|Enid Blyton's newest adventure, "Five Find A Volkswagen"|
Written between 4th and 8th March 2014
In the show's first two seasons, I was always a little uncertain as to what the theme of Hurley's episodes was supposed to be. They were silly and over the top for comic relief but at the same time they were quite deep and depressing. Hurley's life-story is what happens if you try and cartoonise Locke's, essentially, but I don't think the balance between those two elements fit quite as they needed to until this week, which gives us a mix of fluffy on-island story and depressing flashbacks as some light relief after last week's debacle.
The main island plot was a fun diversion wherein Hurley discovered an overturned DHARMA van and strives to get it going again as an attempt to bring up the spirits of the camp. He recruits Jin and a newly-arrived Sawyer to his cause, and despite Jin's reservations about the van's engine quality, Hurley and Charlie manage to get it going in a joyous event. In Hurley's flashbacks, we see his father David abandon the family home, accidentally getting Hurley hooked on sugar in the process. Returning to the flashback events seen in Everybody Hates Hugo, we find that David returns in order to mooch off of Hurley's fortune. This only spurs Hurley on to visit Australia, as in Numbers, which becomes final when David takes him to a fake psychic and he sees through her fairly easily.
Hurley's flashbacks and their uneasy attempt at tragedy comedy are always a little odd for me, especially as that combination and the way that each individual scene is played can skew everything in one direction or the other. Casting US comedy star Cheech Marin as David Reyes is a move which both inspires and puzzles, as he's both a very hateable figure and a very funny one. The same for the opening scene where one of Hurley's restaurants gets destroyed by a meteor when the titular reporter walks inside, the scene where Hurley visits the fake psychic (and slaps down a casual $10k to get her to talk), and the scene where Hurley confronts his father about the reason for his belated return. Although I suppose it was probably the episode's intention, I didn't know what to feel.
It took me three days to write this article. Not in a "I've been slaving over this masterpiece" kinda way, but more in a way which me reflects the fact that this season has finally shifted into its midsection in a very relaxed kinda way. Hurley's final flashback episode (before his flashforwards, flash-sideways and flashwtfs in the succeeding seasons) shone a light on his family life which took the more outlandish events of previous episodes and gave them a more heartfelt context, but the comedy and drama were so thickly intertwined that it was often hard to tell what the mood was or even what we were supposed to take from it, resulting in an atmosphere of lazy melancholy lit - one only relieved by the main island storyline and its beacons of hope both in-universe and for the rest of the season.
NEXT WEEK: A badass Sayid episode with a one-eyed Russian and a Dharma station with an explosive... chess set. See if Locke will have the nerve to Enter 77.
P.S. I get very pissed off when the writers use Hurley's obesity as a plot point. They avoided it more than they did in Dave, but the fact they blamed his weight on childhood abandonment is just cruel and stupid. Shame on you guys.