DarkUFO - Lost

Damn, that was a long hiatus. From now until May, we've got one last incredible ride to take... and then the roller coaster finally gets torn down for good.

Some of us will walk away, always remembering how great it was being a LOST fan during these last six years. Others will hang around to drink a few beers in the footprints of where the coaster once stood. We'll get nostalgic about these times, about the show, and about what it meant to every one of us - the diehard fans - the ones who not only loved watching LOST but also enjoyed the camaraderie of being a hardcore fan. There's not likely to be another show like this, not anytime soon at least, and in a way that's probably the hardest part.

Still, now's not the time to reflect. We've got the FINAL season of LOST ahead of us... the one we've all been waiting for. The show is going out at the top of its game, and the story's being wrapped up exactly the way it was always intended. As far as series finales go, LOST's will be legendary. We've waited half a decade for these answers, and the biggest ones are finally coming. So sit back, grab the lap bar, and really concentrate on remembering this one last ride. For now, our post-LOST lives can wait.

As for me, my hiatus was a busy one. I finally built a website, Things I Noticed, where I could centralize a lot of my thoughts, theories, and ideas on LOST. I'm doing some scene analysis over there, but some of it is also geared toward making you laugh your ass off, so be sure to check it out.

For those of you returning back here for the first time, I also wrote a book this summer: Things You Never Noticed About LOST. 100% new material, it grabs the past five seasons of LOST by the ankles, turns them upside down, and shakes out a whole ton of answers. If you've liked my recaps you're going to love the book, and you can check out the reviews posted on my website as well as on amazon.com. You can also read a 16-page sample chapter of the book right here.

Alright, let's get started on LA X. Things I Noticed:

The Captain Has Turned on the No Paradox Sign, and Please Return Your ALT-Universe Seat Backs To Their Upright Positions

Okay, so they did it. The bomb went off, fade to white, and suddenly we're sitting next to Jack Shephard on Oceanic Flight 815 again. Here comes Cindy the flight attendant, here comes the turbulence, here comes... Bernard back from the bathroom?

When we last left The Incident, many viewers believed that destiny could be changed. Nearly as many viewers also believed that predetermination wouldn't allow it. Leave it to LOST to split the difference straight down the middle, giving us an alternate universe in which the bomb did go off, but at the same time, a Flight 815 that now exists with an entirely different set of circumstances.

There was no hiding the changes. In fact, the writers went out of their way to wave them in our faces. Jack is still sporting his Enzo haircut instead of the high and tight buzz he had back in the Pilot episode. Cindy hands him one bottle of vodka instead of two. Maybe she knows Jack won't be needing the other one to disinfect his wound this time around, or maybe she knows nothing at all. Either way, we're shown many subtle differences throughout the second half of this plane ride, and we get lots of hints and allusions to past events that, at least in this universe, will no longer come to fruition.

So yes, something did change. Maybe it's not the 100% pure virgin reset Faraday sold everyone before eating a bullet last season, but it's a reset nonetheless. Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Hugo... even the Marshall this time - everyone gets to land at LA_X. The title of the episode pretty much tells the whole story, minus whatever contract dispute kept Shannon's legs from making my hi-definition LOST experience complete.

Let's do a character-by-character rundown of our new flight roster, and see what's different and what's still the same:

Jack - The scene starts with him, and right off the bat that's important. From the beginning, you can see that Jack remembers stuff. Although he may be back in seat 23, his mind obviously hasn't fully let go of the island. Jack's initial confusion and deja vu over the turbulence is similar to when Desmond woke up flat on his back during Flashes Before Your Eyes, with only vague recollections of where he'd just been. In time, Desmond's memories began coming back to him - jogged by the beeping of his microwave, meeting Charlie on the streets of London, and his impromptu meeting with Ms. Hawking in the ring shop. Perhaps this will be true of Jack also, as the alternate timeline plays itself out.

Rose & Bernard - Of everyone on this second iteration Flight 815, Rose's dialogue seemed the most important; her words were eerily relevant to our past storyline. This makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider all the inside information Rose and Bernard seemed to be holding back during The Incident. Telling Jack to 'let go' once again echoed his father's words to him, both on the island and off. And when Jack sheepishly tells her that it looks like they made it, Rose affirms "Yeah, we sure did" with a sly hint of knowing something Jack does not.

Also go back and watch Rose's reaction when Jack asks her about Desmond, too. Her "we were sleeping" line didn't convince me one bit. Immediately afterward, Rose makes a frowning sympathy face as Jack sits down... almost as if she feels bad for having to lie to him.

Desmond - Is he really here? Probably not. We learned a lot this episode about who can be seen and not seen, and Desmond's visit seemed very similar to Charlie's visit to Hurley during The Beginning of the End. His use of "brotha!" was meant to jog Jack's memory, and we can see that it did. Ghost 815 Desmond sat down to drop some hints, because at this point hints are the best he can do. Giving Jack too much info too soon would've blown his mind, and as we already know, our characters need to make their own choices anyway.

Kate & The Marshal - This arrangement looks pretty status quo, with Kate still in shackles and the Marshal still not trusting her with anything as dangerous as silverware. I thought it was funny how Cindy couldn't come up with anything sharp to help Charlie, but everyone's apparently eating with metal knives and forks. It's also important to note that the Marshal can't get through any season premiere without a knockout head wound.

Hugo Reyes - Lots of things have changed as far as Hurley is concerned. He now owns Mr. Cluck's chicken, and is suddenly famous for doing commercials - not really his style. Even more strange however, is Hugo's new attitude toward his fortune. Original Recipe Hurley thought himself to be cursed; he'd traveled to Australia seeking the origin of the numbers and was looking to change his bad luck. New Hurley is in a totally opposite place - he's convinced that nothing bad can happen to him because he's "the luckiest guy alive". How this plays out remains to be seen, but for now we're seeing a backward version of Hugo.

Jin & Sun - I have to say, I forgot how much of a dick Jin was back at the beginning of the show. If the characters in this alternate timeline somehow begin regaining memories of their on-island experiences, it's going to be interesting to see how Sun handles her husband. But hey, could there already be a little evidence that Sun remembers? The casual way in which she didn't try to hide her understanding of English jives with the fact that she hasn't had to pretend for a long time now. Original S1E1 Sun would've been a lot more careful to hide her secret around Jin.

Sawyer - Sawyer's the same super-observant opportunist he was back in season one, without so much as a single change so far. I could totally see him helping cover for Kate as she escaped: one con artist helping a fellow con artist out of a tight spot, like Kate did for Cassidy. The way he sized Hugo up after finding out about his lottery winnings, I wouldn't be surprised to see Sawyer setting him up for a mark. He seemed to take Hurley's "nothing bad ever happens to me" line almost as a challenge.

Locke & Boone - It was just plain awesome to see Boone again. Watching him talk to Locke brought back a ton of great season one nostalgia, and their conversation was filled with echoes of their on-island relationship. It's hard to believe it's been five whole years since he's been gone, and I really missed him.

So was John Locke telling the truth about finally getting to take his walkabout? Nah. Season one Locke lived in a fantasy world - he only dreamt of doing great things. Getting turned away in Australia was embarrassing for him, and rather than admit that failure he began making stuff up when he told Boone all about his trip. These were only the things he wished he'd done. It was safe for Locke to lie his ass off here, because he knew Boone would be long gone by the time his wheelchair was brought up to help him de-boarded the plane.

The coolest thing about the Locke/Boone reunion was their handshake at the end. Although neither of these characters might remember each other right now, Locke seemed to be making amends... and Boone seemed to be forgiving him. Awesome moment.

Sayid - Haven't seen much of Sayid just yet, but his ability to kick things seemed intact. Not sure whether we'll see a Nadia reunion, but after twice showing us her photo I guess that might be where we're heading.

Charlie - We have to remember that Charlie was a miserable wreck on Flight 815... he's hooked on drugs, and his brother Liam just refused to put the band back together. While he didn't intend to kill himself in that bathroom, Charlie's words to Jack were a little too close to home for him not to know something. Is he totally in on things? I don't think so. But for some reason, Charlie inherently knows his fate.

For Those Seated on the Left Side of The Aircraft, Please Enjoy a Spectacular View of the Shattered Remains of Seasons One Through Five...

Seeing the submerged wreckage of the island was dramatic and cool, and seemed geared toward showing us that - in the ALT timeline anyway - the bomb really did go off. Could a nuclear blast really cause a whole island to sink? Who the hell knows? I think maybe the CGI guys were just looking for an excuse to work that Dharma shark in there one more time.

Jack & Sayid... Kicking Down Doors and Saving Lives Since 2004

In another direct reflection of season one, Jack saves Charlie's life - again. This isn't the second, third, or even fourth time Charlie's life has been saved, and he seems more destined to die than ever before. This time around, Charlie even knows it. As he venomously drops the hint that he's "supposed to die", Charlie's words solidify yet another of Jack's ethereal ties to the island. When this happens enough times, I think Jack will start to remember.

This is also a good time to point out a strange line of dialogue from season one, during All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues. After Ethan drags Charlie off and Jack is chasing after him, he tells Kate "I'm not letting him do this. Not again." Is Jack referring to Ethan taking Claire earlier in the season? Maybe. At the same time though, it also seems as if Jack knows what's happened before, and this time around he's looking to change the outcome. If you ask me, Charlie was supposed to die at that tree. Jack brought him back through sheer force of will... call it faith, belief, or whatever. From that moment on, death always surrounded Charlie. As Desmond proved over and over in season three, there was just no saving him. Even now, in this alternate timeline, Jack is still trying to prevent his friend from dying. It might not be long before destiny course corrects by killing Charlie in some other way.

Examine Charlie's many deaths a little more closely, and they all have one thing in common: not breathing. Desmond saw him drown (once in a dream, once in reality), Ethan hangs him to asphyxiation, and we see a vision in which he gets shot in the throat with an arrow. Now, in this episode, Charlie's choking on a big bag of heroin. Whatever happened to kill Charlie must apparently happen again and again, in the same basic way, no matter where, when or what universe he happens to be in.

Jack's New Hickey Doesn't Mean He Joined The 5-Mile High Club

Jammed up in that little bathroom, Jack doesn't remember how he got that mark any more than we do. Yet there's a pretty good reason we see a mirrored view of the wound on Jack's neck, and that's because it's exactly where that wound exists... in the mirror only.

Traditionally, mirrors have played a huge part all throughout LOST. In almost every case, they've reflected back the raw truth. Maybe they've even given us a glimpse into the elusive 'other side'. Whatever happened to cause the wound on Jack's neck, perhaps it only happened in the one "true" universe. It's possible the mirror is reflecting back something that happens to Jack later on, or maybe even at the end of the show. It's important to realize that we never see this wound directly, but only in the mirror.

One Big Round of Time-Travel Hangovers For Everyone

And so here we are again, this time in a universe in which Jughead apparently did not go off. Moving our heroes from 1977 to 2007 finally synchs up our two separate island timelines, paving the way for the long overdue Sun/Jin reunion. And an even more convenient event? The fact that their van came with them.

Kate waking up in that tree was a fairly big clue - another prime example of a character suddenly appearing at a specific 'respawn' point. We've seen it with Jack when he returned via Ajira 316, and we've seen it when both Ben and Locke ended up in the same little corner of the Tunisian desert. So if Kate's tree seems familiar, maybe it reminds you of the tree the smoke monster dropped 815's pilot, Seth Norris into. Or perhaps you remember Bernard's first appearance on the island, strapped into his seat and stuck high up in a very similar position. This isn't simple coincidence... Kate wasn't stuck up in that tree just so we could check out her ass (although I'd accept that line of thinking). There's a definite reason our characters seem to wake up or enter certain scenes in a strangely limited number of places, just as they seem destined to repeat the same events and experiences over and over again.

Think Sawyer Was Angry When He Choked Out His Dad? That Was Nothing.

I have to admit, the Sawyer scenes were hard to watch. After what just happened, he had every right to be brutally enraged. We tend to forget that Sawyer and Juliet had three whole years to form their bond, but from the moment Jack & company showed back up on the island, it only took a few days for them to crash the whole Dharma party. The broken wreckage of the Swan hatch - and not the construction site - directly reflected the failure of Jack's reset plan, and Sawyer wholly blames him for Juliet's death.

To be a little more fair to Jack, the reset plan was Faraday's to begin with. Jack did all of the convincing however, and for that he's got even more blood on his hands. The leadership role is always a tough one, and Jack has seized the reins more than anyone else on LOST. He's also failed more times than he's succeeded, and admittedly doesn't know where they are, or what to do next. Unless he can somehow bring Juliet back, Jack's relationship with Sawyer is irrevocably broken. But then again, "nothing is irreversible".

You're Going To Want To Be Asleep For The Trip Dr. Burke. It's a Hell of a Ride...

Like most big LOST deaths, Juliet's final scene was touching and awesome. Her character had come a long way, and her story was made more complete by getting to die in Sawyer's arms. For all the answers she held back from us in seasons three and four, Juliet's parting gift to us on her deathbed (and just beyond) was extremely significant: we now know that she 'went' somewhere when she died. An hour later, John Locke would talk about this very thing in his placid conversation with Jack.

"We should get coffee sometime. We could go dutch." As she gets closer to death, Juliet's consciousness begins flashing backward through her past life, much the way Charlotte's did during Dead is Dead. When she comes back to Sawyer for her final moments, she needs to tell him something important. Like many people, I thought she'd reveal to him that she was pregnant. But then I thought more about that, and it just seemed a shitty thing to do. Juliet already knows Sawyer's going to have a hard enough time letting go of her when she dies - there's little need to add more of a burden to his already heavy shoulders.

After passing over to the other side - probably quite literally at this point - Miles is forced to commune with Juliet. You can tell from the look in his eyes that he won't be able to do it. "It doesn't work that way", he tells Sawyer. Aside from not wanting to talk to his recently-dead friend, it also appeared Miles genuinely knew he wouldn't be able to make a connection. When Sawyer pushed him down on her grave, Miles made up his mind to play along. As he'd done before for some of his other clients, Miles intended to tell Sawyer whatever would've made him feel better or ease his grief.

But then suddenly, Juliet did speak to him. You can tell how completely surprised Miles was that the connection was made. Juliet's message to Sawyer wasn't a simple "It worked", either... it was an exuberant, animated "It WORKED!" in exactly the way Miles delivered it to him. This wasn't just Miles being shocked, it was a direct and excited message from Juliet to Sawyer. In his grief, Sawyer missed the point of her words, but to us? Wherever Juliet now "is", she's totally aware of the reset. And not only is she aware of it, but she seems extremely psyched that it happened. As far as I'm concerned, this helps lend some level of importance to the alternate timeline. It also makes us question whether dead really is dead, or if everyone who's passed on from LOST is enjoying a great big party on the other side, waiting for everyone else to show up.

If You Strike Me Down, I Will Become More Powerful...

Jacob looks good for someone who just died an hour ago. In his second meeting with Hurley there are no riddles... no hidden messages or untold secrets. Jacob tells Hugo his name, where he needs to go in order to save Sayid, and what he needs to bring with him. When Hurley mentions that Jin will be back, Jacob nonchalantly lets him know that his friend won't be able see him. Hell, Jacob even flat out tells him why. It's season six, and it looks like answers will be a lot easier to come by.

We've seen many instances throughout LOST where characters have seen ghosts, visions, and people who may or may not be there. It started with Jack's father Christian, and from there it snowballed in every direction. Ben seeing his mother... Hugo seeing Charlie at Santa Rosa... even minor characters like Goodwin's wife Harper have miraculously shown up, handed out important advice, and then seemingly disappeared into thin air. This is the first time however, that an apparition makes reference to knowingly being unseen. Wherever Jacob now "is", he's somehow still able to reveal himself to Hugo in a very Ben Kenobi-like way.

As far as Hugo goes, most of you already know how I feel about him. Hurley is blessed by the ability to see things exactly as they are, and this includes seeing things that other people don't. He's been visited by more dead characters than anyone in the show; he's seen both Charlie and Ana Lucia after they died, and even played chess with the ghost of Mr. Eko. Hugo was also somehow able to see Jacob's cabin, despite how hard it was to find that thing.

Hurley's guitar case seems to be Jacob's plan B. Maybe it was his plan A, for that matter. Either way, Jacob had scouted out a contingency for Sayid's death and made Hurley carry it all the way to the island. His nemesis may think he's won the game, but Jacob is still playing.

C'mon Bram... You Gotta Do Better Than That

You know, I really thought Bram had his shit together. After Miles' quick abduction and that little conversation in the van, it seemed like Bram and Illana were part of a pretty tight operation. Yet here he comes with nothing more than a gun, an attitude, and a little bag of ash. If this is a reflection of the rest of Bram's team, the shadow statue people should be about as effective as The Others.

In this scene we finally learn what many of us had already suspected: this new version of Locke actually is the smoke monster. Since Dead is Dead his mannerisms, echo-like voice changes, and the way he passed judgment on Ben pretty much gave that away. We even get one last vocal clue in the deep, reverberating way Locke asks Ben "Where's Richard?" As Ben enters the chamber, it's as if we catch the entity switching back to use Locke's own voice.

It was extremely significant that Locke gave Bram's team a choice before killing them. He explained that Jacob was dead, and presented their situation in a straightforward, logical way. They were basically free to go, at least up until Bram fired his gun. Once that happened, judgment could be passed. This is also why Richard is so adamant that no one on the beach shoot Locke, screaming for them to hold their fire when he finally emerges from the statue.

Going a bit further, this also explains why the smoke monster doesn't just kill anyone and everyone it comes across. We already know that the dark man disapproves of Jacob bringing people to the island. In keeping with the rules however, he seems unable to touch anyone unless he's judged them first, or unless they've wronged him in some way. Not sure how or why it killed Seth Norris or Nadine... but both of those characters had just arrived on the island so maybe there was a exception clause. Or maybe the smoke monster hadn't eaten in a while, and he was just plain hungry.

Bram's circle of ash is something the monster apparently can't cross. Perhaps this solves the mystery of Jacob's cabin: it wasn't Jacob's at all. If the cabin served as a type of prison, then the circle of ash there was used to keep the entity or monster in and not out. This may by why Illana's team burned the cabin to the ground upon reaching the island - possibly on Jacob's orders. In any case, Bram's plan A sucked, and his plan B was non-existant.

The Barefoot, Rocket-Shooting, Gun-Happy, Temple-Dwelling Other Others

As we finally get to see inside the temple, more huge answers are finally revealed. One of the bigger long-standing mysteries? Just what happened to Cindy, Zach, and Emma.

The people living inside these temple walls are a more serious, hardcore version of Ben's barracks-dwelling Others. Like Oldham, they've decried modern invention and everyday convenience. They've even kicked off their shoes, allowing their bare feet to constantly touch the earth. This puts them more in tuned with the island than anyone sipping tea at Juliet's air-conditioned book club, because these Others are taking things back to the oldskool.

This is the way Widmore led his people, before Ben moved everyone into the barracks. As a result, these Others seem a lot more educated as to what's going on. They know of Jacob, and of the dangers of his enemy. They also know how to keep the dark man from crashing their party: with a giant circle of ash. They don't seem worried about this however, until Hurley reveals that Jacob is dead. Once that slips out, everyone becomes very, very on edge. Break out the fireworks and karate.

It's also kinda cool to think this isn't the first time we saw these Others. As Jin and Mr. Eko lay crouched in those bushes back in season two, they watched the dirty bare feet of these others, as well as the children, drag themselves through the jungle. Later on, we'd assume this was part of Mr. Friendly's posse - especially after the fake beard. But in reality, what we probably saw here was this group of more radical island dwellers, lead by this trigger-happy Japanese dude who hates English.

Ah... but what's the deal with Cindy? Here she is, dressed as if she just raided Yoko Ono's closet. In Stranger in a Strange Land however, we saw a very different Cindy, Zach, and Emma. That time around, when Jack saw them for the first time, they wore completely normal clothes. They looked washed up and ready for church. So which is it? Where does Cindy fit in, and how did she get there? Were the kids (and other members of the tail section) originally taken by the temple-dwellers, and if so, how did they end up in Ben's group of Others? Many pieces of this puzzle just don't fit, and at this point I'm not sure there's even a right way to put them together. Hopefully someone will shake Cindy down for some hard answers, because it's LONG past that time.

The Egyptian Homegoods Store Called... They Want Their Tacky 2-Foot Wooden Ankh Back

God I was happy when the temple leader smashed that thing over his knee. It looked absolutely ridiculous, and if it was going to take some reverent place in LOST lore I was fully prepared to go berserk. "Behold!!! The sacred wooden ankh of Jacob!!!" Please.

Leave it to Jacob to slide his note into something he knew Hurley wouldn't mess with. It was funny how he knew Hugo would open and look inside the case, too. If he'd seen a piece of paper, Jacob knew Hugo would've certainly read it. This is why Hurley couldn't carry that note in his wallet, and instead had to drag Charlie's guitar case on board Ajira 316. The case probably served double-duty as a proxy, too.

Excuse Me... I Carried That Case Across The Ocean, and Like, Though Time? I Wanna Know What That Paper Says

There were many great lines this episode, and this was one of the best. Seems like the only thing that saved everyone from getting ventilated was another one of Jacob's "lists". This one contained the names of everyone present, and apparently, every single one of them is highly important to the overall master plan.

Jacob's lists have always been critical to LOST's story. He's not very big on communication, so these lists are all his followers really have to go on. I've long theorized that the people listed by Jacob are the ones integral to the end game - without every single one of them, Jacob's final ending cannot be realized. This could be why the hippy with the wire-rimmed glasses tells us that Sayid had better pull through, or there's going to be BIG trouble. As they called out their names, I also realized that we were cycling through every single one of the characters that Jacob had already touched during The Incident. Sawyer shows up later on, and he's been touched too. But Miles? Uh oh.

Where Did They Get That Brown Water... From the Old MXC Set?

In the inner sanctum, we finally get a glimpse of what might have happened to Ben on the day Richard brought him to the temple. Hopefully the water was a lot clearer that day, and the results were a little better. I also have to admit, when the Japanese dude flipped that giant sand-timer over I had to chuckle. They held Sayid underwater like they were trying to boil up the perfect egg, and then walked away defeated when they overcooked him.

The water was probably brown due to Jacob's death. This may be why the leader believed Hurley without further question. It's probably also why his hand wasn't healed... I guess cutting your hand and dipping it into the water was a ritual meant to demonstrate the water's healing properties. When the leader's cut remained the same, we kinda already knew Sayid was screwed.

If the water is tied to Jacob, then maybe Jacob himself has been responsible for the island's mythical healing properties. Now that he's gone, maybe things will be different. They mentioned it was a spring, which means it probably runs beneath the entire island. Personally, I didn't need a physical reference point for why or how the island can heal - at first glance, I was afraid the resurrection pool was going to be a bit much. In the end it wasn't too bad, but I definitely could've done without the giant egg timer.

As Sayid is pronounced dead, Jack once again refuses to believe it. His futile attempts at reviving him exactly mirror the already-mentioned S1 scene in which Charlie dies after being hanged by Ethan. Kate was in that scene too, trying to call Jack off and tell him it's over. The only difference here was that Jack didn't make a second effort - he didn't beat Sayid on the chest until he gasped for breath. Even so, Sayid miraculously does come back from the land of the dead - just like Charlie - fulfilling the end of the scene anyway. Another loop closed.

So what happens now? Is Sayid still Sayid, or is he now a 'candidate' for Jacob? As much as I hate to say it, we've probably seen the end of the asskicking Iraqi we all know and love. Hopefully I'm wrong, but it would make more sense for Jacob to somehow inhabit Sayid's body here, especially since he was the one who sent that body to the temple. Go back and look at Jacob's face while he's talking to Hurley and examining Sayid's wounds. Even he knows the guy is too far gone. It's unfortunate, and he looks a little sorry to even do it, but I'm pretty sure Jacob's going to somehow live through this new version of Sayid. I'm still holding out hope for continued asskickings, however.

Was It Possible To Out-Creep The Season Two Face Ben Made Back In The Hatch? YUP.

In my favorite scene of this episode, we finally learn something about the dark-shirted man's true motivations. We also get an intimate glimpse of someone we thought we might never see again: the real John Locke. As Ben stands broken and unable to grasp what just happened, the smoke monster all but tells him to man up. Ben's complaint of being 'used' falls on deaf ears, and in many ways it's pretty comical when you consider just how many people Ben himself has used over the course of the show.

"Want to know what we going through his mind as you killed him? I don't understand...." This was awesome, incredible acting by Terry O' Quinn. He jumps seamlessly from the monster's persona right back into our old confused and beloved John Locke. The fact that he was inhabiting John's body made it all the more accurate, and it brought back overwhelming feelings of sympathy for the man John Locke was. He was a guy who wanted nothing more than to be loved and accepted, yet just about everyone he trusted ended up taking advantage of him. I thought it was cool how the dark man admired him for his purity, and for John's one redeeming quality: realizing how much better life on the island could be rather than worrying about how to get back to his shattered life... like everyone else.

Then Ben asks the question we've all been dying to know: "What do you want?" And as Jacob's long-time enemy explains in the simplest of terms, he just wants OUT. He's been playing the game for way too long, and he finally wants to pack it in. More importantly, he's not just looking to get off the island, he's looking to go home.

Dogma springs instantly to mind here. Although the movie itself was fairly cheesy, the premise of Loki and Bartleby, two angels cast out of heaven, totally fits. They're even looking for a loophole, too. While I'm not sure Jacob and his nemesis are a pair of fallen angels, there's certainly a higher power above them. Maybe they've been placed on the island for a specific purpose: to serve a penance all their own. Perhaps their game isn't a game at all, but a lesson that needs to be learned before they can move on. If this is the case, the island becomes their own personal Purgatory.... and yes, I said Purgatory.

The face Terry O'Quinn makes at the end of this scene absolutely scared the balls off me. It was totally unexpected and radically different than anything he's done before. We've seen Locke angry, hurt, mad, happy, and smiling with an orange peel in his mouth. But we've never, ever, EVER seen a face like the one made here. It slammed home the point that we're looking at someone who's NOT John Locke, and it was chilling to watch. I totally loved it.

Oceanic Luggage Gets Really, Really LOST

In the alternate timeline, Jack's father's coffin somehow doesn't make the plane. Ditto for Locke's case of razor-sharp knives. What does this mean to the storyline? I'm not sure just yet. But let's imagine for a moment that neither of those things were on the original Oceanic Flight 815. Let's go off on a real quick theory...

After the crash, Jack has no way of knowing that his dad's coffin wasn't on the plane. As far as he's concerned, it was. So when he starts chasing ghost-Christian through the jungle and "finds" the coffin, is Jack only seeing what he expects to see? Did he bring his father's coffin - and even his Christian himself - to the island via the magic box, much like Sawyer unknowingly brought The Man From Tallahassee? Kooky idea, but we're in season six. Ghosts, time travel, alternate timelines... the whole magic box thing goes down a lot easier these days.

Similarly, Locke's case of knives was found amongst the beach wreckage early in season one. I've long speculated that those knives were there simply because Locke wanted them to be there, but now we find out that he really did pack them. Yet if they never made the plane and they somehow still showed up on the beach... magic box? Could be. Early on we saw a lot of things brought into being by requirement, usually whenever a character needed them most.

Admittedly, Locke losing his knives could've been nothing more than a vehicle to put Jack and Locke together in their last LAX scene. But his father's coffin now missing... that certainly means something.

Science, I'd Like You To Meet Faith. Faith? Science.

As Jack and Locke meet up again at Oceanic's lost luggage counter, we get to see what could've been. These are two of LOST's biggest, most powerful characters - all throughout the show, we've seen them pitted against each other. Their opposing views and general disdain for each other has been evident since season one... even through wide-swinging role reversals, Jack Shephard and John Locke have faced off over just about everything. To see them not only getting along here but actually trying to help each other out? It was pretty damned wild.

Locke's words about Jack's missing father were meant to comfort a guy who had just lost his dad. At the same time, they're also the third direct reference this episode as to where people go when they die. Sayid asked Hurley where he thought he'd end up, and Juliet passes over to some other realm where she can consciously communicate through Miles. The well-mentioned "other side" is getting closer and closer, and I've got a feeling that pretty soon we're going to be able to see through to it.

John Locke is still a man of faith here, and Jack is still a man of science. But something is changed up a bit, as Jack begins asking Locke about how he got into that wheelchair. "Nothing's irreversible" just isn't Jack's mantra, and it stood out like a sore thumb. Giving Locke his business card means we'll probably see a Jack/Locke story later on, just as Kate getting into Claire's cab will tie those two characters together. Sawyer & Hurley? Maybe. We'll see what happens. In any event, with Jack's never-ending need to fix people, it will be interesting to see whether or not he can help John Locke walk out of the alternate universe on his own two feet.

Frank's Shirt... Still Unbuttoned All The Way Down To The Naval? Ah, Continuity!

As two full hours of LOST drew to a close, one thing became quickly obvious: John Locke is going to rock this season whether he be real, fake, or otherwise. We haven't seen this level of badassedness since Keamy went down, and the way he handled Richard was nothing but pure awesome. You? Me. Two words was all it took (plus maybe a throat-strike), and suddenly we knew a lot about the long history these characters had together.

Richard being in chains was an obvious reference to the Black Rock. This is exciting, because the slave ship and Richard's backstory are two big mysteries that absolutely need to be solved. Tying them together means we could get them both in the same episode, and hopefully soon. With a little luck, it also means we'll be seeing the dark-shirted man in his original form again. As much as I love Terry O'Quinn's version, it should be equally awesome to get a more personal glimpse of the man who finally killed Jacob.

After beating Richard like a prison inmate trying to make a statement, the monster stands up to address everyone surrounding him. "I'm very disappointed in all of you!", he shouts. Not sure what he means by this, but it struck me that maybe he's going to pretend to be Jacob. It was probably that half-smirk he made at the end. The only conscious person who'd know that he's lying would be Ben... and the last time we saw Ben he was looking for a second pair of shorts. Whatever the dark man's next move is, you can be sure it involves an asskicking.

Thoughts On The Premiere, and Season Six

Dunno about you guys, but this premiere blew me away. I expected it to, and it lived up to my expectations. Answers are coming quickly, and craziness is the norm. We're long past the point of subtle hints and slow-rolling mysteries now. As we accelerate toward the finish, the drawstrings of LOST's story are steadily and deliberately being pulled closed.

I'm looking forward to this season, to this story, and to a great series finale. We're in the home stretch, and one step closer to the zombie-season!

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