OCTOBER 28, 2010
AIRED: OCTOBER 12, 2005
Now this is how you do a "telling us stuff we already know" flashback. When "Numbers" showed us that Hurley won the lottery, they didn't show that he sat on the ticket for a few days, not telling anyone and seemingly trying to avoid actually cashing in the dough (a far cry from me - if I hit 2 bucks on a scratch ticket I practically run back into the store), which is what we see in "Everybody Hates Hugo". Yes, we know that he will collect his earnings, but the episode shows us that Hurley, above all else, wants things to stay the same and doesn't want people to resent or use him, which is something we DIDN'T pick up on from the other episode.
It's also the first (I think?) instance of a flashback being cut rapidly back in forth with the island stuff. As Hurley breaks down to Rose, explaining how everything is going to change and he will be hated, we cut a few times back to the night his "secret" was revealed, with his friend looking betrayed and Hurley practically crying as the reporters swarm around him. Obviously, the flashback structure would be modified and experimented with a lot over the show's run, and this was sort of the baby steps of that process (in a couple weeks, we'd get an episode that was basically one long flashback, and later in the season, we'd get flashbacks to stuff that occurred a few days before on the island out of sight of our heroes).
You notice I mentioned Rose - she returns here! It's her first appearance since she helped snap Charlie out of his shell about halfway through season one, and her role here is very similar, being all calm and level-headed while helping one of our heroes get through a sticky spot in their journey. But it's no mere coincidence, she had to come back this week in order for the closing scenes of the show to work, when we learn that her husband, Bernard, is indeed still alive despite everyone besides her assuming he was dead. It's a real "happy" tear-jerker of a scene (and not the only one in the episode either - the peanut butter kills me), topped only by their actual reunion a few episodes later. It's a testament to how good the writing is (was) on this show, and how good the actors were, that a supporting character who we've never seen can hear good news about a character we've barely seen, and still make us feel something.
Speaking of which, it's the rare episode with a happy ending. Usually the ones that seem to be happy end on a down note (Hurley's batteries dying, for example), but this one's all uplifting. Bernard's moment, Hurley delivering food (and everyone eating happily, forgetting their situation for a bit)... even Sun burying the bottle of messages is sort of an "up" moment - she's essentially protecting the optimism of everyone else. And setting the stage for next week's/tomorrow's subplot about her losing the ring, something that touched a nerve for me (I'll explain in that review!).
This episode helps further our hatred of Ana Lucia as well. While Libby is warm and even Mr. Eko is rather friendly toward them, she's still throwing rocks at Sawyer's head, smacking him around, yelling... she truly is one of the most hateful people ever on this show. Even Widmore had some mild sympathetic nature about him. If not for the fact that she killed one of the show's other annoyances, I'm not sure if she ever would have displayed a single sympathetic trait on the island (her flashback is tragic, yes, but again, she was totally friendly and charming at the airport bar, so she obviously got over that).
Also, the scene where Jin speaks English creeps me out. Definitely one of the odder moments on the show, especially in this early stage.
Where are we?