It took long enough, but LOST returns this week for its final season. When last we saw the intrepid castaways, Juliet was broken and bleeding in a hole, bashing at an incendiary device that would set off a nuclear explosion, destroy everything, knock the out-of-whack time jumps for a loop and, fingers crossed, set everything to rights. The last moment was a blinding flash of white as presumably the island and everyone on it were ka-boomed to smithereens.
The opening four minutes of the LOST season premiere were leaked this week and, naturally, found its way to YouTube (you can watch it here). The clip was sent out to a lucky handful of contest winners by ABC as part of a promotional package that included a bottle with a note inside (which read, "NOTHING'S IRREVERSIBLE") and a Dharma Initiative turnkey that opened to reveal a flash drive with the video.
The first couple of minutes are a recap of Juliet's crying and bashing, followed by the flash. And then ... what happened next.
(Needless to say, the following is a spoiler.)
It would seem, at first glance, that the plan worked -- the explosion "reset" time, and put everyone back on the plane before the crash. It begins as with the crash scene in the first episode, with Jack looking out the plane window, getting a drink or three from the flight attendant, sharing a moment with Rose across the aisle, and then ... the plane starts to shake. Except this time, it doesn't break in half. The voice of the pilot (J.J. Abrams regular Greg Grunberg) comes over the intercom to assure the passengers that there was some turbulence, but everything's fine.
So the plan worked! Everything's back the way it was before! Right?
Maybe. The thing is, while the scene is a mirror of the first scene in Episode One, there are some differences. To whit:
Where's the wing? In Episode 1, Jack's view out the window is of the wing. In the reboot, no wing is visible, indicating that he's sitting in a different seat on the plane;
One bottle, not two. Jack's dialogue with the flight attendant starts the same as in Episode 1 ("So how's the drink?" "Uh, it's good." "That's not a very strong response," "Well, it's not a very strong drink"). In the original episode, she hands him two more bottles, he slips one into his jacket pocket, then pours the other into his glass. This time, she only gives him one. You may recall that the first time around, Jack used the second bottle of alcohol to clean his wound on the island before Kate stitched him up;
Jack don't care about no steenking rules no more. After the attendant gives Jack the vodka, she says, "Don't tell anyone." In the first episode, Jack responds, "It'll be our secret." Now, he jokes, "This, of course, breaks some FAA regulation." His time on the island has made Jack a rebel! And, understandably, not fond of secrets;
Less gulping, no Charlie. In Episode One, Jack guzzles his drink, then gets out of his seat as Charlie rushes by in the aisle, chased by flight attendants. In the new clip, Jack remains seated, begins to sip his drink, but it's jostled by turbulence and he puts it back down, and Charlie doesn't appear;
Role reversal. Most telling, after the first spot of turbulence the dialogue and dynamic between Jack and Rose switches. In the original episode, Jack looks over at a terrified Rose and says, "It's normal," to which she responds that her husband always says that "the planes want to stay in the air." In the reboot, Jack's shaken by the turbulence, fastens his seatbelt, and a very calm Rose says,"It's normal" to him.
So what do these changes mean? Obviously, all is not exactly as it was for the passengers of Oceanic 815 -- this may not even be Flight 815 any more, although Rose and Jack are dressed the same as they were the first time 'round. (John Locke is seated behind Rose in the first episode, but the bald man in the sports shirt behind her in the new clip is definitely a double -- however, it's unlikely that it's anything more sinister than that Terry O'Quinn wasn't required to come in to work for a half-second shot of the plane being jostled.)
One thing's certain: Even if they don't remember their experiences on the island, they're not the same people they were before. The bomb may (or may not) have reset the timeline, but the Oceanic survivors have still been changed by what they've seen and done -- Jack's less confident, yet seems to have control over his drinking; Rose, who chose to stay on the island with Bernard when given the option of escape, is more centered and assured. This could mean that Charlie, in the "new" reset timeline, isn't a junkie anymore! Except that he died, and Dominic Monaghan's moved on to other projects so ... how the hell will they deal with that?
It's also possible that we'll be hit with this being Jack's dream before he wakes up, back on the island after the 'splosion (ABC's promos make it clear that we'll still be seeing a lot of jungle-based action) which would suck mightily. And it doesn't even begin to address the number of early-show plot points that you just know won't be resolved by show's end, like Walt's ability to conjure things with his mind and why the Others snatched him. In the show's overall story arc, Walt was forgotten pretty darn quick. But hey, so long as they explain Richard Alpert and the four-toed statue, I won't be too disappointed.
ALSO: If you live in the Portland, Ore. area, check out LOST at the Bagdad Theater every Tuesday. Free admission, beer and pizza and Tater Tots for sale, and a theater full of crazy LOST fans. It'll be the best way to say goodbye to the show.