On tonight's fourth-season premiere of Felicity, our favorite coed finds herself at a major crossroads as she embarks on her senior year of college. "We're focusing very much on Felicity's love life versus her real life," explains the show's executive producer/co-creator J.J. Abrams, "meaning she's about to graduate college, and is she any better off now than when she first got there?"

Well, if this four-star episode — written by Abrams and directed by his Felicity partner, Matt Reeves — proves anything, it's that this WB drama is never better than when it explores the internal struggles of its title heroine. To that end, Abrams and co. have resurrected a popular character from the first and second seasons: Felicity's audio pen pal-slash-sounding board Sally. And that's not the only Felicity staple making a comeback.

"The Noel-Felicity-Ben triangle — which really didn't exist last year — is back in a much more dynamic and interesting way," teases Abrams. "Ben returns with a secret that affects his relationship with Felicity enormously, and conversely, she and Noel have spent the summer together, so they're in a very different place than they were at the end of last year." (And on that note, you really don't want to miss tonight's kicker climax.)

Other highlights from the forthcoming semester: Sean and Meghan tie the knot, thus "raising the stakes" in their already complicated relationship; R&B singers Lionel Ritchie and Monica will guest star; and Amy Jo Johnson returns as Julie for a few episodes.

Like season three, Felicity will air a "winter cliffhanger" before taking a four-month hiatus. But don't expect anything akin to last December's gun drama — a hokey stunt that critics deplored as beneath the show's dignity. "I think it's going to be the best cliffhanger we've ever done," says Abrams, "because it's going to be very much an organic story that comes out of the relationships between the characters."