Okay, now that we’re all done releasing our three-minute long sighs of relief that the best drama on TV is back, it’s time to take a look at where our beloved islanders and mainlanders are nowadays. The islanders discover that they’ve somehow been unhinged from time and are bouncing around different times on the island, and Jack and Ben unite to recruit their old friends for a return visit to the island. Kate is also confronted with a choice to make about Aaron, and Hurley has to find a way to hide a dangerously tranquilized Sayid after they’re nearly shot down by assassins waiting in the gloom of Sayid’s room. It’s riveting, it’s fun, it’s a must watch, and it’s also right after the jump.

A secret power hidden in the depths of the island
The movie opens with a man waking up in the Others camp on the island, back before the plane crashed – he walks to studio, sits down, and introduces himself to the camera as Dr. Marvin Candle. He’s apparently making a video orientation for Station 2 – the Arrow, used to for defense and gathering intelligence on the island’s hostile indigenous inhabitants. (Indigenous inhabitants, eh?) He’s interrupted by some dude busting in informing him that there are problems at the Orchid – the station Ben went to at the end of last season to make the island disappear.  Dr. Candle heads over the Orchid (in the middle of construction) to find that the excavators have discovered a hard patch of rock that breaks their drills and has even made one worker nearly go insane before he fainted. Oh, yeah, and there’s a chamber inside the rock whose sound-gram shows a helm just like the one Ben pulled. Damn. Less than four minutes in and Lost is already starting strong.  Dr. Candle then warns the workers to not build any further into the rock – lest they release the boundless energy source thought to hide within, a source also believed to enable time travel, but with strict rules.  As Candle walks away from the scene, he bumps into none other than Daniel Faraday, who stares into the holes drilled into the rock with shock.

Awkward Reunion
Back in present day, Ben convinces Jack to steal Locke’s body so they can begin to regroup everyone to head back to the island.  Jack wonders aloud how they arrived where they are, and Ben’s only answer is to stare at him coldly and say, “It’s because you left, Jack.”  At a hotel, Jack shaves his beard (yay, no more scraggly Jack!) and tells Ben that the reason he’s going back to the island is to save his friends, because Locke had told him they would die otherwise.  Ben asks Jack if Locke told him what happened to the rest of Oceanic Flight 815, but Jack shakes his head and Ben gives him a blank, disappointed look.  “Then I guess we’ll never know.”

Or will we?
Indeed we will. “Three years earlier” flashes across the screen, and we see Ben in the icy cave pushing against the mysterious helm.  When the island disappears, Locke is left alone, the eternally young man Richard disappeared.  (Coincidence? I think not!) Oh yeah, and for some reason it’s raining too.  Meanwhile, Daniel and the refugees are still on the raft, right next to the island, transported along because, as Daniel explains helpfully, “We must have been within the radius.” On the island itself, Sawyer and Juliette find out that along with the black-smoke spewing boat on fire, helicopter, and their sanity, all traces of their camp have vanished.  Daniel makes an appearance while Sawyer is busy wondering where the hell all their stuff has gone, and Daniel informs them it’s not gone, it just hasn’t been built yet.  Okay. Now. Stop the ride.  What?!  If you’re not hooked by the time the misty “LOST” logo floats across the screen, you should check your pulse and call a doctor, please. It’s for your own good, man.

Are you my mommy?
Kate has a rude knock on the door one day when a couple of lawyers inform her that both she and her son, blond boy Aaron, must submit to a blood test to determine if she really is the boy’s mother, and nope, she can’t find out who ordered the investigation. Kate slams the door in their faces after they threaten to come back with the sheriff if she doesn’t acquiesce, then proceeds to hastily pack a couple bags and inform Aaron that they’re going on vacation.

Time Travel Trouble
On the island, Sawyer continues to talk tough and eventually won’t go one step further without Daniel explaining to them what’s happening with the island. Daniel explains that the island is like a record on a turntable, spinning through time, only now it’s skipping, and has dislodged itself and possibly everyone on it, too.

Locke wanders around, dazed and confused, making his way to the top of a hill where a careening and smoking small plane nearly chops his head off.  It crashes and Locke heads over to the crash site to investigate, finding the plane caught up in a huge tree branch a few hundred feet overhead, engine still clicking.  He starts climbing up the tree to save whatever survivors there may be, before he’s shot in the leg.  As he’s nursing his wound out of the bushes pop an old friend – Ethan, pointing a gun straight at Locke’s head and looking a little too trigger happy.  Locke tells him that he knows who he is after assuring him that he didn’t come from the plane, and that Ben Linus appointed him as the Others’ leader.  Ethan doesn’t like that answer and is about to shoot, before the bright light appears again (though Ethan doesn’t seem to notice it, which would lead us to believe, not surprisingly, that this event is happening only to Locke) and Locke finds himself huddled on the ground in the dark, no Ethan in sight. Somewhere else on the island Sawyer and the gang find themselves in the same predicament.

The Sun will come out tomorrow…
Sun’s about to take a flight to LA, but when her passport is scanned she’s asked to step aside and enter some mysterious interrogation room (damn racist airport security), where’s she’s approached by the man she threatened in the season finale last year, because apparently he’s pissed off that some Asian chick totally owned his ass.  When they sit down to talk he asks her what “common interests” she was referring to – to which she replies. “To kill Benjamin Linus.”

Dang, Sayid’s a badass
Back at the hotel, Jack and Ben watch TV to find out that the murder rap for the man Sayid killed is now being pinned on Hugo.  Hugo doesn’t seem too worried about it, though, as he’s happily riding shotgun with Sayid, getting some fast food munchies.  Outside his motel room, Sayid informs Hurley that he’s been working for Ben the past three years, then proceeds to kick the crap out of two would-be kidnappers who had been hiding in his room, one by tossing off the balcony, the other by impalement on some squeaky clean knifes quite dangerously placed upside down in the drying rack of an open dishwasher.  Hurley, outside on the balcony, stupidly picks up the gun and looks out over the edge – onlookers snap pictures and Hurley hurries into the apartment to drag a tranquilizer dart-drugged Sayid outside.

Now you see the hatch, now you don’t
Sawyer & Co. finally find the hatch, and it’s blown up, so an eager Sawyer starts to head back to the camp in hopes of stopping their past selves from making any mistakes, before he’s stopped by Faraday, who informs him that he cannot change time, because no matter how hard he tries, he’ll fail. For me, personally, this is a relief – too often movies and TV have played around with time travel like it’s a toy, altering the present, past, and future willy-nilly with no regards to the disastrous consequences fooling around with time could bring (*cough*Heroes*cough*), but if “Lost” is making this rule now and they stick to it, then it could turn out to be that rare gem of sensibly used time travel.

Locke, meet Richard. You may know him from somewhere.
Locke’s still pretty damn confused, especially because the plane that was in the tree less than a minute ago now lies on the jungle floor, looking completely different than it did before – it’s even got some nice curtain cobwebs as he finds out when he searches through it for some kind of splint for his leg.  He’s soon after approached by Richard, who doesn’t look surprised to see him at all, and starts tending to John’s leg.  When John asks him where he went when the light flashed, Richard shakes his head. “I didn’t go anywhere, John.  You did.”  He then tells Locke that he won’t recognize him the next time he sees him, so he gives him a compass and then says that only way to save the island is to bring his friends back.  Asked how he was supposed to convince his friends, Richard sighs and says, “You’re gonna have to die, John.” A flash and he’s in another time again, with bright blue skies and not a Richard in sight.

Daniel hatches a plan
After the same flash, the rest of the islanders find that the hatch is still there, meaning that the crash survivors haven’t found it yet, and, of course, that Desmond is still in there, dutifully pushing that button every 108 minutes. Sawyer then decides to head to the hatch’s backdoor, with a following Faraday pragmatically informing him that Sawyer can never meet Desmond, as Desmond didn’t recognize Sawyer when he first met him. The group decides to head back to the beach, and Charlotte and Daniel lag behind.  Daniel notices some blood trickling from Charlotte’s nose and nearly freaks out, but he tells her to go on ahead and join the others while he retrieves his pack from near the hatch.  After frantically flipping through the pages of his journal that he keeps, containing all he knows about time, he heads back to the backdoor and after a couple of pounds on it a gun-toting, yellow jumpsuit-wearing Desmond crashes out.  Daniel tells him that Desmond is miraculously special, and the rules don’t apply to him, so he needs to go to Oxford University to tell Daniel’s mother something.  The bright light cuts him off, and a sweaty Desmond in present day wakes up next to Penny, realizing what he saw was not a dream, but a memory.  He walks up out onto a boat in the middle of a lake and turns it around, informing Penny that they’re headin’ to Oxford.


Row row row your boat
As is “Lost’s” tradition, we start out with a flashback – this time with the Oceanic Six and Frank on board discussing the secret they’re going to keep and how they’re going to go about it.  Hurley doesn’t like the idea of lying, while Jack tells him vehemently that it’s necessary to protect their friends on the island, or else Charles Whidmore might find a way to hurt them.  Hurley still doesn’t like the idea, saying that they should all tell the truth together so that people will be more likely to believe them.  Sayid tells him he doesn’t want to lie either, but he doesn’t believe there’s a better option, to which Hurley coldly tells him that the next time Sayid needs help, he’s not gettin’ it from Hurley, driving down the road with a passed out Sayid in the seat next to him. Hurley crashes into a mailbox in panic and is pulled over by a cop who ends up being none other than Anna Lucia, who was killed back on the island when she was trying to kill Ben.  She tells Hurley he needs to take Sayid to someone he trusts, then heads back to her car, and when Hurley looks in the rearview mirror, both her and the car are gone.

Boar, it’s what’s for dinner
Daniel eventually makes his way back to the camp  and tells them they can make their way off the island once he finds their bearing in time.  Later on that night (so it seems the time jumps are getting longer), as the rest of the campers are trying to make fire, Juliette and Daniel converse on the beach – Juliette telling him that she’s suffering from increasingly painful headaches and inexplicably lost memories.  She’s about to confront him further before when Miles comes back from the jungle, carrying a dead boar, and asking if anybody’s got a knife.  Then Neil, who since the time-shift has shown himself to be a whiny little jackass, starts complaining about how they’re all dead.  Thanks, Neil.  Luckily for us, as he’s complaining about the lack of fire, he’s shot in the chest by a flaming arrow, which is soon followed by a whole volley of them, sailing over the tree canopy and right towards the survivors.  “Run!” Sawyer shouts, and the crowd scatters, Neil getting impaled by yet another arrow and writhing to the ground in fiery agony.  Counting Sayid’s kills, this makes for three gruesome deaths in two Lost episodes, but they’re edgy and cool and lend the show a heat and urgency.

Ships passing in the night
Hurley makes a pit stop at a gas station to purchase some new clothes, specifically, an I heart Shih-Tzus T-shirt.  After narrowly avoiding being recognized by the clerk, he drives back onto the road, and Kate pulls right into the parking lot after him, pulling out her phone and staring at Jack’s number, finally deciding not to call him, right before at unknown phone number lights up her phone.  She answers and tells the caller that yes, she can be wherever they are in half an hour.  When Aaron asks her where they’re going, Kate says, half –smiling, breathlessly, “To see a friend.”

The morning after
Jack wakes up in the morning to find Ben has flushed his pills down the toilet.  After this rather unpleasant revelation Ben tells him to go home and pack everything he wants in this life, because he’s never coming back.  Jack nods and says, “Good.”  Ben agrees and says he’ll meet Jack in six hours, after he’s done placing Locke’s casket in a safer place than outside in a carpet van.  “Safe?”  Jack says.  “He’s dead, isn’t he?”  Ben doesn’t answer, says he’ll see Jack in six hours, and heads out the door, stopping by at a meat market to meet with his friend Jill, assuring her that everything’s going to plan, and that she needs to keep Locke safe, or everything they’re about to do won’t matter at all.

Hurley comes home

Hurley ends up making way to his dad’s place, confusing the hell out of him in the process.  While they’re trying to figure out how to revive Sayid, LAPD rings on the doorbell.  David agrees to keep Hurley’s presence a secret, as long as Hurley explains what’s going on.  After the cops are gone, David tells him they need a doctor to make Sayid better, and a light goes on in Hurley’s head.  “I think I know what we need to do.”  Or he would, if the cops weren’t outside on a stakeout.  Suddenly Hurley’s mom shows up and sees the near-dead Sayid on the couch, so Hurley and David grab up the prone assassin and carry him to the car.  David then drives out of the garage and smiles nonchalantly at the cops as he passes them.  “Hi, officers.”

Sun isn‘t exactly shining
Kate’s “friend” is apparently Sun, and as they’re chatting over tea Kate reveals to Sun that somebody knows they’re lying, and she was asked for a blood test.  Sun believes that they still want the secret to be kept, otherwise why would they go to Kate in private?  Her deduction is that they want Aaron, and she tells Kate that she needs to take care of him. Sun stares straight into her eyes.  “Wouldn’t you do anything to keep Aaron?”  She reminds her of the time back on the freighter when Kate had failed to save Jin from the explosion, but that she doesn’t blame her, and she understands.  But look closely and you’ll see a devilish look in Sun’s eye that tells you she hasn’t entirely forgiven Kate – not yet.

Liars Liars
In an undisclosed parking garage location, David approaches Jack to show him Sayid’s prone body, who decides to take Sayid to the hospital.  David says he’ll let Jack take him in, but only if he stays away from his son.  Jack drives to the hospital and gives Ben a ring, telling him that they’ve got Sayid.  Back at Hurley’s house, her mom confronts him about what he knows – so, her being his mother, he spills his guts and confesses the whole lie to her, including everything that really happened after the crash.  Of course, being Hurley, he’s not too eloquent, but still, he gets his message across, and his mom believes him.  “I don’t understand you, but I believe you.”  Hurley looks tortured and says, “All this bad stuff that’s happening…we shouldn’t have lied.”

We meet again
Juliette and Sawyer wander through the jungle, ducking underneath some bushes when they see some people wander by.  They end up being captured by a bunch of guys in uniforms, and one of them demands to know what they’re doing on their island.  He’s about to cut off Juliette’s hand when gunshots take them down, leaving Juliette and Sawyer standing tall and Locke walking out of the bushes.

A Handcuffed Hurley
Jack frantically hooks Sayid up to a bunch of machines to wake him up, and when he finally does, a shocked Sayid nearly chokes him to death.  Jack informs him of what happened while he was out, and Sayid asks if anyone else besides them knew Hurley was at his house.  Flash to Hurley’s house, where a hot pocket is flung against the wall in surprise by Hurley when Ben walks into the room, assuring him that he’s “taken care of everything” and that the cops don’t even know he’s there.  He promises Hurley that he can save him from the cops, and that he can take them back to the island.  “If you come with me, you won’t ever have to lie again.”  Hurley refuses and, remembering Sayid’s advice, rushes out into the street to turn himself over to the cops.

Event Window
In the last couple of minutes, we see a cloaked figure at an old 80’s computer, calculating out something called “the event window” while a machine behind her draws intersecting lines on a map, one at a time.  Then the figure heads out of the darkened room and into the glowing candlelight above, provided by Ben.  She removes her hood and it’s (drumroll please) Ms. Hawking, the crazy lady who taught Desmond about his odd time traveling abilities! (Ah-ha.)  She informs Ben that they only have 70 hours until the event, and Ben asks what will happen if they can’t get them back to the island by then.  Ms. Hawking’s response is simple.  “Then God help us all.”

Where do I start with this one? In every way that Season 4’s season premiere went wrong, this one went right.  Lots of information about the island was revealed, enough to give us a huge piece of the puzzle while also revealing that the puzzle is a lot bigger than many people thought it would be.  The time-jumping across the island was well worked out, and if they can figure out how to make the rest of these time jumps just as fascinating as the first ones, then hopefully it won’t just turn into an island version of “Quantum Leap.”  Shit happened too, lots of it, especially the discovery that someone had been down inside the island’s core before, and had placed some kind of helm there.  What exactly that helm does we probably won’t find out for awhile, though.  There were also some great character moments, like when Hurley confesses the secret to his mom, Jack and Ben are forced to partner up because of their common goals, Kate’s fake-son Aaron is threatened and puts her on the run, the revelation that Sun has plenty of hidden motives and is still stinging from Jin’s death three years prior, and perhaps most intriguingly, Desmond’s connection to the island and his special time ability, which up until now didn’t seem related to the rest of the island.  Nuggets of information were spackled throughout the plot, too, and rarely was there any wasted space. On the whole I’d say this is a pretty successful return to form for Lost after the extended hiatus, but we’ll have to wait and see if they can keep this insane momentum they’ve already got going.

-Thomas Anderson
aka Movie Buzz Review Dude. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.