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More Whispers in the Darkness: Lost Questions, More on "Everybody Loves Hugo"

Welcome to what's proving to be a twice-weekly feature now that Lost only has a handful of episodes remaining before it sets sail for the island in the sky.

I'll be taking a second look at this week's episode of Lost ("Everybody Loves Hugo"), which brought up so many reader questions and seemed to offer some tantalizing answers to the season's overarching mythology, I felt like it more than merited another post.

While I discussed "Everybody Loves Hugo" in full over here (along with theories about the totality of consciousness, Locke, the Boy in the Jungle, and more), I thought I'd answer some reader questions from the episode that arrived via comments, Twitter, or email.

So without further ado, let's tilt our heads and listen to those whispers once more.

Whispers. This week's episode finally revealed just what the whispers were, though recent seasons haven't utilized the whispers as much as the early seasons. On that note, rockauteur asked, "Didn't the whispers get Shannon killed? What were they warning of exactly in that situation?"

Good point. In this week's episode, Michael explained to Hurley just what the whispers were, saying that they were those who couldn't escape the island and had to remain there and that he was trapped there because of what he had done. The whisperers then are people who once were on the island and committed actions that chained their souls to the island. But while it seems here like the whisperers want to help Hurley, maybe that's not their main agenda. At least, not typically.

Shannon was killed by Ana-Lucia after Walt appeared to her (whether or not that was actually Walt is still under debate, several seasons later) and the whispers surrounded her. But who is to say what the whispers were urging her to do? Walt, in particular, seemed to tell her to be quiet, placing his finger on his lips in a strict "shhh!" fashion. Had Shannon not run into the jungle and remained silent, Ana-Lucia wouldn't have had reason to shoot. Could it be that the whispers were actually warning Shannon of her impending death?

When We (First) Meet Again. rockauteur asked, "Pierre - wouldn't he remember Hurley from 1977 Dharma?"

Short answer: nope.

Long answer: still nope, but I'll tell you why. Hurley met Pierre Chang in 1977 as part of the Dharma Initiative but the reason he did so was the last link in a long chain of causality. Let's look at that backwards: he was in 1977 because he traveled back in time after returning to the island on Ajira Flight 316. He was on that flight because he wanted to return to the island. He wanted to return to the island because he escaped as a result of the island moving while he was aboard the helicopter with the other members of the Oceanic Six. He was looking to get off the island after being there for more than 100 days. He arrived on the island because Oceanic Flight 185 crashed.

It's that last point that's the most important. The only reason Hurley met Pierre Chang in 1977 stems from the fact that the plane crashed in 2004. Had the plane not crashed, Hurley would not have met Pierre Chang. Therefore, in the Lost-X continuity, because Oceanic Flight 185 doesn't crash, it never lands on the island (it's undersea, remember), so Hurley never travels back in time to meet Pierre in 1977.

Confused? Let me break it down further. Because time travel has played a role in several formative events for the series, those events have all been negated because the plane never crashed on the island in the first place. Even though Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb in 1977, the Lost-X 1977 was a different place because the castaways weren't there. That explains why certain things haven't lined up: why Ben and his dad are on good terms and live together in LA, why Pierre works in a museum, why Daniel became a concert pianist.

Of course, the plane also didn't crash because there was no island for it to crash on. And because there was no island, there was no need for Desmond to be pressing a button every 108 minutes. Or not pressing it once. Given that Desmond's failure to do so is what brought down the plane, everything once again spirals back to Desmond. Without him, none of this plays out as it "should."

The Bag. There has been some confusion about the bag that Hurley swiped from Ilana's stuff after she, well, exploded. To me, there was never any thought that it was anything other than Jacob's ashy remains. Which is what Hurley was looking for in the first place, given that he knew of its existence from when Miles "read" the ashes in order to see what Jacob's last thought was. [CORRECTION: Hurley wasn't with the group at that point, so he didn't know of the ashes ahead of time, but the rest holds true here.] Some have incorrectly believed that they were Nikki and Paulo's diamonds but this makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Why would Ilana have had the diamonds? Why would she have taken them from Miles, who did have them?

She wouldn't have. The bag is what's left from Jacob's corporeal form and it's necessary that Hurley keep these with them as they make their next move. Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one...

Walkabout. Wes asked, "So you really think that Locke will walk again in the X timeline?" It's a theory at least, yes. I think that we're seeing more examples of course correction at work here. The fact that Locke was so against taking Jack up on his offer and even went so far as to tear up his card doesn't matter: they have always been destined to come together. While Locke's paralysis won't be cured by the island, something else will have to give him the ability to walk again.

And now that he's been struck down by Desmond's car, Locke is going to end up right in Jack's OR... and Jack will have to make the decision to perform spinal surgery. Just what Locke's reaction will be remains to be seen, if that does play out how I envision. He'll either be furious... or will once again regain the ability to believe in miracles, especially after he experiences the emergence of his own island memories.

It makes me wonder just how much fate versus free will is at work within the Lost-X timeline. Locke chose not to undergo a surgical consult to see if Jack could repair his spine but, regardless of that decision, he's still likely to end up right under Jack's knife. The web of destiny that has bound together all of these individuals looks to become tighter and tighter as we ramp up to the finale and as Desmond's plan to reawaken the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 continues apace.

On a similar topic, KriZia wrote, "Does that mean he's going to recall dying off the island and experience a zombie-like reawakening on the island? Or will he affect FLocke simply because MiB is imitating his appearance?"

I don't think that Locke will wake up on the island. His body is dead--and likely rotting--and the Man in Black assumed his form, so I don't think we'll see Zombie Locke climb up out of the grave and start taking bites out of oranges any time soon. Like Charlie and Libby (not to mention Boone, Shannon, and Ana-Lucia), Locke is dead in the mainstream reality so his consciousness has nowhere to go and can only remain within the Lost-X timeline. For him, it's a one-way street: he will be able to access memories from the other world but not transmit anything back.

As for why Desmond sought to run Locke over, Harleypeyton asked, "Why would Locke require this kind of violence in order to get him in touch with whatever?" My answer would be that (A) Locke didn't have a love on the island, and (B) it worked when Charlie unlocked Desmond by placing him in jeopardy. Of course, in the mainstream reality, Desmond had just been chucked down a well by someone who looked like John Locke, so there's always the possibility that he's just really, really angry. (Though I don't think it's a revenge fantasy but Desmond looking to activate him as quickly as possible.)

The Boy in the Jungle. In a comment on the main thread, reader Caitlin wondered about the mysterious boy in the jungle and said that she believed that there were in fact two boys lurking about: one with light hair and the other dark.

Any truth to that? While his appearance in this week's episode was marked by a somewhat darker tint to his hair, there's only one boy running about in the jungle. The boy seen in the jungle in "Everybody Loves Hugo" is the same boy who appeared in "The Substitute" and was seen by the Man in Black and Sawyer. In both cases, he's played by Kenton Duty. So, while his hair might appear darker this time, it's the same mysterious kid...

On that note, Caitlin also asked, "Could Jacob and Nemesis at one time have been the same person? (Which might explain the emphasis on both good and evil being present in the characters, and it not always being clear which will win out.) Thoughts?"

It's an interesting theory and one that I pondered briefly. If Jacob and his Nemesis are the same person, it raises some intriguing possibilities. For one, it would explain why we haven't yet learned the Nemesis' name, the answer being that he doesn't necessarily have one if he's an incarnation of Jacob himself. Was he always comprised of various incarnations--Jacob, Nemesis, Smokey? Is he a trinity?

Additionally, such a reveal would also mean that Jacob is both jailer and prisoner, a trippy scenario that would, however, make a lot of sense within the emotional context of the series: is it possible that we create our own prisons and have within ourselves the ability to unlock our cages? Do we choose to punish ourselves, to ask for forgiveness, or do we try to break free?

That said, I don't know if Team Darlton would go that route. It's a little too metaphysical, even for this series. While the struggle between light and dark, good and evil, has been part of the series since the beginning, I don't know that I want that duality to be quite so blatant as to have an entity split himself into two warring factions. We all have those battles raging within us on a daily basis but I don't know that I want to see them go that route in such a fashion.

Good Versus Evil. Frank1569 wrote, "Jacob is the bad guy. More proof - he let Ilana die. Who did Smokey kill this week? Nobody."

True, Smokey didn't kill anyone this week... but he did toss Desmond down a well, so I wouldn't consider that the actions of someone "good." As for Jacob killing Ilana, he may have "let" her die but he didn't kill her. Ilana chose to get the dynamite and failed to listen to Hurley's warnings about the explosives being highly unstable. Plus, Ilana isn't a candidate and wasn't touched by Jacob (remember, he wore thick black gloves when he went to see her in the hospital). Ilana's main purpose in life is to protect the candidates: to fight for them and, if need be, to die for them.

Besides, by your argument, any deity that lets anyone die for any reason would be evil. And if the Devil himself were to play nice for a bit, he'd be good. Smokey has murdered countless victims directly, by his own hands. While Jacob's name has been invoked in the murder or torture of others, there's been no sign that he was either aware of this or condoned it. After all, religion has been used as a motivation for all sorts of violence for thousands of years. Doesn't mean that it's just or right but that the message is often corrupted or abused by its followers...

Lost-X Locke. Seat42F wrote, "I thought Locke being run over by Desmond was proof that the Man In Black got off the island and Desmond was doing something about that. The idea of going from one prison (the island) to another (the wheelchair) seems perfect."

There is a nice symmetry there but I don't think we've seen any evidence that supports that Lost-X John Locke is anything other than John Locke. Certainly not that he's the Man in Black somehow. I think Desmond is trying to awaken those dormant memories in Locke's subconscious rather than attempt to run down a pan-dimensional entity that can turn into ethereal black smoke and scan your memories and kill you with a thought. Just my feeling though...

Willy Wonka. Yes, Roald Dahl's eccentric chocolatier would seem to play at least a thematic role in the goings-on within Lost, as evidenced by the use of Gene Wilder's "The Wondrous Boat Ride"/"The Rowing Song" from the 1971 feature film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on Dahl's 1964 novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Echoing my own thoughts on the subject, reader Caitlin drew a parallel between Dahl's story and Lost, "a story which relies on candidates to take over an operation, and in doing so, tricking them to test their loyalty and true character." Like Lost, Dahl's novel and the subsequent feature films had a quixotic individual bringing some candidates to a magical place after being selected as possible replacements to his duty: the care and oversight of this place. While the island isn't a chocolate factory, it is a magical place and, like Wonka, Jacob is looking for a replacement... and the competition gets whittled down as the story goes on. So which character will be our Charlie Bucket? We'll have to wait to find out...

And with that, I'll leave you will the full lyrics for "The Wondrous Boat Ride/The Rowing Song" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (itself adapted from Dahl's poem "The Rowers").

"There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!!!"

Come back Wednesday to discuss next week's episode and head to the comments section here to discuss any of the above thoughts, theories, or additional questions...

Next week on Lost ("The Last Recruit"), alliances are forged and broken when Locke and Jack's camps merge.

Comments

Barbara said…
Why do you think Jacob was looking for his replacement, anyway? It seems as if his job--protecting the island/protecting the larger world from Evil escaping---could theoretically be eternal. Did he know that one day the MIB would secure a loophole and he would be ash?
And thinking back through the episode (as your reviews always make me do!)you didn't mention what seems to be a key point in Jack's evolution:that is, he has finally realized that he can't fix everything, as he tells Hurley. Would you say that that was the vital piece of self-awareness that Jacob hinted at Jack needing to come to grips with?
Dave Smith said…
Re: the bag

Hurley didn't know about the ashes from Miles reading them. He wasn't with Ilana's gang yet. That happened when Jack & Hurley were on their Lighthouse excursion.
Hadley said…
"I don't think we'll see Zombie Locke climb up out of the grave and start taking bites out of oranges any time soon." This made me laugh out loud! I can see the Lost spinoff now with all of the characters coming back from the dead...

Lost 2, Zombie Island!
Unknown said…
Rockauteur's question still not resolved

While I agree with most of your statements about how events in the Lost timeline did not occur in the Lost-X timeline, however the events leading up to bomb exploding DID occur in the lost-x timeline. Your rational is that the "Survivors" were never there which raises the question of who exploded the bomb.

I think it is more likely that he does not associate the billionaire philanthropist with they guy he briefly met 30 years ago on a hectic day, but however similar looking could not be the same person.
Charlotte K said…
Wasn't Hurley still at the temple when the ash was spread around? Is that how he knows the ash will be useful? (or...maybe Jacob told him)

I was re-watching "Walkabout" last night, where they have the memorial service for the people who died in the crash and Claire reads out info she has found, and they mention Willie Wonka as a movie someone had rented. So he's been around since the beginning....
Caitlin said…
Jace, thanks for the follow-up!

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