I don't usually write about television shows in this blog, but I will make an exception for Lost. I have devoted a large chunk of time and psyche to this show, and I've never made a list about it - until now. The series has featured a LOT of deaths, many of which were intense, emotional, or outright shocking. The following is a list of my favorites, in ascending order. I based my choices on the emotional impact each death had upon me as a viewer, and how revealing and/or important it was to the overall story. Feel free to chime in if you agree or disagree!
Needless to say, this entry is intended for other fans and it contains MAJOR SPOILERS about the show, so DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU ARE UP-TO-DATE ON LOST.
20. Neil aka Frogurt ("The Lie")
Obviously not an important death, but firstly, it was cool - death by a flaming arrow to the chest! Moreover, it showed how serious the confrontation with the Others was that an insignificant and harmless comic-relief character could die so suddenly and brutally. R.I.P. you goofy bastard.
19. Mikhail Bakunin ("Through the Looking Glass")
Good ol' Patchy, the man who wouldn't die. After walking through a sonar perimeter fence and hemorrhaging presumably to death ("Par Avion"), then being beaten to a pulp ("The Man Behind the Curtain"), then being impaled by a spear, this dude showed up again! We assume he finally died after that grenade exploded in his hand, but who really knows? He is as bad as Boris the Bullet Dodger. His "death" in the Looking Glass not only meant the end of this unkillable character, but it changed everything, including directly contributing to another entry on this list.
18. Naomi Dorrit ("Through the Looking Glass" & "The Beginning of the End")
Naomi was a complicated character and we never really knew if she could be trusted. But no matter what you thought of her, you certainly didn't see it coming when John Locke flung a knife into her back. Technically, she crawled away and died later, but the effect was the same. For Jack and the other survivors, Naomi was their ticket off the island. This was one of the major moments that defined Jack and Locke's antagonistic relationship. Meanwhile, we the viewers are left wondering is Locke knows something we don't, or if he really is just a knife-wielding nut-job.
17. Dr. Leslie Arzt ("Exodus, Part 1")
One of those classic "OMGWTF!" moments from the show. The high school science teacher, while explaining the dangers of unstable dynamite, spontaneously explodes. These crazy moments have become more and more frequent on the show, but Arzt's death was one of the very first, and it still resonates. Plus, it gave us that great line from Hurley: "Dude, you've got some Arzt on you."
16. U.S. Marshal Edward Mars ("Tabula Rasa")
The U.S. Marshal makes this list not only because he played an important role in Kate's story, but he also had one of the most slow, fucked-up deaths on this show. First he sustained that very painful-looking crack on the head, followed by a large piece of shrapnel in his side. Because Jack won't let him die, he dies slowly until Sawyer takes it upon himself to end his misery. Sawyer accidentally perforates his lung instead, causing the Marshal even more pain. Finally, Jack euthanizes him. The whole situation plays out with incredible tension and drama especially the moment where Sawyer tells Jack he did the right thing, followed by the sound of Mars choking on his own blood. Horrifying.
15. Boone Carlyle ("Do No Harm")
After a jungle exploration with Locke, Boone ventures into a small crashed plane and becomes hurt when it falls. Jack tries to save him, but Boone asks Jack to just let him go and not waste medical supplies that others could use. Jack obliges and Boone succumbs to his injuries. Boone was the first of the major characters to die, so the significance of his death is obvious. Furthermore, it was emotional because of Boone's sacrifice, the effect it had on Locke, and the fact that it coincided with the birth of Claire's baby.
14. Shannon Rutherford ("Abandoned")
Lost has a knack for making you start liking a character right before they kick the bucket. Shannon was a prime example of this. Ever the spoiled, manipulative bitch, she was easy to hate for most of season one. Then she started to grow up and act more, well, human. We felt sorry for her after Boone died. Then Sayid fell in love with her, so we had to like her because Sayid is awesome. So finally I started to tolerate the girl and suddenly she has a bullet in her chest courtesy of Ana Lucia. It remains one of the most unexpected deaths of the show, and it introduced us to the tail-section survivors. And Sayid was never quite the same afterwards.
13. Michael Dawson ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")
Michael was a character we initially liked and then came to absolutely HATE for his betrayal. On the one hand, I understand his desperation to protect his son no matter what. But what he did was unforgivable. Still, when the time came for redemption, Michael stepped up and did what was right by delaying the freighter explosion, thus ensuring the safety of Desmond and Jin. I really liked Michael's final scene because it was nice to see this once-beloved character get a chance to redeem himself. But what really made it haunting was the appearance of Christian Shepherd's ghost, who simply says, "You can go now, Michael" as if to signify he has fulfilled his destiny on the island.
12. Dr. Daniel Faraday ("The Variable")
Faraday was not a character I expected to die right in the middle of all that time-travel business. He seemed to be the only person who could explain what the hell was happening, and the whole hydrogen bomb plan was his own. Besides, Daniel was steadily becoming a new favorite character for most viewers. What's more, he was shot by his own mother, thirty years in the past! A tragic, ironic death for a man who dedicated his life to space-time phenomena.
11. Dr. Juliet Burke ("The Incident" & "LA X, Parts 1 & 2")
In trying to stop the Swan hatch from being built, Juliet becomes an unfortunate casualty of the cause. She is entangled in chains and dragged down into the electromagnetic hole-of-death. We all held back tears as Sawyer pleaded for her to hang on, while all she could say was, "I love you." Something in her eyes and those words tells us she knows Sawyer will never love her the way she loves him, but she accepts it. After hitting the bottom, Juliet, clinging to life, sacrifices herself to set off the hydrogen bomb that failed to detonate.
In the season six premiere, the Losties find her still barely alive in the rubble. It is an emotional scene as she and Sawyer say their goodbyes, but more importantly, it introduced yet another question to make us all go, "huh?" It turns out that Juliet knew the bomb worked after all, but how could she possibly know that?! WTF!
10. Nikki Fernandez & Paulo ("The Exposé")
Let me preface this by saying, Nikki and Paulo were my absolute LEAST favorite characters ever on Lost. I loathed every second they were on-screen. They were forced into the story and we were expected to embrace them as if they'd always been there. It was appaling. So when their final moment came, I was literally bouncing in my seat with giddy delight. A simple write-off would have sufficed, but the writers more than made up for their mistake by giving this duo a brutal death. Their own greed led them to be accidentally paralyzed by spider bites. Then the Losties presumed they were dead and buried them ALIVE. Nikki's paralysis even started to wear off and she opened her eyes just as they finished burying her. This made me so happy that I was able to forgive the writers for even creating Nikki and Paulo to begin with.
9. Roger Linus ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
After seasons of wondering what became of the Dharma Initiative and who that Roger skeleton in the van was, we finally got our answer in this episode. Via Ben's backstory, it is revealed that he helped the Others ambush and kill all the Dharma workers, including his own father - a workman named Roger. We also got a glimpse into just how fucked up Ben truly is, as he watches his father choke to death and then leaves his body to rot in the van. Damn.
8. Gary Troup ("Pilot, Part 1")
The earliest "OMG!" moment I can remember. Those revving engines on the beach were unnerving, but I didn't think someone might actually get sucked in! Thus was our introduction to Gary Troup. At the time, he was just some random passenger who walked too close to an active turbine. As it turns out, Troup was the author of the novel Bad Twin, which later made an appearance on the show and was published in real life, also. Troup was a tie between the fictional and the real, thus making him a cornerstone in the show's viral marketing campaign. Only Lost could make such a minor character so memorable.
7. Polar Bear ("Pilot, Part 2")
Another classic "WTF?" moment. Obviously, I don't know anything about this particular polar bear, but what it signified was epic and set the tone of the show. When Sawyer kills what he thought was the mysterious island monster, it turns out to be a bear. But as Kate points out, not just any bear - a polar bear. The point of course being - what the fuck is a polar bear doing on a tropical island?! That is a question we continued to ask for many episodes to come until the secrets of Dharma began to unravel. Another dead polar bear was later discovered in Tunisia, which directly tied into the time-space-travel themes of the following seasons.
6. Anthony Cooper ("The Brig")
Much like Nikki and Paulo, this was a great death scene because it involved a character I so badly wanted to die. Not because he was a poorly written character, though - he was actually a great character and one nasty villain. I can't even count on one hand the horrible things he did to his son, John Locke. As if stealing his kidney wasn't bad enough, he shoved him out of a window and paralyzed him for Christ's sake! Then, it was revealed that Cooper was also the man Sawyer was hunting for - the man who conned his parents and made Sawyer an orphan. So when Locke declines the opportunity to take revenge on his father, Sawyer steps in. With his last breaths, Cooper torments Sawyer about his parents. Needless to say, when Sawyer wraps that chain around his neck and strangles him to death, you cannot help but cheer. This scene brought a lot of closure to these two tormented characters.
5. Ana Lucia Cortez/Libby Smith ("Two For the Road" & "?")
The moment that confirmed Michael's betrayal. In order to help Ben escape, he shoots Ana Lucia. To be honest, I wasn't that surprised, it was building up to it. But I definitely did not expect it when Libby waltzed in next and Michael shot her out of panic. At that point, I started to think, "Oh God, who's next?!" These deaths were not terribly emotional - except for the toll Libby's death took on Hurley - but they rank so highly out of sheer shock value and significance to the story.
4. Alexandra Rousseau ("The Shape of Things to Come")
This one was both emotional, important, and completely shocking. After watching her mother and boyfriend get gunned down, Alex narrowly escaped death. So I certainly didn't expect this scene shortly thereafter! Keamy captures Alex and threatens to kill her if Ben doesn't give himself up. She begs her father to help her. Ben, assuming Whidmore's men can't harm him, attempts to bluff Keamy. The last words Alex hears are her father saying, "She means nothing to me" before Keamy abruptly puts a bullet in her head. Is there anything more heartwrenching? Ben's reaction says it all - complete shock and horror. This event leads to a deeper hatred between Ben and Charles, and a promise that Ben will take his revenge on Penny.
3. Capt. Seth Norris ("Pilot, Part 1")
The Oceanic 815 pilot was Smokey's first on-screen victim. It was surprising enough to see he survived the crash, but I nearly jumped out of my seat when he was dragged through the window and blood sprayed the glass. At this moment, the island monster was no longer just clicks and roars but something very real and terrifying. Just look what it did to the poor pilot (see above)! I loved this whole scene, it felt very Jurassic Park-esque. Definitely one of the show's most tense and exciting moments.
2. John Locke ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")
All the speculation over who was in that coffin was driving me nuts! I had my suspicions it was Locke, but didn't really think it would be. This is the person who drove Jack to depression and a desperation to get back to the island? The circumstances of Locke's death were even more surprising. He's off the island, contemplating suicide, and Ben saves him. Then Ben proceeds to strangle him to death. WTF! Complicating matters even more, Locke turns up alive on the island. Or does he....? Regardless, it was a major surprise and obviously a game-changer in this story. The long-term effects of his death are still being unveiled.
1. Charlie Pace ("Through the Looking Glass")
Easily the most emotional death scene of the series so far. I even started to dislike Charlie in the season preceeding his death, but he began to redeem himself and by the time he died, I had to hold back the tears. To begin with, the whole season hinted that Charlie would die, as Desmond had visions he would. So Desmond made it his mission to save Charlie, and naturally I assumed that would play out. But fate had a different path for Charlie, who ultimately sacrified himself to save the other survivors. Moments before his death, he speaks to Penny, which already fueled my emotions because Penny learned her beloved Desmond was alive and well. Then Charlie discovers it is not her boat that is just off-shore, coming to "rescue" everybody.
Just then, Mikhail appears outside the window with a grenade and Charlie locks himself in. He knows now that this is his destiny, this is the only way. Desmond tries to save Charlie, but it is too late. Charlie has just enough time to scribble a message on his hand - "Not Penny's boat." Those three words still give me chills. No matter how you felt about Charlie Pace, you have to admit this scene still chokes you up.