Saturday, 30 January 2010

Lost Countdown: The 7 Best Non-Finale Episodes

Lost is known for its feature length, mind-blowing finale's. They've become almost a signature, and I think by and large their repeatedly excellent execution has what's kept people coming back to Lost, because I'm told it can drag at times. But in the spirit of the contrary, a list of it's great one-off episodes seems entirely the kind of thing I would do. Lost is certainly inconsistent and does not by any stretch of the imagination keep a consistent level of quality week to week. One week it can legitimately blow your mind and leave you thinking you're watching the best show ever made. Then its followed by a Kate episode (No disrespect to Evangeline Lilly, who can be a good actress at times, but her character's episodes are almost without exception complete balls.) and things get swiftly back to underwhelming. But through the years the show has certainly had its moments.

7) The 23rd Psalm
Remember Mr Eko? Man was that a long time ago. But unless my memories deceive me he was a relentlessly awesome giant guy with a giant stick which he whacked people with, which was pretty much the extent of his character until we got to this episode where his backstory was laid out in a suprisingly affecting and impressively acted manor. Powerful stuff. Even heavy Charlie screentime was tolerable here.

6) The Man Behind The Curtain
We all knew Ben's first flashback episode was going to be good, because come on it had to be, but The Man Behind The Curtain is one of the most mythologically rich yet thematically satisfying episodes Lost ever produced. Emerson has always been dynamite to this show, but any episode where he is paired heavily with Terry O Quinn (Locke) is pretty much the best the show ever got. O' Quinn was and is the only actor who Emerson doesn't blow of the screen on Lost, which makes their arc, of which this episode was arguably the most satisfying, possibly the best thing on the latter series of the show.

5) Confidence Man
I think the fact that Josh Holloway was such a good actor caught everyone by surprise. We were there enjoying our two-dimensional southern stereotype, generally being an asshole and making us laugh. But this episode gave Holloway such a terrific platform to make his character someone worth paying attention too, and he came through with flying colours. An emotional yet manly episode, which is fitting.

4) One Of Them
Many characters have got a shaft on Lost, but none so undeservingly as Naveen Andrews' Sayid. Sure he had a cool bit in season 4, but he was in the previous two seasons for roughly about twenty minutes a piece. There was however this particular diamond in the rough, nestled in between a series of quite unremarkable season 2 midseason episodes. There's the introduction of Henry Gale sure, but this is a great piece of television because Andrews makes it a great piece of television. Its a near perfect example of small screen acting.

3) Walkabout
The first episode really, where Lost showed you it could be more then you thought it could be. Its terrificly written by Buffy alum David Fury, and created television history in our first real moments of John Locke, who was certainly my favorite thing about the first season and possibly all seasons after that. An inspired creation that the show never really knew what to do with.

2) Numbers
If there was ever a better WTF episode of anything, I really want to see it. Every second of numbers leaves you enslaved in an endless cycle of OMG. There's even a bit with a rope bridge. The numbers are on the hatch! They all gonna die! Hurley getting screentime! All pretty awesome really.

1) The Constant
Because as a cynical dude, who so often hates the way Lost has gormlessly tried to evoke an emotional response, I found the time they really got it right turned out to be spell-binding. A terrific high-concept one-off episode, combining Henry Ian Cusick's soulful manicism as Desmond with some genuinely great writing, a phrase I use sparingly in regard to this show, its one of those times you just have to sit back and let something amazing happen before your eyes.

1 comment:

Tom Clift said...

The reveal at the end of Walkabout is absolutely heartbreaking

I agree about The Man Behind The Curtain (and any other Ben-centric episodes). Emerson is the best thing about Lost.

I also really love Greatest Hits, Charlie's last flashback episode

Also, just randomly, I think the worst episode of the show is probably Enter 77 (I think that's what it's called - the one where they discover The Flame station). Sayid really got the short end of the stick in seasons 2-3 (thankfully then they introduced flashforwards and he became totally badass again)