Wow. Last night's episode is already firmly entrenched in my Top 5 all time episodes, and could possibly vault into number one upon rewatch and the opportunity for subsequent episodes to add even MORE importance to it (which seems impossible).
In the wake of such mind blowing awesomeness, I am reminded again of just why I love this show so much. There are so many aspects of this show to love...the acting is stellar (particularly in the last couple of seasons), the dialogue is sharp and witty (most of the time), it's a gorgeous show to look at almost all of the time, the characters are fully realized, etc, etc.
But all of that has been done by other great shows over the years. What sets this show apart for me is that I have never seen a show with such ambition and audacity that has also managed to stay on the air this long.
I have never seen another show that respects their audience and challenges us on a weekly basis the way this one does. I love the fact that for the last two and a half seasons, the writing and production staff have basically told their audience: "Look...we're going to be dealing with subject matter on this show that you are not going to find anywhere else. Physics, archaeology, time travel, the time-space continuum, religion, literature, human psychology...you name it. And we're not going to cut it up into small bites for you, either. We're giving you the whole freaking steak, and we expect you to know what to do with it. If that's too much for you, well....there's always The Biggest Loser." As far as I can tell, they have never once felt the need to back off of a concept or a plot device because they were afraid that the audience wouldn't get it. In fact, they have voiced concerns in the media that they knew that there were some people who would find the show too challenging, but they still have the guts to throw it out there anyway.
And kudos to the network, as well...I think the level of cooperation that the producers of this show are experiencing may just be unprecedented. Not only the much talked about decision to let them set an end date, which almost definitely saved the show from a creativity and story telling perspective, but also that they have apparently allowed them to go as far as they want to into this unchartered territory.
Maybe we have it all wrong when we talk about Joss Whedon having to go to a cable network in order to be able to tell his stories the way he wants...maybe he should call Disney/ABC instead.
I'll be back later with the recap, including the mind-blowing fact that apparently in the sideways timeline Elvis is somehow still alive, but he has continued to get fatter and now he drives a yellow Hummer.
Oh, that was Hurley? Dude, those mutton chops are FIERCE!
EDIT: It will be a couple of days before I publish my recap, so I wanted to go ahead and get it on record before it gets published in about two dozen other recaps...there were TONS of parallels to Satan in Smocke's behavior in that episode. Just to throw it out there.