One of the greatest aspects of the show LOST, right up there with the mysteries, the secrets, the moments, the cliffhangers, the emotions, are the characters that we were able to go on this journey with. These characters are the super glue that hold the entire distorted plot together. They are the reason we always crave for more. This is a list of my top ten favorite characters from a show filled with fantastically layered and fascinating characters. Before I get into a top ten, I’d like to throw in some honorable mentions in no particular order that just barely missed the list…
- Frank Lapidus: Frank was my favorite of the freighter crew members and though his character never got his own episode and there was never much more than what met the eye, he was always a lot of fun when he was on screen.
- Rose Nadler: Quite honestly, even over Hugo Reyes, the most kind-hearted and caring person on the island. She is my second favorite female character and here relationship with her husband Bernard is simply tear-jerking.
- Jin Kwon: The character of Jin offered such a beautiful character arc from someone who, from the first episode, I thought for sure I’d hate until he died of, but I ended up loving until one of the most powerful deaths in the series.
- Daniel Faraday: From the many pivotal plot points he added to, to the beautiful way he uttered every piece of dialogue, it would be unjust not to put Faraday on at least a list of Honorable mentions.
- Kate Austen: I think Kate unjustly gets a bad reputation most of the time on the show, and I would agree that too much was focused on her when it could’ve been focused on more interesting characters, but I still loved Kate Austen.
- Mr. Eko: Mr. Eko was an absolutely fascinating character. I loved every second he was on screen. He also had one of the most surprising deaths in the entire show. Had he been on longer, he might just have made my list.
- Jacob: If I had to say who my number 11 would be, it would be Jacob. It wasn’t even when Michael Pellegrino was playing him (don’t get me wrong, I found him phenomenal) it was the aura of mystery surrounding him throughout the series up until the beautiful moment that opened the season finale of season 5. “It only ends once, anything that happens before that is just progress.”
Okay, there’s the list of awesome characters that unfortunately were not able to make my top ten. Here is the list of my top ten favorite characters in the vast history of LOST:
I think anyone who loves LOST would be in agreement that Hurley deserves a spot on this list. Most would actually prefer to see him higher, but this is where he’d have to fall for me. Hugo Reyes is the character that, no matter how dark or convoluted times may be, will always put a smile on your face. When Jack is being obsessive about getting off the island or Locke is being obsessive about keeping everyone on, Hurley is making a golf course or fixing a car just for a bit of fun.
9. Juliet Burke
Juliet Burke is with out a doubt in my mind the greatest female character in the entire series. In a character who didn’t first appear until the first episode of the third season, there wasn’t much to expect. What we got was a brand new character to care for in the way that she cared for the people who deserved to be cared for while offering a new dynamic in the idea that “Others” are people too. Who would’ve thought that such a spectacular character wouldn’t come until the beginning of season 3.
8. Richard Alpert
While there were many questions and mysteries surrounding the island and the entire scope of the show, but no single character was as mysterious as Richard Alpert. Sure there was Jacob and The Man in Black eventually, but we didn’t really start asking questions about them until late in the fifth season. There was always this mysterious presence of Richard from third season on. It was “Ab Aeterno”, that showed us his true character, answered our questions on him, and solidified his slot on this list.
7. Sayid Jarrah
In a beautiful tale filled with checkered and interesting pasts, Sayid Jarrah’s is one of the most checkered and interesting. With a past that could’ve made for one of the most notorious villains of the show, you in-turn get one of the most heroic. And it’s the fundamental ideas like those that make LOST so brilliant. Sayid knows that in his past life he was an awful person and now wants nothing more than to do what he feels in his heart he will never be able to do, make up for the awful things he’s done.
In a character, you start by hating with his smart-ass remarks and nicknames, James Ford eventually becomes one of the most loved characters based on the fact that you come to not only expect his attitude, but enjoy it because you can respect it. We know of his gritty back story about a con leading to his parents’ death and his unrelenting journey of vengeance. The thing that solidifies his position here though, is how he tries so hard to show his “stripes”, but by the end can’t fight what he truly is, a good man.
5. Jack Shephard
Most would argue that Jack Shephard is the main character of the show and yes the series opens with his eye opening and ends with his eye closing, but that’s just beautiful full circle imagery. The beauty of LOST is that there is no single “main character”. Jack Shephard is, however, one of the greatest characters in the show due in part to having the greatest character arc in the series. In a series driven at points by the opposing views of a “man of science” (Jack Shephard) and a “man of faith” (John Locke), Jack by the end keeps the late John Locke’s spirit a live in him by, becoming what he never saw in himself, some one with a higher purpose, some one with an impacting destiny.
4. Desmond Hume
Desmond’s introduction starts out as simply an answer to one of the most mind-boggling questions of Season 1 of what’s in the hatch. Then a picture starts to become more clear and he slowly but surly becomes one of the greatest and most benevolent forces of the entire series. Surrounding him are some of the greatest episodes of the series with “Happily Ever After”, “Live Together, Die Alone” and of course, the classic “The Constant”. And he is also holder of the greatest romance in a show full of terrific romances. He’s not one of the original members of the plane crash and in that way, not as flawed, but its an epic story of forbidden love, loss, phone call and love again that just lifts up your heart when times seem dim in wonderland.
3. Benjamin Linus
The beauty of Benjamin Linus would eventually come from the idea that you always had to expect the unexpected. First he begins a simpleton whose hot air balloon crashed on the island, then you learn he’s actually an expendable member of the “Others”, then you learn that he’s actually their leader and the main antagonist of the series, then he’s tricked by the true antagonist of the series into killing one of the most important of the protagonists of the series and everyone slowly realizes that he might have more of a heart than the original sociopath you saw him as at first.
If that doesn’t make for one of the most fascinating characters ever, I don’t know what will. Ben Linus is a huge factor in what makes LOST fantastic and Ben Linus is made great due to brilliant writing and brilliant delivery by actor, Michael Emerson. At times he’s almost Hannibal Lecter like in the way he manages to be charming, while at the same time alarmingly sinister. There are so many memorable moments involving him in a show full of memorable moments. He’s manipulative, conniving, cunning, sadistic, and eventually remorseful. He’s one of greatest characters in a story full of great characters.
2. The Man in Black
Whether he’s a “pillar of black smoke”, he’s being played to perfection by Terry O’Quinn, or being played just as brilliantly in his original form by Titus Welliver, The Man in Black always has such a beautifully magnificent and commanding presence. He is quite possibly the most pivotal character in the entire story, he is what makes the wheels turn because he is the antagonist. Sure there are many villains in the show, whether they be Benjamin Linus, Martin Keamy or even Mikhail. But if you truly look at this epic tale of mystery and wonder as a whole, the true antagonizing force from beautiful beginning to enigmatic end is The Man in Black.
From the very beginning, my favorite question, mystery, secret, whatever, of the show was the “black smoke monster” and the reveal exceeded my expectations in every sense. Never once did I think that the black smoke would actually turn out to be one of the most fascinating characters of the entire series, but that’s exactly what he was. His story is absolutely phenomenal in the way that the entire first five seasons is essentially him moving chess pieces for his final move in the end of season 5. This is illustrated with gusto with what might be my favorite quote in the entire series, “Indeed I did, and you have no idea what I’ve gone through to be here.”
1. John Locke
John Locke of LOST is not only the greatest character in the entire series of LOST. He’s also undoubtedly one of the greatest characters in existence. He is the only character that makes it into my top four that was actually in the initial plane crash. I loved him from the beginning and followed him to his bitter end and then kept right on following him as he lived on in spirit through Jack Shephard. Where as every other survivor of Oceanic 815 saw the island as a hell they had to escape, John Locke saw it for what it truly was, “a place where miracles happen”.
That is of course because on day one, a miracle did happen to Mr. Locke. As Jacob told Richard in “Ab Aeterno”, “their pasts don’t matter…” and that was true with wheel chair bound Locke, he could walk again and he was given his second chance away from the world in a place where he could show what he could do. It was the same story with every other character, he was just the only one who was willing to except his destiny from the beginning.
There was always something about him, almost unexplainable, that kept him a step above the rest. He was just as much of a leader and hero as Jack was, but just performed his duties in what sometimes looked to be a questionable matter, but these duties always were performed for a greater purpose and were much more profound and important than just simply surviving. John Locke is the face of LOST for me and always will be. LOST is a show made up of some of the greatest characters ever created, but it’s John Locke that is the best of best. He is the greatest character of LOST.