While watching last night’s ep of Lost, I was reminded of the time a friend of mine and I made a bet that we could live an entire day amongst ourselves and interacting with the world in our usual way, but saying nothing but quotes from Star Trek, Fletch, and Star Wars. Since that was sort of how we interacted with the world back then anyway, it was an easy bet for us to win. Manure spreader jack-knifed up on the Santa Ana; whew! You should see my shoes.
But it was when we were out for lunch (I had a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich… and a steak sandwich) and I was a little queasy with the meal, my pal dropped some Trek on me: “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” And that’s how I felt about Richard’s flashback episode.
After three years of wondering what the immortal deal was with Richard Alpert, we’re finally given the answers we’ve been craving as audience members to find… that we had been pretty much right about things all along. Richard came to the Island as a slave on the Black Rock. OK. Richard is immortal because of Jacob. OK. Jacob thinks Man is inherently good; the Man-in-Black thinks Man is corruptible and tending that way anyway, and they’ve been proving this point to each other for a little while. Certainly longer than the 140 years spanning this episode, since Jacob admits that he’s brought many more people to the Island before Richard, and that they’re all dead. But it only ends once, and everything until then is progress. But me, much like I’m not really sure there is a “good” and “evil” side to this game, I’m not even sure there’s going to be an end to the game. This last season has ostensibly been about finding a candidate to replace Jacob…
But get this. While the missus was getting all dewy-eyed over Ricardo and Isabella and their Des-and-Penny-esque tale of star-crossed love, I was thinking this: The Smoke Monster kills, but discriminately so; Jacob does “good” but sometimes with “evil” means. The line blurs, the vision fades… but the Dichotomy of Man/Balance of Good-and-Evil thing I was railing about last week made me think this: what if Jacob and The Man in Black are the same guy? That this whole thing is a rumination?
Anyway, here’s some observations from last night:
1. JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG: If we can believe Jacob with his allegory of the jug of wine… that the island is the cork keeping the wine from staining the carpet, that means that the sideways world of Dimension X is the world where the cork has come undone, and like one that’s been pushed into the bottle (or, underwater, in the case of the Island itself), this is the world into which The Man in Black (Jacob’s Dark Aspect) has escaped. But, you know, it doesn’t look all that bad, to me. Neither good nor bad; just different. I’m not fully convinced that the Man in Black is even representative of Jacob’s Evil Side, because people are complex cats. Even mysterious people with obviously supernatural powers over reality.
2. I KILLED A MAN IN RENO JUST TO WATCH HIM DIE: And speaking of Jacob’s supernatural powers, even though we’d already deduced it was Jacob who had made Richard immortal, it was pretty cool to see that it was at Richard’s own request. That Richard was so afraid of going to Hell for killing a man (albeit deservedly if accidentally so) that he never wanted to die and to so avoid final judgment. I know that Team Darlton has long said that the Island was not Purgatory, and even tweaked that early fan theory with the “Gary Troup” Retcon Character, but come on. Redemption. Second Chances. Acceptance of Responsibility. Proof of Worthiness in exchange for… a ride out. An escape… to Heaven. Sounds like Purgatory to me.
3. DON’T HATE THE PLAYER, HATE THE GAME: Dorks whose big problem with last night’s episode was that Richard didn’t have a truly “Spanish” accent without taking into account actor Nestor Carbondell’s mostly-Cuban inflected Spanish are reminded that the Canary Island accent from which Richard hails is more musical and lilting than your more mainland Spain accent. Putting aside that they hung an entire episode on one guy’s performance and that that episode was fully half in Spanish, one would hope that the Peanut Gallery in Dork Court would have appreciated the effort instead of belly-ached about it. Failing that, haters are reminded that it’s a TV show; not a documentary. If anything, they should be all up-in-arms about the improbablility of a Spanish slaving vessel carrying a full load of dynamite a mere year after it had actually been invented, or that it had already been established in that Des/Penny ep “The Constant” that the Black Rock was said to have been lost at sea in 1845, twenty-two years before it hit the Island in 1867.
4. THE DAYTIME OF THE NIGHT: Speaking of stuff you have to explain, it was widely thought that the sailing ship seen at the end of Season Five was the Black Rock. It’s not. The pop-up video said it was “an 1880s trading vessel,” so whoever those guys are, it’s not Jonas Whitfield/Widmore and Ricardo and the boys.
5. “THAT’S THE BRAND ATTRIBUTE AT ADOBE WE CALL ‘INTEGRITY'”: Mimi’s colleague Simon Hunt’s pal Rick had a good one: “My name is Richard Alpert. You killed my wife. Prepare to die!”
6: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WELL, THE GOOD NEWS IS SHE CAN’T BE FIRED, AS THE SHOW’S MOSTLY SHOT NOW: I never was one to worry about spoilers. I figure if I’m looking up constellations to see if they match Dharma Station names, or wearing out the freeze-frame button watching for eye color changes (Richard’s contact lens was clearly visible in his eye close-up last night), I get what I deserve. But even I am not spoiling this one willy-nilly, although I will point you there: in an interview with my second wife Zuleikha Robinson, she tells us all Ilana’s last name. Which is kind of a big deal when you read it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
As always, remember to catch up wth EJ Feddes this week with his superlative LOST observations at Spunky Bean. I love how he catches stuff no one else does.