With the exception of the two first seasons, it seems like a law onto itself that every season of Lost has to start a bit ‘off’. Not necessarily bad in any easily distinguished manner; merely ‘off’. And I think the same has held true for this, the last season, until now. Episode 3, ‘The Substitute’ was the episode to finally break in the season for us. I would love to find the time when once in the future we sit down and re-watch the show from beginning to end and find out what the deciding factors are. Something tells me there’s a recurrence amongst some of the directors and writers among who that special Lost-ness really thrives.
They may be better craftsmen, but above everything else, it seems, at least for me, that there’s also another thing that usually characterizes those best episodes. Namely that they’re the character portraits. The first two episodes of this last season were mostly plot-driven, catching up on events from the previous season and setting up the events that will drive this season. Getting the pieces lined up. ‘What Kate Does’, episode 2, had its moments, but was still, at least in my opinion, more concerned with plot than character, whereas The Substitute was almost entirely character-driven.
It certainly helps that Terry O’Quinn delivers such a fantastic performance as Locke, but the episode itself was also filled to the brim with narrative glee and one amazing scene after another, all centered around the character of Locke. Yes, there’s the whole alternate timeline to keep things fresh, but it’s still pretty impressive how even after five seasons, the Lost team manages to twist and turn the character in new and fascinating ways.
I could gush over Lost all day, I really could, but if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Fringe forums to troll.