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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lost - Black Rock Down

(Episode: Ab Aeterno. Spoilers ahead.)

The title is Latin for the phrase "from eternity." The Lostpedia article on this episode notes that the phrase begins the Latin Vulgate translation of Proverbs 8:23 (double Hurley Number reference!) - "I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth" (NKJV).

Proverbs is the 20th book of the Bible - no Hurley number there - but get this: the first Hurley number is 4, the fourth book of the Bible is...Numbers.

Indeed, as predicted we see Richard Alpert - Ricardo - in a previous century. He is a Spaniard, from the Canary Islands circa 1867. He rode a long journey to get a doctor for his critically ill wife Isabella. The doctor refused his services due to insufficient co-pay; Ricardo struggles with him and accidentally kills him.

He's imprisoned. The priest denies absolution on the basis of insufficient time for penance; Ricardo is told he's going to be hanged the next day, and he is destined for Hell.

(If any Catholics are reading this, drop me an email and tell me if the producers got the Catholic theology right. I haven't gotten around to dealing with the comments issue. My comments provider Haloscan was assimilated by was acquired by JS-Kit when I was too busy dealing with probate issues to know what was happening. I don't know if comments work at all; all I know is I have to pay a subscription fee if I want to be able to manage comments, and I didn't sign on for that. I'd like to be able to migrate everything to Blogger's newfangled comments machinery. This is a mess.)

An English-speaking fellow shows up at the prison; he's heard from the priest, who learned of Ricardo's self-study, that one of the inmates speaks English. Ricardo is freed, sold into slavery to Magnus Hanso, captain of the Black Rock. We see that all the other slaves are Spaniards; I figure Hanso thought a bilingual fellow would be worth more. That the slaves are chained means they're strictly merchandise and not coerced crew.

The Black Rock is caught up in a lightning storm and rough seas - perhaps also in a tsunami, unless Jacob has the power to move the island several stories underwater (which isn't so weird for this show). The ship collides with the statue and goes well inland to its final resting place.

An officer kills off the surviving slaves one by one, rationalizing that provisions are slim and captives would eventually turn on captors. As he threatens the last slave, Ricardo, Smokey attacks. Richard Alpert is the sole survivor.

While working at his chains, he is visited by his dead wife (actually the Man in Black in disguise). "She" convinces him that they're dead and in Hell. Smokey interrupts, she flees and is attacked. Later as Ricardo sleeps (was he dreaming the encounter?) MIB wakes him up, unshackles him with keys he found. He tells Ricardo they're in Hell, the Devil has captured Isabella, and Ricardo must stab Ricardo to free her. He is warned not to allow the "Devil" to speak - just as Sayid was warned not to allow "Locke" to speak when Dogen sent him to stab MIB.

Ricardo is ambushed by Jacob and disarmed. Jacob explains the island and MIB - it's a cross between Pandora's Box and Job 1:6-12 (my observation). MIB is a malevolent force who would vastly multiply the world's evil; the island keeps him bottled up. Jacob and MIB have an ongoing argument; MIB says all humans are corruptible, Jacob supplies an occasional Job to prove him wrong.

Ricardo goes back to MIB, says he's joined Jacob. MIB says he'll welcome him if he changes his mind. He also gives Richard Isabella's cross necklace, found in the wreck. Ricardo buries it, a sort of proxy funeral for her, I guess.

A brief Ilana flashback, set in the crude hospital where they met before, shows Jacob gaining her promise to protect the Candidates.

In the present, Ilana tells her campmates that Jacob told her Richard would know their next move. He's shocked to learn this. He takes off in the jungle, ready to defect to MIB. Before he leaves, Hurley speaks in Spanish with someone unseen. He tells Jack it has "nothing to do with you."

Richard arrives at the place where he buried the cross. He calls out for MIB. Hurley arrives - he was sent by Isabella's ghost. He convinced Richard that they must stop MIB from leaaving the island, or "we all go to Hell." At a distance, MIB watches.

Next week's episode focuses on the Kwons. Will Sun and Jin finally be reunited?

Update: Forgot to mention a critical plot development. At their initial meeting, Jacob offers to grant Ricardo a wish.His first two wishes Jacob cannot grant: the return of dead Isabella, absolution for his sins. The next thing he thinks of: he doesn't ever want to die. Jacob can arrange that.

Update: A question concerning last week's episode just crossed my mind - how did DHARMA discover the sonic-fence defense against the Smoke Monster?

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