'Lost' - 'Ab Aeterno' Recap
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 24th 2010 5:08AM
(S06E09) 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.
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