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For the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself eating my words on a regular basis. When the sixth season of Lost began, I approached the premiere with a lot of excitement and a little trepidation; after all, Lost is a creative show that can get away with completely changing their narrative devices from season to season… but an alternate universe in which the plane never crashed? I was hesitant and was almost a little overwhelmed by the show’s continued descent into sci-fi territories. I was unfairly harsh with the alternate universe, assuming that no matter what the writers and creators of the show said, this alternate universe was going to have little to no impact on the show and would just be a way to fill the forty-minute quota for each episode. I can’t help but feel like a fool now, because for the second consecutive week, the scenes in the alternate universe were much more compelling than those in the regular universe.
When the season started, it was difficult to find any real meaning in the scenes taking place in the alternate universe. Every time the sound of that whooshing plane arrived and the scenes on the Island began to fade into the flash-sideways, I would groan, yet would remain hopeful that we would see Jack or Sawyer or anybody just jump up and say to themselves, “Wait a second… This isn’t my life! How am I here all of a sudden instead of the Island?!” Last week’s episode came as close to that idea as we’re probably going to get, and the idea that these two universes are reliant on one another is becoming more and more clear. I must say, having Desmond back on the show is doing wonders for its quality. Not to say that Desmond is the sole reason Lost is good, but it’s certainly given the show a boost of energy. A kick in the butt that will hopefully make the writers realize that they only have four more episodes to come to a satisfactory ending for millions of fans who have been waiting to see if they really know how to end this long, complicated, and interesting story.
This week was a Hurley episode, and unlike other Hurley episodes, this one wasn’t filled with the same type of humor that we’re used to. Remember the days when Hurley used to make us laugh? Saying things that would make us smile in the face of tragedy. Well, he has more important things to do now, such as leading the people that aren’t on Locke’s side to their next destination, or talking to Jacob and other dead people. Hurley has certainly stepped up and taken the leader role. It’s weird to see someone other then Jack making decisions; even Hurley finds it strange that Jack isn’t stepping forward, but Jack seems to have come to terms with who he is and what he needs to do. Richard is still intent on blowing up the plane on the other island, while Hurley is told by Michael (yet another familiar face returning to the Island.. and this is preceding the re-appearance of Dr. Chang, our favorite Dharma Initiative video narrator) that they can’t blow it up or nobody will be safe.
What this results in is a series of explosions, one that strangely results in the death of Ilana, a character that they never exactly explained. I hope that we learn a little more about her, because blowing up in a dynamite explosion? Come on writers — you can do better than that. Hurley ends up discovering that those eerie whispers that have been around since Sayid was wandering around in the woods back in Season 1 are the sounds of people who have died on the Island and cannot move on. Michael just so happens to be one of them, and we’re told about this in a painfully forced scene. Every website and Lost blog I’ve visited agrees that it’s nice to have closure on what the whispers are, but it felt like they just put it in there to make fans happy, not so it would mesh well with the rest of the episode. By the end of the episode, Hurley arrives in Locke’s camp, claiming that his group of people will join his as long as Locke promises not to hurt any of them. As Locke hands over his knife to Hurley, you immediately get the sense that both of these men are planning something else, and that in the next couple of episodes, we’ll see these two at each others throats.
Off island, we got to see Hurley rich, generally happy with his life, but it’s clear that something is missing. His usual happy-go-lucky self is not there; his mother is trying to hook him up with one of her neighbor’s daughters, and while Hurley claims he’s not looking for something like that, it’s clear that there’s something bothering him. All of this comes to a head after he meets none other than Libby while he’s waiting for his date to arrive. This is our first sighting of her since Season 2! Man, I love this season, if only because we get to see characters that have long been dead return and remind us of why he loved them so much (and in some cases, hated so much). Hurley and Libby have a discussion, where Libby continues the same train of thought that Charlie, Desmond, and Daniel have all experienced. She believes she knows him from somewhere and that they knew each other from an Island in another life, but all of this becomes more complicated when we learn she’s a patient at a mental hospital. This makes it harder to believe, but the idea that this woman and he could have had a possible relationship in other life intrigues and bothers Hurley. Desmond eventually shows up and pushes him towards confronting Libby. Last week’s episode hinted that Desmond now knows everything about what’s going on, and this episode continues that idea. Hurley and Libby eventually meet up again and have a date; Libby kisses Hurley and images of his time on the island come rushing back to him. Hurley suddenly realizes that perhaps he did know this woman from a former life, even if he can’t fully understand how.
A show of hands: how many people believed the episode was going to end with Locke and Jack sharing menacing looks with each other? The camera was zooming in on Locke’s face, and he had a smug, annoyed look on his face. This is the way Lost used to end episodes. But did you forget? This is Season 6! Anything is possible! Instead, we flashback to the alternate universe, where we see Desmond watching Locke. Ben approaches Desmond and asks him why he’s at the school; he claims he’s looking for a school for his son. Ben accepts this answer and walks away, and we watch as Desmond speeds his car up and… runs Locke over with his car?! Locke hits the windshield like a ton of bricks, rolls over the hood of the car and lands in a crumpled mess, blood-stained and confused. The episode ends as the camera pans on his face… and was that a look of recognition? As we ask ourselves this question, the episode fades to black. Damn.
Even if there were some slower, weaker parts in this episode, there was enough forward momentum to keep things moving along at a nice pace. Sort of like the episode “The Package” from two weeks ago, this was an episode where not much necessarily happens; it exists as a bridge between last week’s superb Desmond episode and the next chunk of episodes. However, “Everybody Loves Hugo” has the luxury of further connecting the two universes together and also shows a great deal of symmetry. For instance, in the Island universe, Locke and Desmond have a chat with one another, and out of nowhere, Locke throws Desmond down a well and leaves him there. In the alternate universe, the tables are turned and it’s Desmond that is inflicting pain upon Locke. Is there some meaning behind this? Or just pure coincidence. I’m of the opinion that there’s a deeper meaning to this, and that this further proves a connection between these two universes.
Lost has a very small time frame to answer a lot of important questions. Four episodes until the finale and it feels as if we’re no closer to understanding who Jacob and the Man in Black are, or what the Dharma Initiative is. I’m giving the writers the benefit of the doubt and am keeping my fingers crossed. Next week looks promising, but every episode this year has been so far. There’s only so long you can promise before you have to deliver on those promises. Please, Lost writers, deliver on your promises. Otherwise, I may just have to set off a nuke and create an alternate universe where Lost ends with an episode that actually answers everything.