Mr. Cluck’s Double Down

Grab a family sized bucket of chicken to take to the other side of the break and discuss the 12th episode of Lost season 6, “Everybody Loves Hugo”

And boom goes the dynamite!
Unfortunately, like some of the show’s lesser episodes, characters spend too much time choosing one another to be on their separate teams and then walking around the Island for various reasons.
Last week’s “Happily Ever After” represented a paradigm shift in this final season of Lost, where we got a sense of the stakes of the season, and “Everybody Loves Hugo” confirmed some of those ideas. This episode was more effective in some of the one on one scenes with Hurley than in determinedly moving the plot forward. But it did blow some things up good.
One of those things being Illana, who blew herself up before we learned much of anything about her as a character. She was in a Russian hospital wrapped up in bandages where Jacob visited her. She came to the Island to protect the candidates and then she blew herself up. Is that all? It seemed like she was going to develop into more of a three dimensional character rather than an exposition delivery device.
Hurley may be the one character who’s life in the alternate timeline is definitely better than in the original one. He was happy with his wealth, rather than cursed by his lottery winnings. He travelled the world as a goodwill ambassador for Mr. Cluck’s and got to be honored by Dr. Chang for donating a Hugo Reyes wing to the museum. Dude has a pretty sweet life, never having been obsessed by the numbers or spending time in a mental institution.
But Libby comes back into his life. She’s checked herself into the mental hospital because, like Charlie (another character who died on the Island in the original timeline), she’s seeing flashes of the original timeline. They have the picnic date they never managed to have on the Island. And she gets alternate timeline Hurley to flash on their time together on the Island.
And the whispers? We learn that they are the people who died on the Island but are stuck in some kind of purgatory or hell before moving on, like Michael, who’s carrying guilt for shooting Libby (and possibly Ana Lucia).
While many of the characters were on the margins of the episode this week, Jack had a nice moment of self-awareness talking with Hurley. He realizes that he’s been a terrible leader and should be content to go with the flow a bit, rather than rush on into whatever terrible plan he’s concocted.
In both timelines, Desmond confidently knows what he’s doing, but the audience isn’t yet clear about his motivation. It seems to be that he’s forcing the alternative 815 passengers to realize about the timeline, whether it’s through the power of love or through the power of running a guy in a wheelchair over with a BMW. Oh, and on the Island, he’s down at the bottom of an old well that happens to be a pocket of electromagnetic energy.