Dear writers of LOST (especially Drew Goddard and Christina M. Kim):
You probably think you’re really clever by putting a flashforward and a flashback in the same episode. I know you were trying to make it seem that Jin was on his way to the hospital to be with Sun. I know you were trying to build tension in the show and make the surprise ending (Jin is dead!) even more of a bombshell. Well, it worked. However, it came with a price: It made the entire audience feel like a bunch of dupes.
Flashback and flashforwards are a great storytelling technique. However, they’re only effective when they help us understand the motivations, character, and personality of a character better or fill in some vital part of the story. For example, the flashbacks in the episode “The Other Woman” we learned a little more about Juliet’s connection to Godwin, their history, and that she doesn’t mind sleeping with married men. However, what made her flashback really interesting was what it revealed about Ben. We all knew he was narcissistic and evil but that flashback showed us just what a creep he is while setting the stage for a future showdown between Ben and Jack.
Jin’s flashback in “Ji Yeon” didn’t reveal anything about Jin that we didn’t already know. Instead, it served only one purpose: To confuse and misdirect the viewer. The entire flashback was completely unnecessary especially when there were better ways to hide Jin’s fate until the end of the episode. Since we knew Sun’s scenes took place off the island, you could have made her even more delusional and had her calling out for Jin more or asking where he was. Or, you could have focused more on making the doctors seem like they were going to steal her baby. Either way it would have made the same tension you were trying to achieve with the lame flashback.
Aside from that one mistake you crafted a powerful story. You introduced just enough of Michael to make us all wonder why he’s working for Ben. The interaction between Sun and Jin on the island after he learned about the affair was great and felt real. And the scene at Jin’s gravesite at the end was wonderful and touching end to the episode. (Of course we’re all wondering what happened!)
In the future, please refrain from making LOST fans feel like dupes. It’s not that we don’t mind being confused for most of an episode. Rather, at the end of the ride, we don’t want to feel like we were suckered into getting emotionally involved in something that really had nothing to do with the actual story.
Looking forward to future episodes.