Previously on Lost: "Ab Aeterno"

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Things I loved:[image-1]

  • Nestor Carbonell's heart-wrenching performance as Ricardo. Sexy, scraggly haired, Spanish-speaking Ricardo. He acts every scene with such ferocity; I've never stopped being emotionally invested in his character.

  • The island scene with Jack and crew. Short but good performances by the group, and I especially liked Ben's subdued, snarky comments regarding the situation.

  • The wine bottle euphemism. Jacob's explanation to Richard about evil being like the wine in the bottle, and the island (the cork) being the thing that keeps it contained.

  • The ability of Titus and Jacob to step in and make us feel as if they actually have been part of our Lost experience for centuries. They were absent from the first five seasons of the show, but have managed to create characters that, albeit mysterious, seem very familiar.

  • The return of Titus Welliver as The Man in Black.

[image-2]Perhaps the biggest plot point was when Richard told everyone in Jack's crew that they're all dead, and in hell. I didn't exactly love that part, and the moment I heard it I groaned at what seemed like a Hurley-esque hint toward fan gossip from the writers. But I think we can infer from the episode that Richard was tricked into thinking this by Titus. As the smoke monster, he seemed to scan Richard's mind on the boat and found out his wife was dead. He then appeared as his wife and told Richard they were both in hell. In terms of scanning people's minds and appealing to them as dead loved ones, could this be what Smokey did to Eko in season 2, when he appeared as his brother Yemi?

And going back to the wine bottle thing, what exactly does it mean? Is Smokey all of the evil in the world contained in one being and kept locked up so it doesn't spread to the world? It seems then that the Sideways world might be a world in which the cork is not in the wine bottle; a world in which Smokey is not contained on the island. Another interesting moment between Titus and Richard was when Titus explained what Jacob did to him. "He took my body. He took my humanity," he said. Did Jacob somehow turn this man, Titus, into a pillar of evil smoke? Or did he just force the evil smoke into the body of a guy with whom he'd been having philosophical disagreements? We now know at the very least that Jacob is trying to keep this evil entity contained on the island. Although I'm still not sure this makes Jacob the good guy...

[image-3]In the scene where Richard tries to stab Jacob, Jacob reveals what's going on: He brings people to the island in an effort to prove to Titus that humanity is inherently good. He seems to be doing whatever it takes to prove this point. Unless his achievement somehow alters the universe for the better, it seems like a pretty selfish goal. And one that has apparently resulted in the death of everyone he's brought to the island. I love how Lost plays with the ideas of good and evil, in essence stripping away the implications of both terms and forcing us to evaluate the notions differently than we may have done before. This whole scene was pretty awesome, with Richard's extreme desperation and Jacob's furious demeanor making for a powerful few minutes. Not to mention the part where Jacob dunks Richard in the ocean after kicking his butt. Given the strong religious overtones of this episode, might this have been a baptism of sorts?

Again, I really can't overstate how much I loved Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert in this devastatingly beautiful portrayal of his backstory. Here's hoping next week can somehow keep pace with the high standard this episode set for the rest of the season. The episode is entitled "The Package," and I hope to see Widmore and — maybe, just maybe — Desmond. See you then!

Mythology/Allusions/Fun Facts:

  • Jack learns for the first time that some form of John Locke is running around on the island.

  • Titus tells Richard it's nice to see him out of his chains after he frees him on the ship, which is verbatim what Smokey Locke tells Richard when they first meet.

  • When Titus tells Richard to kill Jacob, he says the same thing Dogen does to Sayid when he tells him to kill Smokey: essentially that the killer can't let the other person speak or it's too late to kill them.

  • There is an Egyptian story that parallels in some uncanny ways what's happening on the island; particularly the roles of Jacob and Titus. I found the story on a Lost forum.

  • The Black Rock captain's name was Magnus Hanso. Does the name sound familiar? According to Lostpedia, he's the great-grandfather of Alvar Hanso, CEO of the Hanso Foundation. We first hear the name in the Dharma orientation film, because the foundation backed the Dharma Initiative.

Favorite line: “It's meaningless if I have to help them. Why should I have to step in?” —Jacob, referring to bringing people to the island for his experiment. "If you don't, he will." —Richard, referring to the man in black.

Questions: (Comment with your thoughts!)

-What's with advising killers of the men in white/black not to let them speak? Are they really that persuasive?

-Would Titus have offered Richard a world with his wife in it if he had gone with him back in the 1800s?

[Editor's Note: hen you're done pouring over Michelle's deconstruction of this week's episode of Lost, check out the CL Lost Podcast for even more island action.]

Well, it's about time. Last night's long-awaited Richard Alpert episode "Ab Aeterno" was, in my opinion, the best episode of the season thus far. It had a great, classic season one Lost feeling. The flashback was thematically and emotionally fantastic. At times, I felt like I was watching a movie. I was instantly involved, hooked and the entire time I kept thinking back to the Richard we knew previously on the island, all the while learning he's really tragedy-stricken, wifeless Richard! In great Lost style, the flashback revealed information that advanced the character on the island. The episode worked as an entertaining hour of television and also managed to address tons of mythology, clearing up quite a bit of information about Jacob and his man-in-black nemesis (who I will refer to in this post as Titus, per the actor's name, Titus Welliver). There were a couple of things I didn't like, or mysteries that are still overly shaded in ambiguity. But I'm not going to talk about those, out of respect for a top-notch episode.

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