So Lost has finally returned. It whipsawed us all over the place during its two hour premiere, but it was a good whipsawing.

BTW, spoilers galore follow…

There was so much going on that it was difficult to take in – and don’t get on me about missing this detail or that because this is just a rough overview. The real meat and potatoes should take place in the discussion below.

The episode, titled “Before You Left,” opened with the mysterious star of all those Dharma Initiative videos in person, as one of those videos was being shot. It seems we’re back in the 1970s (or whenever it was that took place) and they’re just getting started on building/setting up the Orchid station. Now here there are three interesting things worth noting:

  1. Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), the bearded physicist who was on the boat appears in this scene looking just the way he does today.
  2. The large circular cog that Ben (Michael Emerson) turned in order to “move” the island was already there, behind a rock wall when the Dharma Initiative arrived on the island.
  3. They throw us a bone and actual use the term “time travel,” letting us know that we’re not hallucinating while watching the show.

We have Hugo/Hurley (Jorge Garcia) accused of murder over the fracas in the “safe house” with Sayid (Naveen Andrews) in a drug-induced coma thanks to their attackers. Hugo still sees people who died on the island clear as day (who aren’t really there). Before passing out Sayid gives Hugo one fateful bit of advice about Ben “whatever he wants you to do – do the complete opposite.”

Ben and Jack (now cleaned up and no longer looking like a homeless guy) team up and Ben determines that the entire Oceanic 6 need to get back to the island or there will be devasting consequences. Jack (Matthew Fox) doesn’t think that Kate (Evangeline Lilly) will want to return, especially with (dead) Claire’s now three year old son.

Kate may be more amenable due to the fact that someone has gotten a court order to verify if her son is in fact, hers.

Back at the island we get their point of view from the flash of light seen at the end of the season 4 cliffhanger – turns out it’s happening repeatedly and they’re jumping randomly forward and back in time. They jump back to before the plane even crashed, then they jump back to around present day, and then to some unknown period in time where the British “owned” the island.

Widmore confronts Sun (Yunjin Kim), demanding to know what she meant when she said they had common interests: She wants to kill Ben. Might make it a tad bit difficult to get her to come along back to the island as well.

Towards the end we see what MAY be an earnest Ben for the first time (but with him, who knows, right?) imploring Hurley to come with him back to the island – but Hurley, no doubt being too smart for his own good decides to turn himself in to the police instead.

Here’s what I liked about this episode: It finally looks like we’re over the hump. We had this huge upward curve where we were getting to know the characters but the story was a complete mystery. It got to the point in season 3 where fans started complaining about no forward story movement – to their credit, the producers took that to heart and season 4 started giving us a faint sketch of the big picture. This season it looks like we’ll finally start seeing some answers.

Oh, there are still plenty of mysteries including:

  • Are the survivors moving back and forth through time or is the island? Does it matter?
  • If the island is just moving through time, why did it vanish?
  • What happened to Claire?
  • What is young Walt’s role in all this?
  • Why does Widmore want the survivors of the flight killed (does he want the island)?
  • What the HELL is that black smoke monster?
  • etc., etc., etc.

Sure it’s still cutting forward and back in time and in different locations, but I’m getting a sense of everything being interconnected, and connecting to things we’ve seen and have happened previously. It’s like a huge pile of loose string slowly tightening to where you can start to see the outline of something and how it all works together.

I really wouldn’t be surprised if when the series is over and its all available on DVD/Blu-ray that there will be a specific non-airdate order in which you can watch the episodes that will make the whole thing make more sense.

Since they have a target end date for the series (season 6, 2010) it’ll give them space and time to really plan it all out and have it come to satisfying close. I’m looking forward to this season based on tonight’s episode.