They also await your reactions to the Freighter Four, whose imminent arrival in last week's season premiere divided the castaways into two tribes: the Jack Pack, cautiously confident that the freighter is their ticket off the Island, and the freighter-fearing Locke Lot. (Or the Ben Bunch, if you share Sawyer's belief that the seemingly leashed Other is still pulling the strings. Killer line: ''It's only a matter of time before he gets us, Johnny. And I bet he's already figured out how he's gonna do it.''). The Freighter Four fell to earth, like the castaways [or Icarus? Lucifer? David Bowie? Pick one we're interactive!]; they had to bail after their helicopter encountered electromagnetic turbulence in the airspace around the Island. Lost has sometimes fumbled the needle when injecting new blood into the narrative. (See: the Tailies in season 2, Nikki and Paulo in season 3.) But here, the show has seemingly scored some primo plasma. The casting of Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), Lapidus (the Lawnmower Man himself, Jeff Fahey), Daniel Faraday (an appealingly quirky Jeremy Davies), and Miles Strom (Kenneth Leung, making a strong impression) totally worked for me, while their intriguing backstories left me jonesing for more. And did you notice that each one corresponded to a member of the Fantastic Four, another quartet of curious characters who fell from the heavens after bumping through a weird-science squall of cosmic rays? For purposes of both analysis and recap, let's take each of them in order of appearance:
Name Daniel Faraday
Island introduction Discovered by Jack and Kate in the jungle shortly after Strom shoved his chicken butt from the chopper. (''Hey, genius! Go!'') J&K were clearly puzzled by Daniel's jittery quirkiness and deeply alarmed by the poorly hidden pistol on his belt and the gas mask in his luggage.
Occupation Socially awkward physicist, though ''physicist'' is too small a word for the eccentric egghead. ''I guess you could call me a physicist,'' he later told Sayid. ''I don't like to be pigeonholed.''
Fantastic Four analogue Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), socially awkward physicist, whose body is as elastic as Faraday's view of himself.
Name game Daniel was an Old Testament prophet who survived the lions' den and interpreted dreams for Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Michael Faraday was a pioneering scientist in the fields of electricity and magnetism. Remember when Daniel noted how the sunlight ''doesn't scatter quite right'' on the Island? Exactly the kind of anomalous phenomenon Michael Faraday might have noticed.
Backstory intrigue According to Naomi, Faraday is a ''headcase.'' We got a taste of that in his flashback. While watching news coverage of Oceanic 815's (faux?) discovery, Faraday, dressed in jammies and robe, began to tremble with emotions he couldn't explain as if experiencing a deeply disturbing bout of déjà vu. It reminded me of ''Flashes Before Your Eyes,'' when Island Desmond projected his mind through time and left Flashback Desmond feeling seriously discombobulated. Is Daniel destined to dance the time-warp shuffle, too?
NEXT: The psychic enemies network