Okay, just a quick rundown of my history with Lost so you know where I'm coming from. Like everyone else in the world I flipped out over the pilot, immersed myself in most of the first season, wouldn't stop telling my friends about it, discussed theories about it, the whole nine. By the end of the first season I'd begin to notice bad patterns in the storytelling, irritating characters, the utter tedium of 90% of the flashback scenes, and like everyone else in the world I thought the first season finale was a total letdown. The frustrations built all the way through Season 2, and while Season 3 brought with it my favorite character yet (Elizabeth Mitchell's Juliet), the first half of that season was riddles enough with the same old problems that I almost stopped watching. Lucky I didn't, though, because the last few episodes of last season really came together and the flash-forward really hooked me anew.
So anyway, after tonight's new episode, it seems in re-upping with the show I've also started from zero in terms of cutting the show slack. The vagueness of the flash-forwards, the incremental unfolding of new mysteries, asking way more questions than answers are being provided...these are all problems I'd developed with the show two seasons ago, but I'm willing to let it ride, for now.
The biggest and best change is the switch from flashbacks to flash-forwards. The flashbacks were perhaps my #1 annoyance with the show -- 33% of any given show preoccupied with meandering, thematically redundant backstory that was usually twice as tedious as it was informative -- and now they're gone. At least, that's what seems to be the case. God, I hope so. The complaint I've heard about this is that it takes some of the suspense away if we know that Jack, Kate, Hurley (among others) survive long enough to make it off the island. But seriously, if they're still keeping Dominic Monaghan in the main cast, who really expects them to get rid of any of the primaries anyway? The flash-forwards give the story another entire universe in which to maneuver, and I love that.
Not that I was 100% down with the premiere. This new group of people, the "rescuers" for lack of a better word, feel like yet another layer of shadowy antagonists (the Tailies, the Others, the Dharma Initiative) to put upon the ol' Lostaways, and it's yet another game of "Who can you trust?" One more group of people who you assume are always lying, except when they're not. The differentiation between these guys and the Others is going to have to be made crystal clear, and soon.
That being said, and it sounds contradictory, but I do like the idea of Locke at cross-purposes with the rest of the group, even though it splinters the agendas all the more, and I really liked the idea of the Lostaways choosing between Locke and Jack for reasons we may not fully understand.
I could sit and watch Ben give Jack shit about being stupid all fucking day, I'll tell you that. It only took me, like, fifteen minutes and one incredibly condescending comment to Kate to remind me why I hate Jack's ass.
Jorge Garcia's great and all, but that "He's dead!" line reading was rough.
I watched the hourlong clip show before the premiere, and when they played back the scene where Locke hears the elusive (and possibly supernatural) "Jacob" speak, the voice sounds an awful lot like Clancy Brown (who has played "Inman" in two previous episodes). Perhaps it was just my brain set on Carnivale with the whole "unseen puppet master" thing, but...we'll see what comes of it.
Kate remains my favorite of the much maligned (by, uh, me) Big Three (we've covered my hatred of Jack, but Sawyer's an insufferable butt too) by virtue of her little walkie talkie heist and not letting Jack pat her on the head and tell her to shut up. Liked that.
What else, what else...oh, Harold Perrineau (Michael) is back in the credits but not (that I saw) Malcolm David Kelly (Walt). Will we never find out the whole story about how he created that polar bear out of thin air??? (I'm kidding, I actually don't care.)
Overall: happy to have it back. Sucks that it's only for eight episodes.