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Handicapping ‘Lost’: Who will die next?

Heading into the season-ending final stretch of “Lost,” rumors, spoilers and foilers abound. One of the biggies circulating promises a bloodbath for a month, with five deaths over the course of the next four episodes. Not since Oceanic Flight 815 first plummeted to the sand have so many checked out in such a short time. That’s not to say this season has lacked its share of carnage to date. F
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Heading into the season-ending final stretch of “Lost,” rumors, spoilers and foilers abound. One of the biggies circulating promises a bloodbath for a month, with five deaths over the course of the next four episodes. Not since Oceanic Flight 815 first plummeted to the sand have so many checked out in such a short time.

That’s not to say this season has lacked its share of carnage to date. First, little-known Other, Colleen, fell to a gun-toting Sun. Then came the unfortunate business with Mr. Eko, who died in the smoky smog of the monster. Pickett, Colleen’s beau, didn’t have long to mourn before Juliet offed him. Adding to the Others’ death count, Ms. Klugh and Mikhail met their ends in back-to-back episodes. Only it didn’t keep Mikhail down for long. On the Oceanic side, Nikki and Paulo made their short stay worthwhile by taking a two-for-one dirt nap.

“Next week on ‘Lost’ …” is always more tempting when it’s followed by the promise of a shocking death. With a possible bounty of them just around the corner, there’s nothing left to do but wait for the mayhem to begin.

Odds-on favorites to bite the dust

Charlie: If Desmond’s fateful forecasts weren’t enough, Charlie’s going-nowhere story line seals the deal. A Charlie sans his smack addiction, Aaron obsession or church-quest with Eko has many fans cheering for his impending doom. Then again, with all signs pointing to it, don’t be disappointed if it’s a classic misdirection.

Death odds: 2:1

Anthony Cooper: Everybody loves to see a real villain get his in the end. What’s the point of having Locke’s father, Cooper, around if not for a well-relished demise? It’s like early Christmas for Locke and the audience.

Death odds: 2:1

Sun: Given the recent reveal about pestilent pregnancies on the island, Sun’s prognosis isn’t looking good. Bonus points: With a bun in the oven, Sun’s death could count for two of the five.

Death odds: 3:1

Mikhail: Who says you can’t die twice on “Lost”? Now that Mikhail is fully reanimated, he’s a prime target for finishing the job. Of course, it might take something more potent than security pylons this time.

Death odds: 3:1

Rousseau: It can’t be much longer until the long-anticipated Rousseau-Alex reunion takes place. But what’s left for the mad survivalist once that goes down? It’s not as though she’ll make a happy home with daughter Alex and Ben. Heck, it might just be a battle with Ben that does her in.

Death odds: 4:1

Dark horses

Jin: Now that it’s confirmed Sun’s life is in danger, Jin can sleep a little safer. They can’t both die. Right? Then again, with a pregnant wife to protect, he’s not beyond going out in a blaze of self-sacrificial glory if the situation calls for it.

Death odds: 6:1

Claire: With Charlie more worried about saving his own hide lately, Claire (and baby Aaron) should watch out. Lacking a dedicated protector, and with that chip Ben & Company implanted in her, the beach could be Claire-less at a moment’s notice.

Death odds: 7:1

Hurley: Axing Hurley would fill the need for a tear-jerking, fan-stunner of a death, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. The show still needs a well-placed “dude” to break the tension.

Death odds: 8½:1

Long shots

Desmond: It’s way too soon to say goodbye to Desmond, what with his powers of prophecy and true love, Penny, out there somewhere. Then again, if he keeps saving Charlie from certain death, he may find himself in the path of the Grim Reaper yet. Hey, another great argument for letting Charlie die.

Death odds: 9:1

Juliet: Juliet is camping beachside for now, but it won’t be long until everyone catches on that she’s in cahoots with her old nemesis, Ben. And those who didn’t trust her in the first place (Sayid, Sawyer, heck, everyone but Jack) will demand retribution.

Death odds: 9:1

Locke: As much a part of the island as that weird four-toed statue, Locke seems safe. But assuming the plot with his dad is coming to a close, the walking-wonder will have a rough go re-integrating with the beachcombers after his defection. While not a sure thing, Locke facing mortal danger in a showdown with either side isn’t out of the question.

Death odds: 10:1

Not even a case of the sniffles

Sayid: He’s not big on the whole torture thing anymore, but Sayid is still the man to see to ferret out a villain. And he’s the only one smart enough to ask “Why don’t we just kill him?” when there’s a known interloper in their ranks. If the rest of the Losties want to live, keeping Sayid around makes sense.

Death odds: 13:1

Ben: Despite viewer complaints about this season being too Others-heavy, Ben is still the creepy bright spot among the baddies. There are bound to be attempts on his life, but with his talent for survival, none will succeed.

Death odds: 14:1

Sawyer: Bringing the beefcake and the load-bearing side of the permanent love triangle, Sawyer and his powers of nicknaming (the ban on which should soon be lifted) will continue to irritate and entertain for at least one more year.

Death odds: 15:1

Jack: Though it’s not hard to think of several good reasons to put a fork in him, Jack’s the A-plus of the A-list and thoroughly secure. Even bringing traitor Juliet into camp and leading with his “because I said so” manner isn’t enough to stop him.

Death odds: 16:1

Kate: The safest female castaway, hands down. Kate can track, con and lead — she’s like Locke, Sawyer and Jack all rolled up in a rosy-cheeked package with freckles. Her main fault, being wishy-washy when it comes to men, will hardly be her downfall.

Death odds: 16:1

Even if rumors hold true and it’s the final curtain for five Losties, only one or two will be sadly missed. Remember, this is “Lost.” Scads of no-name redshirts running around at both camps await their big date with death.

And what about a twist? Well, the show has already brought someone previously thought dead back to life. If Mikhail doesn’t reprise his death scene, there’s still room for, say, Jack's dad, Christian Shephard, to fill the bill.

But if either Paulo or Nikki come crawling out of the grave, expect a viewer revolt.

Ree Hines is a writer in Tampa