SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched Lost yet… oh, who am I kidding? Of course you’ve watched Lost.
My first observation comes courtesy of Mrs. Tuned In: what is it with Lost and orange juice? Before we saw Jack fix himself a screwdriver to open his and Hurley’s flash-forward last night, we had been introduced to Desmond enjoying OJ in the Hatch and seen Juliet imbibe a glass of spiked juice to send her to dreamland en route to the island. Why must you make breakfast so sinister, Lost!
Seriously, the opening of the episode was the one part of the season 4 premiere I was at all disappointed with, and that for awfully picky reasons. I missed the disorienting, holy-crap openings of seasons 2 and 3, which placed us inside an alien environment with a stranger (Desmond in the Hatch, Juliet in Otherville) and left us to get our bearings. Like many other commenters here, I had expected a glimpse inside Not Penny’s Boat. And I missed the ’60s pop song from a female singer. I had my heart set on Nancy Sinatra’s Sugar Town!
The advantage of not hitting the reset button and starting with yet another scenario and set of unfamiliar characters is that this season keeps the momentum it had in May. (Really, the end of last season was the reset button, and–this is really not a spoiler, I think–now that the party from the boat has landed, we’ll get the new-character introductions next week instead.) So there’s no slow build of five or six episodes; season 4 just busted through the hiatus like a stack of ripe papayas. It’s like we’re just getting more of season 3, or, rather, like we’ve skipped the preliminaries and started getting the kind of story-intense, rewarding shows we usually do around April or so.
Story-intense, but emotion-filled too. This was a great episode for Jorge Garcia, who sometimes gets written off as comic relief (that said, his closed-circuit-camera freakout was hilarious) but is really the heart of Lost—a heart that broke beautifully for the loss of his friend Charlie. (By the way, Charlie! Dead? Alive? Dead/alive? “I’m dead. But I’m also here.” What did that all mean?)
You don’t want to read me, though. You want to discuss, and I want to read you discussing. So I’ll go to the hail of bullets.
* “I’m thinking of growing a beard.” So the flash-forward takes place before Jack’s breakdown and near-suicide in Through the Looking Glass. Meaning, I take it, that the flash-forwards have flashed back, that we’ll see how starting-to-drink-clean-shaven Jack turns into drunk-bearded-we-have-to-go-baaack Jack, and then we’ll move forward from there?
* Or… are the flash-forwards each going to move backward to the point where the Oceanic 6 got off the island, while the action on the island moves forward to the same point, and they converge?
* Ah, Kate. A hug is never just a hug with you.
* Jack pulls the trigger. He pulls the trigger!
* I do hope we’re not rid of Ben any time soon. “Better call the boat. Tell them that she’s getting a really big bundle of firewood.”
* I think I picked the wrong favorite minor Lostie yesterday. One does not screw with Rousseau.
* Lance Reddick does not disappoint. Menacing as hell. Oh: “Are they still alive?” They? Did somebody on the island (or everyone remaining on the island) fake their deaths? Discussion topic.
* And another discussion topic: What does it mean that Hurley is able to see people in Jacob’s shack? (Very Carnivale, the scenes in Jacob’s shack, by the way.)
* And OK, one more discussion topic: “You’re checking to see if I was nuts. If I was going to tell.” “Are you?” Is he? Tell what? Did the Oceanic 6 cut a deal, and with whom? Oh, and: “I think it wants us to go back?” It? The Island? This is good for 25 discussion posts all by itself. Run with it.