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Lost Season Premiere: This Is Really Happening

Okay, now! There's Talmudic recapping to be done, so no point in being coy — two solid eps, flawed yet pleasantly mind-screwy, with so many hat-tips it was practically a love letter to Lostpedia and other members of the Church of Fanatical Interpretation. Plus, as we suspected, we're time-traveling — although with so many rules and restrictions, Michael J. Fox will never be able to invent rock and roll.

Somewhere! Sometime
Asian lady, faceless man, record skipping, jaunty-mysterious ambience. Daddy feeds baby, goes to work, and REVEAL! Oh excellent, it's spooky Marvin Candle, filming those Dharma training tapes. But there's a crisis: a drill hits a time-travel pocket, so Candle chides a skeptical workman at the Orchid Station. Under no circumstances! Proximity to almost limitless energy! Rules that can't be broken! A hardhat appears, and REVEAL #2: Jeremy Davies, aka Twitchy, indicating — what? I'm confused, and this is just the credits.

Mainland
Dead Locke, hairy Jack, and Ben consult, then go to a hotel so the live two can recap last year's season finale and shave. Ben insists Jack ferry the Oceanic 6 back to the island; Jack explains that Locke (a.k.a. Bentham) told him everyone they left behind would die if they didn't go back. But hey, what happened when the island disappeared, anyway?

Three Years Earlier
Ben shoves that time-wheel, and there's a FLASH: we see eyeliner guy, Locke, the boat people, the helicopter folks, Juliet and greased, shirtless Sawyer — and then Locke again, alone in the rain, freaking out. On the beach, Greased Sawyer and Juliet freak out too, especially when Bernard and Rose explain that their camp has disappeared. Twitchy and Red make cranky and suspicious introductions and deliver a physics koan: "Your camp isn't gone, it hasn't been built yet."

Mainland
Kate is a glowing, contented mommy, calls her kid Goober, her hair lush yet controlled: Hey, does this whole Kate-redeemed-by-motherhood plot bug anyone else? Just me? Anyway, the dad from My So-Called Life shows up as a lawyer seeking blood samples, so Kate grabs a gun and the kid, and leaves.

Island
Greased Sawyer mourns Kate and slaps Twitchy until the physicist answers some questions. Apparently, the island is like a record, but it's skipping. Through tiiime. So is everyone accounted for? They explain Locke is gone — but hey, people, what about Claire, you forgetful freaks?

Anyway, or meanwhile, a plane buzzes Locke's head and crashes into the cliff: It's the African drug plane that crashed before Oceanic 815 even arrived! Locke climbs some roots, yells, gets shot, and along comes a faceless man and the REVEAL — oh man, it's Ethan, Evil Other from season one. Locke and Ethan exchange who's-on-first dialogue, only at gunpoint, and Ethan shoots Locke, but FLASH and time-skip. And we're back to Twitchy, who helpfully intones, "We're either in the past or in the future."

Mainland
Sun, sporting bangs and corporate revengewear, is detained in an airport by Widmore, who confronts then bonds with her over their shared hobby: killing Benjamin Linus.

In Ben and Jack's hotel room, the TV news explains that Hurley is a murder suspect.

Aaaand over to Hugo and Sayid, still wearing Michael Jackson flat-hair from last season. Hurley wisecracks ("I need a cool code name"); Sayid condescends, then he warns Hurley against Ben ("Whatever he tells you, just do the opposite!") and finally switches into ultra-violent Bond mode. He tosses one guy off a balcony, gets shot by a dart, pulls a fakeout and kills his assailant with a dishwasher. Ah, this is how Hurley got blamed for the murder: He's on the balcony, holding a gun, as cops close in. (Actually, the newscast was about another of Sayid's paranoid-Bond murders, of some guy stalking Hurley at the institution last season.)

Island
The Islanders find the wrecked hatch: They're back in the present. Time is a string, they can't change anything, and no, they can't stop it — but maybe someone else can ...

Cut to Locke, Man of Faith, a torch, a faceless figure and — ANOTHER reveal. Oh, good, it's Eyeliner Guy, a.k.a. Richard Alpert, our favorite character. In the best scene in the episode, Alpert mends Locke's wound, makes time-travel cracks, and with nurturing inscrutability, tells Locke to focus: The next time he sees him, Alpert won't recognize him, so he must give Alpert a compass. ("What does it do?" "Points North.") And the kicker: "I'd like to be more sensitive about this, because it's a lot to swallow, but the only way to save the island is to get your people back here, the ones who left. You're going to have to DIE, John."

Commercial break! And we're back, with traumatized Locke, holding a compass, covered in blood, which is pretty much the way Locke always ends up. Meanwhile, Freighties and Losties mingle at the blown-up hatch, until FLASH, the hatch is buried again. Not the hatchet though: There's another slapfest between the physicist and Greased Sawyer, who bangs on the door and yells about the Ghost of Christmas Future. Juliet speaks softly to everyone; Spooky says "That chick likes me."

Uh oh, Red's nose is bleeding. Twitchy rifles through his notebook, breathes heavily and glances around, semaphore for "oh fuck." Then he bangs on the hatch until Desmond appears, baffled and fully armed, for another time-travel "who's on first?" conversation, though this one goes better than Locke's. Twitchy tells Desmond "the rules don't apply to you, you're special, you're uniquely and miraculously special" — hey, we thought only Locke got that kind of talk — and he needs him to go to Oxford University and find Twitchy's mother ...

Desmond wakes up with Penelope, who is oddly orange and troubled when he abandons her for Oxford, but Penelope, please, you've spent three years rutting with Desmond and we've got some physics problems to solve.

And Onto the Next Episode: Three Years Ago!
A faceless person removes two beers from the fridge, and we're getting sick of these reveals, but anyway, it's Frank. Led by Jack, the Oceanic 6 plan their cover story. Everyone is okay with lying except Hurley, who is bummed Sayid won't back him up.

Mainland
Hurley drives around with doped-up Sayid, panicking, until he's pulled over by the cops, or rather, Ana Lucia, a sassy ghost with advice for avoiding cops. "Oh, yeah, Libby says hi," she adds as she leaves.

Island
Rose and Bernard try to start a fire while Frogurt — an in-joke character for the true Lost aficionados! — kvetches sourly, like all Lost red-shirts. Twitchy does that lying-by-seeming-flaky thing and tries to determine where they are in time.

Mainland
Hurley steals money from Sayid and puts funny sunglasses on him — you know, between this and Dead Locke, Vulture was right, this really is a Weekend at Bernie's homage. He buys an "I heart Shi-tsus" t-shirt, ducks a punk clerk's I.D., then drives away; only to have Kate pull in, consider calling Jack, but no, she takes a call from someone else. (Sun, we surmise.)

Ben Linus shenanigans: He sneaks somethin' from an air vent and taunts Jack about being a pillhead.

A faceless person preps a sandwich; REVEAL, it's Hurley's dad. Did we really need a reveal for that? Anyway, happily, he's watching Expose: I still defend that episode with the burying alive — it totally holds up! Hurley arrives, lugging Sayid; There's jocular dad/son exposition about darts, comas, safe houses, then dad covers when the cops arrive. (Oh good plan, Hurley, peek through a window, because you have such a tiny invisible head.) Hurley fears hospitals, so they contact the worst doctor they know: Jack.

We were right: Kate is meeting up with Sun.

Meat is chopped. Ben takes a number. Ben and this sassy female butcher we've never met snark, conspire, and Ben says, "Keep him safe, Jill, because if you don't, everything we're about to do won't matter at all."

Island
Frogurt whines; Red has a headache; Miles catches a boar. Then there's a terrifying attack of flaming arrows and that whiny in-joke red-shirt is killed — so we pause Tivo and check Lostpedia and are horrified to discover that even though we're only ten minutes behind, the flaming arrow death has already been entered into Frogurt's entry. Lostepedians, you're insane!

People are running, I have no idea who they are, but fire arrows knock out a few extras.

Mainland
"Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?" asks Hurley's mom. Plus meta-dialogue: "Everything is going to make sense, I promise." "It better."

Sun and Kate sip General Foods International Coffee and reminisce about that French waiter — Jean-Luc! Actually, they're confiding about scary lawyers and Sun forgives Kate for Jin's death, but frankly, there's a super-creepy Blair Waldorf frenemy vibe going on and we don't trust those bangs.

Hurley's dad delivers a serape-wrapped Sayid to Jack and warns Jack to stay away from his son (because he was doing so great in the mental hospital?). Jack calls Ben. And Hurley has a deep talk with his mom, who squeezes his face until Hurley tells her the truth about the Oceanic 6. His explanation is hilarious but also strangely moving, because while the plot of Lost sounds insane when you recap it to your mom, Hurley's so convincingly sad that this meta-aspect disappears, since he's upset about the people who are still there, and she believes him. Aw, I love Hurley. And there's a lesson for us all: Don't lie, because it will bum you out, even drive you mad, although you are quite logically protecting the lives of your friends from a completely evil multi-billionaire.

Island

Sawyer is injured by a twig. Another faceless, walking person, with a gun. And the REVEAL: people we've never met, with weird accents and machetes!

Mainland
Sayid's unconscious, so Jack goes rogue doctor with his E.R. hoodoo. Sayid wakes and attacks him, but they come to terms.

There's a strangely hilarious shot of a hot pocket in the microwave. Ben scares Hurley, then cajoles him back to the island with psychological insight: "You won't ever have to lie again!" Hurley's maybe gonna go for it, but then, no, he follows Sayid's advice (if not Ana Lucia's), and turns himself in to the police.

Island
Juliet, Sawyer, and the Kiwis (?) with machetes. Juliet almost get her hand cut off, but a knife is thrown, and everyone we're with suggests the faceless man coming toward us is — yes, REVEAL, it's Locke.

And Finally! Mainland!
Faceless woman wears scarf. She's a physicist, or maybe a mystic, she's doing some calculations, she's got a pendulum, there's drippy candles — cripes, it's a church. Ben Linus is there, she removes her drape, REVEAL! It's that lady from Desmond's trippy episode, the icy grandmotherly one with all the time-travel explanations. She tells Ben he has 70 hours to get everyone back to the island or "god help us all."

What We Know Now
• Ben conspires with butchers and mystic physicists.
• Time keeps on tripping, tripping, tripping into the futuuuure ...
• There is such a thing as too many reveals .

The Wha? Factor
• Who is Desmond's Faraday's mother?
• Where the heck is undead Claire and her suave buddy, Jack's Dead Dad?
• Who is Marvin Candle's baby? Was it born on the island? And what mysterious force allows it to sleep til 8:15?


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Jorge Garcia on Why Lost’s Hurley Might Not Be So Crazy After All
Michael Emerson Warns: New Season of Lost to ‘Max Out the Degree of Complication’
Lost’s New Season: What Are the Internet Obsessives Saying?

Photo: Courtesy of ABC