Before we begin, this post should be ignored if you've never seen Lost and have any plans on watching it in the future. I highly recommend renting the DVDs and then shutting down your life for a week to watch every episode. It is so very worth it. But, if you know what happens going into it, the impact is greatly lessened. So for your future pleasure, ignore this post and come back to it later after having watched the first three seasons. The fourth season won't start until February '08, so you have plenty of time.
At the end of 2006, I recapped the first half of Lost's season (more accurately, the six-episode mini-season they threw at us in the fall) thusly...
"Sigh....ok, here's the thing. I love Lost. It's my favourite show. I'm one of those people who is totally hooked, who goes on message boards immediately after the episode, and will get into a discussion about theories and characters at the drop of the hat. This summer, in fact, when I was subletting my room, the girl who rented to me had a Lost screensaver on her computer, thus sparking a seemingly innocent 'Oh, do you like Lost?' conversation. I'm pretty sure we talked about the show more than we actually talked about the room I would stay in for the next three months.
That said, the 'fall season' of Lost has been kind of disappointing. What used to be the best ensemble drama on TV has been whittled down to the Jack-Kate-Sawyer and the Others show, with occasional guest appearances by the other 12 members of the cast. They really need to reunite the main three with the rest of the castaways, and quickly. It's frustrating that, six episodes in, we still don't know virtually anything new about the Others, besides the fact that they have a suburban village on the main island and they have their main base on a second island. I'm not one of those 'I need to know every answer NOW' people, but man, throw us a frickin' bone here. I'd like to see at least one of the central mysteries of the show (the numbers, the smoke monsters, the Others, the Dharma Initiative, how the castaways are all connected, the giant foot statue, who would win a bikini showdown between Yunjin Kim and Evangeline Lilly) answered before the season is out."
Well, as it turned out, they didn't entirely answer any of these questions. But it didn't matter, since it all turned out to be awesome. After the stinkbomb of the series in the 'Jack flashes back to when he got his tattoos' episode that made me want to throw things at my TV, Lost came up with twelve great episodes in a row. The episode directly prior to the Jack fiasco also happened to be one of the very best in the series' history -- Desmond's flashes back in time. After seeing its ratings take a hit in the 10-11 PM slot, word of mouth slowly grew as the season progressed and Lost was once again a top-shelf hit by the time of its (outstanding) season finale. Even the American Idol finale (the second hour of which was up against the Lost finale's first hour) took a hit in the ratings, which many critics attributed to the high interest in Lost's conclusion.
Here are my eight (OMG ONE OF THE NUMBERS!!!!!!!11111) observations about the season.....
1. Things were answered. Ok, we still don't know what the monster is. Or who built the foot statue. Or if there is any reason to the connections between the castaways. We know a lot of the whos, whats and hows of Dharma and the Others, but very few of the whys. And sadly, the bikini showdown is still a non-starter. But a lot of other questions were answered, and in a way that made me confident that when the final answers are given on this show, it's going to be worthwhile. Perhaps no better example of this was the episode about Hurley finding the van. It seemed like a nice enough filler episode, a bit of a break from the Kate/Jack/Sawyer triangle and the drama with the Others. Later in the season, however, we find that the corpse in the van wasn't just a random Dharma worker -- it was Ben's father. And then Hurley used said van in the unspeakably cool beach rescue scene in the finale. This seemingly minor episode served a major plot point. Then there was the infamous 'Expose' episode, a.k.a. the Paulo and Nikki flashback show. No matter what you thought of the characters or their demise, I was impressed with how the clues left in previous episodes paid off in this single show. Stuff like Paulo in the Pearl station bathroom even ended up being part of the plot.
We also learned, in no short order, the following: the real world as we know it still exists. Penny Widmore is actively trying to find the island. Desmond did, in fact, have the ability to predict the future and wasn't just having crazy hallucinations. The Others know of at least one thing (sonics) that can seemingly hurt the Monster. The island's healing properties work better on some (Locke, Mikhail) than on others (Ben, the characters who are dead). Danielle is actually Alex's mother. Claire and Jack are, in fact, siblings. Locke was paralyzed when his scumbag father pushed him out of a window and down eight stories. The scumbag father was also the real Sawyer that tore James Ford's family apart. The castaways are alive, and not in purgatory. Jin is the father of Sun's baby, though she did have an affair with Bald Korean Guy. Women who conceive on the island die about 4-5 months into the pregnancy. The 'Hostiles' the Dharma Initiative was fighting included Richard Alpert. The polar bears were on the island due to their being kept in captivity for testing by Dharma. Several million dollars worth of diamonds are buried with Paulo and Nikki. Naomi, whomever she was or whomever she was connected with, had some connection with Penny Widmore since she had the picture of Desmond and Pen with her in her backpack. Sayid is right about everything. The Others have or had contact with the outside world, as evidenced by the Flame station and the Red Sox World Series footage. The Others also have vast financial resources through Mittelos Bioscience and Herarat Airlines, whatever these companies actually are, and they also have dossiers on each of the castaways. These dossiers include information that isn't readily known, such as Sawyer killing that crab shack owner in Australia two nights before the flight. Sawyer has a daughter. The Others are apparently under the thrall of a mysterious being called Jacob, who only Ben and Locke can seemingly hear. Kate used to be married. Jack got his tattoos in Thailand (*punches self in face at memory of that awful episode*). Desmond wanted to be a monk. There are spiders on the island that can paralyze you with their bite for upwards of six hours, and you're paralyzed to the point that you appear to be dead. Ethan and Goodwin were the Others' surgeons. Goodwin and Juliet were a couple, presumably using birth control up the wazoo to prevent Juliet from becoming pregnant and thus dead on the island. Desmond cares a whole lot about what Penelope's dickhead of a father thinks of him. Ben was not born on the island, and not a doctor as he claims. In fact, pretty much everything Ben says is a lie. Tthe Hostiles overthrew Dharma largely due to Ben's plotting. There's a volcano on the island. The Others have a brainwashing room. The Others had a submarine, which may or may not have been used to transport people from the mainland. Some Others (Richard Alpert and Ethan, particularly) can go back and forth between the island and the real world. According to both Naomi and Anthony Cooper, the world believes Flight 815 to have crashed, and a plane was found in the ocean with no survivors. Hurley's dad was an asshole. Ben's dad was an asshole. Kate's mom was a bitch. Charlie, Nikki, Paulo, Eko and most of the Others are dead. Sawyer the horndog somehow never noticed the smoking hot young woman within the castaways ("Who the hell is Nikki?") for three months. The cord on the beach led to an underwater Dharma station. And, most importantly, we learned that Jack and Kate get off of the island and are alive and semi-well in early 2007, as evidenced by the date on that newspaper Jack was so upset about.
Who says nothing happens on this show?
2. Anthony Cooper's arrival on the island via the so-called 'Magic Box' opens up another set of odd mysteries. If the island can 'summon' people and objects from the real world, this explains Kate's horse, Sayid's cat, Jack's dead father and some of the other visions on the show that had been previously been assumed to be either hallucinations or perhaps a morphing action of the Monster. But in this case, it really was a flesh and blood Anthony Cooper. Who, by the way, supported Naomi's story that the flight 815 passengers were thought to be dead, but we'll get to that later. Back to the morphing Monster for a moment. It has been generally assumed that the Monster has been taking the forms of some of these visions, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this is fan speculation rather than based on actual fact. What we know is that when the Monster first confronted Eko, we saw images from Eko's past reflected in the smoke, which led many to believe it was 'scanning' him for information (when the Monster was chasing Kate and Juliet, it also seemed to take their picture, so to speak, with a trio of bright flashes). Later, when Eko's brother Yemi appeared on the island and then the Monster quickly showed up, it was presumed that this was the Monster taking the form of Yemi, which it knew about due to its earlier scan of Eko.
Here's why I think the 'Monster Morphing' theory doesn't fit
* Ben saw a vision of his dead mother outside of his window as a boy. His home was within the sonic fence, which we know that the Monster can't breach. So the Monster couldn't have been disguised as Mrs. Linus, since it couldn't have been outside Ben's home.
* When did the Monster have time to scan everyone? It isn't just the scanned Eko that's having visions. To our knowledge, the only characters that have directly confronted the Monster are Eko and Locke. We can add Juliet and Kate to that list after season three, but Kate saw her horse long before that.
* The monster isn't the island itself --- it is the island's security system, as Danielle described it. Of course, Danielle is off her rocker, so who knows what the deal is with her.
I think something else is causing the visions on the island. Maybe Jacob, maybe the 'white light' that Locke said he saw (a second Monster?), maybe a whole lot of hashish. Who knows. Maybe the island itself is the magic box that can materialize your wishes, and it's simply a case of "be careful what you wish for." I kind of hope this isn't it, since I'd rather the solution to the show not be, "The Island is a twisted version of Fantasy Island." If Ricardo Montalban is cast as Jacob, I'm out of here.
3. The Others ended up working really well as villains. I'll be honest, I was sick to death of the fucking Others after that infamous Jack episode (it was called Stranger in a Strange Land, by the way). I was happy that our exposure to them was diminished in the second half of the season, since what made the Others so menacing in the first two seasons was that we didn't know what we were dealing with. Seeing them in their suburban barracks reduced that menace substantially. But once they were once against presented to us in smaller snippets, the menace returned. It culminated in that wild Ben flashback episode, which I was looking forward to as much as any episode in the show's history. One of the characters I'm most fascinated to learn more about is Richard Alpert, who is apparently either really into Oil of Olay or else he's somehow immune to aging. He's one of the few Others that survived the season finale, so he's sure to turn up a lot next season. Juliet ended up being another great addition to the cast, with the "One Of Us" episode (her second flashback) being one of the best of the season.
Of course, most of the reason for the Others' resurgence is that Michael Emerson may be the best actor on the show. He is so perfect as the manipulative, weaselly Ben that it isn't hard to see why the producers expanded the character's role from two episodes to being a full cast member. Emerson totally deserves an Emmy nomination, and quite possibly a win. By the season finale, my god, I was very nearly pumping my fist when Jack beat the hell out of Ben. Then, I actually was pumping my fist during the most awesome two minutes in Lost history....
4. The Beach Attack. Hurley driving in like the goddamn cavalry and plowing over Pryce. Sayid snapping the Other goon's neck with his legs, a la Jack Bauer. Then, the coup de grace, Sawyer deciding that he was through being nice and shooting Tom in cold blood. This was just straight-up awesome. After all of the crap the Losties had taken from the Others over three years, it was cathartic to see the Others' plan just totally backfire. Of course, if Naomi's people are actually 'the bad guys' and it turns out the Others were just misguidedly trying to help all along, well, that's what makes this show cool.
5. I can cut the producers a bit of slack for the mini-season now that I know a bit more about its conception. Apparently, the original plan was to have the first six episodes be ENTIRELY Jack, Kate, Sawyer in the Others camp. The episodes, going by flashback, would've been Jack (the season premier), Sun/Jin (the story of them and Sayid on the boat, which would've been our only exposure to any of the other cast), Sawyer (the episode of him finding out about the second island), Kate (the ep where they escape), Juliet (episode seven, where Kate and Sawyer sail away and Juliet abets their escape) and Jack (Stranger in a Strange Land, which hopefully would've sucked less). With those out of the way, the first episode of the post-hiatus season would've been the Locke flashback with him waking up in the jungle in the aftermath of the Hatch explosion. Then we would've had Desmond's flashes and Hurley finding the van, upon which Kate and Sawyer rejoined the camp and the season would've continued basically as we saw it.
The monkey wrench in this plan was that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje wanted to leave the show. It was either because a) he was tired of being so far away from home, which hit home for him when both his parents died in the year he was in Hawaii filming Lost or b) because everyone in the cast, particularly Terry O'Quinn, thought he was a dick and impossible to work with. These are the official reasons and the internet rumour reasons, so take it with a grain of salt. The producers figured that there was no point in keeping an unhappy actor around longer than they had to, so they pushed his death episode up into the six-episode block, which logistically meant they had to include the rest of the cast into the first few episodes as well. The end result ended up being pretty choppy, as several characters (Claire, Hurley, Jin/Sun aside from their flashback episode, Sayid, Desmond, Charlie, Nikki, Paulo, even Locke and Eko to some extent) ended up with little to do at the start of the year. The original plan would've worked better, since it would've kept the storyline focus on one specific part of the Lostverse without the "when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?" aspect of wanting to know what was going on with the characters back at the camp.
Getting off-topic, the story of AAA leaving is yet another reason why I think Lost's final answer, whatever it is, isn't overly character specific. Someone like Locke may play a key role in the island mystery, but it won't be all about him. Or Jack. Or Walt. Or anyone. There are too many real-world factors involved, namely the fact that these characters are played by real actors with real egos, lives, or a hundred different things. Killing Libby last season had everything to do with Cynthia Watros getting a DUI, not because of the obviously horseshit reason that the writers couldn't think of anywhere to go with her --- she hadn't even had a flashback, for god's sake. The producers have been forthright in the fact that their casting was very malleable --- Sayid, Jin, Sun, Claire as a regular, Desmond, Ben and even Jack weren't in the original pilot script. Well, Jack was, but (get this) he was going to be killed halfway through after setting him up as the big hero in the first half of the episode. Apparently ABC execs thought Jack was too strong a character to lose, which led to the casting of Matthew Fox and the assumption of the character as the de facto lead of the show. There are all kinds of fun Lost casting stories around. Jorge Garcia and Dom Monaghan originally auditioned for the role of Sawyer, who was originally conceived as more urbane. The character of Charlie was going to be that of an aging rock star (think Bill Nighy in Love Actually), and one of the people they had in mind for this role was Naveen Andrews, who's actually British. Yunjin Kim auditioned for the role of Kate, and the producers liked her so much they created the role of Sun (and, subsequently, Jin). If the plan to kill Jack in the pilot had gone as planned, Jack would've been played by Michael Keaton, of all people. The trick would've been that the promos would've been, "Lost, this fall on ABC, starring Michael Keaton!" only to have him killed 60 minutes in. It would've been the TV equivalent to Janet Leigh billed as the star of Psycho. But anyway, I have faith that the producers have crafted their plot so that the loss of one character wouldn't cripple it completely. If Matt Fox was lost at sea in a plane crash tomorrow, Lost would still be able to go on.
6. Charlie's dead. As soon as Desmond said he was having flashes of Charlie's death, I would've just about bet my house on Charlie surviving the season. It seemed like such an obvious story swerve that the surprise came when Charlie actually did kick the bucket in the finale. Now, I tried as hard as anyone to stay unspoiled for the finale, but I accidentally read one item that said Dominic Monaghan and Evangeline Lilly recently bought a house together in the Bahamas. I started to think, "Hmmm, will they actually kill Charlie off? Or, maybe the real twist is that Kate will die in the finale?" In any case, this death carried more weight than any other on Lost, since this was one of the care characters that we've followed since day one. Kudos to the writers and actors (though Charlie and Desmond's hands-against-the-glass thing was kind of cheesy) for making it work.
7. Jacob. Ok, now onto the big stuff. What in the blue hell is Jacob? Here's my crazy theory, which relates specifically to what I think the plot for next season will focus on --- Jacob is Jack. There is some kind of warp in reality or time that prevents people from finding the island, but Jack is able to just barely get into a sliver of it to manifest himself back. However, the warp sends him into limbo, unable to fully manifest himself in the time period. Ben finds him and somehow traps him within that cabin, and thus Jacob's "help me" message to Locke was actually Jack trying to get himself freed. That would be quite a twist if it turned out the Others' messiah or whatever was actually Jack all along. Whatever Jacob is, a major hint is the circle of powder/sand/volcanic ash that surrounds his cabin. The idea of a circle trapping an evil spirit is prevalent in native lore, so maybe this is some version of that. Hell, maybe the ash animates itself and becomes the Smoke Monster, and thus Smokey is just Jacob's personal security system.
Whatever Jacob ends up being, this particular scene was one of my favourite of the season. That episode (The Man Behind The Curtain) was one of the higher-rated Losts in recent memory, as a lot of casual fans tuned in specifically to get answers about the Others. I got a lot of MSN messages after that episode along the lines of, "Hey Mark, you still watch Lost. What's the deal with this Jacob?" I think a lot of the island's mystery will be revealed once we discover what or who Jacob exactly is, so I'd expect to not get any answers until series five at the earliest. Personally, if the Jack-Jacob thing isn't true, I predict Jacob will team up with Hurley for a remake of Jake and the Fatman.
8. The flash-forward. If this post seems to be unfocused, blame the season finale. The revelation that the flashbacks were actually flash forwards became the big topic that overwhelmed any discussion of what Lost was last season, and refocused it on what Lost will become next season. I have no idea what the premiere will look like in February. Will the show now be set in the present, and the flashbacks showing how they got off the island? Will the plot be Jack trying to get the band back together, so to speak, and convince everyone that they have to go back to the island to correct some wrong? Will the show continue on its course on the island, and the flash-forward was just a hint as to how things will end up?
If they're going to leave the island, they can't do it just yet. There is still way too much unfinished business with the details of the rescue, Danielle and Alex, the other Others who went off to the temple with Alpert, the Monster, etc. to leave behind. Also, I can't help but think that abandoning the island as the show's main setting would be good for Lost. Not only is the real-time/flashback gimmick one of the more continually inventive structures in TV history, some of the characters still have unexplored issues in their flashbacks. I can see next season perhaps featuring flash-forwards to see how the characters are adjusting to post-island life. Actually, make that flash-forwards for the characters who DO leave the island --- I have to think that Jack's guilt is at least partially based upon some people being forcibly left behind or kept in captivity for some reason. One interesting note about the ending of the finale is that whatever Jack is feeling guilty about, Kate seems somewhat okay about it. She looked in good shape, had a car, and (here's an important fact) wasn't in jail for that outstanding murder charge. She also has one of those Oceanic 'golden tickets,' which presumably the airline gave as penance for the crash, so she was known as one of the Oceanic 815 survivors and didn't just return to society under the radar. If Kate seems to be able to live with what happened on the island, maybe other survivors (if there are any) feel the same way and will be as hesitant as she to return.
So, without totally knowing what will happen via flashbacks, flash forwards, or Walt's Flash comic, here are the ongoing issues for each character that could be settled next season.
Past: We haven't seen a flashback yet about Juliet's father being a dick, like every other castaway father on the show. So there's that.
Present: Going by Lost's habit of cruel irony, Juliet (whose every action is done with the motive of getting off the island to see her sister and nephew) will probably end up stuck there. It makes less storyline sense to have her be back on the mainland, since she has no impetus to return. If Naomi's people end up being 'evil' because they hate the Others....I think Juliet would be okay with the Others being tortured for the rest of their days. I'm interested to see where they go with Juliet's character this season, since if the Others are going to be a reduced factor, she sort of doesn't really have a reason to be on the show anymore. Just saying, is all.
Future: Like I said, I'd say it's unlikely that Juliet is in the mainland 'future' that we saw in the finale. Maybe Jack feels for leaving her behind, and also for semi-using her while he was clearly in love with Kate. I guess that makes Juliet the 'Other' woman. BWAH HA HA HA! Why don't I have a CW sitcom yet?
Past: We haven't seen a flashback yet about Sayid's father being a dick, like every other castaway father on the show. We've seen Nadia a few different times in other people's flashbacks (she buys a house from Locke, Charlie saves her from being mugged), and according to that CIA agent in Sayid's flashback from a couple of seasons ago, she's living in California. But Sayid initially mentioned to Rousseau that Nadia was dead because of him. So, we need to get that cleared up. One would think that Sayid wouldn't hook up with Shannon if he truly believed his long-lost love to be alive, but that storyline made no sense anyway. I read somewhere that the plot was suggested by Naveen Andrews, since it would "shock middle America" to see an Iraqi man hook up with a blond princess. Naveen Andrews must be the most persuasive man alive. "Hey, how about a storyline where I get to sleep with Maggie Grace?" He already got the producers to make Sayid the universally-liked kick-ass former solider. At this rate, I'm expecting a flashback to Sayid accepting a Nobel Prize for physics for balancing a 15-pound weight on his cock.
Present: At present, Sayid is back on the beach, probably listening to Jin use the Korean phrase for 'busted that guy's fuckin' neck' over and over again. There is no way that Sayid would sell everyone out just to get safety for himself. Absolutely no way. If some of the Lostaways are still stuck on the island for whatever reason, I would bet good money that Sayid is one of them. I'm surprised he so readily believed Naomi's story, however.
Future: Perhaps in 2007, Sayid is working at CTU. Actually, that would be a good way to freshen up 24 -- switch Sayid for Jack Bauer. Jack has massive fatherhood issues, so he'd fit right in on Lost. Sayid can turn out to be Morris O'Brien's long-lost cousin or something. I'm really excited about this idea. I'm starting work tonight on a romantic comedy starring Naveen Andrews and Mary-Lynn Rajskub.
Past: We still need to learn the details of the deck accident that put him in the mental institution. Also, Hurley seems the logical character through which we can finally get the answers about Libby. Of all the things on Lost that would piss me off if they never got answered, Libby is near the top of my list. Why on why did Cynthia Watros not just call a damn cab?
Present: Obviously, Hurley wants to get off of the island. Getting the van started seems to have been the turning point in his 'curse,' so maybe he wants to go back and start spending that lotto money.
Future: If Hurley is the kind of guy who will go to Australia just to track down some wacky numbers, he seems like the time who would go back to the island to avenge a wrong. But he also seems like the kind of guy who would've tried to help his friends when it happened, rather than just go back to society like nothing occurred. Maybe Hurley will end up funding Jack's efforts to re-locate the island.
Past: What happened to his little girlfriend? We didn't see her dying in the Purge. My theory is it's Rousseau. We also could use more info about how Ben rose to power in the Others, what happened with him and Alpert in the jungle and how he met Jacob.
Present: Ben is sleazy enough that he could see that the gig is up and he'll try to get Naomi's people to rescue him as well, but he seemed genuinely afraid of them. Maybe is Naomi's people are evil, they'll punish the castaways by keeping some of them on the island, and sending the Others off of the island.
Future: If I had to make a guess, Ben is the guy whose funeral Jack attends in the future. Jo___ ___antham (the apparent suicide victim that internet fansites identified from the newspaper obit Jack was holding in the finale) could be an assumed name that he takes to avoid detection in the real world. and his funeral would be unattended because nobody knows him. There was also a book sitting next to the casket as part of the funeral display -- Ben's diary? He could've finally gotten depressed about his fate and committed suicide. If Ben is the corpse, it definitely explains why Kate didn't attend and was surprised that Jack did. Here's another thing to consider about that newspaper clipping; it wasn't just an obituary, it was a separate item. So whomever it was that died had to be a notable enough person to have a small brief devoted to their passing in the L.A. Times. Even if it was a suicide in a downtown hotel, enough people die in L.A. that it isn't entirely big news. This makes me think it was one of the Oceanic 815 survivors, who would've all become semi-celebrities after their miraculous survival.
Past: I always found it odd that the U.S. Marshal's office spent so much time and energy into chasing her down. I mean, The Fugitive set the bar pretty high for crazy police manpower devoted for one person, but the hunt for Kate has to come pretty close. Her dad was just some drunken yutz in Iowa. Why did that marshal who accompanied her on the plane seem to get such a personal thrill out of taking her down? Was he just creepy? Maybe we'll learn of some other crime that Kate pulled off that would require such special treatment. Oh, also, her husband.
Present: Well, we know how her story goes for the time being. She gets off of the island. She has come to terms with whatever she did to get off of the island.
Future: If the storyline ends up being all of them trying to get back to Lost island, I can pretty much guarantee a future scene where Kate shows up at the last minute and says, 'Got room for one more?' while Jack smirks and answers with 'Thought you'd never show up.' Yes, that seems appropriately cliche enough. Otherwise, I'm interested to see what her deal is in the future.
SUN AND JIN
Past: There's always a chance we can find out that Jin's father wasn't really his father. After all, his mom was a prostitute and she sort of opened up that line of question herself. She also opened up her vagina in the first place, but that's neither here nor there. Maybe we'll find out that Christian Shepherd is Jin's father too. As for Sun, we've already learned about her affair, her knowledge of her dad's crimes, and her ability to threaten her mother-in-law. Her next flashback can be negotiating an armistice with Kim Jong-Il.
Present: They want off the island as much as anyone, because if they don't, Sun is dead.
Future: If any of the characters are off the island in the future, Sun would have to be one of them or else she's done for within a few months in island time. Perhaps Jin makes some deal with Naomi's people and stays behind so that Sun can leave. Jack can find her in LA raising Baby Kwon, and she'll join the cause in order to go back to save her husband. A jump in into the future would also allow Daniel Dae Kim to finally be able to speak English on the show.
Past: Now that we know how he was paralyzed, that was the last major bit of knowledge we needed to get out of Locke's pre-island life. I'm glad that he actually was paralyzed and now we know for sure the island has healing powers. I was worried he would only be in the wheelchair due to being psychosomatic or having a mental block, and it would be a huge copout. But anyway, though Locke has the best flashback episodes of anyone on the show, I think we get it: he is a gullible schmuck.
Present: There is no way on god's earth that Locke will be dragged off of the island. no matter if Naomi's people have a team of wild horses at their disposal. He skulked off into the jungle to hide so that they won't be able to find him. Next season might be Locke turning into island Rambo to take out Naomi's team. He'll eventually start riding the Smoke Monster around like Bastian on the dog thing in the Neverending Story.
Future: Locke could be a candidate for Jo___ ___antham, killing himself out of despair for not making it back to the island. But why would he change his name? Something in the clipping would've mentioned his paralyzation, however, and I don't think his funeral would've been so sparsely attended. Helen (Katey Sagal) would've gone, maybe some co-workers from his box factory.
Past: I guess we could learn about the infamous 'Tampa Job.' It'd give Robert Patrick an excuse to guest-star again. Otherwise, I think we've covered all of the majors in Sawyer's life.
Present: I would guess Sawyer would want to leave, but he's also pretty bull-headed. If he's suddenly got some issue with Kate or fears raising a kid with her, he might want to stay on the island. He's also apt to smell a rat with Naomi's team and announce that he's not leaving with them.
Future: Sawyer could be the 'he' that Kate said she had to get back to. Or, and this could be a longshot, he's Jo___ ___antham. He could've had his name changed since returning to the mainland. He's also not a Los Angeles resident, and surely someone would've said "Hey, Jo Antham used to be James Ford, so let's send his corpse back to Alabama."
Past: After just three flashbacks in three seasons, there's still loads we can learn about Claire. She is the biggest open book of any of the Lost regulars.
Present: She'll obviously want to leave the island to take care of Aaron. She probably also would feel like she owes it to Charlie, since he sacrificed himself specifically to get her off the island.
Future: Desmond's flash included an image of her getting on a helicopter, so I think we can somewhat safely presume she makes it off the island. Unless that helicopter was a Chopper To Nowhere. Maybe that's part of the reason Jack is so broken up in the future --- he has to go back to rescue his half-sister and half-nephew. If she is actually back in the real world, the fact that she had a toddler is reason enough that she won't be in a hurry to traipse halfway across the world to a mysterious island. I think Claire might be the character best suited to be a publicity hound post-rescue. You know, she makes a big cottage industry over being a 'Flight 815 Survivor,' and goes on Oprah to talk about her harrowing experience, being an unwed mother, having her baby on the island, and the heroic rock star who sacrificed himself to save her. That would be pretty funny.
Past: We're almost guaranteed to see an episode that tells us why Desmond ended up in military prison. The most underrated funny moment of last season was that they devoted an entire storyline more or less to tell us why Desmond always calls everyone 'brother.' That might've been even less useful information than Jack's tattoos, but since Desmond is awesome, we'll let it slide.
Present: Desmond is the only one who knows that Naomi's boat has no connection to Penelope and aren't the saviours they claim to be. I don't think he'll get likely to accept any help from them any time soon, so poor Des may have to find another hatch to hide in. I'm curious why we never saw a scene when Desmond asked Naomi, "So, where'd you get the pic of me and my girlfriend?" Now that Charlie is dead, will Desmond's flashes continue? Will they start forecasting someone else's death, or will they start showing him important things, like baseball scores? Desmond's main storyline next season will be going to Biff's casino to get the Almanac back.
Future: Desmond is the loose end of Lost. It's possible the Others didn't know who he was because he wasn't on the flight manifest. He's neither on the beach nor at the radio station, so when 'rescue' comes, they might not find him immediately, and give him time to get away or maybe meet up with Locke in the jungle. Since I'm firmly in the belief that time travel (or, at least, misplaced time) has a major role in the show, Desmond's ability to see the future will have a major impact on the plot. Actually, my thought for the big surprise ending of the finale was something like Naomi mentioning to someone (say, Hurley) about how well everyone is doing in the midst of the crash. Hurley would answer with "Yeah, it's been a tough three months," and Naomi would get an odd look on her face. "Three months? It's 2007. Your plane crashed two and a half years ago." WOMP LOST
Past: Hey, how about a flashback where we examine Jack's hero complex? Never seen one of those before.
Present: We know Jack leaves the island, and something will happen that makes him feel really guilty about doing so. Your guess is as good as mine.
Future: Well, we see what happens to Jack in the future. He grows a crazy-ass beard and re-enacts the last two weeks of Chris Farley's life. Here's what I found interesting about Jack this season: before Locke blew up the sub, it appeared as if Jack was truly going to just leave the island with Juliet. He had made a deal for himself and was high-tailing it back to civilization. This was fascinating. He basically did the same thing that Michael did (though minus the murders), but at least Michael had the excuse he was doing it to save his son. Jack was doing it to save his own ass. His excuse that he would 'send for help' was obviously weak, as Kate called him on it. I find Jack to be a much better character when he isn't just the generic leader. Maybe he does something akin to this but since he can't find the island again (i.e. the maps in his apartment), he can't send for help and is traumatized.
MICHAEL AND WALT
Past: What happened after they took off in that boat?
Present: Er, what are they doing now, after leaving that boat?
Future: If Lost is going to be at least partially set in 2007 now, it opens the door for post-puberty Malcolm David Kelley to rejoin the cast. Seriously, puberty hit this kid like a ton of bricks. When he was standing over Locke in that pit, he looked about 30 years old. I loved the scene, though, since it was basically the producers telling us that they haven't forgotten about Walt, and he's still an important part of the story. As for Michael, I'm not sure. He's also a strong candidate to be Jo___ ___antham. Presuming he actually did sail to safety, he couldn't have returned to society in his old life due to too many questions. He takes an assumed name, then eventually kills himself out of guilt over murdering Libby and Ana Lucia. Nobody goes to his funeral because everyone thinks 'Michael Dawson' died in the plane crash. If Michael and Walt do return, they'd be good candidates to join Jack's mission to get back to the island. Michael would see it as righting a past wrong.
There's also the possibility that some new faces could join the cast. Maybe some of Naomi's people can be next season's answer to Ben and Juliet -- hell, before Locke put a knife in her back, I thought Naomi could join the cast. Maybe Danielle or Alex or Karl? Penelope? Possibly Rose and Bernard could get bumped up to full-time status. Maybe Jo__ ___antham is a character we haven't even met yet. Or, maybe it's Jacob and we're all just misreading the JA as JO.
So, in summation, Lost is a good show and you should watch it.