With one week to go until the season 4 premiere, here's a short and subjective list of my five favorite moments from Lost. In retrospect, it's heavy on the first two seasons. They're in no particular order, except for the first: Desmond's Day in the Hatch. These first few minutes of season 2, in my book, represent Lost at its very best: obscure, clever, story advancing (at least as the story pertained to the rest of that season), and entertaining as all get out.
Desmond wakes up, punches the numbers into the computer, riffles through his vinyl and drops the needle on Cass Elliot singing "Make Your Own Kind of Music." He washes up, works out, injects himself with a gigantic dose of serum, and then—kaboom! The beauty of these season-opening moments is that until the first-time viewer sees Jack and Locke peering down the chute into the hatch, they have no idea where or who Desmond is or what the hell is going on. Extra points are also awarded for our first glimpse of Desmond without his shirt.
Locke's Backstory, Part 1. During the first several episodes of season 1, John Locke is established as a faintly sinister survivalist/naturalist, a New Age Grizzly Adams with a case full of knives. Then, in episode 4, a flashback reveals that not only did he used to be a game-playing geek with a paper-pushing job at a box company, but he was confined to a wheelchair. It was a genuinely surprising turn of events that gave the character plenty of impetus for his future actions.
The Orientation Film. The Hanso Foundation orientation film is an absolutely brilliant pastiche of every educational film I was ever forced to sit through in grade school (barring "Hemo the Magnificent"). What an incredibly entertaining way to learn more about the Dharma Initiative, Alvar Hanso, and the island's unique electro-magnetic properties.
Apocalypse on the Beach. From the nightmare-inducing scenes of the plane crash to Jack wandering the beach in a state of shock to the weirdness of Locke smiling at Kate with a slice of orange in his mouth, the very first episode offers lots of crazy, disoriented post-apocalyptic imagery that still packs a punch on viewing three seasons down the road.
Sawyer: More Than Just Fish Biscuits. I don't think of Sawyer as one of my favorite characters (and I'm sure he'd feel the same way about me), yet so many Sawyer-centric moments made my list that I'm giving the manipulative pretty-boy scoundrel his own entry. He is master of the snappy one-liner, and delivers a favorite when accused of stealing annoying Shannon's asthma inhalers. As a myopic constant reader, I strongly relate to his book love and cobbled-together reading glasses from another first season episode. And, really, who can resist all those nicknames?
Honorable mentions go to:
Just about every scene with Hurley, from the moment he reveals he won the lottery but believes he is jinxed to the golden moment when he gets the Volkswagen bus started up.
Mr. Eko and his whacking stick, for being the best of the "Tailies."
Driveshaft's hit song, "You All Everybody". For being a perfect and perfectly meaningless rock anthem and because I miss Charlie, though of course, we probably haven't seen the last of him.
Tomorrow: Lost's Greatest Misses.