Questions have fans feeling 'Lost'

Verne Gay

Verne Gay Verne Gay

Gay is the television critic.

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The end is near.

Are the answers?

You know the ones we're talking about - the ones that will solve TV's greatest mind-tease. "Lost" comes back Tuesday night (9, ABC/7, with a recap special at 8) and wraps in just 16 weeks, and hundreds of loose ends, mysteries, riddles, conundrums and downright oddities remain unsolved. You should prepare yourself - many will remain that way, forever.

MORE: Watch the first four minutes of the new season

PHOTOS: See images from "Lost" on ABC

"Obviously not every question is going to be answered," said Carlton Cuse, co-leader of the "Lost" braintrust, along with Damon Lindelof. "There's some sort of mystery that we all have in our lives [and to] demystify that by trying to literally demystify everything . . . would be a mistake in our view."

Fair enough.

But, Darlton, as "Lost" aficionados refer to the duo, here is what you must explain:

1. What is the meaning of the Island?

A character in his (or her) own right, the Island is a changing, dynamic force. Good or evil? Heaven or hell? All of above? And how, exactly, can this sucker move so effortlessly in space and time?

2. What are the physics of "Lost"?

Distinguished CUNY physicist Michio Kaku writes that there are three classes of the "impossible" in the physical world, and that given enough time (in some instances, millions of years) humans could one day do just about anything. Time travel? Telepathy? Travel to anti-universes, or to parallel ones? Done, done and done! Given enough time to figure out how to do this stuff, that is. "Lost" has to tell us how so many tricky maneuvers were accomplished in the here-and-now. An island was moved. A button in a hatch prevented the entire universe from imploding (well, almost). We got some time travelers. How, how and how?

3. What is the true meaning of these numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42?

The Dharma Initiative was supposedly studying a way to rewrite the Valenzetti equation - a real calculation written during the Cold War that predicted when the world would end. Some Lostologists say the numbers refer to that. Well?

4. Who is Smokey?

Perhaps the greatest star in TV history not be eligible for an Emmy, who the heck is this towering, pulsating blob of murderous malice? Nikki Stafford, author of an excellent book series on the show, "Finding Lost," says, "Why did it kill [good] Eko and not [evil] Ben. What is the purpose of its judgment?"

5. The Four-Toed Statue

We know what it was - Taweret, Egyptian goddess of fertility, and we know who lived, and died, in its commodious foot (Jacob). But how did it get there? Why was it destroyed?

6. Who is John Locke?

He is the greatest mystery of all, and the Meaning of It All. John embodies all the great themes of "Lost" - fate vs. free will; science vs. religion, reason vs. mysticism. After the Island restored use of his legs, he claims to have "looked" into its eye, "and what I saw was beautiful." In fact, he looked into the eye of the tree-stomping monster, which may have killed him the first time. Are John and the Island one and the same? Who - or what - is he?

MORE: Watch the first four minutes of the new season

PHOTOS: See images from "Lost" on ABC

Are you Long Island's biggest "Lost" fan? Tell us why in 100 words or less for a chance to help Verne Gay analyze each new episode in his TV Zone blog. E-mail responses to exploreli@newsday.com, put "Lost" in the subject field.