The first season of Lost was amazingly good. It was a great mystery, with interesting characters, and a writing team that swore they had a plan. The confidence the stories of our survivors were told with made me believe it. When the season ended with Locke and Jack staring down into the blasted-open hatch, I couldn't wait for the show to come back and show us what was down there.
Then in season two, I wondered what the hell happened. Sure, there was the addition of the Tailies, such as Mr. Eko and Bernard. But most of them ended up getting dead. Locke went from jungle Jedi to confused whiner with daddy issues. The flashbacks, which were so cool in the first season, were meandering and pointless. Jack has problems. I get it. Kate is criminally insane. I get it.
Just as I wondered if the magic was gone, Crazy-Ass Delenn came to our survivors with Ben, and the show kicked right back into high gear. The great cliffhanger also got rid of Michael at just the right time. If I never hear his cries of "WAAAAAAAAALLLT!!!" again, I'll be a happy man. In season 1, dude wouldn't even let the kid take a turn at golf.
This brought us to season three. We were promised more answers, more mysteries, and more Ben. My question was, would season three overcome the sophomore slump that hit the tale of our castaways? Well, yes. And no.
Rocked: The fantastic first episode. Now that's how you welcome viewers back. We finally saw where The Others lived, and the crash of Oceanic 815 from their point of view.
Sucked: It was followed by five episodes that felt like lingering remnants of the bad parts of season two.
Rocked: Nathan Fillion.
Sucked: The flashbacks in the first six episodes were as meandering and arbitrary as most of season two. "Oh, we need to see that Kate runs from pressure. Let her almost get married and run away!" A total waste of Mr. Nathan Fillion, just another victim of Kate, like the kid from The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.
Sucked: The 12 (twelve) week Day Break break.
When the show came back it didn't get much better. By the way, did anybody watch Day Break? Seriously, I'm asking.
Rocked: Everybody but Jack and Kate.
Sucked: The stories on the island were just as dragged out as season two. Maybe the show runners misplaced their plot outline under all the actors' arrest reports.
Rocked: Jack with Ben on the OR table.
Sucked: The non-cliffhanger. Was there any doubt that Sawyer was going to not be shot dead? While the show has had deaths both surprising and annoying (Mr. Eko), there's no way they would let Sawyer go out like a punk.
Sucked: Story progression came slowly in the first two seasons. As maddening as it was, it still felt like there was some movement. This time, not so much.
Sucked: There were some good, tiny bits like the VW bus. But I tuned out for about four episodes. There, I said it. Now I'm the punk. Then, I realized I am weak. Ben is strong.
I forgot about the writers' secret weapon.
Rocked: Creepy, manipulative, excellent Ben. He dragged Locke's dad to the island. That way, way overdone plot got resolved beautifully. And to stunning effect, it tied into Sawyer's background. There were hints of whom Ben works for. We saw how he runs the Others with his guile, charm and lies. There was the contest of wills between Ben and Locke, reforged into a badass by the death of his father and his new goal to make sure that no one gets off the island.
Rocked: Ben's flashback. At long last. A lot more secrets come out, along with a flood of even more questions. This episode is also where I felt the engine of the show rocket to life again. It roared toward a finale that may be one of the best things I've ever watched. It was thrilling, and it was filled with answers and more maddening questions.
Totally rocked: A big ol' can of sweet payback.
The survivors stop running and panicking and take care of some business. They bust up a huge chunk of The Others. I was amazed Jack didn't cave to Ben over the threat to kill Jin, Bernard and Sayid. I whooped in glee when Jack delivered a long-deserved beat-down.
Rocked: Reunion of Crazy-Ass Delenn and Alex. Jack's snarling reason why he didn't just kill Ben outright. Later, seeing Crazy Ass Delenn belt Ben was mighty fine. Those Minbari don't mess around.
Rocked: I sympathized with Hurley when no one wanted him to come along and help on the side missions. Then I cheered again when he blasted out of the jungle in his van to rescue the people trapped at the beach.
Rocked: Then Sawyer's decision about what to do with Tom, with the simple "I didn't believe him," was note-perfect.
Rocked: The mind-blowing ending where we discover bearded, suicidal, drug addicted Jack isn't a flashback, but a flash forward! Who was it that died? What the hell was going on with Jack, especially when the other doctor confronted him and Jack said "Let's go upstairs and see my Dad, and if I'm drunker than he is, you can fire me."
Sucked: Wait. What? Did he mean his and Claire's dead dad? Or did someone adopt Jack? Or was his dad not his dad?
Sucked: Now, it wasn't perfect. Charlie's potential death was arbitrary. What, he couldn't take the two seconds to step around the door and seal it from the outside? He had plenty of time to do that.
Sucked: Desmond's still annoying, brotha.
Both Rocked and Sucked: The end is near. I assume the word of a firm, final end date for the show has allowed the writers to refocus, tell the story they want to tell, and frees them from stretching, blah blah and etc. I'm done with reading all that.
Boo hoo hoo. I'm buying the Colgate toothpaste and fine Chevrolet automobiles that pays their salary. They live in Hawaii and write for a TV show. I'm going to start writing to them about my problems.
But if they can keep up the well-written, high-toned tension of this final arc, I'll happily be back on this island again next season.
Once more, I'm hooked on this show. I thought I was out. But it pulled me back in. Frakking Lost!