Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thoughts on Everybody Loves Hugo...

BIGMOUTH: Unfortunately, my recaps will be abbreviated for the next few weeks due to work obligations.  Thanks to you all everybody for your understanding!

"Everybody Loves Hugo" gets an 8 on the Sickness Scale (4 for character, 4 for mythology).  While I dislike the general direction of the show -- i.e., happy endings in the Mirror universe -- it was hard to hate Hurley and Libby finally getting their first date.  The Mirror reality is really a reset for the writers, too, allowing them to remedy past mistakes, like the way they killed off Libby so unceremoniously in Season 3.  I also buy her as Hurley's catalyst for consciousness transfer -- and vice versa.  Love and death are two forces that have been proven to transcend spacetime on LOST.  Still... no happy endings!  Okay, maybe for Hurley and Libby, and Penny and Desmond, but nobody else, please.

The Whispers are ghosts.
  Here, I have to toot my own horn just a bit because I called this at the start of Season 2 in my post Chorus of the Dead.  The inspiration was Dr. Manhattan's transformation in Watchmen.  But I've always maintained that LOST is the ghost story like Turn of the Screw, the book that hid the Swan orientation film.  Some have expressed disappointment at this revelation.  And I'd be lying if I denied that my own speculations had grown since then to include more exotic possibilities like inter-dimensional bleed-through.  Still, if I was able to peg the Whispers' significance way back when, it's a sign the writers weren't simply making these elements up as they went along.

Kablammo!  There were two explosions of note, one that surprised me and another that didn't.  Hurley's dynamiting of the Black Rock was a thrilling shock and fitting end to the Black Rock's tale.  Unfortunately, I saw Ilana's explosive demise coming a mile away.  It was just too reminiscent of Arzt.  Like SKID among others, my question was why immortal Richard didn't carry the dynamite.  More generally, it was another clumsy exit for an intriguing character we hardly knew.  Ilana and Dogen were the poster children for this problem in Season 6, but there have been many others, including Libby, as I mentioned above.  It's a shame the writers finally did right by Libby just to make the very same mistake with Ilana.

Shade tippin'.  In the spirit of SKID's necktie watch, I've begun tracking Desmond's shade tippin'.  For those unfamiliar, shade tippin' is a film and television phenomenon where characters peer coolly over their sunglasses.  David Caruso of CSI: Miami is the paradigmatic shade tipper, but Henry Ian Cusick certainly distinguished himself this episode with ubiquitous shade tipping of his own.  A good example was when he gazed approvingly from afar at Hurley and Libby during their date on the beach.  Des reminded me of Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island, reuniting two star-crossed lovers across space and time.  All that was missing was the late great Herve Villechaize in white suit yelling "da plane, da plane!"

Hit and run.  Another instance of shade tippin' occurred just before Desmond ran over poor Locke in the Mirror reality.  I can see at least two potential reasons why Des did so, neither of which is mutually exclusive.  The most obvious motive was to give Locke a near-death experience to show him the Crash reality, thereby jogging his memory thereof.  It's also possible Des somehow sensed that Locke will end up at Saint Sebastian's Hospital, where Jack will operate upon him and restore his ability to walk.  Indeed, I wouldn't surprised if Sun gets rushed to St. Sebastian's for her gunshot wound.  Perhaps Charlie and Claire will go there, too, for follow up treatment, and they will all recognize each other...

Throw the Des down the well
.  I think the Man in Black threw Desmond down the well because the former recognized the latter as a threat.  As I suggested last week, Desmond's mission is to show our Losties that they can live on in the Mirror reality if they sacrifice themselves for Jacob's plan in the Crash reality.  The Man in Black isolated Des to prevent such epiphanies.  But why not just kill him?  The appearance of Taller Ghost Jacob suggests it may be against the rules.  But if you really want to follow me down the whackadoo well consider the possibility that the Man in Black wants Des to take his place, like Kelvin did.  Who better to become the new Smoke monster than someone immune to the Island's exotic energy?
* * *

WAYNE: I'll admit I was more than a bit surprised that my esteemed compatriot Bigmouth (with his "Count to Five" St. Sebastian surgical precision to my "Connect Four" Santa Rosa ramblings) suggested an outcome that the Mirror reality will be a place for consciousness cross-over, where Crash-reality Sawyer can simply slip into the mind of Mirror reality's Detective Ford. I've talked with friends who think that the Mirror reality allows forthe important characters to live on through the looking glass. I have two words for that. To quote Col. Potter on M*A*S*H: "horse hockey." After last season's finale, I think we should all be ready for Lost's Long Con to run even longer.

Do the hustle. Before I talk about the Mirror reality, I do want to say that I am greatly enjoying the scenes on the main Island. We know who is in on the con at the Man in Black's camp, but now we see Hurley trying to hustle the group that had been Team Ilana, and then have Richard call his bluff by trying to hornswaggle the new team leader. Ghost Michael told Hurley it was a bad idea to blow up the Ajira plane, and after making his move and blowing the Black Rock to bits, Hurley throws down on Richard, pretending he is talking to Jacob. Richard tosses back, saying that if Jacob is there, then Hurley should ask him what the Island really is. Hurley has to admit that he is not really talking to Jacob. 

Richard himself is not completely honest in this scene, as Jacob did gave him lists to pass along to Ben and ordered the construction of the Hydra runway. Moreover, when Widmore chastised Richard for taking Little Ben to the Temple, Richard replied that "Jacob wanted it done." Right now, Richard doesn't have a clue, even though Ilana had mentioned several times that Jacob told her that the man who doesn't age would know what to do regarding the candidates.

Speaking of Island sacrifices. Ilana went and got herself blowed up in this episode, and just after she changed her clothes for the first time since the Ajira crash. Long, long ago, I suggested that all of the crash survivors were, in effect, chess pieces. Boone served his purpose and died when the Beechcraft plane fell to the ground. His radio call to Bernard served to make Ana-Lucia all the more suspicious of the Others who had been abducting the tail section survivors. Ana then shot Shannon, mistaking her for an Other, but not before Sayid, Shannon's, uh... companion, could see Dripping Wet Walt. Cause and effect. We saw this culminate on the Kahana, when ghost Christian allowed "Michael Dawson" to die as the ship exploded, causing Ghost Michael to be trapped on the Island.

It seemed almost comical, thinking back on how carefully Arzt placed his wet cloths over the dynamite, while Ilana bounced around with her four sticks of dynamite, tossing water bottles on top of them with no consequence, only to drop the bag with disastrous results. Ben, ever the life of the party, later pointedly states that Ilana died because the Island was done with her. I have a different take on that. Ilana, arguing with Hurley, was in the middle of revealing something when she dropped the bag. "And God help us all if it ever leaves the island! Because if it--"  I'm curious as to whether the Island made Ilana drop her bag to shut her up because Hurley and Co. weren't quite ready to hear the truth.

Does the Mirror reality matter at all? As I mentioned, I do believe we have another con coming up, even though I don't have anything concrete to back up my theory. As a writer, I'm trapped not being able to truly enjoy anything worth watching or reading, because I'm thinking ahead to the possible endings. I knew Bruce Willis's character was dead in M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, and that Sam Jackson was the baddest bad guy of all in Shyamalan's follow-up film, Unbreakable. Then I found myself not having a clue in each of his following films, because -- and I know I'm not alone in my belief -- the films were just not that good.

My brain is still bouncing around my skull, so I know that LOST is not going to end in any lame way. The easiest thing that comes to mind is that the Mirror reality is Hell, and the con is to show the Man in Black's recruits a nice circle of Heaven. I said a few weeks back that when Miles listened in on Juliet's words from beyond the grave, he might actually have heard the Man in Black saying that "it worked," meaning that a new loophole opened up. Snow globes are filled with water, and I can easily see the Man in Black's finger poking through the sky of the Mirror reality, creating ripples, causing collisions, as with Ford and Kate.

If it says Libby, Libby, Libby on the label, label, label. All this talk about soul mates is what annoys me most about the Mirror reality, and it's also one of the reasons I'm still trying to think out a possible ending. As the Man in Black tells Sawyer at his camp, when Sawyer mentions that they are just twiddling their thumbs, fake Locke replies: "There's a difference between doing nothing and waiting." I'm waiting, because the Mirror reality is finally not "doing nothing."

Case in point: Libby. I think it's pretty wild that she knew Hurley from his Santa Rosa days in the Crash reality. On the one hand, Hurley certainly wouldn't remember this if he had the means to, as we, the audience, were the only ones aware of her presence at the mental institution. It was also one of the more concrete associations, more than just seeing a chocolate-chomping redhead. Most of all, it was a woman making the connection, which automatically makes me think of Connect Four. I really hate my brain. In the Crash reality, Libby's soul, her whispers, left the Island because she had shown true love to Hurley, and perhaps would have been his soul mate if Michael hadn't killed her.

Other examples of tainted love: Nikki using the razzle dazzle on Paolo, so she can find the bag of diamonds hidden where he parked his bike; Ana-Lucia going all tribal on Sawyer so she could snag his gun, the one Michael ended up using to kill her and Libby; and Kate...well, where to begin? Going back to the Whispers being souls, does this mean that the Island feeds on corrupted souls? Why did Ben warn Rousseau after he took Alex that if she ever heard whispers that she should run the other way? 

Jacob hates technology. I'm not certain, but my brain is nudging towards Mirror-reality Desmond pulling a whatever happened, happened deal at the end of the episode. I just kept thinking of the Incident, and the whole causality thing. I'm curious as to exactly what moment in the Crash reality made Mirror Desmond decide to ram into Locke with his car?  Was it when the Man in Black threw him into the well, or was it when the Man in Black asked Desmond if he knew who he was? To me, that slight hesitation before Desmond mentioned John Locke's name was reflected in the Mirror reality. I can actually see Des hesitating as his gaze went over Locke's name on the Oceanic manifest.

Man, I winced at the impact. Same thing happened to me in 1989, minus being in a wheelchair. 291 days in various casts, part of my right hip now embedded in my left arm, the rest of the forearm hollow. Typing with one finger, hence the time it takes to write the recap. Just making idle conversation here, but if you want to see photos, just write to me c/o General Delivery, The Twilight Zone.

Mirror Locke is still alive, perhaps lucid. Did he get a flashes before your eyes moment? Again, I can't make the logical leap from point A to point B, but I think we are going to see a reversal on Jacob's Luddite beliefs. Instead of a wooden chair and a painting of a dog, the Man in Black might find himself imprisoned in a wheelchair, with Mirror reality suddenly able to walk around. Will Desmond's touch do the trick? You got me. At least my brain is still working, so I haven't given up on the "Let's go dutch" and "by the way the Visitors are really lizards" aspect of the show. And I am truly digging the on-Island interactions. The dread is palpable.

Jack, meet Locke. That's all I have to say there. We all know that Ben and Oxycontin Jack were the only ones to see Locke in the casket. Dead is dead. I keep wondering when we will see Jill the butcher again.
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