''Lost'' gives away its first clue -- The ABC hit slowly reveals past connections among the stranded survivors

As if watching Lost didn’t already require a vigilant attention to detail, the Feb. 23 episode took the blink-and-you-miss-it antics up a nifty notch: Portly fan fave Hurley (Jorge Garcia) flitted across a TV screen during Jin’s (Daniel Dae Kim) flashback. ”Our first TiVo moment!” says proud executive producer Damon Lindelof of the buzz bit. Hairy hippie Hurley’s peekaboo — further explored in last week’s episode (Big Man won the lotto!) — is part of a plan to cultivate six-degrees-of-separation intrigue among the castaways. So look for Sawyer’s (Josh Holloway) cameo during Boone’s (Ian Somerhalder) Jan. 12 backstory to be explored by season’s end.

Lost is typically teeming with subtle setups: Lindelof says they’ve been hinting at Hurley’s riches for a while; a recent reference to Locke’s (Terry O’Quinn) father was a tease for a future flashback; and ”the machinations for the season finale have been in place for a very, very long time.”And then there was the other cryptic moment in the Feb. 23 episode that had many fans convinced Jin had developed the ability to convert English into Korean. ”Actually. . .that wasn’t Korean. That was gibberish,”says Lindelof, adding the intent was to portray Jin’s perpetual confusion. ”But I love that thought!”Apparently, Lost is cool — but not that cool.