THINGS I NOTICED - Everybody Loves Hugo
Everyone loves Hugo episodes. They always deliver a message, but they usually do it with an interesting mix of humor and sarcasm. This week, they even did it with darker and more shadowy overtones. Despite the increasing tension and imminent violence of the upcoming storyline, Hurley was still able to shine through. Things I Noticed:
Three... Is a Magic Number
LOST is playing out exactly as Locke predicted it would, way back in the Pilot episode. Two players, two sides, one dark and one light... things were a lot simpler back then, and ideas a lot more innocent. Perhaps this is why John neglected to take the additional force into account - the third grand master - the watchers, the whisperers, those who are apparently 'stuck' on the island through their deeds or misdeeds.
The bright red flower on Libby's grave this episode pointedly reflects the influence of a 3rd party. We've seen this all throughout the show - the use of the color red neatly implemented in some very key ways. Red has been used to make a point (by Eloise Hawking, showing Desmond the red-shoed man), and in scenes alongside the other two black and white forces (Locke's red WV bug alongside black and white sedans, the red hieroglyphics of the Swan's black-on-white countdown timer, etc...) - the list is pretty long.
Yet when it comes to people, red has been used mostly in conjunction with one key character on LOST: Michael. He's the guy wearing the red shirt as the raft launches in Exodus, standing next to Sawyer and Jin in their black and white ones. Mike's also the one who told us the season one joke: "What's black and white and re(a)d all over?"
Perhaps more than anyone else save John Locke, Michael's been the most manipulated pawn in LOST's whole game. You have only to watch the surprise on his face as Michael shoots Libby and Ana Lucia to know one thing: at that very moment, someone else had their finger on Mike's playing piece. He gets manipulated back to the island by forces beyond his control, and spectacularly disposed of once the island is done with him. As far as pawns go, Michael's unimaginative, single-sided approach to problem solving (i.e. bounding randomly into the jungle after Walt every ten minutes) probably made him an easy target. In essence, he was a good tool to use.
Michael is also the one 815'er who never really had a choice at all. From the moment we first see him, people like his ex-wife are making decisions for him. He's always been the victim, played the victim, and seen himself as a man taken advantage of. In that respect, it's only fitting that Michael would ultimately end up in an advisory role, trying to help Hugo make some very important decisions of his own.
Michael showing up in conjunction with the whispers, alongside Libby's red flower, really cements the theory of a third party on LOST. The watchers are the whisperers, and the whisperers are the ones who've been watching. When Mike steps up to Hurley here, it's not with vague hints or cryptic allusions. He flat out tells Hugo he's here to stop him from making a mistake, and then proceeds to tell him exactly what he must do. This is a much more direct influence than we've ever seen before, and it's probably because - one way or another - things are finally drawing down to a conclusion.
The whisperers aren't just watching anymore, they're getting involved. They have a stake in what happens, and they mean to protect it. Hurley's not exactly happy to see Michael, but he is happy to get some outside help. The insight Michael provides comes from outside the show's gameboard, and with some sort of advanced knowledge of what's going to happen. Hurley knows and understands this, and is smart enough not to question it. As he tells Miles later on: "Dead people are more reliable than the live people". At this point, it just makes sense.
I've Been Training My Whole Life For This!
Did you see Richard's face when he looked into Illana's satchel? That was some sweaty, nappy, nasty-looking dynamite! I should've realized what was going to happen here but I'm glad I didn't, because Illana's demise startled the hell out of me almost as bad as what happened to poor Arzt. Fool me once, shame on ABC. Fool me twice... I really should've seen that shit coming.
Sorry, but now that we've seen Illana's whole story arc I have to say that I'm less than impressed. She marched into LOST like she knew what she was doing, but backed it up with nothing but hard talk and a lot of rifle-pointing. She had a lame storyline, brought a very weak crew with her, and came to a totally useless ending. Ille qui nos omnes servabit my ass.
If Illana's only purpose was to tell our characters that they're candidates to replace Jacob, then maybe she should've just sent a telegram. I have a hard time believing Jacob would've taken someone he treated like a daughter and waste her in this way. Either Illana totally screwed up or Illana totally screwed up - as far as I'm concerned there's really no other possibility. If she were following the correct path and making the "right moves" (as Hurley questioned her earlier), there's no way she would've Arzt'd herself like that.
You could maybe convince me that the dark man offed Illana herself. If you examine her last words, she did just call him a 'thing'. We already know how badly the MIB hates that term, and maybe she really pissed him off. But a more likely scenario, I think, is that the writers are just trimming the fat. As the show winds down, we'll need to see more of our bigger heroes and less of Johnny-come-latelys like Illana and Frank (as much as I love that guy).
The only important thing Illana may have done? Burned down Jacob's cabin. Maybe this is what traps the dark man in John Locke's body for good. After all, in reference to the cabin Bram did mention that "someone was using it."
Stood Up On The Fahita Field Trip
Yes, it was good to see Libby again. Her character's exit was abrupt and her story unfinished, and it's always nice to see loose ends getting tied up. She also had some great interaction with Hurley, both this week and in past episodes, and going all the way back to the tail section gives her tons more street-cred than, say, Illana or Zoe.
Like Charlie, Libby remembers. She's not even fully sure what she remembers, she just knows that she feels it. Her revelation didn't happen by touch or even proximity to Hurley - interestingly enough it happened via the television. This screams back to the first time we saw Daniel Faraday, sobbing as he watched footage of the crash of Flight 815. Daniel cried back then without even understanding where those emotions were coming from - just as Libby does here - and this is just one of LOST's many cool tie-ins to past seasons.
Join The Dark Side... We Have Arts & Crafts!
What's whiny, ungrateful, mutinous, and impatient? Flocke's entire encampment, of course. Sawyer's certainly not one for inaction, and we all know how Kate feels about sitting in one place for too long. Carving sticks Eko-style without a care in the world doesn't seem to help smokey's image, and the latest polls indicate popularity has gone way down.
Yet despite all this, the dark man holds his position. He knows he needs the remaining candidates, and more importantly he knows they must come to him on their own. To appease Sawyer and Kate, the MIB makes up some nonsense about 'needing them all together' in order to be able to leave the island. Keeping Ajira in mind, this is something he knows they can understand. Temporarily, it serves as a great excuse to quiet their grumblings, so he can hear the wood when it speaks to him.
Many viewers already suspect that Flocke wants the candidates dead, and I'm jumping on board with them on this idea. Gathering the candidates together is the best way to accomplish the MIB's end goal, because I'm also assuming he can't harm them directly. He'll therefore need someone else to do it, and putting everyone in one place would make destroying them a hell of a lot easier for whomever he picks to do the job.
It's also important to note how John Locke's mannerisms have been shining through the MIB lately. He seems to have adapted John's hobbies as well as his slogans. Maybe he can't keep his hold on John's body forever. Maybe he can't suppress certain aspects of John's persona from exhibiting themselves. This sort of happens to Sayid too, as he let Zoe go last episode rather than shoot her dead. The smoke monster seemed fairly pissed about this, but avoiding any unnecessary killing seems to be something associated with 'good' Sayid.
It's Like a WalkAbout In Your Mouth!
Four days later, Desmond has gotten his greedy little hands on Oceanic 815's flight manifest. From here he takes on a very Jacob-like role, making it his own personal mission to plant seeds of enlightenment everywhere he goes. It's almost like he's recruiting here - bringing his fellow castaways' memories back for some ultimate purpose that only he knows about. First stop: Hurley's chicken shack.
Directly in line with the rules of the island, Desmond doesn't tell Hugo anything outright. He merely gives him a push, and leads him in the right direction. The Desmond we see here is almost omniscient - he's got his LAX memories, but he also has memories of being on the island. More evidence of this exists as Desmond's number is called: 42. Hugo on the other hand, has customer number 38 - indicative of his story in the sideways timeline.
Hospitals, Marinas, Mental Hospitals, Rec-Rooms...
Just like dialogue, names, faces and scenarios, there are certain places throughout LOST that are repeated time and time again. Here at Santa Rosa, we're once again treated to the same familiar people, objects, scenery and decor. I'm thinking Hurley's big donation won't change that fact one bit.
According to Dr. Brooks, Libby has "issues with reality". Unknown to him, he couldn't have put it better. As her mind slips between two different worlds, Libby has very specific memories of her island life, the plane crash, and even knowing Hugo in Santa Rosa during their stay in the previous timeline. We see dialogue identical to both worlds (i.e. "you're doing fine") that seem to jog Hurley's memory for a split second, but he still hasn't had that one big revelation that Charlie or Desmond have shared.
The connect four game dumps cargo a split second after this scene starts, but if you're quick enough to pause it, you'll see that red beats black. ;)
Dude, You've Got Some Black Rock On You...
Again, everything comes full circle. In Exodus, Hugo was running and waving his hands to prevent Locke from setting off dynamite. Here, Hurley is doing the same thing after setting off his own explosion. Hugo's even on the receiving end of another oft-repeated line: "Why did you do that?"
Hurley's a terrible liar, and it was easy to see his initial stutter while faking his conversation with Jacob. Jack caught onto it quickly, and so did Richard. Hugo sticks to his original plan however, which now includes talking to Locke. It's not clear whether he came up with the plan himself or got additional help from Michael, but it's safe to say Mike's okay with it because he later points out Locke's encampment.
"You can either come with me, or you can keep trying to blow stuff up." Great line. What's awesome here is the way Jack steps up to stand behind his friend. There was a point several seasons back where Hurley should've trusted Jack and went with him, but chose not to. Here the roles are reversed, only this time, Jack chooses the correct path. He puts all of his trust in Hurley... and by doing this, Jack lets go.
This is a very big moment for Jack. In his own words, Jack realizes he can't ever fix what happened in the past. With some help from his father, his friends, mirror-smashing therapy, and even Jacob, he's finally stopped trying to put his hands in everything. Totally and completely, Jack is now a man of faith.
This leads to our heroes being divided for what might (thankfully) be the very last time. Richard takes Miles and Ben to form the doomsday demolition team, where we'll probably get a requisite farewell tour of the barracks. Jack, Sun, and Frank agree to follow Hurley into the lion's den. Blowing up that plane seemed like a shitty idea anyway, and the more Illana pushed it the worse it looked.
RIP Black Rock. We had some good times.
Is That Your Brotha, Brotha?
We haven't had a Desmond/Locke scene in a while, and we've never seen Desmond with the man in black. The paring of these two characters, combined with Desmond's recent flash of insight, made for one of the best scenes in the episode.
Flocke doesn't know why Widmore brought Desmond to the island, but he knows he must be important. The electromagnetism thing seemed to bother him slightly, as he asked Desmond to specifically verify what happened. Desmond's honest, straightforward answers seem almost a little suspect, but for some reason he's unable or unwilling to lie about anything here. Flocke's most important question however, comes at the end of their interview: "Do you know who I am?"
This is a question asked all throughout the show. Identity is a huge theme, and I predict it will play a tremendous part in how LOST ultimately ends. Desmond however, answers the question simply and innocently (or does he?) when he responds with: "Of course. You're John Locke".
This pleases the dark man. I think he half-expected Desmond to identify him here, but chalks him up as unknowledgeable from this point forward. This will make it easier, or so he thinks, to faceplant Desmond in that ancient well. Des actually takes smokey's hand as he gets up, which may have enabled this to happen.
Later on however, Desmond slyly exhibits knowledge above and beyond what the MIB originally pegged him for. "Do you know better?" he asks him. "There's nothing special about me brotha. If you ask me, this island has it in for all of us." Desmond is decrying being special here for a reason: he's downplaying his significance. Immediately after that exchange though, he exhibits yet another important power: the ability to see the young boy in the jungle.
The boy sure as hell looks (and smirks) like Jacob. He's older this time, indicating a progression. Once again it angers the MIB, but he walks away this time rather than lose control. Is Jacob really there? Probably not. But the boy's image is a not-so-subtle reminder that he's still present on the island. And that their game is NOT yet over.
The Whispers... Explained in 31 Seconds
Okay, so from completely out of nowhere we get... an ANSWER to the WHISPERS!?!?!?
I was totally blown away... amazed that they answered this question right here, right now, and in such a short, rushed scene. The whispers turn out to be what many people have suspected since day one: the voices of the dead. These are the sounds of those stuck on the island and forced to watch things unfold, due to the actions (or inactions) of their previous lives.
As much as I hate to even say it, Michael's definition of being "unable to move on" jives a hell of a lot with the definition of Purgatory. He's trapped there because of what he did, and for some reason is offering Hugo his help. There's nothing Hurley can do for Michael, other than "don't get yourself killed". The way it looks now, Michael's final redemption lies in seeing that Hugo and his friends succeed.
This simple, easy, cookie-cutter answer to one of LOST's oldest mysteries just seemed way out of place for me. It's not that I didn't like the answer (I did - and it was pretty close to my own view of things), it was the hurried, nonchalant way it was thrown at us. Hugo stumbled off with a sudden "Hey, I think I know what these things are", and a minute later we were back on the way to Locke's camp again. Six years' worth of buildup and anticipation had a very weak, lame release.
Still, I think we'll get a deeper explanation of the whispers than Michael's simple nod. Who's back there? Why haven't they stepped forward before? What's changed that Hugo can suddenly see and even call the whisperers out into the open, asking for their help?
It's also cool to start thinking back and identifying when we've seen the whisperers before. I've always thought Harper (Goodwin's wife) was one of them. Maybe even taller ghost Walt. Ben's mother? She never even made it to the island, but it would make sense if she were among them. People have already pointed out that she appeared within the boundaries of the sonic fence, so her appearance couldn't have been attributed to the MIB.
There's a much bigger picture here, and I think Mike just gave us a small glimpse into it. I'm still holding out hope for a more thorough whispers reveal, so anyone who was unsatisfied like me shouldn't close that door just yet.
Everyone Loves Cheese
Hurley and Libby finally get their picnic, and if anyone deserved it, they did. Libby's memories get jogged even further here, to the point where both she and Hugo begin reciting more identical dialogue. The kiss happens, and that's the trigger... that's when Hurley's memory makes the (hopefully permanent) connection between the LAX and island timelines.
We're lead to believe that love is the bridge between these two worlds. In many ways, that's even true. But what's interesting to realize here is that Hugo didn't remember anything until he was placed into a situation familiar to the island timeline. Once he had the picnic, once he kissed Libby, that's when he remembered.
This is exactly what happened to Desmond last episode. His memory was triggered by an event that occurred in both timelines: seeing Charlie through a pane of glass, underwater. It's also what happened to jog Charlie's memory: doing drugs in the bathroom of Flight 815 was the connection for him, because it's something that happened in both the LAX and island worlds.
For Daniel Faraday, it was love at first sight. Maybe his connection happened because he fell in love with Charlotte immediately upon seeing her in both timelines. Love is important, but circumstances are important also, just as recreating the circumstances of Ajira 316 was crucial to getting back to the island.
Flocke may be lying his ass off to get what he wants, but there is one thing I agree with him on. When he tells Desmond "Charles Widmore isn't interested in answers, he's only interested in power", I think he's dead on stating the truth here.
In a very awesome scene, the dark man regards Desmond curiously and asks "Why aren't you afraid?" It really seems to bother him that Desmond is so cool and collected. Maybe it's because the MIB is so used to ruling through fear and show of force. If we're to believe the hieroglyphics, the smoke monster is also used to being fearfully worshipped by followers for what may have been thousands of years.
Yet here's someone who's not only unafraid, he's totally casual about it. Desmond scares the dark man on some very new levels. His enemy, Charles Widmore, went through a lot of trouble to bring Desmond to the island, for one. He's resistant to electromagnetism - something the monster himself can't stand. And if Desmond can see the boy in the jungle, does that make him a candidate? If so, does the "sacrifice" Widmore mentioned last episode involve him taking Jacob's place?
Tossing Desmond into that well was a no-brainer, and Des should've seen it coming. From the sounds of that torch hitting the bottom, it seemed like it probably ended in some water. I'm sure Desmond's okay, just as I'm sure there's a donkey wheel on ice down there. Maybe Flocke expects him to turn it, or expects Desmond to be dead. Either way, he should've double-tapped.
I Know Who You Are... I Know What You Are
Not much to say about Hurley brokering his friends' safe arrival at Locke's camp, other than the Jack/Locke staredown at the end. As these two iconic characters exchanged looks, it really did give me the chills. Watch it closely, and Flocke's head cocks curiously, almost as if he sees something within Jack. Perhaps he sees who Jack "truly is", the way Achara did, because right afterward, the MIB smirks.
The School District Looks Fine Enough, But Desmond's Not a Big Fan of The Faculty
Sometimes the ending of an episode distracts you just enough to flick you right in the balls. That totally happened to me here, as Desmond happily and brutally introduces John Locke to several key surfaces of his moving car.
We know from his brief conversation with Ben that LAX_Desmond has memories of his island life. After lying about looking for a school for his son, Ben tries to catch him in that lie by immediately asking his son's name. Without even so much as a second's hesitation, Desmond instantly answers him: "Charlie".
As far as I see it, there are two possibilies here. In one, Desmond remembers Locke as Flocke. He knows he's the bad guy, and is now trying to kill him. Perhaps he thinks killing John in the off-island world will have an impact on the MIB's ability to maintain his dopleganger-like control over John Locke's emotional spirit, and maybe John can "take back" some of that control again. We've already seen mannerisms of the old John Locke bleed through from time to time, and we've also seen deceased characters in the island timeline transcend some of their memories to their LAX counterparts after they've died.
In the second scenario, Desmond is merely trying to induce the same type of revelation that he, Charlie, Daniel, and Hurley have already had. Somehow, Desmond knows about John's 8-story fall in the previous timeline. He realizes he needs to recreate that same type of hellacious disaster, and runs John down to accomplish this. Far-fetched and gruesome, but hey, this is LOST.
In the end, it's going to be interesting to see what happens here - both in the LAX timeline and on the island. I'm sure Locke's "accident" will be the deciding factor as to whether Jack fixes his spine or not, because I'd bet my ass that Locke's going straight to Shephard hospital. On island, I'm betting there will also be some impact on the MIB's side of things. We'll just have to see.
THINGS I NOTICED - Everybody Loves Hugo