DOC JENSEN: How would you describe the general structure of the season?
CARLTON CUSE: This year, it's all about the castaways' relationship to the freighter folk. Since day one, their goal has been to get off the Island. Now our heroes will find themselves defending the very island they wanted to leave. The future hints at the fact that these folks have a deeper connection to the Island than they themselves realized.
DAMON LINDELOF: The big mystery looming over this season is, how did some people get off the Island and what happened to the people who didn't? That's the mystery that we owe the answer to at the end of the season, in addition to who's in the coffin. We could be winky about the coffin all the way through season 5. But that was one of the first things we talked about when we got back to work on the new episodes: We definitely have to show who was in the coffin. That's the primary superstructure of the season. As a result of that, certain thematic elements the element of fate or supernatural elements as they relate to the monster and Jacob are certainly in play but not as interesting to us this season as these questions: Why do some of the characters leave? How do they leave? What are the circumstances under which they leave? Why do some stay? Is it a choice? Is it an accident? Both?
CUSE: There are larger cosmic questions involved in that. Daniel Faraday's rocket experiment in the Sayid episode, which established a time differential on the Island, was a very important scene in that it sets the table for things that come into play in the future of the show. We've learned a lot about our characters' relationship to the Island, but now we're going to learn their relationship to the outside world once they've been on the Island. This is an important new idea to the show.
What's the deal with Jacob's shack? It keeps moving. Then Hurley saw Jack's father rocking in Jacob's chair.
CUSE: You will definitely see more of the cabin and it was very observant that many fans noted the presence of Jack's father inside the cabin. We'll shine a little bit more light on that later this season. This is stuff that is a big part of the show going forward, but in terms of the final five episodes of the season, those are not the kind of questions we'll be answering.
Hurley also saw an eyeball looking back at him. Should we be wondering about the identity of the owner of this eyeball?
LINDELOF: You should be wondering, certainly.
CUSE: One of the definitions of omniscience is to be in more than one place at a time.
LINDELOF: I always thought that word was pronounced omni-science.
CUSE: Well, you've learned something new today.
My annual inquiry: Will we be dealing with the Adam and Eve skeletons this season?
LINDELOF: No. But they will be addressed.
More Dharma Initiative intrigue this season?
LINDELOF: You haven't seen your last station. But the larger mythos, like ''The Purge'' that's more season 5.
CUSE: We showed the Orchid video orientation film at Comic-Con that is important for this season.
Someone at my office wants an answer to this question: Wasn't it just a little too convenient for Penny to be calling the Island at the exact same moment Charlie killed the dampening field in the season finale?
LINDELOF: Good question. Here's how we always thought of that: What we always imagined was that Penny has an auto dialer in the bedroom of her house and in various places that is constantly sending some sort of transmission to the coordinates that were revealed at the end of season 2. So when Charlie turned off the dampening field, her auto caller indicated that her call could go through.
Now that they have a satellite phone, why doesn't Desmond just call Penny?
LINDELOF: Lapidus explains the rules of the satellite phone and what calls it can and can't make in episode 5.
The Sayid episode established that Ben's got this list of bad people that need executing. What can you say about these people?
CUSE: We'll know by the end of the season that there will be two alternative explanations for why Oceanic 815 is in the trench at the bottom of the ocean. It will not be clear which story one should believe. [To be clear, Cuse is saying the mystery of Ben's list is linked to this wreckage.]
LINDELOF: Both stories will be presented and both stories will have legitimate facts presented on their behalves.
CUSE: The act of taking a plane, filling it with dead bodies and putting it at the bottom of the ocean connotes a group that is pretty freakin' powerful. You should be worried about the people involved in either scenario capable of doing something like that.
Is one of these groups ''The Maxwell Group,'' a mysterious outfit introduced via the ''Find 815'' alternate reality game?
LINDELOF: We cannot say that any of that stuff in ''Find 815'' is in canon. The Maxwell Group is something that Hoodlum came up with. Last fall, we presented them with the idea that, at the beginning of the second episode, a salvage ship was going to find wreckage of Oceanic 815. From there, they came up with a story and backstory that led up to that event. [Some background: Prior to the strike, the producers and ABC's marketing team hired a company in Australia called Hoodlum to execute ''Find 815.'']
CUSE: We provided the creative framework but didn't oversee the execution.
LINDELOF: I'll sign off on this idea: The Christiane 1, which in the show was responsible for finding Oceanic 815, was in fact looking for the Black Rock. We established that in the show but the people who owned the ship may have been up to a little bit more than just looking for the Black Rock.
So what's official and what's not? What's ''canon?''
CUSE: The mobisodes are in canon. The Orchid video is in canon. The videogame is not in canon. It's unfair for the audience to go to ancillary sources in order to really understand the show. Even the things like the mobisodes, which are in canon, aren't essential to your understanding of the show. These things are just added bonuses.
LINDELOF: The only true canon is the show itself.
NEXT PAGE: ''When we name people, we often do Web searches on certain verbiage or if we want to pull something out of Greek mythology or Native American mythology, like, 'Who was the god of wheat?'''