So, it's been about a year since the 6th season of Lost started, and by the end of the series, we were given all the answers which the writers were willing to give. Whether or not those answers were satisfying has obviously been something of a controversy between fans. However, this isn't a thread about that, but is instead a thread about one specific aspect of the show, Hurley, and about the way his story was concluded.
When I first saw his conclusion, I thought it was something that was thrown in at the end to serve two purposes. The first purpose was to allow Hurley to not only stay alive for the end of the island story, but also stay alive longer than anybody else on the show. He was, after all, the most fun and innocent person on the show, so it would hurt to think of Hurley being dead. And the other purpose is to obviously give a greater importance to a character that was usually used for stand-alone, light-hearted stories, despite his powers and being a Candidate. I honestly did not really think that this was planned for the start, since it just seemed like such a random turn of events. However, I've been thinking a lot about it recently, and I've come to the conclusion that I couldn't have been more wrong. This was planned, and a lot of the seemingly random elements of his story throughout the series were leading to this.
For example, there's the lottery, and since the show connected it to his lottery story, there's the time he was put in charge of the food that was in the Hatch. How exactly does this connect to his leadership? I think that Hurley's little speach in "Everybody Hates Hugo" helps sum it up. "Let me tell you something, Rose. We were all fine before we had any potato chips. But now we've got these potato chips and everybody's going to want them. So Steve gets them, and Charlie's pissed - but he's not pissed at Steve, he's pissed at me... And I'm going to be in the middle of it. And then it's going to be: well, what about us -- why didn't I get any potato chips? C'mon, help us out, Hurley. Why did you give Kate the shampoo? And why didn't I get the peanut butter? Then, they'll get really mad and start asking: why does Hugo have everything, why should he get to decide? Then they'll all hate me. I don't know what to do." We saw the results of this in Charlie, who got mad at him for not getting peanut butter. We saw the result of this when his friend saw he won the lottery, and apparently rand away with Starla,the girl who Hurley was attracted to (this was mentioned in "Tricia Tanaka is Dead"). And we saw the result of this, from a different point of view,in the "What about me?" scene between Ben and Jacob.
Hurley obviouslyviews the numbers as "cursed," and thinks they've made his life worse since he used them to win the lottery. However, I think a big part of this is due to the fact that he equates them with the power and responsibility that went along with the money. His friend, and maybe Starla, couldn't handle the changes in his life, which led them to get together and leave his life forever. Another incident which he thinks the numbers caused is the boat accident which put him in the mental hospital. This incident obviously doesn't have anything to do with the power he got when he won the lottery, but it did introduce him with one major problem he would have to face when he gained his power on the island: he was responsible for the deaths of people. It's also interesting to note that this issue came up at a very crucial moment in season 6 ("Everybody Loves Hugo"), led him to make some hard decisions, and set him on the path to finally accepting his leadership role.
Another element which seems more important now is the golf. This was the first time in the series where he took on the leadership position. He took it upon himself to find a way to get people to relax. To foget their problems, and even get along with people withwhom theymight have otherwise been at conflict. Of course, this idea failed as everybody's issues started to grow out of hand and they forgot about the golf course. But this didn't stop Hurley from taking on the leadership role a few other times. Getting Sawyer, Jin, and especially Charlie to help with the Dharma van, and helping Charlie to (at least temporarily) forget his problems and enjoy life. Lying to Sawyer about the others wanting to kick him off the beach, which made him start being more decent to everybody, which could be seen as the starting point of his evolution between then and Juliet's death (which caused all his progress to come crashing down). There was also the failed attempt to try to convince the other Oceanic Six members to not lie. When I rewatched season 6 recently, I couldn't help thinking of Jacob, who had a hands-off aproach to getting people to do the right thing, which sometimesled to failure (Ben).
Anyway, I've always liked Hurley's character. He was never one of my favorites, but I did like his personality and his fun episodes. However, thinking about these connections has made me appreciate his character even more. There may be things that I'm forgetting to mention, and if I think about them, I may mention them later. But please, tell me what you think about what I've mentioned here, and your thoughts on the character as a whole. And if you've made any similar connections, I would love to hear them.
edit: I also think that his power to talk to the dead may be related to the conclusion of his story as well, though I'm not sure how to explain it as clearly as some of the other examples. To put it simply, when he discovered the power, he was afraid of it. He ran away from the ghosts that he saw, and even checked himself back into the mental hospital after seeing Charlie. He might have equated that power with the power that the lottery gave him, which destroyed his friendship and his relationship with Starla. However, he started to feel differently after talking to Jacob, who made him think that it was a gift instead of a curse. It was only then that he was able to not only live with that power, but even take pride in it ("My power is better than yours"), and actually listening to things which the dead people were saying (" Dead people are more reliable than alive people."). And it's also this trust that he placed in his powers which made him make the decisions he did in "Everybody Loves Hugo," and led him on the path to accepting his leadership position.