Months after one of the greatest cliffhangers in television history, Lost is back tonight with its long-awaited season 4 premiere.  When we last left the castaways, tensions were at an all time high.  Many of the Others had been wiped out, Ben had been captured by Jack, and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) had sacrificed his life so the group could send out a distress call.  Most importantly, we also learned that the mysterious Naomi was not the person she said she was, and that the freighter that Jack called did not contain rescuers sent by Desmond’s girlfriend, Penny.  We also caught a glimpse into the future in a flash-forward that changed everything we thought we knew about the series.

We’ll be here throughout tonight’s episode with live updates about the exciting events on the island.  Feel free to comment below.

The episode kicks off with a car crashing through a fruit stand as the police pursue it in a high speed chase. Jack (Matthew Fox), in either a flashback or flash-forward, mixes a screwdriver and watches the chase on TV.  The car tries to pull a Dukes of Hazzard jump, but since one of those Duke boys isn’t driving it, it crashes.  The cops pull out their guns, and out of the car steps Hurley, signifying that this is definitely a flash-forward.  He tries to run, but the cops catch up to him as he yells, “Don’t you know who I am?  I’m one of the Oceanic six!”

Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is being detained by a cop, who shows him a security video where he freaked out in a convenience store and ran out without paying.  Hurley saw somebody who spooked him, and the cops want to know who.  The cop mentions that Hurley’s celebrity doesn’t impress him, and also says that he knew the late, great Ana-Lucia.  Hurley claims he never met her.

Without warning, Hurley envisions the wall of the detention room turning into glass with water behind it. Someone in scuba gear swims up, breaks the glass, and the room starts flooding.  Hurley freaks out as the cop comes back to check on the commotion.  He threatens to throw Hugo in the psycho ward, and he’s noticeably thrilled with the idea.  It looks like Hurley has lost some of his marbles again.

Back on the island, Jack lets Hurley know that rescue is on the way as Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Claire dote over adorable little Aaron.  Rose is standing nearby and mentions that Charlie is a hero for turning off the jamming signal.  Ah, this is going to be mightily depressing when Claire learns about his death.

Ben (Michael Emerson) is tied to a tree.  He gives Danielle his old shpiel about how everybody is going to die, and that she needs to get Alex as far away as possible.  Danielle punches him in the face for his warning, which is pretty funny.

After telling Bernard about his past lottery winnings, Hurley decides he wants to celebrate the impending rescue by cannonballing into the ocean.  He jumps in, and comes back up to see Desmond returning to shore.  Desmond explains that the people on the boat aren’t who they claim they are, while Hurley demands to know where Charlie is.  Desmond has to explain that he’s gone, and everybody is rather devastated, including myself.

Jack is chatting with Minkowski on the freighter, and unfortunately the guy wants to talk with Naomi to get a lock on their location.  Jack says that she went to get some firewood, and suddenly notices that Naomi has disappeared.  He demands that Ben tell him where she ran off to, or crawled off to as the case may be.

After finding out that it’s not Penny’s boat coming to the island, Sawyer (Josh Holloway) wants to call Jack with the bad news.  Sayid and Hurley aren’t into that idea and throw Sawyer’s walkie into the ocean.  Back by the radio tower, Jack lets everyone know that they need to make themselves visible to the rescuers.  Danielle, handy as ever, has found a trail of blood leading into the jungle that she believes belongs to the wounded Naomi.  Kate (Evangeline Lilly) thinks it might be a false lead, and wants to look for a second trail.

After the group at the beach grab some guns to go find Jack, Hurley flash-forwards to his future time in the mental ward.  There’s a man named Matthew (Lance Reddick) visiting him, who explains that he knows all about Hurley’s arrest and commitment to the institution.  He tells Hurley that, on behalf of Oceanic Airlines, he wants to offer him a special upgrade.  Hurley declines and, feeling suspicious, asks the guy for a business card.  Strangely enough, he doesn’t have one.  The man asks Hurley, “Are they still alive?”  Hurley freaks out as the man swiftly exits the room.

As the beach crew walks through the jungle, Sawyer asks Hurley if he wants to talk about his feelings over Charlie.  It’s a sweet moment, even though Hurley declines and decides to walk by himself for awhile. Unfortunately he gets a bit lost, and ends up stumbling upon Jacob’s cabin in the middle of the jungle.  A light is on inside, and Hurley immediately knows it’s not a good omen.

Danielle has tracked the bloody trail into the jungle as far as it goes.  It stops suddenly, which is a sure fire sign that Naomi tricked them and led them the wrong way.  The satellite phone is also missing, and Ben reveals that Kate took it when she followed another blood trail to hunt down Naomi.  We cut to Kate, who gets a call from one of the freighter people.  The man, who is named George, demands to know where Naomi is, and at that moment she drops out of a tree and holds a knife to Kate’s throat.

Naomi is still claiming that she was on the island to rescue the castaways.  The phone rings again, Kate hands it to her, and Naomi lies, telling George that she hurt herself on a tree branch when she parachuted in.  Naomi sends him the correct coordinates for their location before keeling over dead.  Was she actually a good person after all?

With curiosity getting the best of him, Hurley decides it’d be a good idea to peer into Jacob’s shack.  He sees a shadow in a rocking chair, and suddenly a face pops up right in front of him.  He runs in the other direction, only to find the cabin in front of him all over again.  He tells himself he’s seeing things, the cabin disappears, and John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) shows up instead.  That Locke is always popping up in the darndest places.

Locke asks Hurley if he’s positive that Charlie wrote “Not Penny’s Boat” on his hand, and Hurley admits that it was a mistake that Jack called those people.  He agrees to help Locke talk Jack out of the rescue mission.

The guys go back to visit Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Sawyer, Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), and Claire, and the other castaways show up shortly thereafter.  There’s much happy reuniting amongst the group, especially for Sun and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Bernard and Rose.  Claire is on the lookout for Charlie, but doesn’t see him anywhere.  Hurley approaches her and breaks the terrible news.

In the mental institution, Hurley meets another patient who says that some guy is staring at him.  Weirdly enough, it’s Charlie.  Charlie tells Hurley that he needs to talk to him, and mentions that he’s the guy who was in the convenience store.  Hurley is, understandably, freaking out since Charlie is supposed to be dead. Charlie says, “I am dead, but I’m also here,” and smacks Hurley as proof that he’s corporeal.  Charlie tells him that he’s hiding from something and keeps repeating the phrase “they need you.”  Hurley closes his eyes, claims none of what’s happening is real, and Charlie disappears.

Back in the not so crazy jungle, the happy reunions are quickly stopped when Jack walks up to Locke and punches him in the face.  He steals Locke’s gun, points it at his head, and pulls the trigger.  Thankfully there are no bullets in it.  Terry O’Quinn just won an Emmy, he can’t be killed!

Because Jack can’t shoot Locke in the face, he decides to give him a good pummeling instead.  Locke insists that he never did anything to hurt any of them, and that all the crazy stuff he’s done has been in the best interest of everyone on the island.  Kate reappears, letting the castaways know that Naomi successfully called her people before dying.  Locke tells them that he’s going to the barracks, and that if people want to survive they better come with him.  Jack thinks he’s lost his mind, for about the three-hundredth time since they arrived on the island.

Hurley steps in to remind everyone of the warning that Charlie gave them.  If Charlie sacrificed himself to save the day, then he agrees with Locke that trouble is coming.  He joins Locke’s side, as do Claire (Emilie De Ravin), Ben, Danielle, Alex, and Karl.  Sawyer also decides to join the team, much to Kate’s dismay.  They walk off into the jungle just as a torrent of rain starts to fall.

In the final flash-forward of the episode, Hurley is playing basketball at the psych ward when Jack comes to see him.  Jack is still a professional doctor and not the bearded, drunken wreck we saw him as in the finale. Hurley asks if the reporters are leaving him alone, and Jack says that they are, though he still has to sign some autographs when he goes out for coffee.  He also claims that he’s thinking of growing a beard, but Hurley advises against it.

The real reason Jack is visiting is to see if Hurley is going to tell anyone the secret of the “Oceanic six.” Hurley apologizes for going with Locke and admits that he should have stayed by Jack’s side.  He says, “I think it wants us to go back.  It’s going to do everything it can.”  Jack cuts him off, claiming that they’re never going back to the island.  As we know, his feelings will certainly change after he finds that mysterious obituary in the paper.

The episode wraps up back on the island, with the helicopter finally arriving to save the day, or possibly kill everyone, or possibly something else entirely.  Jack and Kate run to find it, and a man who just landed in the jungle confronts them.  “Are you Jack?” he asks.  The screen cuts to black, and that’s the end of the most anticipated season premiere of the year.

– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)

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