Episode Review: Last Night's "Lost"

  • Publish Date: May 19, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 5 user comments

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet seen this episode of Lost, you should avoid reading this article and the user comments, as they will discuss events that happened during the episode.

Episode 16 Metascore

Season 6, Episode 16: "What They Died For"

It played more as the first hour to a longer finale than it did as a stand-alone episode, but "What They Died For" did bring the welcome return of long-forgotten characters like Ben, as well as some seemingly major plot twists. But the episode's status as a setup for the conclusion rather than a self-contained hour of television means that you should consider the individual critic scores (below) even more inexact than you usually do.

As you no doubt know, the series finale of Lost airs this Sunday night from 9:00pm - 11:30pm. We will be back with an expanded roundup of reviews for that last episode either very late Sunday night or early Monday morning (we'll be waiting for the reviews to be published, so we can't tell you exactly when, yet).

Previous Episodes This Season
Episode Score   Episode Score
Episode 1/2: LA X 89   Episode 9: Ab Aeterno 93
Episode 3: What Kate Does 64   Episode 10: The Package 72
Episode 4: The Substitute 88   Episode 11: Happily Ever After 93
Episode 5: Lighthouse 71   Episode 12: Everybody Loves Hugo 83
Episode 6: Sundown 82   Episode 13: The Last Recruit 73
Episode 7: Dr. Linus 92   Episode 14: The Candidate 92
Episode 8: Recon 76   Episode 15: Across the Sea 58
Reviews for This Week's Episode
Score Publication Reviewer
100 Television Without Pity Cindy McLennan
[Full recap forthcoming; Grade: A]
100 TV Overmind Sam McPherson
The real highlight of the sideways story belonged to Desmond, who was acting like more of a puppeteer than we're used to. [Grade: A]
94 IGN Chris Carabott
A fantastic setup for the series finale.
91 The Onion A.V. Club Noel Murray
It was funny at times, poignant at times, shocking at times, and it made the overall picture a little bit clearer. And I especially liked the way the tone shifted as the episode progressed. [Grade: A-]
90 Chicago Tribune Maureen Ryan
Something about the weighty developments and the wry humor of "What They Died For" made me think of those key "Mad Men" episodes that often come near the end of a season, the ones that start to pay off all the developments that were set up over the course of the previous 10 or 11 episodes.
90 HitFix Monkeys as Critics
What really made this episode great was the way things unfolded with an awful locomotion, a sort of mounting hope on one side of the equation and mounting dread on the other. 
90 Los Angeles Times Todd VanDerWerff
"What They Died For" is a lot of things. It's a fantastic episode of "Lost," one that moves like a rocket. It's a big, relatively well-handled infodump that makes sure we know how everything and everyone fits into the big picture, mostly. It's a reminder that even though the show is going to do big mythology episodes now and again, it's always going to return to the characters we loved from the regular cast. ... But most of all, it's a thematic episode, an episode that's all about the scary and thrilling process of letting go.
90 What's Alan Watching Alan Sepinwall
I found "What They Died For" to be one of the strongest episodes of this season, and a perfect set up for Sunday's finale. ... We can all argue over what the right ratio is, but "Lost" is a show that's about plot and about people, and "What They Died For" didn't lose sight of either part of that equation.
90 Zap2It Ryan McGee
An hour of television that was meaty, emotional, and shockingly funny. ... Too much of [last week's] "Across the Sea" demanded a step back from the elements onscreen, almost pushing us back rather than inviting us in. Tonight? I found myself consistently leaning forward to watch what was going on this week.
80 Entertainment Weekly Jeff Jensen
A set-up episode, albeit an extremely entertaining one. [Full recap forthcoming here.]
80 Time James Poniewozik
Much of the rest of the episode was scene-setting for the final showdown. But what scene-setting!
80 TV Fanatic M.L. House
Jacob simply sat around a fire, explained the situation to Hurley, Sawyer, Kate and Jack and accepted Jack's decision to assume the position? This scene from "What They Died For" was either one of the most anticlimactic in Lost history, or a tease that a lot more is set to go down on this Sunday's series finale.
80 Cultural Learnings Myles McNutt
The episode is an important connecting point between the show’s two realities, emphasizing the ways in which choices – and the trust implicit or explicit to those choices – shape both the show and its characters on the island and within the newly introduced sideways stories.

Individual critic scores are assigned by Metacritic (on a scale of 0-bad to 100-great) based on the overall impression given by a review. The overall Metascore listed at the top of this page is a simple average of the individual scores.

What did you think?

Did you enjoy this episode of Lost? What are your expectations for the finale? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (5)

  • k smith  

    a brilliant set up for the finale, and it's great to see desmond, and i used to know henry ian cosick until he moved to hawaii, which i assumed was to make it easier to film lost, his son played for the same football (soccer) team i did ....ehem... anyhoo enough about my claim to fame, a solid episode which explained a lot and gave me some closure from the brilliant and yet heart wrenching ending of 'the candidate'

  • The Lost Weekend: Re  

    [...] lines, Metacritic has been doing something interesting (and, I believe, unique) for the series, collecting and quantifying the reviews for each episode. Film criticism has been irrevocably changed by the way in which sites like Metacritic and Rotten [...]

  • wait up  

    I believe at least several critics plan to hold off their final reviews for the finale until the next day, to let it sink in, I guess. So even Monday morning may be a bit early.

  • gaddic  

    No matter how good the finale (it will be epic) will be fans critics and a lot of fans will be not be satisfied with the answers
    But who cares it has been a terrific 4 years of quality storytelling and brilliant conceptual televison programming
    I wished television series could follow suit and create awesome original non-cliched series like this
    and that's why Lost is one the greatest of all time
    This episode despite being a setup was a great build-up
    last week was a good filler(great storytelling) the writers are positioning everything in gear to finish up
    Hopefully the finale doesn't get boring in the middle or the beginning due to the long time duration

  • Aperturius  

    I was one who was initially very disappointed in last week's episode, "Across the Sea," but after watching "What They Died For" I am beginning to change my mind. If there's one thing this episode proved, it's that we are indeed invested in these characters. Wasn't it great to finally see Ben, Miles, & Richard again after all this time? And Desmond too. What an episode for Desmond. "What They Died For" proved that while the mythology is important, the show really IS about character first and foremost, and it is through their relationships that the important story is carried.

    This episode took some of the elements from "Across the Sea" and made them much more digestible. I still have my issues with the 'magic light,' but I found that spending an hour with Jacob and the Man in Black last week made their intentions more understandable in this episode. I'm suddenly far more acceptable of the realization that the finale could never possibly answer every question, because while the minutae CAN be important it's even more important not to miss the forest for the trees.

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