It's always hell to try and figure out what the freak is going on in any Lost season premiere. The fact that the case is literally divided now both back in the real world, and on the island doesn't help. And the opening scene even more baffling than usual. We seem to have traveled back to whenever the Dharma Initiative existed (which now appears to be in the mid-1970's at the latest) and see the films of the Dharma stations being made. (It's The Arrow, which we last saw in Season 2. We've now named all six of the stations; do we get a special prize for this hunt?) Then the scientist--- whose name appears to be Pierre Chang--- gets called out to The Orchid where someone tells him that they have just drilled a hole near the Donkey Wheel we saw in the end of Season 4. Chang says this device will be used for time travel, which this muscled boar of a worker seems to laugh off. Except that as Chang is leaving is bumps into Daniel Faraday. Welcome back, boys and girls.
In the present, the action moves right after the final flashforward in 'There's No Place Like Home'. Jack and Ben are moving Locke's corpse out of the funeral home. Ben seems to be as much in the dark as to what is going on the island as Jack is, and Jack tells him that they have to come back or everyone on the island is going to die. Ben says the last time he saw Locke was when he moved the island, but he pauses before saying, which probably means he's lying. Jack either doesn't know or (more likely) has been pushed to the point of desperation so that he just doesn't care any more. Like Ben, he needs to get back to the island, even if it means dragging everybody else away from their lives.
All are going through a severe state of flux in this episode. Kate, who had the least reason to go back, gets suddenly pushed when a mysterious lawyer comes to her door, demands a paternity test on her and Aaron. Someone seems to have penetrated the lie she's built up, so Kate does what she does best: she runs. Problem is, now she's traveling with a toddler, and she's about to find out what happens when you run with attachments.
Sun is cornered in a London airport (so her flashforward took place around the same time as everyone else) by Charles Widmore, who demands to know what she meant by common interests, when he approached here. If Sun was bold before, she's positively brazen now, telling him "to kill Benjamin Linus." Which means she must know Ben is off the island, but since he's been keeping himself hidden for the past two years, it's hard to know how she knows. I wouldn't hold my breath about her going along with this.
Sayid and Hurley are still together, but we get an even bigger shock--- whatever loyalty he might have had to Ben in the past, is completely gone. Which means that the attack that awaits him when Sayid makes it to the 'safehouse' could come from either Widmore's people or Ben's. Hurley may now have lost touch with reality, but when he says "We should never have left the island," I think that only Jack is going to be the one agreeing with him. Ben's saying this makes things harder is a hell of an understatement.
But as hard to fathom as what's going in the present, it's borderline normal to what's going on the island. The sky has turned purple, and Sawyer (still shirtless) and Juliet (hung over) find themselves on the beach with Rose and Bernard--- and no camp. It's vanished into thin air. Then we see Daniel emerge on the zodiac raft with a small parcel of survivors (we're down to probably less than a dozen background survivors now) and tells them what the hell's going on. By the way, Daniel suddenly seems a lot more lucid than he did when he first arrived on the island, and that journal he was looking all through season 4 seems to be holding the secrets of the universe. Where did he get this?
Daniel knows Ben has moved the island, but right now it seems like the castaways are the only ones who are moving. And it's not through space, it's through time. We learn this the hard way because we also go back to the one guy who's always on his own--- Locke. One minute, he's chatting happily with Richard, the next all of the Others are gone. (Begs the question, if everybody on the island is skipping, how come the Others didn't skip too. After all, Juliet is one, and she's moving along with everybody on the beach. Let's let this go for a now before we get a headache.) We soon find when exactly we are--- - the past, around the same time the Beechcraft that was being piloted by heroin traffickers was crashing on the island. Flummoxed as he is, Locke tries to save the passengers--- only to get shot in the leg by a very hostile Ethan. Ethan clearly doesn't buy Locke's story (I guess it's absurd, even for the island) and is about to blow him to hell when the sky flashes again. Suddenly, we're in the future, because the plane is now exactly where it was after Eko died. And Locke is greeted by Richard, who seems even less helpful than he was before. He gets the bullet out of John's leg, and evades Locke's questions by telling him that the next time they meet he won't know him, so Locke is to give Richard a compass, which he hands to him. Asked what the hell he as to do, he says that he has to get everybody who was on the freighter back on to the island. Asked how he's supposed to do this, Richard just tells him. "You're going to have to die." And like that, he's gone.
On the other side of the island, Sawyer is trying to figure out a way to stop whatever's going to happen. (We know they've traveled to the future, because the hatch is now blown up) Daniel, however, makes it very clear what Pierre Chang was telling the people at the Orchid. There are rules, and whatever happened, happened. You can't change the future from the past. It's hard to believe this by listening to Daniel, but Charlotte and Miles seem to take it as gospel, so we'll let it go. But is Daniel right? The next jump seems to take them back before the hatch was found. Juliet looks around for it, and then uncovers a corner. Has she, in doing so, set up the circumstances so that Locke will discover it in the first place? (She also mentions the purpose of the hatch in a very dismissive tone; did she get the party line it was unimportant?) Sawyer seems determined to get inside the station, and bangs on the door. Daniel pulls him away, and tells him they should go. Then he sees Charlotte's nose bleeding. \The last time a character got a nosebleed they shouldn't was Minnkowski on the freighter, and we remember how much longer after that something really bad happened. Daniel didn't see that, but he sees something in the journal, and it freaks him out enough to start banging on the front door-- at which point Desmond emerges. Daniel then tells Desmond that the rules don't apply to him. Perhaps because they've already met in the past, he thinks he can use Desmond to send him a message--- they need help, and the only person who can give is Daniel's mother. There is a flash--- and Desmond wakes up in bed, next to Penny. He's not sure what's going on either, but it's enough for him to start sailing the ship they're on back to England. Is this how Desmond is going to get pulled back into something he thought he left behind?
Trying to keep up with Lost can be a bit like flying on to this island, and now it's harder to keep track than ever. We're about to watch actors like Matthew Fox, Terry O'Quinn, and Michael Emerson strut their stuff, Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly go place the haven't yet, and Jeremy Davies and Elizabeth Mitchell goes places we didn't dream they were capable of. The island may be out of sync with the rest of the world (but what else is new) and we still don't know what the hell the teaser meant, but we're definitely going places, and whatever barometers we have are no longer accountable. Things may not be happening "Because You Left", but we're glad to be back.