So I got around to watching Lost this morning, and then again this past evening, and I've gotta say, it was better than the premiere. The writers have really stepped up their game for the fourth season, learning from the mistakes of season 2 and the beginning of season 3. So lets break it down.
We got the rough back stories from the 5 people coming to the island to "rescue the survivors" which I think helped us to understand who they are and what the survivors are dealing with. We first see an ROV (remote operated vehicle) that's underwater and we hear voiceovers of the two people who are controlling the vehicles. They end up stumbling upon the supposed plane crash of Oceanic Flight 815, the one that actually crash landed on the island that we all know and love. We cut to one of the "rescuers" Daniel Farraday (last name is the same as the famous 19th century chemist and physicist) who's crying but he doesn't know why. But I think he knows why. My guess is that he believe the plane to have landed on the island but then this showed that it didn't, so his calculations that he made for whoever was wrong, but it turns out they weren't wrong obviously.
The next backstory is that of Miles, who happens to be a ghostbuster of sort. He apparently hast he ability to communicate with the deceased as we see him help out a grandmother who's grandson has been sticking around the house. Miles comes into the room and tells the kid (who I have a feeling we'll be seeing again) to tell him where "it" is. We hear a strange noise and then Miles finds a load of cash, which he keeps, and tells the kid that he "can go now." This ability is useful on the island when he demands to see Naomi so he can verify Jack and Kate's story as to why she died, which he ends up doing.
After that we get Charlotte Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis....) and her trip to Tunisia. We see her pay her way to get closer to a dig that some natives were doing, and the payoff is bones of a bear in the dirt. A polar bear in Africa. Sounds like something Dharma cooked up. Well it was, as Charlotte found a collar with a Dharma octopus logo on it, telling us that the island isn't the only place Dharma reached.
Next we get Frank Lapidus, located in the Bahamas, watching footage of the 815 wreck as they are showing the pilot dead in his seat underwater. He called the hotline posted on the TV (which I also called, and was pretty freaky) and demanded to talk to the supervisor because he knows the person they're showing on TV is NOT the pilot of the flight that crashed because he saw that the pilot had no ring on his ring finger (he married his high school sweetheart at 19 and never took it off). After being asked how he knows so much about the pilot, he responds that he was the one that was supposed to be flying Oceanic 815 that day.
Lastly we see Naomi, most likely for the last time, as she is talking with Matt Abbaddon about the team she's supposed to lead the island safely (the team composed of the above 4 individuals, who have no military training). She doesn't like the plan at all but agrees to do it because that's her job.
At the end of the episode we seem to find out why they have come to the island -- Ben. They want Benjamin Linus. Ben knew this all along, as he reveals to Locke and his crew. Ben knew this because he has a mole on the boat that the "rescuers" came from, proving once more that, Ben is the man and is always one step ahead of everyone else.
Ben shot Locke purposefully through the side of his body without the kidney because he knew it wouldn't kill him. I feel that Ben unlocked everything he could from the island and he needed Locke to unlock the rest, but the only way he could do that would be to make it seem like Locke was doing it on his own.
Why has everyone forgotten Charlie? Claire wasn't upset at all about what had transpired, about what she found out at the END of last episode. That was a big turnaround for someone who seemed to have loved Charlie. Ditto for Hurley.
Hurley knowing where the cabin was really freaked out Locke and Ben, and for good reason. I think Ben only thought Locke had a connection with the island and didn't foresee Hurley having a connection as well. Locke probably thinks the same thing.
Jack and Kate forgetting all about Daniel Farraday saying to them that rescuing them wasn't their "primary objective." I mean I realize it was for the big reveal at the end, that they wanted Ben, but they shouldn't have to make Jack and Kate, two of the show's smarter characters, sacrifice their smarts.
Locke asking Ben what the smoke monster was! Finally! Someone asks the question we've been dying to know since THE FIRST EPISODE!!! This question is definitely older than the "where are we?" question.
And finally, the man on the boat, working for Ben. Michael. You read it here first. Michael will be back on the show, and I think he's been helping Ben out. I don't know why, but I think it's Michael.
Season 4 = siiiiiiiiiiick, so far. 6 more episodes to go. However, I'm hearing that since the strike could be over within a couple weeks, that they could get right back into production and shoot another 6 episodes to air in Late April/May/June. I read that at Buddytv.com. But I think that's great news, not just for Lost but for all TV (and mankind).