by Sarah Carbiener
Finally! They’re blowing up stuff (both characters and major set pieces)! We’re down to the final hours of this epic series, and there’s still an enormous cast to burn. Not every statue, Ajira passenger, mid-eighteenth-century shipping vessel and candidate can survive the last stretch of the last season. Hurley (Jorge Garcia), always the wry voice of reason, knows that the body count is about to start climbing, and he’s the first character this season who seems to be truly concerned with keeping everyone alive.
Hurley has always been one of my favorites, and I’ve found his character arc to be one of the most satisfying in the entire series. An episode from one of the first few seasons had him on the verge of committing suicide, convinced the entire island is in his head. This came after weeks and months of seeing him play the funny guy with the great one-liners about polar bears, Others, and hatches. He’s still the guy with the greatest observations—his conversation with Miles about Back to the Future from last season comes to mind—but now he’s a leader and brave and just plain awesome.
One of the reasons Hurley came off so well this week was because there was a little less conversation and a little more action. Last week, with the notable exception of Charlie driving Desmond into a lake, we had a lot of characters talking about what was really going on, that there are these other lives they’re meant to be living. Hurley and Libby actually struggled with what that means.
Libby approaches him when he’s waiting for his blind date (did anyone else’s heart break when he asked for another basket of tortilla chips?) and she tries to explain to him how they’ve met before. Even though he has no idea what she’s talking about and sees her dragged back to the mental hospital, he seeks her out anyway, writes one fat check to gain access to her just so they can talk, and finally shares a picnic with her on the beach. When they kiss and their lives on the island come flooding back to him, it was an amazing, touching moment because Hurley had worked hard to get there even though he didn’t believe.
But while this made for a pretty good episode, it would have been an amazing hour of television had it been episode three or four this season. If the season had started off with the Richard Alpert episode, which really got to the heart of what the series is about, and gotten to last week’s Desmond episode and this week’s Hurley story sooner, I really think we would have had a sixth season more worthy of the first five.
I’ll finish up with a theory of sorts that may not turn out to be literally true but was certainly true thematically and plot-wise this episode: Desmond is the new Jacob. In the side flash, he’s going around to other Oceanic passengers and touching their lives somehow. In a sense, he’s driving them to seek out the truth, bringing them together, and driving them to the island. Maybe this is why on the island, the Smoke Monster was so upset by Desmond that he had to shove him down a well. Although, side flash Desmond more than returned the favor when he plowed his car into wheel-chair-bound Locke. A car has a much greater impact on a person than a candy bar, that’s for sure.
While everybody does love Hugo, who doesn’t love Ben as the history teacher who chases off potential pedophiles? And did anyone else feel like they blew up Ilana not simply because the island was done with her as Ben said, but because the writers were done with her and wanted to use her death for shock value rather than tie up her storyline in a meaningful way? I mean, she’s the one who helped Ben join the good guys. She deserved better than Arntz.
What did you think? Happy to see Libby again? What is Des up to?