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We’ve Learned More Than You Think on Lost This Season

With tonight’s episode, we’re a third of the way through Lost's final season, and the first six episodes have so far been met with a lot of critical frustration — namely, that rather than giving us the answers ABC promises in its promos every week, the show's producers have only given us more questions. (It is perhaps the only point at which Lost evokes thoughts of Saved by the Bell: At the end of every episode we want to quote Jessie Spano yelping, “There isn’t any time!”) For the doubters, we have two encouraging comments: First, during last summer’s Monte Carlo Television Festival, Matthew Fox said that the show would settle into a single, linear time frame about a third of the way through the season (ergo, now). And secondly, if you actually tally the revelations we’ve seen so far, you’ll see that we actually know more than the worriers think. So instead of pessimistically seeing the series as half unsolved at this point, let’s review how it’s half solved.

What the Flash Sideways Have Taught Us
• Detonating Jughead worked, though perhaps not as intended, as evidenced by the whole island being under water. More evidence: Ethan and Ben went on to live normal lives without the evil influence of the island, with Ethan as a creepy doctor and Ben as the asshole history teacher we all had in high school.
• The island's detonation appears to have realigned our beloved characters' lives right when it went off in 1977; that’s the year that Sideways Jack’s mother says a young Jack got his appendix removed (though you may recall that original-flavor Jack had it removed on the island by Juliet in 2004).
• In their sideways lives, the characters experienced growth in areas they never reached on the island: Jack dealt with his daddy issues, Locke came to terms with his paralysis, and Claire chose to keep her baby. However, there are exceptions: Charlie tried to kill himself in the bathroom on Oceanic 815.

On-Island Mysteries Revealed
• The Others’ temple sanctuary houses a magic spring that can bring back people on the brink of death; this reveals how young Ben was likely healed and revived after being shot by Sayid in the Dharma days.
• The magic hot tub was powered by Jacob’s life, since the water turned dirty after he died.
• The Oceanic 815 survivors were all assigned a number by Jacob that correlates to the sequence that plagued Hurley’s life and kept the world from ending. Certain discrepancies in the list (i.e., Kate's name being listed in the one in the lighthouse, but not the one in the cave) lead us to believe that one belongs to Jacob and one to MiB.
• Jacob's been able to keep tabs on our Losties since long before they came to the Island using his magic lighthouse mirrors (which Jack, frustratingly, has now destroyed).
• It looks like Jacob and MiB are the major parties in the war that Charles Widmore warned us was coming last season.
• Ben, Sun, and Lapidus are on Team Ilana, which appears to be the same as Team Jacob (currently comprised of Jack and Hurley). Everyone else is on Team Smokey (though Jin and Kate are there unwittingly).
• Sun finally knows that Jin is aliiiiive for the first time in two seasons.
• Claire is still aliiiiive and rearing a creepy yet awesome skull baby. Except now she knows that her real child, Aaron, has been growing up off the island with Kate, and she doesn't seem too pleased.

And remember, twelve hours is plenty of time to answer all the big unsolved mysteries (the most important, of course, being the location of Vincent). And if Matthew Fox is right, we'll start to get these reveals tonight! Do you think his promise will hold true? Did we miss anything on this list? Did you also make Claire's creepy baby your desktop background?

Photo: Mario Lopez/ABC