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"Lost" and Found: An Early Look at the Fouth Season

I've gotten a lot of emails from readers over the last few days as near-hysteria approaches with the imminent launch of Lost's fourth season tonight on ABC. The answer: yes, I've seen the first episode (the first two, in fact).

Sadly, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the spoiler-ific plot points that I so dearly would love to spill you, my readers. ABC has been very specific about what journos can and cannot reveal about these opening installments, the first two of potentially only eight episodes this season.

Lost has always been a series that marched to the beat of a different drummer, a percussionist who smashed together disparate genres into an addictive network hit. The fourth season opener, "The Beginning of the End," and its second episode "Confirmed Dead," are absolutely brilliant additions to the Lost canon. In their own way, they kickstart the series and take it into unexpected and mind-blowing new directions via the use of the flash-forwards first used in "Through the Looking Glass." Together, these episodes provide evidence that scripted television still works (thank you, writers!), that it's a viable art form, and that television need not be dumbed down to the most common denominator.

So what can I say about these spellbinding installments? Like previous season openers, there's a nice bit of a bait-and-switch involved in the opening sequence of tonight's episode; characters are reunited after the battle with the Others; sides are drawn among the castaways about whether or not to believe Charlie's warning about the freighter; a wedding ring is a key clue; Kate's craftiness is proven once again; and a helicopter arrives on the island... but not quite in the way you might imagine. There's also a dynamic new villain introduced in the first episode but his identity and motivation are tantalizingly out of reach.

Lest you think that we've left behind the island, think again. The main thrust of the series is still all about that island of doom and there are some nifty new mysteries to ponder this season, as well as some new characters who fortunately are more of the deeply developed, complex Ben and Juliet ilk than the better-off-forgotten Nikki and Paolo.

And, oh, surprise of surprises, a long-running character actually asks a question for a change! (I know, I nearly fell out of my seat when it happened.) It happens in the second episode, written by Brian K. Vaughan and Drew Goddard, in a nice little bit of meta-theatricality when said character demands some answers, deftly echoing the sentiments of the audience. As for who is doing the asking, whom they're questioning, and what the query is about, you'll have to tune in next week to find out.

Ultimately, Lost has found a way to reinvigorate itself as it marches--no, swiftly rushes--towards its inevitable endgame at the end of the next 48 episodes, offering another dimension to its already gloriously labyrinthine story. It's abundantly clear that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, armed with a timetable, have a firm hand on the plot's rudder and are absolutely on the right path. In the meantime, I can think of no greater pleasure than curling up on the couch tonight to watch Lost's dazzling fourth season begin. You won't be disappointed.

Lost kicks off tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on ABC.

Comments

The CineManiac said…
I can't even read this post because I'm so furious you've seen the first 2 episodes!
"Yeah I'm Jealous, Jealous Again."
Anonymous said…
Not fair!!!
So, which was better...The Season 3 finale or the first ep of Season 4?
Anonymous said…
So jealous! I don't know how they could top that finale from last year. Watching this Sunday!

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