Thursday ayem update: "Lost" ratings weren't spectacular, by the show's high standard, but they were solid by any other yardstick. The 9-10 p.m. hour pulled 11.7 million viewers and 5.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, according to prelim Nielsens. The second ep from 10-11 p.m. pulled in 11.1 mil and 4.9/13 in the demo. I'm sure the DVR viewing over the next week will swell those numbers considerably.

Welcome to the first "Lost" episodes of the Obama era. Whoo-hoo! Lost5ben

After the excitement of Tuesday's inspirational inaugural festivities and the excitement tonight of watching two hours of "Lost" in glorious high-def on a large-screen TV, my brain can't handle much in the way of deep thought and analysis. (And tomorrow is Oscar noms day.)

So I'm not even going to attempt to recap all of the slam-bang, pot-boiling action that unfolded in the first two segs that bowed tonight, "Because You Left," penned by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (pictured below, Cuse at left) and helmed by Stephen Williams, and "The Lie," written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and directed by the skilled hand of Jack Bender.

It's downright comforting to be immediately sucked right back into the epic saga of Flight 815 and the isle of mystery, after seven long months of waiting since the season four finale. Sure, you have to allow "Lost" some truly fantastic license at times, but if you lighten up and just go with it, there's no more cerebral thrill ride on TV. And there is no more ambitious production on the air today; the work these guys and gals pull off in a week is amazing.

All that said, I'm gonna take the easy way out and get out the bullets (points, not ammo) for a few observations, a few favorite lines/moments and a few questions:

**After three viewings (two on the media preview web stream), I'm starting to get the vibe that Sun had something to do with those supposed lawyers showing up on Kate's doorstep demanding a blood sample to determine if she really is Aaron's mother. The lawyers show up, send Kate back on the run (again) and then suddenly Sun's in L.A. and wants to have tea? Something fishy about all that whole scene as Sun recounts the incidents on the freighter before it went ka-boom. Sun's got a demented look on her face the whole time that she's talking to Kate.

Lost5dlcccrop **Trying to interpret the use of Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie" in the opening scene with Dr. Marvin Candle. Is it to set the time period? That album was released in 1973, though I suppose Candle could've been listening to a Greatest Hits collection. And who's the baby in that scene? Is it Miles? At first I thought I saw a hint of red in the baby's hair and thought it might even be Charlotte.

**The glimpse of Faraday in the Orchard Station while it's still under construction and the workers have just discovered the donkey wheel. Faraday looks like he's the contemporary bedraggled guy who's presumably found his way in there during one of their time travel skips (surely there's got to be a Billy Pilgrim mention coming soon), but does the fact that he is allowed by the "rules" to insert himself in that situation indicate that Faraday at one time was a Dharma Initiative dude? After all, he tells Sawyer that he's spent most of his adult life studying time travel and the D.I.

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