If I had to sum up tonight's episode in one word, it would be ''Kate.'' If I had to choose two, it would be ''Dharma bums.'' Three words? They would be ''Deals with devils.'' And if I had to pick four or more, I'd say, ''Let's just ask executive producer Damon Lindelof.''
''Remember last week when you were left wondering if Ben was a member of the Oceanic 6? Well, the last line of dialogue of this episode will cause the fans to ask a very similar question.''
Okay, since you brought it up, Damon: Is Ben a member of the Oceanic 6?
''Nothing precludes him from being a member of the Oceanic 6 other than he wasn't on the plane,'' says Lindelof. ''But he does have a room full of documents and passports. He could have just, you know, done some research and doctored some records and adopted the identity of someone on the plane someone with no family or friends who would know otherwise. So who's to say he isn't?''
So...when will we know for certain?
''By the end of the seventh episode, the audience will now know who the Oceanic 6 are.''
Well, whaddyaknow: a Doc Jensen column with some genuinely useful information for a change! And guess what?
We're just getting started.
''Sometimes, a bracelet is just a bracelet.''
DAMON AND CARLTON: A SEASON 4 INTERVIEW
No cheat sheets this week. (Though may I suggest you bone up on Philip K. Dick's ''Valis Trilogy'' in preparation for tonight's episode?) No reader mail. (Next week, I promise.) And no crazy theories from me, either. Now that the strike is finally over, it's time we heard from the majordomos of Lost themselves, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof.
Last week, I had the chance to sit down with the producers for a wide-ranging conversation about the new season. Check out the new issue of EW for their thoughts on getting back to work after the strike, the return of Richard Alpert, and why you won't be getting answers to Charlotte's Tunisian polar bear this year. But in this space, you will hear the producers speak out on a variety of issues: the structure of the season; the big mysteries that will and won't get resolved; the relevance of extracurricular stuff like the recent ''Find 815'' alternate reality game; and the proper way to ''read'' the show's flash-forward stories. But perhaps most provocatively, the producers offer their rules for time travel and alternate realities rules that many of you currently engaged in wild theory-making about the interpretation of time/space on Lost will find interesting, even challenging.
NEXT PAGE: The conversation begins...