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Lost Season Premiere Recap: Whatever Works

Hmmm.

It's the final season, so I'm withholding judgment, but [SPOILERS AHEAD] let me say for the record that if I see one more scene in which Jack attempts a medical miracle and someone begs, "Jack, stop," I'm going to set off a neutron bomb. But don't worry, if that bomb kills someone, they are likely to come back. Unless they have a role on V. Do I sound bitter? I enjoyed the eerie and opaque variations on the "plane lands" timeline, and my heart is open, open, open, but I miss Locke, the one character who stayed complex until his death.

And on to the recap!

Is it wrong to find something sexy about Twitchy's breathy vow (in the Previously On's) to "tap into a massive pocket of energy"? Just me?

So we're back! And Juliet smacks the rock, and the screen goes white. Everything reboots. Jack's on the plane; Cindy offers booze; there's turbulence; a chat with Rose — and it's over. No crash. But when Jack looks in the bathroom mirror, he notices something: a cut on his neck.

Even weirder, Desmond is onboard, sitting by Jack. Jack wonders if he knows him. "Nice to see you, Jack. Or, see you again." Then we dive through clouds, under water, past houses and swing sets and sharks and up to the feet of ol' four-toes.

Welcome back, eerie Lost logo.

Aaand ... we're at the hole again, with everything collapsing magnetostically and Juliet pulled down. "C'mon, you son of a bitch!" Screen goes white. This time, it's Kate's eye that opens. She's up a tree, shimmies down, confronts Miles. It's the Worst Case Scenario: They're back at the blown-up Swan hatch. "What, they built it?" "Yeah, they built it." I consult Lostpedia.

Sawyer smacks Jack, expositing angrily that they're back where they started, except for that pesky Juliet-is-dead issue.

But in the Timeline Where Jack Wasn't Wrong, Kate is fed lasagna, then ogled by Sawyer. Arzt is onboard, too, bugging Hurley, who is rich and (he informs Sawyer) "the luckiest guy alive."

Good thing he's not on the Island of Constant Sorrows, where Kate hears a faint "help me" from underground: Juliet! Aliiive. Meanwhile, Sayid bleeds out, muttering about hell, while Hurley hears leaves rustling. It's Jacob, wondering if Hurley's got a minute.

On the Plane That Didn't Crash, Sun is gazing longingly at Bernard and Rose's PDA, but Jin asks her to button her blouse. And Boone is back! Seated next to Frogurt in eye-shades, who hilariously sleeps through Boone's conversation with Locke, which is all about water landings, backstories, and foreshadowing like, "If this thing goes down, I'm sticking with you."

Meanwhile, in Bad Outcomeville: Not-Locke wipes his knife while Ben quietly freaks out. Outside, there's a lot of panicked bickering going on, some subliminal Frank-Sun heat that only I can detect, and the marvelous Richard, who confronts the lying, traumatized Ben with the body of the actual, dead, non-Not-Locke actual-Locke.

Sawyer et al rip metal asunder to get to Juliet, as life-affirming music plays.

Jacob explains to Hurley that he was killed, by an old friend who was tired of his company, much as I hope I do not become tired of Lost's company. He also tells Hurley to take Sayid to the temple. Meanwhile, Juliet is rescued, an act punctuated by death threats from Sawyer to Jack.

But in Blank Slateistan, other false deaths are imminent: Jack is needed at the bathroom, where Sayid kicks down the door to reveal Charlie. Jack is about to attempt a pen-based tracheotomy — but Jack has no pen, because Kate stole it, so she can escape from her handcuffs later! — so using his fingers he digs a baggie of drugs out of Charlie's throat.

In Oh No Not Againavista, Sawyer is digging for Juliet, who is alive, but annoying me, 'cause c'mon, where are the stakes? She cries that she hit the bomb, because she selflessly wanted Sawyer to go home, which is sweet. But while Juliet trends upward, Sayid sinks, so Hurley explains that Jacob said they should go to the temple.

People I don't remember break into the temple toe of the statue to confront not-Locke, who only stupid people shoot at — although he also swallows up even the one reasonably intelligent dude who tried to protect himself with hoodoo.

"I'm sorry you had to see me like that," says Locke, after de-Smokifying, to Ben.

There's a lot of groaning as Sawyer removes metal from a beatific, sanctified Juliet, who talks about coffee, requests a kiss, and despite my love of Juliet (at least in her former guise as a complex, morally ambiguous schemer with a thing for hunky con men), I find myself hoping she'll die, just because this is so cheesy and, you know, I already cried last year. But no, she has a confession — and then she dies! Again! Sawyer is mad.

In AllBetterNow, Charlie is one ungrateful junkie. Desmond is gone. And they're landing. Slo-mo-y irony shots, including Sayid looking at his soul mate's photo, Jin gazing at the fancy watch, and me looking disappointed because I realize that Shannon isn't around and I miss her. The cops bust Charlie for drugs. Everyone leaves, as poor Locke waits for his wheelchair. Hey, are disability folks bugged by this plotline?

SECOND HOUR!
While the ads are on, I try to fill my husband in on the stuff he missed by not watching last season, but find shocking amounts missing from my own memory, even after watching this. Suspicious.

The gang preps Sayid for transport. Sawyer is gloomy. Jack is guilty. Bygones, people, V was a great opportunity for Elizabeth Mitchell.

In OhPhewia, Jack is paged by an official who informs him that his father's body was never put on the plane. And, well, they've lost the coffin.

The Losties carry Sayid into the temple, where they find skeletons, with a book, and an arm missing, and I think I should get this reference, but I don't, so fill me in, commenters, I beg you. Even Google didn't help. Sweating, eerie sounds. Then flashlights, confusion, and everyone is captured by men wearing fetching raspberry-colored turbans.

In the Jack Is Right Timeline, Kate escapes from the ladies' room, then lands in an elevator with Sawyer, who admires her handcuffs and freckly con woman allure.

In the Jack Is Wrong Timeline, Miles and Sawyer bury Juliet, then Sawyer demands hoodoo: What did Juliet want to tell him? After some violence, Miles reveals the answer: "It worked."

Meanwhile, the Losties are threatened by the Others — including Cindy, who has abandoned all claims to good service. I'd like to root for the main characters, but I'm charmed by the Others' accessory line: leather vests, goatees, and/or ponytails, patchouli musk. Hurley name-drops Jacob and shows off his groovy Ankh. Goatee guy splits it over his knee and finds a scroll. Then the dirty-hippie henchman explains that if Sayid dies, they're all in trouble, although oddly, when Sayid does die, in a scene or two, he seems totally unconcerned.

At the Airport of Maybe Everything Is Okay?, Jin gets in trouble for carrying a wad of cash. Sun could save him, but then she'd have to reveal her naughty secret English lessons.

At the temple, I start giggling at this absurdly ominous Japanese Temple Leader with the goatee, especially when he reveals that he's a cutter. If they do this ritual with Sayid, there are RISKS! Do what you have to do! Enough stalling, it's time for the mikvah!

They turn over a Yahtzee hourglass, hold Sayid underwater, and generally freak out the Losties by appearing to drown him. And bingo, when he's retrieved, Japanese guy announces he's dead. Chagrin! And CPR. "Jack, he's dead!" chants my husband — and sure enough, that's what Kate says. "Christ, it's like a chatbot wrote this," complains the cynic.

At the baggage carousel, Kate steals a password, and almost a cab, but Frogurt (I think) blocks her. Under pressure, she carjacks a cab with Claire in it. Hi, Claire!

On the island, Cindy arrives with my favorite characters, the kidnapped children. Then Sawyer et al are trundled in. While questioning Hurley, Goatee sneers, "I don't like the way English tastes on my tongue." But after he finds out Jacob is dead, everyone panics and goes all Patriot Act: Emergency ash-laying! Fiery missiles launched! Glares! Multiethnic hotties in vests! They're trying to keep someone out.

The someone being Smokey, who explains that he's not a Who, he's a What a What, he's a Who. And that he didn't make Ben kill anyone, and you know what Locke's last thought was? "I don't understand." Isn't that sad? And so on, as Smokey analyzes the broken, pathetic, yet admirable Locke, then reveals that Smokey wants the one thing that John Locke didn't want: to go home. VERY EVIL LOOK.

Hurley bids Sayid adieu.

Kate and Sawyer exchange sultry condolences.

Sawyer glares at Jack, but he ain't gonna kill him, because he deserves to suffer on this rock.

In NotAsGoodAsWe'dHopedville, Jack and Locke are bonding over lost goods: one bag, one dad. Locke waxes philosophical about the difference between Jack's father and his body. Then they discuss Locke's spinal condition and Jack says nothing's irreversible, and offers a free consult.

On the beach, Richard and the Many Ruffians Who Confuse Me are confronted by SmokeyLocke, who says, "It's good to see you out of those chains" and knocks Richard out, then announces he's very disappointed in everyone (possibly including me) and carries Richard away.

The dirty hippies ask to meet with Jack, but he's irascible, and Sayid comes back to life, which, c'mon, were you surprised? And may I note herein that there were a lot of meta-questions in the preview clip: "Do you care about any of us? Who DO you care about?"

What We Know Now:
• Two timelines! (Sort of, since they seem to leak into one another.)
• NotLocke is Smokey, and he wants to go home.
• Locke is dead, Juliet is dead, Sayid is aliiive, Charlie is alive, Jacob is undead ...

The Wha? Factor:
• ... unless maybe that's Jacob inhabiting the body of Sayid?
• Who are those bodies in the cave?
• Would I feel differently if I were watching this episode two years from now on DVD?

Related:
The Jack Shephard Likability Index
Talking With Lost’s Ultimate Superfan, EW’s Doc Jensen
Lost’s Nestor Carbonell: If He Told People About the Final Season, ‘They Would Think I Made It Up’

Photo: Mario Perez/ABC