Wed
May 19 2010 5:20pm
The Top 15 Moments in the History of Lost

As the last ever episode of Lost approaches, Tor.com’s resident Losties, Bridget McGovern, Theresa DeLucci, and Rajan Khanna have compiled a list of their Top 15 Moments in Lost (because eight is never enough, and sixteen just seemed like one too many...). Check out the list of all-time favorite scenes below, presented in no particular order (with links, where possible), and please chime in with your own favorites!

#1. Desmond makes a phone call. Desmond Hume is one of Lost’s best characters and for that reason, “The Constant” is one of the show’s best episodes. Fans waited two seasons for Desmond and his love Penny to be reunited, but Desmond waited much longer than that. In a brilliantly structured story, we watch as Desmond’s consciousness is buffeted through time and we learn that it’s only his love for Penny that proves powerful enough to save his life. We challenge anyone to not cry the minute Penny picks up the phone on Christmas Eve and hears her man’s voice for the first time in three years. [“The Constant,”  S4, E05]

#2. The light in the hatch. Locke’s defining characteristic during his time on the island was his faith, his strong belief that he had a purpose and that the island was worthy of devotion. The hatch was early evidence that this was true, but when he can’t open it, Locke’s faith starts to waver. The light (that we later find out is Desmond) is Locke’s answer and it continues him on his path. [“Deus Ex Machina,” S1, E19]

#3. Hurley, Sawyer, Jin, and Vincent go on a joyride. Lost is best known for its moments of suspense, double-crosses, and sheer head-scratching WTF-ness, but what really matters to the show are its characters. No one on the island is easier to relate to than Hurley. Big in size and heart, a geek, a good friend (even to Sawyer) and kinda unlucky, he is the mouthpiece for the audience at home. So of course we’re going to root for him when he takes on the daunting task of fixing an abandoned Dharma VW van. When he enlists Jin and Sawyer to help, it’s a rare opportunity for these three guys to let off a little steam and pop open some skunky Dharma brews. And when Hurley finally gets the van running, we cheered too. [“Tricia Tanaka is Dead,” S3, E10]

#4. Jarrah. Sayid Jarrah.” Picking a moment that exemplified Sayid’s bad-assitude was tough. This blog (okay, maybe just Theresa) has mentioned the violent beauty of Sayid killing redshirts with his legs and a dishwasher, but seeing Sayid seduce and shoot his way through a flashforward in a tux with a perfectly styled mane? The former Iraqi torturer cleans up nice enough to make 007 jealous. [“The Economist,” S4, E03]

#5. Mr. Eko vs. The Smoke Monster. Even if it didn’t ultimately end well for him, the first time the sorely-missed Mr. Eko stared into the black smoke—and lived—cemented his status as the best of the Tailies. It was also the first time we got up close to the monster that had been wreaking havoc all over the island. Oh, those halcyon days of the second season, when the muddled Jacob/Smocke mythology wasn’t even a glimmer in Carlton and Damon’s eye. [“The 23rd Psalm,” S2, E10]

#6. “A 12-year-old Ben Linus just brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I’m doing?” One of the best moments of Season 5—it was one of those lines that made you stop and appreciate the sheer craziness of the action and all of the complex issues in play without detracting from it in any way. Naveen Andrews delivery was so perfect, wry and understated, but also poignant. [“He’s Our You,” S5, E10]

#7. The night I met you. Before he meets his predestined end, Charlie finishes a list of the top five moments of his short life. What could have been a cheesy plot device became one of the shows most bittersweet moments as the list culminates with the night his relationship with Claire began, and makes his eventual sacrifice (the iconic “N0t Penny’s Boat” scene—another indisputably great Lost moment) all the more gut-wrenching. [“Greatest Hits,” S3, E21]

#8. Welcome to New Otherton. What devious activities were the Others up to before Oceanic 815 arrived? Holding a book club meeting at Juliet’s, of course! Complete with muffins and tea. It was a surprising slice of suburbia in sharp contrast to the meager survival the 815 passengers were eking out for themselves on the opposite side of the island. But like many events on Lost, the meaning of the moment changes depending on whose perspective we see it from. This friendly gathering is teeming with tension to Juliet, when even the choice of Stephen King’s Carrie is a tiny act of rebellion in the face of Ben’s control over her. [“A Tale of Two Cities,” S3, E01]

#9. Tom Friendly has a type. And his name is Arturo. When Michael shows up at Tom’s hotel room in New York City, we are briefly introduced to Tom’s companion for the evening: an attractive younger man who quickly leaves the room, kissing Tom affectionately on the cheek on his way out. It’s not so much that the subtle revelation of Tom’s sexuality that makes this a key moment in the grand scheme—it’s the fact that Tom and Arturo remain the only gay characters to ever appear on the show. This brief exchange is basically the only recognition of non-straight sexuality that’s ever occurred on Lost, and so it stands out precisely because it draws attention to a perspective that’s almost entirely absent from the rest of the series. [“Meet Kevin Johnson,” S4, E08]

#10. It’s Always Something With You People. Rose and Bernard (and Vincent!) are discovered livin’ the dream in the midst of all the Island intrigue and wacky time-travel.When they are discovered by Kate, Sawyer and Juliet, they firmly insist that they are retired, and have no interest running around trying to stop Jack from blowing everyone up. Rose’s feisty, no-more-drama stance is such a departure from the rest of the episode’s intensity and rapid pace (not to mention the occasional scene-chewing histrionics of Jack and Kate) that this brief detour away from the main plotline provides a sudden and completely new perspective on the action as a whole. [“The Incident, Part 1,” S5, E16]

#11. We should all get together for a beer sometime! Hurley facilitates a little awkward father-son bonding between Miles and Dr. Pierre Chang in one of the best episodes of last season. “Some Like It Hoth” is an example of Lost at its most quirky and character-driven, and Hurley’s attempts at connecting the witheringly sarcastic Miles with his taciturn father lead to one of the most enjoyable scenes of the series. Chang was introduced as such an enigmatic and almost sinister character in earlier seasons, when all we had to go on were the grainy DHARMA training videos—suddenly he’s a normal guy who likes country music and reading to his infant son?! Crazy. The whole storyline was playful and touching, and really capped the burgeoning Miles/Hurley buddy relationship that was a high point of Season Five. [“Some Like It Hoth,” S5, E13]

#12. Ben moves the Island with his mystical donkey wheel. No matter what your opinion on the dubious production values of the Cave of Mystery below the Orchid or the ice-covered donkey wheel ensconced within—the moment that Ben Linus turned that wheel and made the Island disappear totally blew your mind, for better or worse. You know you were yelling at your TV when it happened. We hope you’re happy now, Jacob! [“There’s No Place Like Home,” S4, E13]

#13. “Destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.” Ben Linus has had so many amazing lines over the course of the show, but perhaps none were delivered as vehemently as this embittered declaration, which has inspired song titles, bumper stickers, fan art and videos, and countless t-shirts. The moment ties together the key themes of faith, fate and free will in terms of the crisscrossing paths of the two characters, as Ben surrenders the role of the Island’s chosen protector to John (or at least, that’s the way it seemed in Season 4—check back next week and maybe we’ll know for sure. Or not). In any case, it sounded incredibly bad-ass. [“Cabin Fever,” S4, E11]

#14. “He wasn’t on the plane.Hurley’s dramatic, last-minute revelation that someone among the survivors didn’t show up on the flight manifest might seem hard to top, but then we cut away to a menacing Ethan Rom, sidling out of the jungle and staring menacingly at pregnant, vulnerable Claire, and BAM!—the creepy factor shoots all the way up to 11 in the final seconds of the episode. In a sense, this moment kicked off a whole roller coaster ride of twists, reversals of expectation and trust issues that continue on through the final episodes. [“Raised By Another,” S1, E10]

#15. We have to back, Kate! We have to go back!!! A double whammy of a “What?!” moment. All episode we thought we’d been watching a heretofore unseen rough patch in Jack’s past as, on the island, divided factions of castaways and Others fought to destroy or escape on Widmore’s freighter. Then, in the last scene, we learn that not only have we been watching Jack in a flashforward, but that the Oceanic 6 leaving the island was a huge mistake. But an awesome game-changer for the show. [“Through the Looking Glass,” S3, E22 & 23]

So, there it is—we hope you’ve all enjoyed this emotionally-jarring trip down memory lane, and we can’t wait to hear about the zillion other fantastic moments that we missed along the way. We’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled round table discussion of “What They Died For,” and of course we’ll be here next week for the epic aftermath of the series finale. Until then, namaste and good luck, Losties!


Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Chizine.

Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Shimmer, GUD, and Steampunk Tales. He lives in Brooklyn with his two cats, Chloe and Muppet.

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She wants to crochet all of Ben Linus’s best quotes onto a series of commemorative throw pillows.

12 comments
Dave Thompson
1. DKT
Great idea! Thanks for doing it :)

A lot of my favorite moments are in "Through the Looking Glass." Not Penny's Boat, Hurley bulldozing the Others in the Dharma VW and taunting them on the walkies, and like you all said, "WE HAVE TO GO BACK!" Really, I think that's my favorite episode of the show.

Other good ones (aside from the ones you all mentioned):

"I'm a bloody Rock God!"

"We're gonna have to take the boy."

When Sayid shoots the guy on the golf range at the beginning of the Economist, and also the reveal that he's assasinating people for Ben.

Locke in his wheelchair shouting "Don't tell me what I can't do!"

Sawyer in the Brig saying to Cooper, "Ain't that a coincidence? My name's Sawyer, too!"

When Desmond, Jin, Hurley, and Charlie go trekking off into the woods and they're telling ghost stories around the fire.

Locke seeing Jacob (or the MiB) in the cabin.

I loved a lot of the time travel stuff - like when Sawyer saw Kate helping Claire deliver Aaron. I felt like there was so much unsaid emotion on Josh Holloway's face in that scene.

La Fleur! Wow, that episode was such a pleasant surprise.

"Everybody say 'Namaste!'"

The smoke monster destroying the Temple in Sundown, and *especially* the creepy "Catch a Falling Star" montage after that.

Zen-like Desmond, after being stuck in Widmore's box.

There's so many more, but that's a good start :)
Dave Thompson
2. DKT
Geez, I'm going to be so sad once this show's over...
Zed Lopez
3. ZedLopez
The season 2 opening in which we're wondering whose flashback it is but then it isn't.

When we learned Michael had been compromised. (Also, when Sayid figured it out.)

The part of your #3 when Hurley throws an insult back at Sawyer, who accepts it with good cheer. (Also, when Hurley snaps and beats up Sawyer.)

Some of Jin's first words in English. "Others." "Boat."

Seeing Juliet and Sawyer happy together. Seeing Sawyer as LaFleur, having finally gotten beyond his need to be hated and being the smart, effective person he always could have been. (I'm sad that the series then tanked this point and his "you just react" speech to Jack by showing LaFleur as not particularly effective in the ensuing mess.)

Seeing the Blast Door Map for the first time.

Locke and Boone finding the Hatch.

The crazy sequence toward the end of Season 1 when Locke and Boone find the plane. The crazy sequence in Season 2 when Eko and Locke find the Pearl.

Lots of points in the Henry Gale sequence. Ben baiting Jack and Locke with "Good thing I'm not the bad guy you think I am, or I'd have sent them into a trap." Baiting Locke into ignoring the countdown. Sayid coming back and revealing that he'd dug up what was supposedly Henry Gale's wife's grave.

Sawyer refusing Tom's surrender and killing him.

Seeing the pile of pneumatic tubes from the Pearl.

Rousseau, Kate, and Claire Thelma-and-Louising it.

"Chain gang looks good on you, Freckles."

Ben's arrival in Tunisia.

Panning across the rec room in Hurley's hospital to reveal Libby.
Dave Thompson
4. DKT
Oh, man. EVERYTHING with Mr. Eko.

For the curious, there's an interview at the NYT with the showrunners that mentions how they'd envisioned Mr. Eko being around until the very end, but unfortunately, the actor got very tired of Hawaii. On the bright side, apparently a lot of Eko's unseen stuff went to Ben (and, presumably, Locke).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/arts/television/16weblost.html?ref=television
Theresa DeLucci
5. theresa_delucci
It was funny to notice, while compiling the list, that so many moments came from season 3 & 4. I don't know if it's because it was more recent and therefore more fresh in my mind, or those seasons were just really damn good.

Well, to be clear, there was a good six-episode chunk of badness that season, saved by Desmond. It's pretty amazing how much his episodes have the ability to turn a season around. If his episode this season came a few weeks earlier, I think I would've felt differently about this season six's shape.

I've gotta admit, "We're gonna have to take the boy" was so creepy-good. And then it was followed by the hilarious "WAAAAAALT!" I almost put that down. I love that scream. I still makes me giggle.

Another runner-up, when Hurley's sitting on the beach in season 1, watching everyone frolic around montage-style to a Damien Rice song, when his batteries run out and the music stops.
Andy_Danielson
6. Andy_Danielson
I really liked the episode, i believe in season 2, during Jack's flash back where he meets Desmond running up and down the steps. It might have been Desmond's flash back, i don't remember the particulars. There were tons of awesome moments before that but for some reason that was the scene that clenched the show for me.
Dave Thompson
7. DKT
@ Theresa Delucci:

It's hard to know exactly when it happened, but sometime after they'd negotiated an end date for the show, everything suddenly felt so much stronger and meaningful - the pacing picked up and didn't feel like they were trying to string things out so much anymore. I noticed it particularly during "The Brig," "The Man Behind the Curtain," "Greatest Hits" and definitely "Through the Looking Glass," although as far as I know, those were all written before they'd agreed on an end-date.
Allison Lockwood Hansen
8. Talisyn
"What devious activities were the Others up to before Oceanic 815 arrived? Holding a book club meeting at Juliet’s, of course!"

Laughing, I know, whoa! Those...those subversives!
Lots of trip nods to good books over the course of the show. The little embellishes are sometimes just as fun to remember as the big reveals...I mean seeing Ben reading Valis? Positively priceless!
Andy_Danielson
9. NormanM
How has nobody mentioned the moment we discover Locke was in a wheelchair before crashing on the Island? "Walkabout" has got to be up there with "The Constant" for one of the best episodes in the series.
Andy_Danielson
10. opal kevin
I love to know about history,these all 15 moments are new for me.i really glad to you for sharing your moments with us.
Force Factor
Chris Greenland
11. greenland
One of my favorite moments is in the first season, when Locke is in recovery after surgery and realizes that his "dad" stole his kidney. Hardcore. Back then I wasn't paying attention to the show at all, but happened to catch bits of that episode and that moment in particular. I watched regularly from that point on.

Second season...Ben finally being released from the 815ers imprisonment, sitting and talking with Jack and Locke, and asking for milk in his cereal after he's just revealed (to us) that he's been playing them all along.

Season four...Ben summoning the smoke monster after Alex gets shot. I noticed that Brian K. Vaughan tended to get the Ben episodes in the latter seasons and they always turned out great.

Season five..."Take your lunch, Phil!" Also Sawyer's entire, amazing arc that season.
Andy_Danielson
12. PurplePeo
One of my Holy #?!@ moments was the end of the episode with the Sun/Jin mixed flashback and flashforwards. When you realized that Sun was one of the Oceanic Six, but Jin was not!

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