Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6.08 Ab Aeterno

Summary and Spoilers

I must admit that I know little about Richard. Part of that is because Lost hasn’t told me much, or if it has, I’ve missed the signs. And although he has been there since the Others were discovered, and he’s always been in a position of power, he’s never really done much, and certainly he’s never done any bad things – unless showing up year after year wearing eye makeup is a bad thing. One thing I did notice: this guy does not age. In scenes from 30 years ago, he looks exactly the same as he does now. I am just amazed by the technical wizards behind Lost – how did they accomplish such a feat? CGI? More than one actor? Who knows…J
Anyhow…for those of you who haven’t bothered to look this up on the internet, ‘Ab Aeterno’, the title of this episode, means ‘From the Beginning of Time’ in non-pig Latin. And soon you’ll probably be sick of your Lost friends telling you this definition ad nauseum.
And now, after that segue way, the episode begins:
Jacob visits Ilana in a hospital. She is wrapped in bandages, but her full lips are poking out and serve as identification. Jacob asks her to protect six people who are ‘candidates’. Back in real time, Ilana, Jack and the others discuss what they should now do. Ilana was supposed to bring the candidates to the temple and then ask someone called ‘Ricardus’ what to do next. But Richard has no idea what to do. What he does know is that Jack is dead and everyone else is dead, and this is not an island – it is hell. Obviously, Richard has not been reading  what Damon Lindelof has been saying – Lindelof said the island is not an afterlife hell. But if Ricardus says it is, maybe it is.
Anyway, Richard says he is going to stop following Jacob and follow someone who might know something. Of course this means Unlocke. Richard goes to the campfire and grabs a handy Hollywood brand Nev-R-Stop Burning Log, and heads off into the jungle, in the middle of the night. You know, in the real world, when you grab one log out of a fire, it will burn for no longer than maybe a minute or two before it becomes smoldering coals (great for warmth but useless for scampering through a jungle at night.
Richard’s backstory:
Richard is bearded and riding a horse on the Canary Islands, circa 1867, Hey, I wonder if this horse also will not age, and if it will wear horse eye makeup. He enters a small cottage and attends to a very sick woman, Close to death, Isabella vows that they will always be together. Ricardo rides off to get a doctor. Twelve grueling mud and rain-soaked seconds later, his ride is finished. The doctor has the medicine but obviously does not care about saving any lives or having his dinner interrupted. He agrees to give life-saving medicine but then laughs when Ricardo does not have the money required. A struggle ensues; Ricardo accidentally pushes the doctor into a sharp lethal table, killing him. Ricardo grabs the medicine and leaves. He returns home but is too late. He is arrested immediately at his home by the local police, which certainly makes you wonder how the doctor’s servant got the message to the police so quickly. Email? Cell phone?
In jail, Richard makes his last confession to the local priest, but this is one tough padre. His confession is refused, and he is doomed to spend eternity in hell, should you believe in such things, which he obviously does. On his way to the gallows, he is purchased as a slave and soon is chained deep within a ship. After a long, horrible journey lasting twelve more horrific seconds, the ship approaches land – a land guarded by the statue that graces the shore of the Lost Island. Shipwrecked on the island, the officer who purchased Ricardo begins slaughtering the chained slaves, claiming that since there are more slaves than officers, letting them free would cause a mutiny. As he is about to stab Ricardo, the Smoke Monster arrives and carries the evil officer away. After digesting the officers, the Smoke Monster returns and goes face to face with Ricardo – and spares him. Time passes as Ricardo slowly tries to work his way free from his chains, battling weakness from lack of food and water. He hallucinates that Isabella is there – or maybe it is not a hallucination – maybe he and Isabella are both dead as she says. If she is alive, it doesn’t last – she is taken by the Smoke Monster.
More time passes, and now even Richard is getting bored with how this is being dragged out. He is finally discovered by a man who gives him water. This man is the original Unlocke, the original man who was with Jacob on the island. This man says that Ricardo’s wife is with ‘him’, meaning the other guy, which doesn’t make sense, because this guy is the Smoke Monster, as far as I know. Smokey frees Ricardo, but only after he promises to help him. And the way he wants him to help is to kill the devil and escape from what he calls hell.
Smokey sends Ricardo to the base of the statue to kill the devil, and gives him an ornate silver-handled dagger to finish the job. It’s confusing all right. Even Ricardo is confused. He saw the smoke take Isabella, but this guy, who freely admits to being the smoke, says that the other guy took and has Isabella. One thing about Smokey – whether he was in this form or in Unlocke form, he’s not shy about admitting that he can turn into smoke. I suppose it is pretty cool and is something that you would like to brag about if you could do it.
Jacob convinces Ricardo that he is not the devil, that he doesn’t have his wife, and that he is not dead. Using the analogy of red wine trapped in a bottle, Jacob explains that Smokey is evil and must be contained on the island. Although, it must be said, Jacob seems to think it is more important to convince Smokey that people are not corruptible sinners – and to that end, he has lured countless people to the island, and now they are all dead. So if Smokey is evil, this guy is, perhaps, just slightly less evil.
Jacob offers Ricardo a job – to be the intermediary between himself and the people he brings to the island. In return, Ricardo asks for his wife back (no can do), or to be absolved of his sins (nope, nada) or for an unlimited supply of black eyeliner (no, he didn’t ask for that) or to live forever. He says it as a joke, but Jacob can do that – and he does.
Ricardo accepts the offer and delivers a stone to Smokey from Jacob, perhaps as a sign that Jacob has won this battle. Smokey tells him that if he ever changes his mind and wants to switch sides (and see Isabella again), he can come and see him. Smokey gives Ricardo Isabella’s crucifix, which Ricardo promptly buries.
Back in the present:
It’s daylight. Richard digs up the crucifix that he buried all those years ago, and shouts "I changed my mind" to the heavens. Seconds later, nothing happens. Then about twelve seconds later, after some louder, more effective yelling, Hurley appears. Hurley has been speaking to Isabella. She wants to know why Ricardo buried her cross. In a touching scene, she tells Ricardo that he is not to blame for her death. Hurley also tells Richard that Isabella said one more thing: that he must stop Unlocke from leaving the island, because if he doesn’t, they will all go to hell.
Somewhere, on a hill far away, Unlocke casts his gaze over the island and seems to be aware that this conversation has taken place.
Back to the past:
Jacob and Smokey sit together to discuss their battle. Smokey wants to leave. Jacob vows never to let him leave while he is alive. Smokey promises to kill Jacob. Jacob says someone else will take his place.


So…now even someone as confused as myself can see the basic battle lines being drawn. Unlocke is trying to get off the island. He has surrounded himself with some powerful allies, including Sayid and Sawyer. Richard is the one who must get it together and muster a group to stop Unlocke. And now that we know that Smokey’s plan was always to kill Jacob and escape, the concept of the candidates makes more sense. Someone is needed to replace Jacob, and soon.

Lost Quotes

Richard: You want to know a secret, Jack? Something I’ve known a long, long time? You’re dead.
Hurley: You mean that figuratively, right?
Richard: No, I mean literally. We’re all dead. Every single one of us. And this, this – all this. It’s not what you think it is. We’re not on an island. We never were. We’re in hell.
Richard: Are you the devil?
Jacob: No.
Richard: Then who are you?
Jacob: My name is Jacob. I’m the one who brought your ship to this island.
Richard: You brought it here? Why?
Jacob: Think of this wine as what you keep calling ‘hell’. There’s many other names for it, too: malevolence, evil, darkness. And here it is, swirling around in the bottle, unable to get out, because if it did, it would spread. The cork is this island, and it’s the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs. That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it’s in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here, their past doesn’t matter.
Ricardo: Before you brought my ship, there were others?
Jacob. Yes. Many.
Ricardo: What happened to them?
Jacob: They’re all dead.
"She said you have to stop the man in black – you have to stop him from leaving the island. Because if you don’t – we all go to hell."
- Hurley, relaying Isabella’s message to Richard

1 comment:

  1. What if smokey makes himself into an image of Jacob, like he did of Isabella, Christian, etc? And what if Jacob is just an image or illusion that smokey pretends to be? Why would God be in Hell? Wouldn't He be outside the bottle of wine? Outside the cork keeping it stopped up? It would be Hell to be constantly in a war and not knowing who to trust.