SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, get your self a big bowl of homemade tortilla chips and watch last night’s Lost.
The flash-sideways of each Lost character we’ve seen so far have shown us changed people: Sawyer as a cop, Ben as a morally driven teacher, and so on. Hurley was the last Candidate we had yet to see in a flash-sideways, but his alt-universe story showed us something else too: a much-changed Hurley on the Island.
As we’d seen hinted at earlier, alt-Hugo is a wealthy, lucky man, with a good life, a successful business and the admiration of others. (Including Marvin Candle, shown giving his testimony at a humanitarian ceremony.) But Island-Hugo has got something that he didn’t have at the outset of his story either: confidence. So as much as “Everybody Loves Hugo” advanced the story (showing us, for instance, Desmond on a mission to open his Oceanic 815 buddies’ eyes—except for Locke, who eyes he aims may aim to close permanently) and provided answers (The Whispers, we learn, are souls “stuck on the Island”), it was also just a pleasure to see the new, improved, badass Hurley. (Update: as noted in the comments, I shouldn’t take anything for granted about Desmond’s motives re: Locke.)
Unlike the mind-blowing “Happily Ever After” last week, this was much more of a continuing-to-move-the-pieces episode. But it did provide a sweet bookend to one of my favorite relationships on the show, Hurley’s nipped-in-the-bud romance with Libby (Cynthia Watros).
Seeing them have their picnic on the beach at last, and watching Hurley’s memories come flooding back, was enough to make me buy the potentially-corny “love is the answer” theme that seems to be emerging in the alt-timeline. Like some other storylines on the show—Walt!—Libby’s seemed to be cut short too soon, and her return and Michael’s gives me hope that Lost will manage to tie up some of these loose ends in the final episodes without it seeming forced.
Beyond that, this seems to be an episode better suited to the hail-of-bullets treatment, so in honor of the return of Michael and Libby, let me load and fire:
* So with the revelation of what the Whispers are, we return to one of the earliest theories of Lost. The Island actually is a kind of Purgatory, if not Hell: it’s just not one for the still-living characters that we’re following. This still raises the question of why, if only Hurley can speak with the Island’s ghosts, others can hear the Whispers—but it must be that, to those who lack his sensitivity, they just manifest as unintelligible whispering.
* Desmond’s hit-and-run on Locke suggests an explanation for why he seemed so beatific and calm when Sayid intercepted him: he has consciousness of his existence both in the Island and the alt-universe, and has agency in both, which means he’s unafraid. I’m still not sure why it benefits anyone to run down the alt-Locke—who presumably is not an evil smoke monster—but it looks like Des has a plan, and that plan needs to be executed in both of the universes we’ve been watching.
* Have we discussed Mysterious Ghost Island Boy? Because there’s Mysterious Ghost Island Boy again, this time older but just as capable of agitating Smokey. The floor is open to your theories. Some avatar of Jacob? (Doesn’t make sense, right? Why then would Jacob also appear to Hurley as an adult?) Aaron? Or could it a vision of Smokey himself, from a time earlier in the formation of his mysterious mommy issues?
* $100,000. We now know how much it costs to walk into a mental institution and buy yourself a date with a crazy lady.
* Nice moment when, as the various members of the Lost tribe were reunited at Locke’s camp, we see Sun searching the faces for Jin.
* Before pushing Desmond into the well (and we all know that if a character on Lost falls into a well and does not set off an H-bomb they’re not dead, so relax), Smokey says that Widmore is only interested in power, not answers. Might he be right? This is, after all, close to what Ben (and thus presumably Richard) thought of Widmore in the past. Could it be that Widmore is an enemy of both Smokey and Jacob?
* Fans of Freaks and Geeks might have noticed Samm Levine as the counter guy serving up the chicken bucket—and calling out “order 42″—at Mr. Cluck’s.
* It must be said: we get a Hurley flash-sideways and no Cheech Marin?
* And finally, farewell, Ilana. I can’t say I’ll miss you deeply, but at least you got to go out Arzt-style.