Sorry to start with a double negative, but I certainly didn't not enjoy last night's episode of Lost, "Everybody Loves Hugo." But there were plenty of moments when I wondered, "What the heck are these writers doing?" After alternating between good and bad episodes for the last month, Lost squeezed a lot of bad into what was otherwise a very interesting episode by using the old Scotsman-in-a-well trick and blowing another character to smithereens with that unstable Black Rock dynamite.
But before we get to those, let's start off with Hurley. The opening scene showing Hurley's philanthropical efforts was touching and one-thousand-percent believable, as we're pretty much completely in love with Hugo "Hurley" Reyes at this point. Because ultimately, Hurley is us: He asks the questions that need to be asked, he lightens up scenes with comedy but also provides some of the most raw emotion, and he's not an underwear model like most of the regulars. In short, we can relate to him.
And like the luckiest among us, there is a special someone out there for Hurley: Libby. In Hurley's side-flash, he was a fast-food mogul with everything in the world but a warm body next to him when he sleeps. And for the second week in a row, it's this idea of true love that played an integral part in Lost's deepest mysteries.
I'm as manly as they come (I even played basketball the other day! Wheeee! Sky hook!), so the thought of the show becoming some mushy, "we were meant for each other" garbage rightfully angers me. But with Hurley and Libby, that's not the case. Now, I've never been a fan of the Hurley-Libby thing. But looking into Hurley's eyes as he pines for Libby and, more importantly, the truth, it's so darned hard to not root for the guy and hope he does end up with Libby even though it seems so contrived. That's the power of six seasons of devotion to Lost and the consistency of Hurley's character.
Lost's characters have been flip-flopping like crazy, especially as of late. Angry mirror-smashing Jack is now ultra-cool Zen Jack. Richard Alpert, once calm and collected, is like a long-tailed cat in a room full o' rocking chairs. Even Desmond has been convinced to rethink his feelings about the island. Yet everything Hurley's done has seemed so inherently Hurley (note to self: pitch That's So Hurley to Disney Channel), an element that was especially important in this week's episode. Everything Hurley did seemed so within Hurley's personality that nothing caught us off guard; we saw a character grow rather than simply react. Thumbs up to Jorge Garcia for bringing Lost's most adorable character to life.
This was also the second week in a row that the side-flash and the timeline we know have been intertwined. I'm not going to theorize on how they relate yet, but seeing them intersect ever so slightly does wonders for my interest in these tangential tales. While at times Lost has sprinted toward the finish and at others tripped over its own feet, these breakthroughs in the side-flashes have made me much more confident saying that Lost is back on track toward a (hopefully) satisfying ending.
There were a few sloppy moments on the island this week, in the form of incredibly important plot moments that packed zero punch. First, Ilana's explosive goodbye barely registered as a blip on the radar. Other than a big explosion, it seemed like an obvious "let's get rid of her" ploy. It's reasonable to assume that Ilana could come back and still play a major part (this is Lost, after all), but unless that happens, we're left with another character who was brought on only for the writers to realize he/she wasn't needed. So ka-blammo, you die. And please, Ilana knew the dynamite was unstable. I take special care with grocery bags carrying fizzy Dr. Pepper bottles; I'd think she'd do the same with frickin' unstable dynamite.
Michael made his return, and apparently it was just to answer the question, "What are the whispers?" They're the dead people who can't leave, Michael explained to Hurley as though the audience was right there listening to them. I still think he should have turned to the camera and added, "So now you all can check that question off your lists." What clumsy, heavy-handed writing!
Those two flubs (actually, Jack talking about his feelings makes three) were joined by a couple big-time shocking "WHAT THE!?" moments—which, depending on your point of view, you probably either loved or hated.
First, Desmond and Smocke's jaunt into the jungle ended with the Smokester heaving Desmond into an old-time well. Yikes! We expected something like that all along, but did anyone expect it in that fashion? "What's the point in being afraid?" Desmond asked. But his next line of dialogue was, "Ahhhhhhhh!" as he became the latest well victim in need of a Lassie rescue.
And then, moments later, we were back off the island, watching Desmond run over wheelchair-bound Locke with his car. Sidenote: I laughed at that, I don't know why. I love John Locke, but there's just something great about watching people on TV shows get hit by cars. Like when Juliet's husband was hit by a bus. Or when Nadia got run over by a car (okay, that was kind of sad). Or when Hurley ran over those Others in the blue bus. Lost loves hitting people with cars, and we love watching them get hit by cars.
But why did Des do that? Either side-flash Desmond is getting into the idea that near-death experiences will jog people's memories about the other reality, or he just really hates substitute teachers. This is why we have handicapped parking spaces, people, so things like this don't happen! But I'm all for the idea of off-island Desmond approaching all the Losties in the alternate reality and giving them near-death experiences. You know, attacking Kate with an axe, throwing Sawyer off a building, kicking Jin in the groin with steel-toed boots, that kind of stuff. I'm guessing Desmond was more than happy to let Hurley eat all that fried chicken so his hardened arteries would lead to a near-death experience.
These OMG moments offer lots to talk about, whether it's positive chatter or negative chatter. But my question is: Why cram so many suprises together in one episode? Shouldn't the writers spread them out a bit more?
Last week I asked if you thought Lost is about true love now, and if it is, is that a good or bad thing. Most of you think that love is but one of the show's many elements, with most agreeing that the more appropriate four-letter word describes Lost's subject matter is "life." I think you're all on the right track here. Love would be too one-dimensional for a show like Lost.
I keep re-reading saxgod98's comment, which goes a little something like this: "Okay, why can't people realize that the 'alternate' reality is what happens after they get through what's goin' on with the smoke monster. People are freakin' out and claiming one thing after another. Why do you think Desmond was so quick to say 'okay you got it let's go and do it'? It's because he knows once he's done his future is meeting Penny and starting over with her and having a happy life. Also, REMEMBER in the beginning the island was under water, hint hint. So instead of going 'I wonder what happens now' ... the creators are showing you what happens after. And they retardedly tied it in because it went over EVERYONE'S head. Christ almighty."
While I'm not completely sure of what you're saying, I'd love to hear you explain it more. So speak up if you can! The side universe is what happens once the work on the island is over? And if you have more on the island being underwater, please, do share.
"Everybody Loves Hugo": I'm not sure where this is going to fit on everyone's lists. I'm guessing it will be somewhere in the top half of the season so far, but really, I don't see an overwhelming majority on either side for this one. I had complaints about this episode, but I still think it had enough important moments to push it into the top half. I'm also looking at my list and I really want to swap things around (mostly I want drop "Recon" by a spot or two)—but I won't, as that would be cheating, and I'm a partially honest man. So let's place "Everybody Loves Hugo," even with its clumsiness, ahead of "Recon" but well behind the top three. Sound good? Good. (Interestingly enough, three of the top four episodes on my list are recent... let's hope this keeps up and we're in for a great finish.)
1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "Ab Aeterno" Ep. 9
3. "Happily Ever After" Ep. 11
4. "Everybody Loves Hugo" Ep. 12
5. "Recon" Ep. 8
6. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
7. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
8. "Sundown" Ep. 6
9. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
10. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
11. "The Package" Ep. 10
12. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3