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Lost: Season 6: Ab Aerteno (Episode 9)

Oh, Losties! Did we just get a Richard Alpert flashback? Did we just get a story that was 99% flashback? Did we get real questions answered? YES, I THINK WE DID! Oh, my goodness was I ever excited to see dear old SexyEyes get his day! (Of course, I think maybe he should be called Crazy Eyes now.) I’ve been wanting backstory on Richard for seasons! His position on The Island has been pivotal to us understanding….well UNDERSTANDING.

So, let’s get started! I so want to talk about this one. Because now I have theories! Yes, my mind can actually wrap around this one and come up with theories!!

Present Island Time. Team Jacob.

Jack, Sun, Lapidus, Ben, Ilana, Hurley and Richard are on the beach roasting marshmallows or singing kumbayah. Ilana is thinking back to her encounter with Jacob. Remember? She’s wrapped in bandages and Jacob comes to her hospital bed to ask her to help him. He apparently stays with her for some time because by the time she is well, he has given her many instructions. She knows she is to protect the candidates (did he say the “remaining” candidates?) and go to the statue. She then asks what she should do after she gets there. Jacob tells her, “Ask Ricardus. He’ll know.” (Hmmm…why wouldn’t Jacob be there to tell her? Did I miss this? Did he know he was going to die?)

So, back to the beach, she tells Team Jacob that Richard knows what to do. And Richard giggles. (This is where SexyEyes turns CrazyEyes!) He explains that he doesn’t want to do anything for Jacob. He tells them (wink to the audience) that they are all dead and The Island is hell. He says he’s going to follow someone else.

He grabs a torch and storms out into the jungle. And I’m pretty sure everyone is thinking, CRAZYEYES! In fact, Jack tells a storming Ilana to let him Richard go because Richard has gone crazy. Ben weighs in and tells them that Richard is everlasting. Then they ask the question that leads us into 30 straight minutes of Richard backstory: How do you think that happened?

*backstory whoosh*

Tenerife, Canary Islands. 1867. Ricardo.

Richard (not the Banana Republic model, more of the long hair, shaggy beard CrazyEyed version) is riding a horse through a wood/jungle. He  tethers his horse and enters a tiny hut which houses a very sick woman. His wife, Isabella. When she coughs up blood, Ricardo is certain she is going to die and he must get the doctor.
Before he goes, Isabella gives him her cross necklace. (Did that thing look a little modern to you?) They are so amazingly and obviously in love. They cry and pray and kiss. And Richard leaves her saying, “I will save you.”

Ricardo races through the rain for a half a day to come to plush and wealthy home of the doctor. A selfish man who demands money for medicine, but no care for his patient. After giving the doctor all his money and his wife’s necklace the doctor refuses saying the necklace is worth nothing. Ricardo is frantic and begins to struggle with the doctor. This ends terribly as the doctor hits his head on the table and dies. Ricardo runs home to find Isabella dead.
Next we see Ricardo in jail. Reading his Bible (was that Luke 4? Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness?) in jail. A priest comes into the cell and sees that Ricardo is reading an English Bible. Ricardo explains that he taught himself because he and Isabella were going to start over in the New World. The priest takes the Bible and asks for Ricardo’s last confession.

And oh, what a confession. Ricardo is broken. He confesses that he killed a man. And the priest? Does not give his forgiveness.  He explains that murder is not forgivable. And penance is not an option since Ricardo will be dead tomorrow. (Oh, so much to say about this! Is this the writer’s take on religion? God? Or just religious people?) Ricardo is devastated because he is obviously a devout man loving God and striving to live according to the Bible.
The next morning Ricardo is pulled from his cell and then surprisingly sold to a slave trader—under the direction of Mangus Hanso! Hanso!!! As in the Hanso Foundation?! He is sold because he speaks English (and apparently has all his teeth, too.) Now if you’ve been around Lost for any amount of time, you know what happens next.
Ricardo is taken aboard The Black Rock. They experience a huge storm and crash into the statue of Taweret on The Island. (But uh, did you see it looked like the boat hit the TOP of the statue? That was weird.) The best part of the storm and crash, though was Ricardo’s sailing/slave companion. He looks out through the cracks of the boat and says, “I see the devil!” *shiver*

The next scene is a quiet ship. Everyone is dead or passed out.  Soon, people begin waking up and the officer that bought Ricardo appears. He begins to kill all the remaining prisoners because, “there are 5 officers remaining and if I let you live, you will kill me.” But just as he is about to plunge a sword into Ricardo’s chest, they hear SMOKEY. And soon, the five remaining officers are no more. Then Smokey enters the belly of the ship and kills the officer but just sniffs at Ricardo. (Why? Could he see what Ricardo might do for him? Or did he just need any old person? The last person standing?)

The next few days Ricardo spends trying to extricate himself from his chains. He pulls a nail out of the floor Amistad-style, he digs in the wall, he pulls, he strains but to no avail. And suddenly, he is saved–a woman is calling for him! Not just any woman–his wife! Sweet Isabella! She runs to Ricardo and explains that they are in hell and the devil is coming back for them so they must escape. Just then they hear Smokey. Ricardo tells Isabella to run—she does and is attacked by Smokey. Ricardo is crushed once again.

Soon we see Ricardo near death on the floor of the Black Rock. A man approaches with water. Ricardo feels his hand on his back and jumps away. It is the Man in Black. And this begins Interesting Conversation #1.

Ricardo asks about his wife. The Man in Black says, “I saw her. I tried to save her. HE has her.” Then, when Ricardo asks where they are, the MIB says they are in hell and the only way to escape is to kill the devil. (What is up with hell and the devil?!) The Main in Black finally offers to unlock Ricardo’s chains (he “found” the keys on an officer) but only if Ricardo agrees to do whatever he says. When Ricardo agrees and is freed the Man in Black says, “It’s good to see you out of those chains.” As in, I’ve seen you before IN them. Like when he was Smokey? Weird.

Their conversation continues while Ricardo is fed and watered. The Man In Black explains that “the devil” is at the statue  just through that jungle (over the river and through the woods, to the devil’s house we go!) He explains that he wants to be free like Ricardo, that the devil stole his body and his humanity (hmmm..then WHAT body is he in? Is he like Voldemort pre-resurrection?) and in order to do so, Ricardo must kill him. He hands Ricardo THE KNIFE. The same knife Dogen gave Sayid to kill unLocke. And he told him the same speech: as soon as you see him, plunge in the knife, if you let him speak, it will be too late. (These are these rules we’ve been wondering about!)

Ricardo wonders how he will kill the Smoke. And the Man in Black reveals he IS the Smoke. Well, Ricardo is taken aback, but still decides to obey. When he arrives to the beach and the broken down statue (that apparently the Black Rock brought down? Is that even possible?) he is also attacked! By Jacob himself.

And here begins Interesting Conversation #2. Jacob seems genuinely surprised to see Ricardo and doesn’t seem to clue in that his has been sent by the Man in Black. Ricardo is certain he is in hell and needs to kill Jacob. Jacob responds by dunking Ricardo in the ocean four times. This convinces Ricardo that this is actually real life (how horrible to find out that this horribleness is NOT hell?) so of course, he sits down to talk to Jacob. Which means he did not stab him as instructed. (I guess Ben is the only one that actually stabbed Jacob before he spoke? But he didn’t do it with that knife, did he? Wonder if that’s why Jacob is still calling the shots via Hurley?)

Jacob explains that EVIL itself is a swirling blackness similar to his bottle of wine (he makes his own wine?) and it is waiting to be be let out and overtake…the world. But their is a stopper–a cork if you will. That cork? The Island.


Jacob then explains a little more about his “job”. He brings people to The Island to prove to the Man in Black that people are not inherently evil (apparently the MIB believes this). Ricardo wonders where these people are. Jacob replies with NO remorse or concern, “They’re dead.” Then Jacob declares that he wants people know right and wrong without being told! He doesn’t want to intervene! {And I kind of missed some here because I was thinking about that last line.} Suddenly, Jacob gets an idea. He offers Ricardo the job of intervening. He says Ricardo  can be his liaison as he brings people to The Island. Ricardo agrees in return for a gift—he wants his wife back. Jacob says he cannot do that. Nor can he forgive Ricardo’s sin. But he can make Ricardo live forever.

And here he places his hand on Ricardo’s shoulder. The touch!

Ricardo finally approaches the Man In Black. The Man in Black immediately sees that Ricardo spoke to Jacob. Ricardo gives the Man in Black a present from Jacob—a white rock (to add to the scale, apparently.) He even says, “I understand. He can be very persuasive. But if you ever change your mind, my offer still stands.” And he gives Isabella’s necklace back to Ricardo. Ricardo buries it and says good-bye.

The Island. Probably Same Time As Above. The Man in Black and Jacob.

The Man in Black is sitting in the middle of the jungle (a very beautiful area I don’t remember) and Jacob arrives. They have a somewhat light-hearted conversation about MIB wanting to kill Jacob. MIB says he just wants off The Island, “just let me go!”. Jacob says as long as he’s living, that will never happen. And that is why MIB wants to kill him. Then Jacob gives MIB his bottle of wine. Which he promptly smashes.

The Island. Present Day. Richard.

Richard is running through the jungle. He finally comes to the spot of his first conversation with the Man in Black. He digs up Isabella’s necklace (yeah, after 100+years) and then shouts out, “Does the offer still stand?! Does the offer still stand?!” and just then HURLEY appears. He says, “Your wife sent me.” (Did you notice Hurley speaking Spanish to someone on the beach earlier?) He tells Richard that she is standing right next to him. And suddenly we see them both together. Isabella is looking at Richard lovingly. Richard is willing himself to see her. She begins to speak while Hurley “interprets”. She explains that it was not his fault, it was just her time to go. They share a beautiful (BEAUTIFUL) three sentences with each other and she is gone.

But Hurley still has one more message, “She wants you to stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island. If you don’t…we will all go to hell.”

But before we see the Black Screen O’Lost, we see unLocke looking over his prey.

Stuff To Talk About

1. Isabella. When she was on the Black Rock, who/what was she? Did the Man in Black come to Ricardo as her? Did he set that whole scene up to force Ricardo into his service? Is that who/what all the apparitions have been? Christian? Hurley’s friend? The horse? Eko’s brother?

2. Jacob & Man in Black’s Relationship. At first I thought these two were equals. But now I see that Jacob has some sort of power over the MIB that he does not have over Jacob. I almost felt like Jacob was a minor player who somehow got a leg up on the MIB. Almost the way an older brother feels he’s in charge when the mama is away.

But I also got a very God-Devil vibe from them. Jacob’s speech about the MIB believing in a sinful nature while he just wants everyone to act of their own free will was very much a theological discussion. Does God stay hands off so we will exercise free will? Or are we full of original sin and in need of judgment (a la Smokey)?

It is also possible that they are the same person–just two halves of  whole. A yin and yang, if you will. They may think they are opposites, but they may be equal parts to an equation.

3. Man In Black.
Are we going to learn his name? If we ARE, it will be a shocker. They wouldn’t hide it from us this long if it was just going to be Ralph or Teddy. His name will mean something if we are to discover it.


How great was Nestor Carbonell as Richard? This episode makes up for all the cryptic two second scenes this man has had the last several seasons. He got to play a wounded romantic broken man! I loved him. That scene with his wife and Hurley was just Ghost-worthy. *shiver*

I also liked this episode because it was a little break from the sideways stories. Not that I’m tired of them, I’m just…well, yeah, I’m tired of them. So, I really liked that I feel like we got some answers. The Island-ness is making more sense. The connection between MIB and Jacob is becoming clear…er, more clear. As I say every week, I’ll be interested to see what happens next week.

I know I missed some stuff in the Jacob and Man in Black conversations. What did you pick up? What stuck out to you?

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @oohamanda or visit me on my blog ohAmanda!

21 thoughts on “Lost: Season 6: Ab Aerteno (Episode 9)”

  1. OK. So if the island is just the cork… what is the bottle? Hell? Jacob? The Earth? Our reality?

    We’ve been shown time and again that the world the castaways are living in is full of evil: violence, greed, lies, cruelty. This doesn’t seem like a world in which evil is being bottled up somewhere else. Are we in the bottle?

    OK, so people are being brought to the island to illustrate whether or not people can change, and some of them (or all of them?) are possible candidates to replace Jacob (and or the Smoke Monster?). But… why? It doesn’t seem like just anybody could be a candidate, right? So why these people? If Jacob or Smokey simply looks like that person after their replaced, the whole thing seems pointless. I think the person matters. I think their experience and personality becomes part of the equation after the candidate graduates to become Jacob or Smokey (this is still largely going off Smokey’s shouting Locke’s signature “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” a few weeks ago).

    What is Jacob? What is the Smoke Monster? There was a lot of talk of Hell and the devil last night. And I thought Jacob’s response was interesting when Richard asked him if he was the devil. He was pretty slow and reluctant to say “no,” wasn’t he? Maybe that’s just Jacob’s expressed reluctance to guide people to answers, or maybe it’s because “no” is bit too simple of an answer.

    Wild speculation time: what if the island cork is not keeping Smokey in the bottle, as was so strongly implied, but keeping JACOB in the bottle? I realize that seems counterintuitive, given that Smokey clearly wants the bottle smashed and the contents let loose, but could it be that Jacob is kind of like a fallen Lucifer? Once benevolent, then fallen from grace, and now what? Maybe also trying to change his nature? Maybe he’s a prisoner who wants to make sure he stays in that prison until he’s fully reformed? What would that make Smokey? An unreformed flunky? A Beelzebub who would rather see his master dead that reformed?

    I’m not married to any of those specifics, but I do think it’s more complicated than Good Jacob is guarding Bad Smokey from making the world bad.

    1. I kinda felt like the weirdness of The Island is the evilness just bubbling below the surface. Almost like radiation, if you will…

      Yeah, there has to be more to Jacob/MIB’s reason for being on the ISland in the first place. This SHOULD help us understand WHY Jacob does what he does. I think Smokey is more involved than we think…ie. how he sniffed at Richard.

      Yeah, I thought the devil/hell talk was at first a wink to all the people who said LOST was hell or pergatory. Now, I’m wondering if Jacob/MIB really are HUGE cosmic beings of some kind?

      Totally agree–well, agree that it is more complicated than Good Jacob and Bad Smokey. In fact, that would be lame.


  2. The Island is a cork keeping hell/evil/the devil contained. This is what I got out of it all. Like how I capitalize “Island” like it’s a Proper Noun. Just feels like it should be

    I felt like there were lots of answers yet we are still so unsure of whose answers to believe (Jacob or MIB)

    “Team Jacob” I love it. I’m really rooting for him actually being good.

    Here is a thought, IF the island = Hell (which I don’t buy for a second) and they are all dead, then how is Smokey killing them. duh! 2nd death, I don’t think so. Ok, after Smokey you are REALLY dead. Not so much.

    About this:
    “Jacob then explains a little more about his “job”. He brings people to The Island to prove to the Man in Black that people are not inherently evil (apparently the MIB believes this). Ricardo wonders where these people are. Jacob replies with NO remorse or concern, “They’re dead.” Then Jacob declares that he wants people know right and wrong without being told! He doesn’t want to intervene! {And I kind of missed some here because I was thinking about that last line.} ”

    I think Ricardo asked a question like “why not intervene” and to me seemed like a light blub went off in Jacob’s head like Yeah… why not? Then he came up with the idea of having Richardo do the job. I could be wrong… I’d have to re watch.

    Thanks for a great recap as always Amanda! Can’t wait to see what others have thought of.

  3. @ Darby & Skipper: Yeah, that whole intervene thing was just weird. I remember it now.

    It could be a a good picture of how God and the devil are, tho’. God doesn’t place his will on us—he lets us choose what we want. And b/c God doesn’t intervene the devil will. Hence suffering and evil in the world. BUT. Jacob seems so unconcerned for “his people”, that’s where I’m getting bogged down. If Jacob/MIB = God/Devil, I feel like Jacob is a very narrow-minded confused god.

    1. Yes, I don’t care for the god-image Jacob is giving off either. A distant, mostly disinterested god except to prove a point. Uh,uh. Doesn’t work with my theology. OK, OK, I know it’s just a tv show! :)

  4. Just realized I didn’t really mention what the MIB’s deal was w/Ricardo. He said “Do you want to see your wife again?” So, when Richard was saying, “Does the offer still stand?!” He was asking to see his wife. *sigh* Poor guy.

  5. Yes, yes, yes!! Answers!! This was the first episode in a loooooong time that I was on the edge of my seat most of the show. I physically jumped when Jacob burst out of no where to attack Richardo.
    I think that Smokey evaluates people and allows them to live if he thinks that they are able to be manipulated. He killed Eko because he would not waver. He sized up Locke and allowed him to live and look what happened. He sized up Richardo and Ben and saw that they might be manipulated to do his dirty work. And I think that Isabella appearing on the boat was Smokey manipulating the situation in his favor. (like with Ben when he saw Alex)
    I loved Nestor Carbonell in this episode – he was amazing! Rivaling Michael Emerson in the Dr. Linus performance.
    I finally feel like we are getting somewhere. And I agree, Amanda, that when the NAME of the MIB is revealed, it’s gonna be a doozy!

  6. I think they did (ghost moment)!

    I like this theory:
    “I think that Smokey evaluates people and allows them to live if he thinks that they are able to be manipulated. He killed Eko because he would not waver. He sized up Locke and allowed him to live and look what happened”

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  8. I thought the Jacob/Richard convo changed the whole show. One thing that came to mind was if Jacob=God then Richard felt Jesus-esque to me with all the talk of representing him amongst everyone else.

    Smokey also kept me quessing because if it is true that the devil takes over bodies to become Smokey, than who else has been taken over?

  9. Yes! to question #1. I do think that Smokey has been using the images of dead loved ones to manipulate. It’s the only thing can do (besides kill)- manipulate. If they are useless to him, they die. Just like in the temple. He killed the ones that wouldn’t go with him.

    #2 I got the feeling that Jacob is a kind of jailer to the MIB. He certainly feels superior in a non-arrogant kind of way. More like a long suffering parent. And the MIB is a frustrated little boy who just wants what he wants, so there(!) *and here is where he’d stick out his tongue at Jacob.*

    It bothered me that Jacob seems to see humans as toys (or chess pieces, if you will) in this little thing he’s trying to prove to the MIB. Humans don’t mean much except to prove his point. Ugh, that really irks me!

    Richard episode! yay! Loved it. Every second I was completely involved and it was all so very credible for me.

    Great recap. BTW, Amanda, for the first time I did a post on LOST on my blog! You and I have many of the same conclusions. Love it!

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  11. Maybe MIB’ name will turn out to be-Jacob. Well, if they are actually the same person, just different aspects or personalities of the same whole, that would explain why they wouldn’t reveal his name right away. It would just be too corny or obvious if his name turned out to be Satan. Please!

    It’s also way too obvious for it to be a matter of good versus evil. Jacob obviously isn’t all good, and we have seen slight hints that MIB isn’t really totally bad. I think it’s more of a question of balanced personality. Jacob/MIB is a schizophrenic. But it’s not just good versus evil, it’s more like a matter of cold, calculating logic and reason (Jacob) versus primal instinct and raw emotion (MIB).

    1. Hmmm…I like the idea of Jacob/MIB being the same person. I kinda feel like they are definitely a yin/yang. I’m gonna have to think on this more…

  12. ok, this is a bit delayed since I missed this recap last week…

    but I am really liking this yin/yang theory…they are one and the same…two sides of the scale…black & white (and the island is their chessboard?)…not really sure where it all fits in with the final picture, but something to think about…

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