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LOST 6.9 : Ab Aeterno

Recap, summary and commentary by Evie

Ab Aeterno is Latin for “From the Everlasting”, or “From the Eternal”.

Richard Alpert, the advisor on the island for a very long time, has concluded that his entire life has no purpose. He is angry at Jacob and thinks that he has lied about everything.

Jacob’s visit to, and subsequent conversation with, Ilana in the Russian hospital is further revealed. Jacob did not ask her to protect himself as was previously implied, but to protect the remaining six candidates. I have a hard time believing that Ilana is a bad guy, but it’s getting easier and easier to believe that Jacob could be the villain and not the Man in Black. Jacob tells Ilana, who is all bandaged up in the hospital bed, that this is what she’s been preparing for. Ilana seems very anxious. Jacob tells Ilana to go to the island and take the six candidates to the temple then to ask Ricardis what to do next for he will know.

Richard seems to be losing his mind and he laughs at the idea that he would know what to do next. He tells the Losties that they are all dead and in hell. Richard tells us that he has known this for a long, long time.

I’ve wondered since Season 2 if the writer’s had intended on having the big finale being that they really have all been dead this whole time, but the fans were on to that right away so they had to change their plan which is why it seems like they’ve been making the story up as they go along. The producers have consistently denied the Purgatory theories and it will be totally lame if that is really what the island represents.

Richard decides to stop listening to Jacob, and Ilana, and heads off into the dark jungle with his torch in search of Locke.

Ilana believes that Richard knows what to do next simply because Jacob told her so. This is the first time Jack finds out that “Locke” isn’t dead. Sun and Ben tell him that Richard is going after the guy who “isn’t exactly Locke”. Jack interrupts the conversation when he sees Hurley having one of his conversations with a dead person. He’s speaking in Spanish but Jack assumes that he’s talking to Jacob. Hurley just tells him that it’s not Jacob and that it has nothing to do with Jack. Ben tells Ilana that Jack is right and that Richard doesn’t know anything. Ben explains to Lapidus that Richard doesn’t age and Lapidus does the right thing; he asks a direct question. “Now how do you think that happened?”

Next scene, Richard is riding a horse on the Canary Islands. The year is 1867. This is one of the episodes we have waited for, for a very long time.

Ricardo arrives at his home which is like a cabin where he finds that his wife is very ill and coughing up blood. This usually means Tuberculosis. Ricardo tells Isabella that he is going to fetch the doctor and gathers up all the money he has for payment. Isabella also gives Richard the Cross necklace hanging around her neck.

Richard gallops away in the rain and it’s now dark outside (that was fast). When he first arrived at the doctor’s house I thought it looked like a Dharmaville house. Richard barges in and asks the doctor for help. The doctor is more concerned that his floors are getting wet from Richard’s dripping clothes than he is about Richard’s sick wife. The doctor has medicine but tells Richard the payment he brought isn’t enough and the Cross is worthless. The doctor throws down the necklace and Richard picks it up begging the doctor for his help. The two get into a scuffle and Richard accidentally pushes the doctor so hard that he smacks the back of his head on a table and dies immediately. Richard takes the medicine and hurries out past the butler. Richard rides back to find that Isabella has died and he is apprehended right away for killing the doctor.

Next we see Richard in prison and a priest brings him a plate of food. He notices that Richard is reading a bible and asks to see it. He opens it to the Book of Luke and comments to Richard that it is in English and not Spanish. Nice observation, but this is LOST we’re talking about. If you freeze-frame the chapter the main verse that pops out at the top of the page is “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.” I’ve often thought of Richard as a prophet who speaks for Jacob. On the opposite column of the page is a verse that is not so obvious. It’s describing the conversation Jesus had with Satan after the temptations. “When the devil had ended…temptation, he departed from…season.”

Richard tells the priest that he’s been teaching himself English because he and Isabella were going to travel to the New World and start a family and a new life. The priest asks for Richard’s confession. Richard sorrowfully bows and asks for God’s forgiveness for killing the doctor. The priest denies forgiveness and tells Richard that he’s going to be hanged and that the devil is waiting for him in hell.

Could the devil be Jacob? Richard seems to think that the priest’s words were fulfilled on the island.

I have to mention that Nestor Carbonell gave an amazing performance in this episode!

A slave trader comes to see Richard and since Richard speaks some English, and has good teeth, he buys Richard and puts him in shackles on the Black Rock. The man declares that Richard is now the property of Magnus Hanso. I’ve avoided learning about Magnus Hanso in the past because I could barely keep up with the characters we’ve seen on screen. But I need to explain his background.

Magnus Hanso is the captain of the Black Rock. We have never seen him on the show. In Season 2, the glow-in-the-dark blast door map in the hatch contains a note at about four o’clock suggesting that Hanso was buried on or near the site of the Black Rock. Magnus’ great-grandson is Alvar Hanso. Alvar appeared in an orientation film for the Dharma Initiative in 1975.  (Dharma is an acronym for Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications. Whatever that means.) In the film, Alvar states that all the secret research they are doing on the island is to “save the world as we know it.” He goes on to talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis and Enzo Valenzetti’s prediction of the exact number of years and months until humanity extinguishes itself. Guess what numerical values are in Valenzetti’s equation. Yep, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. Alvar founded the Hanso Foundation and it was the primary funder for the Dharma Initiative. It has been my belief that Charles Widmore and Sun’s rich father also play a role in the funding. Another reference to the Hanso family is at the auction where Charles Widmore purchased the Black Rock ledger. Tovard Hanso was the owner; and prior to the sale, only members of Hanso’s family were privy to the contents of the ledger. It’s only a matter of time before we find out the reason for Widmore’s interest in the journal.

On its voyage, the Black Rock encounters a huge storm and it is thrust upon the island by a gigantic tidal wave, after colliding with the statue of Tawaret. Magnus Hanso is killed and his officer decides to kill the slaves so they don’t stage an uprising. Just before he can kill Richard, the Black Smoke shows up and kills everyone but Richard. Richard, however is still left shackled in the gut of the ship. Richard tries desperately to free himself over a number of days and a boar enters the hull to eat the decaying bodies. Gross! Dead Isabella shows up later to visit Richard and tells him that they are both dead and she has to get him out of there before the devil comes back. Richard tells her to run when they hear the black smoke and she ends up “dying”.

The Man in Black arrives and rests his hand on Richard. He brings Richard some water and releases Richard from the chains. We knew that it was Jacob’s touch that made Richard immortal, so I think we were supposed to believe it was Jacob who came to came to help. I thought it was going to be Jacob. Before he releases Richard, the Man in Black makes Richard promise to do whatever he asks because he wants to be free as well. Richard asks about Isabella and the Man in Black tells him that “he” has her; “he” meaning “the devil”. “The devil” meaning “Jacob”. The Man in Black tells Richard that he is in hell and that he must kill the devil. He sends Richard, armed with a dagger, to the statue and he tells him he only has one chance. If he lets Jacob say one word it will be too late because the devil is very persuasive. Sounds exactly like what Dogan told Sayid when he sent him out to kill Fake Locke. Richard laughs because he knows the knife can’t kill black smoke. The Man in Black tells Richard that Jacob is not the Black Smoke; he is. He explains that Jacob betrayed him and took his humanity. He insists that the only way to get his wife back is to kill the devil. The Man in Black really seems like the bad guy in this scene. He sounds very manipulative.

At the beach, Jacob shows up and whoops on Richard, taking the knife. Jacob has a long history of having people beaten up or killed. How can he be the good guy? Richard asks Jacob Isabella is. Jacob loses his omniscience and doesn’t know anything about his wife. Richard tells Jacob about meeting the Man in Black and what transpired between them. To prove that Richard is not dead, Jacob drags Richard out into the ocean and attempts to drown him. Richard tells him to stop because he wants to live.

Jacob gives Richard a blanket and a drink of wine. He tells Richard that he brought the Black Rock to the island. He uses the jug of wine to explain that the evil, darkness, malevolence, hell, etc. that is in the bottle – the wine – must stay there so it doesn’t spread. The cork represents the island and it is the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs. The Man in Black believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin and Jacob brings people to the island to prove him wrong. Jacob says that people’s past don’t matter once they get to the island. He tells Richard that many others have been brought to the island but they are all dead. Jacob, is that a good thing? You’re toying with people’s lives to prove a point. Jacob doesn’t help the people he brings to the island because he wants them to know the difference between right and wrong without him having to tell them. He tells Richard that it’s meaningless if he has to force them to do anything. Richard points out that the Man in Black will step in if Jacob doesn’t. Jacob acts as if he’s never thought of that before. So he offers Richard the job as mediator; Jacob doesn’t want to step in, so Richard can do it for him. In return, Richard asks to have his wife back or to be absolved of his sins. Jacob tells him that he can’t do that but he can make Richard immortal. And he touches him.

Richard returns to the Man in Black and presents him with a gift from Jacob. A white stone. He seems to get the joke. The Man in Black tells Richard that now he will never be able to see his wife again. But if Richard ever changes his mind, his offer still stands. He returns the Cross necklace to Richard; he had found it on the ship. Richard buries it under a stone bench which sits in a beautiful valley under a potentially-symbolic tree.

Back to the present time, we see Richard unearth the necklace and call out for the Man in Black. He’s changed his mind. Out from the jungle comes Hurley, not whom we expected. Hurley has been conversing with Isabella and Hurley tells Richard that she sent him. Isabella is standing beside Richard and wants to know why he buried the necklace. Richard doubts that she is really there at first, but Isabella tells Hurley to tell Richard that his English is awesome. She tells Richard that it’s not his fault that she died; it was her time. And he has suffered long enough. Richard just wants to be with her and Isabella tells him that they are already together. A very tender moment.

Isabella was wearing a whiteish dress so I don’t think she was a manifestation of the black smoke. Could Jacob have appeared as Isabella to get Richard to stop the Man in Black from leaving the island? Hurley tells Richard in Spanish that if Richard doesn’t stop him, they will all go to hell. This conversation is being witnessed from afar by Fake Locke.

Back in time, Jacob approaches the Man in Black carrying the bottle of wine. It’s so funny how cordial and friendly they are to one another. “Good morning, (Man-Who-Wants-To-Kill-Me)”. “Good morning, (Man-I-Want-to-Kill).” The Man in Black tells Jacob he tried to have him killed because he just wants to leave the island. Jacob tells him that as long as he’s alive, there’s no way the Man in Black is getting off the island. He promises that he is going to kill Jacob and if someone takes his place he will kill them too. Jacob gives the Man in Black the bottle of wine and says, “See ya around.” Man in Black says, “Sooner than you think”, and smashes the bottle on a rock.

Again, Bravo to Nestor and his brilliant acting!

I think the Man in Black is kinda cute. Is that weird?

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