Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LOST - Episode 6.12 - "Everyone Loves Hugo"

When I first started writing fiction back in my early teens, I had this tendency to imagine some “good parts” for my stories and rush through all the character and story building bullshit just to get to them. It was kind of like a guy who just started having sex and couldn’t take the time for foreplay because he just had to reach climax. Oddly enough, without foreplay, climax is seldom as rewarding.

How does this relate to last night’s episode of LOST? I finished watching this episode remarkably confused and frustrated. “Everybody Loves Hugo” could have been awesome, but instead felt forced and hasty, as if the writers knew they needed to get some shit out of the way quickly in order to set up the finale. Keeping the sexual metaphor alive – after all, who doesn’t enjoy those – it’s as if they can’t wait to blow their wad in the remaining six hours and didn’t feel the need to make this hour pay off.

Overall, this episode was very up-and-down for me. I loved certain scenes – the ones the writers wanted to work on – and was pissed at some others. I can’t remember the last time I was this lukewarm about an episode of LOST – maybe “The Other Woman” in season 4. Reading on-line, though, it seems most people loved it. It’s odd being in the minority.

What I Loved

I loved watching Hurley win “Man of the Year” honors as benefactor of the museum. The pictures of him in his capacity as philanthropist were fun and awesome. What was also cool was that his mother wasn’t quite as excited at his success as we assumed she would be. My son, Matt, was also surprised by this. “What’s wrong with Carmen?” he asked. “Shouldn’t she be jumping up and down?” In the Island timeline, yes, but in the Sideways world she is no doubt used to the praises lauded on her son; now she just wants him to be happy, and it’s obvious that he isn’t. Of course, her idea for his happiness involves setting him up on a blind date, but hey, that’s moms for you!

The moment Libby shows up to crash Hurley’s blind date was excellent. Actually, pretty much everything involving Hurley and Libby was top-notch. I loved the chemistry between Jorge Garcia and Cynthia Watros. I was sold on Hurley’s obsession with talking to Libby, despite the fact that he knew she was crazy. Their moment on the beach was divine, as well. First kisses can sometimes seem so clumsy, but making the kiss a catalyst for something grander is genius.

Evil Locke’s journey with Desmond to the well was great symmetry as it related to Ben Linus’ trek to the Dharma grave pit with Locke back in season three. I think everyone knew Desmond was going over into the well, but that didn’t stop the scene from being pretty cool. I especially loved Desmond’s answer to Evil Locke about fear. “What’s the point of being afraid?” I doubt the Smoke Monster has ever had anyone look at him without a trace of fear – this makes Desmond someone to be feared.

I was heartbroken by Jack’s conversation with Hurley in the jungle. They’ve all lost their way, and Jack has finally confessed that he is a broken man who needs to learn not to try to fix everything. Wow. Granted, back in season five, we saw this iteration of Jack after he returned to the Island in 1977. Jack seemed willing to follow Sawyer’s lead. Yet, the moment he got an inkling of a plan – detonating Jughead – he was back to fixing shit again. Now, after being in the Lighthouse, Jack seems humbled to an extent we’ve never seen. He was in the Master’s Grand Design Room and realized how small he actually is.

I loved it when Jack came face-to-face with Evil Locke for the first time since the “resurrection.” Very chilling. Jack looked terrified, as well he should be. This should have been the end of the episode.

What I Didn’t Like

Ilana’s death. It was haphazard and forced. She exploded like Doc Arzt, but without any of the same horror. We didn’t know her well, and her death felt like the writers were trying to get rid of her. When Arzt died, it was shocking and satisfying because we knew all we really needed to know about him. He was a curmudgeonly castaway who was a bit full of himself. Ilana, on the other hand, was Jacob’s little girl. We knew her reason for being on the Island, but didn’t have much backstory. So, her death felt anticlimactic, more as a means to split up Team Jacob than anything else. I felt cheated here.

I was also frustrated with the destruction of the Black Rock, mostly because of the way in which the whole situation was handled. Hurley tells Richard he’s on board with the plan to destroy Ajira, then shows that he lied as a means to put a stop to the plan. First of all, I really struggle with Hurley being a liar. Secondly, I think the whole reason I’m struggling is because of a deeper problem…

Hurley’s ghost visitors are beginning to bug me. It’s not because of who they are, or the fact they exist; I can’t stand that a lot of their conversations with Hurley are being kept secret. Michael obviously told Hurley to do certain things that we weren’t allowed to know in order to keep the story suspenseful. This didn’t keep me in suspense as much as it irritated me. I would have been in more suspense knowing what Michael said and feeling Hurley’s frustration at trying to explain all of this to the others, who must be somewhat perplexed by his ability to commune with the dead.

I was also frustrated with the way the Santa Rosa situation was handled. Why was the doctor so reluctant to let Hurley see Libby if she was self-admitted? Hurley gave up $100 K to meet with her, yet he was able to walk out to the beach because she could, conceivably, come and go as she pleased. That felt like an unnecessary complication.

And lastly, I was frustrated by the ending. I’m not upset that Desmond hit Locke with a car in the Sideways World. That behavior will be explained, no matter how strange it was. I’m upset that the episode was centered on Hurley, yet the Sideways World story veers away from him to focus on Desmond. I don’t remember the writers ever being this blatant in their disregard for an off-Island character’s narrative perspective. Throughout season six, we’ve held close to each character in his/her Sideways reality story, without cutting to another character’s perspective. We didn’t get Jack’s story and cut to Sawyer’s story in the middle. Maybe I’m just being an asshole English major here, but the effect was jarring and off-putting as opposed to the “OMG” feeling I was supposed to have.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Just because I was pissed a bit doesn’t mean I didn’t like this episode. I just didn’t love it like I have been loving the show as a whole lately. I do have some thoughts about what it all means and where it’s going, though.

Desmond is most certainly not dead. Not yet. I firmly believe Des will be dying at the end of the season to save everyone, but in the meantime his trip down the rabbit hole will become quite revelatory for him. I imagine he will discover some pretty fantastic mythological shit down there. I’m about 99% certain the well he went down was not the well leading to the Frozen Donkey Wheel, mostly because the Orchid was no where to be seen, and because Evil Locke claimed that there were other wells like this one on the Island.

I have a nagging suspicion Desmond will be encountering Christian Shephard in the belly of the Island. By the way, in terms of the Campbellian hero arc, isn’t this Desmond’s trip into the Belly of the Beast to face his worst fear? When he comes out, he should be a changed man, reborn and ready to face the sacrifice he has to make.

Hit and Run

Continuing on the Desmond track, why did he run over John Locke? The only thing I can think of is that he is aware of both realities and knows that Locke needs to die. Otherwise, we’re left with the notion that he needed Locke to have a near death experience to see the Island reality, which is quite a stretch. Would Desmond be capable of such a vicious act of violence even if sold out to his cause?

We need to consider that so far it has only been those who are dead in the Island reality that have been sharing the Island connections with our protagonists. Oddly, though, John Locke, despite being technically dead in the Island reality, has not had any “moments of clarity.” Could this mean that Locke is not dead? Is his soul trapped inside the doppelganger masquerading as him?

I’m going to go on a limb here and suggest that John needs to die to release his spirit so that he can take his place on the Island among the other Whisperers. His death in the Sideways world will release his spirit and let him cross over. As a result, Locke will be able to appear to Hurley as a helper in defeating the Man in Black.


Maybe my biggest gripe of the evening had to do with the haphazard way in which the whispers were explained. Was it just me, or was this “answer” just thrown in there without much context provided? Hurley, Jack and the gang overhear the whispers, Jack asks what they are, and Hurley disappears to get his suspicions confirmed by Michael.

First of all, having Michael confirm this answer just seems ridiculous. Michael may be a truly troubled spirit, but does that make him the spokesman?

Secondly, didn’t the writers already give us a clue about the whispers during “LA X” when the whispers are heard right before the Temple Others show up to ambush Jack, Kate, et al.? I’ve always been under the impression that the whispers were the Others lurking in the jungle, and thought it had already been confirmed.

And lastly, is this a mystery that matters? Did we need to know the answer to this one? I’m not one of those fans who want every mystery explained. If the whispers and numbers were never addressed, I’d still feel satisfied. Sometimes a story has to leave things for interpretation. Knowing that the whispers are just troubled souls trapped on the Island doesn’t really make me feel like I understand the show any better.

While I didn’t need this particular answer, it does provide one important piece of information we can use to interpret things. For example, we now know that those ghosts we’ve seen on the Island we are pretty certain aren’t the Man in Black are trapped spirits. This might explain Christian’s presence, as well as Isabella’s and Yemi’s. Yet, it does lead to a tough question: are the spirits on the Island only belonging to those who’ve died on the Island, or is their presence more elaborate?

All right, I’ve said enough. I feel rotten saying negative things about LOST, but I really struggled with “Everyone Loves Hugo.” Next week’s episode (before the needlessly long 1-week hiatus) is called “The Last Recruit.” So far it doesn’t seem to be centered on any specific characters, so expect lots of action.


  1. I too felt cheated by that explanation of the whispers. I would have rathered they left that alone than give such a flat out unsatisfying response. Ah well.

  2. I don’t remember the writers ever being this blatant in their disregard for an off-Island character’s narrative perspective. Throughout season six, we’ve held close to each character in his/her Sideways reality story, without cutting to another character’s perspective. We didn’t get Jack’s story and cut to Sawyer’s story in the middle.

    I know what you're saying. It didn't bother me in this episode, partially because Desmond had already flitted into and out of Hurley's story, and partially because his POV scene at the end felt like an epilogue to this ep/prologue to the next ep; like you said, it seemed like the episode ended when Locke and Jack met. But I have a feeling we're going to get more "mixed perspectives" as the season ramps up.

    With fewer and fewer episodes left, I think we'll start to see more "less focused" stories (kinda like how, starting with "The Package" we seem to have left behind the whole "this episode, we focus on this island faction, next episode, the other one" schtick), just because there's not enough time left to devote an entire episode to one character.

    Which, if we're feeling less than charitable, we could blame on the writers not pacing out the story and structuring it accordingly, but I have a feeling it's a conscious decision on their part. As the story builds faster and faster towards the conclusion, they probably want the narrative to speed up and be less singularly-focused as well.

  3. And lastly, is this a mystery that matters? Did we need to know the answer to this one? I’m not one of those fans who want every mystery explained. If the whispers and numbers were never addressed, I’d still feel satisfied.

    Honestly, I think this is one of those mysteries for which MANY fans were clamoring for an answer, one of those "if they don't answer X, then..." kinda things.

    The problem is, everyone's list of those things is different; even if one is in the camp of "not everything needs to be answered" there's still those things they WANT to see answered, and I have a feeling Darlton is trying to gauge expectations and hit those items that appear on most fans "must answer" list, and I'm betting the whispers were one those.

    Personally, the whispers were something on my "I'd like an answer, but won't die without one" list (along with Libby's backstory, Walt, and the deal w/Claire's psychic).

    I'm with you on the numbers, though. For all the people DEMANDING an answer to the numbers (and there seem to be a lot of them) I feel like, between the Valenzetti Equation stuff and the candidate numbering business this season, they HAVE been answered, at least sufficiently enough for me.

    (If you're curious, the remaining "must answer" mysteries for me are just the lingering questions surrounding Jacob/MiB/the island (how they got to the island, who empowers them, who built all the ruins, etc.) and the Others (the numerous question surrounding their origins/methods/goals.)

    As for the answer we got regarding the whispers, I'm fairly indifferent. It pretty much just confirmed what we already suspected. My biggest issue with it is that it seems like an incomplete answer. Fine, the whispers are the souls of people who don't get to move on after dying. But why do they seem to start up shortly before the Others appear? Are they trying to warn people? That's as good an answer as any, I suppose, but I'm disappointed they left that dangling.

    On the subject of "answers", I'm starting to worry that, in trying to appease both those fans WHO WANT ANSWERS NOW and the ones who are okay with mysteries unsolved as long as the story is good, the creators are going to end up straddling the middle between the two positions and end up making NO ONE happy.

    Ah well, I shouldn't worry about what everyone else will think of the show's end. All that will really matter is what I think, in the end.