The 'Lost' Hour: Season 1 and 2 Review

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
washingtonpost.com Staff
Thursday, June 25, 2009; 3:00 PM

Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney this summer to discuss "Lost's" first and second seasons. Each week, we'll assign a few episodes to watch. Then join Liz and Jen each Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to talk about what happened and how those early shows tie in (or not) to "Lost's" looming final season.

For the first discussion, on Thursday, June 25, watch these season 1 episodes:

1. "Pilot, Part 1"

2. Pilot, Part 2

3. Tabula Rasa

4. Walkabout

Liz and Jen, both obsessive "Lost" fans, have been writing their weekly dueling analysis of the show since 2006. When not debating the merits of Sawyer's hotness, Liz Kelly writes the Celebritology blog and Jen Chaney acts as movies editrix and DVD columnist for washingtonpost.com. For episode analysis, discussion transcripts and more, visit washingtonpost.com's Lost Central.

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NotDoc, Va.: I just have to say that one of the all-time best moments in "Lost" occurs in Season 1 -- the scene where Hurley's CD player finally dies. It's a wonderful dialogue-free montage of the characters on the beach underscored by music that gives a warm, almost hopeful feel, when suddenly . . . silence (followed by Hurley saying "crap!")

Liz Kelly: We'll be getting started in just a sec.

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Jen Chaney: There's no place like home, fellow "Lost"-philes. Seriously, it's so nice to see you online after that brief respite from the show. As part of our refusal to let minor things -- like when ABC airs news episodes -- interrupt our enjoyment of "Lost," Liz and I are kicking off this summer-long recap of seasons one and two, to bring all of our duel-analyzing (which technically began in season three) and chatting to a full state of completion.

Today, our focus is on the pilot, "Tabula Rasa" and "Walkabout" episodes from season one. I'll make three quick points, throw it over to Liz for three more, then we'll get to chatting. A trio of season one observations:

1. In the first few seconds of the series, Jack dashes from the jungle to the beach. At first, the camera shows us an empty shore. Then Jack turns his head to the left and sees the horrifying wreckage. So why the heck didn't he notice all the screaming and flaming airplane mess right away? One could contribute it to disorientation post-crash, but is it possible that the writers were trying to telegraph from minute one that there may be parallel universes at play?

2. Claire notes in the pilot that in utero Aaron hasn't moved since the crash. Only after trying a bite of Jin's special island-brand of sushi does the baby start to kick again. This either means that: a. Jin's sushi has the same restorative powers that mango did in that episode of "Seinfeld" or b. perhaps Aaron also was "brought back to life" by the island's healing powers, making him akin to our man John Locke.

3. John Locke's eye scar, much more noticeable in these early episodes? Kind of looks like the

eye of ancient Egyptian god Horus

. Also, could be perceived as his one "evil eye." Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry for evil eye includes

this picture of a Turkish airplane

. Look like the logo for any airlines we know? Hmmmm?

Liz Kelly: My three points will be brief since I'm still catching my breath from the Celebritology chat.

I just wanted to mention how striking and engrossing this show was from the get-go. This doesn't happen often -- note the slow starts of shows like "Fringe."

Sayid really had a much larger role in the early days of the show and was positioned as a sort of co-leader, or rival leader, to Jack. I wish he hadn't been somewhat sidelined.

Also, the combination of Vincent seeming to be some kind of Christian Shepard-ish island manifestation and Jack's comment to Kate -- "We all died three days ago" -- seem noteworthy.

Okay, on to the questions... and seriously, thanks for joining us in the seasons 1 and 2 review. This is going to make my summer so much more enjoyable.

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Pasadena, California: I'd love to catch up on this cultural moment. What is the best way to watch the old seasons? Are they being reprised in reruns, or do I have to buy the old seasons?

Jen Chaney: You *could* buy the old seasons, which are now all available on both Blu-ray and DVD. (Gotta say, season one looks pretty fab on Blu-ray.)

If you're trying to conserve cash, you also can watch them online for free. All the episodes are on ABC.com and will arrive soon on Hulu, too.

Or there's Door No. Three: you can wait until Liz and I do our long-awaited "An Evening With Lost: The Puppet Show Version," which will be a reenactment of the entire series and, tonally, will feel like a combination of experimental theater, John Cusack's work in "Being John Malkovich" and "One Man Star Wars." Might be better off watching on DVD or online, though.

Liz Kelly: In regards to that puppet show -- Jen will be doing most of the puppetry. I'm more of an executive producer.

As for the great re-watch: You could also rent via Netflix or check the DVDs out of your local libary (mine has both seasons 1 and 2).

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Arlington, Va.: I never saw the first three seasons of Lost. I've now watched most of Season 1 and I am SO sleep deprived from staying up to watch "just one more" episode.

Locke is so weird in some of these early eps. Makes me wonder if the Man In Black (MIB) is jumping in/out of him this early.

And here's a wild pitch to the outside: Boone talks about his nanny (Theresa). Can't help but wonder if there's a connection to Daniel's Theresa (girlfriend/science experiment) in season 5.

Jen Chaney: Locke is definitely weird. Like, orange-peel-smiley weird. He gets less weird in the subsequent seasons, which -- with the events of season five now known -- almost feels like a distraction. Maybe we were supposed to think of him as semi-evil all along and the writers threw us off course.

And as for that wild pitch, it's not so wild. In fact, we broached the subject of the Theresa connection during our season five discussions. I don't think we determined that the two Theresas are the same woman (in fact, it kind of seems like they aren't), but at the very least, it's an interesting connection.

Liz Kelly: I think part of John's early weirdness could be attributed to him figuring out who he was -- getting his feet firmly planted on the ground, so to speak. He'd spent the previous four years in a wheel chair and a dead end job and suddenly finds himself able to become the man he'd always hoped to be. I can't blame him for being a little giddy and a bit off center at times as he figures himself out.

That or it's just the possession by No. 2 taking hold early on.

And I loved that orange peel moment. It really is imagery like that that made "Lost" so different from other shows.

Jen Chaney: I don't know, Liz. Sure, he's off-center. But they made him seem pretty deliberately diabolical in the early eps. Why they did it -- either because he's already UnLocke, or because they wanted to manipulate the viewers and make us think Locke was a bad guy and Jack was always all good -- is unclear.

Liz Kelly: Yes -- the end of Tabula Rasa definitely painted John as an ominious, dangerous note in an otherwise peaceable beachside camp, but I chalked that up to being -- as you say -- a little viewer manipulation and a way to keep us guessing. Also, at this point -- the show was new and LindeCuse didn't yet know if they'd make it past one season or have to spin this thing out for a decade. So leaving things a bit ambiguous was probably in their better interest.

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Woodbridge, Va.: Re-watching these now as a group was a fantastic idea! It's so great to see old characters again and re-visit the ones who are still around. Sawyer has come a mighty long way.

Thoughts on episodes:

Ep. 1, Pilot Pt. 1 - After Jack came to and he went running to the beach, we were shown a white tennis shoe hanging from a tree. Was it Christian's shoe?

Ep. 2, Pilot Pt. 2 - Locke on backgammon - "Two players. Two side, One is light. One is dark." 'Nuff said.

Ep. 3, Tabula Rasa - When Locke was using his adding machine, it made the same sound that we hear (like a biird or a bug?) before the smoke monster shows up!

Ep. 4, Walkabout - When Jack tells Rose that the people in the tail are gone, she tells him that they're probably thinking the same about us, and right after that Jack sees his dead father. Parallel timelines? Parallel realities for the living and the dead?

Jen Chaney: I would presume that shoe may belong to Christian, yes. Also worth noting: Vincent comes running up to Jack in the first scene. If you watched "Lost" webisodes, you'll remember that Christian sent Vincent to wake up Jack, because his son "had work to do."

I also like your point in No. 4. Also interesting because Rose clearly has complete faith at that point, and Jack doesn't. But her faith seems to conjure proof for Jack that he should believe that the seemingly dead aren't dead.

See, this is why people like Rose and Bernard so much. There is something very moving and believable in these first two seasons about her faith that he survived the crash.

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Lost :-(: I didn't realize how much I missed Lost, until I saw your chat! My daughter and I watched all 4 seasons last fall in preparation for season 5. How great were those first episodes?! Walkabout is definitely in the top 5 episodes!

Jen Chaney: Those first episodes? Indeed, pretty great. I've revisited them again before now, but this time I'm watching them even more closely. And it's so funny to remember how I watched them so casually in 2004, back when I could just take it all in without trying to figure out if the numbers appeared on someone's shirt way in the background, or what biblical references were being made.

Of course, now I watch them and totally worry about those things. But in '04? Ah, such an innocent time.

Liz Kelly: I'm still trying to watch somewhat casually, as a regular watcher would, to see if there really were overt clues that tie in to the later seasons. And there sure are -- Christian Shepard's blindingly white sneakers, for example.

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Washington, D.C.: We have been told that Widmore is the one who has been covering up the plane crash but how would he know that the plane went down and landed on the island in the first place?

Liz Kelly: Well at this point remember Widmore already knows about the island and, in fact, has already lived there and is already searching for a way back. So we have to assume he'd be tracking anomalies of this sort.

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Cleveland, Ohio: Just some things that stood out to me as I watched these episodes:

1. Locke - so much more interesting to watch him and his actions given what we now know (his shoes, his uneventful meeting with smokey while boar hunting, general calmness in the face of a freakin' plane crash)

2. Jack seeing Christian at the edge of the beach in 'Walkabout.' I had forgotten this, but it's so much more meaningful now. And Christian had on sneakers. Also, funny how Locke appeared w/boar right after Jack went chasing after Christian -- perhaps they had been reuniting?

3. I also feel that there was supposed to have been a bigger role for Walt that died out due to his rapid aging (and, of course, scheduling conflicts with his demanding Tyson's chicken commercial filming).

Liz Kelly: I wouldn't say Locke's meeting with Smokey was uneventful. In fact, it was noteworthy for the very fact that Locke wasn't killed by the monster.

And I think it is absolutely meaningful that Jack and Kate meet Locke when Jack follows his father's path into the jungle. Knowing what we now know about Locke's importance to the island and Christian's status as an agent of the island, it is just too big of a coincidence.

And I'm with you on wishing Walt had stuck around the show a bit longer. I felt the same about Claire, Boone, and Charlie -- luckily at least two of the three are rumored to be making an appearance in the final season.

Jen Chaney: One other point on the Smokey meeting: in "Walkabout" we never saw Smokey. In fact, based on events as they unfold, a viewer might have assumed that Locke actually came face-to-face with a mutant boar or polar bear. The monster was still undefined -- or rather, smokier -- so we didn't yet realize the importance of what Locke overcome or avoided or whatever.

And yes, it's too bad about Walt. I made a special citation in my notes: Three minutes and 30 seconds into "Lost," Michael issues his first "Waaa-aaaalt!" Such a sweet sound.

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Puppet Show!!!: Can I help? My little niece loves when I make her Elmo and Grover puppets talk. Even though they sound similar. But I'd be really good as Shannon, a lot of screaming, self-absorption and broken French.

Jen Chaney: Of course you can help!

Personally, I can't wait to make the wild boar puppet. And (given) the Boone puppet.

Liz Kelly: I am stifling a really inappropriate comment re: your Boone puppet.

Jen Chaney: I am stifling a lot of inappropriate things re: my Boone puppet.

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Jacksonville, Fla.: At the very beginning of the very first episode, my little brother said "Locke is already possessed." We have this theory that he is willingly allowing Esau to use his body in exchange for the ability to walk. Once you have that in mind, so many things he says take on a different meaning!

Jen Chaney: Ooh, the idea of it being an exchange. I like that.

He seems a little like Leland Palmer possessed by Bob, doesn't he?

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Ann Arbor, Mich.: Hi ladies! I am sooo glad you are doing this! My husband and I decided months ago that we would try to survive the pre-season-six buildup by watching every episode and hoping that we might find some things we missed or gain some insights into what the heck is going on with our Losties. My observation from re-watching Season 1 so far is that they managed to set up a number of mysteries, but there do not seem to be many clues for what's to come in these first few episodes. Would you agree, or have I (again) missed some big Easter eggs?

Liz Kelly: I think we've had some pretty concrete clues:

-- The smokemonster

-- The transmission

-- John's miraculous ability to walk

-- The early setting up of the Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle.

Speaking of Kate -- I found myself actually liking her in these early episodes. I really do think Evangeline Lilly did a much better job of making Kate a fully-realized character early on.

Jen Chaney: Well, Kate is more empathetic at this point. And she's a tough girl, the kind who isn't afraid to climb tall trees if she has to. How can you not like that?

To your Easter egg question, I wouldn't say we've had any of those in these first few episodes. But certainly some foreshadowing of "the shape of things to come," if you will, as Liz noted.

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Just an observation...: I keep coming back to the white/black references in the show. In the season finale during which Jacob and "Man #2" are sitting on the beach, Jacob is wearing a white shirt, and #2 a black shirt. Then while watching the first few episodes of season 1 again, I noticed the first time John Locke is teaching Walt how to play Backgammon - there it is again: the black/white pieces and descriptions. Then again when they find the island's "Adam & Eve," there is a marble bag that contains a black stone and a white stone within it. Maybe Adam & Eve were prior "hosts" for Jacob and Man #2.

Liz Kelly: That is a good observation. The foreshadowing of Locke's future role is definitely there.

I also noted Locke's explanation of backgammon to Walt. He talks reverently of the game as a 5,000 year old Mesopotamian invention -- an early allusion to the island's long history?

Also, I agree -- backgammon is so better than checkers.

Jen Chaney: Yes, all that white vs. black, dark vs. light imagery is tough to ignore.

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Scheduleville: Oh no, I would have eagerly rewatched the episodes...but I'm not tuned into the schedule for Lost Central! When's the next visit to season 1 or 2 and what should I watch?

Liz Kelly: We'll be watching three more episodes ahead of next Thursday's chat. We'll list them at the end of the show.

And if you aren't able to watch all of them, you can always get a quick refresher by reading the Lostpedia

episode recaps

.

Jen Chaney: What she said.

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Seattle, WA: Do you think that peanut butter is the solution to everything - or do you take the alternate viewpoint that Dharma mayonaisse is instead?

Jen Chaney: Don't you mean Dharma ranch dressing?

Actually, I think boxed Dharma wine solves all problems. But that's me.

Liz Kelly: A friend mentioned a recent episode of Top Chef Masters, judged by LindeCuse, in which the participants had to craft a meal using only things that would have been available on the island. I haven't watched yet, but am hoping to catch a re-run.

Jen Chaney: Oh, I missed that, too! I caught "Ace of Cakes" but not that. How many "Lost"/cooking show tie-ins can there be? Never enough, that's what I say!

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I miss Boone!: This just made me miss Boone more. So helpful and friendly. Next to Sayid, he's my favorite character still to this day.

And I also remember why Locke always seems to weak - the "Walkabout" episode really did him in for me. Little baby stuck in a box.

Jen Chaney: I definitely dig Boone. But I also see why they got rid of the character. Aside him from his weird, argumentative, incestuous relationship with his half-sister, he didn't serve much purpose. Wasn't as central as some of the other folks.

That said, still miss him and hope to see him in season six.

Liz Kelly: Right. He was basically a foil for Shannon. And Shannon was a foil for Boone. Not necessarily central, but I'm sure if the stars had aligned the writers could have found a way to work them into the mythology.

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Seattle, Where the Wild Things Are: Would this recap of Lost season 1 and 2 in puppet show format be done using real puppets, or will it be done in live action format using people playing puppets?

And who is pulling Hurley's strings - is he the Wild Thing? or does he represent us running away from our bedrooms to a fantastic island overrun by puppets?

Jen Chaney: Good question. I would have said real puppets, but your second suggestion intrigues me...

Liz Kelly: You say "intrigue," I say "scares."

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Alexandria, Va.: Not a question, and not really for posting since I'm lame and can't do the hyperlink right, but I wanted to send Liz and Jen this cute/funny link to Lost-themed bento. The blogger lives in HI, and her aunt has some kind of connection to the show, so some of the cast members (including Michael Emerson) have seen her creations.

Liz Kelly: Why, you're right -- that bento is both cute and funny.

Jen Chaney: I LOVE those bento boxes. Finally: My "Lost" in a box!

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B and S: Boone and Shannon were step not half. Ew.

Jen Chaney: Sorry, step. Either way, still a little ew.

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I forgot: how exhausting it was to watch Jack, especially in the first season. I mean he's great and everything, but that guy is everywhere. I mean, I knew he was "Mr. Fix-it," but still, after watching Chill Jack in season 5, I just wanted him to calm down. It was stressing me out just watching it.

Jen Chaney: I liked him in the early hero role, especially because he so begrudgingly takes it on. He can, as Rose says, have "such a good way about him." But then he's so flippant -- because of his own issues, clearly -- when Claire asks him about the memorial service.

BTW, possibly the worst memorial service ever? "So-and-so ... she was from Texas. And she was an organ donor. Next!"

Liz Kelly: Oh Jen -- come on -- Claire isn't a trained eulogizer. I've been in the audience for plenty of public speakers who did a worse job than that. Her comments were from the heart and at least gave the survivors a sense of those that were lost.

Jen Chaney: Oh, I am not blaming Claire. She had absolutely no information to go on. I was just trying to make light of a horrific situation. You know, be the comic relief. Like Hurley.

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Washington, DC: Looking back, what purpose did the tailies have in this series? While they were interesting charachters, their stories seem completely irrelevant now to the show.

Liz Kelly: Not necessarily -- remember Bernard was found with the Tailies and, as of season 5, he's still with us. Ana Lucia also played a pretty vital role in season 2 -- although looking back one could argue that her entire involvement was a massive unnecessary sub plot. Again, though, we have to remember that LindeCuse did not yet have any idea when the show would wrap up and needed to keep the show alive by slowing down the main action with distractions like Ana Lucia and Nikki/Paolo.

Also -- Mr. Eko was a tailie and his backstory ties in directly to the drug-filled plane found near the Dharma observance station. And he kind of got John kicked off on his whole "man of faith" thing. And we know he would have continued to play a big role in the show if the actor who portrayed him, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, hadn't disliked living in Hawaii.

Jen Chaney: In a broader sense, I also think the idea that the plane broke off into two parts is symbolic of all the dichotomies at work in the show. The bad vs. good; past lives vs. new lives on the island; parallel universes; the Others vs. the Losties; the Hostiles vs. Dharma; and, of course, Chaney vs. Kelly via the dueling analyses.

Liz Kelly: You can decide for yourself which of us is light and which dark.

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I miss Shannon: I'm sorry there's too much Boone praise in here, I'd like to offer some balance. I miss Shannon, that's all I really have to add. That, and I recall watching some terrible horror movie just because Shannon was in it, but I forget it's name or what it was about.

Jen Chaney: Shannon's character definitely had a bit more depth in terms of how she was written. Because she stuck around longer, she was given more room to develop. And the way she dealt with her brother's loss -- and the Sayid hook-up -- allowed her to show different sides of her character.

And was that terrible horror movie, perhaps, "

The Fog

"?

Liz Kelly: The other thing about the Shannon/Boone dynamic? They were fun. Whatever the show is now -- engrossing, enigmatic, intellectual -- I'm not sure "fun" is a word I'd use at this point.

Jen Chaney: Um, excuse me? Were you not paying attention this season when Hurley tried to rewrite "Empire"? How much more fun can you get?

Liz Kelly: That was a welcome bit of comic relief in an otherwise crushingly terrifying story arc. Again, "fun" is not the word.

As soon as LindeCuse had their end date, every second of the show has been devoted to the task of advancing the story and wrapping up the mythology. There just isn't room anymore for asides like Shannon/Boone. And that's as it should be, but it does make one nostalgic for a simpler era in the island timeline.

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Boulder, CO: Are Muppet Babies available for use in your LOST puppet show?

Jen Chaney: Yes, our puppet show should definitely include Muppets.

And Beaker can play Dr. Chang's sidekick.

Liz Kelly: I heart Beaker.

I'm seeing Hurley as Gonzo.

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Lost in Adams Morgan: Started to watch last week and can't stop. There's always the complicit look: Let's do one more? Anyway, I am keeping a close eye on Locke. Knowing what we know now after season 5, I've observed that at least up to episode 8 or 9, all indicates that something or someone might have taken over Locke, meaning possessed him or something. I don't know how to explain it but it resembles a lot the bizarro Locke at the end of season 5.

Liz Kelly: Totally agreed. He seems to be a man, as I mentioned earlier, getting used to a new body. And that could just be attributable to the sudden realization that his legs work but could also be the whole No. 2 thing.

The one thing that argues against possession this early on is that it seems as if No. 2 wasn't able to use John to return to the island until John died (at Ben's hands). Though I'm sure No. 2 could already have been setting the wheels in motion to ensure that would eventually happen.

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In fact, it was noteworthy for the very fact that Locke wasn't killed by the monster. : As far as we know...

Or more likely brainwashed like Rousseaus' guys?

Jen Chaney: Possibly. As of this episde, we didn't see what happened between Locke and the monster, so it's all up to our imaginations.

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Shannon in a movie: Taken with Liam Neeson?

Jen Chaney: She was in that, too. But that doesn't qualify as horror, hence my mention of "The Fog."

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Seat 4A: I admit, I didn't watch Lost until this year, so I bought all the previous seasons on DVD. Am just completing season one. So amazing! I can't believe what I missed!

Anyway, I noticed that you have the shows you will cover today. Could you please, at the end of the chat or somewhere during it, provide the shows you plan on covering next week? I want to make sure I have a good grasp on what you are covering, so I don't get too far ahead.

Liz Kelly: Yep -- may as well mention them now, though we'll repeat at the close of today's hour.

For next week, we'll be watching:

White Rabbit

House of the Rising Sun

The Moth

Though I'm enjoying this rewatch so much, I'm going to have to force myself to stop there for the week.

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Reston, Va.: Talking about these early episodes make me miss my Charlie! What are you thinking about the rumors he's coming back next season?

Jen Chaney: Well, it looks like Dominic Monaghan is in the new ABC series "Flash Forward." But I am hoping he shows up on "Lost," too. As I said in a previous chat, I have this feeling the end of the show will be a mega-reunion of sorts, where everybody is back together. And, hopefully, they'll do an awesome finale performance of "We Go Together," with Smokey providing the "chang, chang, chang-ity, chang, shoo-bops."

Liz Kelly: He will be a part of "Flash Forward," but a spy at E! apparently spotted Dom breakfasting with Damon Lindelof last week. Which is incontrovertible evidence that he's coming back, right Jen?

Jen Chaney: Clearly. When two people eat breakfast together, it's a given that one of them has agreed to return to the TV show written by the other. I mean, that's how it works when I have waffles with people.

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Boston: Are you sure Gov. Sanford wasn't auditioning at his press conference yesterday for a role in the upcoming season of "Lost"? Fate, will, self, love, God, deception, betrayal, exotic locations...all tangled up in one character!

Jen Chaney: You're right. That settles it. He's the real Jacob.

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Lost without chats: I was so sad on Tuesday when I learned I would no longer get to waste away an hour at work reading Gene's chats. But, I seem to have forgotten my sadness already because LOST hour is back!

Jen Chaney: The "Lost" Hour: curing depression faster than Prozac.

Liz Kelly: And not incompatible with cocktails.

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Brooklyn, N.Y.: Jen/Liz,

Hope you both are having a great summer!

So I am starting to think that Locke died during the initial crash and he has been "evil-Locke" from the very beginning. Especially after watching him play backgammon with Walt. Thoughts?

Liz Kelly: Is it possible, I wonder, for both the real Locke and evil Locke to have shared possession of Locke's body. That might explain his wavering between resoluteness and indecision in subsequent seasons.

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Liz Kelly: Thanks for joining us for the kick-off of the Great "Lost" Rewatch of Summer 2009*.

We'll be back next Thursday at 3 p.m. to talk about the next three episodes in season 1:

White Rabbit

House of the Rising Sun

The Moth

(*seasons 1 and 2 only)

Jen Chaney: We'll see you here at 3 p.m., pre-Fourth of July weekend! Please bring your evil Locke observations and Boone/Shannon insights, as well as your always spot-on witty comments.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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