Wow, another packed hour on Lost, this time with some events that have me going back to rethink some earlier theories. First, apologies for the late response - I didn't get to watch the episode until very late last night and had absolutely no energy to correctly process the events. After a good nights sleep, and another zip-through of the episode, I think I am ready to tackle this beast (it's almost as hard as tackling Hurley himself).
Everyone Loves Hugo: Off Island
- This character-centric tale took an interesting twist, because unlike the other alternate characters who have basically been left to their own devices post-plane ride, Hugo has a direct and pretty important food binging intervention by Desmond. Desmond, who seems to have become the central cog in the alternate world (and perhaps real world) that is turning everyone's fate, also now shares some of the alternate storytelling duties - which is great because his character has become a Jedi-like badass in both realities (more on that later).
- Hugo, unlike his island-self, has lived a pretty lucky and charmed life. Without the island's influence, he has become a powerful force for good in the world as a celebrated philanthropist and mogul; yet, as his mother is quick to point out, he is also a bachelor. Before this point, Hugo probably filled that need by helping others, but his mother's insistence that he go on a blind date with "Rosalita" ultimately leads to a "chance" encounter with his constant: Libby.
- It was interesting to see Libby back, but her "crazy" circumstances does make one wonder about a few things. It wasn't so surprising to know that she was in the loony bin in both realities, as other peripheral characters have shared similar fates in both worlds. In the alternate world, she checked herself in after having dramatic constant-visions of Hugo on the T.V., though it could have also been the visions of delicious fried chicken. It did seem sort of a stretch to have this powerful connection to someone you hadn't even gone on a date with in the other reality, and also left me wondering if we were ever going to get a straight story about her character's past in the island-reality (probably not). Ultimately, it's not that important, because Hugo and Libby get their date, and Hugo makes his constant-connection to his island self via kiss.
- Looking in on their first kiss, the alternate reality cupid: Desmond. With almost supernatural (Jacob-like) timing, or at least a knack for interrupting people who are clearly eating their feelings, Desmond bolstered Hugo's confidence to get back in the game and take a chance on his chick (leading Hugo to his island-connecting kiss). After satisfyingly looking in on Hugo's moment, Desmond then goes GTA on everyone's favorite creepy substitute (who also doesn't have much luck with cars), "Mr. Locke." Playing this two events back to back, it is amazing how non sequitur they were. Taken in conjunction with Desmond's on-island encounter with Locke as the Smoke monster, it makes you wonder whether or not alternate Desmond is completely tapped into his island counterpart, or at least downloaded all of his memories. Also, Desmond could have also received some yet-unheard intel about alternate Locke and the threat he would present if still alive. Countering that would be that Desmond ran Locke over to facilitate an "aha" moment between Locke and his constant, Helen. Or, did Desmond wish to facilitate a spine-fixing meeting with Jack Shepard?
- First lets pour some bubbly out for our dearly departed wannabe leader: Ilana. Girl, when the island doesn't want you to lead, it REALLY doesn't want you to lead. Artz was the warning, don't ever mess with the dynamite (also, why was there a hoard of dynamite on a slave ship? Perhaps blowing up slaves for chum?). Not really stopping to mourn the loss of season 6's biggest red herring character, Ben echoes what we all probably were thinking: all those Jacob/Ilana flashbacks for THAT? I guess being handpicked by Jacob doesn't always afford the protection you want if you aren't a candidate - which leads me to:
- Encounter #2 with creepy kid. Alright, I need to go back and revamp my theory about what happened the first time around with Locke and Sawyer. I had assumed that the kid was referring to Jacob when he said, "You know the rules, you can't kill him. There will be another." After seeing a parallel scene, this time with Desmond, I am pretty certain the kid was referring to Sawyer the first time around. The "him" the boy was referring to was the candidate, Sawyer. In other words: "You can't kill a candidate - the island needs a protector." Now in the next scene with Desmond, as Smokey is probably luring him away to off him, the boy appears again as that warning to Smokey, almost as if to say (to Smokey's instant rage/frustration), "you can't kill this one either."
- Just to bump my odds - I am pretty happy with where Hurley stands in terms of his ascension to main-candidate status. I know I'll probably be proven wrong with ultimate Jack/Locke showdown, but I like the arc of his character this season, and how his early meetings with dead Jacob have vaulted him to this position of authority. Hurley in both realities just wants to do what is best and help others, and unlike Jack or Richard or Ilana, he isn't ruled by his passions in the moment. Though his verbalized opinions may seem rudimentary and naive at times, they are often almost always instinctively correct - as Jack has come to respect. If Ilana had listened to Hurley, she wouldn't be in a thousand pieces right now. Though his choice to reunite with Smokey may seem like a brain-dead move, it will probably turn out to be integral to the castaway's survival and the final outcome. Lest we forget, Smokey cannot directly harm any of them to begin with, and you have a separate party lead by Richard who are en route to sabotage Smokey's ticket off the island.
- Hurley figures out what the whispers are: trapped souls who cannot move on because "of what they have done," as Michael put it. This "answer" begs the question then, what the hell had Richard's wife done to be trapped on the island? Kate's horse? There are some very real and obvious problems with Michael's rudimentary explanation, as I have a feeling it's a little bit more complicated than that. Michael committed murder, so it is right for him to be lumped in there with Smokey on the "evil" scale. I wonder if Jacob's cork analogy also was meant to mean that the island not only kept Smokey in, but all evil souls from being released.
- Jedi Desmond kicks ass. Seriously. Every word between him and Darth Locke was loaded, with every response from Desmond seemingly surprising, stumping, and infuriating Smokey. Every time Smokey would try and use his tricks to turn Desmond, Desmond was ready with a responses that just rattled the evil entity. Then it hit Smokey, Desmond was not afraid - of him or anything for that matter. Why - how could this be? Desmond's response: "What's the point of being afraid?" Terry O'quin did an amazing job with his facial expressions, as you can just see the transformation in Smokey from beguiling to, "Oh shit, this guy is my kryptonite." With a snarl, Smokey shoves Desmond into the ancient energy well. The mystical boy appeared as a warning that he couldn't kill Desmond, so Smokey took him to a place where Desmond could be put out of sight and out of mind. Smokey can not afford to have Desmond's demagoguery spreading word of "eternal recurrence" and "happily every after" in alternate realities. Darth Locke's power lies in taking advantage of fear, and if no one fears him or death because they have had a sneak peak at the other side, he's through.
- Quick thought: as soon as Desmond says that he had been hit with a bulk of electromagnetism, Darth Locke asks Desmond if he knows if he is Smokey. Also curious: "How did you know it was electromagnetism?" Was Smokey expecting Desmond to have some eternal insight after his blast of radiation? I almost got the feeling that Desmond's story about what Widmore had done to him hit a nerve within Smokey, almost as if Smokey's humanity was stripped in a similar fashion. Perhaps Jacob and Smokey were the explorers who were digging that well, but instead of finding answers they found a blast of energy that transformed them - or that Jacob somehow tricked Smokey into exposing himself to the island's "unique properties." I know Desmond was not on the list of candidates, but could he have ascended to a place of similar power as Jacob or the MIB?