shows. In our perfect world, shows would get six season and then be forced to end. They can end earlier if they are lame and no one likes them, but after season six, shows should be done. That way, shows don't meander, fail to show us the Mother, have seasons that don't go anywhere, and have characters who can never grow.
This season didn't abandon flashbacks, showing that LOST still had them in its back pocket when they were needed. Now the show could skip back and forth in time as much as it wanted (which would prove useful for season five). The first flashback episode of the season was the second one, Confirmed Dead, which showed us the pasts of all the new characters from Not Penny's Boat. That episode got us excited to get to know them better. Season four also spent a lot of time developing the science-y, time-travel-y element to the show. It took a lot of risks, but they worked. It also had some creepy moments, as well as the one time the smoke monster really worked for us.
We got new characters. Some of them worked and some of them didn't. We loved the C.S. Lewis reference with Charlotte, but that character never realized her full potential. We felt like the writers had ideas of where to take her and then dropped them, turning it into a love story instead. A love story that didn't work. Cool-looking actress though. Then we had Miles, another lame character. He took the show to a repetitive place, and tended to annoy rather than bring sympathy or even laughs.
We preferred Frank Lapidus, the pilot, and Daniel, of course. Daniel just had a lot to DO on the show, even aside from all the crying we had to endure from him. He knew the island's secrets and ended up being a more important character than he was a character we liked. He had a strong role to play. Frank had a few cheesy lines and stupid Hawaiian shirts, but we liked his attitude. He was happy all the time and seemed to roll with the punches easily.
One of the great things about this season was that not everyone on the boat was evil (like we expected; why did we expect that? Apparently, we'd never seen LOST before?!!) The captain wasn't even evil! The ship baddie was Keamy, a man who scared Leeard a LOT. Keamy brought significant deaths: Carl, Rousseau, and Alex. That was one of the times viewers felt the most strongly for Ben. He wouldn't give his life for his daughter, but he believed he could still get them both out alive. Mid-horrible tactic, she was shot. Then the smoke monster's best moment happened. It must have been the darkness, the wrath, or the emotional resonance, but when the smoke monster took on Keamy and his men, it wasn't silly anymore. Maybe they spend more money on the special effects. Anyway, it worked. The smoke monster was finally scary.
We were disappointed in the Oceanic Six. The six people they chose to get off the island were the most predictable characters to make it. It made us worry about favorites though. We found out (in the Michael episode) that the island can keep people alive even when they are off the island. That was like something out of a Stephen King book. We loved it. We also needed to spend that time with the Michael character after he'd been away for so long and was about to become (briefly) important again. We needed Michael to have screentime to get closure on his arc. We're so glad they killed him. We also liked seeing young Locke grow up and have that gripping interview with Richard. Locke, you should have gone to science camp. Science is cool! This season also featured a flashback to the '50s. Nice. His mom was always cray.
Let's talk great episodes. First, The Economist. Sayid's tragic flashforward hour where he romanced a woman to get to her boss and then was revealed to be (GASP) a hit man for Ben could not have been creepier. In the best way. That woman had the best taste in evening gowns too. Also, Ben and Sayid were hanging out in Ern's favorite city, Berlin. Bad ass. Sayid is the greatest Muslim TV character of all time. No stereotypes there. Abed from Community is a close second. Really, anyone either a) not on 24 or b) who doesn't blow something up is a great Muslim TV character. It's pretty rare, unfortunately.
Another great episode was The Shape of Things to Come, and not just because that's an amazing episode title. Everything about that hour had us holding our breath. Alex dies, and in the last scene, Ben confronts Widmore and threatens Penny's life. After watching The Constant, we were like, "No no NOOOO." In one episode, we felt so horrible for Ben and then went right back to hating him. It was all-in-all a gut-wrenching, brilliant episode.
We already mentioned that we think The Constant is the best episode of this show. It mixed sci-fi with a lot of heart, plus the possibility of key characters losing their minds. It was so different and risky, but then it pulled off the best romantic moment on this show with lines that should have been cloying. Instead, it made Ern cry. Not just once, but every time she's watched it (which is, like, six times). LOST didn't always work in the romance department, but it did here.
Sidenote: We don't think Charlie and Claire were a good couple most of the time. One time, this guy trying to date Ern said that this was his favorite couple on the island, and Ern was thinking, "Oh man, I can't date this dude. He'll bring me fake peanut butter and try to baptize my dog (or something). His taste in romance is, at the very least, suspect." Ern let it go though, mostly because single dudes who even watch good TV don't grow on trees.
Disappointing episodes? Eggtown. This was the one where Kate went on trial for murder and walked away from probation. First of all, that's unlikely. Second of all, we didn't need a whole episode for this. Someone could have just discussed Kate in a conversation. "Oh yeah, she got probation so she could raise her son and because Jack lied for her. He's still in love, you know?" "Oh, okay, cool." Done. We didn't see anything new here. On the island, Sawyer and Kate can't make it work, which is fine because they weren't meant to be together anyway. (Sawyer and Juliet!!)
The sole good moment was the icky scene at the end where we found out Kate was raising Aaron. It raised two questions: 1) What happens to Claire? 2) Is Kate "another," so will her raising Aaron be bad for him and everyone else? Of course, we never got a satisfying answer to the second question, unless "another" only meant "an other" (like, don't let The Others get him). We weren't satisfied with Aaron's arc. He was kind of like Walt. He seemed important, but then he wasn't.
The Other Woman was another dud. It focused on flashbacks from Juliet's affair and her inability to get along with his wife, Harper. The present-day action was wasteful, with Juliet trying to stop Daniel and Charlotte from bringing disaster on the island!!! Oh, but wait, there was no disaster. Everything's fine. Snore. Sure, we found out that Charles Widmore was in charge of Not Penny's Boat, but that wasn't exactly a mindf***. We liked when Ben went all insane like a baby and said, "YOU'RE MINE" to Juliet, but then that was ruined with Jack kissing Juliet in the present. He was defying Ben's possessive, murderous revenge...which never even came. And was never even attempted. We hate when shows set things up and don't follow through. Waste of an hour, for sure. Entertaining though.
Another one we didn't like was Ji Yeon. First off, it was manipulative in a bad way. Most LOST episodes are manipulative, but this one, with its parallel flashbacks and flashforwards, took the cake. One of us never connected with Jin and Sun as a couple, so that didn't help. We found out Jin was dead. (Only not really. Another fakeout. Ugh.) Sun had a baby. Snore snore snore. If she had died from island complications, that would have been interesting. The episode could have been clever with real emotional resonance, but it wasn't there. We just felt tricked for no reason.
Something Nice Back Home bugged us because it finally got Jack and Kate together only to have them break up for a stupid reason. It wasn't even particularly hot. They lost whatever chemistry they had in the first couple of seasons by this point. We waited this long to see them as a couple, and we got this boring episode out of it. Jack has issues. We get it.
While we liked the finale, it should have been better. It was the weakest of all six LOST finales. It was exciting, watching the island disappear was great, and we liked seeing how everyone got to where they ended up in the flashforwards. Still, moving all those pieces took up most of the episode and stole all the time the show had to make a good story to leave us with. The show knew how to redeem itself though: it gave us a Desmond death scare followed by his reunion with Penny. Yay for happy endings!
The Beginning of the End: A-
Confirmed Dead: B
The Economist: A
Eggtown: D (remember, this is compared to other episodes of LOST, not all other shows.)
The Constant: A+
The Other Woman: F
Ji Yeon: C-
Meet Kevin Johnson: B-
The Shape of Things to Come: A+
Something Nice Back Home: F
Cabin Fever: B+
There's No Place Like Home parts 1 and 2: B-