Top 10 Episodes: LOST Season 1

Top 10 Episodes: LOST Season 1

MAN….this was such a good show. For a time.

I recently started re-watching LOST with someone who had never seen the series before. (At least in full that is.) Like all of us, there was complete investment and extreme interest in the characters & story for the first three to four seasons. Then, like most of the rest of the world (including our friend Darren), interest was “lost” when the show just got way too confusing,  convoluted, and almost silly.

As we watched those early seasons, I remembered that at the time it was a show like nothing else I had seen before. SO many twists. SO many curious back stories. It was remarkably compelling and downright addicting.

Hardcore LOST fans will be disappointed, as there will be no countdown of the best episodes from season five and six, simply because the quality of storytelling was no longer there, nor are there enough really good episodes to make up a full list. For the first four seasons though, we’ve assembled the top moments.

Here are the Top 10 Episodes from LOST – Season 1.

10. Walkabout

It wouldn’t be fair to say Locke is a favorite character only four episodes into the show, but he without a doubt is the most….mysterious.

(Spoiler alert) Upon re-watching “Walkabout”, it’s easy to see why we couldn’t figure out Locke had been confined to a wheelchair prior to crashing on the island (despite the extreme close-ups of his feet on several occasions). In all his flashbacks he is seen sitting, whether it’s at a desk or on his bed, and in the episodes leading up to this one we’ve seen him on his feet. The emotional payoff of the reveal at the end can’t be matched upon subsequent viewings, but it certainly comes close each time.

We also encounter (in a way) the “monster” from the jungle again in this episode, and Jack has a moment where he can’t quite believe his eyes…and we aren’t sure if what we saw was real either.

9. White Rabbit

In this aptly-named episode, Jack is chasing something and we finally get to see a little bit of his backstory as well. In a good scene between Jack and Locke, we also see for the first time Locke’s extreme faith in the island and what it means to him. It will be the first of many such scenes between the two men throughout the series. The use of sound and Michael Giacchino’s great soundtrack (and sometimes lack thereof) for the parts with Jack’s father appearing in the jungle was very well done and created the perfect creepy, is-this-really-happening mood.

8. Deus Ex Machina

We REALLY start to see just how much this island means to Locke in “Deus Ex Machina”.

We also get a glimpse into his past as well, and it hasn’t been the easiest for him unfortunately. Yet more mystery is added to the island with the discovery of a second downed plane in the jungle, this one entangled high in the foliage, something Locke would talk the ill-fated Boone into investigating. There is also a great dream sequence Locke experiences, with some really good use of bizarre imagery and sound. The B-story in this one is quite entertaining as well, as it turns out Sawyer has been getting intense headaches and the solution is quite comical, from an aesthetic standpoint.

7. Exodus, Part II

It sure must have been difficult to wait an entire summer for season 2 to start after this finale. Some questions are answered, but a raft-load of others are brought up. (We see the monster, but at the same time we don’t…??)

Seeing each of our characters in flashbacks (who at this point don’t know each other) boarding their doomed flight is a great sequence. It reminds us of something we all go through every day: the possibility that any stranger out there could one day play a very important role in your life. The “6 degrees of separation” has been a subtle theme throughout the season, and the show definitely starts to explore that even more from here on out. The discussion between Jack and Locke as they head towards the hatch is an excellent look at two different philosophies on life – man of science vs man of faith. This will certainly not be the last time these two characters butt heads.

The final shot of Jack and Locke peering into the hatch as the camera descends is the perfect way to end the season.

6. Do No Harm

“Do No Harm” sure stretches Jack to his physical (and emotional) limits.

Locke drops off a critically wounded Boone before disappearing back into the jungle, and Jack jumps into action. Sun turns out to be an excellent nurse, as Jack does his best to help Boone (which includes a blood transfer from himself to Boone WHILE he’s working on him). Oh and if that isn’t enough? Claire starts going into labour in the middle of the jungle.

It’s interesting how all of a sudden a cargo container appears in the cave when there is discussion about cutting off Boone’s leg. The juxtaposition of Boone’s demise and the birth of Clarie’s baby is well done, as is the moment Jack tells Shannon of her brothers fate. Jack’s flashbacks deal with him getting married to Julie Bowen’s character, which is weird now to see her in a serious roll after watching her on “Modern Family”.  The 360 degree camera work when Jin is following Kate’s cries for help is effective, and he and Charlie make for humerous, helpless onlookers while Claire has her baby.

5. All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

Claire and Charlie have been taken by Ethan, and members of the group go out in search for them. Up until now the show has been mostly about getting to know the characters and seeing how they are adapting to living on the island, but now there is a true threat (not including the “monster” that’s been alluded to a few times up to this point) in Ethan and the apparent “Others”.  The confrontation between Jack and Ethan in the rain is intense, and Charlie’s near death experience really has you going there for a second. Jack’s flashbacks are pretty heavy too, as he’s forced to decide whether to essentially betray his father in telling the truth about his impairment during a failed surgery that cost a young woman her life.

Oh yeah, this episode is also the first one to introduce us to…the HATCH!

4. In Translation

One of the more emotional episodes of the season, and it deals with the one true couple on the island (despite their struggles): Jin & Sun. Using Jin’s flashbacks we see what he’s made him so hardened, with Sun getting the unfortunate result of this frustration. There’s a pretty powerful scene on the beach when Sun reveals to (mostly) everyone that she can speak English. The moving scene shortly thereafter as Sun tries to explain & reconcile with Jin is a testament to how good of an actor both Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim are. As if that weren’t heavy enough, we flashback to Jin finding his father and apologizing that he has been ashamed of him. Talk about a tear-jerker.

We find out who truly burned Michael’s raft and it’s a surprise culprit. The ending is a good laugh, as Hurley’s batteries in his discman finally give out. It was inevitable.

The one low point of this episode? The solidification of the relationship between Shannon and Sayid. Not the best the decision the writers made as it feels like they were just trying to give Shannon something to do.

3. Raised By Another

Claire finally gets her own story, and at the onset this one might not appear to be much, solely for the reason that up until now Claire has mostly been a background character trying to take it easy due to her pregnancy.

Well – think again. This one packs quite a punch.

Sayid returns from his trek into the jungle with news of others on the island, Claire was apparently set up to be stranded on this island by a psychic, and there is a final reveal regarding one of the passengers that forced another episode to be watched at 4am when first watching the show. That was the power of LOST in the early going, so many more questions than answers were brought up!

2. Exodus, Part I

What a fantastic start to the season finale.

Rousseau, the French woman who’s been stranded on the island for 16 years shows up to the camp to tell our group that “The Others” are coming.

This prompts a flurry of activity, including the launch of the raft Michael & Jin have been building. The episode is full of small little flashbacks from multiple characters, as well as many good-byes between our heroes. Some are leaving on the raft, while others are going deep into the jungle to the “Black Rock” to recover some dynamite in hopes of blasting open the hatch to hide everyone from “The Others”. You get a full spectrum of emotions in this one. Sawyer telling Jack about meeting his father in Sydney days before his death is especially touching. “Star Wars” fans will immediately recognize the dialogue between Michael and Jin, borrowing Han Solo’s line to Chewie from “The Empire Strikes Back”. The mirroring of Jin and Chewie, two characters who don’t speak English, is perfect.

If the soaring soundtrack as the gang launches the raft doesn’t make your chest swell, I don’t know that will. Bring on Part II!

1. The Pilot, Part I

Talk about starting a show off with a bang.

It opens on an extreme close-up of a man’s eye as he wakes up in the jungle not sure how he got there. Michael Giacchino’s ominous music is immediately evident and wonderfully effective. The episode ramps up to full speed from there for the next several minutes as the full disaster of a downed airplane on a deserted island is revealed (and all the turmoil that comes with it). Many characters are introduced, some we learn their names, some we’ll have to wait on. As if being stranded on an island isn’t enough, it would seem the survivors aren’t alone. We hear in the jungle the presence of what sounds like a massive creature, although we never get to see it. We do however, see the result of what this unknown being can do to someone.

And that’s how Part 1 comes to an end.

One of my favorite pilot episodes of all time.

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