This is the episode that I have been waiting for. It has been three seasons since Richard Alpert made his debut and there has not been one single episode focused on him. He is the most mysterious character of the show (he can not age!) and his story needed to be revealed. “Ab Aeterno” not only gave his story, but gave some more insight into Jacob and the Man in Black.
Richard, like everybody else, has a depressing back story. He is from the Canary Islands and lived with his wife Isabella. While trying to help his wife recover from a disease, he accidently kills a doctor he is trying to get medicine from. Getting help is a lost cause anyways since his wife dies while he is gone. He is then arrested, was going to be put to death, but since he can speak English he is instead put on the ship we know as the Black Rock and sent away. TIDBIT: Richard became the property of Magnus Hanso, the great-grandfather of Alvar Hanso. Alvar helped fund the Dharma Initiative. So the Black Rock sets sail but ends up crashing on the island due to a storm.
ANSWER!!!: The Black Rock was what destroyed the statue on the island by crashing into it. That is why there is only a foot now.
After one of the officers starts to kill the slaves on the ship in order to not have to give them any of the food, the smoke monster comes along killing everyone, but Richard. He spends what seems like days in the chains trying to escape. A vision of his wife appears and tries to help him out. She tells him the devil is there and he needs to leave. The smoke monster snatches her up before Richard can get away. THEORY: The smoke monster can shape shift into anybody. It seems like he picks a face that people trust in order for them to listen to him or do his bidding or just to drive the person crazy. Examples: Jack and Claire seeing their father, Kate seeing the black horse, Mr. Eko seeing his brother, Richard seeing his wife and now the Man in Black is John Locke.
The Man in Black comes to Richard and helps him out of his chains. He tells Richard “the devil” meaning Jacob, has his wife. He gives Richard a knife and tells him if he kills this man Richard will be with Isabella again. It is interesting that the Man in Black tells Richard the same thing that Dogen said to Sayid (he needs to stab him before the man can speak). Richard goes to kill Jacob, but ends up getting beat up by Jacob. He realizes Richard has been talking to the Man in Black. He tells Richard that it wasn’t his wife and that Richard is alive, not in hell.
After calming Richard down, Jacob reveals to him that he is not the only one that has tried to kill Jacob, there have been others before him. He also explains to Richard that the Man in Black is something evil and the island is holds him back. He tells Richard the Man in Black believes everyone can be corrupted and Jacob brings people to the island (like Richard) to prove him wrong. He wants people to be able to know what is right and wrong without being told. Jacob doesn’t want to be the person to help decide so he offers Richard the job to be Jacob’s representative and gives him the power to live forever in exchange. Richard sees the Man in Blacka again who tells that there is still has a place for him if he wants it. Richard says no and gives the Man in Black a white rock from Jacob. Later, Jacob talks to the Man in Black and gives him the bottle of wine to pass the time and asks if he sent Richard to kill him. The Man in Black says he did it because he wants to leave the island. Jacob tells the Man in Black he will be see him later. The Man in Black smashes the wine bottle and says “sooner than you think”.
In the present, Ilana tells Sun, Frank, Hurley, Ben and Jack that she is there to protect the six candidates and Richard will know what to do next. Richard tells her he has no idea and tells them they are all in hell. He runs off to the spot where he buried his wife’s necklace almost two hundred years before. Richard screams out that he has changed his mind and wants to know if the offer still stands.
Hurley reveals himself and tells Richard Isabella sent him. Hurley convinces Richard he is telling the truth and tells Richard that it wasn’t his fault that Isabella died. Hurley tells Richard that Isabella also said that Richard needs to stop the Man in Black from leaving the island or everyone is going to go to hell. Fake Locke watches them from a distance.
So we are back to the white is good, black is evil, heaven/hell and the one side prevails ideas. Thanks to Doc Jensen, “Ab Aeterno” means “since the beginning of time”. This might be directed towards Jacob and the Man in Black. Since the beginning of time they have had the disagreement about the goodness of people. The Man in Black thinks people are corruptible no matter what and Jacob continually tries to prove him wrong. Richard proved Jacob’s theory right. He chose the good side and became Jacob’s right hand man.
Jacob’s job is to not let the evil off the island. He tells the Man in Black that as long as Jacob is alive he will not leave and Jacob will replace himself in order to keep that promise. The castaways are the ones there now to keep the Man in Black from leaving. Q. Does the Man in Black know this? Q. If Jacob brought the Black Rock to the island, did Jacob cause the plane to come to the island too? I am not so sure that the Man in Black does know, because he would have tried to kill them by now because he told Jacob he would kill anybody that took his place. But then again no one has taken Jacob’s place. They are just candidates for right now. Also, Jack and Hurley finally found out about Fake Locke. They now know that he is what Ilana is protecting them from. I think that it might come down to Jack and Hurley being the one to take over for Jacob. Whoever it is though, someone is destined to kill the Man in Black and one of the castaways is going to be the one to do it or possibly even Richard. Q. If the Man in Black does die, will this release everyone from the island’s power?
Overall, awesome episode. Richard’s story was worth the wait. I would like to see a Jin/Sun story next week. They need to be reunited and they have not had a sideways story yet. Also, where is freakin Desmond!? Brutha (in his accent) needs to come back! So leave your thoughts, I am always interested in other people’s theories. See you next week!