Lost in Retrospect: Everybody Hates Hugo

This is exactly the kind of pick-me-up that Lost needed at this point in its run. Sure, it’s not exactly heavy on mythology and doesn’t advance much except the Tailies storyline, but Hurley is such a great character and his episodes have such a fun tone (at least, by the standards of Lost) that it winds up being one of the more flat-out entertaining episodes of season 2.

For a quick refresh on the episode, I suggest you check out Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

Hurley is quite possibly the best character on the show, and I mean that in a host of different ways. Rose says it best in this episode, in complete contradiction of the title: “everybody loves you, Hurley.” The fact that he’s friendly and funny and liked by everyone, but still as layered and dysfunctional as everybody else on the show, in addition to having that nice mythological connection in the form of the Numbers (and later with his “I see dead people” schtick), makes him versatile enough to walk into basically any situation in the show and realistically shoulder the storyline. The fact that he is such a funny, genre-savvy character makes him ideal as the one for us, the audience, to latch onto, and frequently he can be heard asking those same questions that we’re asking.

I also think he’s possibly the best character on the show in a real human sense: perhaps with the exception of Rose and Bernard, he is the nicest, kindest, most honest and all-around good person on the show. He’s not without faults, as proven later in season 2 when his greed gets the better of him, and even in this episode when he gets so downright upset at the thought of people hating him, but that same thought is wrapped up in his not wanting to give anyone less than anyone else. I feel like I’m just echoing something the thoughts of someone who I think wrote a lot of awesome stuff about the show, but can you imagine any character other than Hurley just giving away all the food when it was made their responsibility? And this quality links right up to the series finale, when Hurley is again given a huge responsibility, but it’s with the knowledge of the audience and the other characters that Hurley is the guy who is gonna take what he has and use it to help and to give to other people. The dude is awesome, simply awesome.

His flashbacks were some of the most directly relatable of the series to date, and again I mean that in a few different ways. The obvious one is that from what he’s saying in the Island story, it’s clear that during events, he’s actually thinking about what the things we’re seeing in the flashbacks, making this one of the most direct invocations of that structure and the information gleaned from it (though it’s pretty soundly usurped by “Flashes Before Your Eyes”). On a more dramatic level, the flashbacks are essentially about the perceptions of our friends, and I think it’s one of the most universal themes the show has presented us with — “science vs. faith” got the most airtime, sure, but I’ve spent far less time worrying about whether I’m a man of science or a man of faith than I’ve spent worrying about my perception of my friends or their perception of me. And it was brilliantly played by Jorge Garcia and DJ Qualls, who as much with looks and facial gestures as they did with dialogue.

Aside from the food, the Hatch’s one notable contribution to this episode was the intriguing-ness of Jack and Sayid’s discovery underneath the station, the shaft of concrete similar to Chernobyl that racks up a few extra points in the Team Faith column. And aside from that, it was good to see that Jack didn’t simply whine about how ridiculous the button was, he actually lived up to the “man of science” moniker and did some investigating, trying to find out more about the Hatch. He’s still an enjoyable character at this point in the series, before that planned and well-executed slide into douchebaggery.

The stuff with the Tailies was brief but eventful, especially the scenes in the Arrow station. A little chill went down my spine when Libby tells Michael that they had something like 25 people in their group — at first. Despite the storylines of these characters ultimately coming to naught, they did an excellent job of making the Island a scary place again, because it’d been lacking some of the early first season’s abject terror and I missed that. I also loved the proper introduction of Bernard and the heartwarming moment of realising that Rose’s faith hasn’t been completely in vain, brilliantly set against the shot of Rose saving a chocolate bar for her husband . Like Jorge Garcia, Sam Anderson and L. Scott Caldwell are brilliant at giving this fantasy-ish show a real emotional grounding.

This episode was very fun. There were a lot of serious moments and they worked fantastically, but this was a Hurley episode, and that was almost enough on its own to make this fun and vaguely romp-ish. Not too myth-arc important and not a drama bomb, but in my opinion, an unmissable episode for its exploration of this seemingly-not-but-really-incredibly important character.

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