ABC’s “Lost” took the midseason hiatus to a whole new level. With complaining fans and such Web sites as the über-simple Is Lost A Repeat.com, the network got the hint. No longer bombarding viewers with a new show here, a rerun there, instead ABC employed the “make ‘em wait” approach and took three months off.
The last new episode of "Lost" aired Nov. 8, the show returns Feb. 7 with the first of 16 new episodes, straight through to the season finale. Problem is, after such a lengthy sabbatical, will viewers remember where they left off ages ago?
Sure, it’s easy to remember the major plot points. Mr. Eko . Kate and Sawyer made out. Ben was bleeding out. But what led up to these shockers, and where will the show go from here?
Not-so-gilded cages: The plight of the A-list LostiesPredictably, things kicked off in October where season two left off. After being led into Camp Other by traitor Michael, Jack and company awoke to their new prisons. Held inside yet another one of those ubiquitous Dharma bunkers, Jack met his warden, Juliet, a high-ranking Other who doesn't appear to be happy with the island's status quo. She's also looking like another potential love interest for the handsome doctor. But given Jack’s luck with the ladies, they'd do well to keep their distance.
Meanwhile Kate and Sawyer resided in abandoned bear cages. Since the previous tenants were, no doubt, of the polar variety, that makes one mystery…well, not solved, but at least referenced. Progress! Unlike Jack’s cushy confinement, they were assigned to taser-enforced rock hauling. Hey, whatever it takes to keep Sawyer shirtless.
But what about their captors? In a flashback to the plane crash that started it all, a different side of the group was revealed. Apparently the Others weren’t exactly roughing it before the Oceanic 815 crowd arrived. In fact they seemed a little too normal, nestled in a functioning suburbia, complete with phones, cars, and even a book club. Do they have their own Barnes & Noble, too? Maybe Dharma just parachute-drops Oprah’s latest picks. Is James Frey on this island? That could explain a lot.
Stand back, Jack: Kate's quest for a date
Kate’s “go ahead and pick one already” dilemma got a little easier. For now. When pushed to reveal her true feelings, lest Sawyer suffer, Kate admitted that she loved the con man. Now, normally declarations of affection under duress don’t count, but this looked genuine. At least it did for the legions of fan-forum types who are drooling to see those two together.
After a torture session with Ben, Sawyer gave up on the idea of escape and kept quiet about his ordeal. But he wasn’t mum for his sake — he was protecting “Freckles.” Aw, it looks like the ol' rebel’s going soft.
Kate continued the breakout efforts, but Sawyer broke the bad news: there’s nowhere to run. He's learned that they're no longer on the originalisland, but on a neighboring patch of land. With that said, the two comforted each other as best they knew how — by having sex in a bear cage. It was only slightly more romantic than it sounds.
Before Kate and Jack 'shippers give up altogether, take heart. She didn’t say, “I love you, Sawyer, and I don’t feel a thing for Jack.” Sure, the stress-induced romp might delay things, but don’t count Jack out. Kate’s sure to be canoodling with the good doctor by finale night.
Previously on ‘Lost’: RIPNot everyone survived the first six episodes of this season. First in the dead pool: Colleen, an Other viewers hardly got to know. Whodunit? Breaking out of the gentle gardener routine, a gun-toting Sun made short work of Ol' What’s-Her-Name during a failed attempt to rescue the missing gang. Fans certainly would have been crushed by Colleen's exit if they had ever seen her for more than a few seconds. However, viewers can hope this wasn't the last sighting of new and improved Action-Hero Sun.
On a sadder note, the island claimed one of the greats. Barely surviving the hatch-blast, a battered and bruised Mr. Eko lived long enough to become smoke monster-fodder. Why did he have die while the annoying Charlie lives to prattle on about his lame band? Just another one of the island’s mysteries.
Seconds before Eko shuffled off, he passed on an interesting bit of intel to Locke: “You’re next.” Locke respected the island’s previous sacrifices, but he won’t take that one lying down. The man of faith will still pursue the mystic mysteries, but he won’t be smiling the next time he looks into the “heart of the island.”
Wanted, dead or alive: BenJack learned that all those long nights sweating through medical school made him one very qualified prisoner. Turns out Other leader Ben possesses one nasty spinal tumor, and that’s what landed acclaimed spinal surgeon Jack on the Others’ guest list.
Once a potentially life-saving operation was booked, Juliet suggested Jack drop the life-saving part. Despite that worthy goal, it’s premature to suspect she’s switching teams. She could just be imagining a chorus of Others chanting, “the king is dead; long live the queen.”
Torn between his ethics and the opportunity for a Ben-less future, Jack devised a plan. He intentionally clipped a kidney, with a promise to mend Ben if Kate was freed. Hmm, was he saving her from the Others? Nah, after Jack got an eyeful of Kate going at it with bad boy Sawyer, he was just saving her for himself. Jealousy:1; altruism:0.
As for Ben, don’t go shedding any tears for him just yet. It’s too soon to kill off a character this gripping, and there’s still too much to learn about his beef with Juliet. Also in his favor: Jack Shephard is no He makes a good threat, but the doctor’s Hippocratic oath remains intact.
The non-Other others: Back to the beachEnjoying a considerably better post-hatch-blast experience than Eko, Desmond displayed hints of psychic powers after his electromagnetic dose, not to mention a strange compulsion to construct a lightning rod. Odds are that rod’s not just about a pretty light show. Perhaps recharging the power source for the now defunct Swan Station is in the cards.
Never-before-seen survivors Nikki and Paulo joined Locke’s rescue party to find their wayward friends. At the Pearl Station, Nikki switched on the monitors and caught a glimpse of a man sporting an eye patch. Everyone knows that eye patches are TV shorthand for bad guys, but that’s not necessarily the case this time. He’s likely the owner of the glass eye Libby found last season. Remember, the eye accompanied a bible, a two-way radio, and a portion of the training film.
Where to now?
Mysterious plot points must lead somewhere, right? Okay, that’s not always true in Lostland, but surely the forecast includes some answers.
Consider it a sure bet that explanations are forthcoming concerning Ben’s fate, which side Juliet playing for, and what that lightning rod is all about. Rumors even abound that Locke's mysterious paralysis could be explained, but we'll believe that when we see it.
But while revelations may abound, fans shouldn’t hold their breath for the big ones. Expect the smoke monster to remain a foggy mystery. The inexplicable purpose of the island will stay inexplicable for now. Fans may be clamoring for some answers, but with new episodes running from now until May, they'd better not bet the rent on getting them any time soon.
Ree Hines is a writer in Tampa