Just as Hurley’s flashback was held off until nearly all other major characters got theirs in Season 1, so too did “Lost” save Hurley’s sideways story until late in the game in its final year. But what a sideways story it was!
Sadly, the on-Island portion didn’t live up to its standard, with scattershot action ranging from the mind-blowing to the patently stupid. Luckily, the good outweighed the bad, but the bad occasionally threatened to topple the good will earned by the majority of this episode. Onto the full recap!
4) In Short
Say you don’t need no diamond rings, and I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of things that money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money
‘Cuz money can’t buy me love
The Beatles, “Can’t Buy Me Love”
8) Sideways Timeline
Pierre Chang is narrating another video. But this time, it’s not for the Dharma Initiative. It’s for Hugo Reyes! Hugo is the man of the hour at the natural history museum, which now houses a paleontology wing bearing his name. It’s the latest in a long line of philanthropic gestures by him. Hugo’s mother, however, isn’t impressed by the latest in a series of accolades, trophies, and dinners. All she wants for her baby boy is a girlfriend. (That’s right, in no way would anyone want to date someone as rich as Hurley. No. Way. Nuh-uh. Nope. Sigh.) Hurley’s nervous about meeting anyone, but learns that he’s been set up on a blind date the following day.
A solo Hurley noshes on some tortilla chips the following day, waiting for his date to arrive. While nosing through the menu, a woman appears. Altogether now: LIBBY! He’s taken aback, instantly smitten. He soon realizes that she’s not his blind date. Why did she come over from across the room? “Well, if I told you, you’re gonna think I’m crazy,” she says. She takes his hands, and asks him if he believes in soul mates. On the verge of tears, she says, “You don’t remember me, do you?” Just then, Dr. Brooks from Santa Rosa comes to put Libby back in the van. “Everything I said, Hugo … I meant it,” she says as she’s taken away. A crushed Hurley watches her leave.
Later on, at one of his Mr. Cluck’s franchises, Hurley mows down a family-sized bucket of chicken. Who walks in but Desmond, looking and acting like the love child of Dr. Who and the Dalai Lama. He asks to sit down with Hurley after placing his order. Noting the big bucket before him, Des asks what woman could have made Hurley so depressed. Hurley opens up about his encounter, expecting Des to laugh it off. Instead, Des asks, “Tell me something: Did you believe her when she said she knew you?” He tells Hurley to go with his gut, and find out from where she knows him. Des hears his order called (No. 42, natch) and leaves.
With a photograph of an island in the background in Dr. Brooks’ Santa Rose office, Hurley asks him to see Libby. Brooks isn’t so fond of the idea, noting that she’s having trouble distinguishing between realities. Luckily, the rec room at Santa Rosa is in disrepair, and a $100,000 donation to Santa Rosa buys Hurley some face time with Libby. There’s a man playing Connect-Four in the rec room, but it doesn’t look like Leonard. (Then again, without The Numbers being “The Numbers,” would Leonard go crazy in this timeline?) On the chalkboard is an island with a large crocodile approaching. In the water of this island, one enormous fish appears to be swallowing a butterfly. And look: there’s Waldo! OK, you got me. No Waldo. (More on Santa Rosa’s curious imagery in “Mythology” below.)
Libby enters the room, delighted to see Hurley. She’s a bit crushed when she realizes that he still doesn’t remember her, however. She tells him that she saw him on a commercial, which prompted a flood of memories from what she calls “another life.” She remembers a plane crash … and an Island … and that they knew each other … even liked each other. Upon arriving at Santa Rosa, she remembered being there as well, along with Hurley. In short: She hopes he remembers, because then it would mean she’s not actually crazy. “Well, we all got something, right?” he responds, and hot DAMN do I love seeing these two interact again. I mean, yeah, I’m all manly and stuff, but it’s getting dusty here in the man cave from which I write these recaps. Eventually, he asks her out on a date. Remember the blanket this time, Hurley. REMEMBER THE DAMN BLANKET.
Oh thank God, he remembers the blanket. And six types of cheeses. She’s experiencing mega déjà vu, what with the beach and the blanket and the bingo. (OK, two of three, at least.) Fearing she sounds crazy, she asks why she wants to be with him. He asks the same in return. Much like Island Hurley did in “Dave,” Sideways Hurley says that only insanity could mean the two of them have a chance. Libby then leans in, and kisses him. During the kiss, memories of their time on the Island flash into his mind. A satisfied Desmond, seeing the scene from afar, drives away to meet the next name on the manifest.
Des spies John Locke wheeling to his car after school. Ben Linus, doing his best Chris Hansen impersonation, interrogates Desmond about his status in a school parking lot. Des answers Ben’s questions, albeit unconvincingly, and starts to pull away. He sees Locke in the middle of the parking lot, steps on the gas, and runs the crippled John Locke over. Well throw me in a room full of electromagnetic energy and call me Betty, THAT shocked the hell out of me. As Ben yells for people to call 911, the camera pans over Locke’s face, which passes from pain into something resembling understanding.
15) Island Timeline
Hurley replaces the wiltering flower on Libby’s grave with a fresh one. Speaking to her, he wonders why, of all the people that have talked to them after shuffling off their mortal coil, she hasn’t joined the cavalcade. Ilana interrupts, noting it’s time to go to blow up the airplane. He briefly tells her of his time with Libby. Sniff. She leaves Hurley alone to give him time to say goodbye.
After Ilana goes, Hurley hears the whispers. He looks up, and sees Michael, who instantly says, “WAAAAAAAALT!” Oops, sorry, knee-jerk reaction. In actuality, he tells Hurley that he’s there to stop him from killing everyone. Hurley’s a little peeved at seeing the man who killed the love of his life. Michael dismisses that accusation, more worried about the bloodbath that will ensue should they follow Richard’s plan. He tells Hurley that people listen to him now, so it’s his responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.
On the beach, Ilana’s sure in a hurry to get across the water, fresh from a quick jaunt from the Black Rock. Hey, watch out, Ilana, that’s unstable! She’s quite the chatterbox, noting that she’s trained her whole life for this. Plus, she’s just following Jacob’s orders, via Richard’s plan. Hurley tries to protest, but she’s not having any of it, and then BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE. Dude, you’ve got some … Ilana on you. My instant reaction? I cackled. My less-instant reaction? What a waste. (More on this in “Random Thoughts” below.)
In Camp Smocke, Sawyer’s getting a little anxious just waiting around. Smocke idly sharpens a piece of wood, simply saying the wood will reveal itself to him. He makes the distinction between “doing nothing” and “waiting.” Smocke tells Kate that just as they all could only return together, they must all leave together. (A cosmic conservation of energy?) Kate’s skeptical that the remaining candidates will just show up while Smocke waits. Just then Sayid returns, and the two confab about his discovery: Desmond.
Hurley walks over to Ilana’s tent, which contains a book in Russian (from the t
rip in which Jacob visited her in the hospital?) and the pouch of ash that Ilana procured from the statue. Hurley leaves the former and poaches the pouch. Although he earlier argued against blowing up the plane, now that Richard’s proposing a trip back to the Black Rock for more TNT, he’s onboard. Jack’s surprised over Hurley’s change of heart, but agrees to trust him all the same.
Smocke apologizes to a tied-up Desmond about Sayid’s treatment. Des is still chiller than a guy that’s followed Phish for its entire summer tour, telling Smocke he’s got nowhere to run to, bruthah. Good enough for Smocke, who unties him. All the same, he’s got a few questions for the Scotsman: Why did Widmore bring him back to the island, for starters? Des insists that his kidnapper would be the better man to ask. Smocke gives a quick look to Sayid, who confirms the kidnapping story. Des goes on to tell Smocke about the Microwave of Mayhem, citing his “experience” in knowing that the room blasted him with electromagnetic energy. A slightly confused Smocke asks Des if he knows who he is. “Of course. You’re John Locke,” answers a nonplussed Des. At this point, Smocke sends Sayid away so he can show Des something in private.
A still-stunned Ben notes that Ilana’s death must have meant the Island was done with her, and fears for what will befall the rest of them when the Island’s done with them as well. The group then arrives at The Black Rock. Well, all but Hurley, who seems to have broken off from the group. A shout from the slave ship answers the mystery of his whereabouts, and BOOM GOES THE BLACK ROCK. Man, this is like John Locke’s Season 3 TNT Island Tour, where he systematically started blowing up everything in his path.
With the slave ship smoldering in the backdrop, Richard freaks out. “We’re all dead!” he screams. Overreact much, Eternal Man? Miles asks Hurley why he did it; Hurley says that Michael (“one of the people that yell at me after they die”) told him to do so. He’s surprised that Hurley simply does the wishes of the dead. “Dead people are more reliable than alive people,” Hurley retorts.
In the jungle, Smocke notes the irony of Des’ three-plus years of button pushing somehow not freeing him from the Island’s grip. “There’s nothing special about me, bruthah. This Island has it in for all of us.” (On and off-Island, Henry Ian Cusick is simply KILLING it this week.) Smocke agrees, but stops short: He sees the Peter Pan kid from “The Substitute,” only he seems older … and now has brown hair. Desmond can see the boy as well, who simply smirks at Smocke and then runs off into the jungle without a word. Next time we see Peter Pan, he’ll be 28 and a redhead at this rate.
Who fumes near the flames of the slave ship? Richard Alpert, who’s determined to storm the Dharma barracks and secure any explosives remaining to relaunch Operation: Attack Ajira. Jack tries to slow him down, but to no avail. Hurley tries to stop their fighting, claiming that Jacob is there telling them all to talk to Locke. It’s a line in the sand, and Team Jacob turns into Team Hurley and Team Barracks. (Add those to Team Smocke and Team Widmore, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a Fatal Fourway. Or, we could just get silly and include Team Edward, Team Sandra, and so on and so forth.) Richard thinks that Hurley is lying, and tests him by asking Hurley to give Jacob’s description of the Island. Hurley refuses, so Richard leaves. Ben and Miles join Richard, while Lapidus, Jack, and Sun stay with Hurley. Look, if you guys can’t live together, then you’re going to explode alone. Ask Ilana.
Later than night, Sun writes, “Did we make a mistake?” Lapidus ruefully agrees. (And those are their only lines this week. Sigh.) Up ahead, Hurley nervously muses on possible outcomes of the encounter ahead. Jack calmly notes that all options are on the table, and which Hurley confesses that he didn’t speak to Jacob. But Jack already knew that. So why did he follow Hurley? Let’s let Jack explain in his own words.
“Ever since Juliet died — ever since I got her killed — all I’ve wanted was to fix it. But I can’t. I can’t ever fix it. You have no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do. But I think maybe that’s the point. Maybe I’m supposed to let go.”
Sideways Rose would be proud of you, Jack Shephard.
Hurley appreciates the support, and Jack’s trust, even in light of the fact that they’re not operating under Jacob’s directive. Just then, The Whispers start up again, and everyone gets nervous. Everyone except Hurley, however, who seems now to understand what they are. He walks a little ways into the jungle, calling out for Michael. Walt’s father sheepishly comes out of the jungle. Hurley says, “You’re stuck on the Island, aren’t you?” Michael agrees, saying it’s, “Because of what I did.” Michael describes The Whispers as, “those that can’t move on.” Michael points out Locke’s camp in the near distance, and Hurley asks if there’s anything he can do for him. “Don’t get yourself killed,” Michael replies. As Hurley leaves, Michael says, “If you ever do see Libby again, tell her I’m very sorry.”
Smocke leads Desmond to one of the Island’s ancient wells. He notes that it was built by hand ages ago, dropping a torch into it to give Des a sense of depth. They weren’t looking for water, but rather the reason why their compasses were going haywire. “Did they find what they were looking for?” Des asks. “No, they didn’t,” replies Smocke, who goes on to tell Desmond that Widmore is not interested in answers, only power. “After all,” Smocke says, “This isn’t the only well.” (More on this in “Mythology.”) An internally frustrated, yet externally calm Smocke finally asks Desmond why he’s not afraid. “What’s the point in being afraid?” Des replies. Smocke considers this for a moment, and then throws Des down the motherfrakkin’ well. OK, THAT happened.
Back at the camp, Smocke tells Sayid they don’t have to worry about Des anymore. Sawyer comes over to lay into Smocke, but Hurley’s arrival cuts him off at the pass. Unnerved, and quite possibly outmatched, Hurley tells Smocke they have to talk, and he wants to do so without bloodshed. Smocke hands over his knife, and gives Hurley his word that nothing will happen. Out of the jungle comes Lapidus, Sun, and Jack. Finally, Smocke and Jack face each other. Though Jack knew of Smocke’s existence, seeing him still packs a punch.
16) The Moment
Hurley and Libby in Santa Rosa. Yes, the Coen Brothers-esque moments of violence were spectacular and unexpected, but give me a heartbeat over bloodshed any day.
23) The Mythology
This episode answered one big question and cast an interesting light on some others. I’ll delve more specifically with these in the coming days on the blog, but a few highlights…
The Whispers, not unlike soylent green, ARE PEOPLE! OK, so that wasn’t exactly a surprising answer. But it’s still confirmation to one of the most popular theories about The Whispers out there. I’m not sure you can actually go back and look at EVERY instance of The Whispers as fitting this week’s description of them (I’m looking at you, “LA X,” and your use of them inside the outer structure protecting The Temple.) But I think the answer actually lends a huge chunk of importance into the show’s endgame: The Island is literally haunted with the souls of those who have suffered throughout the endless rounds of progression that Jacob and The Man in Black have overseen. Hurley’s simple question to Michael (“Is there anything I can do for you?”) is a staple of ghost literature, but it also adds an extra layer to the stakes of the show. Why?
Letting go is more important than holding on! I loved Jack’s speech to Hurley, both as an echo to Rose’s line in “LA X” and as a sign of Jack’s acceptance of his limitations. But I think it’s instrumental t
o understanding why the sideways world is the “wrong” one. If, as I’ve theorized, the sideways world is the byproduct of The Man in Black and Eloise Hawking, then the sideways world is all about the temptation of reclaiming what has been lost. In Jack’s point of view, that search is futile. And who would know better than Jack? Who has made more noble-but-incorrect decisions than him? The man who fought to leave the Island, only to fight to go back, now sits, perhaps for the first time, in the present. That’s what the lighthouse did for him: It gave him a sense of self in his here and now. By smashing the mirror of the past, he afforded himself a chance to do so. Speaking of the lighthouse …
Sideways Des is the new Jacob! OK, not literally. But just as Jacob went about touching candidates and encountering them in various situations, so too is Sideways Des employing differing techniques in order to achieve the same end. Jacob told Hurley in “Lighthouse” that the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for one candidate, may not be right for some. For Hurley? A sly hint of a possible romantic connection. For John Locke? A faceful of car bumper. I have no idea how Des is getting his intel, nor how he knows which individuals to pursue, but you have to love the symmetry of Des pancaking Locke with Smocke sending Des down to sit alongside the Island equivalent of Baby Jessica. Speaking of that well…
There is more than one of everything! OK, I stole that line from “Fringe,” but I couldn’t help but wonder about Smocke’s line about that not being the only well. Did he mean on the Island, or beyond? Remember, we know of at least two unique sources of energy in the world outside of the Island: in L.A., under the church that houses The Lamp Post, and in Australia, where Bernard took Rose to meet Isaac of Uluru. (I’d wager there’s one in Tunisia, as well, at the exit point for all donkey wheel-related activities.) Smocke seems to hint that Widmore’s power base concerns his use and abuse of these other wells. Does the Island move through space and time so no one person could control all wells at once? Does the Island contain One Well To Rule Them All? (You thought I’d get out of this recap without at least one “Lord of the Rings” reference? Ha! I laugh heartily at thee.)
Gnarls Barkley and Patsy Cline know where The Island is! Am I the only one that had either version of “Crazy” running through their head while seeing the overwhelming island imagery in Santa Rosa? You can get too involved trying to spin this back into the “Dave” days and try to wonder if Crazy Libby there knew about the sideways world even then. But given Hurley’s unique insights and abilities, maybe “crazy” isn’t such a bad thing to be in “Lost.” Jacob himself suggests that it’s a gift. While Libby’s revelation was spurred on by a commercial, it’s heavily suggested that knowledge of the sideways world is almost a given for those who quote-unquote “suffer” from quote-unquote “mental illness” in the sideways world. But back to those ghosts …
It only ends once, if at all, for The Whispers! We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways the show can end. Can people simply assume the mantle of Jacob and The Man in Black, making “Lost” just one small slice of the Island’s history? Or is what we’ve seen over the past six seasons the final chaper for The Island? Think of the multitude of people that died on the Island, fulfilling The Man in Black’s opinion of them. If Michael’s a representative case, then everyone who’s given in to their base nature on the island got an afterlife-long sentence of Island purgatory. In some ways, they are the non-corporeal counterparts to Richard: They have the chance to do nothing but atone for their sins in the place they committed them. This raises a host interesting questions: If you die nobly on the Island, are you stuck? (Charlie visited Hurley at Santa Rose in “The Beginning of the End,” and Ana Lucia stopped him in “The Lie.” Both made peace with past mistakes.) Is Des right when he says the Island has a hold on everyone? If Smocke gets his wish, what happens to these spirits/souls/ghosts? Does the negation/defeat of Smocke offer these people the chance to move on? Oooh, loook, nose bleed!
Peter Pan can evolve! Look, I won’t even pretend to have any good insight into why Peter Pan got a dye job in between “The Substitute” and tonight. Maybe he attended makeover week on “American Idol” or something. Either Peter Pan is growing up into what will be the adult version of The Man in Black (Original Recipe Form), or he adapts to those around him (meaning Des’ insertion into the drama has altered his appearance). At least the show hasn’t forgotten about him, so I’m happy to let this proceed apace over the show’s final six hours.
The show only has six hours left! That’s not really mythology, but having just typed that, I needed to do it again to let it sink in. Damnit.
42) Random Thoughts
Ilana. Whew. What a waste of a character. The episode really went above and beyond to paint her in an almost completely new light tonight before her demise. Usually calm and measured when not vigilant and lethal, the Ilana tonight was a nervous nag, so anxious to heave ho that she didn’t even have time to say, “Oh no!” I don’t like reacting in the heat of the recap to something like this, but I really worry that her death just retroactively hurt “Dr. Linus.” What do we now make of Ben’s climactic confession scene, spoken to someone who accidentally blew herself up? Or Jacob’s scenes with her in that Russian hospital? In Season 5, the show introduced Caesar alongside her, and quickly dispatched of him. That was weirder that Ilana’s death, but less painful to me. I accepted Caesar as some sort of meta misdirection, but Ilana felt integral to the show’s endgame. Guess not.
In terms of execution, “Everybody Loves Hugo” reminded me of “The Package”: The sideways story was focused, but the Island action was all over the place. I don’t mind that type of structure, considering how much ground the show has to cover. But given that two of the three previous episodes were intentionally designed to pause the Island action in favor of singular, unique character stories, it’s still a bit jarring to see so much happening in so many places.
More jarring than the number of locations? The number of familiar characters onscreen who barely spoke or said nothing at all. Sun, Lapidus, Sayid, Sawyer, Kate, and Claire combined for a grand total of roughly 10 lines. Miles and Ben got little more than that. I realize not every character can get equal face time, but as I mentioned before, we only have six hours left! More balance, please.
Looking at the crocodile in the chalkboard, I shed a tear for Tawaret, and then poured a 40-ounce malt beverage in the shadow of the statue.
I may have missed the mirror shot this week in the sideways world. If you saw it, let me know!
108) In Conclusion
More good than bad. A lot more good, in fact. But still problematic in ways that didn’t allow it to sit with the upper echelon of Season 6 episodes. A lot of the plot mechanics that got Hurley and Co. to Smocke’s camp were clunky, if not bordering on offensively stupid (Ilana’s death). I loved the Hurley/Jack scene, but besides that, I kept wishing I was watching Des unnerve Smocke or anything at all in the marvelously moving (and eventually downright shocking) sideways stories.
But long-suffering Libby fans got their wish, the sideways world edged ever closer to the Island one, and Smocke has more candidates than ever before. Given the final shots of the episode, looks like we’re gonna get some long overdue Matthew Fox/Terry O’Quinn action next week. Can Christian Shephard be far behind? Looks like we’ll have to wait and see.
What did you think of tonight’s Hurley-centric e
p? Into Libby’s return? What do you make of Des in either timeline? And how does the Peter Pan boy fit into the endgame? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Ryan writes about “Lost” over at Zap2it’s Guide to Lost. He invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Twitter feed and Zap2it’s main feed for all the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.
Photo credit: ABC