Monday, April 19

Everybody Loves Hugo (S6, Ep. 12)

The Back to the Island column for Everybody Loves Hugo has taken it's life-long love of Chicken and used it to create a benevolent Empire for your reading pleasure on


  1. looking forward-
    consider a philosophy and lost book? I saw one on amazon but it is three years old now and a compilation...
    hell even orson scott card edited one! be interested in see these compiled with further work

  2. Good recap Morse. One thing though, the boy that MiB and Desmond see is the same boy from "The Substitute". He is played by Kenton Duty. One reason why he looks different is that there was a very strong light hitting him in "The Substitute" making it appear that his brown hair was blonde. However, it is the same character, not a new mysterious boy. Thank goodness, dealing with one mysterious boy is enough at this stage of the game.

  3. No offence, but I could do without the Sartre and other literary references in your recaps. I fear they might end up becoming Jeff Jensen bloat like if you're not careful.

  4. It seems obvious to me that Desmond ran over Locke so he'll be sent to Jack's hospital (since it seems to be the only one in LA). Jack is clearly Locke's Constant, even though they usually find themselves on opposite sides of any argument. Jack has already offered to try to heal Locke in the sideways-verse, and now he may wind up doing so while performing his life-saving operation. This will be Locke's epiphany moment - I predict a replay of Locke's scene where he realizes he can move his legs, only in a hospital bed instead of on a beach.

  5. No offense taken, Anonymous. But those elements have been a part of what I talk about in the column since I started this little project last summer. I'm not about to change that now. I think I've been pretty good about grounding my philosophy chatter in what the show itself gives us to work with. I talk about Fear and Trembling because the show explicitly brings it up, not because I'm looking to waste your time.

    If the talk of Sartre bothers you, just skip over it. It's of interest to me (and a good number of the readers), so it's not going away.

  6. Hi Ho,

    Thanks for letting me know. Weird that he looks so different to me in this episode. I agree, one mysterious Island kid is enough!

  7. Great column MMorse. The Friday delay is worth it - especially if that keeps the enjoyment going.

    That kid threw me too. Apparently the actor is 14. I guess he hit his growth spurt since filming for the substitute. It was so pronounced to me that i thought that the point was that same kid was aging rapidly. I guess not.

    In my opinion, Michael was Michael. The writers made it clear at the beginning of the season that the MIB's only human form was now Locke. Plus I think they intended the answer to the Whispers question to be definitive and to give some closure to Michael's character.

  8. A great recap for a great episode, MMorse. Also, I dig the literary references, MMorse. I guess that's just a case of different strokes for different folks.

    I love Anonymous' idea that Jack is Locke's constant. Nobody ever said the constant had to be a romantic lover.

  9. Thanks, guys. I like the idea of Jack and Locke as Constants too. As the original Men of Science and Faith, they balance each other. Very cool idea, Anonymous.

    I honestly just don't get the comment about not liking the literary references. The first thing you see when you come to this site is the 'mission statement,' where I say that's what I'm doing. Different strokes like you said I guess. Anonymous, if you're looking for a shorter and more straightforward recap, I highly recommend Drew McWeeney on HitFix. He's a fan, is critical when he feels a need to be, and doesn't deal with the literary stuff.

  10. MMorse, I like your literary references also.

    I did understand what Anon meant by "Doc Jensen bloat." This season has been chock full of episodes that referenced the series, past events and a few literary books. Doc Jensen lost me about 6 weeks ago when he devoted at least a page to how Lost is really living out a Huey Lewis and the News album. I'm not interested in being outrageous. i just want to read intelligent thoughts about Lost and its context.

    I do feel like at this point the show is about itself and that seeking out a clue to an overall theory based on a single line or book sighting is missing the point that Lost is its own story and reference point. But i love the name and fact-checking of the books and stories which are cited in the show. Your balance on this is strong because you are more focused on what has happened on the show itself and the evidence in the show, rather than how another source can tell us what the conclusion of the show means. there are 5 episodes left, and Jensen seems to still be trying to crack the show based on name-checked, but otherwise external data.

    Lost is very deep and publicly draws from great stories big and small. But it is it's own story and there are more clues within the plot of the show itself which have more answers than any individual book. I love how you focus, probably developed by the nature of your rewatch, on what has happened ON THE SHOW, as your first line of reference.

    That said, the reading list from Lost is like a greatest hits list of fantasy, religion and philosophy and I love reading it in the context of this show. Thanks for your research and drawing out the details that I wouldn't get on my own - like the tale of Haroun and the Sea Stories that Des was reading with his wedding band on the sideways Oceanic 815.

  11. I enjoyed this episode, but not as much as I thought I would, for some reason. Maybe I was expecting a bit more with the Libby-Hurley reunion, but it was nice just to see it. Good, thought-provoking column as usual.

    According to Jorge Garcia's podcast Geronimo Jack's Beard (Which is really worth a listen, btw), Sideways Hurley won the lottery in a very Willy Wonka-esque manner. Apparently he found a dollar (or whatever a lotto ticket costs) outside of a convenience store, went in, bought a ticket, and used the serial numbers from the dollar. It was going to be mentioned in part of Chang's speech, but got cut.

    Another interesting difference (Hopefully it'll be on the DVD) between the script/filming and the actual episode is the first scene with Michael. Jorge describes it as much less confrontational, and it included Michael deflecting Libby's death as not his fault.

    It's hard to believe that's the same kid. I thought it was the same character, different actor. They did a heck of a job on aging or de-aging him. The Lostpedia entry on the character includes the casting description, which I found to be quite interesting. I don't want to unintentionally spoil anyone by copying/pasting, so here's the link for the curious:

  12. Anon, getting and discussing MMorse's episode-by-episode take on the literary, philosophical and religious touchstones of the show is the whole point of visiting and reading this particular blog. As he said above, it's even in the site's mission statement.

    Of course he does weave some re-capping of each episode's plot into his analysis and every LOST fan enjoys spinning some theory, but there are other places to go if those are your primary interest ( has really fun recaps,'s talkbacks are filled with interesting folks, and you already know Doc Jensen's breathless theorizing).

    Lost offers plenty of literature and philosophy to analyze and discuss, though, and for folks who are interested, diving into those things is a lot of fun. That doesn't have to be your thing, but the fact that MMorse does it so briskly and intelligently makes his blog required reading for some of us as-is.

    That's all to say, Don't be offended if the editorial direction of the blog doesn't "course-correct" as we go into the show's final month.

  13. Miles,

    All good points, I just don't see the applicability to this site/these columns. If I ever go into a "Huey Lewis"-style digression ala Jensen's, you and the rest of my much-appreciated-readers have my permission to slap me roundly about the face. I'll deserve it (I loathed that way-too-long, not-very-funny faux(?)-comparison also).


    Thanks for the info on Hurley's lottery winnings. I'd forgotten that they brought it up in the Premiere. Looking forward to seeing those outtakes on the forthcoming Series Box Set (Oh, how I am salivating).

  14. MMorse,

    Great stuff, as usual. You never cease to enlighten me on the show. I will be almost as sad to stop reading this blog as I will be after the show ends!

    I totally got the reference about Locke's face as he lay on the pavement. The first thing I thought was "That's the exact face he had while lying on the beach in the bedlam of the crash." Nice to see I wasn't alone.

    I love the idea that Locke and Jack are each other's Constants. Hope that's true.

    Last but by far not least, thanks a ton for all the literary references. I, like most of your readers whole-heartedly enjoy them and see aboslutely no reason for them to stop. Keep up the good work man. Is it Tuesday yet???

  15. It is now!

    Thanks for the kind words, David. If you've enjoyed these columns I hope you'll stick around for what comes next. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and it'll require everyone's participation on a regular basis.

  16. >> it'll require everyone's participation on a regular basis.

    Have you got some buttons for us to push?

  17. I just might, Erik.

    Us Lost fans love our fishbiscuits.

  18. Great column. One nitpick, and I'd like to add to the jangly bits about the prevalence of games in the show. You wrote: "Hurley’s gambit comes down to his essential pacifism. He’s always been the voice of non-violent conflict resolution on the Island, and that, frankly, worries me. While I think that the show values the notion of harmony, it’s also shown that it values the notion of conflict as a means to eventual harmony and growth, and an overt suspicion of Utopian ideals. I worry that Hurley’s reluctance to hurt anyone will result in some serious hurt."

    I respectfully dissent. Hurley has demonstrated that he can put some hurt on when required. Witness his Dharma van heroism, for example. Hurley's gambit is not at all pacifism. Rather, Hurley (albeit in his mild-mannered Hurley way) threatens armed conflict if necessary. It is not pacifism, but rather deterrence along the lines of "mutually assured destruction" theory -- you have guns, we have guns, don't deploy your guns or we all lose.

    Along those lines, check out game theory's Nash equilibrium, which dovetails nicely with some of your observations about the prevalence of games in "Lost" (you seem to have omitted Locke's flashback games as "The Colonel," which in hindsight seem to be every bit as significant as the other games cited). Speaking of games, during Hurley and Sawyer's game of Risk, the two spar over Australia and Siberia -- both associated with prisons/penal colonies. "Australia is the key to the game," (or words to that effect), said Hurley. Was that foreshadowing that the Island is a prison, which would seem to lend credence to Jacob's parable of the wine bottle?

  19. I, like Miles, also love the literary references that I normally would not have gotten on my own. Keep it up. I love how they all translate to today's world (and Lost's world) one way or another.

    I also can't wait to see what you do next after the show. Are you considering doing a re-rewatch column by going back to the previous seasons after the show explains the end game? That would be awesome, as I plan on rewatching the entire series (again) as I am sure everyone else will as well.

  20. Mo,

    Thanks for the intelligent comment! I understand your point regarding Hurley - he isn't allergic to violence. After all, he gives Sawyer a much-deserved beatdown at one point.

    But my larger point is one that I stand by. Hurley is essentially a pacifist in that he typically looks for a way to resolve conflict through non-violent means. He's not a committed, or identified, pacifist, because he's clearly willing to step outside of that box and put the hurt on if necessary/if sufficiently angered. But 9 out of 10 times he's the one urging everybody to put down their literal or figurative guns and talk things out. Do you disagree?

    Thanks much also for including other examples of games featured on Lost. I'd meant my list to be representative, not definitive. Games like Locke's "Colonel" game are most definately, thematically, important. I've brought up the foreshadowing of Island-as-prison before, but I certainly hadn't drawn Siberia in. Thanks for pointing out that connection!

  21. D,

    No re-rewatch column. At least, not now. It'd feel repetitive for me, and I'm looking forward to trying something semi-different once the show ends.

    My book will tie a lot of past thoughts together, along with the revelations from this season, and will hopefully operate on a larger, thematic level to do what you've suggested.

    The post-Lost project has a couple of moving parts. But the major piece - one that I'm hoping will continue to run on Chud - will give me the opportunity to keep exploring things that interest me within the framework of entertainment and will also involve you folks on an simple-but-important, interactive level.

  22. Great! I look forward to being entertained!

    I wanted to mention something I noticed as I re-watched this season thus far. The Finale is specifically on the 23rd of May, which is oddly a Sunday. I think there may be a reason for this. The number 23 - which had the name Shepard connected to it on the series of Lost numbers.

    I am strongly thinking that Jack is the new Jacob. Here is why: Jack took on the leadership role from the beginning, he went from a convinced man of science to then having faith. He always tried to fix things and recently "realized" that he can't. Jack has loved and lost, and knows what it means to make, and already has made, sacrifices. He is finally at peace with his life.

    Jacob also made a point of using Hurley to take Jack away from the temple massacre, and that he needed to realize his purpose on his own. Jacob has not done this for anyone else.

    Although many might disagree, and most of the other characters have come full circle, Jack has made all the necesary changes in his life that could take over the role of Jacob (and that darned number 23, the date of the finale).

    Finally, let's all remember Psalm 23 (bits and pieces anyway)... The Lord is my Shepard ... He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters ... Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil ... and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    Just spitballin'

  23. D,

    We agree - I think Jack is destined to be Jacob, either by continuing stewardship of the Island, or through "ending" the game on Jacob's behalf.

    Great Number-related thoughts. Love the connection between Jack, his Number, and Psalm 23.

  24. Not to dwell on the point, but when reading the column's comment about how Hurley's essential pacifism might lead to ruin, I was for some reason reminded of Cpl. Upham's cowardice near the end of Saving Private Ryan. Perhaps because Upham was played by Jeremy Davies/Daniel Faraday. Unlike Upham, I don't see Hurley allowing things to go wrong for the people he loves because of a failure to take action when necessary. I agree with you that Hurley typically urges others toward non-violent resolution. But when absolutely essential, as we agree, Hurley will throw down -- by definition, he is no pacifist.

    Perhaps because so much violence occurs on Lost (and in entertainment in general), Hurley's relative restraint can be mistaken for a pacifism. I prefer to think of him as the most "real" character on the show, at least vis-à-vis violence and conflict. Even Jack, rational man of science, is prone to fits of temper and violent outbursts. Heck, he almost shot Locke point-blank in a rage of vigilante justice and anger. But because Hurley is not aggressively and frequently violent, we should not mistake him for a pacifist. He is wise in his use of force, and has done so to great effect when necessary. That is my take on Hurley.

  25. And now to butt into the conversation between yourself and Darth Sillynous. I'm not sure if I see Jack assuming the mantle of Jacob. That's not to say it won't happen, I'm just not certain that I'll completely buy into it if it does. Part of my problem is Jack's arc. I like that the show has long grappled with his savior complex, daddy issues and associated disorders (booze, pills, relationship woes, emotional disconnection, etc.). Some shows just give lip service to such things, dropping them in from nowhere when convenient and resolving them in a short and neat arc without any real development. That is not my problem with Jack -- it's just the shape of the arc. After all of the angst and build-up and setbacks, Jack's issues seemed to be rather perfunctorily resolved this season (in Sideways land in the scene with his semi-estranged son, and on the Island, apparently by simply staring out at the sea after a typical Jack fit of rage in the Lighthouse). While a resolution certainly could and should have felt earned after all of the development, this particular resolution(s) felt -- I don't know, hasty, superficial, ineffective. Particularly Jack's dialogue with Hurley last episode, which I believe you aptly described as being a bit too on the nose.

    Now here's where I go meta, something I am loathe to do with regard to Lost but I can't help myself -- especially since that door is wide open with the discussion of the air date of the finale! (1) Long ago my kid brother told me that the character of Jack was initially to be played by Michael Keaton and was supposed to die in the pilot or soon after. I think I've seen that bit of trivia echoed on your site. (2) I've always heard that by and large the pilot and the meat of the conclusion had been worked out from the start, and that there was particularly clear direction about how this would all end from the beginning.

    If those two data points are correct, then a conclusion featuring Jack assuming the role of Jacob doesn't quite seem to work. After all, until relatively late drafts of the pilot Jack was supposed to die. (Though given the nature of Lost, death certainly would not have meant the character would have disappeared from the series -- wonder if Jack was initially going to serve as the Trojan Horse that Locke would later become?). Seems that if the role of Jacob is an important element of the finale, as we have been led to believe with all this candidate business, then the producers should have known which character was going to step into that role from the start -- not just that a character would do so. (And if I ever learn that Jacob and/or MIB were invented during the run of the show and not part of the initial plan, I will be sorely disappointed).

    Also, Jack seems way too obvious, and we know how fond the show runners are of misdirection, the long con. In fact, the whole business about candidates to replace Jacob could be misdirection -- both within the show and on a meta level. Like you, I'm exhilarated that this close to the conclusion, there is still no obvious, consensus theory as to how it all will end. I only hope that the conclusion feels organic and earned. The one thing that I am quite certain of is that when all is said and done, it will become apparent that the journey was always more important than the destination, and the questions more meaningful than the answers.

    By the way, thanks for doing this!!!

  26. Mo,

    A big part of the reason I'm doing this is to connect with other fans like yourself - people who take the time to intelligently think about and discuss the show, but don't feel the need to get weirdly aggressive and/or insulting with their comments. Nice folks, in other words, who appreciate the show, warts and all.

    You make a lot of good points with your post. I don't have the time to run through all of them at the moment, but I wanted to address one in particular:

    "After all of the angst and build-up and setbacks, Jack's issues seemed to be rather perfunctorily resolved this season (in Sideways land in the scene with his semi-estranged son, and on the Island, apparently by simply staring out at the sea after a typical Jack fit of rage in the Lighthouse). While a resolution certainly could and should have felt earned after all of the development, this particular resolution(s) felt -- I don't know, hasty, superficial, ineffective.

    It's different strokes for different folks, essentially, but I respectfully disagree. From my (subjective, personal) point of view, the Lighthouse scene and Jack's contemplation illustrate the bubbling-over of everything we've seen festering inside of Jack, resulting in an "empty jar" that can then be re-filled, so to speak. The Lighthouse event is like the blowing of a cork - a pouring out of Jack's frustration that enables him to breathe, to reflect. That said, its all about what works for you.

    I've often entertained the idea of the show's narrative as circular, resulting in an ending that also serves as the show's beginning, and in which the final shot would be the opening of Jack's eye and the start of a new "cycle" with the same characters and basic set up, but with a renewed hope for change. It seems unlikely that the show will go that route, but such an ending could certainly have been contemplated by the writers from the get-go.

  27. Well said MoRich - One thing that I would like to point out. The writers did state that they had the end game in mind when creating the show. However, they also have mentioned that there were many character arcs that have changed over the course of the series. The definitive ending for the show became finalized within Season 2 I believe. Season 1 was mostly JJ Abrams work, while Carlton and Cuse picked it up from there.

  28. Morse, thanks for this engaging dialogue and sorry to be monopolizing your comments section. I see where you are coming from on Jack and the "empty jar" metaphor. I guess my point was not that I don't buy Jack's character evolution this season in relation to the season's events. I just feel that it is "unearned" in the sense that Jack's enlightenment was thrust upon him by the Lighthouse event, rather than being the culmination of any self-motivated search for redemption on Jack's part. To me, it feels like more of a passive acceptance than active change -- redemption just happened to Jack, he didn't seek it out. (Of course, maybe that was the whole point -- in light of Jack's Hero Complex issues, redemption would have to come in the form of passive acceptance). I guess I always wanted our physician to "heal thyself." (Luke 4:23, by the way) (of course, there's also Luke 5:23: "Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?" -- the story of friends helping a paralyzed man seek healing by Christ, in which the friends and paralytic man are forgiven of their sins [i.e. redemption, a central theme of Lost] and the man is healed of his paralysis [not unlike one of the most compelling events of Lost, when Locke is healed of his paralysis upon arrival on the Island]. Forced connection, coincidence, or is there some significance?).

  29. Thanks Darth Sillynous, my "meta" knowledge is very limited. When all is said and done, I would love to see a tell-all style book by insiders detailing how Lost was created, what the initial concept was, the different twists and turns along the way, dream casting (including coverage of the Keaton thing), the conflicts that must have come up between creators/writers, what was planned from the beginning and what they made up as they went along, which corners they backed themselves into and later regretted, etc., etc., etc. Not the "Making of Lost" but rather the "Making of the Story of Lost."

    Morse, if you can get any access to insiders when all is said and done, maybe you could ferret up some of this behind-the-creative-scenes information for your planned tome.

  30. Wow that just opened my eyes a little MoRich - I didn't think of Luke 5:23 at all. That lends to the possible upcoming event in the sideways universe where Locke is healed by Jack and is able to walk. However, it is the date of the finale, so I doubt that will line up. Unless it happens concurrently with the event where Jack removes (and/or destroys) the MiB from Locke's body. Fun to think of though.

  31. Darth, I think if there is any biblical significance to the finale date, you are probably right on with your earlier reference to Psalm 23, but it is rather interesting how nicely Luke 5:23 fits with some of the elements of Lost that have been with us from the beginning.

  32. Mo,

    No need to worry about monopolizing things. Keep the smart thoughts coming - I'm sure everyone here appreciates them. I know I do.

    "I guess I always wanted our physician to "heal thyself." (Luke 4:23, by the way)."

    I want that also. And I've argued in the columns that the sentiment expressed in Luke is a core theme of the show overall. I disagree that Jack hasn't sought his "redemption" (I'd call it "enlightenment" myself). In fact, I think the flailing lack of surety that Jack's displayed is a form of searching and of seeking. That kind of behavior is familiar to me from my own life experiences and those of others - Jack is "caged" both within himself and by the expectations of others, and has spent the near-entirety of the show pacing that cage and looking for a way out.

    Whether you argue that the Lighthouse gave him a "way out," or simply illustrated to him that there is no "out," only "in," is less important to me than the fact that "enlightenment" may be sought, but it seems often to be found when people are NOT actively seeking it - moments of surprise, and of surprising clarity.

    I assume that you've experienced moments of profundity and/or Grace in your life? Did that moment come as the "earned" result of actions, or out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightning from a blue sky? My "Oceanic" moments have always come to me via the latter.

    Lastly, remember just who does the smashing/yelling/contemplating in "Lighthouse" - it's Jack, not Jacob. Jacob gives Jack a "push," but that's all he does.

  33. I agree. My moments of clarity, though long awaited through my life experiences, came to me like a bolt of lightning. I released a lot of denial and fear that I had carried with me for years. Life took a huge turn that, to some people around me (not all), seemed unexpected.

    I believe for Jack, the Lighthouse was that moment. Like you had stated Morse, he was able to reflect and think openly without the burden of his experiences.

    Luke 5:23 I believe is going to be specific to Locke ... where Psalm 23 refers to Jack. Which inevitably will be the season finale showdown. As it has always been throughout the series.

  34. Good and fair points, Morse and Darth. After last night, I think Jack's role on LOST may be heading in a different direction then I had anticipated -- and though it may be a less happy ending for our hero, it may be a far more satisfying one. I'm convinced that Jack is headed towards an act of sacrifice. I don't think he will become the new Jacob, but rather suspect that Jack's newfound faith and serenity will allow him to make a bold sacrifice, perhaps allowing Jacob to return, perhaps setting the stage for another candidate to assume the role -- either way, Jack's last act will thwart the MiB's plans. This could result in some sort of "resurrection" for Jack, perhaps in the form of circling back to Jack's eyelid opening in the Pilot as suggested by Morse. More likely, I think it will be a final act of redemption allowing Jack, and perhaps all the trapped souls on the Island, to "rise and converge."

    Of course, I'm probably wrong, and Jack will be the new Jacob, with Locke as MiB, continuing the never-ending cycle of the Island's big backgammon game, oldest game in the world, two sides, two players, one light, one dark, yada yada. And you know what? Even if it might be a slightly disappointing conclusion without the big twist/long con I'm anticipating, it would no doubt be earned, and probably a very satisfying conclusion. Rewatching the Pilot after such a conclusion, you'd have little choice but to smile and say, yup, these guys knew what they were doing all along.