Fighting with the Sky

Lost: Ab Aeterno

Posted on: March 24, 2010

This was the episode where we finally learned the story of Richard.  From the commercials for it, I was expecting something epic and amazing.  For the first half of the episode, I was a little disappointment.  But in the second half, we actually learned some important things, even though they might not be the most revealing things to have learned.

We learn that Richard used to live on the Canary Islands with his ill wife.  While trying to get medicine for his wife, he accidentally kills the doctor.  Upon arrival home after the event, he finds that his wife has died as well.  He is sentenced to hang for the murder of the doctor, but someone buys him as a slave because he speaks English for a trip to the New World.  On said trip, there is a storm that leads them to shipwreck on the island.  For about 10 minutes, we watch Richard struggle against his chains in the boats as everyone around him is killed.  First, the officers kill the other slaves, but Smokey gets to the officers because they can get to Richard.  Richard also sees his dead wife, who he believes was then killed by Smokey as well.

The Man In Black (MIB) later comes and frees Richard from his chains.  He tells Richard that he can see his wife again if he kills the Devil — i.e. Jacob.  He tells Richard that he cannot let the Devil even speak to him, because then it would be too late.  As you may recall, this is the same thing that Dogen told Sayid when he tasked him with killing Flocke/MIB.

As Richard approaches the statue, where the MIB told him that he could find the Devil/Jacob, Jacob jumps him.  Jacob explains to Richard that the MIB is not who he seems.  The MIB believes that everyone is corruptible and that the only thing keeping the darkness contained is the island.  Jacob believes that if the MIB were allowed to leave the island, that the darkness and evil would spread throughout the world.  This is why Jacob brings people to the island, hoping to show the MIB that not everyone is corruptible.  But Jacob doesn’t want to interfere with these people, he wants them to make the right decision on their own.  But as Richard points out, the MIB is more than willing to interfere with the people that come to the island, so why shouldn’t Jacob?  Jacob offers this job, the job of intermediary between himself and the people that he brings to the island to Richard.  Richard accepts on the condition that he can live forever.  He first wants to see his wife again, which Jacob cannot do, then he wants his sins absolved, which Jacob can also not do.  So he settles on living forever so that he never has to pay for his sins.

Even though Richard chose to side with Jacob, the MIB told him that his offer still stands — that he could see his wife again if he sided with him and helped him escape from the island.

Back in present day, Richard has stormed off into the jungle to find where he buried his wife’s cross.  He yells out into the jungle that he changed his mind and hopes that the offer (of the MIB) still stands.  But then Hurley shows up.  He says that Isabella, Richard’s wife, sent him and that she has a message for him.  She tells Richard that it was not his fault that she died.  She also asks him to stop the MIB from leaving the island or else they all go to hell.

So we’ve known for a while that Jacob and the MIB are connected — that the MIB cannot leave the island as long as Jacob is alive and as long as one of the candidates takes Jacob’s spot.  But as of right now, there is no one that has taken Jacob’s spot, so the MIB is theoretically free to leave the island if he can find a way off of it.  But they are also connected in that they cannot be killed unless they have not spoken to their killer first (did Jacob speak to Ben before Ben killed him?) and they have to be killed with a specific knife.

My lasting question is: who is really to be trusted, Jacob or the MIB?  The show is obviously painting Jacob as the man to be trusted.  But when the MIB was speaking to Richard, he painted Jacob as the Devil who was keeping people, including Richard’s wife, hostage.  Even though the MIB is also Smokey and very obviously has killed many people, I still have this feeling that the show is going to pull the rug out from underneath us and it is going to turn out that Jacob is actually the “bad guy” and the MIB/Flocke is the “good guy.”  I don’t know how they are going to go about doing this, but I just get this feeling that they are going to.  There are many devious and questionable things that Jacob has done, but the show has always painted them as for the good of the island.  But what if they aren’t?

I’m wondering if we are ever going to learn how Jacob and the MIB came to be on the island.  How did Jacob get the role as the “protector” of the island?  Was Jacob the first protector?  Was the MIB that Richard met the original?  Or has the MIB assumed many forms before that as well, as he has assumed the form of Locke?  Will Richard eventually die before the season is over?  Who is going to take the role of Jacob — if anyone?

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