New night. New episodes. New island mysteries. Tonight's Season Four premiere is the first of eight uninterrupted "Lost" episodes before the bottom falls out again thanks to the ongoing writers strike. But let's not ruin the feel-good vibe heading into the highly anticipated two-hour extravaganza at 7 p.m.
As a refresher, I re-watched the "Through the Looking Glass" finale earlier in the week. Two-hundred plus days away from one of your favorite shows will cause a bit of forgetfulness. Anyway, Charlie's death scene and that fateful flash-forward still sends shockwaves, and judging by early, non-spoiler reviews from esteemed TV critics, tonight's episode doesn't let up off the gas.
Adam has admirably been holding down the fort with his awesome Webisode recaps, and hopefully we'll have plenty of rumination and speculation -- What's this about Jack being a brainwashed Other? I need more proof! -- in the coming weeks.
Here's my personal list of 10 questions I'd like answered ... sooner rather than later.
1. Is the flash-forward scene with Jack and Kate the end of the series? Logic would have you believe that the show will operate with a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, all leading to the moment where a desperate, disheveled Jack pleads with Kate to get back to the island. Will the show push beyond that scene, or is Jack's regret the end game? Either way, the rulebook officially has been changed.
2. Is the flash-forward really the future, or just part of a parallel universe? I don't really understand where I'm going with this thought because it extends beyond my feeble intelligence. But the way Jack references his dad, Christian, as if he's still alive -- once for a prescription signature and a second time in the angry hallway scene -- led to plenty of speculation among "Lost" fans that the younger Doc Shepherd wasn't merely hopped up on goofballs, which is what Matthew Fox would have you believe in interviews. Is Christian suddenly alive in the future? Is it all in Jack's head? Or are all those theories about two people existing in different places at the same time (think about the newscasts of the Oceanic plane crash) actually true?
3. Why doesn't Kate want to go back to the island? Not only does Kate look noticeably different upon return to the real world (where are the freckles?), but unlike Jack, she appears to be adjusting well to post-island madness. Not bad for a fugitive. Is Jack wracked with guilt because Locke warned him that they weren't "supposed to" be rescued, or is life with the "golden pass" really that awful? And who is in that coffin because of it, and why did Kate look at the obituary with such disdain?
4. Where have Michael and Walt been? Michael is confirmed to return this season and rumors are circulating that the show will take viewers off the island to explain his whereabouts. Has he been sipping Mai-Tais in Hawaii? Enjoying father-son picnics with a suddenly gigantic Walt? Also, will Walt's significance as a special child and "chosen one" of Jacob finally be revealed? And what's up with those dead birds, as Adam recounted in the Webisode recap? 5. Who is Jacob?
Perhaps the biggest mystery of all. The island's Grand Poobah is pulling Ben's strings and was exposed in a momentary flash to nonbeliever Locke. What's the juicy backstory on the Invisible One? Is he trapped in time or space while held in the cabin? The dark powder Locke picked up seems to indicate as much. Plus, why does he look like he's wearing frilly pirate garb? Black Rock, anyone?6. What becomes of Locke?
"Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage!" Thanks to Walt giving him a pep talk, the bald island rebel killed Naomi but let Jack make the fateful freighter call despite repeated warnings. Locke seems to know what happens next, so now what's his master plan of attack? (Man, I love Locke ...)
7. What's the deal with Sawyer? James Ford, ever the literary nut, appears to have bagged his white whale. But the way he callously killed Tom in the Season Three finale seems to suggest there's a new internal struggle in play -- something his quest for the real Sawyer, Locke's dad, didn't cure. If the island is about presenting rewards thanks to the "magic box" Ben alluded to, what becomes of Sawyer now that he got what he wanted?
8. Who gets off the island, and what is Desmond's role as time traveler/psychic extraordinaire? It appears calling the freighter will be the wrong move for the "Losties," (or at least future Jack) so what does that mean for Claire's rescue per Desmond's vision? Charlie was willing to die for the greater good, but only Desmond knows that the freighter isn't part of Penelope's rescue mission. For now. Season Four previews already confirm that some folks get off the island. Will some be helped, some be harmed? Either way, as one of the most fascinating characters on the show, the enigmatic Desmond holds a lot of keys to the island's mysteries. 9. Who is Richard Alpert and why doesn't he age?
Alpert owns every single scene he's in, yet "Lost" fans only know that he once had long hair and a beard. There seems to be something mysteriously powerful about this cat, even more so than Ethan, Mikhail or Ben, yet he's not the enchanted leader of the Others. Or is he? After all, Alpert precedes Ben on the island and his curiosity was piqued by Mr. Linus' vision of his dead mother. He's also taken a shine to Locke and is becoming increasingly disenchanted with Ben's leadership. This guy knows more. Much more. Plus, he hasn't gotten any older, yet Ben is all grown up.
10. Who are the "bad guys" and can Penelope Widmore find the island? You had to feel for a bloody and battered Ben as he begged Jack not to call the freighter. Is it safe to say that he's protecting something more important on the island and the confirmed new faces (Jeremy Davies, Ken Leung, among them) are the real infiltrators? Plus, with the equipment un-jammed thanks to Charlie, you have to believe that Penelope will finally be able to make headway in her search for Desmond. At the very least, she knows he's alive.
C'mon "Lost" loyalists, got any more? Share a comment or theory.