Scene of the Week 7: Hurley & Dave - Dave
Hurley & Dave at the Cliff
HURLEY: "You're not here. You were in the hospital. You can't be here."
DAVE: "Sorry, dude. I am here."
By the end of season two, we'd seen a lot of strange shit. The parallels between characters were astounding, the numbers were popping up everywhere, and there was a monster in the jungle. As we struggled to rationalize all these things, Dave threw another big question into the mix:
What if nothing we were seeing was real at all? What if everything we saw - every last crazy inexplicible coincidence - was all being created in someone's head?
DAVE: "You wouldn't happen to have my slipper, would you? Oh, man, you got peanut butter on it!"
One of the first things to happen in this scene is something we've seen before: Hugo closing his eyes to make Dave go away. Haley Joel Osment does this during The Sixth Sense, whenever he sees something he doesn't like. It's a child's way of dealing with things, but Hugo has always maintained some childlike qualities. In the end, this type of boyish innocence just might be why he's so important to the storyline.
Closing his eyes has always worked for Hurley. We'd also see him use this technique during The Beginning of the End, when ghost-Charlie paid him a visit. In that case, by the time Hugo opened his eyes Charlie was gone. But here? No matter how tightly Hugo closes them, when he opens his eyes again Dave is still there. This is important, and more than a little telling. It makes Hurley's encounter with Dave markedly different than any other time he sees a ghost.
DAVE: "Okay, look, I know you're freaking out right now, and I'm, I'm sorry. But it's going to get a little worse before it gets better."
DAVE: "Yeah, kind of. You ready, dude?"
Whomever Dave is in this scene, he approaches Hurley as an extension of himself. He talks like Hurley, uses "dude" like Hurley, and rationalizes things in a way Hugo is likely to understand. He also goes slowly enough not to lose this already-confused island version of his friend.
"Dave" is doing these things for a reason: to convince Hugo he's nothing more than an extension of himself. He realizes Hurley is more likely to believe he's going crazy a la split personality than he'd actually believe Dave to physically be on the island.
DAVE: "You remember that night you closed that window on me? You remember what you did after that night?"
HURLEY: "Yeah, I realized you were imaginary."
HURLEY: "And that was a breakthrough. And a little while later Brooks let me out, and I went home to live with my mom, and I got my job at Mr. Clucks back. And I got better!"
DAVE: "Okay, good, great, yeah. Except see, here's the thing.... uh, none of that ever happened."
This statement hits us, the viewers, just as hard as it hits Hugo - possibly even more. If what Dave's saying is true, this explains everything. The entirety of LOST could be nothing more than a fantasy that exists only in Hurley's head. This is staggering, crazy, and frightening news - a ludicrous theory that most viewers instantly reject.
DAVE: "You're still at Santa Rosa, man. You never left the hospital."
HURLEY: "That's... not possible."
Although it's easy for us to reject the possibilty that everything we've seen on the island is a snowglobe inside Hurley's skull, it's not as easy for Hugo. Remember that at this point, Hurley already doubts his own sanity.
Dave is playing upon Hugo's greatest fear: that he's crazy. Hurley's worst-case scenario involves finding out that everything that happened to him - including the numbers - hasn't been bad luck at all, but is actually due to his mental illness. This is why it has always been easier and more comfortable for Hugo to believe that he's 'cursed'. In that case at least, he'd still be sane.
DAVE: "It's hard, I know, but I mean - all this? You, me, this island, that peanut butter... none of it's real, man. None of it's happening. It's all in your head, my friend. The second you closed that window your brain popped a gasket. You went back into your little coma thing. And that's where you are right this very second. In your own private Idaho, inside Santa Rosa."
Dave pinpoints the exact scene we just saw in Hurley's flashback: the moment he finally refused to believe in Dave's existance. This is the point after which he didn't see Dave anymore, and whomever is representing this island version of Dave knows it. The entity sitting before Hugo right now - whether it be real, imaginary, or even a part of Hugo's own split personality - has just demonstrated an intimate knowledge of his past memories.
HURLEY: "No. I had my mom, my friend Johnny... I won the lottery."
DAVE: "Whoa, wow, awesome, dude! What numbers did you play? Leonard's numbers, right? From the hospital? What a coincidence. You, uh, seen them around anywhere else?"
HURLEY: "The hatch?"
DAVE: "Bingo! The Hatch! With the button that you've got to push every 108 minutes or the world ends. Oh, oh, oh, and what's the code for the button? Oh yeah... the Numbers."
Dave is speaking for all of us here, finally lending a voice to our own questions regarding 40+ episodes of inexplicible events. In fact, Dave is the 42nd episode of LOST - one of the numbers themselves, and also the biggest.
Hurley however, still tries to resist.
HURLEY: "But I got better. I changed."
DAVE: "Changed? What, are you kidding me? Take a look at yourself. You've been on a deserted island for over 2 months and you haven't dropped 10 pounds. How is that even possible, man?"
HURLEY: "I just destroyed my stash, and I've been exercising. Libby says it won't happen over night."
DAVE: "Oh, right, right, right, Libby - the mega cute blonde chick who magically appeared from the other side of the Island. Oh, oh, oh, yeah - and who just happens to have the hots for you."
Dave's points are rock solid here, and even we can't argue them. Whatever's been happening to Hugo since he arrived on the island has been more than fishy. Hurley's feeble attempts to justify normalcy are falling woefully short.
This is where Hurley begins to lose the Dave battle. Whether his friend is real or imaginary, everything he's saying makes a whole lot of sense. The seemingly crazy events of the island do not. Hugo finally begins looking for an alternative explanation at this point, but before he does something else even more important happens.
DAVE: "Come on, man, let's take a walk."
Dave offers Hugo his hand. This small gesture of help seems to go against everything we now know about how the game of LOST is played. According to the rules, Dave can't help Hugo to his feet any more than Christian Shephard could help Locke after he'd shattered his leg.
Showing Hurley the cliff... that's okay. Dave can even encourage him to jump. Be to stay within the scope of the rules, Dave can neither push Hugo nor can he physically help him get there. Hurley has to arrive on his own two feet.
The fact that Dave offers his hand is interesting... but guess what? We never see Hurley take it. Perhaps the entity known here as 'Dave' knew that Hugo wouldn't physically accept his offer of help. Maybe the gesture was purely symbolic, and no rules were broken at all.
HURLEY: "So this is all in my brain?"
DAVE: "Every rock, every tree. Every tree frog. Even me. The real me - the one they told you was imaginary? He went out the window, man. Right now he's probably bouncing from hot chick to hot chick, unlike me, who's really you, who's got more important things to do."
Dave assigns himself a role Hurley is very familiar with here: the idea that he exists soley inside Hugo's own head. Dave's assertion that he's really nothing more than an extension of Hurley's own personality is meant to be comforting, because as Bill S. Preston, Esquire once said: "Why would we lie... to ourselves?"
HURLEY: "So I'm making you up?"
DAVE: "Well, sort of. I'm part of your subconscious, man. All the people on this island are."
HURLEY: "What part of me are you?"
DAVE: "I'm the part of you that wants to wake up, man. Follow me."
Dave's reference to waking up cannot be ignored. Sleeping, dreaming and waking are all a tremendous part of LOST's overall story, and they often seem to imbue the island's inhabitants with a more deeper, meaningful connection to the 'other side'. The idea that Hurley is dreaming, comatose, or stuck in some sleep-like state invalidates everything that's happened so far. The island becomes fantasy, and the 'waking' world is the true reality.
DAVE: "This is it, dude."
DAVE: "The big finale! The answer to all your problems. A way for you to wake up, snap out of it."
To say Dave's choice of words here is interesting would be a gross understatement.
The big finale he refers to could very well be representational of the end of LOST itself. Dave could be heavily foreshadowing what happens during at the end of season six, when the series wraps up and the circle finally closes. "It" could be the answer - right here, right now, right at this clifftop. A way out - a way off - a way back to the other side.
HURLEY "I don't want to kill myself."
DAVE: "Who said anything about killing yourself, man? This is going to bring you back to life. The only way for you to bust out is to tell your mind that you don't believe any of this."
Here's where we finally learn Dave's motive for appearing to Hurley all episode: he's trying to get Hugo to jump. Dave is convincing Hurley that he's not really there, and that taking this leap of faith isn't going to kill at him at all, but actually bring him back to life by waking him up.
There are two big possibilies here. In one, Dave is actually telling the truth. On many levels, we've already seen characters 'let go' of their past life's problems before being allowed to leave the island through death's portal. Whether they've actually died or whether they've passed over to some other place of enlightenment is debatable. But one thing's for sure: dead is certainly not dead. Not on LOST.
The other possibility is a little more sinister: Dave is another manifestation of the smoke monster. By that theory, the dark man is appearing to Hugo in familiar form so he can convince him to commit suicide. Why? Because Hugo is untouchable. For many reasons, Hurley is a character not governed by the laws or rules of the island. He's a playing piece on the gameboard that neither side can manipulate - a bulletproof variable that arrived on the island completely by accident.
For years I've had big thoughts as to Hurley's overall importance. Check out my recap for Follow The Leader.
HURLEY "So, if I... all this will be gone? I'll just wake up?"
DAVE: "That's right. And when you do wake up, come find me. I'm sure I miss you. See you in another life, Hurley."
As Dave leaps from the cliff, his last mention of 'another life' echoes a common phrase uttered by many other characters, especially Desmond. Hugo comes very close to jumping off the cliff here, and if not for Libby he might've decided to end things after all. Whether he died or woke up, Hurley thought himself better off either way. At least right now, at this moment in time.
So who was Dave? A figment of Hurley's imagination? A continuation of his psyche? Or was Dave just Hurley's version of Jack's dad... or Saywer's boar... or Kate's horse? Was Dave really trying to help Hurley here, or was he trying to eliminate one of the most dangerous variables against destiny?
Going even further, has the island been using things to keep Hurley satiated and out of the way? Food... comfort... even a girl who loves him? It's more than possible, it's actually pretty likely. Because as much as one player in LOST's game wanted to see Hugo dashed against those rocks, the opposite side wanted to bribe him with food drops and beautiful blondes.
Dave is an episode that's not just important to season two. It gave us insight into a much bigger picture, and a broader idea of things that played out all through the rest of the show. And the way Dave mentions the "big finale"? As the last season of LOST plays out, those words ring a little too loudly in my ears.