Best TV Episodes Ever – LOST: Through The Looking Glass
I decided to add a new feature to my blog. A compilation of what I consider to be the best TV episodes of all time. I’ll add to this here and there but what better place to start than my favourite episode from my most loved TV show ever. Lost.
For those that don’t know, Lost is an American serial drama that aired for 6 seasons and 121 episodes between 2004-2010 on the ABC network. At it’s peak it had a massive 22 million viewers and stayed strong right until the end still captivating 14 million viewers for its final episode – and this is just figures in the US! Lost was a worldwide phenomenon and had devoted fans in a large number of countries, giving Lost one of the largest, intelligent and loyal fan base a TV show has ever had.
If you haven’t watched Lost and you intend to I strongly recommend you do not read any further, simply because Lost is a show that is an experience and a journey. There is much less point in watching the show if you know what happens as a lot of the charm comes in being in the dark and finding out bits and pieces along with the survivors in the show. Quite a popular saying in the Lost circles is “It is about the journey, not the destination”. In addition, Through The Looking Glass has, in my opinion, the biggest twist in the whole of Lost right at the end, along with a massive character death. So, if you do not want to know the result, look away now!
Through The Looking Glass is a two part episode and serves as the finale of the third season and as the middle point during its stint on TV airing in 2007. Around the time the writers were conceiving where the season would go, ABC agreed with the executive producers of the show that the show would end three seasons later in 2010. This was due to the producers wanting to give the still massively successful show an end game to work towards as they felt that near the start of season 3 they were starting to write in circles. Many fans agreed and welcomed this decision greatly.
Personally, I love TV that has real suspense, character growth, and a great overall plot that can make you think about it, full of mystery and intrigue and Lost delivered on all three counts. Lost was quite novel in its storytelling approach in that it mostly centred on a single character in each individual episode and along with that gave them their own flashback stories to tell the story of that characters motivations and also sometimes to progress the overall mystery and story arcs. Through The Looking Glass seemed that it would follow suit with the many episodes that preceded it and gave a story of Dr Jack Shephard, the central male lead in the show and his previously unknown addiction to Oxycodone.
The flashback was odd at first viewing due to its highly mysterious way of telling the story. Usually the viewer would be aware of the characters motivations somewhat in the flashback but in this instance viewers are shoved in to watching the central character self destructing for no obvious reason, along with a trip to a funeral parlour to pay his respects for an unseen person who was “neither a friend or family member”. Savvy fans would possibly have started to guess that things were a little bit strange here, especially for the fans who looked more closely than others that would have seen Jack using a telephone that was certainly newer than any 2004 model (the latest possible point that the flashback could have been). Some would have put this down to a prop error, but Lost quite rarely made these types of errors (that’s not to say they didn’t!).
The big reveal come right at the end of the episode where it was revealed in a meet with Kate Austen (the central female lead) at an airstrip that it was actually 2007 and they had both left the island. During this conversation it was revealed that Jacks self destruction could have been due to something that had happened during the escape of the island (hello season 4…) and that Jack and Kate’s relationship had taken a turn for the worst. The episode ended with Jack, previously known for being fixated with escaping the island, shouting at a fleeing Kate – “We have to go back!!” – Leaving audiences in utter shock for another 8 months before another episode would arrive.
This big twist is by no means the only reason that this is one of the shining examples of great TV, no sir. In this episode tears were shed across the globe as one of the most loved characters in Lost met his demise in a real tug-at-the-heartstrings tragedy with a tale of heroism and sacrifice.The twist ending also came straight after the final scene on the island which showed that, thanks to Charlie Pace (see below), the survivors had secured rescue and were about to be saved.
The whole season had seen Desmond Hume have visions of Charlie Pace’s death in various ways and Desmond had saved him repeatedly. However, in the episode before Through The Looking Glass, Desmond convinced Charlie that this time he had to die. Desmond had seen a vision of Charlie swimming to an underwater station that was flooding and flicking a switch that had been jamming radio signals off the island, hindering the survivors chances for rescue, and then drowning.
However, at the end of the episode Charlie had swam to the bottom of the station (which was dramatic enough already!) only to find that the vision was wrong, the station was not flooded! He was alive. But in the few seconds he was celebrating this, two previously unknown antagonists of the show appeared and held him at gun-point.
At the same time as drowning, Charlie wrote a message to Desmond on his hand which warned that the people coming to save them were not everything they seemed, setting up one of the main story-lines for the following season. Charlie’s death is easily the most emotional one I have ever seen on TV and along with the episode before it, one of the best written ones too.
Along with all the above, the episode contained many set pieces full of action and suspense with many of the shows villains meeting their demise in a shocking culmination near the start of the episode full of explosions. This storyline strand was also a brilliant part of the show as it led to the two leaders of the opposing sides on the Island – Jack and Ben’s – brilliant conversation where Ben warned Jack that the people coming to save them weren’t who they said they were, and also pretended to kill three main characters, leaving viewers in shock for a portion of the episode.
Many characters had brilliant moments in the episode, most notably Sayid’s crazy kung-fu kill with his legs and Hurley saving the day driving over some villains in a van. I haven’t even mentioned Locke’s big moments in this episode. There is so much action packed in here, and it is one of the best viewing experiences of all time.
The finale of season 3 is one of the most important episodes in the whole of the show. Some see this as the big turning point in the series and where the feel of the show completely changed. Season 1-3 set up the story whereas seasons 4-6 ended the story.
I leave you with the final ten minutes of the episode with the big Flash Forward twist.