04/05/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Most Important Moment From This Week's Lost

I love Lost . So do a lot of other people. I couldn't even begin to do a comprehensive analysis of every episode, but I don't really need to: other people already are. Instead, I'll focus on the single most important moment in each episode this season. For complete coverage, go elsewhere (as I no doubt will). For one important thing to think about each week, read on.

"It worked."

It was what Juliet wanted to tell Sawyer just before she died. What Miles interpreted by communicating with her from beyond the grave; what Sawyer didn't quite understand.

But we understood. And though the moment was buried (pun intended) in the middle of the episode, it was by far the most important thing in last night's 2-hour premiere, and it may prove to be the single most important idea through the entire final season.

Let's step back. I'd like to say last night's episode was unexpected, but I was, of course, expecting the unexpected. Still: alternate universes? I'm not sure that's what's happening, but it's the best way to describe it at this point with the information we've been given. In one world, Oceanic 815 lands safely in Los Angeles (though the universe seems to have already begun course-correcting). In the other, the bomb Juliet sets off in the last moment of the season 5 finale doesn't blow everyone up, but it does transport them to another time (while remaining in the same location), with their maladies and memories intact.

Emotionally, this episode was intensely satisfying. It would've been a huge cop-out for Jack's plan, set in motion over the course of at least half a dozen episodes in season 5, to fail completely. After all the talk of 815 landing safely at LAX, it was truly something special to see it happen. On the other hand, I was awfully afraid of that scenario, because it would mean the characters we've known for 5 years would have no recollection of anything we've seen for the past 5 years. Even if the universe did course-correct and somehow draw them all back in, it would negate everything we'd seen, rendering it irrelevant, or at least something close to that.

The dual-universe alternate-reality gimmick gives us the best of both worlds, and emotionally, I am content. John Locke, for example, is dead in one world, his persona inhabited by the Man in Black (an extremely riveting plot line), but he's also not dead in the other world, and that makes me happy.

But in terms of plot, I am more confused than ever. That's what Lost does best--satisfy us emotionally while confusing us intellectually--and they've done it again. The real trick will be for them to somehow reconcile these two alternate worlds... and I completely trust them to do it well.

Why? Because of Juliet. "It worked."

This was the only concrete connection between the two worlds we saw last night. Somehow, the Juliet we saw die in Sawyer's arms was in touch with the alternate universe in which flight 815 never crashes. We don't know how, we don't know why, we don't know how she crossed over and then came back again, but we know it happened. It worked. And that means the two universes are not entirely separate. It means the season won't--it can't--simply end with one of the universes turning out to be "real" and the other turning out to be an interesting "what if?" It means that somehow, someday, the alternate realities are going to come together and come into conflict with one another. And that's a conflict I can't wait to see... even though I have no clue what it will look like or what it means.

We know that Juliet somehow inhabited both worlds, at least within her consciousness. We know that they both exist and that they are in some way connected. And while it was really cool to see the temple for the first time, watch the magic spring heal Sayid, learn that the Man in Black is the smoke monster, see Jack and Locke meet in the airport after 815 lands safely, and revisit characters like Charlie and Boone, "It worked" was more than enough to tide me over until next week.

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