LOST Challenge of the Week: “Ab Aeterno”

22 03 2010

Alright, well I’m going to get right to it on this post.  The challenge for this week is proving to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had since I started this blog.  The TV Guide synopsis is incredibly simple: “Richard Alpert has a difficult decision to make”.  Well, that’s not too helpful, is it?  On top of that, we know so little about Richard, that asking anything about him would likely be more of a guess for any of you than a true challenge.

So what should I ask about?  Why he doesn’t age?  Seems like we have an indirect answer to that.  Where he came from?  I think we know that too.  Whether or not he’ll have a flashback or a flash-sideways?  Interesting, but probably not too hard to answer if you give it some real thought.  No, all of those things don’t seem too challenging.  but after I gave it some more thought, I came across something that I think might work.

We all know that Smokey and Richard know each other.  Richard gave Locke a knowing “YOU” just before he got the beat-down near the 4-toed status remnant (which I’d love to see in the upcoming episode, by the way).  Later, Richard was absolutely terrified of Locke, and refused to go anywhere with him.  So here’s the challenge, because I think we’ll get the answer in the episode:

What was Richard’s first interaction with MIB, and what happened in that interaction that made him so terrifed of Smokey?

Not sure about all of you faithful readers, but I have extremely high hopes for this episode, both in terms of quality, and what potential answers and pieces to the puzzle we might receive.  Here’s hoping we get a 5-star episode!

BTW, due to a change in my personal schedule for this week, my recap of the episode may come a day later than usual.  I’m also still working on the analysis of the flash-sideways…look for that post soon!

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5 responses

23 03 2010
DDay

I’ve been looking forward to this episode since the beginning of the season. We should get a key piece or two to the backstory.

“What was Richard’s first interaction with MIB, and what happened in that interaction that made him so terrifed of Smokey?”

Given SmokeyLocke’s reaction to Richard- (“YOU!” and “Sorry about the punching you in the throat” and the angry way he cut Richard down from the tree snare, it’s pretty clear, Smokey/MIB doesn’t like Richard. Holds a grudge. Richard also seems to know what Smokey’s all about and has a very real fear of him. I don’t think Smokey can kill Richard. He would have if he could have.

Here’s my guess… Back in the time of the Black Rock, I think Richard used the knife on the MIB and it set him on the path to become Smokey. Richard somehow did this for Jacob. I don’t think Richard was a candidate of some kind, brought to the island by Jacob but I do think his destiny played out a little like Ben’s. (“I want you to know you have a choice”) He was probably a slave or captive on the Black Rock in some capacity. My guess is that he helped MIB eradicate the crew of the Black Rock, ala as Ben wiped out Dharma- but then turned on MIB with the knife. For this I think Jacob granted Richard ageless, immortality and I think Smokey was somehow caged. I think we find out what loophole MIB found to escape as Locke.

This notion that the island/Jacob can control life like that has played out with Michael, who couldn’t kill himself until he did the island’s bidding. Also Tom knew that the island had that type of power. So, it’s not a shock that Richard has what might seem like a gift but is also a curse of sorts.

I think both Jacob and MIB are in tonight’s episode. I think this will be a pivotal episode that begins the climax. While last week’s episode was good, I hope that we pick up the pace a little bit on the “flash sideways” and get it out of the way. I don’t think Richard has a flash-sideways by the way, but as always, I am generally wrong.

23 03 2010
Alice

Oh, my goodness! Episode summary from, http://www.republibot.com/content/episode-review-lost-ab-aeterno-season-6-episode-9: “We learned that Jacob brings people to the island– to prove to Smokey that people are not inherently corrupt. The island is a cork on a pandimensional bottle, keeping evil bottled up. So, Jacob creates morality plays with people he brings to the island for Smokey’s edification? Education? Conversion?

People come to the island, and their past doesn’t matter anymore.. they are free to decide to be good or do evil. He doesn’t interfere directly, but uses Richard as his prophet. Jacob doesn’t have power to raise the dead, or change the past, or offer redemption or penance. He is able to grant bodily immortality, though. He doesn’t present himself as God or a god… he seems to be a jailer. The island is a jail. The island is a stopper in the carafe of evil. The island is a stage for morality plays.”
Lots of dynamics, but it seems to me that Jacob is some kind of deity, granting eternal life; and also, like the God I know, doesn’t interfere directly, but lets people make mistakes, and hopefully learn from those painful life experiences. Also, like God and Satan in the Book of Job, he has some kind of contest or bet going with ‘Smokey’ that people aren’t basically sinful, and won’t always do evil. I thought the question of human beings’ being basically evil or good was sort of settled, at least for me — we all have the potential for evil or good deeds, and the choices are before us every day. “Simul justus et peccator” is what I also learned about human nature. I don’t know what the best translation is – I think the Latin has many implications, but it is a complex concept – something like, we are simultaneously “right”/righteous and sinner. I don’t know if the ‘justus’ is actually an adjective (“being”), and ‘peccator’ is more of a verb (doing??).

We still don’t know why Richard is over 150 years old, or whether he is “really” alive or dead, separated from Isabella by some theological conundrum, or unconscious (remember the show “Man from Mars”??

28 03 2010
Charles Widmore

I don’t see any theories on Charles Widmore? Care to share on how this ties in?

29 03 2010
MikeP

Some other theories on LOST (links below)

I really like the Milton’s Paradise Lost theory because I like the idea of it all being based on a literary work, which would go along with the idea that it’s not science fiction.

I still have the unshakable belief that the authors will wrap this up nicely in a tight little acceptable package.

http://forums.abc.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=messages&webtag=lost

http://lost.about.com/od/theories/a/jacobtheory.htm
http://insidetv.aol.com/2010/02/03/lost-season-6-theories-wtf-is-going-on/
http://www.lostblog.net/lost/tv/show/the-lost-watchmen-theory
http://www.timelooptheory.com/the_timeline.html
http://digg.com/television/Best_LOST_Theory
http://www.docarzt.com/lost/lost-theories/lost-theory-the-four-toed-statue-solved/
http://www.theoriesonlost.com/

30 03 2010
DDay

Widmore…

I kind of thought the Widmore/freighter vs. Ben Linus story line had run its’ course. Then we see the submarine.

Before that, as we last saw Widmore, he was off island and looking for it’s new location- along with his usual pursuit of Linus. Ben tells Widmore he’s going to kill Penny which doesn’t happen- but Penny is out of the story ( and on to a new ABC series). Widmore and Farraday’s mother clearly understand what poor Daniel is headed for when they discuss the implications of Daniel’s return to the island. They are protecting the island.

Then there was the Jughead explosion. I think the show has done a great job with continuity- trying to keep the “facts” straight as time is manipulated. With Widmore’s re-appearance comes some immediate continuity questions. Did he find the new location of the island (after Ben moved it) or is the island in a new (or old) position that was “reset” somehow after Jughead? Is someone else helping him that didn’t before Jughead?- ie, Desmond, etc. Don’t know yet. We just know he’s back.

I think that with his re-emergence, there’s a chance that Widmore actually teams with the Jacobites somehow in the “war”- and therefore teams with Ben. I think Ben ultimately has to decide between avenging Alex or sticking with his redemptive course. I can’t believe that Widmore would willingly follow Smokey into evildoing. He’s there to protect the island as a disciple of Jacob. He is power nuts bur he’s not on Smokey’s side I think. Smokey has allowed Ben to live but with Widmore around is that necessary?

The show has definitely adopted the tried-and-true scifi device of introducing enough new and unknown characters to keep the body count flowing. I have a feeling that Widmore’s crew is meant for that although I have read in places that the character of Zoe- who we met last week, will be around to the end.

What’s in the locked compartment on the sub? A person? A weapon? My guess is that it’s another doomsday device of some kind.

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