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Top 10 WTF Moments on Lost

One of the coolest aspects of Lost has been its ability to always pull the rug out from underneath us. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, something so crazy happens that you’re forced to toss out your old hypotheses and start theorizing from scratch.

Now that The End is finally upon us, we’re counting down the top 10 Lost moments that had us scratching our heads, jumping off our sofas and screaming, “WHAT THE F&$%?!” at our television sets.

The moment you’re probably expecting to be No. 1 isn’t actually on this list: the famous flash-forward revelation in the season 3 finale “Through the Looking Glass.” Enough has been written about Jack’s rendezvous with Kate at LAX that helped reinvent the show, but let’s be honest: Jack using a Razr phone was a pretty damning clue that the episode was taking place in the present and not the past. It actually took us out of the episode. In addition, we’re not including any of the happenings of this past season to keep the focus on the wondrous moments that have kept us engaged in ABC’s twisted Sci-fi tale over the last six years (though there’s been plenty of WTF this year, what with man-beast Smoke Monsters and alternate realities). So while those “shockers” aren’t included, it does lead nicely into No. 10…

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10. The Parallel Flash: “Ji Yeon” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Unlike “Through the Looking Glass,” we were completely blindsided by the parallel flash-forwards and flashbacks in “Ji Yeon.” In fact, the effect was so convincing that we initially thought Jin had made it off the Island, faked his death and fathered a child with another woman. Whoops. Looking back, it probably would have been helpful if Jin went gift hunting for one of those old-school gray Gameboys instead of a stuffed panda. Nevertheless, the realization that Jin might actually be dead surely raised the stakes of the freighter folks’ demands in the writers strike-shortened fourth season.


9. Charlie, you’re gonna die—but not just yet: “Greatest Hits” (Season 3, Episode 21)

When death occurs on Lost, it usually happens in an instant. One minute characters are holding unstable sticks of dynamite, and the next second they’re Hurley bird meat. Yet for Charlie Pace, his fate wound up being played out over half a season. Having established a pattern of characters dying in their respective flashback episodes (four consecutive times between Shannon, Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko and Nikki & Paulo), it wasn’t surprising for the show to set up Charlie’s prophesized passing with a final look back at the happiest moments of his life. And while tears were shed as he dove underwater to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends, it turned out that Charlie’s work wasn’t done yet. Through a river of tears, we couldn’t help but yell out a gleeful yet confused cheer when Charlie actually surfaced within the Looking Glass and was ambushed by Others with guns.

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8. Ethan Rom isn’t on Santa’s list or the manifest: “Raised by Another” (Season 1, Episode 10)

We heard the whispers and Rousseau’s stark warning, but it still didn’t prepare us for the shock of seeing “survivor” Ethan transform from resourceful friend to steel-faced abductor. Hurley’s realization made the remaining 46 frighteningly aware that monsters and polar bears weren’t going to be the only threats in the way of survival on the Island.


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7. Boone-dock Saint: “Do No Harm” (Season 1, Episode 20)

The story goes that Jack wasn’t supposed to survive the pilot episode of Lost, so Matt Parkman—er, the Oceanic 815 pilot—was sacrificed to Smokey instead. Although the pilot and turbine guy were proof that the Island wasn’t going to be all peachy, the reality didn’t set in until Boone became the first major character to die. From then on, it became crystal clear that no one on the show was ever going to be safe, not even the most famous (Charlie) or the most beautiful (Shannon & Boone).

6. The DHARMA video: “Orientation” (Season 2, Episode 3)

The first appearance of one-armed Dr. Marvin Candle laid the groundwork for all the mind-blowing DHARMA stuff to follow, from the blast door map to the supply drop to that damn hieroglyphic-infused clock and button. The DHARMA station videos, with the 1970s industrial film music, missing frames and sinister shots of Alvar Hanso, have always been our favorite clues into the Island’s past. After the first time watching the Orientation film for the Swan, we couldn’t help but identify with Locke’s assertion that “We’re going to need to watch that again.”


5. What’s Down the Hatch: “Man of Science, Man of Faith” (Season 2, Episode 1)

The scene that should have ended season 1. But we’re not griping—it was worth the wait. The long tracking shot of the camera climbing up out of the fully furnished Swan station to reveal the peering faces of Locke, Jack and Kate shattered our conceptions of what exactly was on the Island. Plus, it made Mama Cass Elliot famous in contemporary culture for something that didn’t involve a ham sandwich.


4. Hurley’s Numbers on the Hatch: “Numbers” (Season 1, Episode 18)

Although season 1 had its fair share of character surprises—Locke was in a wheelchair! Kate is a fugitive! Michael didn’t raise Walt!—none was as fun as the revelation that fan-favorite Hurley was a $150 million lotto winner. But the closing shot of the infamous numbers embossed on the exterior of the mysterious hatch? Positively freaky.


3. Life in New Otherton: “A Tale of Two Cities” (Season 3, Episode 1)

While most of the attention is paid to season 3’s flash-forward ending, the most stunning moment in season 3 actually came at the beginning. After season 2’s trippy final scene, it looked like the universe of the show was beginning to move off the Island, a fact seemingly confirmed with the appearance of a Penny look-alike in the mirror. The joke was on us, though, as the domestic community with muffins and book clubs was actually the home of the Others and was quite the step up from the rag-wearing, tent-dwelling, mud-covered, teddy-bear-dragging group we saw in season 2. Bonus points for finally giving Henry Gale a proper name: Ben.


2. Jacob’s Haunted House: “The Man Behind the Curtain” (Season 3, Episode 20)

By far the creepiest five minutes in the history of the show. We can’t even bring ourselves to watch the scene with the lights off—even in broad daylight, it makes us paranoid and sends goosebumps up and down our arms. The scene is all the more powerful now that we know the eyeball and body in the chair belong not to Jacob but to the Man in Black, whose plea for Locke to “help me” would begin a long, elaborate con that cost the Man of Faith his life.


1. Michael Guns Down Ana Lucia and…and shoots Libby in her pillow!: “Two for the Road” (Season 2, Episode 20)

Even if you expected (and were excited by the prospect) that Ana Lucia was going to eat lead by the end of her tense standoff with Michael, there was no way anyone foresaw sweet, innocent Libby biting the dust 10 seconds later from the same revolver, let alone a frazzled Michael proceeding to unlock Henry Gale AND shoot himself in the arm without uttering so much as a word. Easily the tensest closing scene in the show’s history, complete with a 24-esque silent “L O S T”. Too much to even comprehend to this day.


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