Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lost - Part 8

We’re friends, right?

I’ll open up to my friends and admit that I spent last night’s Lost restless. There wasn’t much revealed we hadn’t already figured out about Richard Alpert (Excuse me…Ricardo). Did we really need a full 10 minutes of him trapped in the hull of Black Rock?

It didn’t progress the story of our island people much, either. Ricardo spent most of his time bug eyed and talking gibberish with words underneath his face. Yes, I was disappointed.

Right up until the last few minutes. Lost is, after all, an exercise in patience.

While Hurley reintroducing Richard to his long dead wife was one of the most emotionally charged scenes in the entire run of Lost, it did something more important. Richard Alpert is no longer the mysterious, supernatural creature we’ve known for the past few seasons. He is now just like our survivor friends: Human, damaged and guilt ridden over having failed a loved one.

It also provided me a brand spanking new idea that I’ll share at the end.

Let’s get to it.

What Happened

We open with Ilana coming out of her nose job surgery with Jacob asking her for help. Considering her condition, Jacob doesn’t have very good timing. He tells her that there are six candidates that she needs to protect; take them to the Temple and ‘Ricardus’ will know what to do next.

‘Who dat?’ everyone asks.

That would be Richard Alpert who laughs at the notion he would know what to do next. Richard, you see, is becoming a bit unhinged. It can happen when you’ve lived for 150 years on a remote island and seen everything he has. Hell, I wouldn’t have made it 10.

Richard tells them all that they are not on an island, but in Hell. ‘We’re all dead,’ he tells everyone before stomping into the jungle in an attempt to start listening to someone else. Such a hothead!

During this way too brief stay on the beach Jack learns that Locke is alive but not really Locke at all, witnesses Hurley talking to himself in Spanish (or Portuguese or whatever), and Captain Frank learns that Richard hasn’t aged in a really long time.

‘Now how did that happen?’

Glad you asked, Frank!

Cut to 1867 (the year of my birth!) where Richard (Ricardo in his home land) is galloping through another lush island world. This time it’s the Canary Islands and he’s heading home to his sick wife Isabella, which is the legally required name of every good looking Spanish woman on television (that or Maria). After she coughs up blood in the most adorable way possible, Ricardo vows to save her and takes off to a doctor.

Arriving soaking wet and pathetic, the doctor tells Ricardo that he has medicine that will help his wife, but it will cost him. Richard takes out his life savings (10 bucks) and his wife’s gold cross but is scoffed at by the doctor as only Spanish doctors can scoff (very derisively). Richard isn’t leaving without the medicine and tries to take it from him only the clumsy, fat doctor falls and bashes his head against his very expensive and concrete hard table. Should have gone with balsa wood.

Richard thinks ‘Eff it!’ (in Spanish) and takes off with the medicine only to get home and find Isabella dead. He’s arrested, sentenced to death and the company of the dickiest (it’s a word!) priest that doesn’t molest children before being sold - by that same priest – for an all expensed paid trip to the New World.

That’s right. His trip involves being manacled in the bottom of the Black Rock which comes flying so fast into the island that it knocks Jacob’s precious statue into pieces. Way to bring it to the island, Jacob! Little to the left, maybe?

Richard wakes to find himself still shackled, but now in the middle of the jungle. The commanding officer comes down and starts killing the prisoners one by one. When he gets to Richard we hear the familiar WAA OOOOOOOO of Smokey just before he takes out the entire crew. Smokey comes up to Richard but doesn’t kill him. Just flashes and tries to show off which is wasted on him since Richard has his eyes closed.

After a run in with a man eating boar, which Richard inexplicably tries to kill with a nail that wasn’t even sharp, he hears a woman calling. Down the stairs comes Isabella. What the?? She tells Richard that they are both dead and in Hell which is really the most plausible explanation of the island we’ve heard so far. When they hear Smokey coming, Richard tells her to run. She does and gets snatched up by the smoke. D’oh!

Later, as Richard is near death, a man comes in and gives him some water. It’s the creepy DA from ‘The Good Wife’! I mean…the man in black! He tells Richard they are indeed in Hell and that El Diablo (that’s Spanish for the Devil) has taken his wife. He says he’ll set him free but Richard must do whatever he asks, without question. Considering his options, Richard agrees.

After a boar dinner (tables flipped, boar!), MIB tells Richard that he needs to head west to the foot of the statue and kill the man there with the same knife Sayid tried to kill Fake Locke with earlier this season. Only, it’s much shinier. ‘Don’t let him talk. If he speaks to you it will be too late’. Man, that sounds familiar.

Richard does as he’s told only to get his ass handed to him by a tougher than he looks Jacob. Alpert tells Jacob that he was told that Jacob was the devil and that killing him will get his wife back. Jacob explains that his wife is still dead, this is not Hell, and Richard isn’t dead; a fact he proves by attempting to drown him.

Jacob then explains to Richard and everyone watching that the island is like a cork in a cheap looking wine bottle. Consider the wine evil and the cork the island, keeping the evil bottled up. If the evil gets outside the bottle, it really will be Hell on earth. He then explains that MIB believes that any man (or woman, although this was 1867 and equal rights wasn’t as big back then) can be corrupted because it’s in their nature to do bad things. Jacob brings people to the island to prove him wrong, that the island gives everyone a second chance.

Richard asks, yeah, but everyone you’ve brought here has been killed by MIB so you’re a fool (only in more tactful language). Why didn’t you help them? Great question! Jacob explains that he can’t step in because he wants everyone to help themselves. What would be the point if he had to explain the difference between right and wrong? Other than saving people’s lives, you mean??

Yeah, but if you don’t step in MIB will, Richard says during the most successful job interview ever. Jacob considers this and asks Richard if he’ll be his mediator (or right hand man). Richard wants his wife back in exchange. Sorry, can’t do that. Well, then absolve me of my sins. Nope, can’t do that either. Well then I never want to die and go to Hell. Now THAT I can do, Jacob says while touching him on the shoulder.

Richard goes back to MIB, tells him that he’s working for Jacob now, will not be giving two weeks, hands him a white stone and accepts Isabella’s gold cross from MIB. ‘Found it on the ship,’ he tells Ricardo. He also explains that by signing with Jacob it means he’ll never see his wife again and, if he ever changes his mind, his offer still stands.

Richard proceeds to bury the cross at the base of the stone bench.


…we’re back. Richard is back at the stone bench 140 years later digging up the remarkable clean cross and yelling that he’s changed his mind. ‘Does the offer still stand!?’

He hears a rustling and out pops Hurley who tells him that his dead wife is standing right next to him. He passes on her message that her death was not his fault and that he has suffered enough and that his English is awesome. Richard says that he would do anything for them to be together again and she tells him that they already are together. POOF, she’s gone.

Hurley says there is one more teeny, tiny little thing: They need to stop MIB from leaving the island or ‘we’ll all go to hell’. As he tells Richard this we see Fake Locke watching from a distance, none too pleased with the entire scenario.

Flashback to MIB sitting on a bench overlooking a beautiful tropical valley. Jacob arrives and tells MIB that as long as he’s alive MIB would not be leaving this island. MIB says ‘I’ll guess I’ll have to kill you’.

‘Someone else will take my place,’ Jacob explains.

‘I’ll just have to kill them, too,’ MIB answers.

Jacob hands MIB the rest of the wine. ‘Something to pass the time’. MIB tells Jacob that he’ll be seeing him, ‘sooner than you think’ and smashes the wine bottle to pieces.

What We Learned

- The island is a cork keeping wine….I mean…evil bottled up.

- Richard really loved his wife. Only in Hollywood.

- Jacob has a wine press in the foot of the statue. Oh, I get it. Foot. Stomping grapes. Funny, Jacob.

- Boars eat corpses.

- The Black Rock is what knocked down the statue.

- Jacob doesn’t control everything. I doubt he meant to have the Black Rock plow over his house.

- Jacob’s kind of a dick. He brings people to the island only to totally ignore them while they die a (probably) gruesome death at the hands of Smokey. No wonder Ben was pissed at him.

- Richard was basically Jacob’s right hand man because Jacob was too lazy to get out of his wine cellar. Jacob, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Although if I have to tell you that what will you really learn? Yeah, stings having that thrown in your face, doesn’t it?

- This white rock/black rock joke isn’t very funny. Maybe if Jacob and Smokey watched Seinfeld reruns they would have gotten along better. Laughter can bond, fellas.

- Jacob can handle himself in a fight.

- They made solid gold back in the day. Hundreds of years old, buried in the dirt for much of that time and not even a hint of tarnish or green on it.

- Priests and doctors on the Canary Islands were assholes.

- Health care really hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Pay and I’ll give you the medicine. Can I see your HMO card in the form of gold coins, please? Sorry, we don’t take crosses here.

- Ricardo wants to live!!! Careful what you wish for.

- Ilana was hurt in ‘training’. Whatever that means.

- Richard was supposed to know what to do when everyone got to the Temple. Which also means someone dropped the ball somewhere.

- It’s good to see Richard out of those chains.

- Ricardo was a field worker in 1867 and knew how to push a horse.

- Richard was actually offered to work for both Jacob and MIB and still has a standing offer with Fake Locke. This means Richard was the first official free agent in history.

- Nobody can enter Jacob’s statue unless they’re invited and he’s very selective in who he invites.

- Jacob can keep people from aging but can’t help in reuniting loved ones. This does not bode well for Sun and Jin. Especially if one of them is dead.

- If Fake Locke gets off the island it means very bad things for everyone. Including us, people. Including us.

- Richard taught himself English which was a life saver. Literally.

- Jacob’s touch seems to be what keeps Richard ageless and immortal.

Which brings me to…

New Questions

- So, we see Jacob touch Richard when he asks never to die. We also see him touch Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Jin, Real Locke and Sawyer. Does this now mean that none of those people can die? Or that they will remain ageless like Richard? Or are there different touches that do different things.

- Let’s assume that Jacob is a one touch kind of guy. That his touching someone means they are ageless and immortal. That would certainly explain Sayid’s resurrection now, wouldn’t it? And if it was Jacob’s touch and not some infection that brought Sayid back from the dead, wouldn’t that mean that Sayid isn’t necessarily evil? Wouldn’t that mean (as I suspect will happen) Sayid will flip on Fake Locke at some point?

- Let’s take it a step further. If everyone Jacob touched can come back from the dead (or is immortal in some way), then wouldn’t that mean a return of a certain Real Locke? Or did his dying off the island in some way negate that ‘Immortal Effect’? Also, buried under the sand is a tough thing to get out of. Just ask the two diamond thieves. Keep in mind that Jacob touched Locke before his first trip to the island and that he was shot by Ben and recovered quickly. Was it Jacob’s touch and not the island that helped heal Locke quickly?

- Why won’t Jacob interfere? Everyone he has brought to the island has been corrupted or killed by MIB. Wouldn’t a change in strategy help him out? Is that why he is now using Hurley to communicate to Jack? Is he desperate enough to start interfering now that he’s dead? Or are there certain rules that prevent him from doing so?

- Who makes up these ridiculous rules, anyway?

- If the island is keeping evil trapped, what happens when the cork gets blown up by a hydrogen bomb? Do MIB and Jacob sink to the bottom of the ocean in Real World time?

- What happened to Ilana and what is her relationship to Jacob?

- How does Smokey decide who to kill immediately and who to keep alive? He’s confronted Real Locke, Mr, Ekko, and now Richard and not killed them. But other people (Oceanic pilot, the commanders of Black Rock, the mercenaries from the freighter) he kills immediately. What’s his criteria?

- What has MIB done that means keeping him trapped on the island? Is he just a punk? Did he put gum in Jacob’s hair when he was sleeping?

- Who is MIB’s mother? Remember last week he tells Kate that his mother was crazy. Are Jacob and MIB somehow related? Brothers?

- Is Jacob the first gate keeper for MIB? Or has he taken over for someone else? Anyone else get the impression that he was new at the job when he met Richard? First, he accidentally knocked his own statue over then he totally own Richard when he came to kill him. He seemed angry, too. Very un-Jacob-like. Was that on the job training?

- You think Jacob and MIB ever got shitfaced together? That’s a scene we need to see. ‘Dude, you should have seen the look on that guy’s face when I tore him to pieces! It was priceless. Oh, and I’m going to kill you as soon as I figure out how.’

- What is MIB’s problem with that island? Plenty of people drop by to be slaughtered, the scenery is fantastic, the weather is nearly perfect. Couldn’t he take up surfing and needlepoint? You could be trapped in the Arctic Circle! What an ingrate.

- If Jacob is standing guard on the island, why does he continue to bring people to the island? Is it to simply prove that one person out of the hundreds that have been killed can be changed? He tells Richard that he brings people to the island to prove MIB wrong, but he has yet to do so. Even after untold centuries.

- Why does MIB keep saying ‘sooner than you think’ when talking about seeing someone? He said the same thing to Alpert as Fake Locke. Does he think it sounds menacing? And what is his definition of ‘sooner’? Less than 50 years? Less than 100 years?

- What’s with the no talking rule about killing either Jacob or MIB? Is that just a way to prevent the other from persuading the person to change their minds? Or is there an actual rule that if they speak they can’t be killed? And, if that is a rule, then how did Ben manage to kill Jacob? He spoke to Ben before he was stabbed and that didn’t help one bit.

- What is the original form of MIB? We know what he looked like back in 1867 and he looks like Locke now, but what did he look like originally?

- Also, Jacob tells Richard that he brings people to the island so they can get a second chance – that when they arrive their pasts don’t matter. However, it certainly seemed to me that Richard’s past wasn’t that terrible. He accidentally killed a douchebag doctor in order to save his wife and was an honest field worker before that. What, exactly, did Richard need to make up for on the island?

- Was using Richard the first attempt MIB made on Jacob’s life? Jacob seemed surprised that MIB tried to kill him when they met on the bench at the end of the episode.

- Is that Captain Mangus Hanso who commanded Black Rock related to the same guy that started the Hanso Foundation behind the Dharma Initiative? Did I just pull something obscure completely out of my ass? Why, yes. Yes I did.

On that note, let’s wrap this up. Until next week.

Today's distraction: Snow art courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes. I miss this comic.

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