'Lost' Cheat Sheet: Season 4, Episode 2

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.

NEXT PAGE: The Doc answers your e-mails