Lostbentotc"Do you believe in God, Jack?"

"Do you?"

"Two days after I found out that I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky…If that’s not proof of God, I don’t know what is."

This exchange between Ben and Jack in "Lost" episode "The Cost of Living," while Jack’s imprisoned in the bowels of the Hydra station is more than just an epistemological debate — it’s a heck of a bit of writing that, to my way of thinking, helps prove that the first half of "Lost’s" third season has been unfairly maligned as being weak. In preparation for tonight’s two-hour, season four closer, I dove into the season three DVD set again.

Time has softened some of the harsher criticism, but in the fall of 2006 it seemed that even some of the show’s most devoted fans felt the show was off the rails in the first six segs that aired in October and early November, before taking a two-month break. That skedding pattern didn’t work well for the peculiar storytelling pattern of "Lost" — live and learn, and to ABC’s credit, they surely did.

Season three also carries the stigma of having the dreaded Nikki and Paolo storyline, which enough fansLostseason31_2   yelped about to get the poor misguided characters buried alive before the end of the season.

But my goodness, let us not forget that the first few segs of season three are the ones that truly introduce us to Evil Sadistic Madman Ben — beating Sawyer to a pulp, making Kate break rocks in the hot sun in an itty bitty sun dress and keeping them in cages while he plays  major head trips with Jack in the underground glass-walled cage. He’s so bad ass he’s not afraid to stroll around in tan pans and white shoes well after Labor Day.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Comments 2