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By RD Heldenfels Published: April 6, 2006

This morning, I've been collecting theories about ''Lost'' from co-workers to go with my own, and there are some good ones. Starting with the obvious: That ''Lost'' has pulled a ''St. Elsewhere'' and really is all Hurley's imagination. Then the twist, which I sort of like, that it's all Libby's mental-asylum fantasy. I'd like to think the show is smarter than either of those, and that Hurley-and-Libby-in-the-asylum is just another of the show's many character overlaps. And my co-workers came up with other good spins: That Libby was in the institution doing research as a therapist, or -- even better -- that Libby was a Dharma plant, looking for candidates for the ''Lost'' project, and discovered Hurley.

However this plays out, though, it was a good episode. I like Hurley, after all -- who doesn't? -- and we got to see a lot of sides of him, including an explanation of how he ended up in an institution. The kiss was sweet and more than a little sad (even sadder if you accept that idea that Libby has some other agenda). And there were good little games along the way, from the arrival of Dave (whom my wife immediately pegged as someone from the asylum) to the revelation of his non-existence -- which I figured out, not least because he talked like Hurley, but also because the photo-taking felt like a set-up. But the show played very fair in establishing that, for example in the way Dave's appearance was always tied to Hurley's eating. And there was the other stuff involving Locke and do-we-still-call-him-Henry.

Very satisfying, a good invitation to next week's show.

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