— Ben Linus
Who needs a mysterious smoke monster or electromagnetic thingummy when head-Other Ben is creepy and sinister enough on his own? He has all the baddie bases covered, most notably, an “at all costs” resolution policy — hey, he killed his own pop and masterminded the demise of the rest of the Dharma initiative. That’s not to say he’s some one-dimensional, moustache-twirling villain. Ben acts on his own of sense justice, and even claims he and his Other pals aren’t killers. Except, of course, when they totally are. He also insists he’s a man of his word. Except, of course, when he totally isn’t. Got to love that kind of consistency.
Things would get pretty boring in the ongoing battle between the Others and the castaways if it weren’t for the one-man wildcard, Locke. No baby drama or muddy love triangles for him — he’s on a mission to commune with the island that restored his mobility. In the first season that manifested in his role as a tracker with mad boar-stabbing skills and penchant for occasional Boone-abusing outings. Now, having outsourced his father’s death, betrayed his “friends” and knifed a newbie in the back, he’s without an ally. Locke’s as much an island as the patch of land he’s so obsessed with.
Sawyer (or James “Sawyer” Ford)
Let’s face it; Sawyer deserves this spot simply for providing quality, shirtless eye-candy. He does it well. And often. But stepping out of the shallow end of the pool, pound for pound, he delivers some of the best angst in the Oceanic gang. Sure, the conman’s knack for nicknaming and hate-baiting gets old, but it’s the perfect cover for his real substance: the tragic rebel with the heart of gold. Sawyer wants everyone to hate him. Why not? He hates himself. But no matter how hard he tries to cement the ill will, in a crunch, he does the right thing, and earns unwanted respect along the way.
The third season of “Lost” was chockfull of new faces. Some served as little more than annoying distractions (RIP Paulo and Nikki), but not Juliet. She showed Jack the softer side of captivity, offering sandwiches and proposing a kill-Ben plot, then reaffirmed her Team Ben alliance when the leader offered her freedom. Even after pitching her tent beachside, she continued working for Ben until her conscious got the better of her. Juliet’s turncoat-and-back-again tendencies make her standout from the rest. And they leave an intriguing cloud of switcheroo suspicion over her head.
So how does a character viewers know almost nothing about make the list? Well, there’s something to be said for a mystery man. What little we do know about Jacob proves he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s the ominous “Him” Ben alluded to for ages — the one with the “list,” who seemed the ultimate authority. When Locke finally earned some face-to-invisible-face time with the big guy, Jacob put on a typical ghost act — breaking glass and rattling furniture — but he also revealed an unexpected twist. Appearing captive in his remote ash-circled shack, Jacob showed himself for a moment and pled to Locke, “Help me.” Wha? Way to leave us wanting more.