On last night's episode we saw some old friends return, we got a solid, straightforward answer to one of the Island's biggest mysteries, and weirdly, an Easter egg suggested that some more mysteries might be unlocked by Bruce Springsteen.
Did you notice that in this Hurley-centric episode, only two characters—Jack and Michael—referred to him as "Hurley"? Everyone else called him Hugo. Another thing: This episode was the first in which a sideways timeline character wasn't depicted in a reflective surface. I'm sure that has meaning, but I'm not sure of what it is. My best guess is that maybe Hurley doesn't need to do any reflecting. Perhaps there's no need for self-examination because maybe he's totally OK with his choices—in both universes. And maybe it's because he is the candidate. He did appear very Christlike here.
OK, so first up, we finally know what the whispers in the jungle are.
They're ghosts that are trapped on the Island. Of course, we still don't really know why Hurley has the ability to speak to, and see, these ghosts, but I think it might have to do with the time he spent in the mental institution. Maybe his mind is just open to things that aren't supposed to make sense. And speaking of mental institutions: Libby!
Just like in "Everybody Hates Hugo"—the season two episode that last night's episode was mirroring—Hurley and Libby feel a connection with each other. Only this time, instead of Libby helping Hurley understand that he is not crazy, the situation was reversed.
There was a lot going on in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. The chalkboard was still there, but the illustration drawn on it—while still of an island setting—was less foreboding than when Hurley was there in the original timeline. Weirdly, in the sideways chalkboard, the sun and the clouds are above the Island while the fish are beneath it. In the original chalkboard, a shark and some boats are floating above the Island.
And just like when Hurley was there, Connect Four is still a game of choice in the rec room, although "Four" has much more significance.
The walls of the room were decorated with those big rubber puzzle pieces, and they stood out to me because those are usually associated with settings for children. And then I remembered that walls in Claire's Camp Crazy were also adorned with the large rubber puzzle pieces.
So what's the connection? That Claire's tent houses an insane woman the same way that Santa Rosa does in the sideways world? Or maybe the clue here is that, like Libby, Claire isn't as crazy as everybody seems to think she is. Perhaps she's just misunderstood.
OK, so back to Libby. Hurley met her while waiting for his blind date in a Mexican restaurant. Libby approached him, knew his name, and insisted that, in another life, they'd been in like with each other. He wasn't really freaked out by that.
The woman whom Hurley was supposed to meet for his date (but was a no show) was named Rosalita. And the restaurant where he was to meet her:
Both names are references to characters in two different songs—"Incident on 57th Street" and "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"—on Springsteen's second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. So what's the significance? Well, the album is all about storytelling, and each track focuses on a different set of characters, but each are connected by common themes of making the best of depressing atmospheres and interactions with seedy people. But these two songs, specifically, have a lot of references to Lost lore within them. I don't know if that's just a giant coincidence that the writers picked up on, or if Lindelof and Cuse are big Boss fans.
Both songs refer to "dynamite" (more on that in a bit), and "Rosalita" has a character named "Jack the Rabbit." Obviously, "Incident on 57th Street" references "The Incident," but more specifically, the main character Spanish Johnny "drove in from the underworld" and is known to be a liar and cheater. MIB anyone?
And speaking of him, I have lots of theories stemming from last night. Let's start with Hurley's "Man of the Year" award, presented by Miles' dad. (Did you notice how we didn't get to see his left hand?)
There was a slide show at the ceremony, illustrating Hurley's philanthropy through his Mr. Cluck's Chicken chain. In many of these photos, he's opening parks and hospitals and organizations benefiting children, and present in most of them is the Mr. Cluck mascot.
In most cases, his face is partially obscured, except here, where it's completely blacked out.
And that made me curious enough to zoom in on his face in some shots. I think it might be Locke/Mocke.
Is this an indication that he's a chicken? Maybe! I mean, Hurley's poster does describe the chicken as "a walkabout in your mouth."
And Mocke did get really pissed off when he brought Desmond out to the well (which looked like it was made of painted foam), and sensed that Desmond had no fear. He pushed Desmond into the well after Des said, "What is the point in being afraid?" Mocke, an apparent big, yellow chicken seemed threatened by that.
But before that happened, we got a little bit of a history lesson. We learned that the well is "very old." Mocke told us that "the people who dug this well did it completely by hand," and added, "They weren't looking for water. They were looking for answers." He went on to say, "Charles Widmore is not interested in answers. He's only interested in power. And he brought you back to this Island so that you could help him find what he's looking for. After all, this isn't the only well." Ooh!
Mocke's little story about digging the well (which is a pocket of electromagnetic energy) reminded me a lot of when Locke dug up the Hatch (another pocket of electromagnetic energy) with his own hands. But the digging and the answers also reminded me of Paleontology. Hurley was being awarded by Dr. Chang in the sideways world for donating enough money to the museum to open up the Hugo Reyes Paleontology Wing. That's why his statue was a dinosaur.
What makes Paleontology different from other science fields is that it aims to explain causes rather than study effects. It's a search for answers. And with all the hubbub about creationism and evolution, Paleontology directly pins science and faith against one another. It's just something to chew on.
Oh, and another thing about that slide show: Did you notice this photo?
It looks an awful lot like one of the watercolors that Hurley painted during one of his stays at Santa Rosa.
And that made me wonder if maybe, in the original timeline, Hurley was having difficulty with reality, not just because he was seeing dead people, but because he was also having flashes of another life—his sideways life. Remember how Libby had also spent time in Santa Rosa in the original timeline before the crash? Maybe that was happening to her, too. Maybe the Losties are constantly reliving these two lives, and doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?
Whatever the case, Libby and Hurley finally got to have that picnic date on the beach.
But why was Desmond so invested in it, and them? After approaching Hurley in Mr. Cluck's (where Desmond's order number was 42) and encouraging him to seek out Libby, he followed them on their date and watched from his car.
Then he drove over to the high school where Locke was subbing, and mowed him down with his car. (Side note: Why does Locke have to struggle with a manual wheelchair? The commercials that air during Judge Judy say that Medicare or Medicaid or whichever will cover motorized ones.)
Was this what Desmond meant when he said at the end of last week's episode that he wanted to "show him something"? Maybe he wanted to put Locke at death's door so that he would experience the other universe. Maybe Locke will temporarily jump into his body in the original timeline, and share it for a few moments with Mocke, changing his actions? It would fit in with (David) Hume's theory of Compatibilism, wherein free will and determinism are compatible, rather than mutually exclusive.
And speaking of determinism, remember when Ilana exploded?
Hurley found one of her books amongst her remains.
Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, aka Letters from the Underworld, one of the first existential works that criticizes determinism and places value on free will. So who is the Underground Man—the novel's sad asshole of a narrator—supposed to be, here? Jacob or MIB? I'm still thinking that they are one and the same. Last night we saw that young boy who's been following Mocke around the Island. This time he had brown hair and he was smiling, when earlier in the season, he had blond hair and was pissed off. I'm starting to think that this is indeed a Fight Club situation with Jacob and MIB.
But that fact might not matter so much, because all the Losties are connected in ways that affect their very existence. It kinda reminded me of that John Donne quote about an Island representing isolation:
No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Basically, the parts are not greater than the whole, and mankind can't thrive when isolated from others. "You all everybody!"