'Lost' faces a new reality in the final season premiere

terry-oquinn-lost-s6-320-2.jpgWell, THAT happened, " Lost" fans. After months of agonizing waiting and wondering what the heck would happen in light of the climatic finish of Season 5, "LA X" showed us that maybe you can go home again...providing you also stay put. Confused? Don't worry. We all are. It's the start of another season of "Lost," this time with twice the realities to follow. So buckle up, camper: this here's a long one. I'd suggest a comfy seat before you start to read.

4) In Summary

"Water dissolving... and water removing/There is water... at the bottom of the ocean..."

8) Alternate Reality
 
Jack Shephard looks around aboard Oceanic 815. There's a look that belies some sort of distant memory. He and Cindy repeat a familiar conversation about a weak drink. As the plane rumbles due to turbulence, he and Rose talk about how planes like to stay in the air. Very déjà vu, until....the turbulence stops, and Rose says, "You can let go now." First clang of the season! "Looks like we made it," Jack says, seeing her clang and raising her one.
 
Bernard returns to his seat, and my nose starts to bleed. "I missed you," Rose says. "I missed you too," he replies. Altogether now: awwww. Jack goes to the bathroom, looks at himself in the mirror, and sees a tiny cut on his neck. Boy, I had no idea that lacerations survived the trip across realities. When he returns to his seat, who's there but...Desmond. Des! Nice to see you buddy. Look forward to you putting things right this season. Jack looks at him curiously, and asks if he knows him from somewhere. Desmond doesn't confirm or deny it, and the two men shake hands.
 
After that, the camera pans down, down, down...into the ocean, down to the seabed, past Ezra K Sharkington, where what do we find but New Otherton and the foot of the four-toed statue. OK, looks like Charles Widmore is stepping up his game. It's one thing to fake a plane crash, but quite another to restage The Island at the bottom of the world. Props, Chuck. (And yes, I'm kidding.)
 
evangeline-lilly-lost-s6-320-3.jpgOn the way back, Jack runs into Kate. Or rather, Kate runs into Jack, and managed to swipe his pen during the contact. After the return to the seat, who should walk into Edwards Mars but Sawyer, who gives Kate the once over as Kate slips the pen into her pocket. In the back of the plane, Leslie Arzt is begging Hurley to "do the Australian accent." Arzt tells a delighted Sawyer, who is sitting next to them both, that Hurley owns Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack.
 
Hurley explains he got ownership of the company through a combo of his lotto winnings and his love of chicken. After Arzt leaves, Sawyer warns Hurley not to tell everyone he's rich, lest someone take advantage of him. (In the Enhanced Version of this ep, this is the part where the bottom of the screen will read, "Sawyer is a con man that just found his new mark.") Hurley's not worried about being ripped off. Why? Because in this particular version of reality, he's the luckiest man alive. It's a curse-free reality!
 
Jin looks over the watch that he promised to deliver for Mr. Paik. Sun looks fondly at lovebirds Rose and Bernard, which prompts Jin to order her to button up her sweater. Ah, yes, this version of Jin. Loser. Nearby, Boone mocks Locke for reading the survival manual for a water landing. Locke impresses Boone with his knowledge of airliner buoyancy, and the two talk about their time in Australia. In this version, Boone went to Australia to recover Shannon, but didn't return with her. And in this version, Locke spent ten days enjoying his walkabout. Cough. Oops, sorry, something stuck in my throat. Might clear up in a few paragraphs.
 
Cindy makes an announcement over the PA system, looking for a doctor. Jack answers the call, and returns again to the restroom. Dude, Jack's spent half the flight in or around the bathroom. Sayid also arrives to provide assistance...in the form of a karate chop to the door. Who's inside? You all, druggy buddy! It's Charlie, and he's not breathing. Jack looks frantically for the pen that Kate stole in order to dislodge the item blocking Charlie's breathing, but eventually settles for using two fingers to dislodge a bag of heroin that Charlie apparently decided to swallow whole. Look, I'm not a drug addict, but I'm pretty sure that's not how you take it. In any case, another reality, another instance of Jack saving Charlie's life. Just seems worth noting.
 
"You should have let that happen, man," Charlie says as airline security whisks him away. "I was supposed to die." (Clang!) When Jack returns to his seat, Desmond is curiously missing. "Buckle up, we're almost home," says Rose, and lookie that, Oceanic 815 freakin' lands in Los Angeles. I'll be the alternative reality uncle to an alternative reality monkey. As everyone leaves the plane, the last two onboard are Jack...and Locke. Looks like Locke's little story to Boone was falsified, as he's still wheelchair bound. My Locke heart just broke a little.
 
As Jack makes his way through customs, he gets paged over the intercom. There's a slight problem with his cargo. And by "cargo" I mean "coffin." It didn't make it onto the plane, and Oceanic has no idea where it actually is. Hmmmm. More on this in "Mythology" below.
 
Elsewhere, Kate asks Edward to use the bathroom. Once inside a stall, she uses Jack's pen to try and pick the lock on her handcuffs. Unfortunately, she drops the spring mechanism from the pen, which Edward steps on. As he tries to break down the door, she breaks it right back, stunning him so she can slam his head onto the sink counter. Hey, the location of that head wound looks awfully similar to the one from the other reality, wouldn't you say?
 
Kate walks past a few stunned women and onto an elevator. Inside the elevator? Sawyer, who turns on the charm and spies the handcuffs underneath her half-covered arms. Soon after, two TSA security forces enter and receive word of a "341." (I guess in this reality, "3" and "41" are two of The Numbers, just slightly off from the original ones?) He manages to sneak Kate off the elevator, citing "ladies before gentlemen," in order to facilitate her escape. I'm trying really hard here to figure out if this Sawyer knows what's going on and is trying to help an unaware Kate, or if he just wants to tap dat. I ask, you decide!
 
In customs, airport security examines Jin's possessions just a leetle too closely for his liking. And he has good reason to be worried: security finds a wallet full of $100s. Well, you know what they say: mo' money, mo' declarations at customs. I think that's what they say. I'm kind of out of touch with today's music. Anyways, without any knowledge of English, Jin's helpless to fight, and he's soon escorted away. Sun has the opportunity to clear up the confusion, but chooses to stay silent. After all, she's got a new life to get to in the United States.
 
Inside the airport, Kate observes a woman leaving via a keypad-locked door. She goes through that door to avoid security, finds a cab, and...gets totally blocked by Frogurt. In every conceivable reality, this guy is annoying. Wow. He tells Kate to wait in line like the rest of them, which allows Edward Mars time to get outside, spy Kate, and give chase. She hops in the nearest cab, pulls out her gun, and orders the driver to step on it. In the cab with her? CLAIRE. Man, these two just keep finding each other, don't they?
 
And now for the scene that made my heart happiest tonight. Jack's in the baggage claim office, arguing with his mother. "I scheduled it so soon because I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible." Not the way it works, Jack. In the office with him? Locke. The man of science and the man of faith get a chance to reconnect in the real world. And just like the first time around, there's an inherent bond between them. Jack opens up about his situation, to which Locke replies, "They didn't lose your father. They lost his body." As a spinal surgeon, Jack asks Locke about his condition. Locke terms the effects "irreversible." Jack hands Locke his business card and replies, "Nothing's irreversible." There's your Season 6 mantra, people. Learn it, repeat it, love it.
 
15) Original Recipe Reality
 
Kate wakes up hanging from a high tree branch in the middle of the jungle. What the hell's wrong with the sound on the ABC feed? Oh, that's just Kate's aural POV post-blast, got it. My bad. She soon runs into Miles, and neither of them seem worse for the wear aside from some ringing ears.  Kate soon finds the Swan door nearby, and realizes that they've shot into the future past the time when Desmond turned the failsafe key. Let the confusion begin!
 
After soaking in the reality, Kate spies Jack and Sawyer lying on the ground nearby. To say Jack is disappointed and Sawyer is angry would both be understatements. The newly minted man of faith cannot believe the plan didn't work, and Sawyer can't believe Juliet died for absolutely nothing. Kate tries to hold Sawyer back and Sawyer screams, "She's dead because you were wrong." Jack's shattered, and his eyes well with tears.
 
daniel-dae-kim-lost-s6-320-2.jpgBy the van, Jin gives Hurley his take on the situation: "White flash. Headache. Can't hear. Happened to me before." HA! Also, that approximately doubles the number of words Jin got to say in Season 5. I have a good feeling about this season already. Hurley hears Sawyer and Jack arguing nearby, and Jin goes to them while Hurley stays behind with a barely conscious Sayid. Sawyer's convinced that the bomb didn't go off: after all, how could they be standing there if it did? (Shhh, Sawyer, stop asking logical questions like that! I'm over here trying to suspend my disbelief!) As Jin updates Jack on Sayid's condition, Kate hears a sound coming from the center of the Swan site. Holy Apollo Bars, Juliet's alive! Most...innocuous...hydrogen bomb...ever!
 
Sayid tells Hurley that when he dies, he knows that the place he's going to is not going to be nice. "I deserve it," he says, and then passes out. Hurley hears rustling nearby, and hilariously tries to arm himself with a pistol. For a second, I thought he was going to straight up shoot Sayid. Who's in the jungle? Christian? Claire? Vincent? Whoa, Jacob! "Hello, Hugo. Got a minute?" For you, Jacob, I've got two. Even four. How about eight?
 
Under the statue, notLocke cleans the knife that killed Jacob as Ben stands there and looks as if he just saw his grandmother come out of the shower naked. notLocke tells Ben to bring Richard inside so the two of them can talk in private. Outside the statue, Bram argues with Richard out of earshot from Frank and Sun. Frank gives her what little info he has on them, and shares his doubts about their status as "the good guys." Ben comes out and tells Richard that everything's fine inside. Richard then drags Ben by the arm to the real Locke's corpse. Right about then, Ben realizes that he shouldn't have put on his Bad Idea Jeans before heading to the statue.
 
As Jack and company lift the debris from the Swan station, Jacob and Hurley have a little heart to heart. Jacob tells Hurley that no one else will be able to see him, what with him being dead and all. He asks Hurley to save Sayid not through Jack's intervention, but by taking him to the Temple. Ah, sweet irony: Sayid's actions against Ben send the latter to The Temple, and now Sayid is going there. Hurley must ask Jin about the hole in the wall from his time with Rousseau's company, and bring the guitar case from Ajira 316. Somewhere right now Dan Brown is watching "Lost" and is fanning himself down. Jacob officially introduces himself to Hurley, and disappears when Jin arrives on the scene.
 
Jin and Hurley arrive back at the Swan site, with the van's cable in tow to remove the larger pieces of debris for Sawyer to reach Juliet. "If she dies, I'm going to kill him," Sawyer tells Kate. Sounds about right. Down below, he reaches her, and it's time to break out the hankies, people. Least, if it is if you're a Sawyer/Juliet fan. Which I am. The scene's beautiful and frustrating in equal measure. She confirms, much to his shock, that she hit the bomb so he never had to come and suffer on the Island. He promises to rescue her so they can all go home.
 
Above ground, Jack tells Hurley that he can't stop Sayid's bleeding. Hurley tells him of Jacob's plan, which sounds crazy to Jack's ears. Then again, it's not like Jack's plans have worked out terribly well since Faraday returned.
 
On the beach, Richard desperately tries to obtain information on what went down inside the statue. Ben's earlier shock has given way to hardened pettiness, and he tells Richard to go in and find out for himself. Bram's sick of waiting, and he takes three other men, all wielding weapons, inside the statue. notLocke's disappointed that Richard isn't there. When he confirms that Jacob is dead, Bram and Co. load up. notLocke calls them Jacob's "bodyguards," and tells them the good news: with nothing to protect, then are free to go. They open fire, and notLocke hides behind a column. When they get there, there's no Locke: just a dented bullet on the ground. We hear clicking noises, and oh baby, it's on like Donkey Kong.
 
In comes the monster, and he's coming to kill. He wipes out Bram's associates as Bram pulls out a bag of black ash, with which he quickly surrounds himself. If the monster COULD look, he would have given a "oh no you DIDN'T" to Bram. Instead of attacking directly, the monster loosens rock above Bram, which strikes him in the head. That drives Bram temporarily out of the ash circle, where he turns into monster meat. When Ben emerges, he hears footsteps behind him. There's notLocke again, who says, "I'm sorry you had to see me like that." Hot damn. I need a cigarette.
 
From shock and awe to shock and awwww...we're back at the Swan, where Sawyer's working feverishly to liberate Juliet from the metal structure atop her. "We could get coffee sometime," she says. "We can go dutch." OK, now I'm even madder at the show "V" than ever before. I'm going to miss these two something fierce. She asks him to kiss her. "You got it, Blondie," he replies. I'm waiting for the score to morph into the death theme anytime now. "I have to tell you something, and it's really, really important," she says. And there's the theme, and she dies before being able to tell him. Way to rip my heart out of my chest in the first hour of the season, "Lost." Sawyer carries her body up to the group, looks at Jack, and says, "You did this."
 
As the sun rises, Sawyer stays behind to bury Juliet as the rest take Sayid to The Temple. Kate offers to help Sawyer, but he asks Miles to stay instead. She offers to leave a trail so they can follow, but he simply replies, "I ain't following nobody, Kate." Alrighty then. Sawyer glowers one last time at Jack, and the two parties split ways. At the temple, Hurley finds the familiar crack in the outer wall of the temple. Once in, the group gets separated by various noises and blurred motion from inside.
 
The monster? Nope. The Others. Very different looking Others. Much more hippified Others, who are milling about an inner, pyramid-like structure that represents The Temple proper. My first reaction: "The Others have a spa????"
 
Back at Juliet's grave, Sawyer asks Miles to commune with Juliet to find out what she was going to say. Miles is flummoxed, saying, "Jim...that's not how it works."  (Love that after three years, Miles can't help but call Sawyer "Jim" and "Boss.") Sawyer tries another approach: shoving Miles' face into the newly dug grave. Miles does...well, whatever he does to talk to the dead, and comes up with a shocked look on his face. "It worked," he said. Sawyer wants to know what she said...but that IS what she said. "It worked." Let us scratch our chins thoughtfully and discuss this in "Mythology" below.
 
Outside the door of the Temple, we meet two new major players in the Others' world: Dogan and Lennon. Also there, Cindy! She's looking extra Woodstock-y these days, and honestly, the whole vibe has me singing, "If you're going to New Otherton...be sure to wear flowers in your hair." She identifies them as being "on the first plane," with Ajira 316 the logical choice for the second one. Lennon translates everything that Dogan says, although it's much more fun to make up your own dialogue, honestly.
 
jorge-garcia-lost-s6-320-2.jpgDogan wants to shoot them all until Hurley mentions the "J" word. Dogan wants proof, and Hurley points to the guitar case. Inside the guitar case? A big honking ankh. Dogan looks at the ankh thoughtfully, and then breaks it over his knee. Inside? A note. Hot diggity damn. Dogan asks them to state their names. Hurley and Co. do, in order, and this seems to satisfy Dogan. Ah, Jacob, you and your lists. I'd try and figure out how you knew these people who be here at this time, but then again, you ordered the construction of a runway for a plane that wouldn't crash land for years. You glorious, newly dead bastard. Hurley demands to know what the paper says. "If your friend dies, we're all in a lot of trouble," replies Lennon.
 
The Others take everyone into an inner building, where a small pool of rusty water sits. Lennon seems surprised that the water isn't clear. Looks like the pool boy took the week off. Dogan cuts his hand, puts it in the water, and notes that the water didn't heal it. Dogan notes there are risks to what's about to go down. Jack says, "Do what you have to do." What they have to do is strip Sayid down and dunk his head underwater while the hourglass from "The Wizard of Oz" counts down the proper time of submersion. Sayid flails about, which upsets the hell out of the Lostaways, but rules are rules. Finally, Sayid's body goes limp. Upon taking him from the water, Dogan announces Sayid's death. If this were "American Idol," this would be the part where "Bad Day" would cue up. A broken Jack half-heartedly tries CPR, but he knows it's worthless.
 
Later on, with everyone sitting sullen and silent, Miles and Sawyer are dragged in. Miles relays that Saywer took out four Others before being subdued. Lennon asks Hurley to talk with Dogan. The two men inquire about Jacob. Hurley realizes that Dogan understands English, but Dogan insists that he hates the taste of the language on his tongue. Fine, just speak Latin then, O Enlightened One. Both Dogan and Lennon are shocked to learn of Jacob's death, and that news sends The Temple into full lockdown mode. The entire place gets circled with ash, fires are put out, bells are rung, and fireworks are shot into the air. Lennon tells Hurley, "This isn't to keep you in. This is to keep him out."
 
Across the Island, notLocke and Ben have a little chat. "You're the monster," Ben says. "Let's not resort to name-calling," notLocke replies. Ha. Love it. The themes of light versus dark run rampant via the lighting in this scene, in which shock white morning light contrasts with the shadows cast throughout the room. Plus? It's Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn talking for five minutes. That's inherently made of win. Look at this.
 
NotLocke: You should know that he was very confused when you killed him.
Ben: I seriously doubt that Jacob was ever confused.
NotLocke: No, I'm not talking about Jacob. I'm talking about John Locke. Do you want to know what he was thinking while you choked the life out of him, Benjamin? What the last thought that ran through his head was? "I don't understand." Isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard?
 
Like I said. Made. Of Win. But in a way, notLocke admires Locke 1.0. After all, he was the only one of those that landed on the Island that realized how pitiful the life he left behind actually was. Ben finally asks notLocke what he wants. "I want the one thing that Locke didn't. I want to go home."
 
Inside the temple, Sawyer wakes up. "We got caught by The Others again?" he asks. Heh. Kate tells Sawyer that she's sorry for his loss, and the two of them spy Jack by himself, the loneliest man in the world. Sawyer recognizes this. "I'm not going to kill Jack. He deserves to suffer on this rock like the rest of us."
 
Outside the statue, Richard sees the fireworks display from The Temple and just about soils his ageless shorts. Just at that moment, notLocke and Ben walk out, and for the first time, Richard realizes what he's up against. Ilana and others aim to fire at him, but Rchard urges them to lower their weapons. "I'm seeing it, but I'm still not believing it," Frank whispers to Sun. notLocke gets up in Richard's shocked face and says, "It's good to see you out of those chains." Saaaay, sexy time on the Island. notLocke quickly subdues Richard, looks around, and says, "I'm very disappointed in all of you." He then picks up Richard's limp body, much like the real Locke once did to Anthony Cooper, and heads into the jungle, past Locke's corpse.
 
In the temple, Lennon demands to speak to Jack alone. Jack's just about had it with all of this, and just before he gets into a fight with The Others, Hurley points to Sayid. He's alive. Allllliiiiiivvvveeeeee. "What happened?" he asks.
 
Welcome back to "Lost", y'all!
 
16) The Moment
 
Everything about that last Locke/Jack scene thrilled. "Nothing's irreversible" was especially gorgeous.
 
23) Mythology
 
We're already at 3,500 words in this recap, and I have a whole blog with which to fully flesh these themes out over the next few days, so let's just briefly hit the high points.
 
Faraday's plan "worked," but not in the way he intended! I think Juliet, at the epicenter of the event that caused this schism, saw both timelines simultaneously. Remember Charlie's words to Hurley in Season 4's "The Beginning of The End"? If not, here's how he explained his presence to Hurley in Santa Rosa: "I am dead...but I'm also here." That's the best way to try and think about the two realities. Another good reference point? The book Jacob was reading just before John Locke took an 8-story leap out of a building: "Everything That Rises Must Converge." These two realities will not stay separate; they will converge before the show ends.
 
"What would have happened" is the new flashback! Look for the season to spin out a singular tale of what would have happened to each of the major characters had the plane landed. It's not an unexpected technique, given what the producers have hinted at in interviews. But two things make it interesting to me: 1) how much of their former life will these people remember, and 2) what role will wild card Desmond play in their lives? Speaking of Des...
 
Desmond's special nature will glue the realities back together! Just a hunch, but I'm guessing Des' unique nature will be the unifying factor as we watch the "what if" scenarios play out in the alternative reality. Here's a guy that in the Season 5 season premiere "Because You Left" suddenly obtained a new memory from an event that originally did not occur. "Lost" put that scene in there specifically to set the precedent for Season 6. Brilliant.
 
Christian Shephard is the key in both realities! Or rather, more specifically: Jack's relationship to his father is the key. The first time around, he ignored the properties of The Island, a fertile place for forgiveness and rebirth. The second time around, he doesn't get a quick funeral. That would be letting him off too easy. In trying to rush past his grief and simply have that part of his life over, he now needs to earn forgiveness. And Locke, a man who lied to Boone about his walkabout and is still aching on the inside, needs a lot of healing himself. These two royally messed things up the first time. Their fusion will finally create the perfect hybrid of faith and science needed to finally provide closure to this story of "Lost."
 
What we thought was The Temple was confirmed to be simply the compound walls of The Temple! We've seen too little of the inner workings of this part of Others' culture to make a lot of vast judgments about it, but it seems like a combination of holy ground and Helm's Deep, a play for both healing and protection. I'm guessing the dull, dirty water inside the healing facility is due to Jacob's death. I am curious why that water would have stripped Ben of his "innocence" back in 1977, but I'll table that thought for now.
 
The Man in Black=Smokey! One of those things that seemed so obvious none of us thought it could possibly be that easy. Now, that doesn't solve everything about this figure, but at least we can effectively draw that conclusion.
 
The Smoke Monster hates circles! Remember how The Others had that sonic fence? And remember how the monster hated that fence? And remember how it seemed weird that The Dharma Initiative knew how to build a fence to keep the monster out? What if it wasn't the sonic nature of the fence that kept it out, but its circular construction?
 
Richard Alpert was on The Black Rock! There were hints of this before, especially during the beginning of "Follow the Leader" where he stares into the ship inside the glass bottle. But that "chains" line seems to confirm it. Moreover, I'm willing to wager that Richard worked for Smokey long before he worked for Jacob, and can't believe his old boss is back again.
 
42) Random Thoughts
 
Jack's neck bleeding on Alternate Oceanic 815=biggest clue that the two timelines are connected. Erasing what's happened isn't possible. There's always a trace left behind.

So where is the monster's home: on or off the Island? Is the Island itself a giant circle binding it within? Curioser and curiouser....

I don't have a clue why Sayid is so damn important to Jacob. In fact, my head's spinning as we speak about all the possibilities offered tonight. I laughed, I cried, I blooped. That's good enough for me for now. Anyone that claims to have clear insight into where this is all going is lying. It's OK to admit you're confused, celebrate the possibilities, and engage/enjoy the mystery. In four months, this will all be over. Love not knowing as long as you possibly can. The show will give its answers in time.
 
108) In Summary
 
A massive, massive episode that lifted a lot of narrative weight in a largely successful manner. The jury's obviously still out on whether or not the "alternative reality" will sustain itself over a season of episodes, or even if it will last that long. So long as that other reality doesn't sit alongside an infinite and equally plausible set of realities, coupled with Des' rogue-like presence inside of it, I'm in for now. How could I not be? "Lost" is back. Let's all wipe the blood from our noses, get the ringing out of our ears, and do a little Snoopy dance of joy.

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Ryan writes about "Lost" over at Zap2it's Guide to Lost. He invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed and Zap2it's main feed for all the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.
 

Photo credit: ABC

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