The "Lost" finale aired two years ago tonight. Having already reviewed the finale the night it aired, a month later, and then on the one-year anniversary, I don't have a lot to add on the subject. My opinion remains largely the same — as I said in that anniversary column, some distance from the finale, and seeing what the network TV world was like without "Lost," has made me even more inclined to forgive the show its weaknesses and focus on its strengths — and the sense I get is that everyone else is equally entrenched, whether they liked the finale or found it an insult and a betrayal of the six years they spent watching the show.
So rather than analyze some more, I thought I'd do something simpler, and hopefully more fun, and pick out a collection of some of my favorite scenes from six seasons of "Lost" for you to enjoy if you're feeling similarly nostalgic today. These aren't all of the best scenes ever, or any kind of representative sample; it's just a handful of moments that instantly came to mind when I was recalling how much fun I had watching the adventures of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Hurley and friends over the years. I'm sure you all have your favorites, and if you want to discuss them (or link to them) in the comments, by all means, go for it.
Clips coming up just as soon as I threaten to beat you with my Jesus stick...
"Guys, this isn't just a bear... it's a polar bear." (From "Pilot, part 2"): I could do a post just of iconic moments from the incredible "Lost" pilot, but I've always been partial to this moment that established both Sawyer as a character worth watching and the island as a freaky, freaky place:
"Don't ever tell me what I can't do — ever!!!" (From "Walkabout"): Locke's backgammon lesson is yet another of those fantastic pilot moments, and it's in the series' fourth episode that we find out what his secret was, while also realizing just how stunning and miraculous the show could be. Far and away the show's best use of the original flashback structure, and, like the "College" episode of "The Sopranos," the moment where everyone realized for sure we were watching something great:
"Go back, Vincent! Vincent, go back!" (from "Exodus, part 1"): One of the things that most clearly separated "Lost" from its many bad imitators was the lush, cinematic look and sound of the show, which came from the use of the Hawaii locations, from great directors like Jack Bender, and from the brilliant score of Michael Giacchino. The launch of the raft is one of the moments that best typifies how beautiful "Lost" could be for the eyes and ears (and, for some, the heart):
"You guys got any milk?" (from "The Whole Truth"): Season 2's introduction of Michael Emerson as Ben Linus — a three-episode guest role that suddenly became one of the series' most important characters — is often looked at by "Lost" skeptics as evidence that Lindelof and Cuse had no master plan, and were making things up as they went along. I admit to having been one of those skeptics for that very reason, but as Lindelof explained to me before season 5, the plan was always to introduce a Ben-like character as leader of The Others. They just weren't sure if it would be "Henry Gale" until they saw how the actor worked out, and when they heard Emerson's delivery of this speech (which I can't embed), they knew they had their man.
"There is no curse. You make your own luck..." (from "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead"): On the one hand, the story about Hurley finding and repairing an abandoned VW bus from the Dharma Initiative days had little to do with the larger questions of the series (though the bus itself would come into play in one of the show's best action scenes, and we would later find out the corpse inside was Ben's father). On the other hand, some of the series' best moments had little to nothing to do with explaining what the island was, what the whispers were, etc., and everything to do with understanding these characters and giving them good emotional moments. Hurley's stubborn quest, and the joy that Charlie, Sawyer and Jin ultimately take in it, is marvelous, and Giacchino's orchestral version of "Shambala" at the end one of my favorite music cues of the series.
"Not Penny's Boat" (from "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2"): Like the pilot, "Looking Glass" is an episode where I could just pick scene after scene after scene, from Sayid's break-dance fight that I linked above to the revelation that Jack and Kate were in the future, and that Jack wanted to go back. My favorite, though, is the death of Charlie Pace, one of several characters the show successfully rehabbed before killing (see another of those in my final clip), which works terrifically as both a thriller scene and a heart-breaker:
"Ye answered, Penny!" (from "The Constant"): Not all of the show's attempts at romantic storytelling grabbed me (I never, for instance, gave a toss about the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle), but holy cow did they hook me and a lot of other people once and for all with this season 4 scene where an unstuck-in-time Desmond calls Penny (also not embeddable; follow the link) to reconnect with the person he cares about most in the world, knowing that the connection is the only thing that can save his life.
"Yes, John, I know her." (from "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham): Locke feels like enough of a failure that he's ready to commit suicide, until Ben shows up at his motel flop to give him new purpose — but really, it turns out, to pump John for information so that Ben can once again be the all-knowing, all-seeing one who gets them back to the island. Close to 10 minutes of Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson together; what's not to love? (Other than that it's our last glimpse of John Locke as John Locke before we get to the sideways universe, that is.)
"I gotcha, baby." (From "The End"): Again, I don't find the series finale, much less the final season, to be perfect. There are lots of holes I can poke and have poked at them. But even if the sideways universe didn't seem worth the bother, it provided us with a ton of killer emotional moments in the finale, my favorite of which is Sawyer and Juliet finally finding each other after time and fate and that damn island kept them apart for so long:
"We've been waiting for you." (From "The End"): Jack Shephard is a character who, for me, symbolized all that I found frustrating about "Lost" in its middle seasons. He was stubborn, he was headstrong, he was his own worst enemy and he always — ALWAYS! — asked the wrong questions whenever he was in position to find out anything of value. For a very long stretch of the series, I found myself wishing that Lindelof and J.J. Abrams had stuck to their original impulses and had Jack die near the end of the pilot so viewers would know that no one was safe. But for all my problems with season 6 and the sideways universe, dammit if they didn't rehabilitate Jack in my eyes, to the point where I felt genuine remorse when he died in the series' final moments, having accomplished his mission of saving the island and his remaining friends, watching Lapidus and the Ajira plane soar away while only Vincent was there to provide him company in his last breaths. Ignore the sideways scenes in the church if they bother you; what's happening to Jack on the island is fantastic — not because I was glad to see him die, but because I was sorry.
Okay, those are some of mine. Fire away with yours.
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com