Thursday, April 15, 2010

"LOST: Everybody Loves Hugo"

DISCLAIMER: In a previous post, I discussed the importance of ABC's "LOST." Therefore, I am beginning a series which briefly explores thoughts on the show with respect to FITmedia and Truth in Fiction. Being as the posts are philosophical in nature, I will try to keep story spoilers to a minimum. However, because many of the philosophical pillars are tied to critical events, it is impossible to discuss without some spoilers. For those of you not following the show, I hope that these posts will be worthwhile on their own merit, and should they inspire you to watch the show, that they will not have ruined the plot for you. You have been warned.

"Everybody Loves Hugo"

The title of this episode is an adorable twist on Season 2's "Everybody Hates Hugo," in which Hurley's lotto winnings start to turn his life for the worse. This is a parallel with his concerns over a job Jack gives him to ration the food found in the Hatch. He's afraid to fulfill this leadership role because he thinks people will hate him out of jealousy, as they did with the lotto winnings. He initially decides to use dynamite to blow up the food storage, rather than face the task—though when Rose stops him, Hurley makes a judgement call about what's fair. Interesting, given that he actually blows up the Black Rock in this episode, and no one stops him.

The Island has it in for you.

LOST returns to its convention of the Island as a character. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a location can sometimes be counted as a character when it has a notable impact on the story. No location in any story that I know of has had more interaction with people than the Island. Since "Meet Kevin Johnson," however, so much has happened between the human characters that the influence and decisions of the Island have been disguised, or perhaps entirely absent.

The idea of a person's purpose allowing him to defy almost certain death was vividly displayed for us by Jack in "Dr. Linus" when he sits down with Richard over a lit stick of dynamite. The understanding we thought we had was undermined in this episode when Ilana drops a bag of dynamite and dies suddenly. She was in the middle of explaining that her purpose was to protect them.

Ben points out that the Island was done with her, and wonders what will happen to them when their time comes. This raises the question of whether, like Michael, they are all doomed to die, having escaped death when the plane crashed. Eloise Hawking's explanation in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" that the universe "course corrects" may well mean that the Island has the power to interrupt a person's fate, but not change it.

It is equally plausible that the Island is a force of evil, and does have it in for them, as the Man in Black suggests to Desmond. Is seems this is meant to be ominous, given the fact that "Locke" eventually asks him why he is not afraid. If the Island is the gate to hell, as Jacob says, then perhaps the Man in Black is acting as its agent when he throws Desmond into the well.

Dead men tell true tales.

The nature of the ghosts in this story has been—and still remains—largely shrouded in mystery. Michael appears to Hurley at the gravesite to tell him not to blow up the plane. This does parallel the scene where Rose tells him somebody could get hurt if he blows up the food storage. However reasonable Rose's comment was, Michael's seems overly dramatic, if not unfounded—especially after we learn that Ilana's plan is merely to destroy the controls.

After Hurley blows up the Black Rock, he says that Michael told him to do it, and that ghosts are more reliable than live people. Even, apparently, murderers. When we learn that the whispers are the ghosts that cannot move on, it sheds some light on the effectiveness of ghost instruction. It is still unclear if the ghosts Hurley can see are the same as the dead people that show up in dreams, but if they are then they can be assumed to be on Jacob's side.

Which brings me to another point: Richard reminds us that Jacob never tells them what to do. However, Jacob has been instructing Hurley. Unless it's not Jacob.

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