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Season four of Lost was a fine return to form for the series, which polarized its audience the year before with its focus on The Others and not enough on our original crash victims. That season's finale introduced a new storytelling device--the flash-forward--that's employed to great effect this time around; by showing who actually got off the island (known as the Oceanic Six), the viewer is able to put to bed some longstanding loose ends. As the finale attests, we see that in the future Jack (Matthew Fox) is broken, bearded, and not sober, while Kate (Evangeline Lilly) is estranged from Jack and with another guy (the identity may surprise you). Four others do make it back to their homes, but as the flash-forwards show, it's definitely not the end of their connection to the island. Back in present day, however, the islanders are visited by the denizens of a so-called rescue ship, who have agendas of their own. While Jack works with the newcomers to try to get off the island, Locke (Terry O'Quinn), with a few followers of his own, forms an uneasy alliance with Ben (Michael Emerson) against the suspicious gang. Some episodes featuring the new characters feel like filler, but the evolution of such characters as Sun and Jin (Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim) is this season's strength; plus, the love story of Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and Penny (Sonya Walger) provides some of the show's emotional highlights. As is the custom with Lost, bullets fly and characters die (while others may or may not have). Moreover, the fate of Michael (Harold Perrineau), last seen traitorously sailing off to civilization in season two, as well as the flash-forwards of the Oceanic Six, shows you never quite leave the island once you've left. There's a force that pulls them in, and it's a hook that keeps you watching. Season four was a shorter 13 episodes instead of the usual 22 due to the 2008 writers' strike; nonetheless, the set comes with two discs of extras. One of the best features is "LOST in 8:15," which is a rapid-fire summation of the series thus far in eight minutes, 15 seconds. Narrated by a hilariously droll female, it includes lines such as "Jack meets Kate. Kate stitches up Jack. They bond." and "They see Jack play football with Mr. Friendly. Mr. Friendly throws like a girl." The featurette "The Right to Bear Arms" takes a fun look at the prop masters responsible for supplying the castaways with guns--and keeping track of who has one and who doesn't (best here is Sawyer's (Josh Holloway) assertion that characters often cock their guns just to look cool). Cast members Lilly, Garcia, Yunjin Kim, and Daniel Dae Kim provide a few of the commentaries, and the set even comes with an amusing safety guide for Oceanic Airlines. (Example: "if you notice black smoke emanating from the plane, please alert the captain. It is either a problem with the engines or a mysterious creature.") Finally, for those who bought the standard-def DVD, take a closer look at the front cover after you've removed the O-sleeve; you'll notice the entire cast has been blacked out save for a few: the Oceanic Six. --Ellen A. Kim Stills from Lost : The Complete Fourth Season