What an astounding return Lost made last night.

The show went off in all sorts of new directions and for the first time actually gave us a sense of time. The “Three years earlier” screens we got a couple of times were rather startling, as Lost’s creators have absolutely never attempted to be transparent with the time frame they’re working in.

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Those of us paying attention always knew Lost was all about time travel. And we knew that time on the island ran on a different track than everywhere else. But why the island should be skipping about like a scratched record (nice imagery at the beginning of the episode, eh?) is beyond me for the moment.

I thought I’d round up what I learned yesterday and what I now wonder, along with all the other things that I already wondered.

• The island didn’t move in location, just in time. And the others are not just “indigenous,” but rather somehow a part of the island, for they are not skipping about with our Losties. They are almost outgrowths of the island, as much a part of it as the trees.

• Did the biological weapon unleashed by the Others on the Dharma initiative somehow cause the phenomenon where women cannot give birth on the island? Obviously, at some point, they could. And that could explain why Desmond and Kelvin, locked up in the Hatch, wore those hazmat suits. Or thought they needed to wear them. Or not.

• Did Daniel insist on seeing Desmond only to have him visit his mommy at Oxford, or did he also need to touch base with Desmond, b/c Des is his constant? Desmond needed to speak to Penny in order to stablize in time. So did Daniel have to talk to Desmond?

• Why is Charlotte the only one so far to have the nosebleed from the time travel? And why isn’t Daniel her constant? And why doesn’t Daniel tell her she needs a constant and make himself her constant? Or, is Ben her constant because she’s Annie? Hmmm? Oh, c’mon, I’m not even close to the first person to think she’s Ben’s childhood girlfriend.

• Speaking of Daniel (yeah, he was one of the most key characters of the episode), how and why was he there when Dr. Candle/Wick/whatever was near the donkey wheel wall? Did he somehow get in there during one of the time skips? Is that why he was gone for so long? Not just visiting Desmond, but also checking out the donkey wheel?

• Who are the lawyers who visited Kate working for? Ben? Charles Widmore? Jack? Christian? Mrs. Hawking?

• Speaking of jewelry store lady – is she Smokey? Did you see her eyes go totally black when she told Ben they had 70 hours? How, exactly, is an ancient computer helping her calculate when the island’s gonna move again? Why is that the only window of opportunity? Is it because the island’s gonna go kablooie after that time?

• WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE ISLAND? OK, we’re all wondering that and this season is supposed to be dealing with that a lot, I know.

• Hurley’s mom is way cool. She didn’t understand hardly anything Hurley told her, but she knew her son was telling her the truth because Hurley’s no good at lying.

• Who’s happy Jack shaved off that horrible beard? ::raises hand::

• I found it very interesting that Daniel was explaining to Sawyer & Co. that you cannot change the past, that time travels along one line, and even though you can skip around on it, you can’t create a new one. It seems you can’t change the future, either, as Desmond learned in trying to save Charlie. That would seem to mean that all past, present and future is predetermined. And if that is the case, how could the island go kablooie if it weren’t meant to, or how could they stop it from happening if it were meant to? Or is this the exception that proves the rule?

• Who else remembered Frogurt from the horrible pre-Season 4 mobisodes online? Who else was glad he took a flaming arrow to the chest?

• I suspect the Losties are being attacked by both Dharma AND Others. Both sides think they belong to the other side.

• How awesome was it to see Sayid go all Jack Bauer on those bad guys (they’re bad, right?)??

• Why do I love this show so much? Why does it infuriate me almost as much as it entertains me?

OK, so I have far more questions than answers. But at least they answered one big question: Time travel. Can’t wait for next week.