Thoughts on Lost Season 6 Episode 9 Ab Aeterno

-by Amy Yen

“It’s good to see you out of those chains.”

Oh, Man in Black, bravo. And here of course I am referring to when he says these words to Richard Alpert, using John Locke’s lips, presumably 140 years after the first time he says them to him. Nicely done. And he wasn’t lying, the offer was open to Richard in 2007, as it was in 1867.

I have spent an awful lot of time this season marveling that Mark Pellegrino plays Lucifer on his other show—so well that I half want to write “Lucifer” every time I’m writing about him on Lost—and yet has made Jacob seem so seemingly good here. Jacob is mysterious, it’s hard to figure out him out, but what he conveys, generally, is the sense that he’s good & the other guy is evil & you should definitely be rooting for Jacob. In fact, it’s been much less ambiguous than I ever could have expected. Which is why you have to believe there’s a twist coming we aren’t seeing. There’s no way it’s so, well, black & white, as it were.

Anyway, back to Richard, or Ricardus, or Ricardo, the subject of tonight’s flashsideways-less story. In fact, not only was there no sideways story this week, the entire thing was basically one big flashback (sandwiched between two smaller flashbacks for Ilana & the Man in Black). Did you notice? No flashing back & worth at all, almost. Has that happened before? I don’t think it has. But then, Richard has always been unique.

To be totally honest, I found his backstory before the Island not particularly interesting. (But when it got to where it was going, it was bloody fantastic.) As suspected, he was a slave on the Black Rock (sold to Magnus Hanso). The Man in Black, particularly evil in his manipulation tonight, dangles his dead wife in front of him, just one way Richard’s story here is like what happened to Sayid. They are both sent off to kill an enemy, both given the instruction not to let them say a word. Stab now & ask questions later. And both of them completely failed to do that. The difference is, Richard is not quite so broken when he finds Jacob & he’s still willing to fight. “Because I want to live!” he yells at Jacob. Oh, bravo, writers.

So are they in hell? I mean, that seems awfully literal. And if Jacob is the devil, as the Man in Black so vehemently insists, over & over this episode, he’s doing an awfully good job of making his nemesis seem like the bad guy. But then, Verbal Kint says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Other thoughts from “Ab Aeterno”:

  • In case you haven’t Googled it by now, ab aeterno is, roughly, “from eternity” or “since the beginning of time” in Latin. Appropriate, if not quite accurate. Should be closer to “since 1867” but I suppose it wasn’t as catchy.
  • We see an extended version Ilana’s flashback from “The Incident” at the beginning of the episode, but we still don’t see how she got in all those bandages to begin with. And who is she to Jacob? But confirmation, there are just six candidates left at that point.
  • The Black Rock TOTALLY totaled the Taweret Statue!
  • We get our first appearance of Bad Ass Jacob. Um, awesome. Of course, if his house just got wiped out, I can imagine he’d be a little on edge.
  • There’s not really an explanation given as to why Richard was spared. He seemed to be scanned (have we seen that since Eko?), but why him? What makes him so special?
  • Can you believe this is the first time we’ve seen Man in Black 1.0, Titus Welliver, since “The Incident”? And can you believe that he’s actually only been in that one episode? He’s been so weaved into the mythology of the show this season, but it’s actually all been as Flocke.
  • I can’t wait to find out how Jacob tricked the Man in Black onto the Island & who he is to deserve it.
  • The knife the Man in Black gives Richard appears to be the same knife Dogen gives Sayid.
  • Regarding Richard’s wish which was granted by Jacob, “I don’t ever want to die. I want to live forever.” Um, why exactly do you want that? If you’re alive forever & your wife is not, which is information you had at this point, you can’t be with her again. Isn’t that actually the opposite of what you want?
  • Jacob gives Richard a white rock to give to the Man in Black, which is kind of like dunking in his face. BOO-YAH! appears to be the message. White 1, Black 0.
  • The scene with Hurley & Richard & poor, dead Isabella…man. Nestor Carbonell FTW, you guys.
  • PS: I like how it came of came together that Hurley speaks Spanish. Another “ahhhh” kind of moment when it comes to Hurley & his ability this season.
  • “She said you have to stop the Man in Black. You have to stop him from leaving the Island. If you don’t, we will all go to hell.” Well, bummer, Isabella.

Wednesday Morning Post-Script: Ah, sorry, I’m a little dense, of course Richard, who killed a man, even if it was on accident, would think he’s going to hell. So he wouldn’t think he’d be with Isabella after he dies.

Also, so at the end, Isabella’s spirit is actually on the Island? Why, exactly? Or is what Hurley’s seeing a manifestation of Jacob? “You have suffered enough.” It would have been sad to see Richard & Nestor Carbonell leave, but it would have been a great close to his character to finally, finally let him die then.

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