Here’s the great thing about being a fan of pop culture: you can disagree with others and it really doesn’t cause anyone any harm. Sure, maybe some feelings are hurt, but in the long run, arguing about things like “Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam” isn’t going to result in something catastrophic to society. (To my knowledge, the long-foretold “Grunge Wars” have not scorched the Earth leaving only carnage in its wake.) When it comes to “”Lost,” there are a few universally loved episodes, a few universally loathed episodes, but everything else falls under a wonderfully grey area. We’re not talking backgammon here, people.
The Underappreciated “Lost” Theatre series is all about picking episodes that don’t appear on most fans’ radars when thinking about high-quality hours in the show’s history. Previously, I’ve nominated “Tricia Tanaka is Dead,” “S.O.S.,” “Live Together, Die Alone,” “Outlaws,” and “Do No Harm” to be screened in my imaginary cineplex. And today, I’m adding “Something Nice Back Home” to the marquee.
Why it’s overlooked
Look, it’s slapped in there between “The Shape of Things to Come” and “Cabin Fever.” I think that explains 90% of why it’s overlooked. “Shape” is my fourth favorite “Lost” episode ever, and “Fever” falls just outside of that. Both episodes contain more than a few of my favorite all-time moments. On top of all that, any and all Skaters are predisposed towards an episode that centers its flash forwards around the engagement of Jack and Kate. Personally, I’m not a Jater or a Skater. I’m a Hugurt. Clearly. Glad we cleared that up.
Why it’s underappreciated
Because the entire operation on Jack’s appendix recalls the intense difficulty of surviving on the Island more acutely and realistically than any ep since since “Do No Harm.” Because Rose’s worry over Jack’s illness calls into question her own recovery. Because Jack’s reliance on Kate further cements to the Juliet/Sawyer relationship in Season 5. Because Jin’s realization that Charlotte speaks Korean leads to a fantastic showdown between the two. Because we see Cabin Christian for the first time. Because the flash forward gives context to Jack’s desire to see Faraday’s plan fulfilled in Season 5. Because Jacob and The Man in Black are pulling strings all OVER the place only neither we nor the characters were quite ready to understand yet.
In many ways, “Something” is as mythology-rich as its bookends. But while “Shape” and “Cabin” deal with mythology on a grandiose, decades/centuries spanning ways, “Something” applies it on an intensely personal level. There’s no real “right” or “wrong” way to do it. But while it’s great to get a glimpse at the big picture of the War of the Island, it’s better to see how it affects these characters. Why the Island cures cancer takes a back seat in “Something” to Rose’s fear she will once again get sick. Why Cabin Christian separates Claire from Aaron takes a back seat to Sawyer’s worry over her absence. And why The Oceanic 6 never should have left takes a back seat to a couple that could have worked but couldn’t due to one man’s weakness. These are the types of stories that work on multiple levels, giving both the hard-core fan something to think about and the more casual fan something to appreciate.
What are your thoughts on “Something Nice Back Home”? Leave them below!
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Photo credit: ABC