Thursday, March 25, 2010

(32) - Welcome to Hell, My Friend

We got a treat Tuesday night with a Richard Alpert back-story. Finally! The man who has been the most mysterious, we got a fair amount of answers. But first, onto some past predictions that dealt with this episode (hint: I'm dece good).

  • Richard was a slave on the Black Rock
    • This episode definitively showed us how Richard Alpert came to be on the Island. He was sold as a slave to Magnus Hanso, el capitain of the Black Rock. Magnus is the great ancestor to Alvar Hanso, who co-founded the Dharma Initiative. Could all that have been to find his great great great grandfather?
  • Richard proved to Jacob that man can be inherently good and not evil, which in turn is why Jacob made him ageless
    • Ha! Read on to get a full breakdown of this argument.
  • Evil Incarnate/Locke Monster/Man in Black knows the consequences of his actions and that if he leaves the Island something bad will happen
    • Well, we're led to believe this at least with the last scene. More later.
  • The knife Sayid attempted to kill LM with is special
    • Richard attempted to kill Jacob with that same knife, using the same instructions Dogen gave to Sayid. Evil Incarnate said to stab him right away, do not give him a chance to talk. Once he talks it will already be over. Jacob beats the shit out of Alpert and grabs the knife from him, and screams/asks him who gave him this knife, even though he already knew the answer. This knife holds some special value, we're just not exactly what value yet.
The inherently good vs evil bit I'm particularly proud of. Anyways, let's start "Ab Aeterno..." (from the beginning of time). FYI, long one.

1. Well now we definitively know how Richard Alpert came to the Island, how the Black Rock ended up in the middle of said Island, and how Tawaret was downgraded to just a four-toed statue. THREE pretty big answers in the first twenty minutes, not bad. More was to come though. Ricardo was sold as a slave after he murdered a doctor trying to save his wife Isabella from TB. Isabella was the love of his life, Isabella was his constant. And he would (and still will) do anything to save her. During his trip to the New World from Tenerife in the Canary Islands as a slave, their ship (the Black Rock) got caught in a massive storm and headed to the Island, which according to Ricardo's slavemate, is guarded by the Devil (or just a massive statue of Tawaret, goddess of fertility and childbirth). The Black Rock rides a MASSIVE wave and runs straight into the top portion of the statue, destroying it, and then proceeds halfway into the Island. How big was that wave? Like, 150 feet? I'm willing to roll with it though. Once awake, the ships first mate comes down and begins stabbing all the slaves, because, according to him, if he let's any of them go it would only be a matter of time until they killed him. That sounds awfully LockeMonsterish/inherently evil to me. "It's kill or be killed, and I don't want to die." Just as he's about to kill Ricardo, the last of the slaves, the smoke monster appears and goes to town on everyone. It shimmies its way down to the lower deck and comes smoke to face with Ricardo, studying him, flashing on him, gathering intelligence. And then, it vanishes. Thus, Ricardo is left for dead, all alone, chained in the lower deck of the Black Rock.

2. After trying, for what seems like days, to pry himself free of the chains using a nail he dug up, Ricardo is on the precipice of death, knocking at the door. They really wanted to stress the point of how long he was down there. And then the love of his life appears, embracing him, telling him that he is dead and that they are in Hell together. Huh? The smoke monster appears, and he pleads with her to leave and promises her (again) that he will save her. She runs up the stairs and promptly gets swallowed by the darkness. It seems like another day has passed when someone walks down the deck and touches Ricardo's shoulder ala the way Jacob touched John Locke after his dad pushed him out of the window. But it is not Jacob this time, it is the Man in Black, Evil Incarnate. He explains that the Devil has Isabella trapped and if they are going to free her they'll need to work together. Ricardo agrees to do "anything" Man in Black asks for. This was an OUTSTANDING manipulation of Ricardo; he should get an award or a medal or something. He waits until Ricardo is ripe for the picking, dangles Isabella right in front of him and then promptly snatches her away. By the time he frees Ricardo he's willing to do anything he wants.

This is where things get interesting. So far we've seen throughout this season that Man in Black/Evil Incarnate/LockeMonster doesn't seem to or doesn't like to lie. So far he hasn't lied. But he also doesn't tell full truths, he omits certain information, and might spin something one way, but he hasn't really, fully lied. Which I find quite intriguing. He has helped Ricardo out of his chains, picked him up and carried him outside where he cooked food for Ricardo. Those words are bolded for a reason, we'll come back to them. He explains to Ricardo that the Devil has Isabella, and the only way to get her back and to escape this place (Hell) is to kill the Devil. So far he has not lied -- this place might not be Hell, but to him, to the Man in Black, that's exactly what this place is: his own personal hell and he cannot escape. For some reason or another, he is bound to this place. He hands Ricardo a knife, the same knife Dogen gave to Sayid to kill Evil Incarnate, and explains to him that he must kill Jacob right away, and that if he lets Jacob talk it is already too late. First, Ricardo is hesitant; the reason why he is here in the first place is because he committed murder, and he doesn't want to again. He just wants his wife back, etc. MiB says that we have all lost something, my body was stolen from me (we'll come back to this in a sec). Second, Ricardo doesn't understand how he can kill the black smoke with a knife, but Man in Black tells Ricardo that he is the smoke. Another truth. But wait, the next sentence, the way Man in Black words it is....odd. Ricardo says that Isabella was running from you. MiB says that no, by the time "I" arrived, "he" had already gotten her. Now, there are a few options to what is exactly going on here:
  • MiB is manipulating Ricardo. He takes the form of Isabella and then stages her "death," and then says the Devil (Jacob), has taken her away, and that the only way to save her and escape this place is to kill him
  • He is telling the truth. Maybe, and stay with me here, Man in Black and the smoke monster are two separate entities, sharing a host body. He says that his body was stolen from him. When MiB says that "he" has her, he means the black smoke. And by the time "I" got there, they were gone. What if, when they first merged, MiB wasn't fully evil. He was pissed off his body was "stolen" from him, and something evil had filled him inside, but he was not of the same mind as the black smoke. They had two different consciousnesses (not even sure that's a word). But over time, MiB slips up, and goes into smoke monster mode because the line between the two consciousnesses has become so blurred, he's not sure where he begins and the smoke monster ends. MiB keeps calling Ricardo "friend." Maybe because he is being honest, he wants a friend, he wants help. He wants to cast out this evilness from his body because he can no longer control the line between himself and the smoke, and he believes the only want to do this is to leave the Island. So if he is telling the truth, is Jacob in fact the Devil? Just a thought...
Either way, Ricardo wants Isabella back. So he's going to attempt the almost impossible, kill the Devil.
    3. And attempt he did, miserably might I add. Jacob absolutely demolished him. No contest. TKO.  Jacob beats the shit out of Ricardo and grabs the special knife from him, and screams/asks him who gave him this knife, even though he already knew the answer. It seems as though this is the first time Man in Black has tried to find a loophole to kill Jacob and escape. Jacob seemed bewildered, shocked, almost disgusted, even though deep down he knew MiB would resort to this someway. Jacob hated to admit that MiB tried to get another man to kill him. Jacob probably now understands his time on the Island is limited, and he needs to find his replacement (even though he wont really for another 140 years. That's probably a short amount of time to Jacob though). Ricardo asks Jacob where Isabella is to which his response is, "Who?" It seemed genuine and authentic. Jacob apparently has zero idea. But I'm not sold. This is Jacob, all knowing and such. Shouldn't he know who Isabella is? More in a second. Ricardo believes he is in Hell and that he is dead, to which Jacob dunks him in the water a bunch of times while screaming, "STILL THINK YOU'RE DEAD?!" Ricardo finally concedes and gasps that he wants to live, which is apparently the only sensible thing he has said so far, and Jacob throws him back on the ground. He then tells him to get up, because they have to talk (keep up with the bolded words).

    They have a pow wow, and Jacob flat out denies that he is the Devil. If both Jacob and MiB don't lie, then someone must be lying. Unless, Jacob isn't necessarily the Devil but MiB's personal devil, just like this Island is his personal Hell. Very probable. Jacob then goes on to say exactly what the Island they are on is. A question that was first posed in the series premiere episode by Charlie: "Guy, where are we?" Well Charlie, apparently you are (or were) on a cork. Not literally a cork, but you are on the one Island that stops Hell, evil, malevolence, darkness, etc from seeping out into the world and taking over. Jacob uses an analogy of a decanter of wine and a cork to explain this to Ricardo. The wine swirling around in the decanter is all of the above words (evil, darkness, etc), and the Island is the cork. It stops all of that from spreading.Very interesting. And I buy it as well. Jacob and MiB both don't lie.

    Jacob goes onto explain that MiB believe man is inherently evil, and that Jacob brings man to this Island to prove him wrong. And on this Island, their past doesn't matter (so redemption is possible...). So basically, they have a running bet going on. You bring man to the Island, and I'll prove to you without a doubt that they have evil deep in their core, at the root of their being. Jacob tells him others have been here before him but they are all dead. Why? Because Jacob wants people to help themselves. He doesn't want to interfere. What's the point of it if they don't figure it out on their own? Ricardo says that if you don't step in, he will, meaning Man in Black, which tip the scales in his favor. Apparently this never occurred to Jacob until Ricardo mentioned this. It was as if a light bulb went off in his head. So Man in Black has been cheating all this time? Not sure of this, but it seems Ricardo is the first person to prove man can be inherently good. In turn, Jacob offers him a job. He wants Ricardo to be the intermediary between himself and the people he brings to the Island. He wants Ricardo to "guide" or "advise" them against Man in Black. He offers this job before Ricardo asks what he gets in return. He only offers Ricardo a job, and Ricardo wants something in return. This seems to me like Jacob was funneling Ricardo towards choice three. Choice 1: Isabella. Can't do that, Jacob says (remember, dead is dead, even on this Island). Choice 2: Absolve all Ricardo's sins so he can go to heaven. Can't do that either, Jacob says. Just like the priest said in the beginning, that would be unfair. Ricardo needs to work himself back into God's good graces. Choice 3: Live forever, never die. Now that I can do, Jacob says. And with a touch of his shoulder, he is ageless.

    Ricardo returns to Man in Black, who immediately knows Ricardo now sides with him. He's not upset, he knows Jacob can be very persuasive. Which leads me to believe what I said a while ago, Jacob tricked Man in Black somehow, and that is how his body was stolen from him. Ricardo hands him a white stone, says its from Jacob, a little ha-ha I defeated you this round. The same white stone that LockeMonster threw out to the sea from the cave where he took Sawyer. MiB explains that he does not blame Ricardo, but that he knows he can never see Isabella again, to which Ricardo seems he has made peace with. MiB says that if he ever changes his mind, and he means ever, he'd love to have Ricardo on his side. MiB hands Ricardo Isabella's cross, says it must have dropped on the ship, and then promptly vanishes. Ricardo buries the cross, forever saying goodbye to his love.

    4. Richard Alpert has gone crazy, and wants to switch over to the dark side. We saw him storm off in the beginning of the episode, and through his back-story we realize where he's going -- to dig up Isabella's cross. He wants to see her again. He screams out that he's changed his mind, hoping LM hears him so he can see his constant again. Hurley has followed him and says that his wife is here on the Island, right beside him, and through a very touching scene, we see Richard turn back into Ricardo and calm down and compose himself. Isabella, through Hurley, asks Ricardo why he buried her cross, but we know why. When Ricardo buried Isabella's cross, it was his way of saying goodbye. Since he was going to live forever, he knows he'd never see her again so he had to forget about her. Bury the cross, and move on. Quick flashback to last episode, Alternate world James Ford is in his apartment watching "Little House on the Prairie." What was being said in that episode was something to the effect of, when people die, you hold onto them in your heart and in your memories, and you know that what happened is only temporary, and that you will be united with them again. Well, too bad that show didn't come out 150 years earlier so Ricardo would know that. The only way he could move on was to forget about her. Now that he knows they can be together her and now (in his heart and in his head), he puts on her cross, so he can always remember her.

    Hurley says one more thing. Isabella says that you have to stop the Man in Black. For if he escapes, we all go to Hell. And we know Richard/Ricardo will do anything to save Isabella, so he will not let this happen. Cut to a wide shot of where they are on the Island, and pan out to see LM looking at them. Craaaazy.

    5. I thought that was the end of the episode, but one last flashback with Jacob and Man in Black. MiB is sitting alone, looking out at the ocean when Jacob approaches. He asks you tried to kill me, and seemed offended. So this was the first time this happened. MiB responds if he expects him to apologize. MiB said he wanted to leave this place and would kill him to do so and anyone else who got in his way. Jacob handed Man in Black some wine (the same in which he used as an analogy for Richard) to "pass the time," indicating he'd be here for a while, and then says he'd see him around. Man in Black responds with "sooner than you think" and smashes the wine on a rock, spilling out the "evil" Jacob referred to in the analogy. So, Man in Black/Evil Incarnate/LockeMonster knows, that if he leaves the Island, evil will spill out into the world, and most likely into other worlds. Awesome.

    6. Last quick thought, read Luke Chapter 4. Basically a parallel for LOST (thanks Doc Jensen!).

    7. Predictions!
    • MiB is sharing a body with the smoke monster because he was tricked by Jacob long ago. He and the smoke monster are not one in the same, but because they have shared a body for so long the line between the two consciousnesses was blurred so badly he doesn't know who he is anymore.
    • If this is a place to earn redemption (like what Jacob said: bring people here to prove they are inherently good, their past DOES NOT matter), then Sayid and Claire are fucked. They cannot earn redemption. Their souls are LOST.
    Long, my apologies.

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