The cast and crew of "Lost” will have more produced more than 121 hours of television during its six seasons on the air when the show finishes its run on Sunday, May 23. Out of all those episodes, some are among the best network television has ever produced.
We've compiled a list of what we believe are Lost's top ten episodes to commemorate the end of the series. Please take a look for yourself and then comment if you agree with our rankings or if you think we left off an episode that is better.
10. "The Incident"
The sixteenth and seventeenth episodes can be considered the two-part fifth season finale for Lost.
The title of the two-part finale alludes to an incident that happened on the island which was first mentioned during the orientation film Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) and John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) watched in season two’s “Orientation.”
A number of things are going on in multiple timelines. The flashbacks all concern how the remaining Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 survivors become candidates to replace Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) when he touches them.
A young Kate Austen is visited by Jacob after she is caught shoplifting a New Kids on the Block lunchbox as a child. Jacob pays for the lunchbox so she doesn’t get into trouble. Then he tells Kate to be good.
As a child, James “Sawyer” Ford is given a pen by Jacob to finish writing his letter to the con man, which led to the deaths of his parents.
Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) is asked for directions by Jacob just as Sayid’s wife is hit by a car and killed. While recuperating in a Russian hospital, Ilana Verdansky (Zuleikha Robinson) is visited by Jacob and asks her for help.
Sun Kwon (Yunjin Kim) and Jin Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim) are congratulated at their wedding, and in fluent Korean, Jacob tells them that their love is special. We see Locke on the ground after being pushed out of an eight-story window and apparently dead. Jacob then touches John who reawakens.
Jacob visits Jack and shares a part of his chocolate bar just after the surgeon had finished arguing with his father, Christian (John Terry).
Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia) is visited by Jacob after his release from prison, tells him he is not crazy, and his ability to see dead people is a gift. Jacob leaves a guitar case that Hurley will eventually take back to the island when he boards Ajira Airlines 316.
The one person who receives a flashback but is not touched by Jacob is Juliet Burke. We see Juliet’s parents telling her they plan to divorce because they were not meant to be together.
In 2007, Locke, Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson), and Sun travel with some members of the “Others” to the four-toed statue to meet Jacob. Locke tells Ben he has the task of killing Jacob.
Just after Locke and Ben enter the chamber at the base of the statue, Ilana asks Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) a question, which he answers in Latin. Ilana then reveals to Richard the dead body of John Locke… meaning the man assumed to be Locke that is walking around on the island is really the Man in Black in disguise.
Back inside the statue, Jacob knows who the fake Locke really is, and has tricked Ben into killing him. Ben stabs Jacob a number of times before Locke kicks Jacob’s body into the fire and watches it burn.
Returning to 1977, the “incident” occurs. The Dharma Initiative folks are drilling into the mysterious energy source beneath the construction site of the Swan station. The survivors get into a massive gunfight with the Dharma people. After getting the upper hand, Jack throws the atomic device down the shaft in order to reset the events on the island. Unfortunately, the nuke does not explode.
Juliet (Elizabeth Burke) is dragged down the hole by a metal chain that is drawn to the electromagnetic energy source. After she professes her love to Sawyer, she falls further down chasm. Surprised she is still alive, Juliet finds the bomb and bangs it against the rock until it detonates.
The episode ends in white instead of black leaving it up to the viewers to wonder whether or not Juliet’s actions altered the timeline.
%page_break% 9. "Orientation"
In the third episode of Lost’s second season we learned of Locke’s (Terry O’Quinn) romance with a woman named Helen Norwood (Katey Sagal). The pair gets together after meeting at a support group Locke is attending to deal with his father’s deception.
Locke, however, is having trouble getting over his father and keeps stalking the man at his house. Helen tells him he must move forward and she wants for him to make a leap of faith and come home with her.
This is another example of the duality between Locke, known as the man of faith, and Jack Shephard (Mathew Fox), known as the man of science.
Inside the hatch while alarms are sounding, Locke tells Jack he must take a leap of faith - just trust him and press the button. Jack eventually complies when just one second is left on the countdown clock.
Jacke and Locke watch an “orientation” film with Dr. Pierre Chang (Francois Chau) on the Dharma Initiative and the purpose of the hatch being an electromagnetic research facility called Station 3 or “The Swan.” Jack dismisses the file as a social experiment while Locke believes it should be taken at its word.
This is our first real look at the Dharma Initiative’s intentions on the island as the film has a copyright of 1980. What happened to the rest of the Initiative is for another day.
%page_break% 8. "Ab Aeterno"
The ninth episode of Lost’s sixth season fills in the back story of the mysterious and never-aging Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell).
The remaining survivors are on the beach wondering what to do next when Ilana Verdansky (Zuleikha Robinson) reveals Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) once visited her in a Russian hospital and told her to protect his candidates. Ilana says that, as Jacob’s right-hand man, Richard knows.
Since Jacob was murdered by Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson), he has become very distraught and suicidal. At the mere mention that he knows what to do next, Richard says he doesn’t and leaves the beach-side camp.
Then the episode goes into an extended flashback detailing how Richard got on the island and why he doesn’t age.
In 1867, Richard accidently kills a doctor while seeking out medicine to help his ailing wife. By the time he has returned home, his wife is dead. In prison, a priest visits Richard who is now learning to read and speak English. The priest tells Richard he is to be sentenced to death for the murder and will not absolve him of his crimes.
The priest accepts a bribe, and sells Richard to a slave owner sailing to the New World aboard the Black Rock. Near the island, the ship is caught in a severe storm and runs aground in the middle of the jungle.
The smoke monster ends up killing everyone on aboard the ship except for Richard.
Eventually, the monster appears in human form as the Man in Black, and convinces Richard he can reunite him with his dead wife if he kills the Devil, a man also known as Jacob.
Richard walks to the four-toed statue where Jacob lives. However, before Richard can kill Jacob, Jacob surprises Richard and tells him the Man in Black is the evil being on the island. In return for servitude, Jacob grants Richard immortality.
Returning to 2007, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia), who is now able to communicate with the dead, acts as intermediary for Richard and his dead wife, Isabella (Mirelly Taylor). Richard’s wife says if the Man in Black is able to leave the island, "we all go to hell."
Looking on from a distance is John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) who is actually the Man in Black in his new human form.
The episode ends ominously with Jacob telling the Man in Black he can not leave this island. The Man in Black tells Jacob he will kill him someday.
%page_break% 7. "The Man Behind the Curtain"
The twentieth episode of Lost’s third season is the first tells the story of Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) in flashback.
We learn Ben’s mother died during his birth on the side of a road in Oregon. Ben’s father, Roger Linus (Jon Gries) is aided by Horace Goodspeed (Doug Hutchinson), who stops his car to help the grief-stricken man.
When Ben is seven years old, he and his father arrive on the island where the elder Linus is to work for the Dharma Initiative. Horace greets both Roger and Benjamin.
Ben grows sick of the Dharma ways and runs off to join the “Others,” people who are considered savage natives by the “enlightened” Dharma folk. In the forest, Ben runs into Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) who tells the youngster to be patient and wait for his time.
It is in this episode we learn just how cruel Ben can be. An adult Ben bides his time, and as an adult he kills his father along with the rest of the Dharma Initiative using deadly gas. Richard and the “Others” appear wearing gas masks to take over “Dharmaville“ for themselves.
Meanwhile in the current time, Ben takes John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) to see Jacob in a cabin located within the jungle. Ben says Jacob is sitting in a chair - something Locke can’t see. All of a sudden, items go flying around the cabin, and a figure briefly appears and says something only Locke can hear.
Locke leaves the cabin accusing Ben of "putting on a show." To show him what he’s capable of, Ben then takes Locke to a pit containing the skeletons of the Dharma Initiative personnel he killed years earlier.
Ben admits he killed all those people, shoots Locke in the stomach and then pushes him in the pit. Lying wounded, Locke tells Ben that Jacob said “help me.” Ben, disgusted he wasn't able to hear Jacob, leaves Locke for dead in the pit.
%page_break% 6. "Through the Looking Glass"
The 22nd and 23rd episodes consist of the two-hour season three finale.
In this two part episode, flash-forwards are used for the first time, rather than flashbacks. However, viewers don’t learn of this twist until the final scene. Jack Shephard’s (Mathew Fox) story is set in Los Angeles after the Oceanic Six were rescued.
Jack has returned to be a spinal surgeon at a southern California hospital. He is, however, depressed, addicted to pain killers and suicidal. He prepares to kill himself by jumping off a bridge but is momentarily distracted and decides not to end his existence.
He is the only person who attends a memorial service for someone he knew. We later learn it was John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) who had died.
In the final scene, the viewers finally get to see the twist when Jack tells Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) about Locke’s death and says they never should have left the island and must go back. Back?
Back on the island, the survivors are in an all-out war with the “Others.” Using dynamite and a Dharma bus, nine of the “Others” are killed on the beach. That’s topped off when James “Sawyer” Ford fatally shoots Tom Friendly (M.C. Gainey) in cold blood.
Meanwhile under the ocean in The Looking Glass station, Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) finds out the freighter that the survivors think has come to rescue them is "not Penny’s boat" and isn’t there to save them. Before he drowns, Charlie passes along the information to Penny Widmore’s (Sonya Walger) ex-boyfriend Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick).
From on top of a mountain, Jack then uses a radio to call the freighter so the survivors can be rescued. A voice on the radio responds and tells the survivors the ship will soon be sending a rescue team to them.
Little does everyone know that Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) turns out to be right when he says the people on the freighter do not have the survivor’s best interests at heart.
%page_break% 5. "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"
The seventh episode of Lost’s fifth season is the last time we see the character of John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) alive. For the remainder of the series, any time we see Locke “alive” he is, in fact, the Man in Black in a new body.
One of the survivors of Ajira Airways flight 316 ,which crashed on Hydra Island, tells his fellow passengers that a man no one remembers seeing on the plane has been found. That man claims to be John Locke.
Locke tells the leader of Ajira survivors, Ilana Verdansky (Zuleikha Robinson), that the last thing he remembers is dying.
Then the episode goes into an extended flashback telling the story how Locke met his demise.
In 2007 he awoke in Tunisia where he is visited by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale). Charles tells Locke that he had led the “Others” until Ben banished him from the island. Widmore promises to help Locke reunite the Oceanic Six so they all can go back to the island.
Locke meets up with Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Hugh “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia), who all refuse to return to the island.
Locke eventually seeks out his old girlfriend Helen Norwood (Katey Sagal) and discovers she has died.
Depressed, Locke attempts to hang himself in a hotel room. Before he has the chance to end his life, Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) shows up and convinces Locke not go to through with the suicide.
During their conversation, Locke mentions to Ben that he now plans to seek out advice from Eloise Hawking (Fionnula Flanagan). At the mention of Ellie, Ben chokes Locke and then hangs him up from the ceiling making his death look like suicide.
%page_break% 4. "Walkabout"
Lost’s fourth episode of the first season features the surprising revelation that John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) was in a wheelchair before landing on the island.
We learn Locke worked at a box company and had a cruel manager who constantly demeaned him. Then we see Locke in Australia attempting to join a walkabout trip, but is refused because of his handicap.
Back on the island, Locke convinces the survivors to join him in a boar hunt, since they are running out of food reserves gathered from the plane’s galley.
During the hunt, a boar injures Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau). Soon after, the smoke monster creeps up on Locke and the audience gets a point-of-view shot from the monster’s perspective as it gazes upon Locke while Locke looks at the monster in awe.
That night the fuselage is burned during a memorial service for the dead passengers. As the fire roars, Locke smiles as his wheelchair is consumed by the flames.
%page_break% 3. "The Shape of Things to Come"
The ninth episode of Lost’s fourth season is one of the most difficult to watch, as it involves the shocking murder of a support character. The show grows much darker in tone and foreshadows much of the good vs. evil struggles that will play out during the remainder of the series.
Alex Rousseau (Tania Raymonde) is captured by the freighter mercenary Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand). When the pair arrives in “Dharmaville,” the mercenaries kill three survivors as James “Sawyer” Ford (Josh Holloway) is able to save Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) just before her house explodes.
Then there is a tense standoff between Keamy and Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson). Keamy threatens to kill Alex if Ben doesn’t surrender. Negotiations fail and Keamy shockingly executes Alex.
Ben then locks himself in his house’s secret room and enters a secret chamber where he summons the smoke monster. Keamy’s mercenaries are no match for the monster and are all killed. Ben briefly stands over Alex’s body and grieves before he and John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) leave the village and head into the forest looking for Jacob.
The episode’s flashfoward follows Ben’s journey over three continents in 2005. During his travels, he heads to Iraq where he recruits Sayid Jarra (Naveen Andrews) to become his assassin in his fight against Charles Widmore (Alan Dale).
Ben then journeys to London where breaks into Charles’ penthouse to deliver a message to the man in person. Although Ben says he cannot kill Widmore, he says is going to kill his daughter Penny (Sonya Walger) because Charles hired the mercenaries that killed Alex.
Widmore retorts that the island is his and he will take it away from Ben one day.
%page_break% 2. "The Pilot"
The first episode still ranks among Lost’s best. “The Pilot” is still the most expensive television pilot ever made, costing over $10 million to produce. Because of the huge expense, the ABC-TV executive who green-lighted it lost his job before the show even aired.
In the two hour episode we are introduced to all the major characters, the crash of Oceanic Airlines flight 815, and the smoke monster.
The episodes introduce the use of the flashback as a storytelling device. The character’s motivations in the present are often reflective of past events in their lives.
During the first hour, we get to know Dr. Jack Shephard (Mathew Fox). The series begins with a close-up shot of Jack’s eye as he lays disorientated in the jungle following the plane crash.
Jack runs through the vegetation and arrives on the back of the island, where many of the survivors are located.
As he helps other 815 survivors, one unlucky person is sucked into the plane’s still-moving turbine engine. Jack then helps Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia) and a pregnant Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) avoid being crushed by the plane’s wing.
Jack, Katie Austen (Evangeline Lilly), and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) head into the forest to find the plane’s transceiver which is located in its cockpit. When the three find the cockpit, they learn that the pilot is still alive, only to be killed moments later by the smoke monster.
In the second hour we lean Charlie is a heroin addict, and Kate was in handcuffs being ushered to the United States by a U.S. marshal.
James “Sawyer” Ford (Josh Holloway) ends up shooting a polar bear, Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) admits to being in the Iranian Republician Guard and the marshal asks “Where is she?”
The end of the two hours concludes with the survivors hearing a French woman’s transmission which, when translated, said “It killed them all.” Charlie then asks “Guys, where are we?”
%page_break% 1. "The Constant"
The fifth episode of Lost’s fourth season is widely regarded as the show’s best episode.
This episode reunites Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) and Penny Widmore (Sonya Walger) via a long-distance phone call, which takes place on Christmas Eve. How appropriate the two reunite on such a holiday.
The episode uses a different type of flashback, one that finds Desmond’s consciousness is jumping between 1996 and 2004. This has been caused by his exposure to a high level of electromagnetism. With the help of Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), Desmond is told to track down Daniel at Oxford University when he jumps back to 1996.
In the past, Daniel is experimenting with a time machine that can transfer consciousness through space-time. Unfortunately, there is a bad side effect to the time travel – it causes a fatal brain aneurysm.
The only way for Desmond not to die is to find something or someone who is present in both 1996 and 2004 and can serve as a constant to anchor his mind. Desmond decides this someone will be Penny.
Desmond finds Penny in 1996 by asking her father, Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) where he can find her. Penny ends up not wanting to talk to Desmond because of their break-up but does agree to give Des her phone number just to get him to leave.
Desmond tells Penny not to change that number as he will call her on Christmas Eve eight years in the future.
Back on the freighter with a bloody nose, he reaches Penny just in time to avoid having an aneurysm. They are able to reconcile their relationship as Penny says she’s been looking for Desmond for the past three years.
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