It's not hard to find links between the castaways on ABC's Lost (Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET). Jack's dad once shared a drink with Sawyer. And the box company Locke worked for? Hurley owned it. The current season is raising the stakes, with plenty of blink-and-you'll-miss-them clues that reveal other ways the Losties' paths have crossed. "There is a design," says Lost cocreator Damon Lindelof. Here's proof. (Photographic evidence appears on page 16 of the Dec. 19 "My Big Year" issue of TV Guide.)
KATE AND SAYID: When Kate visited her Army stepdad at a military recruiting station in the episode "What Kate Did," Sayid popped up on a TV behind her. Similarly, last season during a flashback, Jin entered a house where Hurley was on a Korean TV news program highlighting his lottery win.
HURLEY AND WALT: Who's the missing boy pictured on the milk carton Hurley chugged inside the hatch's pantry during a recent dream sequence? Yep, that's Walt. Was it just Hurley's imagination? Maybe. Maybe not.
CLAIRE AND DESMOND: The drawings on a wall in the hatch possibly scribbled by Desmond look hauntingly similar to the paintings that cluttered Claire's loft last season when she told her boyfriend she was pregnant with his child. Coincidence? Well, nothing on Lost ever is.
Indeed, everything means something on Lost. That orientation film in the hatch? It's full of clues to some of the island's biggest mysteries. "The fans have come to expect 'Easter eggs' and that's why we can't do them every week," says Lindelof. "We do it when it's cool." Here are but a few examples. (Photographic evidence appears on page 28 of the Dec. 26 "2006 TV Preview" issue of TV Guide.)
THE DHARMA INITIATIVE LOGO: The film isn't the only place this insignia has appeared. A logo like the one for the privately funded social-science project known as the Dharma Initiative was on almost everything in the hatch (aka Station 3) as well as on the shark that menaced Sawyer and on the fuselage of Flight 815. Was the plane rigged to crash as part of an experiment?
POLAR BEARS: As orientation-film narrator Dr. Marvin Candle explains the purpose of the Initiative to create a space where scientists and freethinkers alike could study everything from electromagnetism to zoology two polar bears flash on screen. (They look just like the ones in Hurley's comic book!) Perhaps these bears escaped the research facility and are now wreaking havoc on the island?
FOUNDING FATHERS: B.F. Skinner followers and University of Michigan doctoral candidates Gerald and Karen DeGroot started the Initiative in 1970. Age them about 35 years and they look a lot like the Others who snatched Walt. Hmm....