Where it left off After Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Michael (Harold Perrineau) appeared to bite it when the freighter blew up, mercurial mastermind Ben (Michael Emerson) cranked an ancient wheel and the island vanished, taking Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), John Locke (Terry O'Quinn), and the freighter folk (Jeremy Davies, Rebecca Mader, and Ken Leung) with it. Three years later, back in civilization, Ben persuaded Jack (Matthew Fox) to try to bring his Oceanic 6 comrades — Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Sun (Yunjim Kim), Sayid (Naveen Andrews), and Aaron-raising Kate (Evangeline Lilly) — back to the MIA island to save their friends. Oh, they gotta bring Locke's corpse with them, too.
What's coming up Exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof say these questions will be answered within the first eight episodes: Where did the island go? When did the island go? How did Locke die, and how did he get back home? How will the Oceanic 6 get back to the island, and will they all go back? Look for Ben to drive a lot of the action: ''His master plan is badly out of whack, and he's forced to improvise to get it back on track,'' says Emerson. Episodes will bring a new spin on flashback/flash-forward storytelling, thanks to a bold embrace of time-travel sci-fi. Old faces will return, and key moments will be revisited and given provocative new context. ''More than ever, I find myself getting scripts that leave me saying, 'You've got to be kidding me,''' says Emerson. ''The writers have both you and me exactly where they want us.'' —Jeff Jensen