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LOMGST! Lost Recap - Ab Aeterno

Lost-richard-jail PREVIOUSLY ON LOST: Richard Alpert is a mysterious dude who appears to wear some kind of permanent kohl eyeliner and never ages. The weirdness of this isn't lost on good old Ben Linus, who comments, in ominous tones, that Richard is an advisor to Jacob and that he has had that job for a "VERY. VERY. LONG. TIME." After Jacob gets stabbed by Ben and goes up like a lighter fluid doused s'more in the fire pit at Jacob's Giant Egyptian God-shaped lair, Richard gets muy triste -- or some other word for emo and bummed out that I don't know since I don't actually speak Spanish -- because he spent his whole life in service of Jacob and now Jacob's dead, and his (relentless, unending) life is a hollow lie. Richard then begs Jack to help him to commit suicide by... wait... for... it... DYNAMITE, and though I would never condone the taking of one's own life by self-explosion, even I have to admit that's pretty badass. BOOM!

Hey, remember that scene where Jacob visits Ilana all mummified and puffy-lipped in a hospital at some indeterminate location, asking her to help him? Yeah well we're back there again, except now we get the whole story: Jacob came to ask Ilana to help him protect six people, the remaining candidates... Which is exactly what we find her doing back on the beach, as she sits with several of those six around a campfire, telling ghost stories, roasting marshmallows, making s'more-- Oh. Uhh, nevermind. COUGH. ANYWAY, it seems Jacob also told Ilana that at this point in the proceedings our man Richard (who in flashbacks Jacob calls "Ricardus" - FANCY!) would know what they should do, so she asks him, straight-up, to kindly fill everyone in. This whole 'knowing what to do' thing is news to Richard, who kind of freaks out and starts rambling agitatedly about how all of the people on the island are dead, and this island isn't what they think it it is, it's Hell. The other Losties listen intently, waiting for that part in the story where the man with the hook for a hand appears, because dude, that shit totally scared the bejesus out of them at summer camp back when they were kids. Instead, Richard rants on about not caring what Jacob said, and how maybe they should stop listening to Jacob and start listening to someone else, like, say, someone who takes the form of dead people and a sinister black column of smoke that tears people limb from limb. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, Richard! He tromps off into the jungle, "screw you guys, I'm going home"-style.

Ilana insists on following Richard, still convinced that he must know what they should do because Jacob said so, and Jacob is never wrong, despite being dead because he believed someone wouldn't kill him that then SO TOTALLY KILLED HIM. (Wah wah waaaaah.) Jack, always one to be full of questions, asks who the "someone else" is that Richard believes they should listen to. "Well this oughta be interesting," Ben snickers in response, because oh yeah, Jack and Hurley don't know about Faux Locke, and BOY HOWDY is that shit tough to explain. After a short briefing on the Faux Locke situation, Jack is understandably kind of incredulous about the whole thing, while Hurley is... well, off by himself talking in Spanish to invisible people. In other words, it's business-as-usual, pretty much.

Lost-isabella-ghost Hereabouts we flashback to a man -- Richard -- riding a horse at a great speed through lush green fields. Via the magic of subtitles we're told that the year is 1867, the location Tenerife, in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. It's a lovely place -- where I had my honeymoon, it so happens, and also where they filmed the more moonscape-y parts of the original Star Wars, so... The More You Know! [INSERT RAINBOW] Richard, looking sweaty and filthy in a manner befitting an 1867 peasant, arrives at a small cottage, ties up his horse, and enters. It seems this is Richard's home, and inside his wife Isabella languishes from what appears to be TB (coughing up blood... *shudder*). There's lots of dramatics here involving her dying, and him scrounging around for money and valuables with which to purchase medicine for her, and talk of eternal love and sweaty Spanish peasantry and period romances with subtitles, and it's all quite moving. No, really, it is. Isabella gives Richard a gold cross from around her neck, one of the only things of value they have. He takes it and says, "I will save you." Gaaaaaah.

In the night, in the rain, Richard rides furiously on horseback and arrives at the home of a doctor he hopes can provide him with medicine for Isabella. The doctor, however, is a total fucking douchebag, turning his nose up at Richard's remunerative offering for medicine, tossing Isabella's gold cross in disgust on the floor. DICK. Now desperately begging, Richard pulls at the asshole's coat, pleading for his help. Instead of helping though, Doctor Prick pulls an indignant unhand me, peasant!, and tries to throw Richard off of him. Richard's desperation reaches a fever pitch, and he struggles with the Doctor for the medicine, accidentally pushing him so that the Doc snaps his neck on the dining room table. Umm, oops? Just then a servant with muttonchops enters, and if I know one thing in this life it's that men with muttonchops are snitches and cheats. Ask me some time about that year I spent in San Quentin. Chops, man. Can't trust em'.

Richard arrives back at his hovel just in time to... see that Isabella is dead. And then be carted off to jail. Freaking Job, this guy.

But wait! It gets worse! MUCH, MUCH WORSE. In fact, so much worse, that it may well be difficult to find humor in such monumental human suffering. However, I aim to try. Hang on tight, folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

In jail for murdering Doctor Douche, Richard has been reading the Bible in English, teaching himself to speak the language because he and Isabella were going to go to the New World together, tear off their peasant shackles, and... Well, the bottomline is that you have to pass the time in jail somehow, and it's better than giving yourself ballpoint pen tattoos. Richard is visited by a priest, who asks to receive his confession. Richard kneels and begins to pitifully lament killing El Douche and begs forgiveness... after all, it was an accident, really -- does that count? That doesn't count, right? Do over? The priest looks down on Richard and says, "No." NO? Really? That's it? Wow. He then goes on to say he cannot grant absolution for murder -- the only way to be forgiven for it is through penance, and oh by the by, you're getting hanged tomorrow, and so much for that whole penance idea! People, this is NOT your Father's Catholicism we're dealing with here... this is your great, great, great, great GRANDFATHER'S Catholicism, and it ain't messin', no sir. I mean the last thing this dude says to Richard before he leaves him to his doom is, "I'm afraid the devil awaits you in Hell." That shit is harsh. AND NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION! (I'm sorry, that couldn't be helped.)

The next day, as he's being lead from his cell, presumably to the gallows, he's stopped by a man -- a Mr. Witfield -- who upon confirming that Richard does indeed speak English hands the attending priest a bag of coin and proclaims Richard property of Captain Magnus Hanso (HANSO! OMG!!!!!), and announces that he will be going by sea to the New World, as he'd once hoped. As a slave. But hey, it beats dyin', right? Oh, and guess what the name of the ship is that he'll be traveling on! Go on, guess!

Aboard the Black Rock, the crew is slammed by rough seas at night within sight of an island... and we know how that story ends. The ship plows over Jacob's Giant Egyptian God-shaped lair and lands in the jungle. In the morning, the survivors -- including Richard and a few other slaves chained up in the ship's hull -- stagger to consciousness. This is about when things get truly grim. Mr. Witfield descends into the hull, unsheathes his sword, and begins plunging it into the chests and stomachs of the shackled men, while the surviving witnesses scream in horror. Witfield goes on to explain (in-between stabbings) that considering the situation, and the lack of supplies, water, and food, a dead slave is less of a liability than a desperate live one, so...

Just then, as Witfield and his sword reach Richard, that strange, familiar tone sounds through the jungle -- the one that signals The Smoke Monster Commeth. The crew on deck above them are slaughtered, and our pal Stabby McStabberson gets plucked right out of his boots by old smokey, dragged from the hull screaming. That'll, umm, show him? Smokey then approaches Richard, saddling up to him like a dog sniffing a stranger for clues as to their origin and substance (made of Snausages? Not made of Snausages?), and then evaporates in an instant. SHAZAM!

Hereafter follows what seems like 50 billion years worth of watching poor Richard struggle to try to free himself from the literal chains he's bound to the ship with. He pulls a nail from the hull and uses it as a tool.... There's some gross shit with boar coming in and eating people.... The nail falls just beyond his grasp... The sun rises, the sun sets... It's torture, basically, watching it. Then, oddly enough, Isabella appears, all alive and talky and not-dead-like. She says they need to escape, and that they're in hell, and the devil is coming, and... then she too is plucked by the smoke monster from the ship.

Anyone else starting to feel ready for some lightness? Because I could use a nice intermission cartoon. Something with twittering birds and frolicking woodland creatures. Like, say:

Disney-woodland-animals
And they don't get shot by hunters, or caught in traps, OR eaten by monsters -- smoke or otherwise. Please. Oh sweet god in heaven, please.

Sorry. Moving on.

Lost-richard-black-man-boat Richard struggles to consciousness and finds himself face-to-face with the Man In Black (MIB), who calls himself "a friend" and gives Richard water. He confirms that Richard is in Hell, and insinuates that "he" (meaning Jacob) has his wife, Isabella. Sneaky bastard bargains to free Richard if he does something for him -- you know how this goes, because it's the same old song and dance he's been doing as Faux Locke all season long: I can help you get something you dearly want (Isabella), but you have to agree to do something unpleasant for me (kill Jacob) aaaaaand yada. Of course Richard's options are kind of limited at this point, so he rolls with this. "There's only one way to escape from Hell... You're going to have to kill the devil," he says to Richard.

You know what, I think I've realized something. The devil isn't some cackling dude with horns and a red-hot pitchfork. No, the devil is just an enormous asshole with A LOT of power. Kind of like Rupert Murdoch. But without the, uhh, charm.

So MIB feeds Richard this whole line of crap about "the devil" that sounds like words right out of our dead Other-hun comrade Fu Man Chu's mouth: Here, take this ceremonial-looking dagger. Find the bad guy. Before he can say a word, plung the dagger into his chest. If he speaks, it will already be too late. And whatever you do, and no matter how much he begs, don't feed him after dark.

On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you feel for Richard right now? I'm at about an 8. Hundred.

Lost-richard-fight-jacob Now a pawn under the influence of the MIB, Richard drags his au de despair-scented carcass over to the beach in search of the devil he doesn't yet know, aka Jacob, who, let's be serious, is much more likely to turn out to be a shipwrecked yoga instructor than the devil. He'll straighten your Chakras and align your Chi or some such shit, but he's not sending you to fiery eternal damnation. In any case, not knowing this, Richard goes to the beach knife drawn, aaaand promptly gets his ass beat and sand kicked in his face by a very badass Jacob. Guess that yoga really pays off! And Jacob is all, What gives, bro? Why you try'n do me like this? And Richard is like, Dude said you were the devil, holmes, and that if I cut ya I get my boo back! And Jacob is all, Oh man, you been SERVED PROPAH. And Richard is all, ?!??!!!!???? And Jacob goes, Tru dat, tru dat.

Now things get heavy. Stay with me.

On the beach, over some wine, Jacob tells Richard that he brought him, and everyone else, to the island. Like, on purpose and stuff. He goes on to explain that the island somehow serves to hold the darkness of the world at bay and keeps it from spreading, like how a cork in a bottle keeps the wine inside. Mmm... delicious wine of pure evil. Anyway, it seems the island is essentially the manifestation of or staging area for the struggle between good and evil: Jacob brings people to the island, the MIB tries to corrupt them while Jacob tries to prove the MIB wrong. It's not really clear how the proving wrong or right impacts the balance of things (does the MIB "winning" a round by corrupting someone cause something bad to happen on Jacob's end? And if Jacob saves a soul, does it rain puppies from the sky? What?). The point for Jacob seems to be wanting people to find their inherent "goodness" in the same way the MIB wants them to find their inherent corruption. Again, heavy. That wine sounds MIGHTY GOOD right about now, huh?

Lost-jacob-bottle-cork-lg
The difference between these two warring sides is of course that the MIB actively urges people toward their corruption, influencing them every step of the way, whereas Jacob merely sits back and hopes people make a good choice, like the judgiest Kindergarten teacher in the universe. Richard points this disparity out to Jacob, and a lightbulb goes off in Jacob's head. Perhaps Richard could stick around, serve as Jacob's representative to The People, and help try to steer them in the right direction... in exchange for, say, eternal life? Sure, why the heck not!

Richard, now on Team Jacob, returns to the MIB to break him the bad news and give him a white stone Jacob asked him to pass on -- apparently in this relationship the white stone is symbolic of IN YOUR FACE, BOOYAH! MIB is suitably bummed by this turn of events, but tells Richard that if he ever wants to change his mind, old MIB will be there for him, ready to hug him and squeeze him and EAT HIS SOUL. MIB then hands Richard the gold cross Isabella once wore, saying that he found it on the ship. Maybe Richard can SELL IT FOR CASH? Instead, Richard digs a hole in the ground nearby and buries it -- a wise choice, I think. When pure, unadulterated evil gives you a gift, no matter how nice-seeming, you're probably right to dispose of that shit, pronto.

Back in the present-day jungle, Richard goes to the spot where back in 1867 he'd buried Isabella's necklace, and digs it up. "I've changed my mind.... Does the offer still stand?" He yells to no one in particular. Hurley then appears from out of nowhere. God, I love Hurley. He tells Richard Isabella sent him, that she's standing next to him, and it's all very Somewhere In Time or Ghost or The Ring. No, wait, scratch that last one. Isabella goes on to tell Richard, through Hurley, that it wasn't his fault that she died, and that he's suffered enough, and that they are always together. And then I started with the weeping. Goddammit, Lost -- stop getting all up in my emotions and shit! Bastards!

Oh, but the best was yet to come. Hurley informs Richard that Isabella told him to tell Richard that he must stop the Man In Black from leaving the island. Because if he doesn't? "We all go to Hell." Greeeeat. Just what I wanted to hear.

Lost-hurley-hell

Back on the island in the 1800s, the MIB sits beneath a tree, fingering his white "fuck you" rock. Jacob saunters up and sits beside him, and they exchange pleasantries, such as As long as I'm on this island, you're not going anywhere, mister, and Oh yeah? Well I'm GOING TO KILL YOU -- you know, the normal neighborly chit-chat and what-not. Jacob hands MIB the wine bottle he'd earlier used to explain the whole evil-wine/island-cork thing to Richard, and says, as he turns to depart, "Something for you to pass the time... I'll see you around." Seething, the MIB mutters, "Sooner than you think," and violently smashes the bottle, symbolically unleashing his darkness on the world.

LOMGST!1!!!!

Previously on Lost Recaps...


. . . . .
Sweetney is a writer, geek, and professional smartass from beautiful Baltimore, MD.








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Comments

Keli

I declare this episode my favorite of this season so far.

Great recap.

MonkeyFace

All I can say @ this episode: WOW.

audrey

LOVED this episode. Awesome recap!

Amy

My husband just mentioned that the island was in the ATLANTIC last night, not the Pacific as usual (Sydney -> LA = Pacific. Canary Islands -> New World = Atlantic). This completely blew me away and was not something I had noticed.

rkmama

Totally with you on the muttonchops.

Awesome episode. Had to be a doozie to re-cap, but you outdid yourself per usual. I hope you at least uncorked some malevolent wine afterwards!

divrchk

Same ship as in this scene?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTF2Vd--yIw

Loved this episode...

divrchk

Also, Flocke said, "Good to see you out of those chains" to Richard in the first episode of the season when he first saw him...

And the Hanso Foundation funded the Dharma Initiative.

cindy w

Ok, so Nestor Carbonell, the actor who plays Richard Alpert? (Yes, I imdb'ed him, because I only knew him as "eyeliner guy who used to be on that sitcom with Brooke Shields" - and btw, apparently he does NOT wear eyeliner, that's honestly just his pretty pretty face, and you're welcome for the trivia.) He needs an Emmy after that episode last night, because OMG. The shift between 1800's Spanish-speaking Richard and modern-day English-speaking Richard, and the way that the two of them combined at the end... just, WOW. He was amazing.

I honestly don't even know how you were able to recap that, so hats off to you there. That was a damn sad episode, but it was also so, so good.

And I completely agree about muttonchops. Men who have them are totally shifty.

Sweetney

Cindy - Yeah, I knew about the eyeliner (or lack thereof, rather) -- but I still like calling him The Eyeliner Guy (in the same way I liked calling Dogan Fu... and Miles was, for a time, "that Ghostbuster dude," you may recall. It is my way :)).

Totally agree about this episode, and Nestor Carbonell's acting therein. Tour de force. It's really smart, the way the show is structured, in that it gives the actors these focused episodes to really shine, as their character gets the spotlight. It makes me sad though -- in one hour I came to love Richard Alpert, and it pains me to know that with only 8 episodes left, the time left to know him is so limited. (God, I sound like a weirdo... but I think this episode was soulful in a transcendent way, in a way only a few of even the best episodes of this massively great show have been. I guess human suffering and survival against all odds kind of lends itself to that, though.)

I actually had a couple of moments last night where I said, outloud, "God I love this show." And yes, there was someone else in the room I was saying that to, but I suspect I would've said it aloud had I been alone, too.

Sweetney

Also, if it matters, my vote is officially in for Hurley as THE Candidate. The One. So many reasons, but primarily because while all of the other characters have struggled to some degree or other with demons, Hurley has always been, and still is, good, well-meaning, and helpful. He's the closest thing to Jacob they've got.

The whole speaking-to-the-dead thing doesn't hurt, either.

Dawn

Hm, you may be right about Hurley. For someone who is 'crazy' he seems to be the only one with his head on straight.

cindy w

Sweetney - I said that exact same thing about Hurley to my husband a couple of episodes back (the one where Jack went ballistic and smashed the mirrors in the lighthouse). I can totally seem him being The Candidate.

CW

The "more dune-y parts of the original Star Wars" were filmed in Tunisia, not Tenerife.

DaniGirl

Oh wow, I wish I'd discovered these updates a while back. You're even more fun than the pop-up repeat episodes!!

Amy above commented about the Atlantic-Pacific thing and I just had a squee-out-loud moment of realization -- I'd been puzzling over how they got shipwrecked in the south Pacific when they left from the Canary Islands, too. Ohhhhh, the *island* moved -- wowza!!

I totally agree -- Hurley must be The One. Must.

I hope Charlie shows up in the flash-sideways soon. Did you catch his brother at the police station where James and Miles were?

DaniGirl

(Sorry, the Charlie reference was last week's episode. I watched them back-to-back because my PVR messed up last week!)

Sweetney

CW: "Tenerife's heart is Mount Teide, the volcano is the highest point in Spain and casts the largest shadow in the world, sometimes capped with snow it is an unforgettable site. The surrounding landscape is said to resemble the surface of the moon, and has been used as a film location for movies such as Planet of the Apes and Star Wars."

Perhaps I misspoke in saying "dune-y" and should've said "moon-y". I shall correct for the sake of clarity.

Sweetney

DaniGirl: Any way they can get Charlie back for a guest appearance I'm all for. And while they're at it, they should throw in Mr. Eko. *sigh*

diamondcait

Ah, the island moved. I wondered how they got from the Canary Islands to the South Pacific. If they were taking the scenic route to the New World or some craziness..
Also, Hurley said "nos vamos al infierno" which technically means, "we're RETURNING to hell" not going. Hmmm. Maybe Richard was Right...

Amalah

I love the idea of Jacob as "the judgiest Kindergarten teacher in the universe."

This show is goddamn killing me, and I don't want it to ever stop.

stacy

I worked with Nestor when I was an assistant to his manager in LA, and he is awesome. Did you know he was also in The Tick? I loved that show.

I also loved that they addressed the fan-dom directly over the whole "they're in hell!" rumor that went around for years. And in general I love the whole good vs evil thing that's going on.

<3 LOST!

Sumo

I was expecting Richard to be much older. Like hundreds of years old. Turns out he's only lived the equivalent of two or three lifetimes, depending on your yardstick. I mean, yeah, the Flocke comment at the beginning of the season about Richard in chains suggested slave trade which was really booming in the mid 1800's, but it had also been going on for quite a while by then. OK, I just looked up some stats and timelines for the slave trade and the year 1867 (ring a bell?) is listed as "Last transatlantic slave voyage arrives in Americas". Hmm.


Stacy: When I see Nestor Carbonell on screen I always think (and sometimes yell out) "Batmanuel!"




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