Archives For Top 10 Lists

Note to readers: Do not read this is you haven’t caught up on “Lost” yet. There are spoilers regarding the first five seasons (and Season Six’s premiere) throughout.

So. Um.

That’s all I could think after finishing “LA X,” the final season premiere of “Lost.” That doesn’t mean I’m disappointed. Heavens, no! The episode (once it got going, anyway; the first part was a bit slow) was packed to the brim with tension, action and mythology, and that’s not even including the part everyone is going to be talking about.

Yes, that’s right. The unfortunately-nicknamed “flashsideways,” which portray, apparently, an altered and alternate world in which 815 never crashes, are sure to have fans in a tizzy for the remainder of the season, and they’re quite well done, providing almost as much intrigue as Season Four’s flashforwards. So, in summary, my two syllable reaction up there isn’t borne out of disappointment; rather, it’s borne out of an odd sort of delighted confusion.

The season premiere did clear up a few things, but it created even more mysteries for us to unravel. While that’s exciting, it’s also a little concerning because “Lost” has always been presented with an inherent promise: Yes, we will eventually explain all of this. However, as the show has gone on and the mysteries have piled up, fans have become more and more nervous that perhaps not everything will be solved. Even the writers have hinted that some loose ends are just going to have to remain that way.

But “Lost” fans, for now anyway, are refusing to take no for an answer, and it’s a stand that I sympathize with. Think back even to all of the Season One mysteries that haven’t been answered. What’s up with the polar bears? Who are Adam and Eve? Think about later on in the show. Why is Libby in the mental hospital? What happened to Desmond in that hatch? At least some of these (no, scratch that, most of these) and other ancillary questions will need to be answered without leaving the audience with a big letdown, and none of those things I just mentioned even made it into my top 10 list.

Speaking of which, let’s get down to business. Below are the 10 mysteries (along with their related questions) that the writers need most of all to solve. I have decided that all of these mysteries should take the form of a question—in fact, it’s the question that every “Lost” fan finds him or herself asking the most: What’s going on?

10. What’s going on with the numbers?

I used to not think this was that big of a deal, but then I rewatched all of the episodes and realized just how many things hinge on that little numerical combination. Hurley wins the lottery (and scores of bad luck) with them, Rousseau crashed because of them, they’re the numbers you had to put in to reset the button and so much more. There really are a lot of things tied into those numbers, and silence about them would be incredibly frustrating.

Granted, I’m not saying that we need to have a complex breakdown of the significance of each numeral or anything like that. I just want some semblance of an explanation for their existence.

Corollary Questions: Where did they come from? Is their imprint on the hatch intentional, or is that just a numbering system? Why do they cause bad luck? Most importantly, why were they being broadcast from the island?

What Are Our Chances? It’s not looking good. The writers have always shied away from a concrete explanation, and it seems like there might be too much going on in the final season to get these pesky guys explained.

9. What’s going on with Christian?

Christian is one of the longest running mysteries on the show, even predating classics like Adam and Eve, The Black Rock (more on that later) and the four-toed foot statue. While his fate could be tied up with unLocke/Jacob’s Nemesis, there are some inconsistencies between the two (the most glaring one: where is Christian’s body?) that makes him an enigma all his own. That he’s a fantastic flashback character only adds to my desire that his case be solved.

Corollary Questions: What is he? Did he get resurrected, or is someone or something inhabiting his body? Is he the smoke monster? How did he die? Where is his body in the alternate reality?

What Are Our Chances? His appearance at the end of Season Five (not to mention his weird semi-kidnapping of Claire) indicates that an explanation is forthcoming.

8. What’s going on with Aaron?

Aaron (along with another little boy further down on the list) is one of those characters who either makes “Lost” fans go “I know, right? Why haven’t they addressed that yet?” or “Oh yeah… I forgot all about that. What’s up with him?” Either way, Claire’s special little tyke hasn’t made an appearance for quite some time, but that doesn’t let him off the hook. That he has not as of yet shown any sign of being special (nor has his being “raised by another” shown any deleterious effects – toward him, anyway) just serves to heighten the questions surrounding him.

Corollary Questions: Why is he special? Why should he be only raised by Claire? What is his life like right now? Did Desmond really see Aaron and Claire get into a helicopter? Is Claire pregnant with him in the alternate timeline?

What Are Our Chances? It’s unclear. His character is still pretty young for an actor to give him much gravitas, but he was so prominent in Season Four that you’d think he’ll be back in some form this year.

7. What’s going on with Richard?

Ah, Mr. Immortal. While Richard says in late Season Five that Jacob made him the way he is, that doesn’t answer what exactly the way he is is, nor does it explain how he got to the island or what his purpose is on it. Since his introduction in Season Three, he’s always been an engrossing character. Now if they would only give us some clues….

Corollary Questions: Where did his compass come from? How does he know unLocke? He’s met Kate in the past and the present; shouldn’t he realize this? Where did he come from? How and why is he immortal? Did he know who Sawyer was when he gave Locke his file? What did unLocke mean when he told him it was good to see him “not in chains”?

What Are Our Chances? Given that Nestor Carbonell has become part of the main cast for the first time, I’d say things are looking good.

6. What’s going on with The Black Rock?

Here’s another Season One mystery that hasn’t been touched. This mysterious boat has been good for a holding cell, some dynamite and some in-poor-taste-but-still-hilarious gag humor (by the way, wasn’t it great to see Arzt in this last episode?), but the fact that it exists at all has yet to be explained. Perhaps the weirdest thing is that it’s in the middle of the island rather than wrecked up on the shore.

Corollary Questions: Is that the boat Jacob saw in “The Incident”? Why is it in the middle of the island? What was its purpose? Why does Widmore bid on the ship’s ledger? Why did Tovard Hanso (a relative of Alvar Hanso, mentioned briefly in the Dharma orientation videos and much more in non-canonical sources) own the ledger in the first place? What happened to the crew?

What Are Our Chances? I’m really hoping that this one gets solved. Many fans speculate that Richard has something to do with the boat. If so, the chances are greatly increased.

5. What’s going on with Walt?

Walt is another Season One mystery whose enigmatic attributes were showcased time and time again, and his occasional appearances since have repeatedly pushed him back into the audience’s mind. Love him or hate him, Walt was one of the first supernatural elements on the show, and perhaps the very first to be blatantly identified as such. Much has been made over a Season Six’s first promotional poster in which Walt was the only one-time main character to not be included, but the writers have said that they may need to address his powers in a different way because of Malcolm David Kelley’s age. Hmm.

Corollary Questions: What are his powers exactly? Why did the Others do experiments on him, and what were they? Why is he special? Why and how does he appear to people on the island? What do his dreams mean? Why is he wet and talking backwards when he appears to Shannon?

What Are Our Chances? The writers have said they’re going to try, but the flashsideways make things difficult. Unless executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have something really different up their sleeves, Walt can’t be in the alternate timeline because of the age factor. However, the announcement that Michael will be returning to the show in some form gives me reason to hope.

4. What’s going on with the multiple realities?

This one bumped “What’s going on with Desmond?” off the list (Sorry, Des). A careful analysis of the season premiere’s flashsideways (like the one shown here)  shows several small and big differences between the characters’ appearances, seating positions, situations, emotions, etc. This will be fodder for endless debate, including the question of whether the timeline change would have really caused all these things to happen differently (for example, would the detonation of Jughead make alternate-Charlie have a different haircut?).

However, these changes are only part of the mystery. The island is underwater, but it does not appear to be devastated by a hydrogen bomb, and, perhaps most significantly of all, Jack appears to have a weird sort of déjà vu about the whole situation. Could it be that he sort of remembers his island days?

Corollary Questions: What do all of these changes have to do with the bomb’s detonation? Was the bomb’s detonation really the impetus for the timeline break? Is the alternate timeline even real? Do the two timelines need to be reconciled? Why was Claire on the plane if it wasn’t supposed to crash? Where are the missing passengers? Does Jack partially remember his other self? Does this create a time paradox, as Jack could now never be on the island to detonate the bomb (yes, yes it does)? Did fetus Daniel die on the island? Was Penny never conceived because Widmore died there too? What happened to everyone on the island? And, most importantly (to me, anyway), why was Desmond on the plane? Was he really there? Was it part of some sort of time jumping?

What Are Our Chances? Since this has been introduced so late in the game, I have a hard time believing it won’t be solved, unless it ends up being something akin to “this is what life could have been like for them…,” which is doubtful (and also incredibly lame).

3. What’s going on with the Dharma Initiative?

Thought Season Five provided enough answers about this? Ha! Think again. In fact, think really hard and see if you can tell me what, exactly, the Dharma Initiative actually does. I’ll wait.

OK, time’s up. If you said “research time travel,” congrats! You’re as right as anyone can be at this point, but it’s painfully obvious that much more goes on with the group than the work at the Orchid. They clearly stuck around after The Incident (which I still say was the bomb’s detonation), and even before that there are questions. The Swan station doesn’t appear to be related to time travel, but Radzinsky was building it anyway. And we can’t forget the weird apparent second purpose of all of the stations, as some sort of weird psychological test (remember this thing?) (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Capsule).

Corollary Questions: Why the polar bears? Where else does the DI operate? Why does Charlotte find the Dharma bear fossil in Tunisia? What did they do after the Incident? How did Dr. Chang lose his arm? How did Radzinsky end up in the hatch? How did Kelvin end up on the island? How did they come to exist? What goes on in Ann Arbor? Why are the food drops still coming? Most importantly (to me), what’s up with the Pearl’s dumpsite and the lie that the Swan is all a psychological experiment?

What Are Our Chances? Honestly, not good, and it will really disappoint me if some of those issues aren’t addressed. However, with all of the characters back in the present and the flashsideways taking up more screen time, all the writers have promised is that there will be more information about the Ann Arbor connection.

2. What’s going on with the Others?

This one seems self-explanatory. These odd people have been on the Island a long time (even predating the Dharma folks), but beyond their loosely defined role as guardians, no real explanation has been given as to their purposes or origins. With new revelations about their temple in “LA X,” they now seem more confusing than ever. Are those new guys at the temple Other Others? Lastly, we can’t forget the epic feud between Ben and Widmore. What’s it all about?

Corollary Questions: What is the difference between the temple Others and the regular Others? What is their actual purpose and origin? What are the “rules” so often mentioned by Ben and Widmore? What are they even fighting about, anyway? How does Eloise fit into all of this? Why can’t they have kids? Why did they kidnap Walt? Whose temple is it? Why do they have a love/hate relationship with the Smoke Monster? What does the spring do, and why is the water dirty? Why don’t they jump through time when the wheel is turned?

What Are Our Chances? Some of this stuff is sure to be addressed, but I have a feeling that other things will remain unanswered.

1. What’s going on with Jacob/The Island/the entire mythology?

Now we get to the crux of things. While the island’s surroundings have clearly been the source of many conundrums over the last five seasons, the island itself has been an oddity since the very beginning, starting with the smoke monster in the pilot and ramping up in Season Three and beyond with the introduction (as an idea, if not in the flesh) of Jacob. While the smoke monster mystery was (kind of partially) laid to rest in “LA X,” details regarding its relationship to Jacob, Jacob’s relationship to the Others and Egyptian mythology, the Egyptian mythology’s relation to the hatch timer and on and on are still unknown. Considering this actually becomes a little daunting if you do it long enough, as you realize that there really, really is still so little that we truly know.

Corollary Questions: What are Jacob and the smoke monster/Jacob’s Nemesis/unLocke? How did the U.S. Army find the island? What happens to the Others now that Jacob is dead? What does all of the Egyptian symbolism have to do with everything? Did the island really call everyone to it for a reason? Why is it displaced in time? Why does it have all of these special properties, and what do they all do? Why is Jacob able to be killed, and unLocke isn’t? Why does the ash stop the smoke monster? Why does the smoke monster judge people? What was going on with the cabin? Why was the ash broken? Why does the island give people visions? What do Jacob’s lists mean?

What Are Our Chances? Some of this is guaranteed to be answered, but so much mythology has piled up that answering every question and query seems like a truly gargantuan task. It now appears that the main question on every fan’s mind is an overarching one: How much of the fog must be cleared for the show to come to a satisfying conclusion?

For more “Lost” lists, check out Ryan’s blog or his GooseRadio list of the 10 best episodes

Twin Cities TV guy Mark Rosen induced a cauldron of glee & happiness across the Upper Midwest this week when he reported that the Minnesota Twins had laid the groundwork for a new 10 year contract with the great Joe Mauer. Then, fast a flash, other media bigwigs collectively said that wasn’t the case. It was an emotional roller coaster for Twins followers, giving us hope – bedecked in a catcher’s mask, sideburns and bearing league batting titles – and then ripping it from our phalanges.

The experts are pretty resolute in saying that Mauer (who remains under Twins control for this coming season, but would be a free agent after) will remain in the land of lakes long term, and that a contract will probably happen very soon. All the same, having the jolly news proffered to us and swiftly grabbed back like this makes us realize (once again) just how much his remaining in a Twins uniform means. It got me pondering. There can’t really be THAT many things in our world which are as important as Joe Mauer remaining in this verdant paradise that is the Upper Midwest. Off the top of my head, I thought of 5

1. The Life of Christ

Clearly the redemptive story of Jesus eclipses the retention of Joe Mauer. What with being born of a virgin, living a sinless life, trekking right over a body of water with his feet, coming back to life after being slain by Romans and crazed clerics, and saving the world - you just don’t top that. Even by leading the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage.

2. Your grandmother

They’re the nicest people around. They play games with you and generally humor you when you’re tiny, energetic, and unspeakably annoying to be around in everyone else’s opinion. They oftentimes hoard candy and cookies for you – even when your parents say you’ve had enough. You know she’s awesome. She’s as important as Joe Mauer re-signing with the Twins.  But she’d be so much happier if Joe stayed…

3. Churchill’s Decision Not to Negotiate

When people think of World War II, they think something to the effect of – ‘Boy, that was no fun. But it did blow the beans out of an insane, murderous, mustache sporting dictator and a committee of insane, pre-Toyata military dictators in Tokyo.’ But imagine if the analysis was altered and the dictators had won. Many historians believe that’s precisely what would have happened had British Prime Minister Winston Churchill not refused to consider negotiating with Hitler in May of 1940.

France had just been played like a fiddle by Hitler’s armies, Russia was a German ally, and the United States was officially at peace with the Third Reich. The only power on earth standing between Der Fuhrer and European domination was Great Britain. Despite the bleak state of Britain’s military situation, Churchill tenaciously refused to take the advice of some fruit loops within his own government (and the incompetent founder of the Kennedy dynasty and America’s ambassador to Britain – Joe Kennedy) and approach Germany for surrender terms. Instead he declared, “We will never surrender…. Never. Never. Never…”

Churchill’s decision to stick it out, logic be darned, was and is as important as Joe Mauer re-signing with his hometown team. BUT, my guess is that Churchil would have negotiated… with Joe Mauer…

4. Jack Bauer on 24

The entire world threatens to fall apart at its very seams. The US government is infiltrated by a terrible and dangerous person. Nuclear holocaust threatens to consume this terrestrial ball and all those dwelling upon it. There is only one man – Jack Bauer – who can possible save us all. Unfortunately, he is currently being imprisoned for murder by someone impossibly evil – someone who’s really behind everything and has framed this good man to take the fall. Jack must free himself, rescue someone’s aunt, unlock an encrypted computer program, and battle Chinese assassins. THEN he can start think about saving the world. And did we mention there are only 24, 60 minute episodes until everyone is blown to bits and ruthless terror grips the land?

This whole scenario is currently playing itself out for the 8th time. You can see it Monday night’s on the Fox moving picture network. Jack Bauer’s efforts at world preservation are, in fact, as important as Joe Mauer re-signing with the Twins.

5. Barack Obama’s TelePrompter

If the weight of the free world rests upon one man’s shoulders, those are the shoulders of our President. And our President would not be in the position he is today (insert your choice of approval rating one liner) without his ability to command and hold the attentions of the teeming masses of his countrymen and women via his eloquence. AND, there is equally no doubt, that the Commander in Chief’s wordplay owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the machine with the scrolling text upon its screen that notify Obama what shall next emanate from his mouth during a speech.

Therefore, with the eyes, ears, and hopes of the Western World riding upon its steel frame and glass screen, President Obama’s TelePrompter is our last item which is – indubitably – just as important as Joe Mauer’s re-signing with the Minnesota Twins.

Note to readers: Spoilers throughout. Also check out the list of Lost’s 10 Mysteries Yet to Be Solved.

 

Murder. Intrigue. Heartache. Affairs. Paternity surprises.

 

Sound like a soap opera? What if you throw in some of these? Time travel. Monsters. Polar bears. Hydrogen bombs.
Well, there’s no doubt now. We’re talking about “Lost.”

When it debuted in 2004, ABC’s science fiction drama was a lot of things. Thrilling, mysterious, character driven and weird would all be good adjectives (although perhaps not science fiction – yet). As the season premiere of the final season rapidly approaches, “Lost” remains all of these things, but it’s also become something more.

 

For one thing, that it is a science fiction show is now beyond argument, as the Dharma hatches, electromagnetism jibberjabber and aforementioned time travel have all shown. For another thing, it’s taken on its own mythology, most prominently in the season five finale, when we finally get to meet Jacob. Finally, it has taken all of those attributes which I had previously ascribed to it and blown them all up into something huge.

 

“Lost” has become big in every way that matters. It has one of TV’s most rabid fan bases, it can boast perhaps the most puzzling conundrums, and its willingness to not only delve deep into the pasts of its characters but to kill them off when it helps the story displays a narrative integrity not often seen in primetime.

 

Thus far, “Lost” has aired 103 episodes, most of them filled to the brim with intriguing story and compelling characterization. This article narrows down the 10 best, but first, just to keep Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse humble, here are this usually wonderful show’s five worst episodes.

 

5. The Little Prince

Central Character: Kate

 

I had to get a Kate episode in here. While her on island moments are interesting at times (mostly because of the other people in them), her flashbacks are almost uniformly bad. This one isn’t as bad as some of the others, but, as the fourth episode in Season Five, it does get a little tiring.

 

“This Place Is Death” excluded, the “time jump” episodes get a little old, primarily because they’re nearly indistinguishable. In the past, crazy time travel shenanigans are taking place. In the present, dramatic declarations and teary eyed arguments are the norm. It all seemed like filler until the Oceanic Six finally crashed down yet again.

 

Worst Moment: While this episode does have a few bright spots, the weird “oh, so you don’t know that Aaron’s your grandson” moment is a bit much, and Kate’s teary eyed demeanor is annoying throughout.

 

4. Hearts and Minds

Central Character: Boone

 

In the five seasons “Lost” has aired so far, it has often been jokingly suggested that “Hey, maybe all of this is just Hurley’s crazy dream!” While the writers (fingers crossed) have thus far seemed to reject such a conclusion, they couldn’t help but use it in this Season One episode, when Boone thinks that Shannon has been killed by the Smoke Monster. Whoops! Turns out that Locke was just being a jerk by intentionally cleaning his head wound with a psychotropic drug.

 

There are a few redemptive moments about this episode, but only a few, the biggest one probably being that first brief glimpse inside of Locke’s unstable psyche. The bad moments, however, are there for the picking. It’s just too bad this was Boone’s only episode before he kicked the bucket.

 

Worst Moment: It’s a tossup between the entire premise of the episode (ie, “it didn’t happen”) and the uncomfortable stepsibling romance going on in the flashbacks.

 

3. Dave

Central Character: Hurley

 

Don’t get me wrong; some of the more hallucinatory elements of “Lost” are plain good fun, but the previous entry and this Season 2 outing fit better into the lame category. Dave, you’ll remember is Hurley’s (irritating) imaginary friend from his mental hospital days. He now is hanging out on the island, apparently trying to convince Hurley to commit suicide.

 

This all gets a little too silly, with Dave hurling shoes and coconuts and Hurley disgustingly shoving peanut butter into his gob. Also, the resolution with Libby seems a little bit contrived, leaving the audience wishing that they could know more about what’s happening back at the hatch, where Ben has finally admitted that he’s not Henry Gale.

 

Worst Moment: While all of Dave’s appearances on the island are a little dumb, the winner here might have to go to the flashback “twist” that Libby was in the mental hospital. I might take it back if it’s ever revealed why she was there, but I kind of doubt it.

 

2. Outlaws

Central Character: Sawyer

 

This one pains me to mention, as it contains one of “Lost’s” better flashback arcs, but the on-island plot is never as dumb as this Season One clunker where Sawyer seeks revenge on a gallivanting boar. The attempts at slapstick fall flat, the chase itself is pretty boring, and only the revelation of why Sawyer was in Australia keeps you from skipping out.

 

And let’s not forget the ultimate sin, shall we? Is the audience really ready to believe that the boar represents the spirit of Frank Duckett? Are we truly to imagine that Sawyer’s ultimate refusal to shoot this smelly Pumba absolves him from the guilt he feels over killing an innocent man? Once again, Locke is shown to provide very questionable advice.

 

Worst Moment: I can’t decide if it’s Sawyer’s willingness to pursue a boar into the jungle in the first place “because he messed up my stuff,” or if it’s his smarmy decision to show it mercy in the end.

 

1. Stranger In A Strange Land

Central Character: Jack

 

This episode is almost universally cited by fans as the series worst, and guess what? The fans are absolutely right. While the on-island events (Kate and Sawyer fight, Jack tries to keep Juliet alive, many meaningful romantic looks are exchange by all) are something of a snoozer to begin with, they can’t even begin to compare with the wild bout with inanity faced by Jack’s Thailand flashback.

 

Was there really anyone out there who was dying to know where and why Jack got his tattoos? Even more relevantly, is there anyone out there who cares about any minor mystery so much that they would willingly sit through a hackneyed, nonsensical and faux-“exotic” flashback arc like this one and then say “totally worth it”? I think not.

 

Does anyone really even understand what happened in this episode? Jack is apparently vacationing in Thailand, then he meets a cute and mysterious girl with whom he has sex, then he suddenly becomes inexplicably angry and demands she give him a tattoo, and then he is beaten savagely by some natives. An explanation for these events is not forthcoming.

 

Worst Moment: Jack’s bullheaded demands that Achara tattoo him.

 

OK, now onto the more positive part of this list.

 

Here now are the 10 best episodes of “Lost’s” mostly illustrious run. Hopefully Season Six can carve out a few places here, too. Think I missed a good one? Tell us so in the comments section!

 

10. There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 1,2 and 3

Central Character: Ensemble

 

I was going to fill this spot with the Season Five finale, “The Incident,” and indeed a list of “Lost’s” greatest moments seems lacking without the episode when you find out Locke really is dead, but there’s no better season finale than Season Four’s three-part clincher.

 

Meant more than any other episodes to be watched back to back, “There’s No Place Like Home” is a movie length climax to “Lost’s” best season, and there’s no shortage of gripping moments. From Michael’s heroic end to Jin’s supposed death to Desmond’s reunion with Penny to Ben’s murder of Keamy and moving of the island to every single flashforward, this episode is packed with wonderful payoffs to all the characters we loved and hated. This is an episode clearly written with the fans in mind, and its overblown epic quality is a suitable end to one Season Four’s slowly building run.

 

Best Moment: Either Desmond’s reaction to Penny’s boat or Christian telling Michael, “You can go now.”

 

9. Walkabout

Central Character: Locke

 

This Season One episode is one of “Lost’s” best self-contained stories, ending with the reveal that everyone’s most loved/hated boar hunter was in a wheelchair before 815’s unceremonious end. At this point in the show, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” had not yet become the ultimate cliché, and Locke’s struggle with his more independent desires was truly touching to watch.

 

This episode also gives us some of our first insights into what a sometimes pathetic character lies beneath Locke’s balding-yet-buff exterior. His desire to be special first rears its seemingly innocuous head at the cardboard box company, and the first hints of Helen are seen here. This is a benchmark episode for the standalone shows that occasionally marked the first three seasons.

 

Best Moment: While I grew to hate Locke as the show went on, you can’t help but feel good when he realizes he can wiggle his toes again.

 

8. Greatest Hits

Central Character: Charlie

 

While this episode serves mainly as a segue into another episode further down on this list, Charlie’s predeath wake shows the character at his strongest. His realization that he has never wanted to die less than he does now coupled with his knowledge that his death is the sacrifice he must make could have been an exercise in rote melancholy, but it instead puts Dominic Monaghan’s acting chops on full display, giving us Charlie at his very best (well, besides that one episode further down). Desmond also provides the audience with some of his most conflicted acting to date.

 

The writers’ choice to counterpoint the sadness with Charlie’s note to Claire makes for a perfect emotional balance, as the DriveShaft rocker is shown, finally, on the road to redemption. Charlie’s journey on the show is one of the most complete and the most interesting; that it was done in only three seasons makes it a bit sadder for fans, but also a bit better.

 

Best Moment: Either when he writes down “The night I met you” (Awwww!) or when he makes his ultimate decision to go through with mission by knocking Desmond out with the paddle.

7. ?

Central Character: Mr. Eko

 

While Eko’s two other flashbacks (as Nigerian warlord and renegade priest) contain a lot more action, the story of his investigation of a resurrected girl provokes the most interest. It’s an out of place moment for Eko, who usually responds to problems by beating them up. He’s not sure what to think or believe about what he has seen, and it foreshadows the faith he finds on the island.

 

It also features the discovery of the Pearl station, which, coming at the end of Season Two, only serves to add to the mystery of the Dharma Initiative while making Locke’s resolve to keep pushing the button even weaker. It’s also the first episode post Ana Lucia’s death, so you gotta love it, right?

 

Best Moment: Hands down, The bloodcurdling scream on the autopsy tape.

 

6. This Place Is Death

Central Character: Jin

 

This great episode is a relief after a string of relatively monotonous (if sometimes entertaining) Season Five time jump episodes. This time, we get to see what Jin has been up to, and it turns out that what he’s been doing is a lot more interesting than getting nosebleeds and creating compass-based time paradoxes. Namely, he’s been hanging out with Rousseau in the past, and we finally get to see what really happened when “the French chick” made it to the Island.

 

While the filling in of show lore is interesting enough, Jin’s bewilderment (remember, he’s not traveling with the physicist) and loneliness add a nice touch to things. This is simply a story well-told.

 

Best Moment: So many. Jin’s witnessing of Danielle’s slip into insanity (not to mention the rotting severed arm), Charlotte’s warning to Jin and the odd case of the disappearing well spring to mind.

 

5. Orientation

Central Character: Locke

 

While the flashback (Locke meets Helen) is good and the Michael/Sawyer/Jin arc is serviceable, this episode will always be remembered as the one when things really started to get weird. First you get Desmond, who gets even more freaked out than he already is when the computer gets shot. Then, however, you get the doozy.

 

All of the Dharma orientation films have been fascinating, but none so much so as the first appearance by Dr. Marvin Candle, later known as Pierre Chang. His calm demeanor while describing the bizarre circumstances with which the survivors are faced adds another layer to the surreal proceedings, and his allusions to the initative’s former functionality (not to mention the first mention of The Incident) opened up a whole new facet of the show.

 

Best Moment: The video.

 

4. The Constant

Central Character: Desmond

 

This episode is probably “Lost’s” trippiest, and it also marks one of the show’s first outright forays into its then-little-addressed time travel themes. Desmond’s time switches were dire, odd and confusing, building and building to the climactic do-or-die scene in the freighter’s communication room.

 

However, this episode would be nothing without its superb characters, and Desmond, Faraday and even Sayid are played perfectly here. Desmond is the character I most want to see happy when it’s all said and done, and hearing Penny’s voice was happy for the audience, too.

 

Best Moment: The phone call and Desmond’s strange conversation with past Faraday.

 

3. The Long Con

Central Character: Sawyer

 

Sawyer’s character has always been one of the most layered, and nowhere is his duality more on display than in this Season Two tale of how he gets all the guns. His mean-spiritedness and self-flagellation are readily apparent, and the audience is made to realize what a terrible life Sawyer has lived. It’s a story that inspires both pity and revulsion, and Josh Holloway makes it work with his excellent portrayal of the conflicted con man.

 

This episode also contains one of the best integrations of flashback into the on-island story, as his meeting and eventual reluctant conning of Cassidy mirrors his unexplainable thievery and alienation from the rest of the survivors. There’s really not a note out of place here, making it more than deserving of a top spot on this list.

Best Moment: Of course, I have to give the best moment to the surprise twist at the episode’s end, when it’s revealed that Charlie was in fact the mysterious Other who attempted to kidnap Sun. I defy anyone to tell me they saw that coming.

 

2. The Shape Of Things To Come

Central Character: Ben

 

This Season Four episode has everything that “Lost” is known for. You’ve got the manipulation in Ben’s flashforward conniving, a mythology update with the revelation that Ben can summon the smoke monster, some great character moments centering around the death of Alex, and, of course, the action.

 

Oh, the action! This might be “Lost’s” most visceral episode of all time, with Keamy’s attack on Dharmaville, the smoke monster’s decimation of the extraction team, and, of course, the future havoc Ben wreaks around the globe. His domination of the two Bedouins (while wearing the at-the-time mysterious parka) is one of his finest moments.

 

Best Moment: “Oh, so you do speak English?”

 

1. Through The Looking Glass

Central Character: Primarily Jack, but it’s Desmond and Charlie’s episode too

 

Once again, I must defer to the general fandom on this one. “Through The Looking Glass” is one of the most emotional, action-packed, character-driven and just plain watchable episodes of “Lost,” and it never misses a beat. All four arcs (Jack and the survivors, Sayid/Jin/Bernard/Hurley, Jack flashforwards and Charlie and Desmond) are engrossing and well done, and the final moments of two of those arcs have served as defining moments for the series.

 

It really is a great point/counterpoint to juxtapose one of your most unexpected plot twists with an event that had been foreshadowed throughout all of Season Three, and both Charlie’s death and the show’s first flashforward are handled so well. For an episode so gloomy to be so universally lauded takes genuine skill on the part of the writing, acting and production team, and everyone responsible for this one deserves a standing ovation (or at least a firm handshake or something).

 

Best Moment: If this was a normal episode, it would clearly be Sayid’s breakdancing neck snap move, but this is not a normal episode. Between the flashforward reveal and Charlie’s death, I’ll have to go with Mr. Pace. It is unquestionably “Lost’s” best fatality so far, and even the toughest of us might find it hard to keep our eyes from watering.

 

For more Lost lists, check out Ryan’s blog.

10) Bruce Springsteen – Working on A Dream

Working on a Dream Album Cover
As The Boss makes his transition to “seasoned citizen” all of his words on this record seem to carry a bit of wisdom. “Outlaw Pete” is reminiscent of his earlier narrative tunes, but the majority of Working on A Dream is filled with sage advice and anecdotal reflections on a storied life.

Favorite Track: “Life Itself”

9) Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.

The END Album Cover
This was the perfect summer album, carefree and delightfully silly. Plus, “Boom Boom Pow” was the top selling song on iTunes this year. I’m not sure what that says about our culture, but if you can make a song about nothing and sell millions of copies, more power to you.

Favorite Track: “Alive”

8 – fun. – Aim and Ignite

Aim and Ignite Album Cover
Life can get messy, and the boys in fun. know it all too well as they deliver the sordid details of their weekends over syrupy-sweet pop melodies. Featuring some of the catchiest songs in any genre this year, Aim and Ignite was 2009’s most pleasant surprise.

Favorite Track: “All the Pretty Girls”

7) John Mayer – Battle Studies

Battle Studies Album Cover
I know it’s completely cliché for a 24-year-old guy to say, “John Mayer totally get it”, but seriously, John Mayer totally gets it. The allure of Mayer, on this record especially, is that he’s able to communicate the hopes and fears of every twenty-something while making it seem like he’s speaking only to you.


Favorite Track: “Perfectly Lonely”

6) Taking Back Sunday – New Again

New Again Album Cover

After losing an integral band member on less than friendly terms, at least according to the revealing “Capital M-E”, TBS recruited new guitarist/vocalist Matt Fazzi and barely skipped a beat. Drugs, religion, summer romance, failing friendships and a broken engagement all find their place on New Again, letting us know that emo is still alive and well.

Favorite Track: “Everything Must Go”

5) Paramore – Brand New Eyes

Brand New Eyes Album Cover
Apparently Hayley Williams was feeling judged by some folks and decided to respond with an album full of songs judging those who were judging her. Judge. All the finger pointing aside, and boy is there a lot of it, Paramore stepped up their game and crossed the threshold from emo pop-tarts to full-fledged rock stars.

Favorite Track: “All I Wanted”

4) Colbie Caillat – Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Miss Caillat continues to leave me completely smitten as she sings about love in all of its various forms. While there’s nothing particularly challenging here, for Caillat or the listener, that’s also the beauty of the record as she plays to her greatest strength: being down-to-earth and relatable.

Favorite Track: “Fearless”

3) Dashboard Confessional – Alter the Ending

Alter the Ending Album Cover

There’s a familiarity in Chris Carrabba’s tone that balances out the rock god aspirations on Alter the Ending. The combination of the two makes for an instantly exciting record that’s accessible and surprising and gives me high hopes for the future of my favorite band.

Favorite Track: “Get Me Right”

2) David Gray – Draw the Line

Draw the Line Album Cover
Never has so much human frailty been presented with such poise. Visceral and raw, Draw the Line is heavy enough to collapse under it’s own seriousness, but is buoyed by Gray’s delivery and charm. It’s the sound of all the thoughts you wish you could put into words being expressed more elegantly than you ever imagined.

Favorite Track: “Kathleen”

1) Steven Curtis Chapman – Beauty Will Rise

Steven Curtis Chapman Beauty Will Rise Album Cover
This is more than music. This is a journey through every heartbreaking step of the Chapman’s tragic loss. This is a sovereign God triumphing over evil and tragedy. Honestly, words escape me when I talk about this album except to say that it’s truly the most worshipful record I’ve ever experienced.

Favorite Track: “Our God Is In Control”

 

Ahhhh Baseball… just uttering the word leads to pleasant thoughts about hot dogs, fruit pies, and youthful wonder. We often need those thoughts of sunshine and yesteryear as life can be an old horse at times. But baseball too can be a fickle mistress*. Every once in a while, your favorite baseball team will pull in your attention, energy, and passion like some inexorable vacuum. Then, with little or no warning, their success will run its course. They will fall in defeat. You will sit in in front of your television, by your radio, or in your stadium of choice with a glazed expression of mournful disbelief. You will attempt to remind yourself that you are working yourself up over men hitting knit orbs with sticks, but logic will fail to drown out the emotion.

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