So much anger, Jack. I picture you watching Lost with a revolver in hand, Elvis-style, occasionally firing a round at your flat-screen. (Which reminds me: I hadn't thought about the improbable amount of gunshot deaths in Lost until you pointed it out. Seems like a natural outgrowth of the fact that basically every inhabitant of the island is packing. Shouldn't they consider instituting some sort of gun-control policy there? Though I know that you, Jack, a strict libertarian, will counter: If guns are made illegal, only time-travelers, utopian cultists, and quasi-supernatural entities will have guns.)
I am withholding judgment on the dual-universe thing—mostly because I have no idea what the frak is going on and am willing to wait and see before I condemn it. I'd also prefer not to play Statler to your Waldorf with the season just getting started. So here's an effort to counter your pissiness with a list of things I liked about last night's Lost:
* The wonderful evocation of deafness. When Kate awakes hanging in that tree, we hear the scratching of the bark against her clothes in rich detail, but her yelling sounds like it's coming from miles away. I don't think I've seen that dynamic so accurately captured before—even in Saving Private Ryan, when Tom Hanks goes deaf on a Normandy beach.
* The welcome reappearance of Juliet. I guess I had assumed—unreasonably, as it turns out—that direct physical contact with a detonating nuclear bomb might kill her. Silly me. She was only wounded! (I know, I know, she was thrown into another dimension or whatever. It's still slightly comical that an atomic explosion in her palm has no effect, but she dies from tumbling down a well.) Anyway, I was happy to see her, if only briefly. I've always been a huge Juliet fan. In fact, I can't say I would have minded had it been Kate who bit it and Juliet who survived. Kate doesn't do a whole lot for me. Juliet is a scrumptious enigma with expressive eyebrows.
* "I'm sorry you had to see me like that." After transforming into his smoky alter ego, mauling some unlucky dudes, and then morphing back into humanoid form, the Locke-monster hits us with a Schwarzenegger-style action movie tagline. Another excellent, and hilariously cryptic, Locke-monster sequence: "Hello, Richard, it's good to see you out of those chains." [Throat-punches Richard. Glares at everyone gathered on beach.] "I'm very disappointed in all of you!"
* The big ankh in Hurley's guitar case. For a moment, I thought it was Prince's guitar—the one shaped like his trademark loopy symbol—but smaller, so I guess maybe Prince's mandolin. Then it became clear it was a large, wooden ankh. Then it turned out the ankh was just concealing a few pieces of paper. Which, when you think about it, was a pretty roundabout way for Jacob to pass a message. If I was Hurley, I'd be pissier than Jack Shafer. Make me carry a heavy guitar case "across the ocean and, like, through time" just to deliver a note? Did Jacob not have a manila envelope? (I know, I know, then Hurley would have read it, and the course of events would have been irrevocably altered … blah blah. An ankh inside a guitar case is still a damn unwieldy vessel.)
* Hurley in general. Thank goodness he's here, providing much-needed levity and glimpses of relatable human behavior. Everyone else seems to stoically accept the bat-guano craziness all around them. Hurley reacts the way I think I might. With confusion and wisecracks.
* The stewardess from Oceanic 815 shows up as a temple hippy—and she's still serving food and drinks! Sheesh, you'd think she'd request a promotion when she joined that band of mystical pagans.
So much more to like about the Lost debut, but I'll stop myself there. What did you think, Chad? Everything you'd wanted and more? I'm not going to ritually scar you, as you'd suggested, but I will publicly note that your predictions were not … precisely on target. We won't dwell, though. Let's talk Lost mythology. Any hidden clues or mind-blowing hints that you noticed last night? Who or what, if anything, has inhabited Sayid? Should I consider it significant that when Lost writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse showed up on Jimmy Kimmel last night, one was dressed entirely in black while the other wore a much lighter-hued suit?
Slate V: Previously on Lost: LAX