Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Once More

One more post on Lost.  Here's a ranking of all 113 episodes.  Just a few notes:

Certain episodes like "Stranger In A Strange Land" and "Fire + Water" are always ranked low, and I can see why (though even they aren't so bad), but "Some Like It Hoth" at 108? I love that episode.

In general, a lot of the flashbacks started to run out of steam.  I can see why they changed the format.  But no matter how weak the flashback, if the episode moved the Island story forward that made it well worth watching (except maybe sometimes in the final season).

Also, while a lot of season 1 eps are rated low, the whole concept and all the characters were so interesting and fresh that I don't think there was anything that season that wasn't riveting.

"316" is only rated 89.  Just seeing the Oceanic Six get back on the airplane makes it better than that.

"Tabula  Rasa" 88?  This was the first real episode, and it must have had something. We were hungry to find out about these characters, and finding out that Kate was a fugitive was cool--probably the last time a flashback of hers really worked.

"This Place Is Death" at 85.  I'm a huge fan of season 5, and this is one of the best with the time flashes.  (And "The Lie" at 84 is a worse episode, but better than the ranking.)

We're getting to the middle-ranked eps.  "The Hunting Party," where we meet Mr. Friendly, is probably a bit too low at 64. And "Orientation" at 61, which revealed so much, is probably too low as well.

"Expose" at 58, in the middle?  The episode doesn't exactly stink (though I don't like how it undercuts some of the first season), but way too high for Nikki and Paulo.

"The Moth" is 36.  Maybe, though I thought it stood out in season one, even if it was a bit stand-alone.

"The Man Behind The Curtain" at 34?!  This is a top ten episode.  You get Ben's background, some cool stuff on the beach as Jack and Juliet dealing with suspicion, and above all, the riveting story of how Locke and Ben go to meet Jacob.

"The Cost Of Living" is a mid-range episode with an Eko flashback--ranked too high at 25.

"The Other 48 Days," where we learned what happened to the tailies, is pretty good, but not the 23rd best.

I kept waiting to see "The Long Con." This episode is in my bottom five. And it finally appears at 11!!  The whole thing makes no sense.  When you pull a con, the idea (as Sawyer knows) is to make the victims either not know they've been conned or at least not know who did it.  Failing that, the con man must slip away into the night, never to be heard from again. For Sawyer to con Jack and Locke out of their gun stash when everyone knows he did--he even brags about it--is worse than pointless.  Now everyone's pissed at him and all they have to do is keep a watch on him to get the guns.  Jack says in a later episode he can always get the guns when he wants, and he's correct.  A completely washout.  (The best thing, in retrospect, is the whole series is arguably a long con from MIB.)

Season 6 is generally ranked too high.  I'm not sure if any episode should be in the top ten.  I recognize the finale is a special episode, but love it or hate it (and many hate it), I don't think it's so special that it should crack the top ten, even though I recognize it had a certain power.

Even worse, "Ab Aeterno"--Richard's flashback, which should have been much better--is ranked 6.  By the way, that makes five season six episodes in the top 25, when there should probably be zero.

On the other hand, good to see three great season five eps in the top ten--"Jughead" at 8, "Dead Is Dead" at 7 and "The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham" at 4.

I can live with "Walkabout" at 5--it's the episode that turned me into a Lost fan.  But no other season one episode should be higher, yet the pilot makes 3.

I've got no problem with "Through The Looking Glass"--the third season finale--at 2.  It's got a lot of great stuff and the ending was one of the best moments ever on TV.

Number one is "The Constant." I certainly like it, but it almost seems more like a highly emotional stand-alone dealing with Des and Penny than anything else.  Probably wouldn't make my top ten.

By the way, here are how many episodes each season got into the top ten:

Season one:  2
Season two: 0
Season three: 1
Season four: 2
Season five: 3
Season six: 2

This is ridiculous.  Two might not be the best season, but it had some great stuff and is far superior to season six. And three had its ups and downs, but one of the best runs the series ever had was in the second half of that season.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Even worse, "Ab Aeterno"--Richard's flashback, which should have been much better--is ranked 6. By the way, that makes five season six episodes in the top 25, when there should probably be zero.

I wonder if you are using partial hindsight here. I loved "Ab Aeterno" at the time, but it was hurt by my nagging suspicion that the unexplained things in that show were never going to be explained. (I recall discussions on your blog at the time about just how many episodes were left, and whether they could afford to revisit things like the Island's pre-history.)

On the other hand, the big reveals of the Dharma initiative -- the first time we watched the training video, the discovery of the missing training video footage, and so on -- were utterly stunning. I still consider them so -- and it appears that you do too. But wasn't one reason we loved these episodes the belief that there was an explanation lying behind the weirdness? If I had felt the same way about "Ab aeterno", I would have loved it even more.

One reason I find re-watching Lost sometimes great and sometimes painful is the dashed expectations. This applies most of all to episodes like "The Man Behind the Curtain". I loved it, and sort of still do. But it is dramatically obvious that Annie is important, and that the schoolteacher's long lecture on the Island's dormant volcano is a gun on the mantlepiece. Oh well.

8:05 PM, May 25, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I just noticed in my last paragraph I capitalized it "Ab aeterno". That's what comes from reading so much Latin in my doctoral program. Latin (like French) only capitalizes the first word of a title. "Ab Aeterno" now looks wrong to me.

8:10 PM, May 25, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I liked "Ab Aeterno," but I also had problems with it. (A good description of my feelings for the entire season.)

First, it essentially didn't move the Island story forward, and I always consider that the most interesting part of the show (thus my complaint even about "The Constant").

But my biggest problem was the show took so much time getting Richard to the Island. And even longer to meet Blackie and Jacob. I wish they'd gotten him there at the fifteen minute mark, he'd dealt with Jacob by the halfway point, and the rest was how Richard ran things until around the time he met Locke in the 1950s.

Instead, we got some great (and unexpcted--Jacob was surprisingly nasty and uncertain) information, but so much left unanswered.

8:52 PM, May 25, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I also should add I'm judging the episodes mostly on how I thought of them when I first saw them (and maybe a bit on when I rewatched them before the final season). It's true that some are cheapened by what comes later, but it's the first impression that counts most.

8:56 PM, May 25, 2011  

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