This episode was a clear reference to the Season 2 episode 'Everybody Hates Hugo,' and did a good job of contrasting the themes of that episode, which seems like 100 years ago. That was the episode where Hurley was responsible for distributing the food from the hatch, and his flashbacks revealed that he struggled with paranoia about everybody hating him. In his flash-sideways, he is beloved by everyone - presumably because he is lucky, and no longer cursed. Thus, Hurley has the thing he wanted most, acceptance; however, just like Desmond's flash-sideways from last week, Hurley realizes there is something he wanted more than the thing he wanted most.
The mysterious nut-job enters Hugo's life and he is awe-struck, but decides not to pursue her when he realizes that she's nutty. Then Desmond comes along with the 815 Manifest, and sets things in motion which culminate with the Libby-Hurley picnic that almost never happened. I don't know about you, but I was extremely happy for the big fella. I still don't understand why Libby likes him so much, and I can't help but wonder if she's really just after his $156 million, but in any event, I was happy for Hurley. He finally got to go on his picnic, and when they kissed, he had the 'Aha!' moment that has also been experienced by Charlie, Daniel, and Desmond.
Hurley is the first Candidate to have memories of his 'other' life.
Now I hate to be a downer, but I've been the captain of the "What the Heck is the Deal With Libby!?" team for several years now, and while it was nice to see her in this episode, they made no effort whatsoever to explain the mysteries of her past.
For example, Libby is the only character from 815 that we have no idea why she was in Australia, in either timeline. We have no idea why she was in the nuthouse in the original timeline, and why she was spying on Hurley. And we have NO IDEA whatsoever why she offered to give Desmond a free sailboat so he could race around the world, claiming her late husband would have wanted that, even though that seems like total bull.
The common theory back in Season 2 was that Libby worked for Charles Widmore, and was part of a conspiracy to get Desmond stuck on the island, and she was in the loop and somehow knew to be on 815 so she could crash on the island. It appears the producers didn't want to 'go there,' so they just left all those questions unanswered, and now they'll stay unanswered forever. Libby's story ends in this episode, and while it's a happy ending, it's a frustrating ending for fans like me who want to know why she was wearing a wig and giving Desmond a boat and spying on Hurley. Bah. Oh well.
So in sideways-world, Desmond is driving around with his Manifest, playing Cupid, and waking people up to the truth. Everything is going really fantastically. Who's he going to visit next? Maybe Jack? Or Sayid? Oh neat, it's John Locke. I wonder what nice words of encouragement he'll have for him....
More on that in a sec ... but can I just say that this episode had more awesome Holy Crap! Moments than all of season six combined.
First of all, Ilana completely exploded. I did not see that coming.
Then, Hurley blew up the Black Rock. Again, wow.
And then Flocke pushes Desmond in the well. I sort of saw that coming, but still, crazy.
But the biggest HC!M of the season, and possibly one of the best LOST cliffhangers EVER - Desmond totally steamrolled Paralyzed Locke with his car. I'm 99% sure this has something to do with Flocke, and 1% sure that Desmond just hates bald guys in wheelchairs.
Really, the only conclusion is that Island-Desmond and Sideways-Desmond are operating under the same consciousness. (why is that word so hard to spell?) That could explain why Island-Desmond is so placid and agreeable and strange. Maybe his consciousness is split in half. His sideways-self really seems to know what's going on. I mean, did anyone expect him to plow over Locke? I thought for sure he was going to go start a pleasant conversation about destiny or something.
Even though I know Island-Locke is the incarnate of all evil, I still felt a little bit bad for Sideways-Locke. I mean, when your a substitute teacher, wheeling your wheelchair across a parking lot full of bratty kids, life is bad enough. But then a completely unprovoked stranger speeds into you and runs you down like Grand Theft Auto. Dang, That sucks.
So the question is, what does Sideways-Desmond know that we don't? Does killing Sideways-Locke effectively kill Island-Locke? What is the connection between the Timelines and the consciousnesses? Is it like the Matrix, where the body cannot live without the mind? If Paralyzed Locke dies, does Smoke Monster Locke die too!??
It appears Locke survived Desmond's brutal hit-and-run, and now looks like Ben is going to play the hero and accompany Locke to the hospital, where I can only imagaine they'll run into Jack Shepherd, and the Kwons, and probably Juliet. How ironic that Ben, the man who shot Locke in the kidney AND strangled him, is now trying to save his life. Ben Linus is a much better man in Sideways-world, where he wasn't exposed to Dharama, Richard, Jacob, and all that messy leadership stuff.
To sum up sideways-world...
Hurley is 'awake,' for lack of a better word, and so are Faraday and Desmond. (So is Charlie, but I'm not sure he matters anymore.) There is some definite kind of connection between consciousnesses of the two realities; we know this because Desmond attacked Locke, which by the way, was in brilliant contrast to Flocke attacking Desmond. We also know that Desmond has the Manifest and isn't afraid to use it, which means that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid and the Kwons are about to have their worlds knocked upside-down.
How will Desmond know which 815 passengers are Candidates, and which ones are Frogurt and Arzt and Mr. Eko? I don't know, but somehow, he'll know.
With just four episode before the finale, they won't have much time for each character in sideways-world. Sawyer will see Juliet and that will wake him up, Jack and Kate should make each other wake up, but I don't know what is going to wake up the Kwons or Sayid, especially now that island-Sayid is a zombie. The Kwons already have each other in sideways-world. Maybe Sun being pregnant will make them 'remember' their daughter and that will be the constant they need. I have no idea what's going to happen with Sayid.
I just have one question from the sideways-world. When Pierre Chang gave the 'Everybody Loves Hugo' speech to honor Hurley's philanthropy, why does he look the exact same he looked in 1977? That's weird right? Did the producers miss that? Was it intentional?
Okay, on to island-happenings.
Certainly a lot happened in this episode. Ilana blew up, the Black Rock blew up, and the gang of good guys was split up. Richard, Ben and Miles set off for the Dharma Barracks to obtain some explosives and go destroy Flocke's airplane, while the Candidates+Frank were led by Hurley over to Flocke's camp.
Michael showed up as a ghost to Hurley, which we kind of knew would happen from the promos. Even though we haven't seen him in two years, he still annoys me.
Oh speaking of that, I remembered something. Last LOST recap I gave a quick list of my 10 least favorite characters ever. I forgot the most important, #1 person. Hurley's mom. I absolutely loathe her and the stupid way she talks. I'm so glad we'll never see her again.
So Michael tells Hurley not to listen to Richard, not to blow up the plane, and that if the plane does blow up, 'a lot of people will die.' Hurley usually takes dead people at their word, so he starts trying to convince Ilana to change her plan, and she's all "No, I've prepared for this my entire life and I know what I'm doing so ....."
And Ilana is dead.
Wow, I did not see that coming.
Just because Ilana is dead, her story can't be finished. We need to know a little bit about her history with Jacob, and it would be nice to know why she was in a body cast in a Russian hospital, although it's not imperative. My guess is there will be a Jacob-centric episode near the end of the season, and I think we'll see some Ilana fill-in-the-blanks at that time.
After Ilana's sudden and explosive death, Hurley starts looting through her things and finds Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground, as well as a small bag which I assume was the bag which held Jacob's ashes. This could be important later, yes?
Hurley agrees to go grab some more dynamite with the crew, but gives Jack a "trust me" as he heads away. On the walk to the Black Rock, Ben makes an interesting remark about Ilana ... now that she is no longer needed by the island to protect the candidates, the island is "done with her."
Makes you wonder who else the island is almost done with. Miles? Frank? Maybe Ben himself?
Ilana's explosion also made me wonder about the original exploding man, Dr. Arzt, who lectured Jack and Kate and Locke and Hurley on the subtelty of handling dynamite, and then went boom. Could it be that, since J, K, L & H were at this time Candidates (each touched by Jacob), they were immune to the dynamite's vulnerability, and effectively, any kind of self-incurred death? Like we saw when Michael tried to kill himself, or when Richard tried to dynamite himself along with Jack. (Although why would Jacob ever want Michael to be a Candidate is beyond me ...) Maybe as soon as Ilana distanced herself from the Candidate crew, the dynamite became a lot more unstable and took her out. Maybe if she had stayed near the gang, she wouldn't have died.
I know Candidates CAN die, we've seen many of them die, including Locke and lots of other names that were scratched off the wall. But were any of those deaths self-inflicted? There was a lot of Losties murdering Others and vice-versa, but no self-caused death that I can think of. Well, except for Charlie, but maybe an exception can be made for someone who is purposefully sacrificing themself for others. Like Michael on the freighter, staying with the bomb and letting Jin leave. Then Christian shows up and says "you can go now." AKA "you can die now." Is sacrifice the key?
Another issue about Candidates involves the Smoke Monster, and the Rules. He can't just blatantly kill Candidates; if he could, he would have killed Sun when he was standing right by her in the garden. The creepy little boy (which I'm 95% sure is young Jacob) reminded him of the "rules' a few episodes ago - "you can't kill him," referring to Sawyer. Then the boy-Jacob showed up again last night to remind Flocke of the rules. He can't kill Candidates.
But who can he kill? We've seen the Monster kill the 815 Pilot, but then spare the lives of Jack, Kate and Charlie in the first episode of season 1. The pilot must not have been a Candidate. We also saw Smokey destroy Mr. Eko - it could be that Eko wasn't a Candidate, but I have a better answer. When the monster, disguised as Eko's brother, asked for a confession, Eko said "I have no confession, I have not sinned" and immediately the monster killed him. Maybe a failure to admit wrongdoing constitutes a breaking of the rules, and allows the Monster to kill. We haven't seen the Monster kill unprovoked in many instances, but when Bram and the other 3 goons fired guns at Flocke, he promptly killed all 4 of them inside the statue.
The Monster also killed the inhabitants of the Black Rock, as well as members of Rousseau's crew, totally unprovoked. It could be that these people were not Candidates, but then why did Jacob 'bring them' to the island, as he admitted to doing in season 5's finale. I have a theory. Remember in season 1 when Rousseau refers to the Black Rock being in "the dark territory?" Could it be that anybody in that area is not protected by the rules, and can be destroyed? On Rousseau's map from season 1, the dark territory is labeled something in French which translates to "the most dangerous place." That's where the monster killed her crew, and where he killed everyone from the Black Rock except Richard, who he only sparred in an effort to have Richard kill Jacob.
The Dark Territory is home to the Temple, which is where we saw Smokie kill several unnamed Others. We also know that the Temple is where Rousseau's team members became "infected."
Could it be that the Monster dragged them into the Temple and dunked them all in the pool, the same pool that Sayid was dunked into? Is that what infected them? Is that what happened with Claire? BUT, when Richard brought Ben into the pool as a kid he presumably dunked him to heal him and make him a 'baptized' follower of Jacob, which I'm pretty sure is the reason why Ben was within the rules, able to kill Jacob.
(This also leads me to believe that maybe the only person who can kill Flocke is someone who was 'baptized' in the dirty pool, which could be Sayid or Claire but I don't see that happening ...)
So a question that still lingers unanswered is, why did the pool become dirty? Was it because Jacob died? If so, how did Claire become infected? Does simply spending time with the Monster make someone infected?
When Flocke is in the statue with Ben he says that the one thing he wants is "to go home." By that, I'm pretty sure he meant the Temple, so that he could kill whichever Others refused to go with him. To do this, he needed Sayid to kill Dogen, who according to Lenin "was the only thing keeping the Monster out of the Temple." Now the question becomes: did Sayid become infected when he was dunked in the dirty pool, or later, when he met Flocke?
Dogen and Lenin did their tests and tried to poisin Sayid when they decided he was infected, before he set off to see Flocke. But they said the infection had not yet reached his heart. So, maybe meeting Flocke and talking to him was what made the "darkness spread?" I'm still confused on how Claire - and Rousseau's friends 16 years earlier - were infected if the pool was not dirty, or in other words, if Jacob was still alive. Maybe I'm being too nit-picky, or maybe this will be explained later.
There is only one other time I can think of that the Monster killed anyone, and that was when it was "summoned" by Ben Linus, and it killed Keamy's guys. Was it allowed to kill because it was called, or because Keamy's guys deserved it after killing Alex. It seems the Monster is allowed to judge (like it did with Eko) and kill people who are deserving, or, people who attack first. Remember all of Keamy's friends tried in vain to shoot at the Monster, thus pissing it off all the more. Plus, none of those morons were Candidates, so the Monster had a field day tossing them into trees without breaking any rules.
Okay, that's enough thoughts on Candidates, Monsters and Rules. Back to the episode ...
As the 3 Candidates+Frank trek to see Flocke, Jack has a heart-to-heart with Hugo, basically revealing that he is no longer a pig-headed jerk and is willing to listen and be led. Took you long enough Jack. I can't believe I'm actually starting to like Jack.
Just then, we hear the whispers for the 500th time in LOST, and apparently the producers decided to answer that question once and for all with the most clear-cut answer in LOST history.
Hurley: "Hey Michael. You are dead. Are you the whispers?"
Michael: "Yes. We are the ones who can't move on."
Okay. Mystery solved.
I, for one, was a little bit dissappointed by this, although it's good to be able to tie that off and never have to think about it. I mean, I kind of always expected that the whispers were the dead on the island trying to communicate, but the explanation could have been a little better than "Yes, we're the ones who can't move on."
In my opinion, the producers introduced the whispers early in the show with no idea where they would go with them, and ultimately they couldn't think of anything better than what they settled on. Early on in the first two seasons, the whispers were synonomous with the Others; later whispers were heard when the Monster was nearby. The common thread seems to be characters who are in danger, and the whispers serve as a sort of warning.
Sound technicians have translated everything the whispers have ever said, and you can check that out here. Some of the best ones include:
"Go to hell. Steadily."
"I have hell to pay."
and my personal favorite, "You better not say a f**cking thing about Desmond."
Usually the whispers are just commenting on what's happening, and it's always voices talking to one another, not to the characters. For example, if Jack and Kate are about to encounted some scary Others, the whispers might have said...
"It's Jack. There's Kate too."
"I'm over here."
"Kate is hot."
"No she's not."
"It's a matter of opinion."
"Jack is a doctor."
Basically, that's all the whispers ever did. Random and pointless conversations. It's nice to know that "the ones who can't move on" just walk around the island invisibly and chat at important times. Anyway.... then Michael points Hurley in the right direction, and Hugo leads the way toward Flocke.
Early in the episode, Flocke is whittling a long spear and tells Sawyer and Kate that they are just going to sit and wait for Jack, Hurley and Sun to come to them. Weird plan, but it's exactly what happens.
While waiting, Flocke meets Desmond, who is calmly tied to a tree. Desmonds walks submissively with Flocke and they chat about pushing the button, about hating the island and about the Mets. Then the creepy little boy (Jacob) shows up, and Flocke clearly becomes annoyed, and says "just ignore him."
Flocke leads Desmond to the well where Locke turned the wheel, and then after a brief chat, he pushes Desmond into the well. This whole interaction was extremely weird, because obviously something is wrong with Des. We saw in the promo for next week that apparently Des survived the fall, or so it seemed.
Then Flocke goes back to his camp where Hurley enters moments later. Flocke gives 'his word,' and if you're dumb enough to believe the 'word' of the Smoke Monster, then it's your own fault if you die. Jack and Sun and Frank walk out of the bushes, and Flocke smiles a smug smile.
In summary, this was an excellent, excellent episode, and I can't wait for the rest of the season.
Next week is called 'The Last Recruit." No idea what to expect.