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(Not So Much of a) Joy Ride: Hurley Can't Fix His Daddy Issues on "Lost"

Hmmm. I can't really say that I was a fan of last night's episode of Lost ("Tricia Tanaka is Dead"), which is sad because I've really missed our gang of Losties and was hoping that last night's episode would be a way of bringing them into the story.

Not quite.

As usual, the ABC promo department was working overtime to generate tag lines like "the reunion you've been waiting for!" which turned out to be a bunch of non-speaking extras hugging Kate and Sawyer. Yeah, not really what I had in mind for the big reunion. Seeing as we've never seen most of these people before (EVER) and were treated more completely annoying appearances/gratuitous lines of dialogue from Nikki and Paolo. (Grr.) Did you see that OTT shot in which Paolo grabbed the loop on Nikki's shorts and yanked her back? Talk about really developing these characters!

Sorry if I seem a bit, well, miffed about the episode. It's just after a number of false starts this season, Lost really needs to be kicking into gear about now and propelling the story forward rather than treading water. (And the last two episodes have definitely felt like our favorite characters are just doggy-paddling their way around the South Pacific.)

Instead, we were given what seemed more or less to be a filler episode, in which we learned that big guy Hurley has daddy issues just like everyone else on that rock. Was it just me or did the kid they cast to play young Hurley look absolutely nothing like Jorge Garcia? Painfully so? Odd. The Lost Flashback of the Week belongs squarely to Hurley, but it doesn't really reveal anything monumental. Hurley ends up buying the Mr. Cluck's where he used to work... which during the filming of a TV news puff piece, reporter Tricia Tanaka and her cameraman are killed by a meteor. Or an asteroid. (Oh and looks like Hurley's friend Johnny and crush Starla ran off together. Does this guy ever catch a break?) Meanwhile, Hurley's dad (guest star Cheech Marin) likes to fix cars with his young son and, while listening to the song "Shambala" (about good fortune and a spiritual journey), quickly teaches him a lesson about every man making their own luck... before he hops on the back of a hog and takes off for Vegas... for seventeen years.

When he does return, it's at the request of Hurley's worrisome mom (though she didn't call Papa Reyes when their son was in the nuthouse?) after he's won the lottery by playing those cursed numbers. Papa shows up, sees the potential windfall for his retirement--including a pair of Bennigan's-trained butlers--and tries to pay off a psychic into cleansing Hurley's curse, but our guy Hugo catches him in the act and decides to head to Australia in search of the source of the numbers. Le sigh. Oh and that car they were working on fixing up when Papa took off? Looks like Hurley's held onto the damned thing his whole life...

On the island, Vincent turns up after what seems like months and drops a skeletal human arm at Hurley's feet. Said arm happens to have a key (and a lucky rabbit's foot keychain) on it and Vincent leads Hurley through the jungle to an overturned old VW van (straight out of Little Miss Sunshine sans the canary yellow paint job) with a Dharma logo on it. Inside: some Dharma brand beer, blueprints showing plans for a dirt road (perhaps linking the stations with the commune?), and a skeleton of a guy named Roger, a Dharma Initiative workman.

Hurley gets Charlie to emerge from his funk, following the revelation that Desmond has been having flashes about his imminent demise (for the second time), by pushing him, Jin (now learning to speak some English), and Sawyer (a closet Little House fan) to try to get the van in working order. Charlie and Hurley go on a cliff dive in the thing but, just as it's about to crash into some very sharp, very dangerous rocks, Hurley's prayers are answered and the van's engine starts (along with the eight-track player as Roger and Papa Reyes seem to share similar musical tastes). Charlie is revitalized by the experience and the two, joined by Jin and Sawyer, go on a little joyride around the valley. Aw.

Kate meanwhile heads into the jungle for "help" with the Jack situation but is quickly tracked by Sayid and Locke who want in on the plan. Gee, who do you think Kate could be looking for? They're shot at from a mysterious figure! (Who could it be?) And out of the shadows emerges... Rousseau. Hardly a surprise reveal, guys! Kate says that they need Rousseau's help and tells her that she was a prisoner of the Others but she escaped with the help of a sixteen-year-old girl named Alex. Rousseau is shocked! Cue ominous music!

I'm hoping for more next week, which looks like a fairly action-packed episode. It's sad because I feel very conflicted about this week's installment. On the one hand, I did miss those character-driven moments of quietude from Season One, but after such a long hiatus and a drawn-out sequence involving Jack, Kate, and Sawyer's imprisonment and escape from the Others, I was hoping that things would finally get moving again at a brisk pace. Well, there's always next week, I suppose.

Next week on Lost ("Enter 77"): Locke, Sayid and Kate encounter Patchy McPatches from that surveillance camera in the Pearl (and who may just have a connection to Sayid's past); Locke still likes to push buttons; Sawyer tries to get his stolen possessions back by competing in a ping pong competition. As one does.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Fiji (CBS); My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); American Idol (FOX); Wicked Wicked Games (MyNet)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); Scrubs/30 Rock (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX); Watch Over Me (MyNet)

10 pm: Shark (CBS); The Black Donnellys (NBC); Men in Trees (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

On tonight's repeat episode ("Trust, Lust and Must"), watch as Daniel gets his heart broken all over again as Sofia Reyes (guest star Salma Hayek) joins the Meade Publication empire.

8 pm: My Name is Earl.

On tonight's repeat episode ("Sticks and Stones"), Earl decides to make amends for #91 on his list after seeing Catalina waxing the face of another motel maid.

8:30 pm: The Office.

Over on The Office ("Branch Closing"), it's a repeat of one of my favorite Office episodes this season as Michael tries to keep the employees of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton upbeat after he learns that their branch will be shutting down, leading everyone (especially Stanley) to imagine how their lives would be better if they DIDN'T work there anymore.

9 pm: Scrubs.

Finally! Scrubs is back on NBC's schedule, where it belongs. On tonight's episode ("My Night to Remember"), the staff all pitches in to help a patient regain his memory but they end up reminiscing about their own lives instead.

9:30 pm: 30 Rock.

I can't get this show off of my mind grapes. On tonight's episode ("The Source Awards"), Kenneth and Tracy attend the Source Awards together, while Jack attempts to get a hip hop producer (guest star LL Cool J) to endorse his family vineyard's line of wines. Yes, you read that correctly.


Anonymous said…
About last night's episode, I am in agreement with someone on KROQ this morning - it was a very entertaining episode, but it did absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, to move the mystery along.
Bill said…
I agree with ally, except that I don't see why that's a problem. As entertainment, it succeeded. Good episode.

My advice: never watch the promos. I even skipped that last paragraph where you mention what the promos show. Cause I figure I'm going to watch anyway, all the promos can do is overhype or give away plot elements.
I didn't find last night's episode to be entertaining at all. Actually, the last two eps have been pretty disappointing. Not sure what's going on exactly but

"...a bunch of non-speaking extras hugging Kate and Sawyer..."

pretty much sums it up. What happened to the "Lost" we knew and loved? Please come back!!!
Edward said…
I am getting sick and tired of ABC's promo department as well!

Stop trying to make us feel like we will be outcasts if we miss an episode, and get back to making a good program!
The CineManiac said…
Call me crazy, but I loved the episode. It made me laugh several times, and I thought the van ride was a much needed dose of fun into their lives.
Did it further any of the mystery? No, but why does every week have to further the mystery, why can't we just have a good character driven episode with no real clues every once in a while?
Anonymous said…
I liked that the show addressed one reoccurring fan complaint: No one seems to share any important information on the island. Finally, last night Hurley did. Unfortunately, it was to a dead woman. I thought the episode was as annoying as it was entertaining. Nice meteor crash. Nice Sawyerisms. Nice to hear Sayid get a line of dialog. Nice to see someone slap Charlie around. But everything took a back seat to Hurley's minibus story and that's a shame. Yes, it was nice to see a minibus puttering around the island, but with no road or reason, it got us nowhere.
Anonymous said…
The concensus at work is that this was the best episode of season 3.

Nice to spend some time with Hurley.

I don't watch the promos.

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