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Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #6

This week on a new episode of Lost, the writers keep the momentum building from last week in an episode that focuses on the nature of reality, seen through the eyes of the island's big kahuna, Hurley. I must say that the past few episodes have been superb and have been tracking as strong as the show's first season. In last night's episode ("Dave"), Hurley makes an unnecessary sacrifice but finds an old friend, Locke takes a step backwards, Sayid nearly goes off the deep end, and Libby might not be all she's claimed to be.

Hurley and Libby get closer while exercising together, leading Hurley to share with Libby his secret: that he's been hoarding food from the hatch in the jungle. It's a sickness but Hurley wants to change and the two end up destroying his entire stash in an act of catharsis. Just as Libby is going to kiss Hurley, Jin and Sun burst through the trees saying that they've found something. That something turns out to be the supply drop from last week... containing more food than anyone knows what to do with. The castaways are squabbling and arguing over the food and Sawyer tries to take control of the situation, leading Libby to suggest that everyone just take what they need. But they're not having that; instead, they want to put Hurley in charge of the food again, which freaks Hurley out to no end. So much so in fact that he sees a familiar man standing apart from the crowd. A bald man in a bathrobe. He chases after him, discovering in the jungle a single slipper left behind. Curious... (Loved that Charlie hypothesized that the blast doors came down during the drop-off to conceal the airplane.)

This week's flashback belongs to Hurley as we learn what put him in the Santa Rosa Mental Institute (home to several others including Leonard--he of the numbers--and Emily Annabeth Locke, a.k.a. Locke's crazy Mama). Apparently, Locke was involved in an accident that killed several people and his psychiatrist Dr. Brooks (X-Men's Bruce Davison) is trying to get to the bottom of Hurley's eating disorder. Brooks believes that Hurley eats in order to punish himself for the guilt he feels about the accident. An accident which resulted in the death of two people when Hurley stepped out onto a deck that collapsed under too much weight... there were 23 people out there on a deck built for 8 (there's those pesky numbers again). Hurley believes that had he not been so fat, those people would be alive today. But right now there's a bigger problem: Dave (Sex and the City's Evan Handler), Hurley's friend, who doesn't want Hurley to lose weight or get better. He thinks Brooks is a quack but Brooks has a problem with that suggestion...

Meanwhile, in the hatch, the castaways' interrogation of their prisoner (formerly known as Henry Gale) continues apace, but they can't get much out of him, despite his being trussed up like a Sunday roast. Locke's leg has a hairline fracture and he'll have to stay off of it for several weeks, which infuriates Locke. Jack remembers that they have a wheelchair back at the fuselage but Locke freaks out. (Come on already, Locke, tell them that you were a paraplegic already!) But Kate remembers that she had seen a pair of crutches that might work as well.

Sayid and Ana-Lucia interrogate the prisoner but he won't give up any information. He claims that he discovered Henry Gale strung up in his own balloon, his neck broken, and then buried him and marked the grave. But Sayid had searched the real Henry Gale's wallet and found a dollar bill that Henry had inscribed a message to his wife Jennifer on, in which he talks about walking to the beach to start a signal fire. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that Henry Gale wasn't dead when our Other found him. The Other still claims that he didn't kill Henry, that it wasn't him. Sayid demands to know the whereabouts of his people, how many of them there are. But the Other says he can't tell, that "He" would kill him if he talked. But Sayid will kill him if he doesn't and draws his gun, asking if "He" is the man with the beard (a.k.a. Sea Captain, Zeke, Mr. Friendly, etc.) but the Other only laughs, saying that that guy is a "nobody." Sayid nearly shoots the Other, but Ana-Lucia knocks the gun off-target when Sayid fires.

Hurley's hallucinations grow worse and more vivid as he begins seeing Dave everywhere on the island, leading Hurley to ask Sawyer for medication (the same medication he was on at Santa Rosa). When Sawyer pokes fun at Hurley, Hurley lashes out at him, attacking him brutally. Jin has to pull Hurley off and restrain him. Afterwards, Libby tries to talk to Hurley and find out what is going on (she is a clinical psychologist, remember) but Hurley refuses to talk about it with her and packs a bag--including a huge jar of Dharma brand peanut butter--and sets out for the caves, where he will live as a hermit.

In Hurley's flashback, we see the negative influence his friend Dave has on him: having him steal graham crackers from the numbers-fixated Leonard (yes, those numbers) instead of eating the celery sticks he is supposed to snack on; telling him not to take his medication which the doctors are wrongly forcing on him; and pushing him to escape with him from the facility. Dave is sarcastic, caustic even, and aggressively self-confident--everything that Hurley is not. Oh and here's another clue: like Hurley, Dave even uses the word "dude" to excess. Dr. Brooks comes by to take Hurley and Dave's picture for the bulletin board and Hurley puts his arm around Dave as they pose for the camera. Brooks wants to make certain that Hurley takes his meds so Hurley downs the two pills, but as soon as Brooks walks away, sticks out his tongue to show Dave that he hasn't swallowed the pills.

Meanwhile, Hurley hikes deeper into the jungle when his backpack breaks, spilling its contents onto the ground. The jar of peanut butter has broken and Hurley uses a leaf to mop up some of the peanut butter before beginning to feverishly eat it. And then a shadow falls over him: it's Dave.

Flashback time again: Hurley has another session with Dr. Brooks, who wants Hurley to move past the accident and his guilt. He wants Hurley to get better but Hurley keeps saying that Dave told him about Brooks and his nonsense. Frustrated, Brooks says that Dave is not his friend and that he has something to show Hurley: the photograph from earlier. And Hurley sees that he's the only one in the picture: there's no Dave and his arm is around thin air. Dave is a figment of Hurley's tortured imagination. That night, Dave wakes Hurley up and tells him it's time to escape the institution. Hurley argues with him, saying he's just a hallucination--Hurley saw the picture, but Dave says that Brooks faked it with Photoshop. Dave leads him downstairs to the cafeteria--snagging a cold, half-eaten piece of lasagna along the way--and using the keys Hurley swiped from Brooks' desk earlier, unlocks the window. Dave jumps out to the street below and tells Hurley that it's his turn now. But Hurley hesitates. Dave isn't real. Is he? With Dave trying to convince him to jump, Hurley closes the window and locks it up. He's not leaving.

Back in the present, Hurley wants to know what Dave is doing on the island, saying that he can't be there as he's back at the hospital. But that's just it: Dave says that Hurley never left the hospital. All of it--Hurley's release from the hospital, the job at Mr. Cluck's, the island--isn't real. Especially Libby; why would a girl like that like him? Hurley needs to wake up and come out of his catatonia. The only way to do that is to jump off one of the island's cliffs and he'll come back to reality. Hurley doesn't know what to believe and makes his way to the very edge of the cliff. Dave jumps off into the water below and just as Hurley is about to jump, Libby appears and tries to talk him down off the figurative ledge. Hurley says that the island isn't real, that she's not real. Libby says that that's insulting. He doesn't know everything about her--not the name of the man whose broken leg she fixed after the plane crash or the fact that she buried him and a lot of other people. It was real because it happened to her. And then she kisses Hurley... twice in fact. And then together, healed, they walk away from the cliff's edge.

Back at the hatch, Locke--now on crutches--demands to see the prisoner, which Ana-Lucia is having none of. But Locke says that he's earned the right to talk to this man. Inside the cell, the Other tells Locke that his precious hatch is a joke, that when the timer went off, its numbers flipped around and turned into some colored hieroglyphics and then... nothing happened. Nothing at all. The sound of something big--like a big magnet (hmmm, interesting)--filled the room and then nothing else. The lights came back on, the blast doors went up, and that was it. It's a joke. Locke's beliefs are shaken, but can he be sure this man telling the truth? And what about the matter of the Map?

The Lost Coincidence of the Week comes at the end of the episode with a real shocker of an ending. At the hospital, we now see Hurley put his arm around thin air as the doctor takes the picture... but then the camera pans over to a familiar face at a nearby table: a catatonic brown-haired Libby!?! (Well, at least it will put a stop to people claiming that she's an Other.) Is she aware of Hurley? Does she remember him? Is she stalking him? Was it a coincidence they were both on the flight from Sydney? (Um, doubtful.) And why does Libby seem so normal now?

Next week ("S.O.S."): Bernard plans to create an S.O.S. signal, an idea which his wife Rose is against, and Jack and Kate rekindle their flirtation. Meanwhile, Jack attempts to trade the Prisoner Formerly Known as Henry Gale for the missing Walt, but possibly walks into a trap instead.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Panama--Exile Island (CBS); Will & Grace/My Name is Earl (NBC); Smallville (WB); Extreme Makeover: Home Editon (ABC); That '70s Show/The Loop (FOX); Everybody Hates Chris/Love, Inc. (UPN)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); My Name is Earl/Teachers (NBC); Supernatural (WB); American Inventor (ABC); The OC (FOX); Eve/Cuts (UPN)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Primetime (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

I won't really be watching anything tonight as I'll be out. Which is fine as there's not all that much on tonight.

9 pm: My Name is Earl.

Sadly, no Office tonight. Instead, NBC is shoving into its timeslot an episode of Teachers (blech). However, we do get a new episode of My Name is Earl. Tonight's episode ("The Bounty Hunter") features Earl's ex-girlfriend (guest star Juliette Lewis), a bounty hunter who returns to Camden County, out for revenge against Joy for stealing Earl.

9 pm: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

If you didn't catch this special episode of No Reservations the other night, here's another chance to see a clip show ("Leftovers") of the "funny, embarrassing, and painful moments" that didn't make in on the air. Let's hope there are a bunch of Rachael Ray put-downs in there...

Comments

Anonymous said…
Love the blog, but I don't get the recaps...who are they for? I can't see people eschewing the shows and instead just reading recaps; there's not a big market for the Cliff's Notes for television. Analysis is much more entertaining.

Sorry for this post, I'm cranky today.
Anonymous said…
Wow - anonymous IS cranky! Actually, there is a huge market for cliff's notes for tv. Why do you think tv without pity is so popular! Why are there episode guides everywhere you turn? ok, maybe I'm cranky. :)

OK, Jace. I may have actually noticed something you didn't! My complete and total pop culture geekiness (you know, where science should be in my brain) has come to the forefront.

During one of the institution scenes, Leonard and Hurley are playing connect 4, and Leonard wins. Dave says, "Pretty sneaky, Leonard."

This is a play on one of the best cheesy 80's commercials of all time. An ad for Connect 4 that ran repeatedly, and actually made me want to get Connect 4 (advertising dollars actually working!) had a kid losing to his sister and ending with the immortal line, "Pretty sneaky, sis."
Jace Lacob said…
Thanks, Ally. I completely agree with your take on the recap issue. The Lost recaps have been especially popular, as there are usually a number of clues that could be missed by the casual viewer.

I did not notice the Connect 4/"pretty sneaky" allusion and therefore bow before your superior pop culture knowledge. That's classic. Kitsis and Horowitz are obviously total pop culture geeks like us. ;)

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