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Lost was an amazing television show and we could spend days talking about the best moments. However, in a show with about 121 episodes there are bound to be some that clearly are not up to the quality of the rest. Some bad apples, if you will. Once again, this is a personal list, but I tried to take into account the beliefs of LOST fans. While you may not agree on the list, I think we can all agree that LOST continues to be on our minds and even with these bad episodes we wouldn’t trade that time for anything. A quick note; I am using only one Kate episode, I could easily make the whole list nothing but Kate episodes if I’m not careful. And don’t worry, I’m not a pessimist the top five best is coming soon. So let’s get started:
What Kate Does
What Kate Does is not in itself a terrible episode, but where it falls is in the overall narrative and its location within the season made it a bad episode. The week prior, we were given the season 6 premier, LA X 1 and 2, so the rules of the show had changed. Not only were we still coping with the fallout of the season 5 finale, The Incident, but we were introduced to the flash sideways universe. That was a lot to take in. The next week was the first single character specific episode and was the show’s chance to demonstrate what the flash sideways and sixth season could do. Instead, we got a story on the island that seemed to be treading water and failing and a Kate-centric flash sideways that seemed to have no bearing on the events on the island. Kate is infamous for being the character with the worst episodes and it rings true. The temple became bland and boring, the same temple we had heard about and wanted to see since season 3. Never mind the tremendous leaps in logic in this episode. Kate just had a gun to her head but Clair still gets in the car with her. You can say that they shared a connection they weren’t aware o,f but it just looked ridiculous. The episode was situated in the wrong time and the story just wasn’t all that strong. We failed to care what she does.
This one is on the list, not because it is a particularly bad episode, but because of what it meant to the series and how it reflects on us, the audience. Nikki and Paulo were two new characters to the show; introduced in the beginning of the third season. They were thrust into the happening of our main characters and fans hated it. The writers had a lot of ideas for the two, but ultimately the fans hatred overrode their potential. Lindelof has said that there was going to be an entire Nikki episode showing her as her character from Expose (the show) and then reveal her as an actress, but they decided to just kill the two off. In the episode, we are shown Pauloas a fool in love with Nikki and Nikki as cold and somewhat heartless. The diamonds storyline resurfaced later in the show, which is the duo’s only lasting effect on the series. The plot of Expose is basically the writers way of showing us that if we gave them more time, Nikki and Paulo could have been interesting characters. However, the mere fact that the first person to discover the pearl was Paulo angered me. This episode also has the infamous Arzt spider. The spider represents the ultimate deus ex machine. Nikki and Paulo are shown to have been a big part of the events on the island before their introduction and we simply were not buying it. The pair did get buried alive which is among the worst ways to die, at least that I can think of. The episode was both an apology to the fans and a little bit of a middle finger.
Fire + Water
Charlie was a character with no direction through most of season 2. This episode was where that fact became almost painful to watch. I remember the preview for this episode and it hinted at Charlie getting the ‘sickness’, causing him to put Aaron in danger. What we got however, was Charlie acting completely irrationally and a story that went nowhere. Not only was it completely ridiculous that Charlie all of a sudden needed to get Aaron baptized, but there was never any explanation as to what was causing him to blackout and kidnap Aaron a few times. Locke was almost able to save the episode, but even him punching Charlie couldn’t save it. People were done with Charlie at this point. The flashback was sad and while not perfect, was not exceptionally terrible. It did not really do anything to illuminate Charlie’s actions, but it was rather depressing. When I was first starting to compile this list, the first episode I remembered was Fire+Water. The episode was almost completely forgotten and we know what ultimately happened to Charlie. Back then however, Charlie’s redemption seemed impossible. Fire+Water just is not worth watching, nothing is added to the story and if their goal was for the audience to hate Charlie more, then they still failed; we were just tired of him.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Season three has a reputation as being the worst of them all. After re-watching the entire show, I disagree, but there is no arguing that there were some bad episodes. Stranger in a Strange Land is pretty much the epitome of the LOST writer’s simply treading water. Before the fourth season, the show did not have an end date, so they did not know how much they had to spread out the story. This installment is rumored to be the one the writers used to argue their need for a concrete end date. The episode follows Jack on the island, still a prisoner of the others, and off the island, in Thailand. On the island (well the magic island), Jack spends the majority of the episode still locked up while Kate and Sawyer are still trying to get back to camp. Juliet is having a trial of sorts, conducted by others for killing Danny the episode before. We are introduced to the ‘sheriff’ of Otherton, Isabel and if you thought her character was contrived and unnecessary, don’t worry because she is never seen again. The producers said that after the episode she dies off camera, we were never given a reason why, but who cares if not even the writers liked her? Juliet’s life is spared, but she gets ‘marked’. What becomes of the mark….nothing, after this episode it is never mentioned again. The point of this episode was supposed to explain Jack’s tattoos; a mystery I didn’t know we had. After hearing this I assumed that they must be important and that Jack must have more of a connection to the island than I thought. However, we found out that he bummed around Thailand for a while being a dick to the locals. This is also known as the infamous Bai Ling episode. Her acting is terrible but we can’t be too hard on her as Mathew Fox turned in a rare underwhelming performance. The whole episode is just a mess, but there is one episode even more of a mess….
NO! I AM JUST JOKING…. I AM JUST JOKING!!
Across the Sea
OK I know I am going to get a lot of hate for this, before you flame me let me explain. Across the Sea showed the single most important story for the mythology of LOST; that is what some people say. I however, do not think we need this story. In the episode they answer some questions very sloppily and, even more infuriating, omit some of the most important information we need to understand the mysteries of the island. I am not here to get into the characters vs. question debate that has dominated the LOST universe since the finale. I personally loved the finale, but I am not drinking the Kool-Aid, I know there are some nagging issues. Across the Sea was the writers way of saying that, not only were they not going to answer a lot of the questions, but basically said that they were not important and that you shouldn’t worry about them. Then here is my question: Why were things that they were not going to explain brought up at all? There was no definitive answer for what they island was or who was originally on it. In fact ‘Mother’, as we have come to call her, tells Jacob and MIB’s mother that “any question I answer will just lead to more questions”; I don’t buy this at all. The writers could have shown the history of the island, but instead they swerved again and made this women the focal point for the entirety of the show. Without her, none of the actions in LOST would have occurred.
Let’s look at some of the weak points in the episode. Neither Mother nor MIB were named. Really, they went forty years not having names? I can buy mother simply being called mother, but the reason MIB doesn’t have a name is because his birth mother didn’t expect twins. Wow. The rules we had heard so much about, were given about a second of time and the only thing we had to go on was that Mother had made it that way…..what does that even mean? The frozen wheel works by filtering the light with water? That makes zero sense. Jacob turned MIB into the monster by throwing him down a light in a cave. Let’s talk about that for a second. Why did they have to be so literal and cheesy with the light. Had it simply been a metaphor….it still would have been weak, but giving it an actual physicality just came off as hokey. The Adam and Eve reveal was expected and I actually enjoyed that part. There are many things wrong with the episode but even ignoring the content, let’s look at the context. In the episode prior, The Candidate, we had just seen the tear jerker that was Sun and Jin’s deaths. That episode ended with MIB making his evil side known and stomping off to find a way to kill the rest of the losties. We were pumped and we knew the end was near. Across the Sea stopped the momentum dead. The single biggest problem with the episode is that we simply did not need it. Take a second and think about that. If Across the Sea didn’t exist and characters just told you some of the events of the episode, would The End have been any worse. We wanted answers and the writers said fine her you go but you’re not going to like it. Across the Sea is the weakest episode of LOST.
Even with the episodes on this list the show was still an amazing experience. When we all go back at watch the show again at least we will have warning and can know what to skip. Through bad episodes we are still……