THE BIG TEASE!
Cryptic intel about this week's episode, titled ''Confirmed Dead.'' (Ominous, huh?) The second installment of Lost's fourth season was written by Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard and comic book superstar Brian K. Vaughan. I give you a line of their dialogue, taken from the final scene of this terrific, mythos-expanding, can't-wait-to-talk-about-it episode:
THE LOST CHEAT SHEET
SEASON 4, EPISODE 2: ''CONFIRMED DEAD''
What you need to know before watching. (Useful context? Coy clues? Pudding? Not even my editors know my secret truth!)
An online story set within the Lostverse chronicling the mysterious maritime adventure of an ex-Oceanic Airlines employee whose girlfriend was a flight attendant on Oceanic 815. Convinced his lover might be alive, Sam Thomas booked passage on a salvage vessel and set sail for the South Pacific; look (and listen) for the boat to get name-checked in the first three minutes of this week's episode. ''Find 815'' (and by extension Lost) was ingeniously promoted via product placement in Marvel Comics titles like Fantastic Four. Might I be singling out the Fantastic Four because their mythos might explain something about this week's episode? Of course I am.
Minor Lost fixation; major Doc Jensen obsession. Upon boarding Oceanic 815 in Sydney, Hurley tossed Walt a Spanish-language superhero comic called Faster Friends, in which Green Lantern and the Flash were abducted by aliens, placed in an alien zoo, and fought polar bears. It was later tossed in the bonfire and destroyed. Qué lástima!
RAY PARKER JR.
''When there's something strange in your neighborhood...whoyagonnacall?'' ''GHOSTBUSTERS!'' Could I be anymore cryptic? Of course I can! To wit:
Fancy anthropological word found among the annotations jotted upon the blast-door map; used in a reference to the Island's polar bears. I could tell you what it means, but I would need to understand it first, and that ain't happening. Apparently, the indigenous intelligence has been recontextualized if not relocated — some might say re-territorialized — by the alien cultural force that is Lost.
Ben's best friend from his younger Dharma days. At some point, she disappeared. Maybe she died in the Purge. Maybe she became a guinea pig in a Dharma time-travel experiment. Kinda young for Ben, though, don't you think? Creepy bastard.
THE HYDRA STATION
Zoological facility where the Dharma Initiative conducted experiments on polar bears, sharks, and dolphins. Its logo resembles the mythological ''hydra,'' a monster with many heads, all of them vaguely snaky.
The sequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis; soon to be a major motion picture. In Prince Caspian, those wascally Wardrobe kids return to Narnia via a small island threatened with invasion by menacing marauders known as the Telmarines. After waking up in a thicket, the children celebrated their enchanted homecoming by splashing in the surf. They might have pulled a Hurley and did a cannonball dive into the surf, but you know how those uptight Brit types are. So reserved.
HUGS FOR HURLEY: AN INTERVIEW WITH JORGE GARCIA
Last week I expressed my big-time fondness for Hurley's story and Garcia's work in the season premiere, so I thought it would be nice to actually tell him that, plus ask him some questions, too. We chatted by phone earlier this week as word began to leak that the writers' strike may soon be over. That's good news indeed for Garcia: ''I've just been hanging out in Hawaii. It was good the first couple weeks, but boredom has begun to set in.''
DOC JENSEN: What did you think when you got the season premiere and it was all about Hurley?
JORGE GARCIA: A little pressure. A lot of times, after a lengthy hiatus, you want to get into the swing of things a bit before you get your episode. But I was really excited, too. It was a different direction for a season premiere, and I felt the fans would probably dig it.
You had a moment in the premiere that I thought was priceless: Hurley's quiet, deflated reaction to the news of Charlie's death.
For that scene, I wanted the sensation that the blood had drained out of my face and down to my feet. Actors like to cry a lot, but it's also very human to not cry and stop yourself from crying.
Charlie died last season, yet you got to work with Dominic Monaghan again in the premiere when Charlie's ghost (?) visited Hurley at the mental hospital. What was that like for you?
Awesome. To see his name on the cast sheet on the front of the script was great. It would be fun for Dominic to pop in a lot in a similar way — kind of make him the Obi-Won Kenobi type of character for the show.
Think that will happen?
You never know.
Do you think Hurley was hallucinating Charlie? Or do you think Charlie was a ghost?
That's a good question. I didn't think Hurley was just imagining him. I did believe he was there. But that might be because I tend to trust Hurley more than other people.
I understand when you shot the scene in which Hurley looks inside Jacob's shack, he didn't see Christian Shepherd in the chair, he saw...himself! True?
True. John Terry [the actor who plays Christian] did not work when I shot that scene. They shot me in the robe and slippers from [the mental hospital]. I didn't know if they were going to change it, or if the plan was to change it. [But] I don't think they would have shot it if they knew it wasn't going to be me, because I can't imagine them doing it just to throw you off the scent.
So perhaps the writers decided to go another direction. But when you shot it thinking it was you, what was your theory for why Hurley would be rocking in Jacob's chair?
Not to overdo the Star Wars references, but it had an Empire Strikes Back quality to it, when Luke's in Dagobah and he finds himself under the Darth Vader mask; I kinda had this feeling that Jacob — we kinda project the image of Jacob ourselves. Like, everyone sees their own Jacob, in many ways. However, the premiere kinda threw it out the window for me, seeing it was Jack's dad, because I don't see how Hurley would ever have known who Christian Shepherd was, because he's never had a run-in with him. At least none we've seen.
That final scene with you and Jack shooting hoops...in real life, how do your roundball skills compare?
I'm not as good as Hurley.
In that scene, Hurley goes off on Jack about not doing the right thing and intimates that they should go back to the Island. He also says, ''It's going to do everything it can...'' What is the ''it'' he's speaking about?
I think it's the Island. It's believing that the Island is an entity the way Locke does. The Island has its way of making things go the way the Island wants it to.
When you heard that the producers had successfully negotiated an end date to the series, bringing Lost to a close after 48 more episodes, what was your reaction?
I thought it was good for the story. Any job you love is not a job you want to end. But now they are able to really tell a complete story that has a definite ending. If your job is going to end, it's always better to know when.... [The new season] has a cool pace to it; it really feels like it's ''the beginning of the end,'' and the scripts were ramping up to some big things. The excitement that we had for what we've shot so far was very reminiscent of the excitement we had in season 1. Like when we found out Locke was in a wheelchair, we were like, ''Wow! If that kind of stuff can happen in a script, who knows what will happen in the next?''
It seems to me Lost did something more than give us one more cool mystery to ponder when it gave us the flash-forward twist last season. I think it also reinvested our interest in the characters. The burning questions now are ''What happened to Hurley?'' ''What's going to happen to Jack?'' It seems now Lost has an equal chance of giving us an emotionally moving end as it does blowing our mind with ''answers.''
I agree. I think one of the ways we got our strong fanbase in the beginning was, yeah, having all this cool stuff going on in the jungle, but also having these characters that people are invested in and really care about. And I think now there's a certain level of almost heartache for characters, like why aren't Jack and Kate friends anymore? We've seen a new level of concern for the characters now that we've seen how they're doing off the Island. Like many people on the Internet say, all they want to do is give Hurley a hug after seeing his episode.
If someone came up to you in real life and said they wanted to give you a hug, what would you do?
Oh, they've done it!
What's that like?
Sometimes, it's a little bit out of my comfort zone. But it's nice to be appreciated. So I usually hug them back.
Answering your questions, vetting your theories, airing your complaints — because service journalism is just the way I roll!
My gut tells me there's more to the story of the Oceanic 6 than mere misery. After the show IDs each of them and peeks in on their off-Island life, I predict we'll see them resolve to do something. Together.
I was completely underwhelmed by the Lost premiere. The reason had little to do with the episode itself — it was a combination of the long nine-month [hiatus], the strike and ABC's ill-advised decisions to air only eight of the planned sixteen episodes. That vision is more depressing that a painkiller-addicted, bearded Jack screaming ''We've got to go back!'' Furthermore, the episode itself was not as full of new material as I had wanted given the long, long layoff. What was really new? —Beamish
I can relate a smidge to Beamish. The first time I watched ''The Beginning of the End,'' I was so distracted by my own giddiness of actually watching Lost again that I don't think I appreciated it for what it was: an overture for the entire season. The job of most premieres is to remind us where we've been, wrap up a loose end or two, and tease where we're going. Mission accomplished, I say. As for strike anxiety, the good news is that a resolution seems to be at hand. Keep checking EW.com for the latest developments.
Doc, I think the Oceanic 6 who have found their way off the island are now haunted by their ''ghosts'' of the island. For Hurley it's Charlie because he wasn't there for his friend to help him and possibly avoid his death. Then if you go back to the Season 3 finale, Jack makes a few references as if his father is still alive in the flash-forward. Perhaps Christian Shepard's ghost is as real to Jack as Charlie was for Hurley. Does this even make sense? I feel that this show is so smart that it causes me to loose brain cells! —Meghan K.
Believe me, Meghan, I know the feeling. I also dig your theory. But I'm also intrigued by this one, too:
Many people think that Hurley just hallucinated Charlie. What do you think about Charlie time traveling, just like Desmond has already done? Charlie traveled forward in time in order to get that message to Hurley. He's dead in that timeline, like he said, but ''here'' at the same time. —Steve Pietrowicz
Steve: Bookmark your time-travel theory. I have a hunch you'll be updating and refining your scenarios very, very soon.
Just a thought on Mathew Abaddon [the mystery man who visited Hurley in the mental hospital and asked ''Are they still alive?'']. When Abaddon leaves the room, we only get a fleeting glimpse of a dark shadow flowing out of the door as the camera cuts to it. An almost smoke-like shadow. Before you dismiss the idea that Smokey can hop a flight to L.A. and materialize as an airline lawyer just to menace Hugo, please consider... —Josh Thompson
Josh isn't alone: The theory that Abaddon is Smokey has taken the Lost fan community by storm. I look forward to seeing if the frame-by-frame crowd will attempt a similar analysis of Abaddon's equally intriguing appearance in the season's second episode. But I also think that Abaddon's shadow was just a shadow, not Smokey's tail. I have an Abaddon theory, which I plan in sharing next week. But if you'd like a preview, let me give you two words: Maxwell's Demon.
Well, folks, time for me to change my shoes, zip up my jacket, and bid you adieu as I leave the land of make-believe for work. Wasn't King Friday a total hoot today? But we all learned a lesson, I think. Thank you for being my neighbor in this crazytown neighborhood of Lost. Would you feed the fish once more before you go?
Until next week!
Rumor has it that there would be six more episodes this season if the strike ends this weekend. LET'S DO THIS.