Time Magazine came out with their annual Top 10 lists for the year of 2008. “The Constant” was named the #1 episode of 2008, while LOST was named the # 7 show of 2008.
1. Lost, “The Constant: At its best, Lost rips your heart out while it ties your brain in a knot. This season 4 episode did both expertly. Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) has been experiencing premonitions of the future since becoming “unstuck in time” (a la Slaughterhouse Five) earlier in the series. It turns out that he’s been time-traveling, or rather, his mind has: his consciousness is journeying between present, future and past. (It makes sense when you watch, trust me.) The unfortunate side effects of this condition are madness and death, avoidable only by focusing on a “constant”: a person or thing present in each time one’s consciousness visits. Desmond’s constant, he learns, is Penny (Sonya Walger), the girlfriend he left behind when he was stranded on Lost‘s mysterious island. His journey into his own past to find her in the present is tear-jerking and mind-blowing.
Season 4 of Lost audaciously told us up front where it was going to end: with the Oceanic 6 getting off the mysterious Island and returning to civilization (as revealed at the end of season 3). What we didn’t know was how and when — when being the big question, on a series that complicated its time-and-space-travel story deliciously. (How does a Frozen Donkey Wheel work, anyway?) Having spent the first half of the series flashing back to the characters’ pre-island lives, season 4 started flashing forward, revealing tantalizing glimpses of the post-Island future that we’re still trying to piece together. At season’s end, Jack learned that the Oceanic 6’s escape had disastrous consequences, and he vowed to return. We can’t wait to get back either.