Marco and I agreed to put this one at number 2, but in my book it’s 1A. I’ll be honest, I fucking love this episode. I can remember getting off from work, coming home at 3 am and watching this immediately and being so fucking floored I think I just ended up staying awake all night.
I think that after the series is over, people will look back at “Through a Looking Glass” as the narrative climax. Everything comes to a head and it’s all crashing down on poor, flawed Jack’s shoulders. This is Jack Shephard’s crucible.
Previously? on Lost. The castaways have set up and ambush for the Others on the beach.
And Charlie has swam down to the Looking Glass underwater Dharma Station to push a button, only to find it filled with feisty OtherBabes.
I’m not even going to bother recapping the whole thing here, just go watch it if you haven’t. And if you have, watch it again.
This is the episode that turns the whole show on its head. You think you’re watching a JackBack to a dark time in his life, when you’re actually watching a flash forward. The writers have the balls to say, “yep, they get off the island, and it’s a huge fucking mistake,” and then fold the entire story back in on itself like a crease in space-time.
My least favorite character on the show dies, and it turns out to be the most moving death in the series. Charlie warning Des and then signing himself as he drowns is gut-wrenching and uplifting at the same time. I think this is partly due to Charlie somewhat redeeming himself in the prior episode, but he was helped by the fact that “Greatest Hits” remains the only time where we get to see a flashback to when a character is happy.
I think this scene, which starts with Charlie punching out a Beach Boys song on a keypad and getting a surprise call from Penny, and ends with his sacrificial drowning, is the finest 5 minutes in all of Lost.
But I also want to talk about Jack. Even though Charlie steals the best moment, this is the definitive episode for Matthew Fox and Jack. The JackFace is off the charts. I mean, just check these out:
Damn. Jack was at the end of his rope when the episode started, in both timelines. And then things got worse.
Off the island, he misses the chance to kill himself because he’s such a goddamned hero (I think we can assume now that the Island wouldn’t let him die; fate being a fickle bitch).
And on it, his plan just keeps getting worse. The ambush fails and Jin, Sayid and Bernard are captured. Then Ben shows up and pretends to have them executed. And just when things are looking up, John Locke shows up to put a knife if Naomi’s back.
Fox does a great job both with Jack’s stoned distress in the future and his pained determination in the present. His biggest moment of action, beating the shit out of Ben, isn’t his moment of strength, it’s his moment of weakness.
Jack is at his absolute breaking point here, and, perversely, we know from the 4th season that things get progressively worse for him every day after until he leaves the Island. It’s not hard to imagine how he came to pill-popping in the future.
And there were like 50 other great moments in the episode, too:
- We finally get to see the Radio Tower that the French Woman was broadcasting from.
- We see undead Mikhail without his eyepatch.
- We learn it’s “not Penny’s boat” *sniff*. Russo reunites with Alex.
- Sawyer kills Mr. Friendly. Jack gives Juliet the weakest “I’m only doing this cause Kate is watching” kiss of all time.
- Waaaaalllllttt!! reappears.
- Mikhail: not dead! And then he dies! No, wait, he doesn’t! Well surely he must be dead now? (I fully expect him to return).
- The writers find a way to redeem that cheesy Hurley episode.
- Sayid kills a guy with both hands tied behind his back, which we always knew he could if he wanted to.
Oh, and the coffin.
Sigh. What a phenomenal 2-hours. And this was just the second best episode of Lost so far. Tomorrow, the best, and also, the Season five premier in just 40+ hours.
We have to go back, Kate.
We have to go BACK!