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Honorable mention: The Raft Launches
This misses the list because... it isn't a reunion. But it's still a great scene.
Dishonorable mention: The end of Everybody Loves Hugo
Two factions unite... but no one hugs. Sure, there was this undead smoke monster incarnate walking around, and we wanted to see him and Jack make eye contact, but hey... they were playing the Oceanic 6 theme! Therefore, hugs! Realize this was the first time Kate had met Sun since their time in her L.A. hotel room, and both might have thought the other dead till now. Sun's similar reunion with Hurley was considerably more huggy. Also, this was the first time Sawyer had seen Sun in three years. Not that the two ever interacted at all, but still.
Indescribably horrible. I posted this right after it aired: "Of all the reunion scenes we've seen on Lost, Sun and Jin's somehow turned out to be the LEAST effective. It felt the most rushed, included the least epic music and featured a large group of people who seemed largely apathetic. The one interesting part, Sun's regaining her speech, also failed because Frank had to go and explain it for us. Besides, their scenes are so much better in Korean." Another part that failed was how Sun and Jin looked kind of blankly at first, taking a while to recognize each other. Effective in other circumstances. Bizarre here, when the two of them had done nothing but talk about and search for the other for the past week. Realize as well that this was the reunion after the longest time between people who cared most about each other. This should have been the greatest reunion. Instead, it was less emotional than -- not just any other reunion scene but any Sun and Jin scene period. I now believe they made this scene intentionally poorly to lower our defenses for "The Candidate".
Kate and Sawyer return after their kidnapping. Some little things keep me from liking this scene. I think I'm still vaguely bitter from how long it took them to cross the island. Also, there are these odd lingering shots on Claire and Charlie, who look much too clean. Worst of all, Nikki hugs Kate.
By this point, the group reunions were getting a little silly. "Hey, random background survivors. You seem to care a lot about Jack's disappearance for a group who did nothing at all to rescue him. Oh, and you seem so relieved that Kate and Sayid are back. But honestly, did any of you even notice they were gone?" Yet I certainly liked the final line. "What the hell is she doing here?" asks Sawyer. He's looking at Juliet.
I forgot this one the first time I compiled the list. Michael returned to camp in stages. First Jack and Kate found him at the Line. Then he spent time in the Hatch, maintaining the illusion that it was more than 15 minutes from camp. Then he kind of killed some women. And THEN he returned to camp. He only hugged Jin and Sun, the only people in camp who mattered to him at this point. (He'd reunite with them again in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1", and they'd share a nice moment even though they knew he was a murderer.) This reunion also took the awkward conclusion trope up to eleven. Normally, they cut to one awkwardly isolated person. This time, they cut to two people digging graves.
Jin often stumbles upon people. He stumbled upon the tailies. He stumbled upon Jungle Claire. He stumbled upon pre-Jungle Rousseau. He stumbled upon Jack, Kate and Hurley. He never got to hug any of these people. But he got to hug Sawyer when he stumbled upon him during the time flashes. Soon after came one of several funny responses to time travel. Sawyer: "Every time the sky lights up, we travel through time." Jin: *angry, unintelligible Korean*
Sawyer and Kate had just had their giant musical reunion with the camp of nobodies. Shortly afterward, Sawyer reunited with two people who actually cared about him - Hurley and Jin. One funny thing about this scene is that Sawyer had completely recovered from his kidnapping within seconds of returning. When he reached the van, he cared only for taking revenge on people who'd attacked his stash. He was completely unprepared for reunion hug take two. Sawyer: "Where's my stuff." Hurley: "Dude! You're alive!"
This was a nice scene. It was the first relaxed end of the season, if you ignore the cliffhanger that followed it. The writers somehow found something for every character to do right before the reunion, something that tied to earlier events in the episode in each case. And the scene didn't shy away from many characters' not knowing each other -- they didn't hug; they shook hands and introduced themselves.
Jack, Kate and Hurley come back -- after three years! Lots of good hugs. Especially notable in how the scene merges seamlessly into real conversation after the music and hugging. And though I'm not crediting it for the conversation's content, it's great conversation. Sawyer: "We're in the DHARMA Initiative." Jack: "They came back to the island?" Sawyer: "No. We came back. It's 1977." Hurley: "Oh. What?" LOST.
This was the sort of reunion we all imagined one day, right? The survivors returning to their loving families? But if we ever stopped to think about it, we might never have believed we'd see both Paiks, Mr. and Ms Reyes and Margo Shepard standing in a line. This scene also debuted one of the show's greatest musical themes.
Ah, the greatness of this scene. Yeah, Sun and Jin, that's how you reunite! Best of all was how effective Rose and Bernard's reunion felt even though we'd never seen them together. And I still really like the ending, with Jack and Ana-Lucia's staring contest, even though nothing came of that relationship and I ended up hating Ana Lucia. The "one-newcomer-looks-awkwardly-isolated" worked so well that the show reused it at every later opportunity -- with Juliet, Ben, Richard and three different Kates.
One odd thing though, something I never noticed until maybe the 100th time I watched the scene. You know how, [[##12 Somebody gets her voice back|above]], I said Sun's "not recognizing Jin at first" made no sense? It made little sense here either. Michael met Sun earlier in the episode and told her Jin was alive and nearby. So Sun, who'd been worried about Jin for days and who reunited with him enthusiastically when he came to the beach... ignored the news and went to do laundry? And when newcomers came to the camp, she gave them barely a glance, not even checking to see if Jin was there until she happened to spot him? Wow. Sun really DID change a lot between season 1 and season 5.
#1 Moving On