What is the legacy of “Lost”? In 2022, that question is difficult to answer. When it aired, “Lost” was largely responsible for establishing the modern “event television” phenomenon that we see so often today, as fans ecstatically tuned in each week to see where the epic science fiction adventure series would go next. However, the ending has continued to spark controversy among fans and critics alike. In the wake of the divisive series finale of “Game of Thrones,” it was hard not to be reminded of the similar discourse surrounding the final episode of “Lost,” “The End.”
“Lost” also helped launch the career of some of the most influential storytellers working in the industry today. Long before he used his skills to revitalize both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, J.J. Abrams helped co-create “Lost.” The series’ pilot in particular benefits from Abrams’ cinematic direction. The show’s other co-creator, Damon Lindelof, has gone on to create a number of challenging science fiction shows; he helmed both the acclaimed sci-fi mystery drama “The Leftovers” and the subversive superhero miniseries “Watchmen.”
“Lost” follows the survivors of a plane crash, who are stranded on a mysterious island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Over time, this group of strangers realize that they are all more closely connected than they initially realized, and the series’ six-season run introduces many other mysteries, not all of which are thoroughly explained. Still, for many fans, the ride is more important than the destination, so here are the 21 best “Lost” episodes, ranked from worst to best.
19. Ab Aeterno (Season 6, Episode 9)
The last season of “Lost” is easily the most mythologically rich of the series, but viewers were divided over the show’s deeper exploration of the metaphorical battle between good and evil that dominated the final stretch of episodes. Was this really what the show was leading to? However, despite the disappointment expressed by some fans, “Lost” never forgot the reason why it was so successful in the first place: empathy for its characters.
The backstory of Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell), one of the mysterious leaders of the Others, is told in an emotional love story that rivals Desmond and Penny’s in “The Constant.” Once known as Ricardo, Richard was first brought to the island as a slave on a ship called the Black Rock in 1867. Richard had been imprisoned for inadvertently killing a doctor when he was trying to save his wife, Isabella (Mirelly Taylor), who succumbs to illness and dies. When the Black Rock crashes on the island, Richard is freed from the wreckage by the Man in Black. “Ab Aeterno” gives fans what they wanted most — some answers — but does so in the most “Lost” of ways: by focusing on the characters’ humanity, not the island’s bigger mysteries.