On ''Lost,'' Hurley comes to term with his curse and his past when he manages to jump-start an old VW bus he finds in the jungle

By Hannah Tucker
Updated March 01, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

”Lost”: Hurley takes us for a ride

Recently, most of what my TV has to offer has been tales of tragic women shaving their heads and popping methadone. To quote Sawyer, ”There sure as hell ain’t no hope here.” So I was beyond thrilled when Lost brought a little dose of levity to my week. It felt good to have a relatively self-contained episode and a break from mythology-driven story lines and the unsmiling Others.

A few of my favorite moments: Hurley saying to Charlie, ”If I’m not back in three hours, tell somebody”; bellowing, ”I understand!” at Jin; trying to explain the meaning of the word ”crafty”; and calling Sawyer ”Redneck Man.” The meanest laugh came when the scene with young Hugo forlornly nibbling a chocolate bar cut to a shot of the grown-up, very double-chinned Hurley. I’m not saying I didn’t chuckle, but isn’t referring to the poor dude as Snuffleupagus and the International House of Pancakes enough for one episode? When we realized Hurley was talking to Libby, however, the moment became one of the week’s most poignant.

Vincent appeared carrying a human arm (make that the remains of one) and led Hurley to an overturned VW bus, the sight of which called up bittersweet memories of dear old dad (Cheech Marin) and his Camaro. Car nostalgia can be a powerful thing: When I think of my family’s old Mercury Villager, I get positively misty-eyed. Of course, finding a skeleton in the driver’s seat would probably temper that reaction. Not so for Hurley, who instantly became protective of Roger (if that’s his real name) and scolded Sawyer for dubbing him ”Skeletor.” In the last two episodes, Sawyer has referenced The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, and He-Man and, in doing so, has earned a permanent place in my heart.

This was all very different from what I expected to happen at the beginning of the scene: I thought Vincent was taking Hurley to the expired cave dwellers whom Jack and Kate discovered in season 1. Having Hurley find a ”hippie car” full of booze was definitely the better choice. (Yep, the Dharma folks had their own brand of beer. And light beer. Those guys thought of everything.)

Speaking of expectations, some Losties had predicted that the ill-fated Tricia Tanaka would perish in the balcony collapse that Hurley believes was part of his curse. But lo, Ms. Tanaka met an arguably less dignified (and statistically less probable) end when an asteroid demolished Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack. But before Hurley had time to process the disaster, he got another nasty surprise — his deadbeat father returned after 17 years of, well, probably just working on that nice tan.

He may have indirectly caused the deaths of many people, but Hurley is slowly getting over his guilt. And it was nice to see the guy assert himself. I think Hurley, who appears to have recently taken a class at the Kate Austen School of Steely Resolve, did the right thing when he slapped Charlie and told him to buck up. Sure, the guy is preoccupied with thoughts of his possibly imminent demise, but people stranded on an island must entertain such notions regardless of what a drunk Scotsman tells them.

This was all a setup for a gleeful Little Miss Sunshine homage, with Hurley, Charlie, Sawyer, and Jin doing doughnuts in the Vee-Dub and giggling. I’d love to see allusions to all the Best Picture nominees on Lost, though I’m not sure what they’d do for The Queen. Joking aside, however, did anyone else think something dreadful was going to happen during the boys’ joyride? I was convinced the ground was going to give way and the van was going to be sucked into the earth — or into an underground Dharma lab. In fact, I still think that might happen next week.

If you, like me, were hoping Kate and Sawyer would share a little snuggle time — or at least call a truce — this week, you were sorely disappointed. For all his charm and verbal dexterity, Sawyer says some astonishingly dumb things around Kate, e.g., ”I ain’t got nothin’ to be sorry for.” And Kate, always more of a doer than a talker, responds in kind: ”So that’s how it’s going to be?” Use your words, people! While it’s clear that Kate still has feelings for Jack, her decision to immediately turn around and rescue him seemed more a reaction to this conversation than anything else. And while Kate was smart to recruit Rousseau to help find the Others, I could see that trigger-happy woman ditching Kate once she finds her daughter. What do you think?

A few more questions for next time: The name Tricia Tanaka is probably significant in some Easter-eggy way, but I’m stumped. Any theories? Did this episode change your mind about whether Charlie will live or die? And can someone please explain Sayid and Locke’s theory about the compass bearing that they believe will lead to the Others?

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