Thursday, June 11, 2015

We Have To Go Back

The A.V. Club has been reviewing Lost episodes, a new one every Wednesday.  They just got to "Through The Looking Glass." I've written so much on Lost that I'm not going to re-review the hour, but reading about it reminded me that this was probably the greatest mind-blowing moment ever on TV. (There will be major spoilers ahead, so please watch all episodes of the show before you read on.)

Lost had taken TV by storm in its first season, garnering huge ratings and an Emmy for best drama (the latter never to be repeated).  And it was able to deliver exciting plot twists on a regular basis.  There are a couple of them before "Through The Looking Glass" that particularly stand out to me.

First there's the reveal of John Locke's condition at the end of "Walkabout"--the moment I saw him in a wheelchair was the moment I became hooked on the show.  Then there's the cold open of "Man Of Science, Man Of Faith," which begins season two--it seems to be some sort of flashback, but is ultimately revealed to be a present-day look at what's inside the Hatch.

But as amazing as those moments were, the ending of "Through The Looking Glass" topped them. I remember I watched the show at a friend's house.  This was back in the day when you watched something when it first aired, and I did my best to avoid any East Coast spoilers.

It was a two-hour finale that featured yet another Jack flashback.  But this is a different Jack.  Bearded, depressed, addicted to drugs, suicidal and troubled by some unknown person's death.  We follow him around, not quite sure what to make of it.  He arranges to meet with someone.  The meet takes place at the end of the show.  A woman comes out of the shadows--it's Kate!

And you're thinking: "Wait, he didn't know Kate before the Island.  Did he actually know her?  Was the whole plane crash some sort of plot.  No, it can't be, too much doesn't fit. We saw them alone, and they were learning about each other, not discussing old plots.  So that must mean this is the future!  And now Jack is saying they have to go back. So they got off the Island.  Who else got off?  Why do they need to go back?  And who died?"

Lost was more than halfway done at this point, but this signaled there was plenty more mystery, and plenty more life in the show.  The flashback format had been worn out--how much more could you learn about these characters?  This opened up whole new vistas.

I loved seasons four and five, but found six a great disappointment.  But even with that, nothing can take away the power of watching this episode the first time.

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