Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost in Lost: Everybody Loves Hugo

So, forget symmetry for a moment, because I'm going to try and hit as many things as I can about last night's Lost episode, Everybody Loves Hugo, one by one, then worry later about trying to meld it all into an essay.  If it ends up being all so many Larry King bullet points, then you will know I failed in my mission.  So, here goes, and I'll try not repeat too much ground from my early recap from last night.

  • So, count me as someone buying into Desmond's Island Zen vibe.  Dude seriously appears to be a man with a plan, and part of that plan includes F-ing around with Smocke.  When he said, "You're John Locke," to our friend Smokey, I took that as having two possible meanings.  One, in light of Des hitting sideways Locke with the car, was that he knew Smokey was hiding as John Locke in the Sideways World.  The other meaning could be that Des knew that part of Locke was still right there inside of Smokey-on-the-Island, and that it was that piece of Locke inside Smokey that would be his downfall.  And when Des took Smocke's hand, I didn't think, "Oh, no, poor Des."  I thought, "Smokey's going to get more out of that touch than he bargained for.  Smokey's met the one guy whose hand he should maybe not take."
  • So, did Desmond try to kill Locke or just give him the near death experience he needed to wake up and the smell the wheelchair rubber burning?  Well, who the hell knows?  We are not going to really know that until they tell us, because that is how close to the vest they are playing things this season.  Answers   real, genuine, honest-to-Jacob answers    are just leading to more questions and opening up more possibilities going forward.  And that is how you are supposed to answer the Big Questions on a show; with answers that really do answer, but then also open up new questions at the same time.
  • Right now I am leaning towards thinking that Desmond tried to kill sideways Locke.  After all, how precise can you be with a thousand pounds of automobile?  Not sure how you could expect to do what Des did and know that it would not kill him but merely give him that out of body experience he so desperately needed.  Unless Des knows that sideways Locke cannot be killed, which they would have to establish for us later, then hitting him with a car in order to wake him seems a really risky way to go about it. 
  • Unless he was just trying to knock the Smocke out of him?  Could be.
More (too much more probably) after the jump; just click "read more" below...

  • Let's begin at the beginning (too late):
  • Hurley's sideways world was revealed to be no bed of roses (hey, I got something right!).  Yeah, he had money which he was using philanthropically to buy love (and probably he's a good friend of Human Fund co-creator Jerry Seinfeld), but that was shown right away not to be satisfying.  How right away?  How about the second we saw Hurley at the table?  Mama Reyes was sitting at that table and looking disgusted while she watched everyone laud Hugo.  So right way I knew that Hurley's sideways world was not the happy place for him that many thought it was.  And then we are hit with it   no love for Hugo in sideways land.  He's got money, and he could obviously get gold diggers if he wanted to (but, really, how Hugo would that be?), and yet still no one had stepped up and really loved Hugo.  Everybody Loved Hugo, but unfortunately "everybody" ain't that one special somebody we all need to complete ourselves in this Jerry Maguire vision of Lost.  
  • I ascribe to the Jerry Maguire vision of Lost.  You always need to take time enough for Love; and with that sentiment I agree.  I'll get to more about the book Hurley saw when he went through Illana's stuff later, but it essentially boils down to being about the unpredictable and uncontrollable emotional nature of Man.  Not to be flip, but if that ain't about Love, then I don't know what is.  And indeed, Love (certainly with a capital "L") pays a big part in the story of that book.
  • Obviously Jorge can't drop 150 pounds overnight for his sideways character, but that he's still as big as a house should have told us all as soon as we saw him in LA X that sideways Hurley is not a happy man no matter how lucky he may be.  Lost has established that Hurley eats when he's depressed   something to which I can personally relate   and now they reinforce that he has that same problem in sideways land, which honestly we should have known in LA X.  You see him, you know he's still binge eating.  As a big guy, I appreciate that they don't shy away from that fact with Hugo.  So, not a whole lot looks better for Hurley in Sideways World, and it some ways it seems worse. 
  • In the old world, Hugo was also personally lucky.  He not only won the lottery, but then every investment he ever made turned to gold.  It was the people around him who were not lucky.  And while Grandpa Tito may have never keeled over, and regardless of sideways luck or no, Hugo in this new life is still the guy who couldn't find that special and crazy someone to be with forever. He is more together and confident in the sideways world, but I just don't see his life is any better.  In fact, I would argue that his life is a good deal worse.  
  • Consider he was using his material wealth in an attempt to buy love from everyone, which was something even screwed up S1 Hurley would never have been able to fool himself into believing was real happiness.  At least old world Hurely was struggling to come to grips with his problems.  At least he had not given up and retreated behind his wall of money.  
  • So, like pretty much everyone else in the sideways land (Jack seemingly excepted, so far), it seems that Hugo's surface happiness was masking even greater depths of loneliness and denial than he ever had in the old world. 
  • At least until he met Libby again.  Bing!
  • Notice I said "old world" and not "real world."  There is no "real" world as far as I am concerned, just old and new.  The Sideways Universe is what will happen IF something happens back in the Island World.  What IT is, I have no freaking clue.  Are they supposed to be fighting to stop it; or are they supposed to be trying to make it happen; or did it happen and now they can double back on it?  Who the frak knows?  I can guess a little, and I will, but the point here is that at some point something caused the Sideways World to actually happen.  It's not a "what if" of any kind.  Could be an epilogue, or could be an abomination, and either way it could get wiped out if things play out differently than they have before, but all worlds are equal.  Be they first or last, right or wrong, good or evil, or anything in between    All worlds are equal.  
  • That means those are our characters in the Sideways World.  We still do not know how they got there anymore than we did when 815 landed at LAX, but we do know that is them after something rebooted the world.  They are there, and because they are there   well, that is why we should care about it.
  • Whether or not Sideways World ends up being erased (or preempted) or not, for now it is still as real as can be.  Lost is positing the great wheel of the universe theory, in which everything comes around and around again.  The wheel can be moved off its axis, but the big wheel does just keep on turning.  Spokes can be removed or added, and direction can be shifted during any given revolution, but it just keeps on turning, from beginning to end, over and over again.  
  • The Sideways World isn't an alternate universe.  It's the same universe after it has been put through Smokey's Island Blender.  It has happened/is happening/will happen    else how could there be any interaction between it and the old world?  The Sideways World may end up going "poof" eventually, should Desmond and able to use their knowledge of its existence to change things (if indeed, things need changing), but that doesn't mean it never was.   
  • With every week this season becomes more a really long movie than any season before it.  Lost has always been better in heaping chunks on DVD, and that is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable.  It's eminently rewatchable.
  • Next we see Hugo at the graves, and he poses the Big Question: "Why, Libby, when all these dead people come to me, do you not do so?"
  • Well, why not?  Is it because the only dead people who visit Hurley are those who are trying to harm him?  Does he have his dead people/live people trust issues all backwards?  I totally bought into him saying that "dead people have always been more reliable than living ones," but perhaps he is mistaken there.  For if the dead on the Island want to help Hugo, then why would the one who loves him most never show up?  Only reason I can think of: she is being prevented from showing up.  Libby would spill the beans, and so that means she is persona non-grata on the Island right now.  
  • Or else Libby is long gone, having died in a state of grace that allowed her to be released from whatever is trapping damned souls such as Michael.  Perhaps all that are left on the the Island are those who died bad boys and girls; although it would seem that Michael sure went a long way towards setting his house in order before he died, including sacrificing his life to save his fellow castaways.  So, I don't know that Michael deserves to be trapped there if Libby was in fact allowed to move on.  I might be just picking a story-telling nit there, and perhaps I should just let go the fact that bringing an unwieldy beast like Lost to a close will involve a inconsistency or two, but I would like a firmer answer to the question of where in the hell is Ghost Libby?
  • Ditto for ghost John Locke.  Where the hell is ghost John Locke?  Why has he never appeared?  What is stopping him from throwing his two cents into the fray?  That has bugged me from the moment Locke's dead body was returned to the Island, although it could simply be that his essence is trapped within the body of whatever Smokey is; which would fit right into all the Lockeian stuff we have seen and heard from Smokey (from the blatant "Don't tell me what I can't do" to the subtle twirling of the stick while cock-walking around his camp a few episodes back, which was something Locke himself used to while walking with a stick    see S3, but I can't remember which episode).
  • BOOM goes the Illana.
  • Although first we should mention that Richard seems to have lost all perspective.  For one thing    what really made me laugh is Richard saying that Jacob doesn't get involved. That's a knee slapper, folks. Jacob talks a good game of non-involvement, and he's been cryptic and absent enough to make people buy into it, but he has been pushing everyone since day one. He told Ilana what to do, and he told Hurley what to do, and he told Richard what to do way back when (and has apparently been supplying him with the occasional List), but Jacob has lied and manipulated people from Richard to Dogen to Ben to Hurley to Jack.  
  • Jacob is like the guy who stands on one side of you and then reaches around and taps your other shoulder, then quickly pulls his arm back and stands there looking at the sky and whistling with a "who me?" look on his face. 
  • Oh, yeah----BOOM goes the Illana.
  • I thought Ilana was losing it because of all the stuff coming down on her. Jacob was dead, which I don't think she ever expected, and the Candidates were split up and not listening to her, and she probably had her own doubts about Richard's mission. She was trying to follow Jacob's last order, but the candidates, who are all giving off their own heavy Jacob vibes (she knows, after all, that they are to replace him), were giving her static and causing a lot of doubt.  Man, woman, or child   that would make you emotional. And she popped a gasket at the wrong time and with the wrong bag in her hand.
  • And it was funny as hell. There is always that.
  •  As far as callbacks go, Arzt got his butt blown up because he was popping a gasket, too. He started lecturing the Losties and lost his composure, waving the dynamite around right after he said he knew exactly how to handle it, just as Ilana said and then did. I thought there was perfect symmetry there. And, as Ben said, she had done her job.  And, as I have said, Darlton always know when people are starting to have enough of a character, and they are usually slated to die long before the message boards start complaining about them.  Remember, the Nikki and Paulo die episode, Expose, had been written and/or filmed before the first Nikki and Paulo appearance had ever even aired.
  • So, back to Richard's perspective.  First, one candidate, Jack, pulls him out of his suicidal despair, sparking in him the need to again figure shit out.  Then another candidate, Hurley, gives him the closure he has so desperately been needing for so long (and that Jacob would not give him).  Yet then Richard decides to ignore his current saviors and return to the Jacob-calling that he was so recently spitting all over (nothing more zealous than a newly renewed convert, eh?).   Yet Richard forgets that it was Hurley who set him on the blowin' shit up path in the first place---by telling him they needed to stop the Man in Black---and so perhaps, Richard, you might want to listen to Hurley and Jack if they tell you that maybe you are going about it all the wrong way.  
  • Of course, that just probably means Richard is right even if it is for the wrong reasons.  God knows, that would be a very Lost way to do things.
  • But then Hurley finds himself a little Записки из подполья (Dostoevsky's Notes From The Underground), and a sack of something (ashes, perhaps?    Smokey's Achilles heel?), and he decides it is time to assume the mantle of leadership that has been building within him during each and every episode this season.  And so he does what Hurley never does, but what Jacob (I think) has done often. He lies.  He tells everyone, "Yeah, let's go get us some Dy-No-Mite!"
  • So here is an interesting summing up of that Dostoevsky book that I found online: "Two souls completely estranged from humanity remain so forever because they did not cooperate with each other and grace."   And here is another description, this time from Wiki: "Like many of Dostoevsky's novels, Notes from Underground was unpopular with Soviet literary critics due to its explicit rejection of socialist utopianism and its portrait of humans as irrational, uncontrollable, and uncooperative."
  • So, does all that Russian literature sound totally Lost, or what?
  • Ok, so Hurley pulls a Ben, taking everyone where they wanted to go but for Hurley's own purposes.  He blows up the Black Rock, then Bichard really blows a gasket.  He's not hearing anything from anyone, because his lady love told him, albeit through Hurley, to stop Smocke, and this is the only way Bichard can think of accomplishing that task.
  • Ok, what about Isabella's ghost?  I said before that I thought that was not really her ghost, and last night just reinforced that for me (for, as Michael explained, the ghosts on the Island are people who died within the Island's sphere of influence, or at least had their dead bodies brought to the Island, a la Christian).  If the ghosts we are all seeing are people who died within the Island's sphere of influence, then exactly how is Isabella there?  She was not Smocke, I don't think, because I did believe Illana when she said Smocke cannot turn into anyone else any longer (because that makes sense to me, and because why else would Darlton have her say it---isn't it a bit late for smoke screens?).   To me, that just leaves Jacob.  Of course, Jacob is dead, but I'm sticking with Jacob was Isabella (both in the Black Rock and by the big tree) and Jacob was Ben's mom until proven otherwise.  Again, I think Jacob's been more proactive than anyone understands, and that he is just able to hide it well, such as by appearing as dead people.
  • Unless, of course, Isabella was Smocke, and then all the dead are Smocke.
  • Then I would just have to admit that Illana was as wrong about Smocke as she was about how many water bottles you could safely jam into a backpack filled with dynamite before you throw it to the ground in frustration.
  • A lot of people seem to be saying, "Oh well, guess we will never know why Libby was in that institution."  
  • I think we have been told, boys and girls.  She was in there originally after having a breakdown when her husband David died, and now she is there in the Sideways World because she is breaking from reality    thanks to the fact that reality has actually broken, and she is one of the few who can actually see that.  So, she checked herself in when all these insane memories started flooding into her, and I think it was implied that she checked herself in back in the old world, too.  Why she was in the mental home was never a big mystery   or tied to the Big Mystery   any more than was Mikhail's glass eye or the statue breaking.  
  • Was Jorge Garcia not fantastic in the mental institution scenes?  To me, it was the best job so far of acting a sideways character.  He was Hurley, yet he was not Hurley at the same time.  During his conversations he showed a prejudice towards someone being in a mental home (which is very un-Hurley as we know him), yet he was also that same, sweet, shy guy we have known since season one.  And yet he was also a new primo-confident Hurley, as he whipped out his check book and used 100K to blow right through doctor-patient formalities. Everything about Jorge's sideways performance was, for me, some of the best acting on the entire show.  And that scene over the table contained the same dialogue between Hurley and Libby when he first asked her out on the Island.
  • Something got in my eye right then, and I had to back up the DVR and pause for a minute.
  • So, then Hurley puts Bichard in his place back on the Island.  He uses the same bullshit "Jacob says" line that so many, many people have used all throughout the series.  I didn't take that as sad ("Oh, Hurley has become a liar!") so much as I took it that Hurley was finally standing up for what he believed to be right, and damn the consequences.  They way he walked up to Richard and metaphorically spit in his eye was so damn cool, and it was a logical growth of the seed that Jacob planted within him when he told Hurley to tell Dogen to go screw (which, by the way, is one of many, many reason why the Temple stuff was important, but that is another post for another day).
  • Speaking of that, and now that we have gone past the Illana-go-boom moment, let me just say that Lost using recognizable actors for small, seemingly insignificant parts works gangbusters for me.  At the very least, you have great actors on the show where otherwise you might have C-listers if it were another show.  But most of all, it has made each one of their deaths shocking in a way that having a nobody could never have done.  Going all the way back to Colleen (Paula Malcomson from Deadwood) and straight through to Ceaser, Faraday, Dogen, Lennon, and Illana, I never saw a single one of those deaths coming at the moment they happened (well, maybe I saw Daniel's death coming, but only in the seconds before it happened).  They were all characters I thought were going to stick around based on the actors who played them, so each and every one of those deaths was a gobsmacking moment for me.  Getting my jaw to drop in surprise is tough to do, so I certainly appreciate how often they have been able to do that.  People need to stop worrying about "wasting" actors.  Start appreciating the fact that they are spending the money on quality actors wherever possible, even if it is only to keep us from realizing that they are red-shirts in disguise.
  • I've already gone over what I think of Larry, Curly and Mo Miles, Ben and Richard going off on their own Dirty Trio mission in my post below.  Suffice it to say, those guys are either waaaaay off the mark, or  else they are the only ones who are right on target (even if it might be for the wrong reasons).  There is just no way to know until they tell us.  So, no breath is getting expanded on that here, other than to say that it broke my heart to see Miles walk away from Hurley.  It always kills me when a bear and his twink are separated.  
  • Speaking of something sweet to me, isn't it interesting that the only non-original cast member in the group now is Lapidus (please, please, please have a Lapidus-centric episode---PLEASE!!!), and that the place he is taking is Jin's?  Because all season long now they have been building a rapport with Sun and Frank.  I don't mean a love connection, mind you, but it's was interesting to see all the surviving original Losties back together again, but now Sun is looking to Lapidus for consul, and vice versa.  Frank has not been as prominent so far as we had all hoped he would be, but they have done a good job of forging a connection between he and Sun going all the way back to when the Ajira plan landed last season.  I'm betting their bond is going to be significant in the final set of episodes to come.
  • And one thing I will repeat is---how about Sun walking into yet another new locale filled with people who aren't her husband?  Occasionally her fruitless search for Jin has felt shoehorned into episodes, but tonight it was a quick and quiet moment of crushing resignation to the inevitable for Sun.  Broke my heart to see her eyes dart around and then come back to center; with barely a hint of an expression change on her face.  It was as if she is becoming resigned to being resigned.  Things look bleak for my favorite Island couple.
  • The moment between Jack and Hurley on the hike was filled with subtext and callbacks.  Hurley showed there that he's not completely the confident dude he played with Bichard.  He wanted Jack's affirmation (or better yet, for Jack to take the lead), and Jack gave it to him.  But he did it in a very Jacob (Jackob?) way.  "You asked me to trust you, Hurley.  This is me trusting you." ("I am Jack's Medulla Oblongata, and this is me letting go").
  • So, does that mean that Jack should have perhaps trusted Hurley when he said, "Maybe you not taking leadership is what's going to get us all killed."  Only time will tell, and that's an issue I don't see the show having given us anything close to the type of real info we need to solve.  And I don't want to solve it.  That's one of the things I want to stay a surprise for as long as possible.
  • And that leads us to the end, with nearly the whole band back together and giving each other the stink eye across the campfire.  This season could be called the Season of the Stink Eye.
  • The look between Jack and Kate gave me Jater vibes I have not entertained for years.  For the first time in a long time, if ever, I could see those two as possibly being destined for each other.  It was quick, quiet, and without histrionics, which was about as un-Jack&Kate as Jack and Kate have ever been.  It was nice.  It brought back to mind liking S1 Jack and Kate.  Never thought that would be possible again, and kudos to DamCar for making it happen.  For now that we see Love being the primary method of saving the Universe, thinking of Jack and Kate ending up together is no longer nauseating.
  • The look between Jack and Smocke gave me Jocke vibes I have not entertained, wait, that's not right.
  • The look between Jack and Smocke was fraught with a lot, people.  Smocke had an air of smokey confidence coming out of his ears, but was it false?  And Jack looked both frightened and blissed out at the same time, which makes sense if you remember that Jack has not seen Locke since he dragged his dead body onto that plane, and that he didn't even find out that Locke's body is back up and walking around (or something looking like Locke's body is walking around) until just a day or so ago.  Hearing about it and seeing it are two different things, and that freaked out look could have been all six years of Jack-Locke-Island history crashing down on Jack's head at once.
  • Or maybe Jack just wet his drawers.  Guess we will find that out next week.
  • Not even going to touch Desmond drilling Locke with his car again.  No idea, and I am happy to wait to find out for certain.  I will say that I don't think Smocke tried to kill Desmond by throwing him into the well.  Desmond obviously put a big scare into Smocke (which prompted him to ask, "Why aren't you the one who is scared?), but throwing him down the well is more of a trap-him than kill-him move.  It's never appeared that Desmond was a candidate, but the last time Smocke saw that little boy was when he told him "You can't kill him" regarding Sawyer.  And the first time he saw him was when he was about to kill Richard, and that sighting caused Smocke to take a walk and not kill Richard.  So, I think the boy was there to let Smocke know that he could not kill Desmond, so Smocke went to plan B.  Trap him in a well.
  • Sort of ironic for Smocke to be trapping someone, eh?
  • If that well really does lead to the EM energy, then did Smocke just throw Desmond right down the exact rabbit hole that Desmond needed to go down?
And we are done.

Ok, not even going to try and take all that and turn it into an essay.  Make sure and check out my favorite Lost blogs that are linked over on the left hand side of this page, and I would love to hear all your thoughts in the comment section below, which is open and does not require logging in.  You are all free to be as complimentary, dismissive, or indifferent as the spirit moves you.

I will be back later in the week to try and collate everything; correct anything about which I suddenly come to believe I was wrong; and then try to make it all seem like I knew everything all along.

I am sort of the Jacob of bloggers in that way.


  1. Wrong or right, you are funny, and you hit all the high points for me. Please keep it up more regularly until the finale. I'll come back and try and post a more coherent comment once I scoop my melted brain back up off the floor.

  2. I'm not sure about Desmond trying to kill Locke. That was just how Desmond felt he had to wake Locke up. Now Locke will meet Jack at the hospital, and the two of them might awaken together. Do you think next week will be a Locke or Jack centric episode?

    Nothing funnier than watching someone get all worked up and go boom. You got that right. I hope Ilana's death was supposed to be funny, because it sure made me laugh, too. There may be something wrong with both of us.

    And I got your Fight Club reference, and I confess that same thing passed through my mind when I saw what I am now referring to as Zombie Jack. I mean that in a loving manner, of course. It's just a calm Jack is so unusual that he almost seems dead. I know he's a better character, and I like him more again, but it is funny to see him so Zen after all these years of hysterics.

    I think they were very brave to make their leading man and woman both so unlikeable. If they had not, then what kind of arc could they have had?

  3. I have not heard the term "Jater" in a long while. It made me laugh a lot. "Jocke" even more so. I'm definitely now a Jocke shipper.

  4. After reading this, I'm thinking now that Desmond in Sideways world has full knowledge of what is to come. Because if he really did get a glimpse into his Island past, and if it really is "the past" for him, then you would think there would be no reason his flood of memories wouldn't include everything right up until the moment the Island world went poof, as you so delicately put it.

    Unless he only could download the memories that Desmond had experienced at the time of his EM blast, but I'm thinking that is likely not the case.

    And does that work both ways? Did Island Des get to tap into more than the Sideways memories? Did he also get a full download and that is why he is so Zen?

    It's sort of a Zen Ben thing. Zen by way of Ben, if you have happened to see Mad Dog Time.

  5. Sounds like people all agree this was the Zen episode of Lost.

    And, yes, Zen by way of Ben was just on cable the other night. God, do I love Brass Balls Ben London, with his giant balls of brass. I couldn't get enough of that Nick/Mick/Vic shit.

    For those of you who have never seen Mad Dog Time, it also goes by Trigger Happy, and it stars Jeff Goldblum, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin, Diane Lane, and Gabriel Byrne, among others. It's weird, silly fluff, but it is a stitch. Definitely the kind of movie someone who laughed at Ilanna going boom would like.

    I've been aping Drefuss' line about being "busy, busy, busy," using that same weird delivery of his, for years without ever remembering where I got it from.