Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Talk to the Flocke: Reactions to the "Lost" episode "Everybody Loves Hugo"

Two important things before we proceed with this reaction write-up.

First, and possibly most important:
I don't care if you officially have had less screen time this year than Claire and multiple characters who were seemingly introduced only to be killed in semi-spectacular fashion. I will always love (to look at) you, Evangeline Lilly. Remember, no matter what happens with this show, you'll always be really, really good looking. Kisses.

Second...okay, this may be more have to know how much I love this show. It seems obvious for me to say that, but stay with me, it's important to hear again right now. My first reaction after watching last night's episode was "man, that was so much fun!" Then, thanks to a few key revelations that we'll get to below, a thought occurred to me. Before I tell you that thought, it is so important to realize that this is my favorite television show ever. I have loved all 6 seasons (this has been, pound for pound, the best by the way). I adore 90% of the characters. I think the writing is far more "on" than "off." I'm glad I live in a world in which this show was allowed to cultivate and keep an audience while still being complex, sophisticated, and rewarding. I love, love, love "Lost". Unconditionally. Got it? Okay.

The island is purgatory.

It is. Or at least, it was. It's time we face facts. It may be all dolled-up and complicated now, they may have denied it over and over again, and it's not likely to be the big final "reveal" in the last episode, but the show pretty much had to be pitched as "a plane crash happens on an island, they're all dead and don't know it, and good and evil are fighting for their souls." It had to. With the revelation that the whispers are dead people who "can't move on," it all but confirmed that, at least in part, this island is purgatory. It's a neutral ground where big power players for the sides of good and evil chill together, filled with people who "can't move on." I don't care, mind you. They're going to have made enough other awesome things happen that it doesn't matter how it started, but from this point on, I am firmly on the side of people who argue that when the show was first created the "answer" to the "mystery" is that they were in purgatory. They did a good thing by bringing more people on, making it more complex, and enhancing it with other ideas, but we have to admit it: the island as purgatory wasn't a dumb guess. It was the right guess, and they changed the answer.

One other thought before we move on to the recap/thoughts about this dang good episode: I know we have a ton of little baby mysteries that won't be answered, but I have a good one I think. Why did the doomsday clock in the Dharma Initiative bunker have hieroglyphics? Those things are associated with Jacob, right? Why would Dharma have built a clock with those? More and more, Dharma seems like a diversionary idea that helped pad the series a bit longer. Again, I don't care because it was so awesome, but it increasingly seems like they simply used the group as a device and not a real storytelling point unto itself.

See, it SOUNDS like I'm getting all down on the show, doesn't it? That's why I gave you the whole "I love it" screed up top. Anyway, on to the specifics for this episode.

Things I liked
  • Love is all you need - How adorable is it that this show is proving to be a big ole dopey romantic lovefest? Sun and Jin, Sayid and Nadia, Sawyer and Juliet, Rose and Bernard, Charlie and Claire, Faraday and Charlotte, Penny and Des, and now Libby and Hurley (along with tons of others I'm sure I'm forgetting), "Lost" is proving to be about love as much as it's about any one thing. I got chills during the "Hurley wakes up after the kiss" scene, even with Desmond doing his best creeper impression in the background. I don't even watch "CSI: Miami," but when he pushed his sunglasses up, I just expected a Who song to start playing. Anyway, watching Libby and Hurley have their date, finally, was really sweet. It's also interesting to see how "love" transcends time and space and reality. It's adorable.
  • Jack's a changed man - If you don't realize that he's the new Jacob by now, this episode AGAIN showed us the truth. After 6 years, Jack realized the big thing he needed to realize: He can't fix it. Not only that, but he also shouldn't always take charge. The bearded Jack who claimed he was motivated by faith to return to the island wasn't motivated by a willingness to follow. He initiated the plan to return them to the island and he biffed everything up again once he did. After all these years, the doc has realized that he has to trust in others and let go those things he can't fix. He's almost ready to ascend to the throne of Jacob. There's just one thing left for him to do, and that's square off against his adversary.
  • Glances say a lot in this show - The exchange of glances between Flocke and Jack should be bottled and sold as an adrenaline drink. Flocke sees his new adversary, Jack sees his enemy. Jack looks scared, Flocke looks angry. Let's get it on.
  • Everybody hates Terry O'Quinn - That dude's body has been punished on the show more times than anybody's other than Michael Emerson. That ending was so great I can't even tell you. Down to the moment Ben Linus gave pervy pedophile-lookin' Desmond a hard time, the final moments of tonight's episode were old-school "Lost" awesome. Above all else, that was the moment I yelped "hell yeah!"
  • Boom goes the dynamite - I was reminded of that line from a guy you should follow from Omaha who does cool "Lost" write-ups himself ( Ilana went boom. Heehee. I will say I think it sucks we won't get her backstory. Plus, I am not sure if using her for shock effect (again...they did the same thing once before with Arzt) was the best use of a character they set up as an agent for Jacob. It makes him look dumb. I mean, all she really did was put the characters in the same place by steering them together. Jacob really needed to personally give her a special mission to do what they would have done anyway? Had she served an important purpose, it would have been cool. This was a cool individual moment, which may not have really been the best way to cash that character in. It felt a bit like they just ran out of time so they killed her off. The other boom was better. Watching Hurley run away from dynamite a la season 1 was pretty great. Also, it's nice to see a defining island item that has served all of its purpose. Thanks for the endless supply of dynamite and for bringing Ricardo to the island, Black Rock. You can sleep now.
Things I didn't like
  • Libby without purpose - I am not one of the people who needed Libby's backstory. That said, bringing her back on the show and not giving it was a pretty big middle finger to fans who wanted it. It would have killed you to have her ghost say something to Hurley that gave us some idea of how/why she was in the mental institution in the "real" reality? Just sayin', it was a dick move.
  • Hurley eats a lot - I get it, it's a part of his character on the show, but watching Jorge Garcia, who has done some GREAT acting on the show this year, have to plow through a bucket of chicken because "fatty eats when he's sad" was a bad character beat and a stupid use of screen time. He couldn't have run into Desmond while checking up on his stores that he owns? Again, a bit of a dick move.
  • Michael's line delivery - I did like how Hurley called him out for, you know, killing someone he loved. That said, dude sucks as an actor. He made his simple line delivery seem painful. Also, he should have yelled something about his boy, just for old time's sake.
  • Someone call Lassie - Introducing Desmond to the island only to trap him in a friggin well seems like a lazy writing move. Maybe there's a good, sophisticated reason but it feels like they just were itching to bring him back in for his work in the sideways realities and had no clue what to do with him on island. Maybe not, but it felt that way. Could be that the speech about digging with their hands to find what made the compass spin was true and that Desmond is now going to get all charged up or something, but probably not. Oh, and I do not believe Flocke about Widmore. Even though he seems like a jerkface, Widmore is likely trying to help the island. Flocke can't have Desmond helping him for some reason, and the trapping in the well was the first step to prevent it, the doubt about Widmore was his backup plan.
  • The Whispers are dead people who can't move on - We guessed this ages ago but everyone who writes the show lied and made us doubt it. We were right. I will say that this was the best method in which I've seen a question answered on the show. Hurley was like "so that's what the whispers are" and Michael was all "yes." I need a little more direct talk like that. No other answers this week though.
  • The kid is Jacob, let's admit it - We've now seen little blond boy age into slightly older brown-haired boy. That look that he exchanged with Flocke said it all, didn't it? That's Jacob. He's been reborn and he's going to reclaim his throne if Flocke can't get off the island first. Time is ticking, and Flocke knows it. Now, I do think that Jack is still going to take over for Jacob, but I think that the two will have a physical conversation as adults before that occurs. The next time we see creepy kid, he'll be even older. Aaron was a fun guess, but we know it's not right.
  • Locke must die so that all can live - My guess as to why Desmond ran over Locke in the sideways is a bit contradictory to what I believe is going on but it's all that makes sense. If Doc Jensen's theory is right and the flash sideways is where people go when they leave the island purgatory, then the answer seems obvious: Desmond had to kill Locke so that the Man in Black couldn't get off the island by downloading (for lack of a better term) into Locke's body. It would be cooler if there are like 1000 different realities and Desmond has to kill Locke in all of them to make the Man in Black vulnerable, but that's likely not the answer. The answer is likely that he has to kill him to stop him from becoming Flocke in that reality too.
  • Forward momentum - More than any other episode this season, this made me feel like the end is near. The gang is all together and ready to confront one another (even if Desmond is in a well...seriously, between Sun's plot-device loss of English and Desmond trapped in a well, this is getting silly). The flash sideways people are "waking up" and coming together. Things are looking good. Anyone else think that Ben gets to be a hero and die saving Jack and company from Flocke? They were separated for a reason, and we know they're going to get ammo and stuff. Next episode has me so pumped. It's called "The Last Recruit" and is supposedly not centric on one character. This has me thinking they may finally be uniting all of the cast in both realities. Who is "The Last Recruit?" Well, in a technical sense, it's Jin, right? He's the only candidate not together with the gang. My guess is, though, that it refers to Jack. Why? Because in my world he's always at the center of things.
Overall, I'd give "Everybody Loves Hugo" a B+. I really enjoyed the heck out of it. I'm still dizzied by what I think the flash sideways mean, but I feel it coming together. Let me know your thoughts!!!

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Anonymous Dynamite Characterdies said...

C'mon, Ilana blowing up was stupid. Ben had it mostly right--to paraphrase: "She told you what you needed to know, and then the island was done with her." Except it was the writers that were done with her. Why not just have a polar bear fall out of a tree and land on her head? That was awful.

We've known for a while now that love is one of the show's main themes. Last week's episode told as much, but in a far more effective and interesting way. Libby and Hurley's meeting felt drawn out and predictable--I think we needed to see it, but I don't know if we needed to spend so much time on it. It was kind of a foregone conclusion.

Just one more thought: So when Desmond killed Locke (to prevent the MIB from downloading into his body on the island) was that the kind of work that Ben and Sayid were doing off the island as well? Interesting....

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I agree that Ilana's death was dumber than it was cool. It could have been cool if they hadn't done the same thing with Arzt, but it felt stupid given how important she seemed to be.

I disagree a bit on the Hurley/Libby. This was the one that made me realize that everybody on the show. EVERYBODY has one other character that they love enough to "pull them through." Even Hurley. Plus, I thought the Desmond-as-Datline-Predator stuff was fun.

Interesting thought about the Ben/Sayid murder games, but those were in the "island proper" timeline, not the sideways world. Plus, I thought the point of that was more about messing with Widmore for revenge than anything else. It's the sort of thought that's probably too cool to actually be the truth.

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Des ran over Locke to trigger his remembering, not to kill him! He pulled the same trick that Charlie did on him. Locke's face was clearly showing that all the memories were flooding in.

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

Well...that's possible, but it's kind of a risky maneuver. Plus...Locke is dead! I don't know if Des knows that, but I don't think the "island download" will work the same way with a dead guy. Obviously, you may be right...but I'm not sure that was what was going on. If you look at Desmond's face, it wasn't a playful "let's do this" it was a "die mothertrucker" look.

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Zach said...

I agree with Anon. about Desmond triggering Locke's memory. It seems to me like some people need the rude awakening (Desmond, Charlie, Locke) as opposed to subtle awakening like Hurley. I'm probably wrong about it, but that's just my sense of what's happening.

But that also poses a different question: how Desmond picks the method of triggering memories? I've been enjoying each episode more and more and cannot wait for next weeks.

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

I'm not saying it isn't possible that you're right, but there seems to be a big difference between a "near death" experience, like crashing a car into water from which you can escape, and running someone over with your car. It seemed to me that his intent was to kill him. If it were anybody but Locke, I may agree that he was just trying to wake them up, but given what we know about Flocke, you really think this was just a wake up call? And to what end? He no longer has a corresponding body on the other side. you think there's a chance that the initially appealing thought of people downloading from the sideways to the island universe means...LOCKE MAY GET HIS OLD BODY BACK? Can he be resurrected by downloading the flash sideways into his now-Flocke-inhabited body? Will this drive the Man in Black out, making him somehow vulnerable? The difference between when Sayid stabbed Flocke and when Ben stabbed Jacob was that Jacob wasn't wearing a John Locke suit. Now I'm intrigued...

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Zach said...

I agree with you about Desmond wanting to kill Locke. I think that running him over was quite a bit more violent than just a near death experience. I also think that is a really interesting theory you posed about Locke downloading the opposite direction.

I definitely agree about Desmond's purpose on the island, I'm going to be pissed if they kill him off so easily. But I don't think Sayid will kill Desmond in the well. Did you notice the "gunshot" in the preview for next week's episode? To me that looked really fake, like added in just to try and trick us into believing that Desmond is a dead man next week.

Also, I have to say Ryan that I am a huge fan of your write ups about LOST. I feel like I was just a entertained fan before I started reading this blog, but now I'm seriously questioning things that are happening on the show and why they happen, so thank you for enlightening me!

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

Well thanks, dude. There are a whole lot of people out there who are waaaaaay better than me who pick up some great themes I totally miss. I just love being a part of the discussion; it's what makes the show rule so much!

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could Jacob, rather than the MIB, be headed for Locke's body in the flash sideways world?

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Aaron B said...

I'm really torn between Desmond wanting to kill or wake Locke up...I think what it rests on is WHAT Desmond gets from the island reality when he woke up himself. Obviously he's going after the people who were close to him first- Penny, Hurley, and now Locke.

It makes me also wonder if we didn't see a section, perhaps Des went in to the school, talked to Locke and couldn't convince him? That's why he needed a different approach. Plus, he's a man who "Get's things done" for Widmore in this reality, he doesn't flake out- if he wanted to kill Locke, why not back that car up and finish the job? I don't know, going out on a limb there.

We also talked around a bit on maybe making Locke go back to see Jack in the sideways reality. Perhaps Locke and Jack's belief vs. science struggle would get them both awake?

Finally, Locke should be able to get his memories from the island, because Charlie died 3 seasons ago and his flash sideways still "woke up".

Great episode...and awesome discussion!

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

I just don't know the purpose of these "wake ups." I mean, surely he's not going to go around to EVERYONE who was on the plane. Charlie may have been "awakened," but to what end? He serves no purpose right now. I just don't think you take the risk of accidentally killing someone like that. It seemed more malicious. Plus, the look on his face was not "I'm enlightening you." I do think you may be on to something with "bringing everyone together" in the flash sideways.

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things re: Libby- first of all, I thought they did explain why she's in the mental institution- she is there voluntarily because she thinks she's crazy for "remembering" things.
Secondly, maybe it's a bad edit/lighting job, but I could have sworn that after Hurley kissed her, I saw blood or SOMETHING in her mouth/on her teeth. She didn't look like she was dying when she leaned over and hugged him, but I hit rewind and pause and my husband saw it, too.
Purgatory is the OLDEST theory out there! But c'mon- "souls who can't move on" pretty much spells it out, doesn't it? Unless it's only a halfway house for the dead-dead, not the "undead" castaways!
Every week that you predict Christian will show up and every week he doesn't, I get more and more upset!

April 14, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

First off, everybody deserves a cookie and a beer (not together) for their work on this post. This is an actual discussion, and I want to pee with joy. Second, I think they explained why Libby was in the mental institution in the flash sideways, but not in our "reality." Plus, saying she's in voluntarily doesn't quite explain things. Again, I don't need it, but it would be nice seeing as how they brought her back. As for the something in her mouth/teeth, I don't think so. The last shot of them was her putting her hand on Hurley's shoulder as they zoom out. I didn't get the impression that she was coughing up blood Doc Holiday style.

Yeah, Purgatory is a bummer. We just need to accept it and move on. It stings a little, but I can deal with it. Now, the pain of no Christian...that's going to make me get stabby.

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Aaron B said...

When was the last time we saw Christian? I can't even remember...

It makes me think Christian is going to be some huge reveal coming up-like a big ol' secret they wanted to keep locked away until near the end.

April 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed that the dead can get flashes- Charlie & Libby did, so why not Locke?

Des & Charlie wound up in hospital- it was truly a "near death" experience & he still didn't get quite the same "big" of flash like he did with Penny. Seems like he'd need to go large in order to trigger someone. As for the risk- none of it is real & you (Des) know it. If ever there was a reason to just go for it, that would be it (think video game violence).

The only reason any other argument would make sense to me is if they are deliberately hiding info & Des had a HUGE wake-up that was much clearer than anyone else's wake-up. If the latter is true, why did he need a list of people's names- wouldn't he know them already & just start grabbing addresses?

How does purgatory fit with the living people? Yes, OK- so you die & some can't move on? That has the feeling of being stuck more than that of purgatory. How do the living people fit in? Why doesn't everyone who dies get stuck? What about the other ghosts who didn't actually die on the island? Why would living people be able to hear the whispers of people in purgatory? It seems to me that they are the standard ghost model: tethered to a place & unable to move on - some achieving the ability to communicate with the living. It's a typical ghost scenario, but an a-typical purgatory one.

Point of the wake-ups? Maybe after waking up, the side-ways people have to make a choice to stay where they are or try to put things back the way they were. Just like candidates have a choice to go with Smokey or not. Maybe things have to line up correctly on both sides to do it?

There was another big difference when Sayid stabbed Flocke vs. Ben stabbing Jacob - Jacob LET Ben kill him. He knew that's what Ben wanted & let him. He could have easily stopped him, but didn't. Also, that knife was originally given by MiB to kill Jacob. When Sayid was given it, it seemed like a last ditch effort. I don't think they knew if it would work or not. It was just a parroting of the original rules (rules that applied to Jacob).

Where does the boy(s) fit into all this? It seems like the boy that Smokey sees got older. I was surprised that Des could see him though, not just Flocke. If that is Jacob, why would he need to be replaced? If you just come back & age that quickly, what are the candidates for? If that isn't Jacob- WHO?

April 15, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

Wowza! Now that's a response. Let's do this point by point, comment ninja.

1.) Agreed that the dead can get flashes- Charlie & Libby did, so why not Locke? - Ok. I buy that. Especially because I now like the theory that sideways Locke will fight for island Locke's body, kicking out the Man in Black.

2.) Why did he need a list of people's names- wouldn't he know them already & just start grabbing addresses? - I think that's 2-fold. (1) A list makes it easier, it's practical. (2) I don't know that Desmond really got to know the first and last names of EVERYONE on the manifest with him. Did he?

3.) How does purgatory fit with the living people? - For a long time, people thought of heaven, hell, and purgatory as physical places that one could visit. This seems to be working off of that idea.

4.) Why doesn't everyone who dies get stuck? - The souls that get stuck in purgatory are ones that "can't move on." Easiest reason of all: They aren't good enough for heaven or bad enough for hell.

5.) What about the other ghosts who didn't actually die on the island? - They aren't in purgatory. They're visiting. That, or they aren't ghosts at all.

6.) Why would living people be able to hear the whispers of people in purgatory? - If you grant that the island IS purgatory (which I know you aren't), I think you can grant that people would hear the voices.

7.) It seems to me that they are the standard ghost model: tethered to a place & unable to move on - some achieving the ability to communicate with the living. It's a typical ghost scenario, but an a-typical purgatory one. - That's fair, and I think the producers would grab on to that more sophisticated idea right now. What I'm saying is that the concept was "the island is purgatory" and things have gotten better after that.

8.) Point of the wake-ups? Maybe after waking up, the side-ways people have to make a choice to stay where they are or try to put things back the way they were. Just like candidates have a choice to go with Smokey or not. Maybe things have to line up correctly on both sides to do it? - I agree! I think it's like the plane: They all go or nobody can go.

9.) When Sayid was given (the knife) was just a parroting of the original rules (rules that applied to Jacob). - Hmmm. I disagree. I think there's a reason the words were EXACTLY the same. I think Dogen thought "hey, if this works, the Mib is dead. If it doesn't, he'll kill Sayid." I think you're right that Jacob let himself die, but I think the shell/body issue is important.

10.) Where does the boy(s) fit into all this? It seems like the boy that Smokey sees got older. I was surprised that Des could see him though, not just Flocke. If that is Jacob, why would he need to be replaced? If you just come back & age that quickly, what are the candidates for? If that isn't Jacob- WHO? - It is totally Jacob. I think the answer is simple: If nobody takes Jacob's throne, he's reborn and reclaims it. The process repeats until someone finally steps in for him. The candidates are to see if someone is willing to make the sacrifice to step into that role.

Gooooooood, gooooood comments/questions. Loving this.

April 15, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be a stickler, but the first little boy was blond and this bigger boy isn't. How do we know it's the same kid? Could it be that the blond is Jacob and the brunet is MiB in some kind of a weird, time-loopy realm, a la Christian? MiB sure seemed shocked as hell to see both of them and both Des AND Sawyer saw them when they appeared.

April 16, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

Eh, being a stickler is fine. Of course, you're right about hair color, but the aging leads me to believe that his new sandy-blond-brownish hair and his formerly blond hair could be consistent. I don't think that the kid is the MiB, although that would be crazy. I think the reason some people can see him and others can't have to do with people who are or were at one point a candidate.

April 16, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is from re: second "mysterious boy"

The casting call described him as "Teenage boy, caucasian, 12-14. Dirty blond hair. Wise beyond his years. He's got intense, searching eyes. He's dealt with a horrible family accident. Even at a young age, he has been put in charge of something very important, and it weighs heavily on his shoulders.

April 16, 2010  
Blogger Ryan said...

I hear that and I think JACOB, JACOB, JACOB.

April 16, 2010  

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