HONOLULU - "Lost" capped its thrilling first season with island adversaries Jack and Locke peering down an eerie shaft sunk deep into the earth. For fans who waited all summer for answers, the wait may be over - but the questions are just beginning.
In Wednesday night's second-season premiere of the Hawaii-filmed castaway drama, Jack, Locke and Kate separately descended into the shaft after blowing the metal hatch.
Keeping with "Lost" tradition, what lies beneath was as perplexing as it was revealing - electricity, plumbing, a computer room and a man with a thick accent living a subterranean existence. Surprisingly, Jack had met the man before.
The man's intentions weren't divulged in the episode, which ended in a tense scene with him pointing a gun at the head of Locke and ordering Jack to lower his firearm.
Jack didn't know who or what to believe. All he knew is that Kate is missing.
"I think when people watch this show and get to the end of the episode, they're dying to find out what's going to happen next week and they really don't have any idea," said Matthew Fox, who plays Jack, a doctor who has emerged as the unofficial leader of the plane-crash survivors.
Walt, the screaming youngster who was kidnapped at sea by a group of men, made a startling appearance. Shannon stumbled across the boy in the woods after being separated from Sayid.
Walt told Shannon to be quiet - then disappeared upon a second look. When Shannon told the other castaways that she saw Walt, she immediately was met with suspicion.
Was Shannon hallucinating? Was Walt hiding? Or is Walt a ghost?
Those answers will be divulged in later episodes.
As the castaways became separated and their number dwindled during the night, they grew increasingly impatient and distraught. But Jack stepped up his leadership role, becoming the voice of hope.
"We're all going to be safe as long as we stay together," Jack said. "The sun comes up in three hours and we're all going to be here to see that happen."
In an emotional flashback, viewers also saw how Jack met his future wife, Sarah.
Sarah, who's engaged to another man, seriously injured her spine in a car accident and is believed to be paralyzed from the waist down. She told Jack that she wants to "dance at her wedding," and needs his help.
While performing surgery, Jack promised to fix her, which later troubled him. After Jack informed the fiance that Sarah most likely will be paralyzed, the fiance panicked.
"Lost" addicts remain left with many questions. But as Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Korean tough guy Jin, put it:
"Our writers are incredibly smart. I'm sure once they start answering questions for the audience, they'll be asking five more for every one they answer.
"They'll have a lot more to think about."