Tuesday, August 11

Everybody Hates Hugo (S2 ep 4)

Everybody Hates Hugo (S2 ep 4)

Jin: "Everything is going to change....Everything is going to change. Have a cluckety-cluck-cluck day, Hugo."


-- The opening image is a spinning record again. Lost likes to repeat motifs like the opening eye, and the spinning record appears to have acquired a similar status within the show. The record eventually becomes an analogy for the Island itself in Season Five.

-- I'm a fan of the sneak-attack dream sequence just generally, and I think it's used to good effect in the opening of this episode. There's something about the act of slowly introducing bizarre, nonsensical elements into what's presumed to be 'reality' that makes me happy. The way that the scene progresses - from Hurley gazing adoringly at all the food in the Swan pantry, to gorging himself on what looks like every concievable dish available in the Hatch (including a box of what look like room service-style plates of steak and vegetable - the first hint that this isn't 'real'), to Jin suddenly appearing and speaking english, to Hurley beginning to speak in subtitled Korean, to the sudden inexplicable appearance of a dude in a Mr. Cluck's chicken suit - is a real hoot. Kudos, writers.

-- The carton of milk Hurley is drinking out of when Jin appears has what looks to be a picture of Walt on the side, under the word "Missing." It's little details like this that make stark raving lunatics out of people like me. Since this is a dream, we know that the Missing advertisement isn't 'real.' But we also know that Walt's been taken from his father and has gone missing, even if no one on the Island knows that yet. So the question becomes: Is the show just screwing with us? Or does this mean that on some level, Hurley senses that Walt has been taken?

This might seem like a silly question. If it's option one, and the show is just playing with us/tossing in a fun but unimportant easter egg, then there's nothing else to think about. But if it's option two it reinforces what we'll continue to learn as the series goes on - that Hurley appears to have a gift/curse of 'sight.' He sees someone in Jacob's cabin, he's identified as the one who can find it, he gets visitations off-Island from 'ghosts' (who could be the MiB, or could be apparitions/electromagnetic echoes/something else) and he's had the fullest, most meaningful conversation with Jacob of any of the others.

Is this the first hint that Hurley is 'special'?

And on a similar track: Jin's comment that 'Everything is going to change' seems more ominous than a warning about the Dharma pantry. It's tempting to go too deep into the rabbit hole with this show, but it strikes me as possible that comments as portentious as this one can be seen as commenting on the larger story of the show. Given how many times we hear phrases like 'it's not supposed to happen this way,' or 'he changed the rules,' I do have to wonder if Jin's weird appearance is a warning of sorts.

Kate: Jack told me about your job. At least we have jobs again, right?
Hurley (audibly unenthused): "Hooray for us."

As life begins to orient itself around the Hatch - as more folks get involved with the Swan station and the button-pushing, we watch as folks like Hurley and Locke are sucked back into an unfulfilling cycle of menial labor. The show suggests that while hunting boar and sleeping on the beach may be a real pain to civilized folks, returning to 'normal life' is no picnic either.

-- Sawyer, Jin and Michael are still in the pit when we return to them. Eko and Ana Lucia let Michael and Jin out, but leave Sawyer down there with an infected bullet wound.

Great Sawyer Line (to Jin, referring to his wound): "Why don't you pee on it."

A great call-back to Hurley's jellyfish accident from S1. Sure, we don't know how Sawyer found out about that but we don't really care, because it's funny.

--Hurley’s flashback is good stuff. We follow him from the moment he learns that he’s won the lottery (Reyes falling through a table? Priceless) to the moment when the clerk who sold him the ticket identifies him as the winner to the tv news crews. In between, we learn that Hurley is terrified of change, of being resented, of being treated differently.

Hurley's Mom: “Falling down is not exercise….you have to change your life, Hugo. You think someone else will change it for you? Maybe, if you pray every day, Jesus Christ will come down from heaven and bring you a decent woman. And a new car. Yesss, Jesus Christ can bring you a new car.”

--It’s a cute moment, and a telling one, when Hurley visits Rose and discovers that she doesn’t seem to care whether Hurley knows something she doesn’t, or what that something might be. So of course, Hurley shares the Swan discovery with her and the castaways get to do their laundry in washing machines (Washing machines that apparently caused a frenzy of fan speculation when it was pointed out that the machines were too new for the rest of the equipment in the Swan. It turned out that the show’s buyers had just thought they’d look good down there – there was no secret meaning to the age of the machines in question. This goes to illustrate how thoroughly the show’s details were, and are, being studied).

--We get our first look at the hidden door to the Swan – It’s really camouflaged.

--Hurley’s boss at Mr. Cluck’s was also Locke’s boss in “Walkabout.” This sort of cross-character coincidence, which we’ve been seeing since the beginning of the show, has always suggested to me that these people were perpetually crossing each others paths for a reason. But as I watched this episode it occurred to me that there was another explanation: some or all of the castaways’ flashbacks/memories have been tampered with, changed, which has created the illusion that some of the characters continue to cross paths in odd ways.

--Hurley’s friend Johnny is played by DJ Qualls, the frighteningly-emaciated actor/scarecrow also featured in Road Trip (and apparently Road Trip: Beer Pong, the DTV sequel that took nine years to emerge).

--Hurley’s music store crush is played by the luminous Marguerite Moreau, who was immortalized forever as Coop’s crush in Wet Hot American Summer. I’d like to think that she’s on the rebound from Paul Rudd when we see her here.

--While at the store, Hurley and Johnny sing along (badly) to “You All Everybody.”

--Back on the Island, Hurley is put in charge of the pantry and all his fears about things changing, about being disliked and treated differently, begin to come true. Charlie’s creepy peanut butter fixation pops up again as he demands it from Hurley like an addled addict hustling his dealer for more of that sweet heroin.

Hurley : "Let me tell you something, Rose. We were all fine before we had any potato chips. But now we've got these potato chips and everybody's going to want them. So Steve gets them, and Charlie's pissed - but he's not pissed at Steve, he's pissed at me... And I'm going to be in the middle of it. And then it's going to be: well, what about us -- why didn't I get any potato chips?"

We watch as Hurley wrestles with the power that’s been given to him via his supervision of the pantry, the temptation to simply destroy his ‘wealth’ instead of dealing with it, and we see the freedom and the love that come from the difficult act of giving away what you’ve earned/amassed/been given for the benefit of all. If I’m feeling charitable (and I am) I’d point out the similarities between this character-based plot arc and the teachings of, say, Buddha or Christ. I’d also point out how Hurley appears to have used this experience to help himself move on from his fears about being cast out or hated for having more than others. I’d also point out that dynamiting the pantry is a terrible, terrible idea. Hurley’s lucky that nitroglycerin didn’t get tetchy on him, as it did with Arzt.

--The Tailies let Sawyer out of the hole, and we meet Libby for the first time.

Sawyer: Howdy, boys. Thanks for the rescue.
Michael: Everything's cool. We had a talk and they believe we were on the plane, too.
Sawyer: Swell, I guess we can all sue Oceanic together.

--The Tailies take S J &M to their hiding place – a second Dharma station. This one appears to have been stripped/abandoned. It’s The Arrow. We’ll learn later on what The Arrow’s Dharma function was, and we’ll discover that it potentially had more than one use. Given what it ends up being, it’s not really a surprise to find it so hollowed and empty.

--We meet Bernard for the first time, blowing away people’s unconscious assumptions about race by showing up and being a white guy.

--Sayid and Jack investigate the poured concrete wall inside the Swan. Sayid notes that the last time he saw concrete poured this way it was ‘at Chernobyl,’ connecting what we know of the S5 finale (with Juliet banging away on that bomb) with what we know of the Swan.

--The messages in a bottle that were given to Michael and Co. when they set out wash up on the shore, and Sun makes the decision to hide it. She loses her wedding ring in the process – something she hasn’t realized yet. Having been married myself for just under a year, I’ve only experienced the pure panic that comes from thinking you’ve lost your ring once, and that was enough for me. Even as Sun buries the bottle, preserving the hope of rescue for the other castaways and covering over her own fear over her husband’s fate, we see Rose quietly slipping an Apollo bar into her pocket – preserving it for her husband. It’s never been easy for Locke to believe, but for Rose it seems as natural as breathing. She doesn’t know that Bernard’s alive, but she has faith.

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