Hold onto your couch cushions. And get ready to scream your head off.
There is at least one moment that will make you shriek out loud in tonight's two-hour Lost premiere, which is television at its very best. It is, as they say, a "game-changer."
So what else is in store for this groundbreaking series' final season? What about Walt? The Smoke Monster? Claire's relation to Jack? I just chatted up the entire cast and show masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and without giving away anything too spoilery (what's the fun in that?), here's what you absolutely need to know…
Will We See the Man in Black Again? Smokey? Jacob? Find out in the video above in the fun little game of "False, True or Hell No, I Won't Tell You" that I played with some of the cast and producers. (I got much more scoop from them but it needs to hold til after the premiere so stand by for that.) The Premiere Rocks. I'll say it again: Tonight's two-hour premiere is my favorite episode since Lost's groundbreaking pilot five years ago. The show is instantly broader and more meaningful than it was before. It's as if the fate of the whole world now depends on what is happening on this island…
There Will Be Answers. "Exactly 73 questions will be answered in the final season," boss Carlton Cuse tells me, and naturally, he's joking. "We're going to answer the questions that matter to our characters," Damon says in all seriousness. "If they care about it, then we're going to answer it. If it affects their lives, than we're going to deal with it."
There Will Be Family Matters. Urkel is guest starring! I keed. When asked if Claire (Emilie de Ravin) will find out Jack is her brother, Matthew Fox tells me, "Yes, I think you'll get an opportunity to see that." And here's my favorite tease from Michael Emerson (Ben) about the final season: "In the 13 episodes [we've shot so far], huge chucks of the puzzle have fallen into place. Some quite shocking, and some really satisfying. Some of those puzzle pieces answer whole families of questions. So the audience can have hope for resolution and satisfaction." When asked if he specifically chose the word "families" for a particular reason, Emerson says knowingly: "You know that nothing is accidental with Lost." Chills, meet spine.
What About Walt? Though Damon and Carlton say there are no current plans to bring Malcom David Kelley (Walt) back, his onscreen father is hopeful. "I'm hoping he's the next leader of the island," Harold Perrineau (Michael) tells me. "He starts it all over again. In 2012, Lost is back with Malcolm. He's 20 feet tall now and can kick my ass."
Sayid Might Be OK. His character was shot in the stomach when we last saw him, but as Naveen Andrews says in the clip above, "Lots of people have been in dire situations, right? And somehow, some way they pull through."
The Very End Will Satisfy Some of You. "The ending we promise you will be very emotional," Carlton explains. "That's what we think matters, what happens to the characters.
The Premiere Was Leaked. In case you didn't hear, the premiere episode was leaked on YouTube via fan videos taken at Sunday's Hawaii beach event, but here's the truly incredible thing: Very few of you have actually clicked to watch it (many vidoes received only a few hundred hits), recognizing that you didn't wait all this time to watch some lame shaky FlipCam version of this visually inspiring series. And that is why I heart you.
Just Wait Till You See Next Week's Episode. More on that in tonight's first Lost Redux (should be posted about 10 pm ET/7 pm PT), but I now know what's in store for next week and in all seriousness could not sleep last night thinking about all the ramifications of it. It will be an entirely different series with an entirely different framework after the end of next Tuesday's episode.
Why I'm Not Saying More Till You See It: As Daniel Dae Kim puts it, "Because people have waited so long for answers, and because they're coming out, it's probably best to be a little more tight-lipped than usual." Wise words from a guy I adore, so I'm heeding 'em.
That said, I would absolutely love to meet any of you who are interested in "watching" the premiere with me in the comments section below tonight from 8 to 10 pm ET (sorry, West Coasters, but you can read the exchange afterward?). Join me if you'd like, and I'll answer the questions I can?If you promise to hold me tight when Terry O'Quinn's big moment is revealed. Enjoy.