Holy cow, I'm doing a TV recap.  Twelve years into my online life, and I think this is a first.

When we were first discussing adding this blog to HitFix, we talked about what shows we'd want to recap, and who would be responsible for them.  And there's only one show on TV right now that I am obsessive enough about to participate in recapping, and that's "Lost," returning tonight for a fifth season.  This is my favorite show on the air right now, and one of my favorite shows of all time.  Discussing it and asking questions about it and helping foster a community of "Lost" fans here at HitFix... that sounds pretty good to me.  So I hope you'll join me here each week on Wednesday nights as I try to share with you my observations on the home stretch of this amazing story, and I equally hope that you guys will point out things I miss, connections I fail to make, and make this one of the best places to digest the show each week.

And, yes, the only reason I joined HitFix.com was so I could see the season premiere early this year.  Busted.  You totally figured me out.  But can you blame me?  Really?

There are two episodes airing tonight.  Let's combine them for this post, althought they'll eventually exist in repeats as separate episodes.  #501 is called "Because You Left," and my one thought before pressing play is that there's a lot this episode better do, because season four ended with about nine million cliffhangers in play.  How do you pick up from that sort of incredible high point?  Where do you even begin?

How about... in the past?

The "previously on 'Lost'" clips package is actually pretty quick, showing Hurley and Sayid, Widmore and Sun, Jack and Kate, Ben and Jack, and dead Locke in the casket.  Boom.

We're on a clock.  It's 8:15 and someone's alarm goes off.  We see a Korean woman in bed as she wakes her husband with a kiss and tells him that the baby is awake.  We don't see the husband's face as he plays Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie" and gets ready for his day, feeding the baby, showering, and then shutting off the record when it starts to skip.

That's an important thematic image, I think.  Keep it in mind.

The husband, revealed as Dr. Marvin Candle, heads to work for the day, and we see that he's shooting the Dharma Initiative orientation tapes.  The taping is interrupted because of a workman with news that there's problem at the Orchid.

The Orchid's still under construction at this point, and when Candle heads underground to see what's wrong, he's told by a foreman that they had an accident trying to drill into an open chamber behind a rock all.  Drill bits are melting and a workman was driven mad by exposure to something behind the wall.  Candle tells the foreman to stop all work because they might damage the chamber, where there is an energy that promises to allow them to harness the energy of time itself.

When Candle walks away, the foreman shakes his head, unconvinced, and starts complaining to another worker, who turns out to be none other than Daniel Farraday.

"Time travel... how stupid does that guy think we are?'

BOOM.  "Lost."

And then we're back with Locke in the casket.  Ben tells Jack it's time to get Locke in the van, and it's time to go get Hugo and the rest of his friends.

"They're not my friends anymore."

"That's the spirit."

"How did we get here?  How did this happen?"

"It happened because you left, Jack.  Now let's get started."

In a motel room, Jack shaves his beard off and tells Ben they won't be able to get Kate.  He asks Ben about the last time he saw Locke.  Ben talks about seeing Locke beneath the Orchid and saying goodbye to him.  In turn, Ben asks Jack what Locke told him that made him a believer.

"Everyone we left behind... John said they'd die to if I didn't come back."

"Did he tell you what happened?  After they moved?"

"No."

"Then I guess we'll never know."

BLACK:  Three Years Earlier

And now we see the moment again as Ben turns the wheel and that sound and light spread out over the entire island.  We see Juliet and Sawyer together on the beach.  Bentham and his group in the rowboat.  Locke and Richard together in the jungle.  And then the light grows so bright it's all we can see...

... and Locke finds himself alone on the island in the rain.  Nobody's around.

Out on the water, Bentham and his group seem fine, as do Sawyer and Juliet on the beach.  Sawyer notices the freighter's gone.  No smoke on the horizon.  Same with the helicopter.

Bernard runs out onto the beach looking for Rose.  A moment later, she arrives on the beach, looking for him.  They're both freaking out.  They tell Sawyer and Juliet the camp is gone.  The food is gone.  The tents.  Everything.  And that's when Daniel shows up.

"The camp's not gone," he says, as Charlotte greets him with a relieved hug.

"Take me to something manmade," Daniel says.  "The camp isn't gone.  It hasn't been built yet."

After the commercial, we see Kate at home with Aaron having breakfast.  He's watching cartoons when the doorbell rings.  Kate's met at the door by two lawyers with a court order for a blood sample from her and from Aaron.  They won't tell her who they're working for, but when she refuses to give up the samples, they say they'll be back with a sheriff.  She tells them to go get the sheriff, and uses the brief respite to pack her bags, grab Aaron, and run.  Nice to see that she's using a skill set she perfected in the show's first few seasons again.

As Sawyer, Charlotte, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel march towards the closest Hatch ("You mean the one we blew up?"), tempers flare and Sawyer bitch-slaps Daniel.  When Charlotte protests, we get the best Sawyer nickname of the night.  "Shut it, Ginger, or you're getting one, too." 

Daniel tries to explain what it happening, and this is where that skipping record needle comes in.  Daniels says that's what is happening to them all now, that they've become dislodged in time.  He's just not sure if they're moving backwards or forwards.  Daniel asks if everyone's accounted for, and Sawyer sighs.

"Not everyone.  Locke."

We find Locke walking along a hillside, trying to get his bearings.  He hears something... a distant engine.  When he goes to see what it is, he's almost hit by a familiar small personal plane that comes in low for a crash landing.  Locke finds something in the grass that fell out... a ceramic Mary.

Sure enough, when he goes to see where the crash happened, it's the same plane we've seen before.  Locke calls up to see if anyone's okay, then tries to climb to it.  Shots ring out, and one of them hits him in the leg.  He takes a nasty fall, and when the gunman lurches out of the underbrush, it's Ethan Rom, the original Other from season one.

After the commercial break, Locke tries to explain that he didn't come on the plane.  "I know you.  I know your name.  Your name is Ethan."

Locke tries to explain that Ben Linus appointed him the leader, but Ethan isn't having any.  He's about to shoot Locke when the light returns, the sound returns, and everyone moves in time again.

Suddenly, it's night for Sawyer and Daniel and Juliet and Charlotte.  They've moved, too.

We see Sun at an airport, preparing for a flight to Los Angeles.  She presents her passport, which sets off an alarm.  She's dragged into a private room and locked in.  She's indignant until Charles Widmore walks into the room with her.  "Save your breath.  They only do what I tell them."

He's furious about her approaching him in public.  He demands respect from her and reminds her what she said about their common interests.  "Remind me again what those might be."

"To kill Benjamin Linus."

Speaking of, he's watching TV news and learns about the escape of Hugo Reyes from his mental hospital.  Hurley's been accused of murder, too, the guard who Sayid had to kill to get Hurley out.

Hurley's with Sayid, of course, picking up burgers and fries at a drive-in before they head to their motel.  "You know, dude, maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't go around shooting people."

They're at the door to the room, talking, when Sayid notices that the tape he left on the door has been broken.  BAM! A huge fight breaks out, featuring two fairly gnarly deaths thanks to Sayid.  Unfortunately, Hurley ends up getting photographed standing over one of the bodies with a gun in his hand, making his escape look even worse.  Great fight scene, by the way.  Sayid takes a tranq dart during the fight, and as they run, Hurley freaks out.  "This is not a safe house! We never should have left that island!"

After the commercial comes the most important scene yet in the episode, a quiet dialogue scene between Sawyer, Daniel, Charlotte, Miles, and Juliet.  They find the ruined hatch, meaning they're somewhen after the Oceanic 815 crash.  Sawyer wants to go back to the beach and the camp, wants to figure out a way to stop the helicopter from leaving for the boat, wants to change what's happening if they're really moving in time.  Daniel tells them that they will never be able to change time, that it's not possible.  "Time is a stream.  You can move forward in that stream or backward, but you cannot just create a new stream."  Sawyer asks if anyone can stop what's happening.

Signal the cut to Locke, who is still bleeding from his gunshot wound, but alone.  He tries to tourniquet his leg, but it's still pretty bad.  Locke sees someone approaching with a torch and braces himself for a fight.  Turns out to be Richard, though, with medical aid ready to go.  Locke's got questions for him, like "When am I?" 

Richard tries to explain, but he tells Locke that he's about skip in time again.  He gives Locke a compass.  "Next time you see me, I won't recognize you.  Give me this."  He tells Locke that he's going to have to get his people back to the island.

"How am I going to do that?"

"You're going to have to die, John."

Light.  Noise.  And John's alone again in broad daylight, somewhen else.

Back at the ruined Hatch, Miles asks what it was.  Juliet tries to explain the Hatch and Desmond, and sounds about as crazy as you'd expect.  Light.  Noise.  And they're in daylight, and the ground's back, the Hatch covered over, meaning they've arrived before the explosion.

Sawyer decides to go around to the back door of the Hatch to get some equipment so he can force his way into the Hatch.  Daniel keeps telling him that he won't be able to do it, he can't change anything, but Sawyer's furious and won't listen to reason.  Juliet manages to calm him down, and they follow Sawyer back towards the beach, resigned to their fate.

Charlotte gets a nosebleed, and Daniel freaks out at the sight of it, realizing that it's not a good sign.  He sends her ahead with the others, then goes to the back door of the Hatch and knocks again, only to be confronted by Desmond, dressed in full environmental gear.

Daniel tells Desmond that he's the only one who can help, since the rules don't arrive to them.  He tells Desmond what he's going to have to do, how he's going to have to go to Oxford to find his mother named...

Light.  Noise.  And Desmond's in bed with Penny.  And now he remembers meeting Daniel.  And he remembers what he said, realizing that now he's going to have to help.  We see that Desmond and Penny are living on a boat.

"Des, what are you doing?"

"We're leaving."

"Leaving to go where?"

"Oxford."  LOST.  And we're out.

Wow.  Heck of a way to get things started for the season.

I'm going to grab a quick drink, and then let's hop right in and recap episode #502.

Can you stand it? Two episodes in one night, after months and months and months of nothing?

This one's called "The Lie," and it's pretty easy to see why. The episode begins "Three Years Earlier," and we see Frank grab a couple of beers out of a cooler, then head topside to where the other Oceanic survivors are sitting together, discussing what their story is going to be when they start talking about the other survivors. It's obvious that everyone understands the necessity of the lie, except for Hurley, who doesn't want to be part of it. Sayid talks him into it, and Hurley is disappointed that Sayid doesn't have his back. He tells Sayid that one day he will need his help, and Hurley won't give it to him.

Which, of course, brings us back to Hurley and Sayid on the run together, with Sayid totally passed out from the tranq dart he took during the fight in #501. Hurley's driving (badly) and sideswipes a mailbox. A police car pulls in behind him, lights on, and blasts the siren once. Hurley's wigging at this point, but still can't get Sayid to wake up, so he pulls over to talk to the cop.

Who turns out to be Anna Lucia. Zoinks.

She's not "really" there, though, but instead is a warning, yelling at Hurley for drawing attention to himself. She reminds him that he's already been accused of one murder and now there are photos of him standing over a second dead body with blood on his shirt and a gun in his hand.

"That's not blood. It's ketchup. We went through a drive-thru..." She tells him to pull it together. She says he needs new clothes first, and then he needs to take Sayid to someone he trusts. She tells him to stay away from the cops and not to get arrested. He thanks her as she starts to walk away.

"Oh, yeah... Libby says hi."

And just like that, the cop car's gone.

Boom. LOST.

On the beach, Rose and Bernard argue over how to make a fire, and Neil (one of the survivors who was in the boat with Daniel) yells at them, frustrated about the situation.

Sawyer finally manages to find a shirt, something he couldn't do for all of #501. As he's talking with Juliet, Daniel shows up on the beach again. Daniel lies to them, says he was lost in the woods. He says that before he can do anything to help the situation, he has to figure out where they are in time. Miles walks off to find food, and Juliet and Sawyer go after water.

Hurley throws a glass of water in Sayid's face, desperate to wake him at this point. He puts sunglasses on Sayid and leaves him in the car, then heads into a convenience store to buy some new clothes. The girl behind the counter recognizes him as the guy who won the lottery, but thankfully doesn't notice the TV behind her where images of Hurley with the caption "Triple Murder Suspect" keep showing up.

As they pull out of the parking lot, they almost hit another car. The car pulls into the parking lot, and we realize it's Kate and Aaron, on the run. Kate checks a map, then makes a call to Jack. Before it connects, she hangs up. The phone rings. "Unknown." She answers it.

"I can't believe it's you. Hi. How are you? You're in LA? Of course I can meet you. Yeah. I know where that is. Half an hour."

She actually smiles as she hangs up. "Mommy, where are we going?"

"To see a friend."

In his hotel room, Ben retrieves something he's hidden in the air vent. Jack comes in, aching for a fix. Ben tells Jack that he flushed all his pills down the toilet. Jack tells him he's glad he did it.

Ben says they're checking out.

"Where are we going?"

"You're going home. Pack a suitcase. Anything you want in this life, take it. Because you're never coming back."

Ben tells Jack he'll pick him up in six hours, then ducks out.

Am I the only one who loves it when Cheech Marin shows up in pretty much anything? Hurley's dad is at home, making himself a sandwich, settling in for an episode of "Expose" on TV when he hears someone knocking. He's shocked to find Hurley at the back door, Sayid slung over his shoulders.

"Hey, dad. How's it going?" And we're out to commercial.

After the break, Hurley tries to explain to his dad why he's out of the mental hospital, but it all sounds crazy.  Sayid's barely breathing at this point, and as Hurley explains how he got shot with a dart, someone buzzes at the front door.  LAPD.

Hurley's dad desls with them, manages to convince them to go away.  He tells Hurley to call a lawyer, but Hurley tells him that they can't go public because people are trying to kill them.

"We need a doctor."  Hurley gets an idea.

Aaron and Kate get on an elevator.  He wants to push the button.  Boy, I hope that ain't foreshadowing.  Don't go in the Hatch, kid.

They go to meet the friend who called, and we see that it's Sun.

Ben takes a number in line at a deli.  When the place clears out, Ben steps up to talk to the butcher, a woman we haven't seen before.  She's obviously part of Ben's plan.  She asks about Jack, makes a nasty comment about his pill habit.  Ben tells her he needs her to watch something for him.

"Keep it safe.  Because if you don't, nothing we're about to do will matter at all."

Middle of the night on the beach, Bernard and Rose are still trying to build a fire.  They manage to get flames, but the wind blows them back out.  Neil starts in with them again, and Rose tells him to go take a time-out.

Charlotte brings Daniel some fruit.  As they talk, she brings up some symptoms that obviously concern Daniel.  He tries to hide his reaction, but Charlotte can tell that he has some idea of what's happening to him.  Before they can get into it, Miles shows up, wild boar slung over his shoulder.

He asks for a knife to skin it, and Neil goes off on a rant.  He freaks out about how they are all going to die, how screwed they are, and as he yells, "We can't even make a fire," he is hit in the chest with the most ironically timed flaming arrow imaginable.

As a barrage of flaming arrows pour into the camp from the sky overhead, Sawyer yells "RUN!"

After the commercial, more and more arrows pour from the sky, taking out some of the survivors while everyone else flees.  They run for the cover of the trees.  Juliet tries to help someone, but Sawyer grabs her and presses her to run.

Hurley peers out the front window of his house and sees the police staking the place out.  His father asks him if he's crazy, and Hurley admits that he's not crazy, but he is lying, and he has his reasons.  His mother shows up and points out that Sayid no longer appears to be breathing.  Hurley loads Sayid into his dad's truck, and they slip out past the police stakeout.

Kate and Sun talk about their kids as they catch up.  Sun can tell something's wrong with Kate, who breaks down and tells Sun what's happening with the lawyers and the blood tests.  Sun tells Kate that she needs to take care of the lawyers.

"Take care of them?"

"Do whatever you have to do to take care of Aaron."

"What kind of a person do you think I am?"

A quick flashback to Kate onboard the frieghter answers that question. Maaaaan, Sun's changed.  This is one angry lady.

"You told me to get on the helicopter.  You said you'd get Jin."

Kate tries to apologize, but Sun shakes it off and asks how Jack is.

Meanwhile, Jack is Hurley's plan.  Hurley's dad brings Sayid to him, and Jack immediately wants to take Sayid to the hospital.  Hurley's dad tells him he can take Sayid, but in exchange, he has to leave Hurley alone.

Jack calls Ben from the hospital to tell him he's found Sayid.

After the commercial, Hurley tries to explain who Sayid is to his mother.  She's not having any, and Hurley crumbles.  He tells her everything, and it sounds exactly as crazy as you'd think.  She never blinks an eye.

"I believe you.  I don't understand, but I believe you."

In the jungle, Sawyer steps on a stick that gets driven up into his foot.  First it's no shirt, now it's no shoes.  Someone get this guy to wardrobe.  He and Juliet hear someone coming, and they hide in the brush.  They don't see who it is, but they can see that they're carrying machine guns.  They're attacked, grabbed, dragged out of the brush by a group of armed men we've never seen before.

"What are you doing on our island?!"

After the commercial, Sayid's in the hospital.  Jack works to try and revive him.  His vitals are stable but low.  Jack injects him with something.  Waits.  No change at first, but when Sayid does wake up, it's suddenly, and he almost breaks Jack's neck in the process.  Jack explains that Hurley's at home with his mother.

"Does anyone else know he's there?"

Sure enough.  Ben surprises Hurley while he's making a Hot Pocket.  Ben tells Hurley it's time to go.  Hurley doesn't believe anything Ben's saying, but Ben appears to be telling the truth.  Ben tells Hurley that things have changed, that they all want the same thing now.

"What's that?"

"To go back to the Island."

Ben tells Hurley that if they go back to the Island, he'll never have to lie again.  It's obvious that's what Hurley wants, but he just doesn't trust Ben.  Instead, he runs out the front door and surrenders to the police so Ben can't coerce him.

Back on the island, the men with guns prepare to cut off one of Juliet's hand to demonstrate how not-to-be-fucked-with they are.  Someone comes to their aid, sticks a knife in one of the guys, and Locke comes strolling out.

"James.  Juliet.  Nice to see you."

And, as is to be expected, the episode ends with a truly crazy final moment.&nb sp; An old familiar face works in what appears to be a time travel lab underneath a church where Ben sits waiting, lighting votive candles.  When she comes upstairs from the lab, she tells Ben to hurry, that he only has 70 hours left.  Ben panics.  He explains that he lost Hurley.

"What happens if I can't get them to go back?"

"Then god help us all."

Boom.  LOST.

So it's not just the Island that's screwed if the Oceanic Six don't go back?  Really?  Guess the stakes just got higher.

And just like that, I'm hooked again.  I hear episode #503 is the best of the season so far, and I can't wait for next week.  I'll see you guys back here then, and I hope you didn't hate my first recap ever.

-Drew McWeeny [No matter what it says at the top of the post]