My least favorite episode of LOST the first time around was Tricia Tanaka is Dead. Something about an entire episode devoted to Hurley starting up an old van left me wondering if the writers had lost their way.I have avoided that episode since it originally aired.
I'm in the middle of my first official re-watch of the entire series, though, and this unwanted episode arrived full force. I decided to keep an open mind and see if maybe I missed something the first time around. Boy, did I. At least I think I did. You tell me.
The purpose of this episode is for us to witness Hurley traveling in a fried-out Kombi.
At first I chuckle as the opening lines to Land Down Under by the 80's Australian band Men at Work float through my head. I consider it a happy coincidence. But then I stop chuckling when the camera zooms in on the decomposed body inside the van.
Written on the uniform of the dead driver is "Roger - Work Man." As Roger died in that very van in the episode The Man Behind the Curtain, he was seated next to his son, Benjamin Linus. At that time, Benjamin was wearing an identical uniform which also proclaimed him as "Work Man."
So the duo that bring us the fried-out Kombi to its decades-long resting place are two work men - men at work.
Hurley comments that the beer they find in the van has been "sitting there since before Rocky 3." Rocky 3 hit theaters in May, 1982 - the same month that Men at Work began to hit the airways in North America for the first time (Wikipedia: Men at Work: The band initially broke through to North American audiences in the western provinces of Canada, with lead single "Who Can It Be Now?" hitting top 10 on radio stations in Winnipeg as early as May 1982.).
Then other lines from the song began to come to life in the episode...I met a strange lady. She made me nervous. She took me in and made me breakfast.
David Reyes wakes up Hurley first thing in the morning to take him to a strange lady (fortune-teller Lynn Karnoff). She makes Hurley nervous as she pretends to read his fortune through tarot cards, culminating in a promise to break the curse if Hurley removes his clothes and places them into a pot she sets on the table. She cracks an egg, sending the yolk into the pot.
Do you come from a land down under, where women glow and men plunder?
Kate and Sawyer are nearing their camp after a long hike back from their escape from the others. The pair are soaked in sweat, so much so that it almost seems comical. As the old saying goes, "Men perspire, but women glow." Kate is definitely glowing.
Her sidekick, Sawyer, arrives at camp to find that his plunder had been plundered. In a rage, he accosts Charlie and Desmond, who admit to taking Sawyer's stash and drinking his scotch - but they implicate Hurley as well. Sawyer, the man who plunders, stalks off to demand answers. He finds Hurley at the van and his first words are "Hey, Oliver Twist, where the hell's my stuff?"
Can't you hear, can't you hear that thunder? You better run - you better take cover.
Picture Tricia Tanaka and her camera man inside Mr. Clucks Chicken, pausing their conversation and cocking their heads to listen to the rumble overhead, right before the meteor takes their lives. Outside, Hurley and Randy are doing the same thing and take cover from the destruction.
I said do you speak-a my language?
Sun explains to Jin that she will only speak to him in English from this point forward so he can learn the language. Jin is the only person who doesn't laugh off Hurley's request for help to get the van started. Hurley, recognizing the language barrier, says to Jin, "You have no idea what you volunteered for, do you?" Later, Sawyer attempts to teach Jin several English phrases designed to help improve his relationship with women.
I come from a land down under - where beer does flow and men chunder.
The van is full of old Dharma beer. Roger and Ben were on a beer run. Sawyer and Jin drink the beer and attempt conversation.Living in a land down under...
The land down under is Australia. Australia is the key to the whole game. The key Hurley finds at the beginning of the episode leads him to this van, which represents the land down under - Hurley's soul. With that key he finds a way to restore the van to running condition. And this act symbolizes the restoration of his soul as he finds hope and luck and a new reason to love life again.