The legendary "Lost" premiered ten years ago today. In anticipation of the milestone anniversary, I went back and watched every single episode. As a super fan of the show while it was on, I wanted to see how it all held up all these years later, especially as someone who did not love the ending.
Knowing how "Lost" ended, I was able to return to the series with different priorities than my first time exploring the Island. I focused on the characters, their highs and lows, their triumphs and losses. The unexplained mysteries matter much less now than the survivors of Oceanic 815 and the friends and foes they meet and beat along the way. Who cares what the whispers are, or who was on the other outrigger, when you can hoot and holler with Hurley as he rips a DHARMA van through the jungle? At its core, "Lost" isn't a Rubik's Cube. It's a joyride. It's a roller coaster. Buckle up and enjoy.
Ten years after "Lost" began, and more than four years after it ended, here's how every single episode measures up today. (Spoiler alert: "Exposé" is the best of the best. Just kidding. But maybe?)
111. "Fire + Water" (Season 2)
"You. All. Every. Butties." Locke was so justified in punching Charlie's face. As a wise man once said: "Driveshaft? More like Suckshaft."
110. "Whatever The Case May Be" (Season 1)
Beyond one superb moment where Jack effectively threatens to cut off Sawyer's arm, this episode is a total miss, with a bad flashback featuring Kate as a bank robber, and an on-island story that amounts to little more than a bad episode of Looney Toons.
109. "What Kate Does" (Season 6)
Another Kate episode, another dud, with a flash-sideways story that barely treads water, and a needless rehash of the Kate-always-chases-after-Sawyer trope. Also features the debut of Crazy Claire Hair, somehow more terrifying than Jack Shephard's flash-forward beard.
108. "The Other Woman" (Season 4)
It's always fun when hot people make out with each other on "Lost," but the Jack-Juliet kiss doesn't land well on rewatch, given where their stories go. Beyond that, the whole story revolving around Faraday, Charlotte and the Tempest station amounts to absolutely nothing. Ben's dinner "party" is a delight, though.
107. "Meet Kevin Johnson" (Season 4)
Sometimes cited as a top-tier "Lost" episode. It's not. The return of Harold Perrineau's murderous Michael is nothing short of a mess from a continuity perspective. (How can Tom Friendly travel to and from the Island after the "purple sky" incident? Riddle me that!) It fares even worse when considering Michael's tragically rushed death only a handful of episodes later.
106. "Ji Yeon" (Season 4)
In its initial airing, Jin and Sun's season four episode features a successful "what-the-frak" twist; we're fooled into believing that Jin is one of the Oceanic 6, only to learn that his apparent role in Sun's flash-forward was actually a flashback. The twist feels like a cheat on rewatch.
105. "The Glass Ballerina" (Season 3)
An uneven flashback about Sun cheating on Jin, and its place in the season when all the viewer wants is more Hydra Island and purple sky follow-up, sucks a lot of momentum out of season three.
104. "Every Man For Himself" (Season 3)
Like "The Glass Ballerina," this one is a momentum-killer that yields a couple of worthwhile moments: Kate's "yes I love him" declaration, and some honest laughs out of the "Mice and Men" references. Otherwise, it's an episode of "Lost" that exists.
103. "Adrift" (Season 2)
Producers rushed to replace a misfired Sawyer flashback with a last-minute Michael story. It shows. The episode has two saving graces: the ending ("Others! Others!"), and the introduction of a great "Lost" in-joke: Ezra J. Sharkington, the DHARMA shark.
102. "Dave" (Season 2)
Jorge Garcia's hungry Hurley, and the final seconds of institutionalized Libby, are worthwhile stories. But "Sex and the City" veteran Evan Handler's turn as Hurley's imaginary pal sinks the episode.
101. "Further Instructions" (Season 3)
The weakest of the Locke episodes, and one of the weakest episodes of the series, full stop. No amount of Boone-fueled hallucinations can compensate for Pot Farmer Locke. Ludicrous.
100. "Stranger in a Strange Land" (Season 3)
Often cited as the worst episode of "Lost." It's not. It's actually kind of important. The infamous "Jack's tattoos" flashback gave producers the juice they needed to end the show on their own terms. The Thailand flashback also informs the season-ending flash-forward, allowing the viewer to accept that Jack might have hit his post-Island lows at some point in his past. It's still a weak episode — no getting around the Bai Ling of it all — but it's not the worst.
99. "Homecoming" (Season 1)
Ethan Rom's execution is incredibly intense, but Charlie's flashback as a drug-addicted, photocopier-shilling conman is completely tone-deaf given the on-Island situation.
98. "What Kate Did" (Season 2)
Finally, we find out why Kate is on the run. Finally, Kate makes out with Jack. There's good stuff here. But there is also a horse.
97. "Dr. Linus" (Season 6)
A legitimately touching moment between Ben and Ilana isn't enough to counteract the silliness of Sideways Ben's high school drama.
96. "The Package" (Season 6)
We did not need an episode about Sun losing her ability to speak English this late in the series. It yields a moving scene with Sun and Jack, in which she learns she can still communicate through writing, but that's not enough to justify the misfire.
95. "Eggtown" (Season 4)
The jaw-dropper that Kate's off-Island son is actually Aaron added some serious sauce to the ongoing mystery of the flash-forwards, and Miles eating a grenade for breakfast is great. Otherwise, not much happens.
94. "…And Found" (Season 2)
The first sighting of Goodwin's corpse! Great moments for Mr. Eko and Jin as they spy on the Others' dirty feet as well. Fairly forgettable flashback featuring Jin and Sun's first encounter.
93. "Everybody Loves Hugo" (Season 6)
Hurley and Libby's emotional flash-sideways story can't overcome Ilana's lame death. Why introduce a character of such apparent importance, only to kill her off as a gag? Her Arztian exit is one of the greatest examples of "Lost" stumbling on its way to the end zone.
92. "Special" (Season 1)
Forgettable, aside from some strong scenes between Michael and Walt, Walt and Locke, and Locke and Michael. "If I see you again with my son, I'll kill you." Uh, I don't think he's bluffing.
91. "Recon" (Season 6)
The introduction of Zoe, Charles Widmore's second-in-command, and quite possibly the worst character on "Lost." But we also get Sawyer and Miles as BFF police bros. Like life, "Lost" gives and takes.
90. "Lighthouse" (Season 6)
Jack goes Jack Nicholson Joker on some mirrors, which is nice. The episode also moves away from the Temple, mercifully. Jack's Sideways story as a father to young David, however, is a distraction the show doesn't need in its final hours.
89. "Across the Sea" (Season 6)
One of the most controversial episodes of "Lost." It's ambitious at a time when "Lost" desperately needs ambition, but it doesn't totally work, thanks in large to Emmy winner Allison Janney's miscasting as the Island's ancient protector. Timing is an issue as well; the episode takes place immediately after the death of three main characters, so viewers' interests are understandably elsewhere.
88. "Born to Run" (Season 1)
"Sawyer, if I want your spot? I'll get your spot." A badass Kate episode, but ultimately filler.
87. "The Greater Good" (Season 1)
Sayid's weakest episode, suffering from filler syndrome, like "Born to Run." Locke showing up to Boone's funeral covered in Boone's blood is an all-timer, though.
86. "S.O.S." (Season 2)
Doesn't move the needle at all, but those are some of the best episodes on a rewatch — the ones that just play around with the characters. Bernard and Rose's origin story is harmless, and actually quite moving, in an ultimately superfluous hour of "Lost."
85. "…In Translation" (Season 1)
Jin's first English word ("Boat!") and the music montage at the end, with Sun finding freedom in the Island morning breeze, elevate an otherwise unmemorable episode.
84. "Hearts and Minds" (Season 1)
Shannon and Boone bone. Awkward! Locke's story about Michelangelo and the Statue of David is a phenomenal and underrated Locke moment.
83. "Abandoned" (Season 2)
Shannon's intense death gives "Abandoned" an edge over other episodes, but it's frustrating to lose her just as she's becoming a good character.
82. "House of the Rising Sun" (Season 1)
Sun's English secret is great, as is an action-packed scene featuring bees. ("I'd have thought C's, actually.") The real kicker: Michael threatening Jin with an axe. As with "Special," watching this now, seeing Michael with an axe is a very different experience, knowing what he's capable of.
81. "Par Avion" (Season 3)
Yes, yes, carrier pigeons, but Jack playing football with Friendly is so good.
80. "The Whole Truth" (Season 2)
"You guys got any milk?"
79. "Something Nice Back Home" (Season 4)
Bad on-Island story, great flash-forward. Jack and Kate's love story plays much better on the binge rewatch than on first viewing, and this is one of the best episodes for fans of that storyline.
78. "Maternity Leave" (Season 2)
One of the earliest departures from the conventional flashback format, this Claire-centric doesn't amount to much, but it's always exciting when "Lost" tinkers with the tried-and-true flashback structure.
77. "D.O.C." (Season 3)
Yunjin Kim's greatest acting showcase, outside of "There's No Place Like Home." The episode's ending, in which Juliet reports back to Ben via tape recorder, and tells him she hates him while off-the-record, is an underrated moment.
76. "Raised by Another" (Season 1)
"Hello, there." Ethan Rom's episode-closing reveal is one of the chilliest moments of early "Lost."
75. "Collision" (Season 2)
It's a testament to "Lost's" ability to flip initially unlikable characters on their heads to shake out some slivers of sympathy. Maybe only a few slivers in Ana-Loo-Loo's case, but still.
74. "Some Like it Hoth" (Season 5)
The first season five episode on the board, because season five is the most consistent season of "Lost" by miles. (By Miles! Get it? Because this is a Miles episode? Ah, get out of here.) Oh, and Hurley rewrites "The Empire Strikes Back." Amazing.
73. "Left Behind" (Season 3)
The Smoke Monster makes an awesome appearance in all of his get-me-offa-this-stinking-Island ferocity, stealing the show from an otherwise strong showcase for Kate and Juliet.
72. "The Little Prince" (Season 5)
Sawyer time-travels to the moment of Aaron's birth, mourning the loss of Kate all over again. One of Josh Holloway's many brilliant moments in season five. Plus, the outrigger scene. Y'all love the outrigger scene, don't you?
71. "Sundown" (Season 6)
Darth Sayid and Not-Locke team up to lay waste to the Temple, ending one of the show's most maligned story lines in gloriously violent fashion.
70. "I Do" (Season 3)
The flashback isn't fantastic, even with Nathan Fillion involved. But the final scene with Jack saving Kate and Sawyer via radio is one of the most pulse-pounding moments of the show.
69. "One of Us" (Season 3)
The ending's revelation that Juliet is still working with the Others is a show-stopping cliffhanger in a season (and series) filled with show-stopping cliffhangers.
68. "Confirmed Dead" (Season 4)
Welcome to the ball game, freighter folk! Faraday, Frank, Miles and Charlotte's introductions are important, but all four characters have better moments later in the series.
67. "Happily Ever After" (Season 6)
Too low? Maybe for some of you, but the Sideways story does not work for everybody — and for those people, an almost exclusively Sideways episode does not play well, even as a Desmond episode.
66. "The Lie" (Season 5)
Hurley explains "Lost" in one minute, and throws a Hot Pocket at Ben Linus. Win.
65. "The Economist" (Season 4)
Sayid's new gig as an assassin is one of the great joys of the flash-forward storyline, second only to his magically straightened secret agent hair. Seriously, that lion's mane. So luscious.
64. "Tabula Rasa" (Season 1)
The second episode of "Lost" gives us more on Kate right when we need it, but the big highlight is the ending: Joe Purdy's "Wash Away (Reprise)," playing on Hurley's CD player, fading out on John Locke's sinister stare.
63. "The 23rd Psalm" (Season 2)
Mr. Eko versus the Smoke Monster, round one. The episode takes on enhanced meaning once you know what (and who) the Smoke Monster really is.
62. "Namaste" (Season 5)
The gang gets back together! Well, everyone except Sun. Another great season five episode for Sawyer, who schools Jack on how to be a leader.
61. "What They Died For" (Season 6)
Jacob finally reveals himself to Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley and explains why he brought them to the Island: To protect it, and to keep the Man in Black in check. It's an important breath of air in the wake of the shattering deaths of "The Candidate."
60. "Follow the Leader" (Season 5)
A moving-the-ball episode that ends with Locke's declaration that he plans to kill Jacob. Terrifying on the first watch, and even more so when you know who "Locke" really is.
59. "Everybody Hates Hugo" (Season 2)
Hurley's cluckity-cluck-cluck woes are whimsical, but whimsy is one of "Lost's" best speeds on a rewatch. It includes two of the show's finest music-montages, too.
58. "Outlaws" (Season 1)
It's not a great television drama until someone plays a drinking game.
57. "The Moth" (Season 1)
Charlie's heroin withdrawal is rough, powerful stuff. Great Dominic Monaghan episode. You have to take those where you can, considering how early Charlie leaves in the grand scheme of things.
56. "Enter 77" (Season 3)
Sayid blowing up Mikhail's spot, with a fresh bullet wound in his arm, is exactly why Sayid is the best. One of his finest hours.
55. "Cabin Fever" (Season 4)
John Locke is special. Everyone knows this. Except… what if he's not? It's an early warning sign that something's wrong with Locke as a messianic figure, laying the groundwork for his story's eventual turn.
54. "Not in Portland" (Season 3)
Juliet's first flashback shows an entirely different side of the Other woman than we had ever seen before. It's also the first ever sighting of Richard Alpert, earning the episode points for historical value.
53. "This Place is Death" (Season 5)
Here lies Charlotte Lewis, who delivered the best final words of any character on "Lost": "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner."
52. "?" (Season 2)
Eko and Locke's search for the Pearl Station is a genuine trip, with the two men of faith diverging down different paths for the remainder of the season.
51. "Three Minutes" (Season 2)
Michael's best episode, and a blockbuster performance from Harold Perrineau during the "three minutes" he's allowed with Walt.
50. "The Long Con" (Season 2)
"You took my stuff!"
49. "One of Them" (Season 2)
The first appearance of Benjamin Linus, posing as Henry Gale, is so enjoyable on a rewatch. But the episode loses a ton of points for Sawyer crushing the tree-frog. Totally unnecessary and ultimately out of character.
48. "The Other 48 Days" (Season 2)
The Tailies didn't really pan out, but their episode is still an exciting exploration of what life was like on the other side of the Island.
47. "LA X" (Season 6)
Oceanic 815 landing in Los Angeles is a show-stopper, even if it only exists in an afterlife. Not Locke's brutal takedown of John Locke's memory is, well, brutal. Juliet's death is devastating, as is Sayid's, but his magical resurrection at episode's end was baffling at the time, and thoroughly frustrating now on the rewatch.
46. "The Candidate" (Season 6)
The triple homicide of Sayid, Jin and Sun is one of the most gut-wrenching sequences in all of "Lost," but did we need to wait this late into the season to confirm the Man in Black as a super villain? And the debate over Jin's decision to die with Sun, instead of surviving for his daughter, remains highly questionable. Still, "there is no Sayid" is one of season six's best lines.
45. "The Substitute" (Season 6)
Shirtless, drunk, and essentially widowed, Sawyer takes a walk with the Man in Black to find a cave with his name, number and purpose written all over it.
44. "A Tale of Two Cities" (Season 3)
The first sighting of the Barracks! The first sighting of Juliet Burke! Wonderful usage of "Downtown" in the opening scene! Toothpicks in the sandwiches! His name is Benjamin Linus! Sawyer scores a fish biscuit! The next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant! This episode is the opposite of unpleasant. It's great!
43. "The Hunting Party" (Season 2)
"This is our Island." The Others aren't the all-powerful monsters they're first made out to be, but Mr. Friendly's line-in-the-sand moment is still one of the most sinister scenes of the series.
42. "Jughead" (Season 5)
Chekhov's nuclear warhead makes its first appearance, in an episode that lays crucial groundwork for all events to come, including Faraday's terrible fate.
41. "Catch-22" (Season 3)
Desmond leads Charlie, Hurley and Jin on a camping trip through the jungle, during which Jin tells a ghost story, the gang whistles ala "Bridge on the River Kwai," and Charlie takes an arrow to the throat. Hard, frickin', core.
40. "The Last Recruit" (Season 6)
Highly underrated episode. It's so refreshing to see the whole gang back together this late into season six. Everyone back-talking each other, scheming and double-dealing in an effort to ditch Not Locke (and Claire!), feels like an old-school episode of "Lost," so late in the game.
39. "The Cost of Living" (Season 3)
Losing Eko, so early into his potential, really sucked at first. On rewatch, knowing who the Smoke Monster really is adds some powerful impact to Eko's death. "We're next," he says? You got it wrong, John — you're next.
38. "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" (Season 5)
The final hour of John Locke is an important episode, but a repetitive one, with Locke continually failing to bring people to his cause. Ben murdering Locke is telegraphed pretty hard, but that doesn't make it any less gripping.
37. "316" (Season 5)
Once again, Jack wakes up on the Island's jungle floor, and immediately springs to heroic action. But this time, he's not motivated by fear; he's fueled by destiny, with the final wishes of John Locke coursing through his veins. It's one of Jack's best scenes, showing that the Man of Science and Faith has finally arrived.
36. "Do No Harm" (Season 1)
Hello Aaron, bye-bye Boone. It's the big break-up episode for Jack and John, an important building block in their shared mythology.
35. "He's Our You" (Season 5)
Sayid Jarrah, tied up to a tree in a jungle of mystery, getting tortured. How's that for a reversal? This is Naveen Andrews at his most manic, and it's absolutely awesome.
34. "Whatever Happened, Happened" (Season 5)
Kate's episodes don't always work, but this one really does, and it's all on Evangeline Lilly. Kate's tearful goodbye to Aaron on the night before Ajira 316 is Lilly at her best, and one of the heartbreaking performances of anyone in the entire series. Massively underrated.
33. "Lockdown" (Season 2)
The blast door map! The blast door map! Please, someone, hit pause — it's the blast door map!
32. "Solitary" (Season 1)
Behold: Island golf. "It's all Hurley," says Jack. "I've been going crazy trying to make everyone feel safe. I haven't been sleeping because I want everyone to feel safe — then he builds a golf course, and everyone feels safe." Makes you feel good about the future of the Island in Hurley's hands, doesn't it?
31. "Two for the Road" (Season 2)
Bang, bang, bang. The double-homicide of Ana-Lucia and Libby, and Michael's self-inflicted gunshot, remains a top contender as far as "Lost" stunners are concerned.
30. "Confidence Man" (Season 1)
Sawyer and Kate's breathtaking make-out sesh is the hotness. It's also a character-defining episode for numerous players — Sawyer, of course, but also Sayid and Jack, who prove just how far they're willing to go to protect the other survivors.
29. "LaFleur" (Season 5)
Is there a better mirror to "Confidence Man" than this season five episode? The tiger changes his stripes, using his confidence schemes to keep himself and his fellow time-travelers safe. In the process, he finds adulthood, love, purpose and home. In a single episode, James finally becomes a man. Good, rewarding stuff.
28. "Dead is Dead" (Season 5)
A strong Ben Linus episode that only gets stronger on rewatch, when you realize that John Locke is not John Locke. Using the image of Ben's dead daughter to strengthen his unending loyalty is a cruel trick, and exactly what one should expect from a dude known as "the Monster."
27. "Numbers" (Season 1)
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Numbers you'll never, ever forget.
26. "The Beginning of the End" (Season 4)
The perfect follow-up to "Through the Looking Glass," honoring both Charlie's death and the weight of the flash-forward reveal. It's the exact right way to begin Act Two of "Lost."
25. "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" (Season 1)
Jack finding and rescuing Charlie in the jungle is one of the greatest emotional roller-coasters of season one, and "Lost" at large.
24. "Because You Left" (Season 5)
Pierre Chang, "Shotgun Willie" and Daniel Faraday play us into the first episode of "the time-travel season," kicking off the show's weirdest, most experimental run of episodes in fantastic fashion.
23. "The Man from Tallahassee" (Season 3)
How did Locke get in the wheelchair? Ask, and you shall receive, in one of the most gutting episodes of the series.
22. "Greatest Hits" (Season 3)
An unexpected and emotional reminder that after seasons of languishing on the sidelines, Charlie Pace was a foundational character of "Lost." As much as you don't want to see him go, it's so powerful watching him prepare to leave.
21. "White Rabbit" (Season 1)
Jack's first flashback episode establishes the show's foundational theme of coincidence versus fate. Is Jack losing his mind, or is he actually seeing a ghost? Well, why can't it be both? Plus, an all-too-rare sighting of Jack and John as bros.
20. "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" (Season 3)
In the end, "Lost" is about the journey, not the destination, as embodied by Hurley's drive through the jungle in an ancient DHARMA van, alongside slow-dying Charlie, and drunk Jin and Sawyer. Sure, on first watch, this is "Lost" literally spinning its wheels. On rewatch, it's the epitome of what makes "Lost" great. Make no mistake: despite what the title tells you, "Tricia Tanaka" is full of life.
19. "Exposé" (Season 3)
Best. Apology. Ever. "Exposé" is a phenomenal mea culpa that sends off two horrible characters in show-stopping fashion. It's a spiritual cousin of "Tricia Tanaka" in terms of wonderful whimsy, with an ambitious structure and a ton on the line. You think it's horrible? You are so, so, so wrong. It's spectacular. Razzle dazzle!
18. "The End" (Season 6)
All good things must come to an end. It's not perfect, but few things are. Even if you hate the Sideways, seeing (almost) every "Lost" character you knew and loved wake up and remember their former selves is deeply moving. Plus, Jack downward dragon-punches Locke, "Street Fighter" style. Can't hate that. The show's final sequence, focused on Jack's death and spiritual closure, is a terrific mirror of the show's first sequence.
17. "Man of Science, Man of Faith" (Season 2)
Down the Hatch! First time inside the Swan! First sighting of Desmond David Hume! First time we hear the words "see you in another life, brother!" First time we hear Mama Cass! Such an exciting return to "Lost" after a long summer away from "Exodus." So good. So weird.
16. "Orientation" (Season 2)
"We're going to need to watch that again." Locke says what every viewer of "Lost" is thinking as soon as the orientation video ends. It's an episode that demanded constant replay of its die-hard fans, and still does today.
15. "Live Together, Die Alone" (Season 2)
It takes a lot of guts to rest a season finale on the back of an essentially brand-new character, but Desmond rose to the occasion and blew the lid right off the Hatch, literally and figuratively. Des turning the failsafe key, with Penny's words of love blaring in his ears, is one of the show's greatest romantic triumphs.
14. "Deus Ex Machina" (Season 1)
John Locke howling and pounding on the Hatch door, covered in Boone's blood, is one of the most haunting images of "Lost." The Swan Station's light washing over distraught Locke is one of its most vivid moments of hope.
13. "Ab Aeterno" (Season 6)
Both Richard Alpert and the Black Rock's origin stories were a long time coming. They were both completely satisfying on every level.
12. "The Brig" (Season 3)
Payback's a you-know-what. The death of Anthony Cooper is cathartic for everyone involved, yielding one of Josh Holloway's best performances, and providing a huge moment for Sawyer and Locke as the show barrels toward the end of Act One.
11. "The Man Behind the Curtain" (Season 3)
Ben's revealing first flashback episode ends with a bang, as he gut-shots John Locke and leaves him for dead, surrounded by the dearly DHARMA departed. It's not the last time Ben tries to kill Locke, but it is the first — and you never forget your first.
10. "There's No Place Like Home" (Season 4)
So. Much. Happens. Sayid versus Keamy. Ben versus Keamy. Michael and Jin versus the freighter bomb. Sawyer diving off the helicopter. The Island freaking disappearing. The Oceanic Six rescued. Locke's corpse, revealed. There's no time to catch your breath, just the way "Lost" likes it.
9. "Flashes Before Your Eyes" (Season 3)
The show's first-ever time-travel episode, and it's a big one. It sets up ideas of unchangeable destiny that will resonate throughout the remainder of "Lost." It also sets up the rest of Desmond's great season three arc: "No matter what I try to do, you're gonna die, Charlie."
8. "The Incident" (Season 5)
Here comes the Man in Black. The end of all things begins here, with a nuclear bomb meant to change the past, and an ancient enemy revealed, hellbent on a devastating future.
7. "The Variable" (Season 5)
"Lost" at its most Stephen King, revealing the full extent of the catastrophic cosmic joke that is Daniel Faraday's life and death. It's a chilling counterpoint to "The Constant," and one of the most meticulously crafted episodes of the series.
6. "The Shape of Things to Come" (Season 4)
Benjamin's darkest hour is one of "Lost's" brightest. It's the first episode after the writer's strike that plagued season four, and it jumps right back into action with adrenaline and bullets aplenty. Tightly-paced and emotionally dizzying. One of the very best.
5. "Pilot" (Season 1)
The big bang. Where it all began. Looking back on it now, it's amazing just how fully formed "Lost" feels on arrival. There's a reason why the survivors of Oceanic 815 became such a pop culture phenomenon so early on.
4. "Walkabout" (Season 1)
"Don't tell me what I can't do!" Terry O'Quinn's masterclass performance sealed the deal: "Lost" was a show you had to pay attention to. With more than 100 episodes of "Lost" after this one, "Walkabout" remains top-tier television.
3. "Through the Looking Glass" (Season 3)
Thought the show would end once the survivors left the Island? Think again. Season three's game-changing finale blew the lid off of "Lost" just when the show desperately needed a sea change. Aside from the "we have to go back" of it all, "Looking Glass" gives us Charlie Pace's final jam, and his iconic dying words, written on the palm of his hand: "Not Penny's boat."
2. "The Constant" (Season 4)
If you can watch Desmond and Penny's telephone reunion without tears in your eyes, you might not be human. It's the show's greatest love story, its greatest triumph in editing, its boldest narrative format. It's often cited as the best episode of "Lost." Very hard to disagree. For my tastes, it needs more of the Oceanic crowd to clinch that title, which goes to...
1. "Exodus" (Season 1)
From the minute Danielle Rousseau enters the Oceanic camp to the final cliffhanger descending into the Hatch, "Exodus" represents every single thing that's great about "Lost." It's action-packed, hilarious at points, thrilling at others, and covered in Arzt throughout.
The highlights are endless: Jack and Sawyer's emotional goodbye, all about Christian Shephard. Sayid performing field surgery on Charlie. Michael calling Sawyer out on his Bob Marley fandom. The Others taking "the boy" and bombing the boat. The first sighting of the Smoke Monster in smoke form. The first "man of science, man of faith" conversation. And then there's the crowning achievement...
...the raft launch, the king of all "Lost" sequences, scored to soaring heights by Michael Giacchino. "Exodus" is three hours of perfection, full of emotion, full of wonderful weight. It is "Lost" at its very best.
What are your favorite episodes of "Lost"?