Lost season four highlights
Instead of falling short of expectations, this season surpassed them. I probably could have devoted separate posts to each of the following highlights. As usual, please share your own praise for this season of Lost in the comments section. I didn't come close to covering everything that made this season incredible.
Following through with the game-changer - If you had told me a few seasons ago that most of the show's original characters would leave their fellow survivors behind and reach civilization, I wouldn't have believed it. Lost began as a drama about plane crash survivors on a mysterious island. Taking them off the island wouldn't make any sense. How could the writers shift the timeline into the future halfway through the series? Somehow, Lost became even better once the flash-forwards were introduced. Most of the latest flashbacks told us things that we already knew--Hurley was unlucky, Locke had a horrible life before the crash, and everyone had father issues. The flash-forwards were a brilliant way of changing our perceptions of each character. Jack went from a leader to an unstable drug addict, Kate became a law-abiding mother, and Sayid became Ben's hired assassin. I have no doubt that television writers will look to this season as a model for successfully transforming a show.
Michael Emerson - Is there anything that this man can't do? This season, Michael Emerson managed to add several dimensions to his character--a convincing action hero, a grieving father, and even a lovesick stalker. His performance in "The Shape of Things to Come" alone should earn him a boatload of awards. Ben wasn't the same person after Alex's murder, and Emerson's performance brought those differences to life. The cold, calculating Ben is gone forever. Until he gets his revenge, he'll continue to be swayed by his emotions. I'm eager to see what Emerson does with his role in the next two seasons.
Male bonding - Even with all of the drama this season, the writers found time for some lighter, touching moments. Hurley and Sawyer became roommates at the Barracks and spent their afternoons playing Risk with Locke. This unlikely friendship nearly turned into a bro-mance by the end of the season. Hurley also became snack buddies with Ben. He really does bring out the good in people, doesn't he? I was shocked when Ben gave Locke a (seemingly) sincere apology for his part in Locke's unhappy life. Last season, a desperate Ben shot Locke and left him for dead rather than tell him the island's secrets. In their final scene together, Ben almost appeared to respect Locke when he handed off leadership duties to John. Moments like these demonstrate that all types of relationships matter on Lost, not just the romantic ones.
Strong performances from the freighter folk - In my letdowns post, I complained that we didn't get enough time with the freighter folk. I wouldn't have wanted more from these characters if they hadn't intrigued me. Ken Leung, Jeff Fahey, and Kevin Durand were particularly fun to watch. We all know that Widmore's the big bad, but Keamy became the face of evil on the island in his stead. Frank Lapidus was the only member of the freighter team that I ever trusted, and his connection to Flight 815 was an unexpected twist. Miles' ability to speak to the dead and see through the lies of the living will continue to be valuable. I also expect him to take over Sawyer's role as the island wise-ass now that Sawyer is set to become the new leader of the 815ers.
Desmond and Penny's relationship - There isn't enough gushing in the world to do justice to this season's development of Desmond and Penny's love story. In my mind, "The Constant" is tied with "The Shape of Things to Come" for best episode of the season (and possibly of the series). Penny and Desmond's reunion was the high point of the finale, and I was pleased that the writers brought them together so soon. Unfortunately, their happiness won't last. Ben plans to take his revenge on Widmore by killing Penny, which puts both Penny and Desmond in danger. My heart will break if something terrible happens to them, but we'll always have Season Four.
Sun rocks - The viewers who once complained that Sun and Jin were boring have (hopefully) been silenced. Jin's fate was one of the biggest cliffhangers in the season finale, and Sun has become the Oceanic Six member to watch. Her grief turned her into a strong, mysterious woman back on the mainland. She's sticking it to her father, holding a major grudge against Jack, and forming an alliance with Charles Widmore in the future. She's come a long way from breaking a glass figurine and learning English in secret. Like Ben, loss has influenced Sun's motives and moral code. She's capable of anything now.