First of all, many thanks to Peter, who came up with the idea to commission my favorite episode of LOST for a re-watch. I’ve only re-watched a handful of episodes since the show ended in 2010. Re-watching “The Constant” was a lovely reminder of just how good this show was at times.
Okay, let’s get the video out of the way so I can talk about LOST.
I essentially did not watch television with any regularity from the fall of 2000 until February 15, 2006. That was the day the second season episode “One of Them” aired, and it was the day I began to watch something other than The X-Files. (Interestingly enough, I was binging on The X-Files boxsets so I could own the entire series, and in the process, I was re-watching the entire show in order.) My roommates at the time were very obsessed with LOST and tried to get me to watch it, but I was so unexperienced with television that I truly believed that no show could ever be better than my favorite one.
Of course, my attachment to The X-Files was strange and emotional. It was the only window to the outside world that I had in my household, and it was the only thing I had on television that made me feel whole and gave me hope. My mother’s strict house rules prevented me from watching anything that wasn’t a children’s show, but The X-Files was the one exception. (I’ll never understand this.)
So when people in my life started telling me that I’d love LOST, that I would certainly enjoy it, that it was one of the best television shows on the air, I ignored them all. It was just hype! But one of my roommates sat me down and said that it wasn’t fair for me to judge something I’d never seen. So, on February 15, 2006, I watched an episode of LOST with them. While I understood practically nothing that had just happened, I was hooked by the end of the hour. (Michael Emerson’s character was a large part of that.) I went out and bought the entire first season, watched it all in four days, then bought the episodes I’d missed on iTunes, caught up, and suddenly, I was watching television. As it aired. This hadn’t happened in nearly six years, and god, it felt great.
Watching LOST was always a difficult experience. It wandered for a while prior to the network allowing the writers to set an end date. The Writer’s Strike interrupted seasons. Hell, season six is weird as hell. But it was the show that brought me back to television. Soon, I was interested in The Prisoner and The Wire. I was doing weekly recaps on Buzznet for LOST, and they were essentially a precursor to Mark Watches and where I got the idea for this site.
This episode in particular, the fifth in season four, represents a landmark moment in the show, so if you’re interested in watching LOST, I’d skip it. Despite that you can’t see anything, the dialogue spoils some secrets that aren’t answered until “The Constant.” And that would ruin some of the tension! Every time I’ve seen this episode, it has made me tear up. It’s brilliantly written because it manages to deal with the confusing complexities of time travel while being grounded in an emotional story that… jesus, I can’t even tell you unless you’ve seen the show. Just know that those of us who watched this in real-time were eagerly awaiting something like this.
It’s not a perfect show, but my god, when it’s good, it’s really good. It largely brought serialized television back in to popularity. Some of my favorite fictional characters (Juliet, Hurley, Benjamin Linus) are from this show. And by god, it’s so much fun.
Please utilize rot13 when discussing this show so that newbies won’t have to worry about spoilers in the comments. Thank you!