Lost Is Back, But Will Its Mysteries Be Solved?

There's a new billboard in Times Square for, ahem, Oceanic Air. And across it, someone has "spray-painted" Find 815.com. It's very clever -- both the billboard and the Find815 site -- and very frustrating. How long can ABC drag this out? Are we ever going to find out what the deal with the polar bears was? The black smoke? The ghost of Jack's dad? Jack's tattoos? The French chick? Wasn't Claire's baby supposed to be the spawn of Satan or something? Argh! This is excruciating!

Well, Lost returns on Thursday, January 31, at 8pm Eastern with a two-hour season premiere. Finally. It feels like we've been waiting forever since the terrible tease the writers left us with, with that flash-forward to Jack and Kate in the future, after they've been rescued (or have they?). Alas, because of the WGA strike, we're only going to get eight new episodes, according to USA Today, but I'll take them.

There are tons of theories floating around about just what the heck is happening on that island -- I personally love the never-ending random speculation of the Lost Theory Generator. Have I been keeping up with all the conjecture? Hell, I can barely keep up with my own ideas about the truth. Here are a few of them:

= Walt is like that creepy kid from The Twilight Zone, the one who could make people disappear and stuff if they annoyed him. And what happened was, on the plane, Walt got peanuts instead of the pretzels he asked the flight attendant for, and, well, this is what happens when the creepy kid with superpowers doesn't get his damn pretzels.

= Everyone is actually asleep in cryogenic freezers on a spaceship taking three hundred years to get to another planet, and this is their shared virtual reality. It was supposed to be fun and exciting and kinda like a theme park -- you know, something to keep them occupied while they sleep. Except, of course, the AI that runs their little matrix has gone mad and is scrambling everything up because it finds messing with the meatbag people fun and exciting. You can't trust AIs.

= Polar bears. They're actually waaaay more intelligent then we've given them credit for, and they're pretty mad about the Arctic melting, so they've hypnotized all of us into believing there's a mysterious show on TV about a group of people crashed on an island. The bears are torturing us, and we'll never get any kind of resolution to the show (which exists only in all our heads, anyway).

= That four-toed statue? Clearly, Flight 815 went through a wormhole and crashed on an alien planet. And everyone has been infected by some alien spore that's making them hallucinate (like what happened to Spock in that one episode of Star Trek).

= It's all someone's philosophy thesis. C'mon: Locke, Rousseau, Hume... it's some egghead's idea of a joke.

= It's all a giant opus of Gilligan's Island fan fiction.

(Need to catch up on what's happened so far? You can watch full episodes at the official ABC site for the show, or just watch the "Lost Recap In 8 min 15 sec!" It's hilarious and informative.)

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MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

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