The idea for this feature (and the idea for yesterday’s discussion of the emotional power of television) came from a recent YouTube excursion to rewatch some scenes from the series finale of Lost. One thing led to another, and I ended up sitting on my couch, crying my eyes out over one scene in particular—a scene that I’ve continued to watch for the last two weeks on a near-constant repetitious loop.
Fifty (or more) viewings later over the course of three years, the reunion between Sawyer and Juliet at the hospital vending machine still hits me the same way it did that May night when I saw it for the first time.
Even if you’ve never watched Lost, even if you have no idea who these characters are or what they mean to each other, I dare you to watch this video and remain unmoved. I’ve watched a lot of television in my almost-25 years on this Earth, and this is by far the most beautiful scene I’ve ever watched.
The background is relatively simple (for Lost at least): Sawyer and Juliet were happy and in love, and he was ready to propose before she was violently torn from his grasp by electromagnetic forces on the island, eventually dying in his arms. In this scene, both of them are wandering around a kind of “spiritual waiting room” in which they have no memory of their past life until they meet their “constant,” the person who wakes them up to the reality of their lives (and deaths). In this case, Sawyer and Juliet are each other’s constant—each other’s soulmate.
There are no words for how much this scene still fills me with a sense of pure relief and happiness. It truly feels like you’re watching two people with so much history of joy and pain finding each other after a lifetime apart. The chemistry between Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in this scene is the standard by which I judge all other actors’ chemistry because they make me feel every intense emotion as it sweeps through them—from initial attraction to the pain of horrific memories to the speechless joy of holding one another again.
Holloway and Mitchell were truly breathtaking in this moment. I love how she falters a little when she remembers falling to her death, but what I love most is that this time he’s there to keep her from falling—and he’s not letting the chance to hold her slip through his fingers ever again. When he says “I got you, baby,” as his voice cracks, I feel like someone is stepping on my chest while simultaneously making my heart grow 15 sizes. There’s something so gorgeously intimate about it, so real. And when Juliet cries and laughs at the same time you can feel her relief like it’s your own—a relief mirrored in Sawyer’s smile, a smile so bright and so hopeful it’s like nothing we’ve seen him express before.
And don’t even get me started on the kiss. Her giddy anticipation. His passionate intensity. The most mature, honest, and beautiful love story on Lost got its happy ending—all to the sounds of Michael Giacchino’s perfect score.
In the immortal words of Juliet, “It worked.” The goal of this reunion was to remind us just how epic this love story had become and just how good these two actors were together—while making us cry buckets of tears. I’d say it worked perfectly.
Sometimes TV knocks me off the couch. With the Lost finale, I didn’t even make it to the couch. I just sat on the floor and sobbed constantly.
This scene gets me every time. Sawyer and Juliet’s chemistry is ridiculous. I love how they weren’t even an idea on the show for so long, and then they turned into something perfect, so suddenly. Lost did that better than any show, for me–taking couples and making me care about them instantly and completely and consumingly. No slow burn for this show. I don’t think there are very many shows or actors who could pull that off, but Lost always did. It spun on a dime and it always took your feelings along for the ride.
Desmond and Penny were my ultimate Lost couple for that exact reason; “Flashes Before Your Eyes” told such a compelling story that I couldn’t tear myself away from them, ever. So here’s my contribution to the “Lost Ruins Your Life with Happy Tears” party: Des and Pen’s reunion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt5Vxee-1Ck
First of all, my day has now been ruined in the best possible way because of Desmond/Penny reasons. That scene is brilliant for so many reasons, but the thing I love most is that wonderfully hesitant moment when they both see each other for the first time in so long. It feels so real and so honest and layered with a thousand emotions. That’s what Lost always did best for me and what I’m not sure any other show will ever do as well—it took one moment (like Des/Penny’s reunion or Sawyer/Juliet) and was able to make it resonate on an infinite number of levels rather than just playing one emotional note. I think it comes from the depth with which we come to learn about these characters and the talents of the entire cast. There’s nothing simple or one-dimensional about any relationship on Lost, and that’s how it should be—how the best television is.
OK now that I have spent over an hour watching clips, and bawling. LOST was special for a whole host of reasons. It was innovative, unapologetic in it’s baffling journey while giving us some of the best storytelling and character development of any show to cross television airwaves. To have so many characters as moving parts and to be invested in them even when I didn’t think I was — I cried with Sayid even though I never liked Shannon. I was stunned by how upset I was when Charlie sacrificed himself. To the surprise of most of us, Juliet and Sawyer did become for me the great love affair of the show. They had me on the docks in Le Fleur and I was devestated for weeks when she slipped from his grasp. What made LOST so emotional, especially in the finale is that they had spent 6 years building interwoven relationships that we cared about across the board. The finale represented it well not just in the reunion above, but when Ben explains to Locke that he can’t go with them and how even Hurley’s coming for him doesn’t convince him. The raft launch at the end of season 1 evoked some of the strongest emotions for me over the duration of the show. Something about this entire group of people comprised of Hurley’s goodness, Locke’s faith, Jack’s righteousness, Sawyer’s unpredictability, Sayid’s torment brought together in extraordinary circumstance and forming a family. That’s what made Jack’s father’s speech so moving, that the ‘sideways world’ was created by all of them as a way to come together so they could let go and move on. That we come full circle literally with Jack’s eye closing precisely where it opened 6 years earlier makes it one of the most moving and perfect series finales. Many shows have given me moments along the way that draw out huge emotion, only LOST has consistently done it for the duration of its series.
I love (and agree with) everything you said here. Lost was the kind of show where I often found myself surprised by the visceral emotional reactions I had towards characters I thought I didn’t care much about. And then when it came to my favorites, I was an emotional wreck on a pretty consistent basis. Sawyer and Juliet were my favorite characters, so you can imagine how devastated I was by her death. To this day, I can’t watch Josh Holloway’s completely desperate and fearless performance in that scene without breaking down. Like you, Sawyer and Juliet had me hooked from their scene on the dock, and I don’t know if any other TV show (or any other actors) could sell me so completely on a relationship in such little time.
Hi it’s my first comment here but i have read your posts for few months now, i love your New Girl posts and pretty much everything else. About this post, you made me cry. I’m an hardcore lost fan too so my emotions are amplified when it comes to it. I’m Italian and I watched the Lost finale online on streaming at 3 o’clock in the morning and it will always be one of the best moment in my life. I remember watching this scene and crying and laughing at the same time trying not to wake my parents and like you said everything in this moment is perfect.
Thank you for commenting and saying such nice things—and it’s always nice to meet another person who loves Sawyer and Juliet! I love your story about watching the Lost finale because it really speaks to the emotional investment we have in our favorite shows. We’ll get up at whatever time we have to in order to laugh and cry with our favorite characters one last time. ❤
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I know this is over a year old and maybe no one ever reads this reply, but I love reading these “Daily Dose of Feelings” texts of you. Especially this one. I can just agree to everything you said here. Unfortunately I only began watching Lost two years ago and I instantly fell in love with it. It is one of the greatest tv shows that ever existed. I loved Sawyer from the beginning and when Juliet came I was just hoping that they get together any time soon. And it was one of the greatest feelings when it finally happened. And when I watched the finale again yesterday with my sister, I just remembered this text from you about this scene and I do not know why, but I wanted to write something here. Lost meant so much to me and Sawyer and Juliet were a couple that taught me so much and as you said, even when someone never heard of these two, this scene will make almost everyone emotional. My sister cried so much last night, it was the first time for her watching the finale and Sawyer and Juliet meant so much to her. When Juliet died my sister got so emotional that I could not mention Juliet’s name for like a week. And when this scene came, it was everything for her. And after Jack closed his eyes at the end, all she could say was “Was that everything? There is no more Lost?” and she began to cry. The thought of Lost ending was too much. I am sorry that I am writing all of this. And I am also sorry if my english is not that great. I am from Germany. And I am not that great in writing in general. But I love this blog more than I can describe. I look every day for new texts from you and you are such a beautiful writer, you can describe everything so wonderful. I can never tell you how thankful I am to have this blog and your amazing writing. Thank you! And I really am sorry for this reply, it is not really just about Sawyer and Juliet, just everything that was on my mind. Just keep up writing and making my life a better one. Thank you! 🙂
First of all, don’t ever apologize for sharing your feelings with us! I love reading comments like this one—it put the biggest smile on my face. Also, your English is great, so no need to apologize for that, either.
Reading your thoughts about LOST and your story about your sister watching it filled me with so much joy and warmth on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, so thank you for that. 🙂
Thank you so much! It means a lot to me. 😉
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