Reaction to “Everybody Loves Hugo” wasn’t a lovefest, that’s for sure, “Lost” fans. Very few people straight up disliked it, but many seemed to have the same “mixed bag” feeling that I tried to capture in my recap. Of course, that recap is written immediately after seeing the episode for the first time, so I came up with “Course Corrections” as a weekly way to check back on the most recent episode having given things some further thought. Away we go with eight more thoughts about “Hugo”!
Before the episode aired, I suggested everyone watch the show’s titular companion, “Everybody Hates Hugo.” Now? I recommend rewatching “Dave” to see this week’s companion in melancholy ache. I wrote about this before, but watching Cynthia Watros knock it out of the park this week, it’s worth going back and watching Libby talk Hurley out of committing suicide again, followed by their kiss, followed by her tears. To some, their picnic on the sideways beach was the start of a beautiful life together. To me, it was a grace note the show gave the characters, a taste of what might have been but truly could never be. But at least we can all agree it’s a beautiful scene all the same. (And if you don’t, you probably hate kittens as well.)
Hurley and Miles had a conversation in the smoldering remains of the Black Rock in which the latter questions why the former always does what the dead tell him to do. It’s a fair point, especially considering that the outfit Michael is wearing this episode is the one in which he died aboard the Kahana. And who was there when he died? Cabin Christian, preceded by the Whispers. Cabin Christian and the Man in Black are interconnected (though NOT one and the same), so I think we should be thinking about the connection between Smocke’s “wait and see” approach to the remaining candidates and Michael’s message to Hurley. Not saying there’s a definite correlation, but it’s sure curious.
Speaking of Michael, I also found it curious that, in the aftermath of an episode in which one of the show’s major mysteries was solved, all a lot of people wanted to do was talk about the promo for next week’s episode. Now, I didn’t see the promo, as I consider all video evidence of future episodes to be spoilers. What I’ve seen discussed about it describes its tone, not content, so I didn’t edit the comments left on this blog and over in the recap. But I couldn’t help but note the irony: For a lot of Season 6, people have cried out for more answers. But when they get them, all the want to do is talk about the next thing they didn’t understand. This isn’t some snarky observation, but rather a way to point out that what we as fans think we might actually want out of “Lost” versus what we enjoy about it might be two entirely different things. Now is as good a time as any to relink this pre-Season 6 set of essays about the nature of mystery in “Lost” and why fans are really going to be sad as the end draws nearer.
Something that I didn’t call any attention to in my recap (probably because it came late in the ep, which meant late in my writing) was Desmond’s mention of his son Charlie when talking to Sideways Ben. Not sure he simply used Charlie Pace’s name or, in his flash of the Island timeline, he intuitively knew his son’s name in the way Claire knew Aaron’s in “What Kate Does.” But it was a fascinating moment all the same, one I wouldn’t have omitted had Des not immediately turned his car into a weapon of crash destruction immediately afterward.
Another small moment I missed/misinterpreted: Sun’s depressed look when entering Smocke’s camp at the end of the hour. I took it to mean she was sheepishly arriving after her earlier rejection of Smocke’s offer, but clearly she’s in “after all this, and Jin STILL isn’t here?” mode. I think right after Smocke greets Jack, she’s going to intentionally run headfirst into another tree to let out some frustration.
When standing over the ancient well, Smocke told Des a story about the people who dug it in order to find out the answer to their mysteriously behaving compasses. Food for thought: Was the Man in Black one of those misguided diggers? The idea that those who dug found more than they bargained for is a powerful one, further intertwining the Man in Black with The Incident in terms of things that should have been left unexplored. These sources of energy are things meant to be protected, not harnessed/exploited, in the world of “Lost.”
A few weeks ago, I asked if “Lost” fans were getting exhausted at trying to figure out the myriad of puzzles so late in the game. Todd VanDerWerff linked to that article and ran with it, suggesting this provocative amendment to my operating hypothesis in explaining the complicated relationship between the show and its fans:
Now that we’re into the final throes of the series, it’s not that we’re not getting answers — because we’re getting quite a lot of them — it’s that they’re not OUR answers. The creators of the series are gently but firmly reminding us that this isn’t our show.
That’s the best way to try and explain why all the anger directed at me over my assertion that the sideways reality isn’t an epilogue, as if this is something I’m grafting onto the show due to my Grinch-ian nature. As if I want people to suffer in order to justify the show as great. As if I need pain in my art to make it worthwhile. In reality, I’m just reacting honestly to what I think the show’s putting out. There’s a melancholy ache and a bittersweet tone to everything in the sideways timeline, one that offers imperfection but enough glimpses of potential satisfaction that makes it seem cruel to wish it away. But it’s not me doing the wishing. It’s the show. We’re about to hit a streak of sacrifice that might verge on the unbearable. People on both sides are going to make impossible choices. And they won’t be making them out of my desire for them to do so: They will be making them because this is where the show’s been headed from the beginning. Because this isn’t my show. It’s their show. I’m just going along for the ride, praying Sideways Des doesn’t run me over.
Onto TV and music suggestions inspired by this week’s episode! On the TV front, what better series to recommend in the wake of a spiritual/mystical revival on a beach than HBO’s “John from Cincinnati.” It’s my life’s goal to double this show’s number of fans. Currently, it seemingly stands at two. But my wife and I are willing to welcome more. If you think “Lost” is confusing, wait until you get a load of what happens halfway through this short-lived, completely misunderstood series. The line and the circle are BIG, people. Trust me.
OK, onto music: Jane’s Addiction’s “Up the Beach” seems as good a place as any to start our weekly mix, followed by AC/DC’s “T.N.T” to pay homage to all things ‘splodey this week. From there, let’s take Jack’s advice, mellow out, and listen to Frou Frou’s “Let Go.” Pink Floyd’s “Money” seems a little TOO on the nose, but c’mon: it’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” That’s money in and of itself. Plenty of songs deal with love and madness: Madonna’s “Crazy For You,” Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and according to Seal, we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little “Crazy.” Well played, Mr. Heidi Klum.
In honor of the impending summit between Team Smocke and Team Jacob: Coldplay’s “Talk,” Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good,” and Tricky’s “My Evil is Strong” all seem like good candidates (pun intended). Finally, for Desmond: The Beatles’ “Drive My Car” might seem like dark humor, but it’s nothing compared with Alice in Chains’ “Down in a Hole.”
Those are my thoughts 48 hours after “Everybody Loves Hugo.” What’s on YOUR mind?
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Photo credit: ABC