Let's meet the newcomers!
Daniel Faraday (Name reference: Michael Faraday; pioneer of electromagnetic/chemistry studies.) His official scientific status is physicist but he talks of how he doesn't like to be pigeonholed. Naomi describes him as a “headcase” (I'll take a punt that he enjoyed a spell at Santa Rosa), but if he empathetically feels more acutely than others this would explain his twitchy, withering nature. He describes Jack and Kate as "good people". He was also physically shoved out of the helicopter and, given Naomi's comment and Miles' agitation, I get the impression Daniel is an unwelcome but somehow essential member of the freighter team.
Flashback: Potentially has a high level of (psychic?) empathy. Notice how he wept at seeing the Oceanic 815 wreck on television without even knowing why. Potentially he wept for the deceased used to cover-up the real passengers, or just tears for the sheer inhumanity of such a deed as leaving the genuine passengers lost.
Miles Straume (Name reference: Apparently none, which I'm personally comfortable with. It's a little too contrived to have all characters possess deeper referential surnames!) My personal favourite of the new bunch though I get the feeling he has potential to be this season's Ana Lucia! Apparently he has an attuned capacity to speak to the dead. The Island, filled with visions of dead people and mysterious whispers, ought to be like standing in front of a speaker stack at a rock concert for him.
Flashback: On the surface, Miles appears to be a modern day exorcist. He gets a call about a place that needs to be cleansed, he turns up, takes payment, and resolves the issue so the spirit can go. In this particular instance he has made his (apparently routine) checks about the deceased and uncovered murder (so doubled his fee; presumably murdered spirits are harder to deal with!). Miles, no doubt guessing the murder was for drugs and/or money, tells the spirit to reveal the whereabouts of the stuff and takes only the money, telling the spirit, "You can go now." Quite why having a man take his money and leave his drugs would be enough to pacify a lingering spirit isn't something I am clear about, which is one of the reasons why this 'apparent' event of speaking to the dead raises question marks. . . The machine he used, I have come to believe, is a form of electromagnetic generator, perhaps creating localised conditions in a similar vein to the more pronounced electromagnetic qualities found on the Island.
(Aside: I absolutely detest the idea that Miles is a genuine 'ghost whisperer'. As in he can speak to the actual persistent spirit of a person that is dead. (Other explanations for ghosts are preferable; psychological disturbance, environmental phenomenon, anything!) Point is, ghosts indicate there is a spirit and an afterlife - and that's just about the most massive leap of incredulity Lost (as a science-based show) can make. I am desperately seeking alternative explanations (timelines, manifestations, plains of existence) rather than the brutally unimpressive idea of bona fide ghosts. It seems Miles may be Lost's way of opening the door and bridging the gap to this idea and, naturally, I'll have to accept it. But it will be the most disappointing turn the show will have ever taken for me. End of aside.)
Charlotte Staples Lewis (Name reference: Clive Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis, to you.). Author of The Chronicles Of Narnia. What are we to make of that? Lewis Carroll/Wonderland is out and C.S. Lewis/Narnia is in?) In a good tradition of Lost females, potentially the most unscrupulous and duplicitous of the new bunch. She kept a poker face and a friendly demeanour despite being mere feet away from her prime target, Ben. I wouldn't turn my back on this one. She is officially a cultural anthropologist (person who studies the behaviour of humans) which makes her an odd choice to investigate a polar bear skeleton dig. . . I suspect she has nature-survival skills also (did you see that dive!?). I have to admit to being a little disappointed when "Charlotte" was revealed to not be Charlotte Malkin, Richard the psychic's daughter! I guess that would have been just too cute.
Flashback: The memorable digging site in the Tunisian desert where a skeleton of an ursus maritimus (polar bear) had been uncovered. The skeleton had a collar decorated with a Dharma Hydra logo. In keeping with what I understand about Dharma and their Hydra Station work this appears to be a polar bear genetically modified to survive in a hot climate. My take is that there was a Hydra Station site built in the desert where such study took place and then was eventually removed and relocated to the Island - this skeleton (not a fossil) is just a test subject remainder. Further digging would probably uncover further evidence.
Frank Lapidus (Name reference: The main Lost-related link lies in his surname holding Jewish connotations with torches/flames, which groups him up with Marvin Candle/Wickmund/Halowax in such a naming convention.) The most pertinent question about this guy is: If you managed to land the helicopter so well how come you're so injured? There's either More Going On, or we are expected to believe he sustained his injuries whilst wrestling the helicopter back under control and landing the thing - which would actually set him apart as someone to admire. He almost certainly lied about being struck by lightning though. I would hazard that Frank and/or his helicopter will have to go very soon. One way or another. Surely the ability to simply fly off the Island cannot be allowed to remain?
Flashback: Revealed as the intended pilot of Oceanic 815, he's quickly aware that the Oceanic 815 discovered in the Sunda Trench is a cover. I don't think the fake plane was so much crashed there as placed there (notice Frank dropping his model plane into his fish tank and observing it flip upside down and then compare it to the right-way-up Oceanic 815 on the ocean floor). That he was immediately onto the authorities to start rattling cages shows he is principled and fearless. Either that or he was drunk. Lost does love a lush.
(Note: If there's such a thing as course correction, and Frank was "supposed" to be the pilot of Oceanic 815 and therefore "supposed" to end up on the Island, it would seem likely he'll survive. And also proffers an explanation as to why the original Pilot, Seth Norris, was quickly disposed of by the Black Smoke; he wasn't "supposed" to be there. By the way, is it just me or does 'Seth Norris' appear to be a deliberate anagram? Is Snr Other, anyone?)
So there's our new guys. They're all apparently on the Island to get Ben. My take on this is as follows. Post-purge, Ben continued to communicate with the outside world posing as Dharma. He perhaps created a story about 'quarantine' and a 'sickness' pervading the Island and the place should be kept secret, cut off and hidden. The photo, for an inexplicable reason to me, feels like it was taken off-Island. . . Whatever the reason, what he didn't do was announce that he had defected with 'the hostiles' and been involved in the mass extermination of Dharma people. Approximately 15-20 years later, the outside world has become wise(r) and targeted Ben as the chief mastermind of the slaughter and sent an extraction team to get him. (I note this primarily so, in the weeks ahead, I can look back and see how wrong I was!)
Ben knew who all the newcomers were because, as he says, he has an inside man. The most obvious candidate is Michael and I am happy to concede I feel this is so despite The Obvious Question: How did Ben manage to set Michael up to deliver information? They had barely any time at all to talk on the pier during Live Together, Die Alone and up until recently The Looking Glass/Radio Tower were blocking signals to and from the Island. Sending Michael on a bearing of 325 could well have been on a collision course to the freighter but there surely has to be more we don't know to fill in the gaps.
Of course, it might not be Michael after all - but we know he's coming back to the show this series and having Ben mention a man on board just seems too perfect a fit, don't you think? (Bear in mind, for the majority of casual Lost viewers, who won't have a clue about Michael's return, it's going to come as a knockout surprise; sometimes I wish I was oblivious!) I'll end on a prediction. Remember the phone call, when Minkowski was unable to come to the phone? I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out in future reveals that this is because Michael has him at gunpoint and is attempting to take control over the freighter. "He can't come to the phone. . ."