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October 4, 2015

'Lost' - 'Ab Aeterno' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 24th 2010 5:08AM
'Lost' - 'Ab Aeterno'
That, my friends, is how you do a halfway point episode! Plenty of answers given, while reaffirming some of what we already knew about the two main players in this island drama. There was no need for an alpha-verse or a beta-verse this week as it was all Richard -- or Ricardo. Besides, there's no way he'd still be alive had he not gone to the island, so beta-verse 2004 must be Richard free anyway. We already know he's been on that island a long, long time.

Now we know just how long that's been. I think absolutely every question we had about Richard and his relationship with Jacob was answered this week. In fact, there were no new questions raised at all that I can think of. That must be a first for 'Lost.'

Nestor Carbonell proved with his performance here that he could easily carry the lead in a dramatic series of his own. With the caliber of acting we're seeing from our 'Lost' cast this season, I'm even more eager to see where their career trajectories take them next.

Even though we got an extra four minutes or so of episode this week, the time simply flew by. Rather than space out Richard's back-story throughout the episode, as we've gotten used to seeing, once were jumped back to 1867, we stuck with Ricardo until his tale was told ... and what a tale it was.

Richard was definitely a slave, which explains his reaction to the chains, and we even saw the Black Rock take out the statue of Taweret on its way inland, thus providing enough explanation for the stray foot we wondered about when the castaways first saw it. How it got there, when and why it was built we may never learn, but that might be okay.

I'm still not sure if 'The Man in Black' is pure evil, as Jacob seems to think he is, but it still seems the most likely scenario.. In case there was any confusion as to what's going on between Jacob and the Man in Black, and why Jacob has been bringing people to the island all these years, it was explained pretty succinctly to Ricardo when Jacob was first recruiting him, and then reaffirmed it when they faced off again at the end of the episode.

I didn't expect that the Man in Black had gotten to him first. Or that he'd made his deal with Jacob solely so that he wouldn't die and spend eternity in hell for killing the doctor who was too big of a jackass to help his dying wife. Ricardo made the deal out of fear, but fear of hell and eternal damnation is a driving force of many religions.

The religious undertones came out pretty heavily in Jacob's speech to Ricardo about why he keeps bringing people to the island. He wants to prove to the Man in Black that man is not inherently evil. That given free will he can and will make the right choices, and live a decent life.

Better choices is exactly what we're seeing in the beta-verse for most of our characters, though that doesn't mean I've figured out how it all connects just yet.

I guess Ricardo was the first person to challenge Jacob's no interference policy by suggesting that if Jacob doesn't interfere, the Man in Black certainly is going to. That seems akin to all the temptations from evil that are sprinkled throughout the Bible, beginning with the snake in the Garden of Eden.

By Jacob hiring Richard to represent him among the people, and act as his speaker so that he can try and influence people, he's casting Richard in a prophet's role, with the Others as his followers. Then, I can't help but think of Christian Shepherd seeming to speak on Jacob's behalf, and even within his cabin, with Claire by his side. Richard was Jacob's shepherd to the Others flock. Was Jacob appearing as Christian, and if so does that mean Claire is some sort of allegorical representation of Jesus? Or perhaps Jack? Aaron maybe, with Claire more in the Mary role?

I'm not saying that I think Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are telling a Christian tale here, but there are some striking similarities to Christianity, and thus many other religious belief systems; as they do share many similar stories and other parallels. My familiarity is simply stronger in Christianity, so those are the parallels that stand out strongest to me.

I suspect Isabella's appearance on the island was the smoke monster/Man in Black all along. He simply wanted to give himself some leverage over Ricardo to try and sway him to the dark side, as it were. The parallels between the Man in Black's orders to Ricardo on how to kill Jacob and Sayid's orders on how to kill MiB-Locke were not lost on me either, again indicating how incredibly similar these two beings are.

And yet Ben was able to kill Jacob after Jacob had begun speaking, but again I keep going back to the realization that Jacob chose to die at this point. Did his reason for bringing people to the island change at some point from the late 1800s to now? Originally it was to prove that man can make the right choices in his life. Then suddenly he was looking for candidates to replace him in keeping the Man in Black, and subsequently all evil that will overtake the world and turn it into hell, contained on the island.

When and why did his mission change? He must have been given some reason to believe that he would die, or that he should at least prepare for it. Perhaps Ricardo was the first person the Man in Black had set up to kill him, and Jacob sensed that the Man in Black would keep trying, and that some day he just might succeed.

If Jacob is also the force that brings all people to the Island, and we now know of two reasons why he does that, I'm still not clear on the Dharma Initiative. Jacob seemed to have nothing to do with them, and yet if he didn't, how did they get there? Did man's technology circumvent his powers (which could be a statement about how our modern ways are getting in the way of our own spirituality) and find the island anyway? Is that how Charles Widmore can arrive uninvited now -- though that could just as easily be because Jacob is dead.

Plus, Jacob died without finding his successor, though he seems to have set up Ilana as the gal to see the deed gets done. Maybe now that Richard has been given some closure regarding his wife, he can stop feeling angry at Jacob and figure out what to do next.

[Find clips and full episodes of 'Lost' with our friends at SlashControl.]

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some of you take this WAAAAAY to far.

and for those of you who are "angry" about how things are unfolding: better get ready for a huge disapointment. cuz you're never gunna be happy with the way things are going to end. you're already setting yourself up for problems if you expect EVERY SINGLE QUESTION to be answered.

March 29 2010 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tana green

Well, I hope they get David Lynch to direct the final episode. That way we'l never know for sure, but we can talk about it forever.

March 27 2010 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tana green's comment

That is by far the scariest thought ever unleashed on the "LOST" universe!

April 01 2010 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dude deserves an Emmy fo real!

March 27 2010 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Someone gave me their theory of this, and it wasn't religious at all (although it could have religious overtones / undertones). Anyway, their theory was that this is all a virtual reality game that all of the real world characters are playing, hence they all get to be different to how they are in real life and there are monsters and we are seeing the real time line in the B story. I swear, if any of my friend's theories prove to be true I will throw my TV out of the window!

March 26 2010 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still am confused as to why Ben was able to summon the smoke monster, when he was tied so strongly to Jacob.

March 25 2010 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment

I don't think Ben was really aware of the bigger picture, like Dogen for instance. He knew only what he needed to know to fit into Jacobs plans - and eventually murder him.

It's rather the pulling-the-plug thing that puzzles me.

There probably was a time when Jacob and the MIB were equal gods to a (Egyptian) population living on the island and it seems they had built a mechanism to call smokey to this place.

Since the houses basements connect to the tunnels, Dharma must have been well aware of building the village right above them. Did they build it there by accident or was there some point of interest - related to the call-a-smokey feature? A temple perhaps, where the ancient population would bring a solemn sacrifice to the MIB/Smokey?

I hope we will see an episode that explains all this or even plays back in b.C. days. How cool was that!

March 26 2010 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kevin in Austin said:

"But I think it is either Christian, Jewish, or any religion that believes in hell. I think this because Jacob tells Ricardo that he cannot keep him from going to hell. He does not tell him to not worry because there is no hell."

If religion comes into it, isn't it more like Hinduism? In Hinduism there is the belief in Karma, and also the idea of the soul having to go through numerous cycles of birth - death - rebirth, until liberation or enlightenment is attained. And what about the Dharma Initiative? In Hinduism, the word dharma encompasses several related meanings, including religion, duty, appropriate path.

These are just thoughts I've had over a period. I'm very confused as to where Lost's going. I agree that Ab Aeterno seemed more of a filler than advancing the story. And I can't agree Nestor Carbonell deserves an Emmy on the strength of his performance in the episode I think Michael Emerson's a far better, subtler actor. Look at the way he physically registers all those emotions, pathos, arrogance, cowardice... I could go on.

March 25 2010 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As far as christianity undertones i think they are slight in the least.

-first jacob said his job was to be a cork so that the MIB could not leave the island. God in christianity doesn't prevent the devil from inhabiting the world. He uses men in the world to empower and fight against evil, and he does intervene sometimes. So i think if anything jacob is just a guardian of sorts, but not actually in charge. if there are rules both MIB and he follow someone/something else put them in place.

-second yes in Christianity there is a big importance on free will. If God created everyone to do exactly what he said then there wouldn't actually be real love just robotic obedience. but given free will people choose to truly love, or truly hate on their own. in free will intervening doesn't matter b/c short of tying someone down and forcing them to do what you ask, they still have a choice. so jacob not wanting to interfere in fear of violating free will seems silly.

-third there is no one on the island resembling christ at all at this point. Christ had a few purposes, to give guidance to mankind, to die in place of all mankind so that they didn't have to go to hell if they acknowledged his death as atonement (that is why richard had nothing to worry about anyway regardless of what the priest said if richard understood the scripture he was reading then he would know all he needed was his faith not absolution.)and lastly to raise from the dead to show that death(satan) was defeated, and send his spirit so that people would have the power that he had to perform miracles. so no claire is nothing like jesus. neither is MIB.
Jesus was not self serving he was self sacrificing.

-lastly like i said before while there is a good vs. evil struggle going on, it isn't a good and evil from a christian perspective. i think it is a basic what we deal with everyday life allegorically played out on the island. maybe jacob represents the human self control and MIB is human impulse. in a constant struggle over the island/the human mind. Anyway i enjoy all the episodes for the most part and richard was great!

March 25 2010 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this was epic and now he gets my vote for an emmy .

March 25 2010 at 4:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When did Ricardo / Richard become Ricardus?

March 25 2010 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kevin in Austin

That's good. I don't think the dunking in the water was related to baptism at all...in the least. It was just a harsh bitch slapping. There was nothing about absolving him of sin. In support of this is the fact that Jacob specifically tells him he cannot keep him from going to hell or absolve him of his sins. But I think it is either Christian, Jewish, or any religion that believes in hell. I think this because Jacob tells Ricardo that he cannot keep him from going to hell. He does not tell him to not worry because there is no hell.

But they have the entire Tabula Rasa thing going full on now (The philosopher John Locke vs. William Golding and Lord of the Flies, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabula_rasa).

I did think that Jacob gave up rather quickly on his "can't interfere" rule. If he can't interfere...he can't. Why is it ok then to use Ricardo?

March 24 2010 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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