I can't believe the smoke monster killed Mr. Eko!

Sure, the stick-toting warlord wasn't exactly my favorite character, but he was a fascinating creature, not to mention one of the last remaining survivors of that cursed tail section. Why did Eko have to go? That's a question for Lost boys Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who addressed Eko's passing - and the exit of his portrayer, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - in an interview with yours truly earlier this week.

Ausiello: Another actor leaves Lost just months after he's pulled over in Hawaii for a traffic violation. This is the part where you guys tell me there's absolutely no connection.
Carlton Cuse:
We actually work very closely with the Honolulu police department, and they have final script approval.
Damon Lindelof: Look, we feel very strongly about traffic violations, no matter how minor they are. All we can say is that Evangeline Lilly got a parking ticket last week, and she better not count her chickens.
Lindelof: The honest answer is, this story was sailing for months before his brush with the law - which was widely blown up by the press. What actually happened is not anything remotely illegal. (FYI: The charges were later dropped.)
Cuse: When Adewale came on the show, he didn't want to make a long-term commitment to a series. We love him and so we agreed that he would come on the show and then we would find a time in which his arc would come to an end. And we sort of felt after a lot of conversations with him - most of which took place at the end of the spring last year - that we would finish his character somewhere in [these first] six episodes. And as we started talking about what was going to really help the drama of these six episodes, we thought, "Well, this is the perfect place to do it." As we said, we all kind of went into this [with the idea] that it was only going to be for a limited period of time.

Ausiello: It's no secret that Adewale wasn't the most beloved cast member. Did that play any role in his departure? [ FYI: In next week's issue of TV Guide magazine - on sale Nov. 9 - my colleague, Shawna Malcom, reports that, per multiple sources, the 39-year-old actor had become an increasingly difficult presence on set, refusing to film scenes as scripted, insisting on rewrites and even "demanding" several times to be released from his contract.]
Lindelof: We don't really talk about anything other than the creative decisions made on the show. If you're hearing it from other people, you're not hearing that from us. Not to mention, we're in L.A. So we would never let that kind of thing determine the creative direction of the show. We're all in the service of the story.

For more from Damon and Carlton, you may want to check out next Wednesday's 100th Ask Ausiello. Because they may be two of the very special guests I've been alluding to. And in lieu of an expensive gift, they may be giving me some major-ass prattle about the rest of the season. (Tee-hee.)