The episode starts with Hurley and Libby jogging. Hurley confesses that he kept quite a bit of food from the hatch. He dumps the food, and says he feels free. Then people go running past – to the place where a new supply of food had been dropped. Standing by it, Hurley sees someone and chases him into the jungle. We later learn that the man is someone Hurley knows from his past: Dave.
In a flashback, Hurley is talking to a counsellor, Dr. Brooks. His mother put him in there because of an accident. Dave is also in the same asylum – Hurley says Dave is the most normal person in there, but the doctor says he is a bad influence who doesn’t want Hurley to change. We learn that Hurley had walked out on a deck which then collapsed, killing 2 people – but it was a deck designed to hold 8 and it already had 23 people on it before he walked out there, and so Brooks says it wasn’t his fault. He points out that Hurley stopped speaking, sleeping, but never eating – because that is how he punishes himself. Brooks also shows Hurley a photo which shows that Dave doesn’t exist. Then we see Hurley follow Dave in an escape attempt, only to tell him that he is not real and does not want him to change, and Hurley closes the window and locks Dave outside.
On the island, Dave tells Hurley that he is still at Santa Rosa – he never left the hospital. Dave says that he is the part of Hurley that wants to wake up. He says that the means is to kill himself in his imagination – telling his mind that he doesn’t believe any of this. Dave says “see you in another life” and then dives off the cliff. Libby talks Hurley out of jumping, and at the end of the episode we learn that Libby was in the asylum with Hurley, while Dave was imaginary.
Locke has a hairline fracture in his leg. He adamantly doesn’t want to use the wheelchair.
The real Henry Gale wrote a note for his wife on a piece of money. It is clear that Ben is continuing to lie. Sayid almost shoots him, but Ana stops him. Ben talks about a leader of his people of whom he is afraid – not the guy in the beard.
Locke says “God knows how long you and your people have been here.” Ben tells Locke that God doesn’t know how long they’ve been there. He can’t see this island any more than the rest of the world. Ben then says that he never entered the numbers and pushed the button, saying that “this place is a joke.” With hindsight, we know he could not be trusted – but his statement about God is interesting nonetheless.
In light of what happens later, was “Dave” the Man in Black trying to get Hurley to kill himself in order to keep him from becoming Jacob’s replacement? Or Hurley suffering a nervous breakdown? The show was still playing with viewers, leaving open questions about whether the experiences on the island were real or hallucination, in this world or an afterlife. Unfortunately, the result was that some people fixated on a theory and never let go of it in light of new evidence, so that even today you will encounter people who think “they were dead the whole time.” LOST required close reading and careful attention, and I’m rewatching it to see whether, like a detailed and deep novel, it repays rereading.