TiVo Warning: Details of Wednesday night's Lost season finale will be discussed. Proceed at your own risk.. I have to admit that there were moments this season when Lost seemed to be lost. When the show was at it's best, it seemed like each episode ended the same way: the closing title would plunk onto the screen, and my mind would immediately begin racing. What did we just learn? What does that mean? How can this twist possibly be resolved? Is that character really dead?? And the next seven days couldn't pass quickly enough as I waited for my next dose. There were times, though, when the end of the show was just the end of the show. Instead of sitting deep in thought for a few minutes, maybe zipping the TiVo back to watch a few key scenes or review the flashbacks, I'd just click over to SportsCenter. The show seemed stagnant, and there were those who felt it had lost its way. On Wednesday night, though, the geniuses came out swinging and delivered the best two hours of television I've watched in a long, long time. In case you've forgotten, Lost is the best show on TV. (Alright, people tell me that the Sopranos is a decent watch, but I'm one of the few holdouts. Forgive me.) But back to the Island. Even if you've only watched a little of this show, you know that the flashbacks are what pull everything -- and everyone together. For a while now, as I've become more attached to the characters, I've started to realize that we've gotten to know Jack and Kate, Hurley and Sawyer, Jin and Locke, and all the rest in just the same way that we get to know our real-life friends. At first all you have is the present tense -- all that you observe -- but little by little you learn the history. You get stories about prom dates and high school hangovers; triumphs and disappointments; secrets and dreams. Eventually the line between past and present begins to blur and all that's left is one continuous history. And so it is that all of these people, or at least most of them, have secured a place in our lives. This week's season finale offered a perfect example. I was puzzled by the first flashback almost immediately. Jack's cell phone wasn't right. It looked suspiciously like my RAZR, a model which was certainly not available three years ago. This error -- for that was how I saw it -- bothered me. And even though we eventually learned that these flashbacks were actually flash forwards, explaining the modern phone, that's not really the interesting thing. As I viewed the flash forwards throughout the night, I was struck by how much Jack's suffering was bothering me. When he stood on the bridge preparing to jump to the concrete below, I wondered what could have driven him to such a point. Later, as he seemed to hit rock bottom in the pharmacy, it was actually hard for me to watch. Thankfully, though, as these scenes dissolved back into the reality of the island, with Jack heroically leading our tribe to the radio tower and eventual rescue, I was comforted by the reminder that he was okay. Everything was okay. And then came the bombshell at the end, which made everything worse. Suddenly the entire episode was turned on its head as I realized that Jack wasn't the hero anymore. The flashbacks which I had thought were showing me all he had overcome were instead previews of what he would become. As soon as I worked through the shock of this and understood that it meant that they really would get off the island someday, my attention shifted to Jack. As the moral center of Lost -- sure, he strays from time to time, but he's still pretty much true north -- he's the one we've been following since the camera first pulled back from his blinking eye in the opening scene of season one. We want them all to be saved, but more than anything else we want Jack to be the one who leads them home. All of this explains why my reaction to Jack's downward spiral was so strong, and probably why Kate looked at him with such sadness and pity as she left him at the airport. We care about Jack. It's difficult to watch as he contemplates suicide and wallows in drug addiction because he has become much more than just a character on a television show. He is -- along with Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, and all the rest -- a part of our lives. Like any good story, whether it's Hamlet or The Cat in the Hat or Seinfeld, it's the characters that enter our hearts and minds and keep us coming back for more. With Lost, it's no different.