Are we experiencing some sort of time travel, or did the entire season of "Lost" just pass in real, live weeks? Either way, the finale airs tomorrow night on ABC, and it's unlikely many of the swirling mysteries will be resolved. After all, there's still one more season remaining.
What "Lost" star Michael Emerson remembers most vividly from filming this final episode was a late night in Makua, with the most dangerous stunt he's ever seen.
"In the season finale, we have two sets of heroes embarking on two very different and dangerous missions," said Emerson, who plays Ben Linus. "The potential outcome of these missions is sufficiently cataclysmic to alter the landscape of the series."
Though he was not privy to a few secret scenes shot by a second unit, Emerson noted that the script he read shocked him.
"I remember thinking, 'Can we do that?! And if we can ... where do we go from here?'"
Honolulu-based "Lost" blogger, podcaster and obsessive fan Ryan Ozawa believes this season has been one of the strongest yet, and expects it to close with the same infusion of mythology that's guided the episodes leading to this point. Like the end of Season 3, when the castaways got off the island, Ozawa expects to see another reversal.
"I think they're going to mess with us again," he said.
OZAWA, WHO often tracks the crew's shooting locations around Oahu in the early morning hours before heading to his day job at a real-estate data company, said tomorrow's episode focuses on Jack, the one-time leader who has faded this season but once again will become pivotal.
"They're obviously setting him up," said Ozawa. "Jack is now intolerable; he's not an interesting character. You miss that, so I think they're going to bring him back. His moment is coming."
Of the always crucial -- but quiet of late -- Ben Linus, Emerson hinted that his status might change as well.
"Ben is in a strange and unprecedented state of servitude, seemingly in thrall to the new John Locke and demons from the past," said Emerson. "However, he is alert to the smallest details and has a patient nature."
As a self-described geek, Ozawa appreciates the orientation of the show, whose writers seem content to abandon viewers who can't keep up. The first season in particular focused on character development, and during that time attracted a more diverse audience that might not have tuned in for time travel, numerology and four-toed statues. But along the way, everything changed.
"The mask has come off," said Ozawa, who grew up in Mililani. "This is a sci-fi show in drama clothing."
However, the writers and producers are always willing to respond to fan reaction, he noted.
Emerson and Elizabeth Mitchell didn't even start with the show and were slated as temporary guest stars. Yet they've become two of the most fascinating characters in the series. Where are their alliances? We're still not entirely sure -- with either one.
Ozawa knows every nuance of "Lost" because much of his life revolves around it. When he's not making clandestine visits to the various sets, he's analyzing previous and upcoming plots. He and his wife, Jennifer, blog on "The Transmission" about each episode on Wednesday night after it airs. The next morning, Ozawa discusses what happened on the KITV morning show, while the blog gets flooded with comments. Friday or Saturday night they record an hourlong podcast, which attracts up to 30,000 listeners domestically and in Europe and Japan.
"Much to the producers' chagrin, I'm a fairly consistent source of spoilers," Ozawa admitted. "But I try to be responsible about it. I want to feed that passion and interest in the show, but I don't want to ruin the fun."
Filming in his hometown along with captivating storytelling generated his passion for "Lost," which he feels has remained undimmed during its five-year run.
"Like everyone else," he said, "we were hooked by the pilot."
As the series comes to a close next spring, Ozawa cautions viewers searching for resolution and closure on all fronts. Anyone with a checklist of mysteries they expect to be solved will be disappointed. It is the essence of the show to leave a few stones unturned.
Then again, maybe that will give Ozawa something to ponder after the series ends. When asked how he would spend his spare time after the 2010 finale, the father of three laughed: "We don't like to think about the end of 'Lost.'"