Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snuffy and Oliver Bring This Little Miss Sunshine

I liked last night's episode of LOST so much I watched it twice. It seems they can't go wrong with the Locke, Charlie and Hurley episodes. Or maybe I'm just prejudiced, since they're my three favorite characters. Anyway, despite the ominous title, Tricia Tanaka is Dead, which I happened upon several times on IMDB, this was mostly a happy episode, especially in the present. Hurley is just such a breath of fresh air; there's such a purity to him, and it has a cleansing effect on me every time I see him, the same effect I get whenever I watch Forrest Gump (which I just did a few days ago, and it improved my mood immensely, and wasn't the gorgeously eloquent scene with Hurley at Libby's grave just like the next-to-last scene of that movie?). We got just as much of Hurley here as we did of Desmond the other week; it can't help but make me giddy.
Hurley is cursed. It's a shame, for sure; he's probably the most fundamentally decent guy on the show, yet death and disaster follow him wherever he goes. (I love how after he said that, Vincent showed up with the skeletal arm in his mouth; how's that for timing? And hooray for Vincent having a significant role. He set off the events of the entire episode, and though he didn't contribute much after that, his general aura of contentment added to this episode's light feel.) Charlie is cursed, too, and it's great how Hurley snaps him out of his stupor so the two of them can cheat fate together. It's doubly dangerous for Charlie; he's supposedly doomed to begin with, and people in close proximity to Hurley have a habit of dropping dead. And the task Hurley has in mind would be life-threatening for even the luckiest of folks. It's like all that bad mojo cancels itself out.
I was right about Charlie shaving. They even showed it. It's still not so clear why... Did he want a clean slate, like Hurley's dad and Kate? ("You call it Little House?" Ha! One of my favorite Kate and Sawyer exchanges ever. And it's funny because I just had a Little House marathon at my grandma's... Anyway, just the idea that this bad boy is intimately, apparently even affectionately, acquainted with such a wholesome, sappy show is just so... sweet. And maybe all that pioneer spirit rubbed off and came in handy for his experience on the island.) Anyway, is it a physical embodiment of Charlie's reformation? Is it, as I suggested after last week, his way of disguising himself so the Black Hand of Fate won't recognize him? Or did he just feel like shaving? Where'd he dig up the razor? He looks so baby-faced without the scruffy stubble...
Kate got on my nerves in this episode. She's so testy. She's furious with Sawyer; I'm not sure if he's supposed to apologize for leaving Jack, or letting Karl go, or just generally being snarky. She sounds like she's spitting nails every time she calls him "James". And how could she not ask Locke and Sayid for help? They're the obvious choices, though Locke seems to have become the leader in Jack's absence, so the Beachies could be up a creek without him... Going to Danielle did make sense, though. You know she and Alex have to reunite eventually. It needs to happen...
Sawyer, on the other hand, I found delightful. Yeah, he goes into the tirade about having his stuff nicked, but it's short-lived. I love him calling Charlie "Oliver Twist," but if that's so, Sawyer is the Artful Dodger. "Munchkin" is a stretch, I think; gosh, Charlie's not that puny! It's not Merry we're talking about here... And "Jiminy Cricket" is just silly, especially considering Jiminy's role as Conscience, which Charlie certainly isn't too qualified for. Hurley got even more nicknames: Snuffy (ha!), Jumbotron, S.A. (which Rachel had to explain to me), International House of Pancakes (har-har...). Even the corpse wasn't safe from Sawyer barbs.
Not that Skeletor is a particularly original name for a skeleton. I'm glad for the re-naming, though, since it led to Hurley's wonderful defense of Roger as a person deserving of respect with others who cared about him (note, he mentioned Roger having a mom, but not a dad...). Anyway, that's one of my favorite things about Hurley; he truly seems to value every person, even if he doesn't know anything about them. His spontaneous joyful outburst and bear hug when he saw Sawyer was so moving, and it stripped Sawyer of his sting. He made sarcastic remarks after that, but he just couldn't be mean-spirited in the face of such abundant goodwill.
His tutoring of Jin was classy and hilarious, and it reinforced the connection that developed between the two of them toward the end of the first season and beginning of the second. Jin's reluctance to learn English is largely a matter of pride; I imagine it's especially hard for him to accept lessons from his wife knowing that she learned the language behind his back and concealed her knowledge for such a long time. But he's paying attention, so I think he understands more English than might be apparent, and he's so glad to see Sawyer again that he's more agreeable and eager than usual. Just the sight of him coaxes Jin to reach into the recesses of his past English lessons to bid him welcome, provoking Sawyer's impressed and touched, "Well, look who's Hooked on Phonics!" It becomes a fun, masculine bonding experience, learning to say "beer," "car" and the only three things you ever need to say to a woman...
Not enough Desmond, but his apology for the scotch and Sawyer's indignant reaction were great. He hangs back from the joyous reunion, which makes sense given his reclusive personality and the fact that most of his interaction with the Beachies occurred after Kate and Sawyer's departure. Too much Paulo and Nikki, and they were only there for a couple minutes. What was with him yanking her back by her belt straps so she wouldn't go with Hurley? Ew... There seemed to be a lot of random castaways when those two returned, but not a sign of Bernard and Rose. Where'd they go? Did a chunk of the hatch land on them and someone forgot to tell us? Jeepers. Can't they just show them for a minute so we know they're okay?
Hurley's mom is a trip. She's such a comical woman, and obviously she cares a lot about her son, but I don't think she ultimately is of much help to him and is more likely to make things worse with her meddling. Her brand of religion is interesting, made up of gaudy ornaments and practicality. I can understand her dismissal of Hurley's bad luck, but even she ought to be able to see that winning this ticket has brought nothing but misfortune. (A meteor striking the restaurant?? I thought I was back in Smallville! And boy, does Hurley give a lousy interview...) His discomfort with her renewed relationship with his father evokes sympathy but many laughs. I love how she covers the ears of her gold Jesus statue when she confesses her "needs" regarding Papa Reyes, and Hurley's horrified reaction to the acknowledgment.
Why must Hurley have a deadbeat dad? What does LOST have against dads? Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, Charlie, Penny, Walt... Enough already! Granted, Michael's absenteeism was mostly not his fault, and he tried to make up for it, though he wreaked major havoc in the process. And Kate's adoptive father was all right, and Jin's seemed like a good guy; if anything, Jin failed him by being embarrassed of his upbringing. But positive father-child moments sure get a lot less attention than all the sordid messes in everyone's pasts. Hurley's dad was a jerk, but I was hoping for some degree of reparation between them, if only because Hurley doesn't seem one to hang onto a grudge for too long. I'm satisfied with their parting; with 17 years of disappointment behind him, Hurley doesn't have to welcome Pop with open arms, especially since, initially anyway, his presence was mostly about trying to take advantage of his son's newfound fortune. He didn't listen to his father's advice, but he didn't close the door on him entirely either.
Finding the VW bus is Hurley's way of undoing the streak of misery that started with the car that he failed to fix with his father long ago. (And how cute was Li'l Hurley? Mom didn't think he was a good match; he may have been a little dark, but those eyes, and his gentle facial expressions... Dead on. And his slim figure just showed that the current state of his weight is because his dad said he should go ahead and gorge on candy, or because he ate through the grief of his dad's departure... Either way, Dad's to blame...) By turning that key and starting the car, he was finally finishing the task his dad left him with. It was a symbolic gesture. And an excuse for a blatant Little Miss Sunshine nod with some very tense moments followed by sheer exhilaration.
I have more to say, I know it, but I think I'll stop here and just say, "Way to go, Hurley." I revel in his triumph, this victory that is at once so small and monumental. And who knows? That bus might just wind up coming in handy. For now, it's enough that it brought Charlie and Hurley release. Probably didn't quite break the curse, but it's a start. I love character-driven episodes like this. And I'm glad no one died; I had a brief sinking feeling it would be Jin, since Sawyer's untouchable, Charlie would almost certainly be too obvious at this point, and Hurley's curse seems to stipulate that he himself is safe. I hope that's true. Charlie's death would nearly do me in. Hurley's might just put the nail in the coffin.
I'm being overdramatic, of course, but gosh do I love those two. Sure is nice to get back to the beach. I don't suppose we'll see much of them next week; the ending (which felt tacked-on to me) was meant to indicate where things are headed next. Probably downhill. But at least we'll probably be learning a thing or two...
In summary and in conclusion, you go, Hugo! Hurley rocks my world!

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