The long-awaited Hurley-centric episode of Lost this past Wednesday lived up to the hype that fans and critics of the show have recently mustered.
After all, Hurley was just about the last of the regular characters of the large and diverse cast to have a featured episode (in which flashback scenes set up the characters motivations, history, and most importantly, reasons for taking the flight that landed them lost on the island). As another website noted, we had to get through “two bloody episodes featuring that limey Charlie and photocopier career” to get to Hurley.
For those not familiar, Hurley was a jolly fellow, generally speaking, with long frizzy hair and was, as the movie theater manager on The Simpsons might say, of “large carriage.” For most of the season, he’s been the guy who will lighten the mood with a joke, but most of all he was just pleasant and level-headed, providing a very nice counter-balance to the generally tense and stressful circumstances.
Hurley did have a few opportunities to show his smarts, however, such as when he “sweet talked,” in comic fashion, Sawyer into giving up a possession from his strangely large stock of looted goods (anyone ever liken Sawyer to the Howells of Gilligan’s Island, by the way?). This only increased the speculation and curiosity regarding Hurley.
In essence: what the hell is the deal with this guy?
The numbers are the deal, as it turns out. Ah, the numbers.
Hurley’s flashback scenes were masterfully directed, a combination of dark comedy and creeping dread. We see Hurley as a lazy good-natured, good-for-nothing dude, content to work fast food and eat it in front of the tube at night (was that a KooKooRoo uniform that he wore during an early scene?). His later transformation, on the island, into a heaving ball of frustration aimed at the French lady perfectly sums up the plight of all the castaways on the island. In other words, everyone suspects that they might be on the island for a reason. The big question (that mastermind creator JJ Abrams will draw out for as long as possible) is what the reason is, and what it means.
And isn’t it great to have a show where creepy lottery numbers (the scene where Hurley loudly advises the maintenance dude to change that light bulb another time… any other time, is pure genius), mumbling mental patients, bizarre radio recordings, and big man-eating monsters all mean something (sorta kinda maybe)?
All I know is that I’m having the time of my life watching this one.
DB Note: I just got a DVR for my birthday – no more missing Lost!