Whetting your appetite for the final weeks of 'Lost'

hurley-mr-clucks-320.jpgSo this past Tuesday, as many of you already know, I hosted a mega-sized " Lost" chat. Rather than have the time simply amble on by without anything specific to talk about, I suggested beforehand that everyone chatting watch two episodes of the show in the background: Season 1's "White Rabbit" (Jack's first character-centric episode) and Season 5's "316" (Eloise Hawking, The Lamp Post, "We're not going to Guam, are we?")
 
I picked these two episodes because I thought they were both important to rewatch in light of recent actions on the show. What I didn't plan on was the way these two episodes complimented each other. In "Rabbit," we have the first big Jack/Locke scene, in which Locke tries to get Jack to believe in the Island's special nature. In "316," Jack reads Locke's suicide note, which simply reads, "I wish you had believed me." I had inadvertently picked two episodes that on some level bookend the first part of the Jack/Locke journey and catapulted the good doctor into a solo mission in which he belatedly tried to work together with the deceased man of faith.
 
So that got me thinking: what other episodes would work in illuminating ways as a pair? I started to think of the way chef's menus tend to pair certain wines with certain foods, and looked for non-obvious pairings of episodes that worked in concert with each other. Thing is, I'm not actually that much of a foodie (you can probably hear my wife nodding vigorously right now), so I asked fellow blogger and major foodie Jace Lacob (aka, Televisionary) about certain ways these menus are conceived.
 
As luck would have it, there's an 8-course version of these events! Since that's one of The Numbers, that seemed like the best way to go. He informed me that the courses usually go in this order: amuse bouche, starter/soup, salad, fish, meat, palate cleanser, dessert, petits fours. Now, I don't know if he was messing with me to exploit my lack of culinary knowledge (that amuse bouche sounds like a line from "Lady Marmalade"), but I'll roll with that for now. The next step? Get episodes to start pairing! Rather than come up with the pairings entirely on my own, I went on my Twitter account and solicited eight episodes for me to pair for your reading pleasure.
 
So, going off Jace's list and Twitter suggestions, here's your 8-course "Lost" chef's menu to enjoy before the series ends!
 
Course: Amuse Bouche (single, bite-sized hors d'Å“uvre)
Twitter Suggestion: Stranger in a Strange Land
My Pairing: Raised by Another
 
I should have known that some smart aleck would throw "Stranger" at me. Oh well. Since this course isn't very substantial, I'm opting to get this one out of the way first in order to move to better flavors later. And I'm pairing it with "Another" since not only do both eps deal with half-siblings, but are extremely concerned with their existence apart from those around them. Even when in a crowd, these two are very much alone, singled out by the burdens placed upon them.
 
Course: Starter/Soup
Twitter Suggestion: Deus ex Machina
My Pairing: Dave
 
Both episodes concern important players at a point in which their faith/sanity have reached a critical point. Both need a sign to continue. Both get signs, which they mistake for a turning point towards complete happiness. This is a completely depressing soup. Let's move on.
 
Course: Salad
Twitter Suggestion: Not in Portland
My Pairing: Special
 
An interesting salad, to say the least. Let's take two characters with no on-screen interaction: Juliet and Walt. Let's think about the ways in which they defy the normal order of things. Let's think about how these actions are both impressive and more than a little terrifying. Let's think about how much we miss these characters.
 
Course: Fish
Twitter Suggestion: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
My Pairing: The Cost of Living
 
Poor John Locke's swimming with the fishes by the end of "Bentham," and while Terry O'Quinn luckily still graces our screen, the Locke we knew, loved, and occasionally wanted to smack died onscreen here. So to match this episode up, I thought about Locke's once-upon-a-time foil: Eko. He, too, met something of a senseless end, another man of a different type of faith that didn't die due to a lapse but rather a reaffirmation of it. Given what we know The Man in Black thought of Locke, one can only imagine what he thought as Eko defiantly told him he was not sorry for the sum total of his life.
 
Course: Meat
Twitter Suggestion: The Constant
My Pairing: Greatest Hits
 
OK, let's sink our teeth into some romantic tears, shall we? Des and Charlie have been intertwined for seasons now, so let's pair up their two finest hours into one course of television heaven. If you sit stoned-faced during these episodes, well, why are you watching this show?
 
Course: Palate Cleanser
Twitter Suggestion: The Last Recruit
My Pairing: The Long Con
 
OK, that last course was pretty heavy, albeit made of all things awesome. To cleanse the palate, let's hook up two episodes largely centered around strategically placing groups in opposition to one another. Sure, "The Long Con" does it on a smaller scale, but in some ways, more satisfactorily. And Sawyer doesn't end up looking like a chump in the end, unlike in "Recruit." Score one for Season 2!
 
Course: Dessert
Twitter Suggestion: Dead is Dead
My Pairing: The Other Woman
 
It's a pretty introspective dessert, I'll admit. But both concern people that feel the weight of previous actions weighing heavily upon them, and that guilt clouds their ability to see how badly they are being manipulated. Ben's journey ends with being played by The Man in Black; Juliet's ends with a passionless kiss from Jack. I'll let you decide who got the bum deal here.
 
Course: Petits Fours (small confection generally eaten at the end of a meal)
Twitter Suggestion: Ab Aeterno
My Pairing: Walkabout
 
There's nothing really "small" about "Ab Aeterno," but it's quite the confection all the same. Epic in ways the show rarely can afford to be (both on a practical and storytelling level), it nevertheless hinges around a few small, yet crucial, moments on the Island. I'd argue that Richard's conversation with Jacob is as important to the Island's overall history as Locke seeing the white light in "Walkabout." When doling out the (admittedly quantum-laced) timeline for the Island, these two events deserve a callout.
 
So there's might 8-course "Lost"-infused meal! Sure, it's not something Hurley might have whipped up as a chef in the Dharma Barracks (not enough ham flavor in my choices), but hopefully appetizing enough for you to sink your teeth into as the series comes to a close.
 
What's your favorite course listed above? Leave your choice in the comments below!
 
Photo credit: ABC