Before I get to this episode, let me just say that I love Hurley. He's such a fun character and he's always brought something of the fan's voice to the show. So I was very excited to see his flash-sideways episode, even if it may have derailed some of the momentum from the last couple of weeks. Fortunately, the episode was not only good on its own, but moved things forwards as well.
The episode opened in the LA-verse, with a voice-over from Dr. Chang (Miles's dad, and the host of many a Dharma training video), introducing a life retrospective of Hugo Reyes in the LA-verse. Apparently Hurley wasn't lying about being the luckiest man on the planet in this universe, where he owns Mr. Cluck's which has led him to all sorts of great things. The scene played out like the award scene from "Iron Man", expect Hugo was actually on hand to receive his "man of the year" award. At the end of the scene, Hurley and his mom are outside, and Mrs. Reyes is trying to set Hurley up on a date. Apparently for all his luck, Hurley hasn't been lucky in love.
SMASH CUT too... The Island, where Hurley is standing over Libby's grave. While this was nice, I feel like we could have made the connection of opposite Hurley fates on our own. Hurley was talking to Libby's grave, lamenting the fact that for all the dead people he's seen, Libby hasn't been one of them. Ilana comes over and tells Hurley that they're all going up to the Black Rock to get dynamite, and asks about the grave. Hurley fills her in on the sad story about their planned picnic and how she was murdered, and looks up and sees... her murderer! It's Michael, in this scene we all saw in the promos. "I'm here to stop you from getting everyone killed," Michael tells Hurley. Cue "LOST" title screen.
On the flip side of the break, Hurley's still in stunned silence. He doesn't trust Michael's ghost. Michael tells him "people are going to die and it's going to be your fault." Again, this harkens back to Hurley's past, with the collapsed dock and the people who died. Hurley blamed himself, so obviously when Michael says that, Hurley starts taking him seriously. Jack comes over and gets Hurley, and now we're back to the LA-verse.
A disinterested Hurley is snacking on bottomless chips at "Spanish Johnnys" (a Chili's-esque restaurant) when his blind date shows up. And it's Libby! It's fumbling awkward love at first sight. And she's not the blind date, she just spotted him at the restaurant. And not only that, but she believes she and Hurley are connected. She takes his hands and looks in his eyes.
You don't remember me, do you?Well now, that's a twist.
Actually, given what we saw last week with Desmond and Charlie, it's not so much a twist as it is further proof that the two universes are connected. After Hurley responds, "Should I?" Libby's doctor comes over and it turns out that Libby's a mental patient, just like she was -- and Hurley was -- in the pre-815 Island-verse. But at this point, I'm guessing Libby wasn't just having an episode. She gets loaded on a van back to Santa Rosa, and Hurley waves as she rides off.
Back on the island, Ilana and Richard are discussing the plan to blow up the plane. At this point, I want to jump in and mention how the back-and-forth scenes are actually kind of annoying. I know they've been a staple of "Lost" for five seasons, but the best episodes this season have been the ones like "Ab Aeterno" or "Happily Ever After", which haven't had the frequent jumping. I feel like with the two separate universes, the jumping is distracting.
OK, back to the recappage. Hurley tells Ilana and Richard that he doesn't think blowing up the plane is a good idea. Ilana's all about blowing up the plane, because Jacob said Richard would know what to do, and Richard said blow up the plane. So Ilana's going on and on, and she puts her bag down... and blows up. I... well... I did not see that coming. Back at Locke's camp, Locke is whittling a stick. Sawyer wants him to take action, but Locke says he's waiting. He needs Hurley, Sun and Jack to join them, just like how they were all together when they came back to the Island. At this point Sayid strolls back over and asks to speak to Locke in private. They head off into the jungle, where Sayid shows Desmond (tied up to a tree) to Locke.
Back in Camp Richard, Hurley seems a little bummed about Ilana's sudden death by kablooie. He goes digging around and finds a small bag, and suddenly he's all on board with Richard's plan. But he ends the scene with shifty eyes, so I'm pretty sure he's hiding something.
In the LA-verse, he goes into a Mr. Cluck's and drowns his sorrows in a bucket of fried chicken. As he's just about finished, Desmond comes over. Desmond recognizes him from 815, and sits down with Hurley. Hurley fills in Desmond on his encounter with Libby, and how Libby said she already knew Hurley. Of course, that's got Desmond all intrigued because of what he experience with Penny. So he asks Hurley if he believed Libby. And, of course, Hurley did. "Kind of," he adds. And Desmond tells Hurley to go for it, before his order -- Number 42 -- is up.
Desmond leaves Hurley in the LA-verse, but is still chillin' with Locke and Sayid on the Island. Locke cuts his ropes after Desmond says he has nowhere to run to. Locke wants to know what Widmore wanted with Desmond, but Desmond says he doesn't know. He gives a brief recap of last week's events. Locke asks Desmond, "do you know who I am," and Desmond responds, "you're John Locke." Locke -- again, remember, it's actually the smoke monster/man in black -- sends Sayid back to camp, and tells Desmond he has something to show him.
Ben, Jack and Sun are marching off into the jungle, and Ben's getting all metaphysical about Ilana's death and how the Island was "done" with her. The whole gang reaches the Black Rock, and Richard notices Hurley isn't there. As soon as he asks where Hurley is, Hurley emerges from the ship, yelling for everyone to run, and it explodes behind him with Michael Bay levels of awesomeness, throwing Hurley clear. When Hurley gets up, Richard asks why he blew up the ship (and all the dynamite) and Hurley responds, "I'm protecting you", which was Ilana's stock answer for everything. Nice job Hugo, throw that shit back in everyone's face! You all just got served, Hurley-style!
Richard's pretty pissed, ranting that they're all dead. Miles says to Hurley, "A warning would have been nice there Hugo." To which Hurley responds, "I did say 'run'." I've missed their little exchanges. Hurley fills in Miles on the whole Michael thing, and the dead people yelling at Hurley, and Miles -- somehow -- seems to not believe him. "You just listen to whatever they say," he asks. "Dead people are more reliable than alive people," Hurley answers, which leads perfectly into the LA-verse, where Hurley is at Santa Rosa, trying to see now-not-dead Libby.
The doctor is reluctant to let Hurley see Libby, but Hurley makes a large donation to Santa Rosa, buying his way into the rec room. Libby comes in and meets him, but Hurley still doesn't remember her. Libby tries her hardest to explain how she knows Hurley: she saw a commercial, and that triggered all these memories of "another life". It's the same story we've heard with Charlie and Desmond before, connecting a lot of what we've seen lately in the LA verse. Cynthia Watros did a great job with the scene, balancing Libby's obvious mental problems with the reality we've seen on "Lost" and she believed was true. Libby didn't just see Hurley as the love she never knew, but her salvation too. If he remembered her, then she wasn't crazy. The best part about the scene was even as Hurley didn't believe her, they connected. The scene ended with Hurley asking Libby out on a date and Libby, who was in Santa Rosa voluntarily, saying yes. (Aside: Libby's brief Santa Rosa appearance at the end of Hurley's flashback episode has never been fully explained, but with this episode, it's not a stretch to believe that in the Lost-verse timeline, she was also self-committed)
Locke and Desmond continued walking through the jungle, talking about the Island, and they came across a boy, just standing there. Desmond asked if Locke knew him, and Locke said, angrily, to ignore him. Back at fiery Black Rock, tensions are still running high. Richard demands to know what they're going to do now, and Hurley says they have to go see Locke. He then adds that that's what Jacob told him, and points to an empty spot in the forest where Jacob "is". Richard doesn't believe Hurley and asks Hurley to ask Jacob what the Island is. This leads to Hurley's most badass moment in six seasons of "Lost".
I don't have to prove anything to you Richard. You can either come with me, or keep trying to blow stuff up. Your call, dude.
Richard isn't swayed, and is still on a blow up the plane kick, so he asks who's with him. Ben and Miles go with Richard, while Jack, Sun and Lapidas follow Hurley. The whole scene felt very much like the end of Season 3/beginning of Season 4, with the Jack and Locke camps. However, even with the split, it's worth noting that all the people Locke needs (Hurley, Jack, Sun) are headed right to him.
In the next scene, Jack and Hurley are walking through the jungle, and Hurley's nervous about the meeting with Locke. He admits he didn't see Jacob, and Jack says he knew. Hurley's confused, but Jack explains why he went along with Hurley:
Ever since Juliet died, ever since I got her killed, all I've wanted was to fix it. But I can't. I can't ever fix it. You have no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do. But I think maybe that's the point. Maybe, maybe I'm supposed to let go.
I'm pretty sure that's the most likable Jack has ever been. He confides in Hurley that he trusts him. They start hearing whispers in the jungle, and Hurley goes off, convinced he knows what it is. Hurley sees Michael, who it turns out is trapped on the Island, "because of what [he] did." It turns out all the whispers we've heard for all these seasons are the people who "can't move on." Ya know, I kind of like that explanation.
Michael points Hurley in the direction of Locke, then Hurley asks if there's anything he can do to help Michael. Michael says "don't get yourself killed." He then adds, "if you do see Libby again, tell her I'm very sorry." "I'll be sure and do that, dude," Hurley says.
Cut back to the LA-verse, where Hurley and Libby are finally having their beach picnic. Libby has a feeling that something's "off". She says "it's like a date we never had." They then have a "why do you want to be with me" conversation that is eerily similar to the one they had at the end of Season 2's where Hurley questions why a pretty girl like Libby would like someone that looks like him. Hurley thinks Libby only likes him because she's delusional. To prove him wrong, she leans in and kisses him, and CUE FLASHES! "I think I'm remembering stuff," Hurley says, proving Libby's not crazy. And watching, from a nearby parking lot, it's Desmond! Have I mentioned how much I love this show lately? Sure, this isn't making a whole lot of sense, but it doesn't need too... that's how awesome all of this is. Everyone's connected! Magic visions of another universe! Hurley and Libby together again!
OK, enough joy. Back on the island, Locke and Desmond arrive at their destination. A well. It's very deep, and according to Locke, very old. "So old, in fact, that the people who dug this well, did it completely by hand." But, according to Locke, it's not a water well. It's an answer well. God, where has this magic answer well been for the last five seasons?! The well actually has something to do with the electromagnetism of the Island, and Locke tells Desmond that Widmore isn't looking for answers, he's looking for power. Locke then asks Desmond why he isn't afraid. To which Desmond responds, "what is the point of being afraid?" So, of course, Locke throws him into the very deep, very old well, and returns to his camp. Locke tells Sayid they don't have to worry about Desmond anymore, and just as Sawyer's about to chew out Locke for not being forthcoming with answers, Hurley shows up. Hurley says he doesn't want anyone to get hurt, and Locke promises that they won't, so Lapidas, Jack and Sun emerge from the jungle. It's a big happy reunion, until Locke says to Jack, "hello Jack", and Jack gets a very strange look on his face, mostly because this is the first time he's actually seen Flocke up close and personal.
Back in the LA-verse, Desmond's tracked down another 815er, paralyzed Locke (or Plocke, I guess). "Dr. Linus" knocks on Desmond's window and asks if he's waiting for someone in particular. Apparently Ben thinks Des is some kind of perv, but Desmond makes up a story about his "son", while keeping an eye on Plocke. Ben goes on his way, and Desmond peels off in his BMW, running over Plocke in the process. Well, I guess that's one way to "show him".
There are only four episodes left before the series finale, and there's obviously still a lot of explanation to happen, but things are definitely moving toward a conclusion in both universes, and both universes seem to be converging. The key players in this episode were Hurley, Locke and Desmond, and that was the case both on the Island and in the LA-verse. Obviously, that's to be expected with how the writers have constructed this show all along, but it wasn't just that the characters were connected. They were driving the plot forward in both universes.
Even without all the cool plot progression and WTF moments (seriously, did I mention that both Ilana and the Black Rock went kablooie in major ways), just seeing Hurley and Libby finally get their beach picnic was sweet. Hell, I kinda wish that's how the series ended, just because I think Hurley's been cosmically screwed in the Island-verse, and it's nice to see him finally win. But I'm pretty sure the ending they have cooked up for us is way better than that.