No show hit network television with a bang (or crash) like LOST on September 23rd, 2004.
Nearly 20 years later to the day, the show still owns a foothold in pop culture following its epic six-season run. Created by J.J. Abrams, the series ran for 118 episodes and starred Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Evangeline Lilly, Daniel Dae Kim, Terry O’Quinn, Naveen Andrews, Michael Emerson, and more.
Mainly due to the Lockheed 1011 used to represent Oceanic Flight 815, LOST’s two-episode pilot cost roughly $14 million, which, at the time, was by far the most expensive pilot on network television. However, the gamble paid off as it was one of the best series of the 21st century.
So, in what could prove to be fruitless, we attempt to rank the top 10 episodes of LOST.
(NOTE: As there are several multi-part episodes, we counted all two and three-part episodes as one.)
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10. There’s No Place Like Home (Season 4: Episodes 12, 13, and 14)
No show did season finales quite like LOST so it’s not surprising we get this list started with one. In the season four finale, a group of the survivors are racing against time, literally, to get to the freighter as the commandos sent by Charlies Whitmore search the island for Ben. Meanwhile, Ben and Locke are marching towards The Orchid in an attempt to move the island to save it from Widmore, or so Ben says. On the freighter, Desmond, Sayed, Jin, and a returning Michael discover that the ship is rigged with explosives adding urgency to an already urgent situation. In the end, Locke and Ben are successful in moving the island and only six survivors are able to escape the ship before it explodes. It was truly the “beginning of the end”.
9. Ab Aeterno (Season 6: Episode 9)
The arrival of the ageless Richard Alpert on the island is revealed in this well-written story about one of the more mysterious characters on the islands. We learn that Richard arrived hundreds of years ago on the infamous Black Rock as a slave. A chance meeting between him and both The Man in Black and Jacob decides his fate. Nestor Carbonell delivers in his origin episode.
8. Flashes Before Your Eyes (Season 3: Episode 8)
After Desmond saves Clare from drowning, Charlie, along with Hurley, believes he can see the future so in an attempt to learn more about what Desmond knows, Charlie and Hurley get him drunk and he reveals more about his visions. Meanwhile, we learn about Desmond’s past and why he didn’t end up with Penny. Ultimately, this episode ends with Desmond telling Charlie he is going to die, setting in motion the rest of season three and one of the best, most fascinating, and tragic arcs of the series.
7. The End (Season 6: Episodes 17 and 18)
Perhaps the season finale of The Sopranos was still fresh in people’s minds but the final episodes and season, in general, were not as well received when it first came out. However, over time, the season and, in particular, the finale aged wonderfully. It brought many elements back of the series that made it what it was as well as gave a fitting end to not only the real-life arc on the island but the alternate arc which was written with the same wonderful intertwined stories between characters that came to define the series.
6. Exodus (Season 1: Episodes 23, 24, and 25)
The first of many epic finales, this three-part season one cliffhanger saw the survivors help Michael, Walt, Sawyer, and Jin finally launch the raft after a series of missteps while the rest prepare to head towards the hatch in an attempt to avoid an imminent threat from The Others. Plus, it is one of the first times we get to hear one of the best pieces of music from Michael Giacchino’s wonderful soundtrack for the series.
5. The Incident (Season 5: Episodes 16 and 17)
When you ask people about season five, half will say they loved it, the other half, not so much. However, no matter how you felt about the season as a whole, the finale (surprise, surprise) delivered. Of course, we get finally learn what and how “The Incident” plays out but tragically we see the events that lead to Juliet’s tragic death. However, after five seasons, finale meet the most mysterious character in the entire series, Jacob.
4. The Man From Tallahassee (Season 3: Episode 13)
The story of John Locke is one of the more complex and emotional story arcs of the entire season beginning with the revelation that he was in a wheelchair in Season 1 in the episode Walkabout. In this particular episode, we finally learn the origins of Locke’s injury after several teases over the first few seasons. As it turns out, his con-man father shoves him out of an apartment building window, breaking his back. Not to be outdone, the episode ends as Ben and Richard, with a little help from Jacob, reveal they have brought Locke’s father to the island.
3. Pilot (Season 1: Episodes 1 and 2)
Where it all began. The $14 million pilot delivered an epic two-hour introduction to Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, and all the rest of the survivors as well as the mysterious island they all come to call home. When it comes to series premieres, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find many that rival this epic event that set the stage for six largely great seasons.
2. Through The Looking Glass (Season 3: Episodes 22 and 23)
“Not Penny’s Boat”. What’s not to love about the season three finale? Well, besides one of the most heartwrenching deaths in the entire series. This jam-packed two-part episode followed Jack and the survivor’s trek towards the radio tower in an attempt to reach Naomi’s boat which was supposedly sent to rescue the survivors of Oceanic 815. Meanwhile, back at the beach camp, Sayed, Jin, and Bernard await the Others who were sent to kidnap the women of the camp. And, of course, the tragic death of Charlie as he and Desmond swim to the Looking Glass Station to turn off the Island’s radio jammer in an attempt to help the other survivors reach the boat. A tragic end to one of the more beloved characters.
During the flashback sequence, we see Jack during a time in which he is obviously struggling we just don’t know when in time this is. Well, as we find out at the very end of the second episode, this time period comes after he leaves the island and it ends with one of the most iconic lines of the entire series… “We have to go back!”.
1. The Constant (Season 4: Episode 5)
If we were to rank story arcs throughout the series, the Desmond/Penny angle would likely be one of the top ones, especially among those who favor a little love story to go along with their drama. In this episode, as the survivors try to determine whether or not the folks from the ship are actually here to rescue them, we learn more about the mysterious properties of the island and the effects it can have on people. Primarily, we see Desmond, perfectly coherent one minute get thrust into a mind-warping trip between two different times and it’s up to Daniel Faraday… from the past… and, of course, Penny, to save the day. Truly a masterpiece of an episode.
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Ian Glendon and John Sapochetti discuss the most notable Seinfeld guest stars.