Is it just us, or is watching ABC's plane-crash smash, Lost (Wednesdays, 9 pm/ET), a little bit like driving on the New Jersey Turnpike? You never know where the heck it's going to take you, and yet you can't escape it, either. In any case, while we may never find our way on Garden State thoroughfares, we can make sense of the trippiest series since Twin Peaks. Consider, if you will, the following scenarios to explain the weird occurrences on the ultimate survivor island, then click at the bottom of this story to vote for the option you find most plausible.
The survivors are all dead. Think about it! Where else but in heaven could an individual walk away from a plane wreck looking as yummy as Kate (Evangeline Lilly) or Boone (Ian Somerhalder)? Plus, only divine intervention would allow paralyzed Locke (Terry O'Quinn) to suddenly walk. On the other hand, would even a vengeful God trap sinners with a tree-shaking beastie, not to mention obnoxious hothead Sawyer (Josh Holloway)? Let's contemplate a variation on the theme...
They're in purgatory. That's the ticket! Maybe Jack (Matthew Fox) isn't the Dr. Nice Guy that he appears to be. Lord knows his fellow beachcombers are a mixed bag of misanthropes and mischief-makers. So perhaps they are all stuck together, cluelessly working toward an understanding of some highly personal life lessons. Bratty Shannon (Maggie Grace) must see that using people is wrong; druggy Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) must begin to just say no... you get the idea. And the quick-vanishing man in the suit? Why, he is to purgatory what Della Reese was to Touched by an Angel — a kind of celestial overseer.
They're in outer space. Yeah, yeah, it's a mind-blowing proposition, we know. But it's not out of the realm of possibility. What if some alien race decided to Xerox Earth? They'd want to see how close they'd come to an exact duplicate, wouldn't they? So, to test their prefab world, they "import" a bunch of the natives by knocking their plane out of the air. Gradually, the busybody ETs would figure out the same thing that their unwitting guinea pigs are: Something is amiss. That's why there was a polar bear in the tropics; the Martians knew there were such creatures on Earth, they just didn't quite pinpoint where they belonged. This may also be why Locke was able to ditch his wheelchair; the pseudo-atmosphere in which our gang now reside may be slightly altered, allowing for miraculous feats of, in this case, an old guy's feet.
They're in Jurassic Park. We give creator J.J. Abrams way more credit than to seriously think he'd tear a page from another writer's blockbuster. However, if he somehow found a way to isolate his crew on a prehistoric isle, letting them in the back door so that neither they nor the audience knew what to expect, well, that prospect might be too tempting to resist. In addition, short of a guest appearance by the Jolly Green Giant, it's going to take a creature of T. Rex-ian proportions to keep us from being disappointed by the eventual revelation of the monster in the brush.
They're part of a government study. Cue the X-Files theme. This is obviously the kind of conspiracy about which Mulder lived to theorize. A disaster from which nobody should've walked away... an island nobody ever heard of... a shady character as sharply dressed as the nefarious Cigarette-Smoking Man. Yeah, this has "Made in the U.S.A." written all over it. Perhaps the G-men want to see what effect all that violence in TV and movies has really had on people. (They wouldn't be disappointed, either: There've been fisticuffs and gunplay nearly every day.) Or maybe the whole downing of the plane was orchestrated to rub out Kate, who isn't the criminal we're meant to think she is but a fearless spy who knows too much. On second thought, forget the X-Files theme; cue the Alias opening. There may be a crossover coming...
They're about to meet seven other stranded castaways. All these weeks, we've been thinking we're watching a new drama. As if! When our heroes make it to the other side of the island, we learn that we've been duped into watching a sitcom and that there will be hilarity galore once the likes of goofball Charlie and ornery Sawyer start mixing and mingling with a certain skipper, his first mate and their gaggle of ill-fated tour-boat passengers (among them, a millionaire and his wife, a movie star and... you know, the rest). Silly as it is, we're kind of partial to this outcome, if only because we expect the Professor will have a much easier time fashioning a two-way radio out of coconuts with the help of Lost's resident Mr. Wizard, Sayid (Naveen Andrews).
To choose the option you like best, click here and vote in our TV Guide Online poll!