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Lost” confounds, again

Five questions to get you geared up for Season 5

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1. Who is really dead?

A handful of important characters—Claire, Jin, Michael, Faraday and Locke—ended last season with their fates in question. Lost’s creators have a knack for doling out important information slowly, but we’d like to know who’s still with us as soon as humanly possible. Michael seems like a goner, but Jin, also onboard the boat that exploded, could easily have survived. Faraday was on a raft between the explosion and the vanishing island. And those are the straightforward cases. It’s trickier guessing what happened to Claire, who disappeared into the night and seemed to return as a ghost, and Locke, who showed up in a coffin off the island sometime in the future. They might be dead, they might come back, or they might wind up as something else entirely.

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Lost Season 5 premieres January 21 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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2. How did Locke wind up in that coffin?

Locke and his apparent death raise multiple issues going forward. Why—and how—did he leave the island? Why was he going by the name Jeremy Bentham, contacting other Flight 815 survivors? Did he really commit suicide, as Sayid indicated in the Season 4 finale? And will returning his body to the island result in his resurrection? Given that he’s already overcome paralysis and seemingly mortal gunshot wounds, nothing seems impossible.

3. What’s going on between Widmore and Ben?

Penny’s wealthy father Charles Widmore seems to be the show’s ultimate villain, but is he really? We were once led to believe that Ben Linus was the root of all evil, and look how multidimensional he’s become. All we know at this point is that Widmore and Ben are engaged is some sort of grand-scale chess match using the show’s other characters as expendable pieces. Widmore seems intent on rediscovering the island (which suggests that he was once there), while Ben wants to keep him away at all costs. Widmore upped the stakes by murdering Ben’s daughter, which was, apparently, against the rules of their game, and Ben has threatened to respond in kind. Look for this feud to escalate further as the show winds toward its 2010 finale.

4. Who or what is Jacob?

This might be the toughest question for the show to answer quickly, because they’ve revealed so little about it so far. All we know is that there’s some sort of presence living in a cabin that apparently changes location periodically, and that Ben refers to it as “Jacob.” Is it a manifestation of the island’s power? Or is it a ghost of an actual person? Or, could it possibly be an amalgamation of various spirits, including Jack’s father and Claire, both of whom have been seen in the cabin? Most likely, when we know the answer to this question, we’ll finally know the island’s true nature.

5. What happened to the island?

Over 85 hours of Lost, it’s become pretty clear the island is not simply sitting in the middle of the ocean, where anyone can find it. Still, when it vanished into a watery vortex at the end of last season, its location in both space and time became even murkier. Does it even exist in the “reality” of the show’s world? If the Oceanic 6 (and other former island dwellers) try to go back, how will they find it? Will wormholes be involved? We sorta hope so.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is Las Vegas Weekly's Managing Editor, having previously served as Arts & Entertainment Editor, Music Editor and a ...

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