Here is the greatness of "Lost."
In the climax of the season premiere that aired tonight, Hurley shocks us by saying he’s not going to follow Jack to await (questionable) rescue, and gives an impassioned speech explaining how the valiant, pre-drowning actions of Charlie compel him instead to follow Locke back to the barracks. Hurley’s words are completely moving, and not at all unconvincing.
Then in the epilogue, taking place in the future (with Hurley back in a mental institution), Jack hears Hurley admit he was wrong, in just about as moving a fashion. It’s a complete reversal, but the link in the two scenes is the anguish Hurley feels each time.
For three seasons and now starting a fourth, "Lost" has made me care about what happens to characters like Hurley. It’s not because of the mysteries of the island. It’s because of the lengths the show has gone to establish these characters’ backstory and humanity in the context of the island. Hurley and friends are way more interesting to me than Jacob.
Extraordinary things have happened, are happening and will happen. But in the end, "Lost" isn’t about those things alone. It’s about the people. And so while tonight’s episode didn’t have the jawdropping moments of last season’s finale, it offered the promise of many more adventures, not only in exploring the island, but in exploring these characters.
In short: very cool.
Highlights: Almost everything Hurley does in carrying the episode (his moment breaking the Charlie news to Claire shouldn’t go unmentioned, either), and the effect Hurley’s actions ultimately have on Jack.
Also, the appearance of Lance Reddick of "The Wire" (devilishly purporting himself to be your friendly neighborhood Oceanic Airlines Asylum Hospitality Coordinator) and Ben’s continued mind games with Jack.
Lowlights: Jack’s naivete in assuming that Naomi could only have gone the most obvious direction, and Hurley’s all-too-wistful desire to do a cannonball just at the moment he’s about to get the bad news about Charlie.
Truths I’m willing to wait to find out, that you’re probably on your way to figuring out: Dead Charlie – figment of Hurley’s imagination, or something more?
And, the Oceanic 6??????
— Jon Weisman
(Remember, folks – no spoilers about future episodes!)