Episode Title: Tricia Tanaka is Dead
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Remember last week, how I said that some episode titles send me down paths researching old books or movies where I find very intriguing connections to the show (thus, “deeper meanings”), but other titles end up being simple references to lines from the episode (thus, not really that deep)? Well, this week is definitely falling into the second category.
Researching the name yielded no real results, and the phrase doesn’t seem to be a takeoff of any other famous quotes – so we’re left to take it at face value. However, my search wasn’t totally useless – since it actually led me to who Tricia Tanaka is:
From ABC’s website, I found Sung Hi Lee listed as a guest star for this episode, where she plays the character of “Tricia Tanaka”. So we know who she is… but who is she?
Well, that’s a good question. Since this episode is a Hurley-centric one, I would expect her to be a character from Hurley’s past. I would also wager that her death is the result of Hurley’s “bad luck” that came with his playing the Numbers in the lottery – that puts this episode post-“Numbers”, but pre-“Dave”, somewhere around the “Everybody Hates Hugo” flashback. We know about a few of the tragedies that surrounded Hugo from prior episodes – the deck collapse, Mr. Cluck’s being hit by a meteorite, and his box factory burning down – so it’s likely that Tricia dies during one of these incidents.
As for the underlying theme of the title, it looks to be another episode of Hugo self-loathing, probably blaming himself and the “curse of the Numbers” for Tricia’s death. It’s a theme we’ve seen before and know quite well. One has to wonder if the curse still exists, post-Hatch implosion – since destroying the Hatch symbolically ended the power the Numbers had over the Island. If you think about it, the Numbers have been noticeable absent from most of the episodes in the third season, even when there have been blatantly obvious places that they could have popped up in both flashbacks and Island life.
It’s likely that the flashback deals with Hurley either trying to convince people that the curse exists (pointing to Tricia Tanaka’s death as proof) or Hurley facing ostracism after the curse claims yet another victim (Tricia Tanaka). Either way, I’m a little afraid of a “been there, done that” feel for the flashbacks in this episode. I feel like I really know the Hurley character, his motivations, and his history – so I’m not sure what this episode could add besides just strengthening our understanding of the character by providing more examples of the things that we already know.
Ironically, I think the only thing we don’t know about Hurley is why he’s called Hurley. So maybe we can hope for that little nugget of information to pop-up in this episode.
Episode Description: Hurley's discovery of an old, wrecked car on the island leads him on a mission of hope not only for himself, but for a fellow survivor in need of some faith. Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer reunite with their fellow castaways, but Kate is still torn about leaving Jack behind with "The Others."
Episode Breakdown: Finally a bit of a longer episode description! Before we get to the sentence-by-sentence breakdown, let’s revisit the Lost Moments from this episode.
Lost Moments. I think this is the last week of Lost Moments, which means the next few episodes should be much more full of surprises. For this week, we can once again look to the Moments to help piece together the episode.
Lost Moment 10 – Vincent appears with a decaying arm holding a key. Hurley chases after him to retrieve the key.
This Moment seems to set the stage for the episode, as Vincent’s appearance clearly sets the stage for Hurley’s discovery of the “old, wrecked car”. As I mentioned when this Moment originally aired, Vincent’s reappearance confirms the very puzzling inconsistency from the Season 2 DVDs, where we saw Vincent inexplicitly joining Michael and Walt on their boat when they left the Island in a special feature, something that was not included in the episode itself.
Now that we know that Vincent still remains on the Island, one is left to wonder who is taking care of him these days. With Walt and Shannon both gone, I hope someone is making sure Vincent is getting the food, water, and squeak toys he needs. Once again, it’s clear that Vincent has explored more of the Island than any of our Survivors (confirming that a Vincent flashback remains the coolest potential flashback possible) – this time stumbling upon the VW Van.
For all of those fans of the “Vincent is God / the Monster” theory (Sully, this means you), here’s more evidence. Who wants to bet that this Van somehow symbolically represents a troubled time from Hurley’s past, and his finding it helps him to “overcome” the pain it has caused him (much like Jack’s dad, Kate’s horse, and Eko’s plane). Once again, it seems as though the Island is bringing items and objects from a character’s past onto the Island as a way for them to overcome their demons. Here, Vincent is being used by the Island to bring Hurley to the item – since our Survivors, Hurley in particular, haven’t stumbled upon it on their own.
Aside from the logistic questions about how a Van ends up in the middle of the jungle (although, as we’ve already got a plane and a pirate ship – so this gives us the only missing method of transportation), the question becomes – who is the body inside the Van? Someone from Hurley’s past who died because of his bad luck… Tricia Tanaka, perhaps?
Lost Moment 11 – Sawyer teaches Jin the only three phrases you ever need to say to a woman, as the two enjoy Dharma Beer inside an old Volkswagen Van.
This one puzzles me, because clearly the first Lost Moment seems to indicate that Hurley is the one who will find the Van – so how do Sawyer and Jin end up there, sans-Hurley? We have to assume that the Dharma Beer was found inside the Van – is this fan the last remnant of the 1970’s hippie-version of the Others, who drank beer, listened to the Dead, and smoked pot in hopes of discovering a way to crack Valenzetti’s Equation? If there’s Dharma Beer in there, wouldn’t it have gone terribly bad about 30 years ago due to sitting out in a steamy jungle? It’s a cute scene with Sawyer, sure – but a lot about this scene doesn’t make sense to me.
Lost Moment 9 – Hurley slaps Charlie and tells him to “snap out of it”, saying he has a plan that can help them both – it’s dangerous, but if they don’t die, they win.
On the other hand, this scene makes total sense, and ties back in with the first sentence of the episode description. I’m not sure exactly what Hurley needs to do in order to “overcome” whatever the Van represents, but he’s looking for Charlie to help him – and in the process, help get Charlie out of the funk he’s likely been in ever since Desmond predicted his demise. The only question is what they could possibly do that would be considered dangerous. Bury the body? Fix the Van? Bury the Van? Anything I can think of that involves the Van seems pretty danger-free to me.
That covers the Hurley storyline and the first sentence of the episode description. In other news, Kate and Sawyer return to camp (sans Crazy Carl) and I hope that they are immediately drilled with questions about the Others after they finish their hug-a-thon. If everyone greets them and then goes on with their day-to-day life without trying to understand the Others, their motives, and what it means for their potential escape off the Island, I will be seriously upset (and it will be yet another example of the Lost writers not giving dramatic events the aftermath they deserve).
Lastly, Kate continues to worry about Jack, and likely begins to recruit a team (read: Locke and Sayid) to rescue him. The problem is – none of them have any sort of boat (since the Others recovered Desmond’s sailboat in “The Glass Ballerina”), so I don’t see how they could get very far in their efforts. Since we’ve already done the “build a boat” storyline in Season One, I can’t see that happening again. Instead, I’m expecting the Rescue Party to set out to find another boat – perhaps back to Pala Ferry? – and eventually rescue Jack… which is where the action should pick back up in terms of storyline.
The writers are also doing a great job in keeping the Kate-Jack relationship full of drama, in true Ross-Rachel style. Think about it. Kate hooking up with Sawyer seemed to indicate the end of Jack and Kate, but now she knows that Sawyer was more of a one-night stand and her true love is with Jack... but little did she know that Jack is currently falling for Juliet. We all know that TV Rule #1 is keep the characters the audience wants to see together apart for as long as possible, and Lost is doing a great job of it.
Okay, since last week I over-hyped the episode a bit (well, technically ABC over-hyped the episode and I fell right into their trap), I’m going to under-hype this week and wrap this post up. Since this is a Hurley episode dealing with a Mystery Machine in the jungle, I’m expecting a light-hearted episode featuring the tearful reunion of Sawyer and Kate with the rest of the Survivors and the buddy hijinx of Hurley and Charlie. I’m not expecting any progress with the Desmond storyline, or any scenes involving Jack and the Others. My gut is telling me this is going to be a throwaway episode – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.
I’m just not going in expecting any huge answers or heavy plot development, and I recommend you do the same.
Programming Note – Once again, the real world is getting in the way of my blogging. I’m going to be in Montana this week for work, so an “Instant Reactions” post isn’t likely to happen. Heck, I'm hoping I can watch the episode at all. I’ll try and get my full analysis of the episode up this weekend, but until then you guys might be on your own. Behave yourselves and don't burn the Blog down!