We start off with what looks like a flashback, only in "guess the character" style we don't see the face of the guy getting up, having breakfast, listening to music, doing sit-ups, and you're thinking, "Is that Jack? The hair's wrong. Who is that?" -- and then his apartment/house/condo whatever is rocked by an explosion, and Dude goes to his Firepower Closet and locks and loads. And if you haven't figured it out by now, maybe by making the connection to the explosion from the "previously on" scenes of the gang blowing open the hatch, this guy is down there in the hole. Best basement apartment I've ever seen.
Locke and Jack argue about going down the hole. Locke wants to, being a man of faith. Jack doesn't, being a man of chickenshitness. Since Jack hoped the hatch would be a haven for the Lostaways (remember, the Others are supposedly coming), he tells them that there's no way they can all get down there. Locke pretends to agree, and then says "screw this" and says he's tired of waiting and he's going down the hole. Except what happens is that Kate goes to help, and she goes down first, being smaller and therefore more appropriate to be the canary in the coal mine. And Locke almost drops her, even though she weighs about sixty pounds. And then she gets hauled in, and when Jack shows up later, Locke's gone too.
The flashback is all about Dr. Jack, who borrowed the Ross Geller flashback wig for the scenes in which he meets his future wife, the car accident victim. Dr. Flashback Jack has the bedside manner of a salted slug, making a likely paralyzed-for-life Sarah feel even worse about her situation. Jack's daddy upbraids him for it, and Jack responds by promising Sarah that he'll fix her spine during the operation, even though he doesn't think he can.
Bear with me, we're almost there. Jack takes his frustration out by maniacally running up and down stadium steps, and twists his ankle, so a helpful fellow stadium runner gives him a bunch of clichÃ©s, but it's delivered in Desmond's Irish accent so they come across as wise. And guess what? Jack IS able to fix Sarah. Physically, anyway. Presumably he soon begins work on crippling her emotionally.
Back in the present, Jack heads down the hatch-hole, finding a complex of pipes and buckets and artistic murals and the kind of computers Richard Pryor used in Superman III. And he finds Locke, only Locke's got the business end of a gun pointed at his own head. Holding that gun is -- again, you've figured this out, since the show took great pains to introduce us to him a moment ago -- Desmond. Dun dun dun!
Oh, and nothing about the guys on the raft. Shannon did see -- or did she? -- Walt in the jungle, looking all scared and wet, but she hasn't eaten or slept in days, and this show always fucks with us in terms of what people see in the jungle anyway.
Since so many people were unimpressed with the lack of revelation on last season's finale, I've come up with a plan. We'll do this Sopranos-style: the episodes that are starting now aren't actually a whole new season. They're bonus episodes of Season 1.
Just like the first season, this one opens with an extreme close-up of someone's eye. Brown, and slightly bloodshot. Then a shot of a cursor on a green computer screen, reminiscent of the '80s. The cursor comes after a prompt that resembles an angry emoticon: >:, and the computer's beeping. The Eyeball Kid hops out of the top bed of what appears to be a bunk bed, and the light coming in the room looks like morning light. He hops down to the floor and slides in his chair Alex P. Keaton-style over to the computer, clickety-clacks on the keys, and presses a well-used EXECUTE button. The beeping stops.
We've yet to get a look at this guy's face. It's always obscured, or shot from above or from the back, in the usual television "guess the character" style. Simply from his being a man, I've eliminated Shannon, Kate, Sun, Claire, and Rousseau from the list of possibilities. While that sort of deductive reasoning may impress you, please keep in mind that I am a professional television-watching guy.
The Eyeball Kid wanders over to a bookshelf in his space-age bachelor pad and thumbs through some records (actual vinyl) next to the lava lamp. He chooses a record, and the California sunshine voice of Mama Cass starts singing "Make Your Own Kind of Music" while the Eyeball Kid grabs dishes from the table and rinses them out in the sink and goes about his day. I'm visiting my parents for a few days, and trying to work on the recap here in Calgary, and Mom made me play the scene over again because she wanted to sing along (and when the song stopped because of the upcoming explosion, Mom says, "What the hell?" so if my mom starts posting in the Bitterness thread, you'll know why. Sample complaint: "And also, WTF is with Daniel not calling me often enough?").
Anyway, Eyeball Kid gets on the exercise bike (an older one, with an analog odometer), does some pull-ups and sit-ups. So, um, no judgment here, but I've just eliminated Hurley from the list of possible characters. At this point, I was thinking it was Jack, assuming the first person to get what appeared to be a flashback (as the show started, thinking of the cliffhangers we'd been left with, I yelled, "They're starting with a flashback? Assholes!") would be the show's, for lack of a better word, hero. But the hair's wrong. And as he showers, we see the shoulders aren't slopey enough to be Sawyer's.