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TV tonight: LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST

 

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:

• The show's creators and main creative forces, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, have stated that time travel, which previously mostly applied to Desmond, will play a more prominent role in the fifth season. There are a lot of extrapolations we could make from that, but understand, they are going in to some serious sci-fi territory; if "The Constant" made your head hurt, you could be in for some difficult times (although how could you hate that episode when Dez and Penny are just so appealing?)
• That said, of course, the show is filled with some characters who would prefer not to deal with some of this stuff, and so we will see their struggle play out. One such example is Sawyer, who will be the focus of one of tonight's episodes. Sawyer, you'll recal, swam to the Island's shore just in time to see the Freighter blow up. He has no idea if the helicopter took off in time, or who was on it.
• We'll see more of Pierre Chang a/k/a "Edgar Halliwax" a/k/a "Marvin Candle" a/k/a "The guy in the Dharma Initiative videos"
• We will get Rousseau's back story, but not the reunion scenes between her and her daughter, Alex.
• Daniel Faraday will move to the forefront a bit, which is an exciting development.
Lindelof: "Whether or not Jin is alive or dead does not preclude him from being on the show."
• Matthew Abaddon will still be a part of the show, even though Lance Reddick is on Fringe these days. J. J. Abrams produces both shows, so he's got the leverage to accomplish such a feat.
• The actors who play Charles Widmore and Christian Shepard have clauses in their contracts making them series regulars in Season Six, which probably means their roles could be stepped up this season.
• They haven't forgotten about the four-toed statue.
• We'll get the story of how Ben came to pose as Henry Gale in Season Two.
• Lost is really awesome.

We'll leave this space open for comments on tonight's episode, and we'll probably post about it later tonight or tomorrow morning. Until then...
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