Lost: Tricia Tanaka is Dead
(S03E10) I am a bit torn about this episode. "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" was entertaining, to be sure, but nothing new was learned from a viewer's standpoint. To a degree, a largely expository episode to catch the beach survivors up on recent events was a necessary evil. No significant ground was covered, but all of the characters are now in a position to take action. Hopefully the slow-moving events in this episode are building up to some serious resolution.
To start, I cannot forgive the writers for letting the "Daddy issues" theme spill over into the Hurley flashbacks. With a curse and an obesity problem to deal with, Hurley has enough on his plate. The episode began with a young, svelte Hurley carrying some tools out to an old car in the driveway. The song "Shambala" by Three Dog Night was playing in the background, but more on that later. The car was in total disrepair, but Papa Reyes, played by Cheech Marin, told young Hurley to try starting the car on hope alone. It failed to start, but Cheech gave the following advice anyway: "Make your own luck." That tender moment was followed by Papa Reyes' quick exit, as he was leaving to "go to Vegas for work." I guess he had already tried the "going out for cigarettes" excuse. As if being abandoned by his father wasn't enough, Cheech laid the groundwork for Hurley's eating disorder by giving him a candy bar to soften the blow.
Back on the island, a supersized Hurley was recounting his abduction and release by the Others at Libby's gravesite. Crying, Hurley told Libby that he was scared, but he was never scared when Libby was with him. I am grateful that the writers let Hurley's grief stay relatively fresh, unlike the "Shannon who?" stance they have currently taken with Sayid. After paying his respects to Libby, Hurley wandered up to Charlie and learned of Desmond's premonition. Hurley began blaming his jinx-like abilities when Vincent the Dog wandered up, with the creepiest chew toy imaginable. In his mouth, Vincent was holding a decayed human arm holding a set of keys and a rabbit's foot key chain. This has to be every dog owner's nightmare. Hurley was somehow able to keep up with Vincent as he ran back into the forest to the arm's source: an old, tipped-over car covered in brush.
Hurley's flashback continued in front of Mr. Cluck's, where Asian reporter Tricia Tanaka (this has to be a shout-out to Family Guy's Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa) was filming a story about Hurley buying the chicken shack. The puff piece was going well until Hurley started ranting about his lottery-related bad luck. Sadly, it turns out that Johnny ran off with Starla some time after Hurley won the lottery. A frustrated Tricia took her cameraman to film inside the restaurant, which was quickly destroyed by a falling meteor (or an asteroid; Hurley wasn't sure).
The "reunion that everyone was waiting for" was, as usual, overhyped. After a brief conversation in the jungle, in which Kate removed a dart from Sawyer's foot (that had better be important later, because the scene was pointless), the couple broke up and returned to the beach. They immediately went back to their old tricks; Kate defiantly stomped off into the jungle alone, and Sawyer became territorial about his stolen goods.
The remaining back story for Hurley filled in the period between Hurley winning his millions and his trip to Australia to learn about the numbers. Hurley came home from Mr. Cluck's to find his estranged father, who had apparently been "working in Vegas" for seventeen years. Not to take Cheech's side, but one long weekend in Vegas can feel like seventeen years. Noticing Mr. Reyes' impeccable timing, Hugo was positive that his father was there for the solid gold Jesus centerpieces and Bennigan's-trained servants. In fact, Mrs. Reyes had called him to provide some fatherly guidance (and husbandly--gulp--affection). It was also revealed that Hurley had kept the car from his childhood during his father's absence.
The island's mystery car was apparently another DHARMA vehicle, as the corpse of a uniformed Roger "Workman" was found inside (along with plans for a dirt road and DHARMA beer). After enlisting Jin and Sawyer's help, the men got the car flipped up on its wheels. Hurley began pouring all of his hope into getting the car to run, and used his mission to get Charlie out of his impending-death funk. In an act that was surely envied by tons of viewers, Hurley also got to slap Charlie across the face (mirroring his mother's slap in the flashback).
Speaking of the flashback, Hurley's back story took a hilarious turn with a visit to a psychic. Mr. Reyes convinced a psychic to "lift" Hurley's curse, a con that Hurley thankfully got wise to. His father finally redeemed himself by admitting that he was there for Hurley's money and suggesting that he give away his winnings. Hugo unfortunately never got to find out if his father made good on his promise to stick around, because he left for Australia anyway.
The "fun" island storyline ended with Hurley and Charlie confronting death in the form of a steep hill in an attempt to get the car started. The plan actually worked, and "Shambala" began playing from what looked like an 8-track. Hurley got some hope back into his life, Charlie escaped death for another week, and Sawyer began to regret dumping Kate.
And what of the last few minutes everyone was supposedly going to be talking about? Kate sought the help of Danielle Rousseau for her rescue mission, and used Alex's existence as a bargaining chip. Simply earth-shattering.
As I wrote before, this episode probably had to happen in order to bring all the pieces of the story together. While it lacked the dramatic punch of "Not in Portland" and "Flashes Before Your Eyes," this episode did contain a few kernels of interest:
Three Dog Night's "Shambala" is rooted in Asian spiritualism. Shambala is a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist writings. The song's lyrics refer to good fortune, psychological cleansing, and a spiritual journey. Does any of that sound familiar?
Tricia Tanaka stated that Randy (Hurley's old boss) had the last name Nation(s). Randy's surname has been listed elsewhere as Burgess. Any reason for the change?
In addition to loving Star Wars, Sawyer is also a fan of Little House (on the Prairie).
Hurley measures the passage of time using the Rocky franchise as a reference point.
See you next week for what will hopefully be a more action-packed episode!