... but I can't help it. The "Lost" Comic-Con presentation has my heart all aflutter for the final act of the best television show I've ever seen -- and it doesn't start until February.
Those magnificent bastards over at DARKUFO have been running an NCAA-style bracket to determine the best "Lost" episode of all time, and it's shaping up to be a battle of season premieres and finales. I guess that makes sense, because something terribly dramatic happens in all of those episodes, but I wouldn't rank many of the bookend episodes among my absolute favorites; they typically focus on more than one character, and "Lost" is best when it dials into one islander's story.
So screw the Episode Cup! Here are my five favorite "Lost" episodes:
1. "The Shape of Things To Come" (4x09) -- One of the most exciting hours of television I've ever seen, and Michael Emerson's masterpiece. On the island, Ben makes a horrible miscalculation when dealing with Keamy, and Alex pays the ultimate price. Off the island, we learn what brought Sayid under Ben's employ. The climactic confrontation between Ben and Widmore sets up a major arc in Season 5, and tells us there are "rules" that The Others live by. I think I've seen this one at least ten times, mostly because of Emerson's work in Alex's death scene. How did he not win the Emmy for this?
2. "The Man From Tallahassee" (3x13) -- A wheelchair-bound Ben is captured by Locke, whose flashbacks finally reveal how he ended up in his wheelchair before coming to the island. Emerson and Terry O'Quinn do the acting equivalent of Ward and Gatti, trading blows to the bitter end. (This episode contains the hamster wheel conversation and the "magic box" conversation.) The ending is a double knockout -- Locke blows the submarine to bits just as Jack is about to use it to go home, and Ben brings Anthony Cooper to the island.
3. "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" (3x10) -- Probably the funniest, most flat-out entertaining episode centers on Hugo's quest to restart the DHARMA van he finds in the jungle. (The show's unfortunate title comes from the explosive post-credits flashback, but has little to do with anything else.) Sawyer gets some of his best lines ever, like in this exchange about the dead body of Roger Linus:
Sawyer: Skeletor seems to like it.
Hurley: That's not cool, dude! That guy had a mom, a family and friends. Oh, and a name! Not "Skeletor," it's Roger Workman!
Sawyer: It's "Work Man," you blockhead! That's his job! He was a DHARMA janitor.
4. "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" (1x11) -- The best Jack episode, hands down. Jack and Kate search for Claire and Charlie after they disappear -- and after Hugo figures out that Ethan was never on the plane. They find Charlie hanging from a tree, and Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly do their best acting of the series in the heart-wrenching scene where Jack resuscitates him. In Jack's flashback, we see why his relationship with Dad was broken -- he ratted him out for being drunk during an operation. Here's an episode where the "Jack Face" is totally warranted.
5. "Through the Looking Glass" (3x22) -- The best bookend episode does, in fact, focus on one character, and it's Jack, whose descent into addiction looks like a flashback, but ends up being a flash-forward. This episode was truly a game-changer, not only because it turned the show's concept of time on its ear, but because it did something even more unthinkable: It ended with Charlie's death.
"The Incident" (5x16)
"Man of Science, Man of Faith" (2x01)
"Two For the Road" (2x20)
What say you?