We interrupt our non-stop Inauguration coverage to inform you: There's a new season of Lost starting tonight. For some of you, that's all you need to hear. In fact, you've probably already read plenty about it. But for people who stopped watching the show before its superb fourth season, understand: you're missing out. Season Four spoilers - but NOT tonight's Season Five - are after the jump.
Let's review. Season Four established the fact that six of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 (well, technically five crash survivors and Aaron, who was born on the island) made it off the island and back to civilization when they boarded a helicopter just as it took off from the deck of a freighter before it exploded, which may or may not have killed Jin and certainly killed Michael. Also, Ben Linus was banished from the Island when he "moved" it, and as a result Locke is now leading the Others. Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte are still on the Island along with those Others.
Some time after the "Oceanic Six" made it back to the mainland, they were visited by John Locke, going under the alias of Jeremy Bentham, who spoke of horrible things happening after they left. That all affected Jack deeply, and led him to conclude he had to go back. Unfortunately, he found out from Ben that everyone had to go back to the Island, which meant not only the two of them, but also the other Oceanic Six - Kate, who's still trying to forget everything that happened while caring for Aaron; Sun, who blames Jack for the death of Jin and was last seen aligning herself with Charles Widmore (more on him in a minute); Sayid, who left his duties as Ben's hired assassin to protect Hurley, who has been in a mental institution and receiving regular visits from dead castaways like Charlie; and, most unfortunately, the corpse of Locke, who was last seen in a coffin, dead of an alleged suicide. It could also be extended to people like Desmond, who's happily in hiding with his girlfriend/Constant Penny, or perhaps even Walt, who now can be a part of the show again since it would make sense that he would be post-pubescent given the jump forward a few years in the chronology.
Meanwhile, we also know of some sort of high stakes rivalry happening between Ben and Widmore. Indeed, much of the show's creative revitalization over the last season and a half can be attributed to the decision to make Ben, the charismatic and maniacal former leader of The Others, more prominent in the story. The ever-secretive Ben is a compelling guy to watch, and Michael Emerson is great in the role. Presumably, the battle between him and Widmore will become a focal point of the show's remaining two years.
But that's all still speculative. Let's review some of the things we know about Season Five: