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Lost Returns and Answers One of Its Biggest Mysteries...Sort Of

Terry O'Quinn, playing Locke and the mysterious "Man in Black," gave the night's best performance.
Terry O'Quinn, playing Locke and the mysterious "Man in Black," gave the night's best performance.ABC

Spoilers are ahead for the season premiere of Lost, so if you haven't seen it yet, stop reading and start watching.

 "What happened?" asks Sayid at the end of "LA X," the excellent first episode of Lost's final season. 

 He can be forgiven for asking, having spent most of the two previous hours on the island unconscious and -- at one point -- dead.  The rest of us have no such excuse. 

 But even if the premiere left you confused, there's no denying it was a remarkably entertaining two hours, filled with great acting, great character moments, an intriguing new narrative device and the answer to one of the show's biggest mysteries.

 That would be "What is the monster."

 The answer: "The monster is yet another form of the Man in Black, the mysterious entity introduced last season, who has been walking around impersonating John Locke.

 So basically, the answer to one of Lost's oldest, greatest riddles is part of an even bigger puzzle.

 It might be kind of annoying if it wasn't so much fun to watch Terry O'Quinn playing this new character, who looks like Locke (fans have been calling him "UnLocke," or "Flocke," as in "Fake Locke"). 

 O"Quinn has always been great on the show, but here he's playing something entirely new: strong, confident, powerful and extremely menacing. He also has Locke's old memories, and one of the most chilling moments in the episode came when he scoffed at Locke's dying moments and "pitiful" life.

 And that brings us to the new narrative device, which the show's producers are calling the "flashsideways" (as opposed to the flashbacks and flashforwards of previous seasons).

 So this year, we'll be following two storylines: one on the island in 2007, the other set in an alternate 2004, one where the island no longer exists and flight 815 lands safely in Los Angeles.

 It's not as exciting as everything going on back on the island (at least not yet), but it gives us a chance to see might have been. (The best example of this: a lovely scene at the end between Locke and Jack, two men who were more or less enemies on the island forming a sort of friendship here.) 

 We also got to see some old faces, like Boone, a main character killed off in season one, and Doctor Artz (played by Lehigh Valley native Daniel Roebuck), who showed up to pester Hurley. 

 And this is where the confusion sets in. Why is this version of 2004 slightly different from the one we first saw? And will this reality somehow catch up or connect with the island reality of 2007? In a season where we've been promised answers, those are two questions that need to be addressed.

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