Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lost Episode Review 6.12: "Everybody Loves Hugo"

"Dead people are more reliable than alive people..."

(Thanks to Dark UFO for all the screencaps).

Well, not only were most of my predictions totally wrong, but I completely forgot Richard said they were going to destroy the plane two weeks ago. Yeek. But I've never been so happy to be so totally wrong.

I loved this episode from start to finish. Yeah, a few of the scenes were a bit disjointed and some of the motivations seemed kinda forced (like Hurley taking everyone to Locke, the explanation for the Whispers), but this episode totally shocked me twice: When Ilana got the Arzt treatment and when Alt Desmond flattened Alt Locke with his car (Locke sending Desmond well-diving you could see coming from a mile away). Lost is always at its best when it surprises and tonight was probably the best twisty-turny episode of the season.

Not to mention, there we're so many great little things about last night:

- Pierre Chang giving Hurley his T-Rex award. I want one of those.
- Seeing Michael again.
- Seeing Libby again.
- Ben's morose monologue about Ilana and the Island. He's kinda got a point too.
- Smokey trying to figure out Desmond.
- Alt Desmond looking so cool, calm and collected, helping people get their memories back
- Hurley and Libby getting their picnic on the beach. I never really bought the two of them together - always thought it was kinda forced - but there was some genuine chemistry last night.
- The trippy "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" preview for next week, which was taken from a 2005 album by Pendulum.

Just so much win this episode. Kudos to Jorge Garcia who gave it all last night.

Lots to ponder here, eh? Time to... *puts on Desmond's sunglasses*... ask some questions, brutha!

Five questions:

1) Is Alt Locke really Smokey? Does he realize he's Smokey?

The ending of the episode totally shocked me. At first I thought Desmond was simply trying to shake Locke's memory loose, but 1) Desmond hit Locke a wee bit too hard to just be trying to jog his memory and 2) he certainly didn't have to do that to Hurley to get his brain moving. So why kill Locke?

The most obvious answer is that Alt Locke is really Alt Smokey who, like all of the other Losties, has lost his memory in this pocket universe as well. If this is true (which it very well may not be - maybe Locke needs to die to collapse the pocket universe or something), it would suggest a number of things about the Alt:

1) Smokey is just as trapped as the rest of the Losties

2) Smokey is still stuck in Locke's form

3) Smokey didn't create the pocket universe at all

There are a couple things I like about this theory, especially in that it explains why the Alt is so normal. After all, the Island is destroyed in the Alt and the world certainly doesn't seem to be this Hell that everyone says would come about if Smokey escaped. Also I've been expecting Smokey to make an appearance in the Alt for several episodes now and this would certainly explain his absence. It also gives us another theory as to why the Alt exists: It's a last-ditch effort to contain Smokey.

With the Island gone, Smokey is free. But let's say someone (or some people) created the Alt at the last minute to prevent Smokey from escaping into the world, and you have to think Eloise is one of the primary masterminds here. Thus the Alt is really a proxy for the Island here - it's simply a prison to contain Smokey and everyone else just got taken along for the ride.

But there are a few problems with this theory. First if all, if this is the case, what good would it do to destroy the Alt? Seems in this case you'd want to keep it intact since you get the best of both worlds: Smokey contained and most of the Losties are happy. Furthermore it seems weird that Smokey would be trapped in Locke's form here since he didn't attain the form until 2007 in the present day universe.

I'm not totally comfortable with this theory - too many loopholes, so to speak. But I think we can say for certain that Desmond wants Alt Locke dead for some reason and that seems to suggest to me that if Locke isn't Smokey in this universe, then Smokey needs Alt Locke alive for some reason.

Poor Locke. Has anyone in the history of television had a more miserable existence?

2) Does Smokey really know what Desmond can do or why Widmore really wants him?

The conversation with Desmond and Smokey intrigued me in that Smokey really didn't seem to know what to do with Desmond. He insinuated that Widmore wanted to use Desmond as a compass to locate pockets of EM energy around the Island. This is plausible at face value, but doesn't seem to be what Widmore needs him for. After all, Widmore now has Jin to show him where the pockets of EM are, that's why he kidnapped him in the first place.

And Desmond was almost certainly lying when he told Smokey he was "John Locke" - I think Desmond knew exactly what Smokey really was. In fact, since Desmond's Alt trip, both versions of Desmond seem to have complete awareness of what's going on, which partially makes me think Desmond wanted to get thrown down the well knowing that 1) he'd survive and 2) there may be a pocket of EM energy down there. Note that the well Smokey threw Locke down was not the Orchid well. There's no Donkey Wheel down there for Desmond to turn.

If all this is true, it says a couple things to me: 1) Smokey isn't able to read minds anymore and 2) Smokey probably decided to kill Desmond just in case. You have to think if Smokey could still read minds, he would have scanned Desmond for sure, but lacking that option after a normal interrogation probably figured the safest thing to do was to simply get rid of him. Bit surprised he didn't go full blown Smoke Monster on him. All the James Bond villain ghosts on the Island must be facepalming right now, since he'd certainly still alive. Speaking of which...

3) Why are all the ghosts stuck on the Island? Can they interact with each other at all?

So the Whispers are really the muttering of ghosts who, in Michael's words, "can't move on." This seems to suggest the Island is really some kind of purgatory for wayward souls, even though it does seem to really physically exist in the world as well. And remember that since Hurley saw Richard's wife on the Island, it's not necessarily only people who have died on the Island either - it really seems to be a full-blown purgatory for spirits.

Looking back at some of Lostpedia's whisper transcripts, it does seem that the spirits can interact somewhat, talking to each other while they observe the living people on the Island. But it's kinda weird that Michael told Hurley to tell Libby he's sorry if he sees her. After all, if Hurley sees her wouldn't that suggest she's trapped on the Island just like Michael?

So why are the spirits stuck there? Is there something that can be done to help them move on? I'm guessing that the new Jacob will be able to address this question in the series finale.

4) If Jack becomes the new Jacob, will Hurley become the new Richard?

All through this episode I sat thinking, "Man, Richard is really useless now. Hurley's doing his entire job for him." And doesn't it seem weird that even though Jacob told Ilana that Richard would know what to do, Richard really doesn't seem to have a clue? When Jack interrupted Richard's suicide attempt in the Black Rock, we never actually got to see whether it would have worked in the absence of Jack. I'm betting that with Jacob dead, Richard can die now and will do so before the end of the season.

Now the new Jacob doesn't necessarily need a new Richard; he or she can simply choose talk to people directly. But I was struck by the conversation Jack and Hurley had in the jungle where Jack told Hurley that he trusted him and Hurley then gave Jack some advice - seemed like a really great working relationship to me.

So what would be Hurley's motivation to stay on the Island if Jack is chosen as the new Jacob? How about being able to talk to ghostly Libby all the time?

5) Does Hurley plan to try and trap Smokey with Jacob's ashes?

When Hurley went through Ilana's belongings, he grabbed a drawstring bag, which is probably the one Ilana filled with Jacob's ashes back in LA X. Is the reason Hurley suggested that everyone go see Smokey because he's planning to try and trap him a different way? If so, suddenly Hurley's decision to travel to Locke makes a lot more sense. I do kinda wish he had said to Jack "I have a plan" or something, but I'm betting we'll see those ashes in action sometime in the near future.


- So if Smokey kills Desmond and Alt Desmond kills Alt Smokey will the universe implode?

- So Jacob told Richard once what the Island really was. Any chance Ben or Miles will follow up on this in the next few episodes? Ordinarily I'd say no, but we are awfully close to the end of the show.

- Interesting that Desmond could also see Jacob/Aaron in the jungle. Richard couldn't see him, but Sawyer could. Does this mean Desmond's a candidate too? There's certainly something very significant about people who are able to see him and that boy is the one thing on the Island that seems to annoy the heck out of Smokey. At first glance, the boy seemed older to me too, but it seems to be the same young actor in both episodes.

- I love Locke's curious head nod (like the one he used when he saw Desmond for the first time), which makes him look like he's a velociraptor, right before it's about to tear your face off. ;)

- The book Hurley picked up from Ilana's stuff was Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

- "You talk to wood now?" Sawyer still gets all the best lines despite his limited screen time. Seriously though, what was Smokey carving that stick for? Is it a new Jesus Stick?

- A while ago I tried to predict what centricity the remaining Lost episodes would be. My predictions:

6.08: Sawyer
6.09: Jin/Sun
6.10: Ilana
6.11: Claire
6.12: Frank
6.13: Charles Widmore
6.14: Hurley
6.15: Richard
6.16: Desmond

And what we've gotten so far is:

6.08: Sawyer
6.09: Richard
6.10: Jin/Sun
6.11: Desmond
6.12: Hurley

Out of my remaining four predictions, the only plausible one I think is left is Charles. Ilana is now gone and Frank and Claire just don't seem that likely to me. So who could the remaining four be? Well, there always could be a repeat from earlier in the season - Jack being the most likely candidate (pun intended) there. But I can't see having really more than two repeats, so were going to have to get at least one more new (for this season) flash in addition to Charles (assuming Charles actually gets one).

So now that Richard, Ben and Miles are broken off into their own group, I really think Miles is going to get an episode. He's the only one of the three who hasn't gotten one this season and he ties into Sawyer and Kate's Alt stories, so we'd be able to see the resolution of that storyline (of course, they'll all probably be getting a visit from Desmond soon).

- Another good thing about a Miles-centric episode this season: More Daddy Chang. :)

- Desmond's order number at Mr. Cluck's was 42.

- Did Dr. Brooks have that photo of an Island in his office in the original timeline? I think he did, but it's been a while since I've seen "Dave."


I loved this episode from start to finish. Is it a Top 10? Don't know yet, but it's got two top Lost moment contenders in Ilana blowing up and Desmond running over Locke. Regardless it's one of the best episodes this season. 4.8/5


Missie said...

When Richard said that Jacob told him what the Island is, I figured he was referring to the whole "cork on the wine bottle and prison for Smokey" discussion from his episode.

I actually jumped off of the coach when that chick blew up. Which is strange, because as she was shoving water bottles in the bag with the dynomite, I was thinking "Man, you're handling that pretty rough..."

Jay said...

I was thinking it might be something deeper, but you're probably right. Regardless, I'm still surprised no one called Richard on it right then and there.

Matt said...

Anybody think that, despite his own doubts, Hurley did the right thing blowing up the Black Rock (SYMBOLISM SYMBOLISM SYMBOLISM), thereby tipping the scales in Jacob's favor?

Mitch said...

Agree that this was a fantastic episode, probably the best Hurley episode yet. He's generally good as a supporting character and not so good when he has the spotlight, so I don't really look forward to his eps, but there was enough other awesome stuff in this to make me love it.

Desmond running Locke down cracked me up. It would have been even more hilarious if he had targeted Arzt (which would have been an equally reasonable thing to do, seeing as they were both on the plane, but hilarious from the standpoint of a viewer who knows who's important and who's not).

Also I would be very surprised if we don't get Jacob and MIB centric episodes at some point, probably wrapped together in the finale.

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

Great review, Jay! I'm working on one as well and I'll be mentioning your comments from the other day regarding the Good Vs. Evil theme that some people have a problem with (I really dug what you said). Anyway, quick answer to your question: that exact picture of the island definitely was in the psychiatrist's office way back in "Dave". I thought it was cool they brought it back.

Chris said...

Nice read, Jay. A few points:

1. Re: the whispers. I think they went out of their way to tell us that Hurley HASN'T seen Libby as a ghost yet, so there's nothing to suggest that her spirit is trapped on the island and would have been able to communicate with Michael.

2. Re: centric episodes. Last night's episode was technically a Hurley-centric episode, but it was unusual that it closed with the Desmond/Locke scene that had nothing to do with Hurley. Unless there's a Claire story next week, I'm suspecting that there won't be any more centric episodes. Going forward, I'm expecting just a whole hodgepodge of our characters being rounded up by Desmond.

stefanie said...

I know she's not on the island but has anyone considered that jin/sun's daughter could actually be a candidate and not jin or sun? she's a kwon too...it's weird how they just shipped all the kids off the island and left them at home

Jay said...

Matt - Heh. I can't believe I never thought of that. :)

Mitch - Yeah. I think the finale's going to have to be Jacob and MiB flashbacks. Really the best way to see how those two manipulated everyone behind the scenes.

Paula - Thanks! I thought that picture was there in "Dave." There was actually a great screencap I was going to use on Dark UFO with Hurley's face in front of it, but it was just a wee bit too blurry for me to use.

Chris - Yeah. That's a great point. Didn't Libby appear to someone though as a ghost? Michael maybe? I seem to remember her in a hospital as a nurse. Am I making that up? But it is interesting Hurley hasn't seen her yet.

And I do think there's going to have to be some creative thing done with the centricity from here on out - just aren't that many people left.

Stefanie - That theory has most definitely been tossed around, but as you point out, the big question is how would Ji-Yeon get to the Island at this point? Magic Box Airlines, perhaps? :)

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

Ghost Libby appeared to Michael twice in "Meet Kevin Johnson." Once as a nurse in a dream when he was hospitalized, and once aboard the freighter when he was about to detonate Ben's prank bomb.

Hurley actually suggested in "The Incident" that he has spoken with Libby, though that may have just been his phrasing and not what he actually meant. Regardless, I don't think Libby can't reach out to Hurley (and possibly she even has, just not recently on the island), it just may be less likely because she has moved on, as it were.

Chris said...

I'll just add some more thoughts to the table:

1) Anyone notice a bunch of the main characters heading to or are already at the hospital?

2) Jack and Locke gonna "connect" to see their other reality while he's @ the hospital?

3) The random kid in the woods, his hair got quite a bit darker.

stefanie said...

chris--i noticed that with the kid too! I don't think he's the same kid. The other kid was younger, and blonde. This kid had dark hair. Interesting...

Carly said...

I totally loved the Willie Wonka song in the preview for next week! I knew you would catch that Jay.
It seems to me that Non-Locke seemed a little threatened by Jack, like he really thinks it's Jack who will be the next Jacob. It would be interesting if in the end it was Hurley who he least suspects.
If I recall the picture on the chalkboard at the mental hospital was still the island with a shark below it.
Do you read Jorge Garcia's blog? I recognized his real life dog as his dog in that video.
I am wondering now who else's spirit is trapped on the island based on what they did. Obviously Michael, and probably Ana Lucia, but who else?