The whole "is Lost real or just the figment of someone’s imagination" question gets answered definitely in this episode. I personally never held that theory, thinking at the time everything hinged on a frozen elk wheel. (So damn close!) Hurley goes insane in the membrane, Sayid goes gun crazy, and Eko proves that he’d be a horrible designer on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Action-packed ep, y’all.
4) In Short
"It’s peanut butter Hurley time! Peanut butter Hurley time!"
8) On the Island
Hurley is trying to keep up with Libby, as the two exercise on the beach. He’s clearly embarrassed by his weight, claiming that he’s "sick." Libby says he can trust her. He then shows her his secret stash in the jungle. Instead of sharing all the food at the blowout during "Everybody Hates Hugo," he kept a lot for himself. The two then have a "throw food away merrily" montage, after which Hurley feels free.
Unfortunately, at this moment is when the majority of the Lostaways rush past. They’ve heard about the pallet drop, and are ravaging it for themselves. Charlie hypothesizes to Libby that it might be connected to the lockdown in the hatch. Amidst the chaos, Charlie suggests that Hurley once again get put in charge of the food distribution.
Hurley freaks out about this prospect, and then sees something strange: a bald man in a robe. He follows this figure out in the jungle. He eventually trips, and comes across a single slipper. "Uh oh," he says.
Later, on the beach, he is still looking at the slipper. Libby wants to know who Hurley was chasing after in the jungle. Hurley doesn’t want to talk about it. She notes the irony in a food drop occurring immediately after Hurley finally got up the nerve to quit over-eating, but also says she’s proud of him for not freaking out.
In the hatch, Jack is examining Locke’s leg, still smarting post-lockdown. Jack suggests that Kate find a wheelchair for Locke, an idea John vociferously shoots down. However, he agrees to use a pair of crutches. While she looks for the crutches, the topic turns to Henry. Locke wonders why he didn’t escape when he had the chance; Jack thinks Henry assumed his story would check out.
In the armory, Henry is now strapped up in a Christ-like pose, as Sayid and Ana Lucia further poke holes in Henry’s increasingly improvised stories. A twenty-dollar bill inside the real Henry’s wallet reveals a note to his wife, a note that pokes a big hole in "Henry"’s assertion that the man was already dead when he found him.
Sayid’s attention turns to The Others, a topic that visibly upsets their prisoner. Henry insists that "he" will kill him should he say anything. Ana Lucia assumes his referring to Mr. Friendly, an idea Henry finds ludicrous. He claims Mr. Friendly is "no one." Sayid pulls a gun out, as Henry insists that, "I am not a bad person!" Only Ana Lucia’s split second intervention saves Henry’s life. The gunshot brings Jack into the armory, with Locke helplessly screaming from his bedridden state.
Charlie brings Eko the pallet from the drop, figuring that Eko could use it in his ongoing construction project. Charlie wants to know what Eko is building, but Eko is mum on that topic for now. Good Lord, this thing is taking forever to get built. Jacob likes his cabins quicker than this, Eko. Where’s Ty Pennington when you need him?
In the jungle, Hurley is still holding the slipper, when he comes across a box of Dharma goldfish. (The snack, not the pet.) He hungrily wolfs down handfuls, when who should appear but the bald, robed man. "You’re not here!" Hurley cries. The man responds to this accusation by hurling a coconut into Hurley’s sternum. The man then runs into the jungle, with Hurley calling him "Dave." He comes across Charlie and Eko, neither of whom saw Dave.
Hurley asks Sawyer if he has any Clonazepam, the drug he used to take in the mental facility. Sawyer mocks Hurley’s vision, which is the last straw for poor Hugo. He proceeds to tackle Sawyer, and throw a barrage of punches, punctuated with every insulting name Sawyer has called him since they crash landed. Sun asks Jin to pull them apart, which Jin does in between his delightful giggles at seeing Sawyer’s kharmic payback.
Libby comes to Hurley’s tent, and finds him packing up his gear. Turns out Hurley’s going to live in the caves, with only a tub of peanut butter as his company. Despite Libby’s pleas, Hurley insists that no one can help him. In the jungle, the peanut butter jar falls out of his backpack and breaks, leading to Hugo trying to salvage the massive amount of peanut butter by immediately stuffing it into his hungry maw. With his mouth dripping with peanut butter, he sees Dave standing above him. When Hurley says he can’t be there, Dave replies, "Sorry, dude. I am here."
Dave apologizes for freaking Hurley out, and admits it’s going to get a little worse before it gets better. He tells Hurley that everything he knows about life after the last night they spent in the mental facility is a lie, and that everything since is merely a dream inspired by a mental break that night. Dave notes that everything on the Island is merely a byproduct of Hurley’s imagination, from the Numbers to Libby’s supposed interest in him. Hurley’s completely shattered, and we the viewing audience are praying this isn’t true lest we storm the ABC gates. Dave leads Hurley to a cliff, and suggests the only way to wake up is to jump. Dave says, "See you in another life, Hurley," and leaps off the cliff into the ocean below.
In the hatch, Locke asks Ana Lucia for five minutes with Henry. He asks Henry’s real name. Henry’s not giving up that info just yet. He also makes the interesting observation that God can’t see the Island any more than the rest of the world can. He also drops one more morsel of info into Locke’s susceptible brain: that he never pressed the Numbers upon reaching the dome. He describes the hieroglyphics as Locke remembers, and the large clunking noise as Locke remembers, but insists the countdown simply returned to 108:00 without any action on his part.
Back on the cliff, Libby finds Hurley about to jump. He doesn’t trust anything she says, figuring she’s a part of his psyche that doesn’t want to wake up. Libby points out that several things on the Island happened irrespective of him, and that Hurley calling her imaginary is more than vaguely insulting. But everything under the surface of this scene bespeaks a secondary objective for Libby, something I’ll delve into below under "Mythology." Long story short, Hurley no die. Yay!
15) Off the Island
In the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, Hurley’s psychologist asks how his diet is going. This segues into a discussion over why Hurley’s mom put him in there the first place: something about an accident two months ago. Hurley’s doctor wants to know if he’s done the required homework assignment (in which a patient lists things he likes about himself). Hurley says Dave thought it was a stupid assignment, and the doctor notes that Dave is a bad influence.
Hurley goes to the basketball court in the institute, where Dave is verbally accosting the other players. Hurley finds his banter amusing. Dave wants to go to Taco Night with Hurley, rather than watch this pathetic attempt at basketball. Hurley’s initially skeptical, repeating the doctor’s claims that Dave is a negative influence on Hurley. But the allure of soft shell tacos proves too much, and Hurley accompanies Dave to the cafeteria.
Hurley is playing Connect 4 with Leonard, he of the Numbers fame. Dave mocks Hurley for his mid-afternoon snack (celery sticks) and suggests that Hurley not take his medicine. At that moment, Dr. Brooks comes by with a Polaroid, wanting to take a picture of the two of them. After he does, he watches Hurley take his meds, then leaves. But Hurley shows Dave soon after that he merely put the pill in his mouth, spits it out, and Dave announces that the revolution has begun.
Hurley reads his homework assignment to Dr. Brooks, who notes that none of the items listed had anything to do with Hurley’s appearance. Hurley insists there’s nothing he can do about his looks. But then he says, "If I wasn’t so fat, then they wouldn’t have died." Dr. Brooks says that 23 people were on a deck made to hold only 8, and that the accident wasn’t his fault.
He also fills in a bit of backstory on how Hurley ended up in the mental ward, and notes that eating is how Hurley punishes himself. Hurley angrily replies that Dave was right about Dr. Brooks. At this point, Dr. Brooks shows him the Polaroid taken earlier in this episode. Hurley’s shocked to learn that Dave isn’t his friend so much as a figment of his imagination.
That night, Dave wakes Hurley up in his room. Hurley insists Dave’s just a hallucination, but a few slaps to the face seem to call that into question. Hurley and Dave sneak out of his room, snag some leftover lasagna outside another patient’s room, and attempt to sneak out of the facility. They get to the rec room, at which point Dave notes that Hurley stole Dr. Brooks’ keys earlier in the day. Hurley’s surprised to find the keys in his pocket.
As they stand at the open window, Dave lists all the food Hurley can eat once on the outside. But Hurley insists that Dave doesn’t want him to get better, and that he needs to stay in the facility. Dave insists that if Hurley doesn’t leave right then and there, he will ever get out of there. Hurley closes the window on Dave, locking him outside.
We see another perspective of the Polaroid scene, this time from behind Hurley. As he puts his arm around an empty chair, the camera pans over to Libby, with darker hair and a dazed look in her eye. She swallows the medicine provided by the staff.
16) The Mythology
Two big things in this episode. I’ll break ’em down individually.
Dave is an interesting vision/hallucination, in that he is the first one I think that actually talks to a Lostaway in anything other than a dream sequence. Christian Shephard didn’t say a word to Jack in "White Rabbit," Walt doesn’t speak coherently to Shannon, and Kate black horse merely stands there. So, at the time, hearing Dave speak was a pretty big deal.
So here’s the rub: why does this version of Dave want to speak? I think that while off-Island Dave was merely a representation of Hurley’s self-destructive tendencies, the on-Island Dave is a manifestation of the "dark" side of the eternal Island struggle. This is the same "dark" side that produces Cabin Christian, Yemi, and other elements that seek to serve those trying to oust Jacob.
This becomes even clearer come Season 4, as Jacob actively looks for Hurley’s help inside of his cabin. That eye says nothing if not, "Help me," the very same thing Jacob said to Locke in Season 3. As such, one can look at the actions of Island Dave as a way in which the dark side of the Island sought to eliminate a potential Jacob ally down the road. Course, thanks to Libby’s help, Hurley lived to see the day. Speaking of…
The Libby Problem
Watch her face when Hurley once again points out he remembers her. It’s borderline panic. Watch the way in which a single tear falls from her face as they kiss. It’s borderline tragic. What is Libby’s role in Hurley’s life, and indeed, in the lives of Desmond, Michael, and the others tied to this Island?
We know of at least two people on the Island who attracted interested eyes before they ever heard about the Island: Locke and Desmond. Alpert was there from the very beginning in Locke’s life, and a host of people (Widmore, Ms. Hawking, Brother Campbell) had their eye on the cowardly Mr. Hume for sometime. But why stop there? As I’ve rewatched these episodes over the past few months, it seems clear to me that Christian Shephard served a similiar role with his son. So why shouldn’t Libby be that someone for Hurley?
The complications come from the fact that Libby is acting on someone else’s behalf, and may or may not enjoy her role. She could have been "activated" like someone in the movie Eagle Eye (trust me, don’t see it, unless you’re bored with money to burn) or simply be one deeply entrenched in predestined events, sent by someone to ensure that Hurley lives to perform a task at a later date.
The producers keep saying they will eventually reveal her part in the overall story, but feel free to leave your own interpretations below.
23) The Moment
Hurley beating up Sawyer justified the 300 fat jokes made at Hugo’s expense all season.
42) In Retrospect
One thing that’s constantly nagged me: why did Ben lie about not pushing the button? As we’ve seen, the button not only managed to save the Island/world from destruction, but also ensured the Island’s hidden status. What could be gained by convincing Locke to let the button go past zero?
The only thing I can come up with that’s remotely satisfactory is that while Ben didn’t know exactly what would happen when the button reached zero except allow the Swan to collapse upon itself into a tiny ball, essentially rendering his primary opposition of Island Protector a sardine inside a very small can.
Given the decoration of his bungalow, never mind the hieroglyphic door in his own house, it’s silly to think that Ben wouldn’t know EXACTLY what the hieroglyphics in the Swan meant. Upon seeing them, and pushing the code, he got into contact with the Others, fed them the four names Michael later received, and then concocted a long con by which Locke’s loss of faith would lead to his own destruction.
As I said, that’s not a foolproof theory by any means, but the best I currently have.
108) In Summary
I hate the "Hurley is a sad bastard and eats a lot" episodes as a general rule. Attempting to link his eating to his guilt over accidentally killing two people at least justified the storyline in some way, but it’s still nothing I will praise. As for the "it’s all a dream" business…well, let’s just say I’m glad they didn’t let that theory last past the episode itself. It seemed like a meta-plot, designed to firmly address Internet rumors that the show was going in this direction. It helped to shore up any fans worried that all their emotional investment would be ultimately worthless.
The Henry/Ben stuff is always a treat, in that it’s always fun to watch what he says/does, and try to pick up on the underlying intent. Even knowing where it goes, it’s clear that he’s still ahead of the majority of us.
Leave your thoughts about this episode below!