For 251 days, the season three finale of “Lost” has occupied a spot on my DVR list. While dozens of other shows have long since been watched and then erased, the episode has been patiently waiting for its time to be seen again. With season four of “Lost” kicking off Thursday night at eight, the time is finally here. While it’s always been a revolutionary show, “Lost” upped the stakes after season three by announcing that the show would run for only three more seasons, each consisting of 16 episodes. The show that evokes two questions for every answer intends to start clearing things up this season, with the producers promising to tie up loose ends throughout the final 48 episodes.

But like I mentioned, it’s been almost a year since the last new episode – so if you’re anything like me – you can’t remember who’s dead and who’s alive, or even what the hell happened. Well, since we can’t all have Desmond’s psychic abilities, I watched the season three finale again over the weekend to prepare myself – and thus all of you – for what’s to come.

One aspect of the finale that’s impossible to forget is the fact the show switched from its trademark flashbacks to a new set of flash-forwards, which are to become part of the norm from here on out. The flash-forward shows a depressed-drunk-pill-popping-bearded Jack back at home, desperately flying overseas every Friday night in hopes of crashing on the island again. These scenes also reveal Kate makes it off the island as well, and she’s with a man other than Jack. The assumption is that it’s Sawyer, although “Lost” assumptions usually end up being just that. The final scene of the episode is extremely significant, as it shows at least some of the survivors will make it off the island. It also shows Jack screaming at Kate that they made a mistake by leaving and they have to go back.

While the main shock of the episode is the introduction of the flash-forwards, there was plenty of action taking place on the island as well. After setting up a trap, three of the survivors end up killing seven of “the others.” Following the capture of the survivors, Sawyer and Hurley return to kill the remaining three “others.” This is a significant step for the show because it’s clear that after the death of most of “the others,” the survivors will soon be faced with a new set of challenges.

In the mean time, Jack led the rest of the survivors to a radio tower to make a call for help, using a phone once belonging to Naomi – a woman who crashed on the island a few days earlier. However, Naomi is ultimately killed by Locke, who doesn’t think anyone should leave the island. Despite the pleas of Ben – the leader of “the others” – and a last second warning message from Charlie – who died, in case you forgot- Jack does end up making the call to a boat 80 miles offshore. I know it’s all confusing, but everything combines to set up the main question for this week’s premiere. While everyone believes they’re being rescued, Ben, Locke and Charlie set up the possibility that the call for help was the worst possible thing the survivors could have done. This is the main question that should be answered soon, but far from the only one. The four-toed statue, Kate’s possible pregnancy, the mysterious Jacob and the fate of the departed Walt and Michael are all among the myriad of topics the producers have promised to soon clarify. Most important of all, who’s going to make it off the island and who will succumb to the time-honored “Lost” tradition of being killed off just when fans least expect it? There’s plenty to come, and with ABC scheduled to air eight consecutive new episodes, now is as good a time as any to get “Lost” all over again.