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Lost: Episode 6:09 Ab Aeterno

The title is Latin for "From eternity". In this ep we finally get the story on Lost's most enigmatic character, the seemingly immortal Richard Alpert...
After last weeks somewhat disappointing ep Lost comes back with easily the best of the season so far, and probably up there among the best period.

It begins with with what appears to be an Ilana centric ep, as we see a flashback of Jacob visiting her in hospital and telling her she needs to protect the 6 candidates. But then after a short campfire scene with "Team Jacob" and Alpert freaking out and running into the jungle, we see that it is in fact going to focus on Mr eyeliner himself. I think most fans had guessed that it was probably by way of The Black Rock that Richard arrived on the island, but how and why he did are explained here through flashback. And I mean flash baaaaaaack! Richard is from the frakkin 1800s. 1867, Tenerife to be exact. In an attempt to get medicine for his dying wife, Richard(then Richardo) accidentally kills an asshole doctor and is sentenced to death. But before he makes in to the hangman's noose, he is sold into slavery under a man named Magnus Hanso..a relation to Alvar Hanso no doubt. The slave ship(The Black Rock) departs for the new world, but is caught in a storm and winds up being hurled by a monster wave onto the island, crashing through Jacob's statue home in the process. So we find out how the Black Rock ended up so far inland, and how the statue was destroyed(bar a foot) in the process. How could a wooden ship destroy a huge concrete statue? ..Umm, I have no idea..lets move on! There are some survivors, 5 officers and several slaves. But the loony captain sets about executing the slaves for fear of reprisal if he frees them. He is just about to kill the last slave, Richard, when Smokey shows up and slaughters everyone except Richard. He(it) does that flashy, scanning thing and obviously sees something in Richard he can use to his advantage. So he sets about driving the poor bastard to distraction by first appearing as his dead wife and telling him they are both dead and in Hell, and then appearing in his true form as the man in black and tells him that The Devil has his wife, and that he will free him if he promises to do as he says. Esau(I'm gonna assume thats his name because of the whole Biblical thing) tells Richard that he must stab The Devil(Jacob) in the chest before he speaks(echoing Dogen's instructions to Sayid). Richard doesn't get the chance because when he goes looking for "The Devil" at whats left of the statue, Jacob beats the holy Hell out of him!..Then asks who he is and why he's there(Way to go "good" guy). So now we get to the real nitty gritty of this apparent game that is being played by these 2 entities. Jacob, with the visual aid of a wine bottle and its cork, explains to Richard that evil/malevolence/Hell/Smokey/Esau wants desperately to be free but the island is the cork that keeps him trapped. He says that Esau believes that human beings are all corruptible and will ultimately turn to evil in the end because its in their nature to sin. Jacob brings people to the island to try to prove him wrong, but he won't get directly involved because he wants them to make their own decisions. Ok, so Jacob, and apparent force for good, brings people to the island to be murdered by a smoke monster OR an Other, OR an imploding hatch, a polar get the idea. And if containing Esau is such a priority for Jacob, why risk brining people to the island that can potentially facilitate his freedom? This dude is/was no more a force for good than Esau is. These 2 forces may represent light and dark, but good and evil? I seriously doubt it, and if it turns out that they are supposed to, well, I'll have issues with it! Anyway, Jacob then asks Richard if he would like a job and touches him on the shoulder, apparently gifting(cursing) him with immortality. Richard goes back to Esau and gives him a white stone from Jacob(inside joke remember?). Esau says that if he changes his mind and wants to join up with him that the offer always stands. He then gives Richard his gold cross that was a memento from his wife. Richard buries it.

We then flash forward to the present on the island. Richard goes to dig up that cross over 140 years later. He shouts out loud for Esau and asks if the offer still stands. But only Hurley shows up, having followed him from the beach. He says he has a message from his wife Isabelle. Richard seems confused, clearly not knowing about Hurley's super powers! But he listens as Hurley tells him what Isabelle says to him. Its moving stuff. The last thing she says is that he must stop the man in black, because if he gets off the island, they all go to Hell. The episode ends with yet another flashback, this time for Esau(in Un-Locke form) as he thinks back to a meeting with Jacob.

Like I said, this is great stuff for a number of reasons. First off, the acting. Nestor Carbonell is simply amazing in this. I have always liked him and thought Richard was a very under used character but he really gets a chance to shine here. Likewise Mark Pelligrino as Jacob and Titus Welliver as Esau. Another reason is that instead of the seemingly redundant(at least for now) flash Sideways we get a good old fashioned flash back..and what a good one it is. A self contained story of loss and love involving a character Lost fans have been pining to know more about for years. A+ for this one lads.

Next weeks ep is called The Package and seems to be Un-Locke/Sun centric..

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