Hurley does a Snow White impression, Desmond does a Baby Jessica impression, and Locke does a...well...Locke impression. Hurley's memory is awoken with a kiss. Desmond falls down a well. Locke gets violently injured, unexpectedly.
Quite a lot going on for a Hurley-centered episode, no?
Right off the bat, I must point out that another HUGE mystery was revealed this past week: the whispers in the jungle are the aimless souls of those who have perished on (or around) the island and "can't move on." So don't say we never get any secrets divulged. That is a big one in my book.
Also requiring immediate attention: Libby's back and she's battier than ever (Hey ya, Hey ya). Back in Season Two, in the episode where Hurley's imaginary friend (Dave) tempted him to eat and jump off a cliff, we saw a Mad-Lib Libby shaking and convulsing in the corner of the same mental hospital Hurley was in. Albeit her re-appearance came in the alternate-reality, off-island story, but Libby's return was another nice treat in an action-packed episode.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't briefly highlight the reference to another amazing book in this episode. My favorite fiction writer is Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I'm reading Poor Folk right now), and I was THRILLED to see Hurley uncover Notes From The Underground among Ilana's effects after she got "all blowed up." (More on what that book means to this episode and LOST on a bigger scale later.) I can't say it enough...there is NO SHOW in human history that goes to these lengths to include classic works of literature as well as profound moral and theological themes.
On to the episode, Everybody Love Hugo...
Hurley is honored at a dinner at the museum that Miles' dad (Pierre Chang) and Charlotte work at. He is portrayed as a generous man who has enjoyed great success and even better luck. He is the anti-Hurley that we know in many ways. But this new Hurley is still self-loathing and lonely. Hurley knows his own faults, finds ways to stay positive and live with them, but always seems unwilling to do something to change his situation. Things happen to Hurley...rarely does he cause them.
His mother sets him up on a date at Spanish Johnny's (not to be confused with the Spanish-speaking people who work at Johnnies Beef in Arlington Heights, IL) and instead he gets a rendezvous with Libby who is on a nut-house fajita field trip. She recognizes Hurley from somewhere, but Hurley the Hut has no recollection of the blonde bombshell. Like the Disney classic Snow White, Hurley's gonna need a smooch to wake his memory from its slumber. That kiss he gets a little later on the beach when he and Libby finally get that date on a blanket (one not soaked in Libby's flesh-wound blood).
But how did he get to the point of being willing to step outside his comfort zone, pay off a mental institute's director, and take Libby on a date? Short answer: Desmond Hume. Dez is playing the role that Eloise Hawking played in his own past life...namely, someone intervening in the lives of others in the service of the island. We don't yet fully know what Desmond off-the-island and in alternate-reality land knows (and when he knew it), but it seems like after his electromagnetic shock in the shack two weeks ago that he's becoming more fully aware of the existence of two time-lines for himself and all the other key players. That is why he asked for the Oceanic 815 passenger manifest list: he wants to hunt each person down and do what he can to arouse in them a self-awareness of their pre-Jughead lives.
All the stuff with Libby in this episode, while cool, was fairly self-explanatory so I won't be spending much time on what she had to say. She remembers her other life (which also included time in a loony-bin), she remembers Hurley and their relationship on an island, she remembers a plane crash, and she remembers that Hurley loves to eat copious amounts of unhealthy foods. Hurley doesnt...until they smooch, that is.
But the biggest, most shocking off-island moment clearly was the head-on collision between Desmond's car and Locke's unsuspecting body. I love how the moments leading up to that hit-Locke-and-run included Benjamin Linus confronting Desmond for leering at children outside of a school in the parking lot. But he wasn't pulling a Stranger Danger, he was peeping Locke's movements so he could line up his horse power just right and knock the Bald Wonder into next week.
So why did he do it? Locke survived the hit (which isn't surprising after living to see another day after an 8-story fall), so was Desmond's goal to wake Locke up to the other reality (in the same way Charlie woke Dez up by driving their car off the road into the ocean)? It seems that there are better ways to do that than hitting a man in a wheelchair. No, I think the more likely scenario involves the fact that Desmond is aware of both realities now and knows what Locke will turn in to...Flocke The Smokey One. I think Old Hume was trying to "off" alternate-reality Locke. (More on this in the Thoughts/Theories section below)
And questions surrounding the Locke-Hume relationship is a nice segue into the...
Hurley and Ilana share a moment on the beach when she stumbles upon Hugo talking to the grave of his beloved and deceased Libby. He wonders aloud, "Why haven't you (Libby) come to see me?" As we later find out, the voices and whispers are the souls of people who can't move on. So does this mean Libby did move on? Or is the Smoke Monster messing with Hurley and all of the people who appear are really Smokey himself? Didn't Flocke tell us he was a trapped soul (that couldn't move on)? Are the voices then good or bad?
Michael appears to Hurley on the beach after Ilana informs him of the plan to blow up the plane with Black Rock dynamite, and tells Hugo that people are listening to him now and if he lets people die by blowing up that plane it will be on his conscience. But I think Michael, assuming he is a trapped soul, might have ulterior motives for not wanting the plane to be destroyed. Perhaps his (and the other lost souls') fate is tied to Flocke's ability to escape. Perhaps if Flocke can get off the island, Michael and the whispering voices will be free? It doesn't even have to be that Michael is working with Flocke, but maybe they want the same goal: to get Flocke off the island and be freed from their spiritual shackles.
Either way, Michael's soliloquy has its intended effect and Hurley goes back to the beach-camp and begins his sales pitch against blowing up the plane. Ilana isn't buying it, and neither is Richard...but only one of those two explodes into a thousand little pieces of flesh and bones. Ilana does her best Dr. Arzt impression and the beach crew is left stupefied. How is it that the woman sent to protect them...the woman hand-picked by Jacob...the woman who seems to be on the side of "right"...that she has now been "called home" by the island? As Ben eventually put it, if that's how the island treats one of its guardians, what hope do the rest of them (and us) have?
First of all, Jacob himself wasn't above being killed. As in the case of the story of the life of Jesus Christ, sacrifice doesn't always make sense, and can be distressing to a leader's followers when he is killed or persecuted, but death isn't always the end of the tale. Especially on this island.
And if Jacob is fair game to be sacrificed, why not Ilana? To take the comparison in another, nerdier, direction, Obi-wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars trilogy sacrificed himself in the very first movie, only to play an integral part from beyond the grave throughout the second two installments. "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could ever imagine," is what Obi-wan told the man in black, Darth Vader.
Newly-inspired and emotionally re-charged Richard Alpert is undeterred by Ilana's implosion and recruits Ben and Miles to accompany him to the Black Rock for more firepower. Ilana was told by Jacob that Richard would know what to do, Richard was told by his wife (through Hurley, of all people) that he needed to stop Flocke from leaving the island, and so he wants to blow up the plane. Assuming that Richard's wife Isabella was a legit spirit and not Flocke, this then speaks to Michael's spirit appearing to Hurley and telling him to NOT blow up the plane to be an illegitimate piece of advice.
I believe so much of this will come down to figuring out which dead people who appear are good, and which are bad? If Isabella appearing was actually Flocke (who was nearby in the jungle while Hurley was translating Ghost-speak for Richard), then Michael's warning against blowing up the plane is the right one to listen to. But if Michael is a spirit trying to break free when Flocke leaves the island, then Isabella was right and was probably sent by Jacob.
Hurley "changes his mind" and rallies the troops (and garners Jack's full trust and support) to go with Richard, Ben, and Miles to the Black Rock. Only, Hugo's plan is to listen to Michael's warnings and blow up the slave ship. We don't need to get into the creative license the writers of LOST took with somehow getting Hurley The Ranch-on-a-lead Eater to beat everyone else in a foot-race to the Black Rock...the important thing is that he did get their first and did blow it up. It was a line-in-the-sand moment for everyone there. Hurley was drawing the line to say "The plan was wrong, I know what to do...kind of."
A disgusted Richard takes off again to Othersville with Ben and Miles and warns the rest of them to not get in their way. So once more we have another faction splitting off to further complicate the dynamics on the island. I love it! Richard knew Hurley was lying because Hugo couldn't tell Ricardus "what the island is" (see: bottle of win explanation Jacob gave Richard 150 years earlier).
After the three amigos march off to find more explosives, Sun asks Frank if they've made a mistake hitching their wagons to Hurley's rising star, to which Frank wisely responds "Probably." Meanwhile, Jack conveys to Hurley why he is following him now: the island (and life) has broken Jack's spirit and he's ready to be a follower. It doesn't come easy to him, but he's tried things his own way for so long (with "mixed" results), that he's ready to put his trust in other people for the first time in his life. Even if by doing this Jack ends up dead, I love the personal growth that Jack's character has gone through. He's become a Man of Faith, despite the inner desire to control everything. He's showing his friend Hurley that he cares about, and trusts, him. Jack hasn't raised the white flag...he's merely relinquishing his insistence upon always being in charge and always having to be in the front.
Hugo also has doubts about his own abilities and decision-making skills, and the scene between he and Jack, both sharing their fears and doubts, was a good one.
Over on the other side of the island, Flocke, Sawyer, and the rest are waiting for word from Sayid about his trip to the Hydra Island. Flocke is whittling something from a large stick, and when Sawyer asks him what he's making, he responds with the cryptic "When the time is right, it will tell me." Wow. That's a brain-buster of a philosophical statement. Flocke and Jacob each seem to have separate powers and abilities. They are the representatives of Good and Evil on the island...men on the front line in the spiritual battle between heaven and hell. But they each seem to also be lacking certain things (and certain pieces of information...about each other...about the island...etc.).
Flocke, like Locke, is unhappy with his own fate and actively seeks out ways to change his circumstances. The stick in this week's episode, to me, represented the fact that Flocke doesn't have all the answers, but is ready and willing to respond to his chance to leave the island when it presents himself. It's symbolic of how Flocke has operated...sitting back...watching...studying (like, for example, how long he let Richard sit in the hold of the ship)...and then making his decision and sticking with it. Sure, he's a smoke monster that has some power, but he is limited in his knowledge and understanding and ability on the island.
Sayid returns and calls Flocke aside to show him a tied-up Desmond (looking completely un-phased). He apologizes for Sayid imprisoning him, and the two of them go on a walk together to the infamous well (where the frozen donkey time machine wheel is housed). Along the way Flocke begins his typical sales-pitch to Desmond...he reminds Dez of how bad the island's been to him, likely hoping to recruit him in the same way he did Claire and Sayid. But the New Desmond, the one who has been through the electromagnetic torture in the wooden shack, is calm as a cucumber and ready with a response to Flocke's reminder of how bad the island's been to Hume: "I'm not special, brotha'...this island has it in for all of us."
And boom goes the Black Rock dynamite. That comment from Desmond irks Flocke. He realizes that Desmond is indeed special and completely unafraid of him. Flocke needs people to either be his lackeys, or to greatly fear him. But Desmond, for whatever reason, is unmoved by Flocke. He sticks it to Flocke even more when he says, "Ya, I know who you are...You're John Locke." Now of course this could mean many different things, but what I took away from it was that Desmond somehow now knows that there is nothing to fear and that Flocke is ultimately a largely powerless being, subject to the same hand of destiny we all are. It could also be a jab at Flocke for having had to kill so many people (primarily, John Locke) to accomplish the things he has thus far. Or it could be Desmond appealing to the humanity of the Smoke Monster who has said himself that he was once a normal man himself.
Whatever the deeper meaning of Desmond's comments may be, the result is the same: he gets shoved down the well. This happens in poetic contrast to what happens a few moments later back in the alternate-reality world of 2004 where Desmond plunks Other Locke with his sweet ride.
Oh, I almost forgot...as Dez and Flocke are walking to the well, the same boy from earlier this season (the one with blood on his hands) appears again in the jungle. Both men can see the boy, and Flocke appears both angry and scared by the child's cameo. The boy did appear to be a little older this time, but that could be a "Walt" situation where the actor playing him hit his growth spurt in the last six months...or it could be a purposeful reminder that island time is different than all other times...or I could have thought about it too much and it absolutely is the same kid.
Regardless, my theory in the past was that the boy was either a younger Jacob (perhaps from when he and the Man in Black were first placed on the island) or is Claire's baaaaaaby, Aaron. I'm gonna amend that theory and include Charlie, Dez and Penny's son, as a possible candidate for who the boy is.
So Flocke flips out, shoves Dez down the well, and returns to his camp to tell everyone that Desmond won't be bothering them anymore. But was Desmond really bothering anyone? No, but he was Widmore's "secret weapon", and even though Flocke doesn't fully understand why Desmond is special, he knows that he is. And that's enough to land you in a well.
-Hurley takes the pouch of Jacob's ashes out of Ilana's backpack...is Hurley the new protector of the island? Did Ilana blow up so that Hurley could step up and take a leadership role? The Island moves in mysterious ways...
-Does Michael want Hurley to team up with Flocke because all those trapped island whispering spirits will also be released if Flocke is?
-Flocke threw Desmond down a well. Desmond, after waking up in the post-Hatch explosion world of early Season Three was walking around with nothing but Hurley's technicolor tie-dye t-shirt on, like Joseph of the Bible. Desmond also then had weird visions/dreams. Joseph of the Bible had strange visions/dreams, and because of that, and because he was "special", his brothers threw him down into a well. You do the math.
-Was John Locke the Black Smoke all along?
-He (Doc Jensen at EW's LOST blog) churns great commentary on each episode out every week, but sometimes he loses even me in his ramblings...all the same, here is his take on Everybody Loves Hugo.
-While I'm not too broken up about Ilana biting the big one, she has been an intriguing character to me. Even more so after Hurley went through her nap-sack and found a copy of a Dostoyevsky novel. In her back-story we saw Jacob visiting her in a Russian hospital and the two of them speaking Russian. Might she have some connection to Patchy The Un-Killable Russian from Season 3?
-Notes From The Underground is a short novel/story that Dostoyevsky wrote in part as a critique on the intellectual and moral thinking of his day. The main character is a self-obsessed man who has convinced himself that everything wrong in the world and in his life is someone else's fault...but at the same time is entirely self-loathing and sees no good or value to his own life. Dostoyevsky was a master at showing man's inner-conflicts surrounding questions of God, mankind's purpose, and the problem of evil. In Notes, themes relating to free will, determinism, and existentialism get fleshed out in powerful ways. Just like LOST. Now why Ilana had this book in her bag, and what it means about her character, I can't say...but I think the themes that Notes touches upon are what the writers of LOST want us to think about (and have used consistently throughout the 5-plus seasons of the show).
-Who caught the Willy Wonka song being sung over the "Next Week on LOST" promo that ran at the end of this week's episode? It's that creepy song that Willy sings on the boat in that tunnel in a scene that scarred me for life. In keeping with the tradition of including a LOST-related song (almost) every week now, here's "The Rowing Song":
There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!!!
Alright, that's what you get, cause this is all I got.