After the season 2 finale 'Live Together, Die Alone' the ramifcations of that cliffhanging ending are revealed. The main plot focuses on the exploration of the mysterious Others, for the first time we see their flashbacks, find out about their hierarchy, discover why they are on the Island and how they came to be here, we also learn at last where the Others live. The major subplot for season 2 was the tailies, the major subplot for season 3 is the outside world (I'll say no more but it gets pritty crazy).
After a finale like 'Live Together, Die Alone' which revealed many of LOST's closest kept secrets the first few episodes of season 3 (up to episode 6) are inevitably quite slow moving. However, once you hit episode 8 the action doesn't stop, from here on we get the best episodes ever seen in LOST, we have new and exciting discoveries - the best since season 1, some solid answers, some brand new mysteries on par with the introduction of the Numbers back in season one. We have the BIGGEST character connection so far, forget the nitty gritty connections such as Jacks dad sitting with Sawyer at a bar - season 3 takes character connections post crash to all new depths. Depths many of us never thought they would reach.
The show continues it's many themes including life and death. Now we all know LOST is quite infamous for killing off characters but the death toll in season 3 rises to giagantic proportions. There is a very sad departure in season 3 of one of our most beloved characters. Plot twists are a many and the biggest cliffhangers can be found in season 3, most notably at the end of 'The Man Behind the Curtain' and 'The Man From Tallahasse'. These cliffhangers have made fans sweat for the first time since 'that' cliffhanger at the end of season 1.
Season 3 differs from other seasons as it is more fast paced. There are more happenings, every episode is significant unlike the filler episodes in season 2. Infact the action is so quick and in such a high quantity that you'll be wishing for it to slow down. But above all season 3 provides some solid answers including how Locke ended up in wheelchair, what happend when the failsafe key was turned, what was the DHARMA Intiative and how do they connect to the Others, we also get to find out where that cable leads to that Sayid found back in season 1.
Now obviously I have to comment on the finale. I think an ending should do three things, firstly it should give you something that makes you feel that it's been worth your time, secondly it should keep the interest in the show until the next season, and obviously it should provide closure to the story being told. The last minute of season 3 provides just that, and it's easily the best ending to any tv show I've seen. It's put everyone in a position where they have absolutely no idea where this show is going, and to do that takes talent.
The flashbacks - now in their third season improve upon those of season 2. We have some genuinly interesting flashbacks that do reveal new information about the characters. We also get some flashbacks of the Others - Juliet and Ben - flashbacks don't come much better than theirs.
My favourite episode of season 3 (excluding the finale) is 'The Man From Tallahasse', which is worthy of being a finale episode in its self. The reveal of why Locke is in a wheelchair is TV gold, it's one of those legendary moments of LOST. The worst episode has to be 'Expose', I know most people think it's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' but I actually liked that episode it gave us at least a bit of info on the Others system and how they work. 'Expose' on the other hand dosn't progress the story in anyway and simply delays finding out anything useful.
Roll on Season 4!