Posted by: cousinbrandon | March 24, 2010

LOST – Season 6, Episode 9: “Ab Aeterno”

So, it appears I finally got the episode of LOST I’d been clamoring for since forever. There were a lot of things I would have been willing to forgive, but robbing us of a Richard Alpert episode would have been one exclusion too many. For shits and giggles, I Googled the name Richard Alpert, if only to see if anything would come up outside of LOST. Interestingly enough, something did. In fact, I have a small connection to make with this other Richard Alpert, but I’ll get to it near the end. “Ab Aeterno,” a title I’ll get to later, was not only a fun and informative episode, but the first episode all season to break the “sideways” storytelling structure and present, instead, a flashback, albeit nearly all flashback. Me? I wish there had been a way to get at Richard’s back story without breaking form, as LOST traditionally utilizes one form of storytelling for an entire season. Still, as I’ve heard uttered in these parts before, what’s done is done. I should warn you of two other things before we get going: 1) I’m suspecting long chunks of text this week, as there wasn’t as much back and forth, so get ready to do some dense reading; and 2) I did not watch the preview for next week, so, if you’re posting comments, please do not reveal anything about the trailer. Oh, and it would’ve been nice of ABC to mention that V was returning. (Ugh! That show is a shit sandwich.) With that, let’s jump right in with…

1. The Mummy. 

We open this week not with “new” material, but Ilana’s open eye from the season 5 finale, in which she is bandaged all about the head and visited by Jacob. This time, though, we learn why Jacob has come to visit her: because there are six people he needs her to protect, who are the six remaining candidates to replace him. Unless I missed it, we still don’t know just why in the hell she’s bandaged, which suggests that 1) we’re going to get an Ilana episode (which I doubt); or 2) at some point we’re going to get her explanation of the “accident” that landed her there, a la Dogen explaining about his son to Sayid. We then go forward to…

2. This Is Hell.”

Okay, not my favorite Elvis Costello song (who I adore, incidentally), but so be it. Any chance to reference the former Declan MacManus is a go in my book. Sun, on behalf of Ilana, is explaining to Jack and the rest of the beachcombers that they are candidates to replace Jacob. Now that Jacob is dead, Jack wonders what they’re supposed to do now. “Ask Ricardus,” says Ilana. “He’ll know what to do next.” Richard gives one of the best/funniest/creepiest laughs and says he has no idea. Furthermore, he lets Jack and crew in on a little secret: “You’re dead.” He tells them that they’re all dead and in hell. Hmm. His faith and spirit broken, Richard proclaims that it’s time to start listening to someone else, who we can obviously intuit is FLocke. Richard takes off into the jungle. Ilana wants to follow him, but Jack says there’s no use, as Richard is nuts. During this exchange, Ben slips in one of the best, if barely heard lines of dialogue of the episode: “Oh, this should be interesting.” (It’s a shame, really, that my favorite character, Ben Linus, has been somewhat limited in his smug one-liners and outright lies this season. Granted, he’s been “saved,” so to speak, and I wouldn’t expect him to continue lying. I’m just saying that Michael Emerson has the ability to make any line of dialogue a keepsake, and I miss hearing lines like this one delivered from his mouth.) Ben assures the group that Richard doesn’t know anything. Meanwhile, Jack spots Hurley talking to “someone” on the beach, and we can hear that he’s speaking in what sounds like Spanish. Jack wants to know what Jacob is saying, only Hurley points out he wasn’t talking to Jacob, and that, frankly, it’s none of Jack’s business who he’s talking to. And with that, finally, we go back – way back – to…

3. Finding Ricardo. We find a bearded, long-haired Richard Alpert (Ricardo) riding on horseback through a forested area, which we learn is Tenerife in the Canary Islands, 1867. (For the record, I did a quick search of the year 1867 to see if anything interesting happened. Sure, there’s the list of typical historical events, but I also found one particular death of interest. It seems that an English chemist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry passed in August of that year. What’s more, he was a highly religious man, a devout member of the Sandemanian Church, a Christian sect. His name? Michael Faraday.) He arrives at his home where we meet his wife, the very sick Isabella. Seeing that she’s coughing blood, Ricardo realizes he must get to the doctor immediately. To pay him, Isabella removes her necklace (a cross!) from around her neck to help pay the doctor. Ricardo rides out into the rain before reaching the doctor’s home. The doctor, a rich, gluttonous man, refuses to ride off into the rain, as Ricardo’s home is a half-day’s ride away. He will, however, give Ricardo medicine to treat her. Ricardo gives the doctor everything he has, yet the doctor insists it’s not enough. Enraged and desperate, a struggle ensues resulting in the doctor smacking his head against the table and dying. Ricardo snatches up the vial of white powder and makes for home, only to find that it is too late: Isabella has died. (I found it interesting, the white powder, as this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Richard with a vial of this sort. Granted, the last time it was a vial of ash that keeps Smokey away and he was presenting it to child John Locke, but still.) Moments later, the front door is kicked in and the authorities arrive, presumably to arrest Ricardo for murder. We stay in this time period and move to…

4. Death Sentence.

(For the record, Kevin Bacon’s character’s name in Death Sentence is Nick Hume. Always nice to see the name Hume, no?) Ricardo is imprisoned and reading from the bible. A priest enters the cell to bring him food and points out that Ricardo is reading from an English version of the bible. (Specifically, he is reading St. Luke 4:37, which reads, “And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.”) Ricardo tells the priest that he and Isabella were planning to leave for the New World, and he was learning English in preparation. Ricardo kneels to give confession. He confesses to murdering a man, for which the priest cannot grant absolution. Ricardo pleads for God’s forgiveness, saying the death was accidental. The priest points out that forgiveness can only be gained through penance, which is impossible since Ricardo is to be hanged the next day. “I’m afraid,” the priest says in Spanish, “the Devil awaits you in hell.” End scene, but we stay in the cell and eventually move on into…

5. The Black Rock. Men enter Ricardo’s cell to presumably take him to be hanged. Instead, he is met in the hallway by an Englishman named Whitfield (which unmistakably reminded me of Widmore), who wants to know if Ricardo speaks English. Ricardus says nothing initially and is dragged away to be executed, but at last opens his mouth and says that, yes, he speaks English. Whitfield then declares Ricardo is now property of Magnus Hanso, a name we’ve not heard for quite some time. We cut away to The Black Rock (out of Portsmouth), which is at sea during a dreadful nighttime storm. Ricardo, along with other “slaves,” is chained to the wall of the ship below deck. The slave next to Ricardo is able to peer through a crack in the ship and spots the Tawaret statue. He freaks out and calls it “El Diablo.” Losing its bearings, The Black Rock crashes into Tawaret (thus ultimately resulting in what’s now left of the statue: a foot). Ricardo and the other slaves awake the next day to the sound of the crew above deck. We hear Whitfield (presumably) say, “Captain Hanso is dead.” Whitfield makes his way below deck, and rather than freeing the chained slaves, he begins executing them, one by one, by stabbing them with his sword. (By the way, does this really work? That is, movies have always portrayed death by sword stabbing as requiring only a single “shot” to the stomach or what have you. Is this really enough to instantly murder someone? Just seems like horseshit, but that’s beside the point.) Whitfield approaches Ricardo, the last of the slaves, and explains he’s doing this because they are shipwrecked and supplies are limited. Furthermore, if he freed Ricardo, it would only be a matter of time before Ricardo tried to kill him. (I get this in the typical “survivor” sense, but in it way it reminded me of the “sickness” on the island.) Just as Whitfield is about to murder Ricardo, both hear the familiar clickety-clack of Smokey, who makes quick work of the crew above deck. Whitfield looks up through the grate and asks if everything is okay, only to have blood drip on him from above. With that, Smokey plunges through the grate and drags Whitfield away. Smokey goes below deck and approaches Ricardo, “judging” him as we’ve seen several times before. I understand that Ricardo might not pose an immediate threat as he is chained, but I still find it odd that Smokey judges some and is indiscriminate with others. Ricardo closes his eyes, and when opens them Smokey is gone. He has been spared. A short time passes, and we are back watching…

6. The Devil and Ricardo Alpert.

I guess I’ve got Daniel Johnston on the brain. Anyway, Ricardo is trying to free himself from the chains, but to no avail. At last he removes a nail from the floorboards and attempts every possible means of unclasping himself. Due to exhaustion, hunger and a lack of water, Ricardo passes out, only to be awoken by (what else?) a boar, who is feeding away on the dead passengers. The boar charges Ricardo and knocks the nail out of his reach. Having all but given up, Ricardo passes out and is once again awoken, only this time by Isabella. She tells Ricardo that both of them are dead; that they are in hell. He pleads with her to free him before the Devil returns, only it is too late. He hears Smokey approaching and tells her to run, but Smokey gets her nonetheless. (Or does he? Was Ricardo hallucinating? That is, was she really there or was it a figment of his imagination? Or was she there, only it wasn’t her but Smokey in the form of Isabella? In other words, was Smokey using her to manipulate Ricardo?) Ricardo passes out (again) and is woken by the Man in Black (who we obviously haven’t seen in this form since the season 5 finale), who gives Ricardo water. He claims he is a friend, and that they are, indeed, in hell. He tells Ricardo he’s been on the island since long before The Black Rock crashed. Furthermore, he looks at the chained Ricardo and tells him, “I want to be free, too.” MiB says that the smoke thing must have Ricardo’s wife, and fortunately, while snooping around on deck, he found a set of keys. He will unlock Ricardus, but only if he’ll do as he asks. Ricardo agrees, and once free of the chains MiB says, “It’s good to see you out of those chains.” Nice. MiB points out that Ricardo needs to regain his strength. When Ricardo asks why, MiB responds, “There’s only one way to escape hell: you’re gonna’ have to kill the Devil.” We move above ground to…

7. The Golden Child.

Sure, that one’s a reach, but it’s all I can think of when I see that knife, as I imagine Eddie Murphy saying, “I want the knife…please.” Ricardo is devouring boar meat when MiB tells him he must go to the statue, where he’ll find the Devil. He hands Ricardo the same knife that Dogen gave Sayid and tells him to stab the Devil in the chest, but not to let him speak. Essentially, this scene is an exact replica of Dogen’s scene with Sayid, right down to the specific instructions. MiB admits that, yes, he is actually the smoke monster, but doesn’t have Isabella. “The Devil has your wife, and you’ll have to kill him to get her back.” Ricardo is clearly conflicted, as he does not believe in murder, not for any reason, which makes the idea of him being incarcerated and nearly hanged from murder that much sadder. Still, he will do anything to get Isabella back, so he takes the knife and proceeds to the foot of the statue. Before he can enter, though, he is attacked by Jacob (who spoke first, by the way), who wants to know what Ricardo is doing there (who sent him). Ricardo explains that he was sent by MiB and his instructions were to stab “the Devil,” that he is dead and will do anything to have his wife back. Jacob drags Ricardo to the ocean and repeatedly shoves his head underwater, asking if he really thinks he’s dead. [UPDATE: Hard to believe that I’m just now realizing this, but could this be a baptism of sorts? I mean, especially considering the scene when Ricardo was still shackled and it started raining, only he couldn’t reach the grate; thus, he couldn’t be baptized.] Ricardo tells Jacob, “I want to live,” and here realizes he is not, in fact, dead. We then continue on with…

8. The Fall.

Jacob returns to Ricardo who is sitting on the beach around a fire, and with him he carries a bottle of wine. Jacob explains that no one goes inside unless he invites them in. Ricardo asks if he’s the Devil. Jacob hesitates and says no. He goes on to explain that he brought The Black Rock to the island, only Ricardo doesn’t understand. We then get the wine metaphor. Jacob tells Ricardo to imagine that the wine is evil incarnate, and that evil wants to spread. The cork, then, is the island, which is what keeps the darkness/evil at bay. In other words, the island is a prison, of sorts, keeping evil/darkness/infection/corruption from spreading out into the world. Jacob explains that he brings people to the island to prove MiB wrong. He brings them there because he wants people to know/learn right from wrong, only he can not intervene. Jacob believes people must make that choice for themselves. (This is an allegory, then, for original sin and the fall from grace. Again, it’s the basic idea that man, when presented with a choice, is to make the “right” one so as not to stray from God and what is right. Adam and Eve, though, picked the apple from the lone forbidden tree, and thus began the fall. Again, check out Camus’ fantastic book of the same name for more on this.) Ricardo points out that even though Jacob won’t intervene, what’s to keep MiB from interfering and manipulating others to do “wrong.” Jacob considers this point and asks if Ricardo wants a job as his intermediary, a guide, of sorts, who will keep people on the right path so Jacob himself doesn’t have to interfere, but can remain a watcher of sorts. Ricardo wants to know what he gets in return, and Jacob asks what he wants. He cannot fulfill his first two requests: to bring back Isabella or absolve him of his sins. (This is important, incidentally, for those of you thinking that Jacob is, in fact, God. If anyone could absolve Ricardo, it would be God, no?) After nearly being hanged, nearly dying aboard The Black Rock, and (almost) nearly drowning by Jacob’s hand, Ricardo says that he wants to live forever. Jacob agrees to this and touches him. (By the way, was it me or was there a really hokey sound effect when this happened?) With this Ricardo returns to MiB, who points out that Ricardo let Jacob talk to him first. (Again, I know many of you think this is too literal a point, but I still say there’s something to physically not letting Jacob — or FLocke previously — speak first before the knife could be plunged into them.) At Jacob’s request, Ricardo hands over the white rock, the same white rock we saw FLocke chuck into the ocean in “The Substitute.” Realizing Ricardo is now with Jacob, he tells Ricardo that should he ever changes his mind, the offer still stands. He hands Ricardo the cross necklace, then disappears. Ricardo kisses the necklace and buries it. We then jump, eh, 140 years or so later to…

9. Ghost.

Richard is still trekking through the jungle in the actual timeline. He reaches the site where he buried the necklace so many years ago and digs it up. He calls to MiB and says he’s changed his mind, that he’s ready to join him. Only MiB doesn’t show; Hurley does. Richard wants to know what he’s doing there, and Hurley explains that Richard’s wife sent him. “She wants to know why you buried her cross,” he tells Richard. Richard is clearly rattled, and Hurley explains that she’s standing right next to him. Hurley, playing the role of Whoopi Goldberg, speaks on her behalf. Isabella is telling Richard to let go of her – of the past – and is essentially giving him that absolution he never got from the priest, from Jacob, from God. It’s really touching, in a way, as if Richard has now, at last, been saved. Richard places the necklace around his own neck and thanks Hurley. Isabella has gone, but Hurley tells Richard she had one more thing to say before leaving: that Richard had to stop MiB from leaving the island or they’d all go to hell. In the distance, we see that FLocke had not only returned to “claim” Richard, but has witnessed this exchange. And by the way, did anyone else think that, perhaps, Hurley was lying? That Isabella didn’t say that at all? Something seemed false, just as Hurley tried to lead Jack the wrong way back to the temple. The question, then, is this: is Jacob determining Hurley’s every move? Or, here’s a crazy thought: is Hurley Jacob? Look, I speculated weeks ago that of all the possible candidates, Hurley might seem the most logical. He was the only one off-island to be touched by Jacob post-Oceanic pre-Ajira. He has the closest connection to the numbers. And, of course, he is the only one who sees Jacob. Furthermore, has anyone noticed what Hurley’s been wearing all season? If sci-fi has taught us anything it’s that red shirts are not a good sign. Just ask Neil Frogurt. Or Juliet. Or any of those nobodies on old episodes of Star Trek. I guess what I’m saying, then, is this: is it possible Hurley’s dead? In the final scene, we jump way back to…

10. The Broken Bottle. MiB is sitting on a rock overlooking the island and holding the white stone, when he is joined by Jacob. He explains that he tried to kill Jacob because he wants to leave. It’s irrelevant, Jacob explains, as someone else will simply take his place. Jacob takes his leave and hands MiB the bottle of wine, which he then smashes on the rock and metaphorically unleashes the evil. Now, before all of you say, “See, I told you Jacob was the jailer keeping Smokey on the island,” ask yourself this: why is FLocke still on the island? I mean, Jacob is dead, killed by Ben Linus, thus exploiting the loophole and “freeing” Smokey, yes? Well, that’s the problem. As Jacob explained, it’s not him who keeps Smokey from being free; it’s the cork – the island. What this means, then, is that I don’t think of Jacob as the jailer; rather, I see him as the righteous, a force attempting to convince MiB that people really are good, and that in the end they will make the right choice. As long as the island remains safe, he will continue to bring people there to illustrate this point, and hope that man will be saved. Should anything happen to the island, though – say, a bomb detonates and plunges it deep beneath the ocean – then the cork has been pulled and Smokey is free to go, like some sort of evil genie. Two final points, beginning with…

11. The Title. Ab aeterno translates to “Since the beginning of time,” a fitting name considering the focal point of this episode. The interesting question, though, is to whom do we apply it? Sure, the obvious correlation is to Richard, who has been on the island since 1867, and simply doesn’t age now that he’s been touched by Jacob. In a sense, he’s been there since the beginning. On the larger and more important scale is its correlation to Jacob and MiB (whose name, by the way, was still withheld, despite several instances in which it could have been shared). There is the notion that good and evil have been waging war since the beginning. In fact, perhaps it is more appropriate to think not of good and evil, but temptation – sin. If we think of this in terms of Jacob’s explanation, everything has been a test to see if man will make the right choice, even though everything “only ends once.” So, yes, until then, everything up to that ending is, in fact, “progress,” as Jacob explained in the season 5 finale. The first sin – the first test – was in Eden, and the participants failed miserably. Sin, then, has been there ab aeterno, since the beginning of time. And we now end on…

12. Island.

No, not the island, but rather a book called Island. Why is this relevant, other than the obvious implications? Well, because it was written by a man named Aldous Huxley, author of the classic Brave New World (which, in itself, is a fitting title for LOST.) Island was Huxley’s final novel, and is summarized thusly on Mindless:

Island is about an island called Pala where the inhabitants have made it their purpose to bring the best of spirituality and technology to their people. The people of Pala have created their own utopia. It portrays the rest of the world as greedy, selfish, deeply in pain and ultimately self destructive. The book plays out like a comparison of the western way of living exemplified by Will Farnaby, the ruler of Pala (the Raja) and her son versus Huxley’s eastern ideal expressed by the various citizens of Pala that Will encounters. The Raja has spent much time away from Pala and has her own spirituality. Much of the story examines Will’s efforts to end the suffering he has been going through most of his life. It seems that he is still suffering the pain of the loss of many deaths. His efforts all seem to point in the wrong direction. The people of Pala that Will encounters help him back on course.

Certainly much of this sounds comparable to themes on LOST: a remote island (natch), faith vs. science, an “alternate” world, the end of personal suffering, salvation, and finding the right course. Oh, and the other reason I mention Huxley? Well, he was pals with a guy named Ram Dass, and with him they studied spirituality and a slew of other subjects under the guide of Timothy Leary. Don’t know who Ram Dass is? Sure you do, only you might know him by his birth name: Richard Alpert.

Well, folks, that’ll do it for this week. All in all, I thought it was a pretty great episode. Really interesting to see almost all of it told in flashback mode. With that, if you have comments, questions, insight or anything else to add, please do so in the Comments section. [UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot this, but I wanted to give mad props to Nestor Carbonell, who was absolutely dynamite (in terms of acting) in this episode. Seriously, he killed it.]

Until next time, have at it, you vultures!

BD

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Responses

  1. “I found it interesting, the white powder, as this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Richard with a vile of this sort. Granted, the last time it was a vile of ash that keeps Smokey away and he was presenting it to child John Locke, but still.”

    Seriously dude. “Vile” is not equal to or greater than “vial.” You keep doing this crap and shit’s gonna go down.

    On a sidenote, nice write up. (Or should I say RIGHT-UP?) By far my fave episode. I concur, the Ben line was fabulous, the Faraday reference is awesome, and ironically, The Devil and Daniel Johnston was on last night as well.

    I think that Smokey was definitely manipulating Richard into seeing his wife, although it bothers me because it doesn’t make sense. Why show her getting killed by the black smoke only to then tell him that he IS the black smoke? ALSO, why pick the most pious and man to kill Jacob? Wouldn’t it be easier to manipulate the captain or the stabby-stabby guy?

    Also, I really enjoyed the playback on the dialogue from the previous eps, such as “Its good to see you out of those chains,” the first thing MIB & FLocke both say to Richard, as well as the “stab him in the heart, don’t let him speak a word,” speech, although reversies. It really brings into question again, who is good, who is bad, or if really they’re just two sides of the same coin.

    Oh, and in next week’s preview, everybody dies. Just sayin’.

    • Thanks for pointing that out, a., but in all fairness my brain breaks after that much booze, that little sleep and that much writing.

      In terms of why he chose Richard, the only things I can come up with are these: A) he didn’t view him as a threat, as he was chained (and judged) to be decent; and B) because he was a “pious” man, what better choice to kill Jacob than he who Smokey converts into giving up on faith?

      Again, I don’t think we can quantify things as good and evil. That is, I don’t think we can assign value to those terms. After all, we cannot have good without evil. If we rid the world of evil, don’t we rid the world of good? If we look at Jacob and MiB as opposing forces rather than good and evil, I think it makes everything more palatable.

  2. As usual, here’s my initial thoughts:

    1. So I guess the first question in hand is, do we finally have an aswer of good vs. evil? Here we have several times calling FLocke evil so maybe now that’s wrapped up.

    2. Sun declared herself a canidate when all Ilana said was that Kwon was and she didn’t know which one it meant or both. I was suprised Ilana didn’t correct her there.

    3. How did the people find Richard’s house back in 1867? He was a half day ride’s away and he took off right away so how did the police or mob find him so fast? Was he just well known so the butler guy knew where he lived?

    4. Maybe because I’m not Catholic but I thought on your deathbed so to speak, you could repent for all of your sins and would be forgiven. If that’s the case, I don’t see why the priest wouldn’t grant Richard forgiveness because he obviously was sorry for what he did. Also, I didn’t understand why the priest would then say “may god have mercy on your soul” right after he said “you’re going to hell and you’ll see the devil”.

    5. After Smokey did his thing, I think he was able to see in Richard’s heart/soul that Richard was a good man and hence he spared him and tried to corrupt him. I also feel that Smokey was playing Isabella and just using her to manipulate Richard mainly because I don’t see why Isabella would say “we’re in hell”. Uh, why would she be in hell??? Got to guess she lived a pure and good life.

    6. Here’s my question about “don’t let him speak 1 word” thing. Before Ben killed Jacob, did Jacob say anything? If he did, then that theory is flawed. Also, pretty sure before Jacob spoke to Richard, he started to attack him and it was only after a little bit into the fight that Jacob spoke.

    7. I don’t think Hurley was making up the last part about stopping FLocke. I’m guessing either Isabella mentioned that to him on the beach or right at the end whent eh camera pulled away from her kissing Richard.

    8. I was also wondering if any of these british guys had a relationship to Widmore. But I was also disturbed by the comment about I have to kill you because you’ll try to kill me. I understand the guy’s point but I mean, he could at least use the slaves as scouts and let them die first if there was any danger. Just my opinion anyways.

    9. Interesting how they finally explained the Island’s purpose. However, I think you could still view Jacob as the prison guard but just now he’s dead and FLocke is still locked in his cage and just needs to find a way to escape it but just now he doesn’t need to worry about a prison guard trying to stop him.

    Think that’s it for now.

    • Alright, dochielomn. Let’s get into it:

      1. See my comments to a. above.

      2. Yeah, I had the same thought. I mean, maybe she told her that off-screen, but I doubt it. I didn’t understand why Sun just assumed it was her. I found that odd.

      3. I wasn’t too concerned about that. I mean, I’m sure the butler immediately sent for help, so let’s just leave it at that.

      4. Good point. Can anyone else weigh in on this question? I’m not a religious sort, either, so I’m not exactly sure how that works. And, yeah, that did seem like a huge contradiction.

      5. Glad to see you agree with me that it was Smokey portraying Isabella. Again, it seems to make sense considering what we’ve seen of Smokey’s shape-shifting ways.

      6. Ben killing Jacob wasn’t the “don’t speak” scenario; rather, it was Sayid killing FLocke. Also, Jacob spoke the first words in his interaction with Ricardus.

      7. I’m not convinced. Something seemed awfully “off” about that little amendment to their conversation. I mean, why not just have Hurley translate Isabella saying that?

      8. Again, I don’t think the name “Whitfield” was accidental; however, there’s nothing that says Whitfield and Widmore are related at this point. It’s certainly possible, but who knows.

      9. I don’t buy that, either. If there’s something else keeping him there, why have Jacob at all?

      Thanks for the comments, sir.

      • 7. What if Hurley becomes the new Richard? Jacob made a point of saying he doesn’t want to intervene, so he chose Richard to do that on his behalf. With him being dead, Hurley is the only one he can communicate with, leading me to believe that the last part of the message came directly from Jacob.

        In the Lighthouse episode, Jacob was clearly telling Hurley what to say to Dogen to get what he needed.

        • An interesting thought, for sure. For some reason, I still think/want Hurley to be the new Jacob, but there’s some solid support you could make for your assessment.

      • 1. I’m content to leave the aside the whole good vs. evil thing. But I do agree with you that good can’t exist without evil or if one was vanquished, it would just take another form.

        5. Originally I started to think that maybe it could have been Jacob but then I thought about how (as you’ve said) we’ve never seen Jacob take any other forms so thus it has to be Smokey there.

        6. My point isn’t that Ben wasn’t told “don’t let him speak” just that if the act of speaking makes them immune to any sort of normal physical attack (like getting stabbed) that if Jacob did speak before Ben stabbed him, doesn’t that disprove that theory?

  3. I don’t believe that the island is a prison. Like the cork analogy, what if it is the gates to hell or the underworld. What if keeping MiB on this island is the most important job in the world? He has been called Cerberus, he was the guard dog for the gates of hell. He stays there protecting the island, doing his job, the balance is kept. He leaves, the “cork” gets popped and its hell on Earth.

    • I certainly like the idea of him as Cerberus as opposed to the Devil, which has been floated before. Furthermore, this jives with my notion that good and evil must remain in balance; that is, the two must co-exist.

      • I agree, it would stink if they were label God/Devil or Good/Evil. I like the idea that they serve a purpose, MiB protects the island while Jacob makes sure he says there. Maybe like most of us MiB is sick of his job, who knows how long he has been doing it.

        Im still having trouble finding out where Dharma fits in to all of this. Is it possible they were actually looking for the underworld or hell? I want to believe that pushing the button was a way to fix relieve pressure from a crack the put in the gate with their drilling. But that theory is full of holes because of the fail safe switch, what did that actually do?

        • Good question about Dharma. That still needs to be addressed about how and/or why they came to the island.

          • I’m totally with you on DHARMA. Again, we’ve spent entirely too long on the DHARMA Initiative to not have some type of satisfactory resolution. Interestingly, though, you can draw a parallel between the DI and Jacob/MiB, in that both appear to be conducting “experiments” with people as the pieces. In the case of Jacob and MiB, people are the players, and the experiment is to determine whether or not they will act “good” and make the right decisions. In the case of the DI, the human experimentation was everywhere, including those who didn’t know they were being experimented on (eg, the notebooks in the Pearl Station).

  4. Did you notice the butterfly flying into the Blackrock after Ricardus’ first encounter with smokey? Me and my girlfriend both thought it was really obvious, a big blue butterfly, so I looked up the meanings of butterflies. Obviously love and happiness came up, but I also found an interesting answer. Many cultures see a butterfly as a soul waiting to pass through purgatory. Also, the shade of blue reminded me instantly of Sawyer’s very blue shirt, which you mentioned in an earlier posting.

    I liked the episode, I thought Richard’s acting was really good in it and it was really enjoyable to finally know his background.

    Thanks again CB!

    • I’m so glad you pointed out the butterfly, Manderson, as I DID notice it, but pretty much blew it off once they did nothing with it. The whole reason I noticed it was because it looked absolutely fake/computer-generated. And the whole soul/purgatory symbolism is dynamite.

      As I amended my post above, yeah, Nestor Carbonell killed it! Still, it will be a bit disappointing to think we won’t see any of Richard’s back story in terms of how he came in contact with the Others and adopted a leadership role.

      • Also, if the Others never saw Jacob, was it only Richard who told them to believe what he had to say? All these people throughout the islands history believed in Jacob because of one crazy guy? And not only that, is that why he was put into power? Seems off to me.

        • Well, look at it this way: if Jacob continued to bring people to the island and one man (Richard) was there who “knew” things — who could keep them alive and show them the secrets of the island — well, you might follow too, no? Besides, is it any crazier than the masses of people who believe in and follow God, Jesus, Allah, or any other organized religion?

        • I would have to guess that maybe Jacob showed Richard some of the special places on the island and so when the next group of people showed up, Richard was able to show them some cool stuff and they followed him and the mroe and more that the others grew, they just sort of followed Richard because the previous people had told them so.

          But I guess, CB sort of makes a point on how a lot of people believe in some divine power without ever actually seeing anything and yet they follow blindly because someone else tells them to.

          • Exactly. I think your theory as to why they might follow Richard is a good one, but in a show positively littered with religious overtones and allegory, we can’t forget religious commentary, either.

  5. FYI: Its Ram Dass not Das Ramm. My mom has actually met this hippie fuck. http://www.allenginsberg.org/uploads/images/0479.jpg

    Anyways,

    “In 1974, Ram Dass created the Hanuman Foundation, which developed the Prison Ashram Project, designed to help prison inmates grow spiritually during their incarceration, and the Dying Project, conceived as a spiritual support structure for conscious and dying.”

    I guess this applies more to Jacob then Richard, but found it interesting in reference to “prison” and “death”.

    Also, I was always hoping that R.A. was an Egyptian, with the eye liner look and all. So is he a tranny?

    Also, in my sick mind, I thought it would have been funny if R.A. awoke from his wet dream with Isabella to find Hurley liking his face.

    • Duh! I must have been channeling my high school German again.

      And that response of yours just cracked me the hell up, crotch.

    • “prison” “Ram Dass” “Ashram”? Is this an Oz joke?

      • I think it’s pronounced “Rom Doss,” not “Rammed Ass.” Sheesh!

        (Your version is much funnier, though.)

  6. My wife pointed out something else interesting about Hurley. He seems to be the only one of the candidates who hadn’t really done bad things in his life.

    Sayid was a torturer.
    Jack was mostly a good guy, but had some selfish tendencies.
    Kate killed her dad.
    etc.

    I don’t think Hurley has ever done anything bad, has he? Would this make him a better candidate than the others?

    • Several regular LOST bloggers/podcasters point out, Richie, that Hurley’s “sin” was his greed; his sloth and his weight. And if we think of it in terms of the Seven Deadly Sins, yes, it counts as being wrong. Granted, I completely agree that his sins seem, well, mild in comparison. He didn’t murder anyone, at least. But it would seem he isn’t without sin.

      • Didn’t Hurley kill a bunch of people when he stepped on a balcony or something, causing his stint in the nut house?

        • Duh! That’s right. Thanks, Mike. I TOTALLY forgot. And I guess you can say he’s a “murderer” as much as Alpert’s one, in that both were accidental.

  7. Interestingly though…in the flash sideways, Hurley seems to be the only one who is happy and successful (as far as we know). So far everyone else has been struggling in some way. I don’t know what that means…but just interesting in terms of Hurley’s “goodness” compared to everyone else.

    • As I’ve written previously, The Hammer, there are so many reasons why it would make sense for Hurley to be Jacob’s replacement. Refer to my earlier posts. Also, as Jacob told Hurley, some might call the ability to talk to dead people “a blessing.” Interestingly, Hurley had this “gift” BEFORE he ever met or was touched by Jacob. He just seems like a natural fit (no pun intended). Now, then, let’s just hope Hurley doesn’t eat the island before he has a chance to protect it.

  8. Because I have so many thoughts, I’m replying before I read the comments. If I retouch on anyone’s ideas, I apologize in advance.

    Here’s my new, out there theory: Jacob is the original MiB and MiB is the original Jacob.

    Now, this seems a little far fetched, but that’s okay. I’m used to being wrong. However, what we think and what the characters do are two entirely different things. Anyway, I’ll explain in a bit.

    Hell. Is hell a physical place, or is it a state of mind? In a sense, the island is Hell to some. To others, it’s a utopia. We already got our 5 o’clock foreshadowing in the premier when Sayid asks, “When I die, what do you think will happen to me… wherever I go…. it can’t be very pleasant.” Well, Sayid did die. And where is he? The island.

    Which brings us to: The island. Jacob keeps bringing people to the island to prove a point to MiB. This reminded me of God talking to The Devil about Job. However, Job was incorruptible. Is Jacob waiting for Job to come to the island? And why keep bringing these people to the island if it risks the island’s safety? My guess, which echos others at some point in time: this is all just a game for the two, with the people as pawns. Neither side is necessarily good nor evil, but they both want to win and both use manipulation as much as possible to gain victory. We now know that the ship that Jacob brought in the season 5 finale was NOT the Black Rock, because the Black Rock came during a storm. However, it makes you think: what steps did Jacob go through to influence Richard’s coming to the island? Did he somehow give Isabella her illness? Did he influence them to learn English for their travels to the New World (no mention of America)? What I mean is, if Jacob brought the ship there, did he select the passengers too like he did with flights 815 and 316? And how far back do his pushes go? By the way, we saw the same manslaughter with Desmond and Kelvin.

    When Richard was about to be killed on the Black Rock, The MiB saved him. You may ask why, but the only ones left alive were Officer W and Alpert. (And if you think the one stab death is perposterous, it’s not more ridiculous than everyone on the island being able to get knocked out with one blow to the head.) Sidebar: Officer W had something interesting to say: “If I set you free, it’s just a matter of time before you try to kill me.” That’s the EXACT opposite, or mirror, to Jacob and MiB. Because Jacob won’t free MiB, he’s trying to kill him. Anyway, it makes sense to save Alpert, because he’s easier to manipulate for the loophole. Send the board to knock the hope (literally) out of his hands, then come and free him. Done and done.

    But what of Isabella? The ghosts are one of the keys to the mystery. How do we know Jacob wasn’t the ghost of Isabella, trying to get to Alpert as well. That Smokey wasn’t coming back to free him, only to realize Jacob was there? There seem to be two types of ghosts on the island. The ones of people who have perished on the island, or whose bodies are there, and those who haven’t. We assume MiB can only take form of those who are physically on the island.

    All the dialogue with Jacob and MiB seemed LOADED! Let me speak about them as a whole, this way, I don’t have to remember any particular order. First, the whole “don’t let him speak first” thing is now clearly because of the manipulation factor, and has nothing to do with death. Jacob spoke before Ben killed him, so speaking doesn’t make them impervious to knife wounds. When Richard meets Jacob, he’s greeted with violence. He’s also being quasi-drowned to prove he’s alive, which reminded me of the Lazarous pit.
    Jacob says the island is a cork… keeping darkness from spreading. So far, it would seem this is a lie. From everything we’ve seen in the LA X reality, almost everyone is better off with the island destroyed. Doesn’t mean things can’t end badly, but it would seem that this is simply untrue. Then, Jacob states he can’t interfere or tell them what to do. Nonsense. He does nothing but “push” people and has been instructing Hurley since before the Ajira flight. Even using Richie as a middleman is basically telling them what to do. Jacob can’t give Ricky his wife back, and can’t absolve him. Well, who gave Hurley the gift of speaking to the dead? If he had given that to Richard, wouldn’t he basically have his wife back, in some small capacity.

    The most curious line of the night by the MiB: He took my body. Which is what leads me to believe that they switched places. He just wants to leave. Jacob is free to leave the island at any time. MiB seems to be more truthful as well. This could also explain him having the cave and the statue as homes. Oh, and one more thing: more than ever, I believe the two are brothers and that the Adam And Eve skeletons were their parents.

    • Sweet Jesus, MM. I don’t even know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just go with, well, the beginning:

      1. I think we have to assume hell not a physical, identifiable place. As you point out, the island is heaven for some (Locke, Rose) and hell for others (eg, MiB). Isn’t hell, after all, our own manifestation of worst case scenarios? That is, a place we generate in our mind based on our perception of doom and the absolute extreme of being, well, lost?

      2. I think the notion of “how far back” did Jacob go to bring people to the island is interesting. The bigger question, then, is why THESE people? If good and evil exist (which, by the way, pokes a hole in this entire struggle, as what, then, is Jacob attempting to prevent by keeping evil in place on the island? Evil already exists “out there,” so his effort is off), what is Jacob hoping to accomplish? If it’s game, haven’t we realized that no one can “win,” since one half can’t exist without the other?

      3. I like your notion of MiB sending the boar to knock the nail away only to appear and save Ricardus himself.

      4. No way do I think Jacob was assuming/playing the ghost of Isabella. Not a chance. I still contend that we have NEVER seen Jacob take another form, and until we know that as fact I simply don’t accept it.

      5. Again, I disagree with you on the “speaking first” thing. I think it goes beyond manipulation. Such a specific point was made by MiB to Richard (and Dogen to Sayid) that I accept it as literal. Furthermore, I don’t think the example of Ben stabbing Jacob carries any weight, simply based on the knife used to kill Jacob. It was a run-of-the-mill knife as opposed to that “special” dagger Richard attempted to use, which Jacob took and most likely later passed on to Dogen, who gave it to Sayid to murder MiB. Nice loop.

      6. You’re absolutely right here. I’ve said over and over again that I don’t think we can assign good or evil to either one of them. If anything, it’s Jacob who’s been the greater manipulator of the two. He touched people; he brought people to the island; he intervened repeatedly. Additionally, one other thought about the wine bottle. Okay, so the cork is the island, yes? So what then does MiB’s breaking the bottle mean? Well, I have to take it as symbolizing that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. In either instance, the evil is set free.

      7. Interesting idea about them and the skeletons. This really calls back to the Jacob and Esau theory from way back in my season 5 finale recap.

      • 2. I’m wondering the same thing. My question is, how did he bring people to the island then? We know that with the current group, he visited them, somehow causing them to come to the island. Last night, Richard was the only survivor of the ship and Jacob had no idea who he was. That leads me to the question, has he always brought random people to the island and wait and see what happened? Or was he active in the selection process. I’m also very interested in how MiB chooses to kill or not kill people.

    • Only one thing I’ll disagree with a little. You can’t be certain that teh Black Rock wasn’t the ship in the finale of season 5. Just because it was daylight and nice and sunny when Jacob and MiB were looking at it doesn’t mean the weather couldn’t have shifted drastically. The ship was still far off the coast of the island so there was time for a sudden storm to strike. Especially if either Jacob or MiB has that kind of power (even though we haven’t seen it, it’s possible).

      Also, until Jacob takes on another form (because as far as we know right now, with proof, he’s never done that and always appeared as himself) I think we have to assume that from previous history that Smokey was taking the form of Isabella. Also, got to think that unless Jacob showed up in 1867 at Richard’s village or something like that, he had nothing to do with Richard getting to the island. The only way I see that is if Jacob sent the english guy to go buy prisoners on death row to be on the ship.

      • The prisoner on the Black Rock looked through the window during the storm to “discover” land (the island). If the Black Rock was the ship that Jacob and MiB were looking at, then the prisoner probably would have already known that land was nearby.

        I’m sure there are certain story details that the writers just screw up on. Details that they forgot about, and wrote a different story that contradicts something from a previous season.

        I would really like to know more about the writing process for this show. Do they have a huge whiteboard with all these loose ends drawn on it that they consider addressing? When they first showed the Tawaret statue in the (first?) time travel episode, did they already know at that time that the Tawaret statue would be crashed into by the Black Rock? (BTW – I think the first sight of the Tawaret statue was the my single favorite scene in the history of Lost.)

        • The prisoner looked through the crack during the storm and saw land then (which considering they crashed through the statue a moment later had to mean they were practically on the island when he saw land) so perhaps that was the first time that he had looked out the crack because everything was so rough out there.

      • Honestly, I’m still on the fence with this one, as I can see it going either way. On one hand, I also considered that there was simply a shift and a storm set in. On the other hand, we don’t know when, exactly, the season 5 finale takes place, so that could have been any ship. The reason I’m prone to believe the former, though, is because The Black Rock is the ONLY ship we’ve seen referenced on the show, and it’s the ONLY ship we’ve actually seen on the island.

        • I don’t see how it could possibly be the Black Rock. I watched that episode over again and it is clearly light out and they are not that far away. That would be a huge mistake for writers this meticulous.

          • Again, I think WE’RE to think that the ship on the season 5 finale and The Black Rock are one in the same, but, yes, I think it’s a continuity error. Hell, if memory serves, I think they got their timelines wrong anyway, as I could have sworn The Black Rock actually arrived on the island pre-1867. I forget if this was referenced back in the diary purchased by Widmore at auction, but either way I think it was earlier than the date they gave us in this episode.

          • Maybe I was reading too much into things, but when MiB and Jacob sat on the beach looking at the ship, I was under the impression that Jacob had brought that ship to the island (at the time I assumed it was the Black Rock). On the other hand, I am under the impression that the Black Rock arrived at the island by accident (but then, does anybody arrive by accident?).

            Most importantly, I just can’t believe that if the first ship and the Black Rock were one in the same that the writers wouldn’t show it once during calm daylight and once during a nighttime storm. Unless they just screwed up. But this would be a pretty big screwup. Showing the ship in season 5 was a significant scene. It probably took a lot of effort to set up the filming – not something they’d forget about.

    • I don’t know if I would agree with the idea that MiB is more truthful than Jacob. He lied to Claire about the Temple Others having Aaron. He lied to Sawyer about just “checking out” the other island for the plane. He’s just as manipulative as Jacob, using what each person wants most in the world to get them to act in a way that is outside of his or her usual behavior. The difference between MiB and Jacob is that MiB uses impossible desires (bringing back someone from the dead) as well as fear, whereas Jacob uses faith and a person’s desire to prove himself or do well, as can most likely be seen with Jack or even Dogen, who wanted to sacrifice himself for the well-being of his son. Yes, MiB is blunt. Once he get’s caught in a lie, he fesses up, usually without remorse. Jacob, however, can’t even voice the lie. It goes back to the idea of him being unable or unwilling to personally step in and tell people what is going on, why something is happening and what they need to do. He has to be roundabout if he wants to be involved at all.

      • The thing that stands out to me is that MiB has made it totally clear about what he wants. He will do whatever it takes to get off the island. If that involves lying or manipulating, I’m sure he is all in. Where with Jacob, we know he wants to find a candidate, but we still don’t know what that really involves. I think that makes it harder to see if he is or isn’t working everyone.

      • “Once he get’s caught in a lie…” Really, a.? Really?

        And here’s the thing: I think both are manipulative. I think they both lie and/or bend the truth in order to get what they want. If they need people to act a certain way to do their bidding, they lie. The difference is that Jacob’s lies appear to be lawful, in that they’re framed in a manner as to make them palatable. Call it what you will, but his touching the candidates is a way to get them to the island. He’s been watching these people. He’s been setting them up to potentially replace them. He’s been dishonest. Hence, he’s been lying.

        • Truth is just a matter of perspective, same with viewing good and evil. Of course on the hand, I go back to a quote from the tv show The Wire in which a character says “a lie ain’t a side of a story, it’s just a lie”.

          • This all goes back to philosophy, in terms of the greatest good for the most people (which is what John Locke the philosopher subscribed to). Again, it’s all about the end justifying the means. If you need to lie in order to positively affect the most people, then it’s worth lying.

  9. So… is Thomas Hobbes a key to Lost??? I was researching, while at work, and found some sloppy data out. Tell me if any of this sounds relevant:

    First off, Thomas Hobbes was an enlightment philosopher. We all know that Lost loves the Enlightenment era (John Locke, Jeremy Bentham..) However, besides being a philospher, he also studied the physics of gasses. (Smoke?)

    When he was born, he states that, “My mother gave birth to twins. Myself and fear.” Moreover, his mother remains unnamed, and he was premature. Most of his early childhood is a mystery. His father abandoned his 3 kids with their uncle (daddy issues?)
    Oh, and his boss that he cared a lot about… died of the plague. So he lost someone he cared about.

    Here’s where it gets interesting. His philosophies mirror both Jacob’s and MiB’s. He believed that all people were corrupt by nature. (MiB). He said because of this, people needed a strong leader. (Jacob) He also claimed that the state was a great artificial monster, that was created by human needs and will dissolve through civil strife and human passions.

    He believed that, in war, a person had the right to change sides when the power to proect is gone. Citizens cede their natural rights for the sake of protection. Now, isn’t FLocke always speaking about promising to protect his people?

    In Leviathan, his most famous treatise, he states that people should aim for peace. If peace is unobtainable, than you have all the practices of war at your disposal. If peace is not there, than you have the right to everything… even to one another’s body. Now, besides the obvious FLocke “possessing” people’s bodies, it reminds me of the temple scene. He offered them to leave peacefully, when some declined, he went batshit on them.

    He also believed that Heaven and Hell were places on earth. It’s debated whether or not he was a believer in God, but because of his questioning, people said that, “every lover of true morality and religion should Denounce Hobbes.” He simply stated that no one can know, for sure, one’s divine revelation or relationship with God, and to claim you’ve spoken with God is to claim something that can’t be proven and may even be corrupt. He was called evil…

    Which leads us to his views on good and evil. Hobbes says that they don’t exist! There is no good and evil because it’s a matter of perspective. However, in relationship to light and dark, part 4(numbers!) of Leviathan is called, “Of The Kingdom of Darkness” and it has FOUR reasons for darkness. Darkness isn’t evil… but ignorance. The 4 reasons for darkness, briefly, are misinterpretation of scripture (like saying you can find the kingdom of God in church), worshipping false idols, mixing religion with false Greek philosophy, and mixing false traditions with uncertain history.

    Is Jacob assigning taks that can be misinterpreted? Yep. Is Jacob a flase idol? Maybe. The statue was. Is the Lost mythology being mixed with religion and philosophy? Yessir. Do the characters have an uncertain history? Well, history, since in Lost it’s malleable, itself is uncertain.

    Finally, Hobbes last works included translating the Odyssey and the Illiad, and his final word were, “a great leap in the dark!”

    • Lots of really great observations, MM. It’s no secret that the writers are taking a philosophical approach to LOST, what with characters named Locke, Hume, Bentham, et al. Now, we’ve not seen a character named Hobbes, but there are certainly correlations to his belief system. Still, I don’t know if we can say he’s a “key” to LOST. That is, who is the Hobbes character?

      • At this point, is there really a key to the show? There is so much cross usage of religious references, philosophy, sci-fi, mythology, 9 million characters, time travel, latin, paranormal activity. I feel like I have a better chance at deciphering the Da Vinci code then finding a key to this show.

        • I hate to say it, but I’m really starting to fear that the explanation could be way too simple. That is, I don’t want a “bullshit ending” that the writers pull out of their asses; however, I don’t want it to be as simple as good vs. evil, god vs. the devil. I’m praying the writers are too smart for that, and giving them the benefit of the doubt that they won’t let us down in the end. Still, I’m a little worried.

          • I totally agree, when Richard said the “We’re dead and in hell” bit, I was ready to turn the TV off, then they dismissed him and I felt better. Then MiB said it and I grabbed the remote again. Then Jacob dismissed it. If they pull this whole you’re all sleeping on a plane bit, I’m going to forget I ever watched the show.

  10. Everyone above is debating the ship seen in the season 5 finale. I’m still undecided either way. My only real opinion is that we know it is very difficult to navigate to the island unless you head on a specific bearing. If this ship was not originally heading to the island, who knows how long it would take them to navigate around it. This could explain the change in daylight and weather the Black Rock experienced on its way in.

    Is the island visible from a distance or do you have to be within its “force field” before you can see it?

  11. Re: Mike’s comment…

    “I totally agree, when Richard said the “We’re dead and in hell” bit, I was ready to turn the TV off, then they dismissed him and I felt better. Then MiB said it and I grabbed the remote again. Then Jacob dismissed it. If they pull this whole you’re all sleeping on a plane bit, I’m going to forget I ever watched the show.”

    The writers have insisted since jump that they are NOT in purgatory; I don’t, however, remember them saying they’re not in hell. Still, as I commented earlier (in response to MM or dochioelmn, I think), what, exactly, is hell? In this sense, the island is “hell” for some, not for all. I don’t know that we can take this as “hell” literally, and I don’t. Again, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because why is Jacob trying to keep the evil “bottled up” when it already clearly exists in the real world?

  12. I’m saying that MiB is the Hobbeseque character, and that he actually wants to shed light on things, which is why we’ve been getting some answers. Didn’t he say something like, “Richard, I would’ve never kept you in the dark like that.”

    I was just saying, I could envision an ending much like Hobbes’ ending where the characters “take a great leap into the dark” and embrace the “end” that only happens once (death.) The thing is, this leap in the dark is only dark to them. We know it as the leap into the LA X reality.

    P.S. Thanks for the LCS shoutout Brandon. You’re a sweetheart.

    • So you’re suggesting, MM, that the reason they are having moments of deja vu in the LAX reality is because they still have traces of their time on the island trapped in their subconscience?

      I think this makes a lot of sense in terms of their actions in the alternate reality, in that the characters are behaving honorably. Wouldn’t this mean, then, that Sawyer WON’T eventually kill Anthony Cooper? And what about Sayid? I still say he didn’t have to execute Keamy.

      Clearly the characters are behaving, well, “better” in the LAX timeline, which could be a manifestation of them “making the right choice” per Jacob.

      Interesting.

  13. Re: Richie

    “Maybe I was reading too much into things, but when MiB and Jacob sat on the beach looking at the ship, I was under the impression that Jacob had brought that ship to the island (at the time I assumed it was the Black Rock). On the other hand, I am under the impression that the Black Rock arrived at the island by accident (but then, does anybody arrive by accident?).”

    It’s pretty clear, Richie, that Jacob brought the ship to the island. Hell, he says as much. Nobody ends up there accidentally.

    • Just rewatching the finale of season 5, right at the beginning of the episode both Jacob and MiB are looking at the ship and the MiB asks Jacob if he brought the ship there to which Jacob just sort of smirks to which MiB basically says yeah you brought them here. So yeah, the ship was purposely brought there.

  14. To continue to add to things:

    When Richard first said “we’re in hell” I wasn’t buying it for a second as it seemed way too easy and it didn’t make sense (as you’ve said CB, some people like Locke and Rose have loved being on the island so that hardly seems like hell to me). One can only hope the answer isn’t something so simple like a dream or “a wizard did it” type scenario. My only issue is that I hope each of us doesn’t build up the ending so much that we’re ultimately disappointed because our expecations are set way too high.

    As for why is Jacob keeping evil bottled up when it already exists outside of the island, maybe the answer is just something like how if the evil on the island was released that it would corrupt mankind even more and make things even worse? All I can really think of right now.

    Also, as Major Minority already pointed out, thanks for the shoutout on the LCS podcast and don’t worry about not pronouncing my username right. I think the only people that do are the ones that I personally know and have told how I pronounce it.

    • As much as I hate to say it, dochielomn, I think we’re going to be disappointed with the ending regardless. I mean, for those of us who have been watching since the first episode (and for those of you who caught up on DVD), we’ve blown LOST up into something way beyond just another tv show. Frankly, it’s unfortunate, because no matter what the writers do it will always be a letdown of sorts, which is maybe what LOST has been about all along: that it’s not so much the destination but the journey. Think about how much time and energy dorks like me have spent poring over single scenes or novels or lines of dialogue or allusions or what have you. Hasn’t THAT been as much fun as the show itself? All I know is that no matter what happens in the end, I’ll never walk away “disappointed,” as there’s never been a show that’s sustained and intrigued me week after week for six years like LOST. Nothing even close.

      • That is the worst part isn’t it? In the end, it will be the end. In a lot of ways, LOST has ruined TV for me. I spend a lot of time trying to find a show to replace that feeling of mystery you get when you watch this show. You spend so much time trying to figure out the mystery that you become emotionally invested in it. I’ve always felt, in a lot of ways, the characters mirror us, the viewers. We’re all trying to figure it out and we take the journey together.

        I mean really, what other show causes you to do so much research? I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent just recently reading about every Egyptian god because of some TV show. But, they are hours well spent.

        • Again, as corny as it sounds, LOST is an allegory for so much more, Mike, and you’re absolutely right to point out that it’s a social commentary in which we, the audience, are not only along for the ride, but are part of the story. It’s undeniable and accurate. And even though I adore LOST, I’m actually looking forward to its conclusion. After six years, I’m at the point where I need resolution — closure.

  15. Yeah, I hear you on that. I know I have an issue doing that with movies and I think I did that this past week with the Richard episode. After awhile I can enjoy it but originally I was disappoined because I wanted more and didn’t really care about his whole love story. However, when we ahd the Ben episode, I was pumped to watch it and was not at all disappointed with that one, so who knows. I’m not sure what I was expecting for this Richard episode but I know initially I was disappointed but I think that’s mainly due to myself overhyping it in my head.

  16. Of course. I spoke to a friend of mine about the episode, and he and I agreed it’s a shame we didn’t get Richard’s Black Rock story in a previous season, and in this season perhaps we get the back story of his tryst with Jacob. I think it could have been handled differently, but so be it.

  17. Ok, so some food for thought here:

    While rewatching the finale of season 5, some things dawned on me. First, we see this season that Jacob knows how to fight and is willing to defend himself so why didn’t he fight back when Ben was about to stab him? I know he was hoping that Ben wouldn’t but still, unless Jacob wanted to die for a undisclosed reason, it would appear he could have fought back easily and at the vert least disarmed Ben and made the loophole useless.

    Second, after Jacob gets stabbed he says “they’re coming” to which FLocke hears it and then kicks Jacob into the fire. Was Jacob talking about Widmore maybe? Might explain why FLocke got mad when he heard Jacob say that.

    Third, I think Jacob’s replacement is going to be Jack. Why? Because it appears that out of all the Losties, Jacob really wants Jack to understand why he’s there or at least to know that he has a purpose, a.k.a the lighthouse episode. I think if anything that Jack becomes Jacob and that Hurley takes over for Richard. I know Hurley has direct communication to Jacob but it seems like Jacob really has a vested interest in Jack (and making sure Hurley guides Jack) so that’s why I lean towards Jack being his replacement. Hurley isn’t going through any emotional or pyschological barriers like Jack is so I think all of this is shaping Jack to become Jacob.

    Just some more fuel to the fire. Keep on burning.

    • First, you’ve got to remember that Jacob’s made it clear he’s all about letting people make the “right” choice. He couldn’t stop Ben. It would fly in the face of what he believes. What’s more, he said he hoped Ben would make the right choice, which is actually admirable.

      Second, yes, he must have meant Widmore. At least at this point, it would appear to be the only “they” in question.

      Third, I think it makes the most sense for Jack to be his replacement, as he’s obviously the protagonist of the series. At the same time, I still think Hurley makes the most sense. Keep in mind, it’s not like we’ve seen Jaco going through emotional/psychological barriers. (And for the record, Hurley DID go through all this, as evidenced by him A) being in a mental ward; and B) visiting a therapist to discuss his guilt over killing the folks on the deck.)

      • 1. He is about choice but he did intervene with Richard when Richard was coming at him with a knife, so why not with Ben as well? I think it’s more of a Obi-Wan thing on how now Jacob is even more powerful than he was before.

        2. I think it’s Widmore but in theory, the “they” could refer to Jack and company traveling through time and getting back to the current time. But like I said, I doubt that’s what he meant as I don’t think FLocke would be that annoyed by it.

        3. My problem is Jack is the obvious choice since as you pointed out, he’s the protagonist to the series but in my head, he’s just the most logical choice. Also, what I meant about emotional and psychological is more about how people have basically lost all of their faith and feel like they have no meaning or purpose in life. We’ve seen it with Locke, Richard, Ben, and Jack. Hurley hasn’t gone through that and Jacob made it a point to get Jack back on the right path. Other than such people as Libby and Charlie dieing, Hurley hasn’t battled any real demons other than when he thought he was going crazy again and that only lasted 1 episode. Other than that, he’s been pretty happy-go-lucky for the most part while on the island. Like all of the losties, he had his own issues pre-island. Post-island, I’d say he hasn’t faced too much trouble/problems that I can think of.

        Just my thought process for now. We’ll see if it changes as the episodes start to decline.

        • Yeah, personally, I think that the “they’re coming” line refers to Jacks and Company. That would annoy the MiB because, presumably, one of those people is going to replace Jacob, thus, “even if you kill me, someone will take my place.” Plus, it was the exact same time (or within 10 minutes) that Jacob dies that Jack, Jin, Hurley, et al come back to their “present” time.

          Iliana and Bram don’t seem to like Widmore. Leads me to believe Jacob wouldn’t be a fan either.

          And yes, Jacob must have wanted to die, which is why he didn’t fight back.

          Another thought: why all the pregnancy problems on the island, and the Tawaret, fertility statue? My guess: people aren’t supposed to live on the island for any prolonged period of time. Which is also why, once you leave, you’re not supposed to come back. Birth isn’t possible because the island doesn’t want people living on it. The lack of reproduction is the island’s real security system. That’s why Jacob had brought so many people, and they were all dead. Ben, and Widmore, have failed to realize this, and covet the island for selfish reasons, which is why Ben was trying to solve the fertility problems. Perhaps the only people born on the island are people who were already there, and stuck in some kind of time loop. That, or the eventual replacements. Which would leave Aaron open to either be the MiB or the new Jacob. And what of Alex… the only other baby we’ve seen born on the island… NOT Ji Yeon.

          • If the island doesn’t want people living on it, why, then, are people unable to leave? Why, for instance, couldn’t Desmond manage to sail away? Instead, he proclaimed that they “were in a bloody snowglobe.” I mean, I know people can leave, as evidenced by Ben, Richard, and others leaving at the proper bearing. But why make it so difficult if the island doesn’t want them there? Again, Desmond had been on that island for more than three years. Richard? Oh, 140 or so.

  18. They can’t leave because it seems like everyone who “gets away” not only comes back, but brings MORE people… which would be counterproductive if the island doesn’t want people there.

    • But some people CAN get away and return at will, or at least they could. Look, Ben, it would appear, used to move back and forth rather freely. What’s more, he was said to have not been able to return upon turning the frozen donkey wheel (as was Locke, for that matter), yet he returned. And what about Widmore? He was banished from the island (by Ben) and still managed to return. And what about the folks on Ajira 316? They were on the island, left the island, and returned to the island.

      Not sure I’m down with this one, my man.

  19. Sorry to keep creating new replies, rather than replying diresctly, but from my cell phone, this is all I can do.

    See, the thing is, I believe that the island is somewhat sentient itself. So Jacob might have brought people bacl, or even the MiB, but this was against the island’s wishes. I recall a character saying that Ben was wasting his time with trivial things like fertility issues when he was supposed to be protecting the island.

    And why else would, when Richard first arrived, everyone else already be dead? I mean, obviously, it “ended the same way.” But it would be in both Jacob and the MiB’s best interest to have people on the island alive, so how did they die? MiB wants people there to use them for the loophole, Jacob to prove they’re innocent and uncorruptable. What’s more innocent than a child?

    Which gets me to thinking… Jacob stated that their past didn’t matter when they got to the island. That’s a completely false statement. Their past is almost all consuming, because everyone has issues. The island can’t be a clean slate for anyone but a child, because the past shapes your present. If Jacob could absolve Richard for his sins, what makes him think the sins of the people he brought are wiped clean? Therefore, if he brought people to the island to prove they’re uncorruptable, he’s already LOST before they arrive.

    • No worries, MM, on creating new “threads.”

      In response to your post, though, I just don’t follow you.

      First, Jacob COULDN’T absolve Richard of his sins.

      Second, I don’t believe Jacob ever said people were uncorruptable. In fact, I think it’s just the opossite. I think he believes people are corrupted, yet they arrive at the island with Tabula Rosa (clean slate, and also an episode of LOST). It is hope that people will make the right choice without his intervention.

      And as far as this goes — “And why else would, when Richard first arrived, everyone else already be dead? I mean, obviously, it “ended the same way.” But it would be in both Jacob and the MiB’s best interest to have people on the island alive, so how did they die? MiB wants people there to use them for the loophole, Jacob to prove they’re innocent and uncorruptable. What’s more innocent than a child?” — I have NO idea what you’re saying.

  20. Yeah, I meant COULDN’T absolve, but typed it wrong. Which again, if you can’t be absolved of your past sins, how can you start with a clean slate? Rings false. And your past obviously effects your current choices.

    As far as my other statement… I was just saying, that if there were many others on the island, how did they all die? I don’t think Jacob or MiB lead to ALL of their deaths. And again, there were no future generations to sustain any bloodlines. Which leads me to believe that the island doesn’t want life on it. Jacob might want people on the island, but the island itself does not. And if that’s still inchoerant… well, sbfisnfurxuxsoajddkwj!

    • The way I understood the clean slate line is more like (for example) how in the outside world Kate is wanted for murder. Where ever she goes, she’s wanted for murder and has an agent chasing after her. On the island, she’s not wanted for murder and isn’t going to be thrown into a cell because of that crime. I think that’s what he meant. You can get a fresh start on the island if you want and become a new person.

      As for if the island wants people on it, tough call. I think I have to agree with you on this one that the island isn’t suppose to be a place where you stay for your entire life. Obviously, the Dharma folks were bringing in people left and right and shipping them back home as well. I think the island is more just a temporary place that you stay. However, that wouldn’t explain “the others” situation because it looks like they weren’t planning on leaving ever, so not really sure.

      • I think you have to look at the notion of a clean slate both literally and metaphorically. Yes, it’s a chance for folks like Kate to start over and “outrun her past,” so to speak. Hell, even the federal agent who was taking her to LA dies on the island, thus ensuring there’s no one from the “outside” world who is looking to convict her of her past sense. In the metaphorical sense, this is a place where people are, according to Jacob, “without sin,” at least initially, thus calling back to my whole point in the column about original sin and the fall. In much the same way Adam and Eve were warned not to eat from one tree in particular, yet never forced not to, the people who come to the island have the opportunity to do the “right” thing, yet ultimately they always go down the wrong path (ie, MiB: “It always ends the same way.”) Now, if, as Jacob says, “It only ends once,” does that mean that once someone finally makes the “right” decision, that’s it? Is that the endpoint, with everything leading up to that being “progress”?

  21. This isn’t what I’d consider a spoiler, which is why I’m posting it. I just got intel that puts one of our issues to rest. According to the writers, that boat at the end of the Season 5 finale — the one Jacob and MiB are looking at — IS the Black Rock.

    • I consider that to be sloppy writing then. It makes no sense for the ship to be there in calm waters during the day, and then crash onto the island in stormy waters at night. This leads me to believe that when they wrote/shot that Season 5 scene, they had no idea how they were planning to explain how exactly the Black Rock got on the island.

      • Well, I suppose you could buy the notion that Jacob somehow altered the weather. I mean, if he can “bring” people to the island, who knows, right? Still, it’s definitely inconsistent.

        I think there’s an even bigger issue at stake, one that I raised in the comments last week. There’s a huge time problem in when we see The Black Rock (1867) and the final journey of The Black Rock, as recorded in Hanso’s diary and purchased by Widmore at auction. I don’t remember the exact date, but I want to say that The Black Rock’s final journey, according to the diary, was in 1852. Umm, really? Because 1867 isn’t 1852, last time I checked.

      • If anything, I think the storm was caused by Smokey in maybe trying to not have the people come to the island since he doesn’t appear to want people on the island. Hence, Smokey brings the storm in an attempt to kill all of the crew.

  22. […] mythology episodes this season to help explain the back story of the island. The first, “Ab Aeterno,” was the fantastic Richard-centric episode. Last night we saw the latter of the two, […]


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