29
Mar
10

609 – Ab Aeterno

Review:

The first time I watched this episode I was half asleep and jet-lagged.  I managed to miss most of the extremely obvious Biblical connotations.  But when I wrote this post and watched it again it took me almost three hours to finish it.  I had to keep on pausing, rewinding and rewatching those crazy scenes with all my favorite characters.

I want to give a big high five to all the Lost community, for once we were almost completely right as a group about a backstory.  The Richard backstory has been on our minds for a long time, and looking back we guessed a lot of it right.  So kudos to you and me and all your friends for finally getting a theory right.

This episode was about Richard, but when you analyze the episode it was the Jacob/Smokey struggle that really stood out.  This episode clearly defined what’s been going on between those two for hundreds of years.  That conversation back in the Season 5 finale is now completely understood.

The Biblical parallels are extremely obvious and that shouldn’t shock anyone.  In stories with supernatural good vs. evil characters most people think first of the Genesis account and the subsequent struggles between God and the Devil.  Of course we’ve all been distracted by the Egyptian overtones, but looking back we should have seen their relative positions coming.

The first part of the episode dealt with Ilana a little.  She got a fake little flashback.  Then Jack had a little bit of fun, you can see how every time you see him he’s slowly transforming into a willing Candidate.  Then at the end of the episode we got a great scene with Hurley and Richard and a ghost.  I really believe that Hurley is becoming the prime Candidate.  He’s just too good at this stuff.

This episode was just terrific.  The only complaint I have is that the wine metaphor was really bad.  Besides that it was perfect.  You should no by now how much I love it when they depart from the regular Lost format.  10.0/10.0

Analysis

Richard

-Richard’s first little crazy giggle of the show was awesome.  Someone should make some kind of YouTube video based around that.

-I really liked the segue into Richard’s flashback.  Ben, Ilana and Frank are discussing Richard and we keep on getting quick cut-aways to Richard running through the forest.  Then it just switches in a crescendo.  I loved it.  There are times when the flashbacks are awkward or it switches at a time when you really don’t want it to.  But the writers know how long we’ve been waiting for this episode so they made that transition quick and triumphant.

-Catholic faith is an amazing thing.  Many times over that their religious leaders are found to be awful and yet they still hold on to what those religious leaders taught them.  Look at Richard, he was betrayed spiritually and literally by his priest and yet hundreds of years later in the back of his mind he still held on to that belief that he was going to Hell.

-A boar!  Hahaha, good times.
Ew, it’s eating a human.  Would that be cannibalism if a boar ate a human then you ate that boar.  It would be poetic in a disgusting way, but probably not cannibalism, per se.

-That hysterical crying of Richard’s when Isabella appears to be Smoked reminds me of Juliet’s intense screaming cry.  I miss her.

-I think Richard was one of those loophole people like Locke.  I’m not saying he was a Candidate, but he was able to get pretty close to Jacob, and Jacob was certainly very worried about him.

-Ugh, thirty minutes of those high-wasted pants.

-Richard asks Jacob to absolve him of his sins so that he doesn’t go to Hell.  Jacob says he can’t do that.  What?  Even I can do that.  What this.  Hey reader, I absolve you of your sins, you’re not going to go to Hell.  That’s all Jacob had to do.  It’s all words on this side of death.

-Jacob touched Richard after Richard asked to live forever.  I think that was important.

-Richard hasn’t really been part of the cast until now.  Sure he’s been a regular for the whole season, but until you’re demystified and you get a flashback you’re just a guy we don’t even know yet.

Isabella

-This is an extremely minor thing but I loved that Isabella reached behind her neck and took off her necklace properly.  I hate it when people grasp chains from the front and tug slightly and it comes off.  That would never happen and it really drives me nuts.

-I’m very much of the theory that when Isabella came to visit Richard in the ship it was actually Smokey.  All she did was make him lose his faith.  I don’t think it’s crazy to think that Smokey can split himself up, he pretty much did that to Ben in the Smokey Pit back in Dead is Dead.
Here’s a little theory.  Perhaps when Smokey scanned Richard he learned about Isabella and Richard’s greatest fear.  So when he came back as Isabella he could manipulate him.

-On the other hand, I don’t think it was Smokey when Isabella was appearing to Hurley.

Ilana

-Ilana gets her second flashback, unfortunately it’s pretty much just as extended version of her first flashback.

-Miss Scarlett told me that she thought that Ilana looked pretty disappointed when Jacob told her what he wanted her to do.  I think it might have been because thought she might have still been a Candidate, and Jacob essentially tells her that she isn’t.  In fact he needs her to die for Candidates.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened, if Ilana died protecting Hurley or Jack or one of the others.

-Uh, the first time I watched this episode I never noticed the second part of Ilana’s flashback.  she’s sitting in her bed beside Jacob except all of her bandages are off and she looks perfectly fine, he hair’s a little flat and she’s wearing “no makeup” but there are no wounds or scars or anything.  I take it that Jacob just healed her.  That was pretty impressive.

-Ilana seems infinity positive.  She was sent to the Island with half-baked instructions and she obeyed them.  She is still following her bosses instructions even after he’s dead.  She is willing for forgive her master’s killer simply out of the goodness of her heart.  We haven’t had such a benevolent character like this on the show for a very long time.

Hurley

-Hurley was acting very, very Jacob-like.  When Jack asks him who’s he talking to Hurley dismisses him, “Sorry Jack, but this has nothing to do with you.”

-If I was Richard and Hurley told me “she says your English is awesome” one of my eyebrows would have gone up.  Awesome?  Really?  My nineteenth century wife said “awesome”?

Ben

-I like Ben’s face during Richard’s Hell rant.  Everyone else is shocked or frowning, but he’s just calmly watching him not even reacting to the treasonous part of his speech.  He’s so clever that he’s not even willing to pretend that this argument is valid.  I’m with him.

-Ben is our proxy in this episode, Hurley was busy being the new Jacob.  When Jack’s about to find out that Locke is now “Locke” Ben says, “Well this should be interesting.”

Jacob

-Esau says that Isabella was running from Jacob but he couldn’t stop him.  This is the second time in six seasons where it’s even been hinted at slightly that Jacob is able to Smoke-ify himself.  The other time was when Locke was running around the jungle and he saw something “beautiful” and “bright”.  Of course I don’t believe for a second that Jacob took Isabella, I think the whole thing is a trick, but it’s interesting that the possibility was raised that Jacob could transform.

-After all of those awesome time travel metaphors last season you would think they could have come up with a better metaphor for the Esau, Jacob and the Island.  That wine thing was ridiculous.  I still don’t fully understand it. And that last scene wasn’t made any better by the smashing of the bottle.

-Jacob says that he brings people to the Island to prove Esau wrong, to prove that it isn’t in people’s nature to sin.  That’s about what I said here.  So before Richard came to the Island Jacob was just an observer.  He’d bring in some guinea pigs and watch them, hoping to be proved right.
But Richard was right, it wasn’t fair.  Esau was interfering.  It’s not like Richard really changed much, but at least after he came around the poor guinea pigs new that someone wanted them to stand up against Esau.

-Jacob’s death is making more and more sense.  We all wondered why he would let himself die.  But if he hadn’t died then none of these people would have ever decided things for themselves.  Everyone would have relied on him.  By dying and leaving these people; Richard, Jack, Ilana, Hurley and everyone else; on their own he allows them to find their own way to salvation.  If he was still around everyone would just turn to him and they never would learn.  “It would all be meaningless”.

Smokey/Esau

-Smokey was electrical, and he made those same bus noises way before buses were even invented.  Cool.

-Smokey scanned Richard and saw something in him.  Who knows what it was.  The scanning thing is one of the strangest things about Smokey.

-I really wanted to see this actor come back to portray Esau again.  But now that I’ve seen him again I’m not sure I want him to come back.  He’s pretty grim.

-Did anyone else notice that Esau wanted to help Richard, “of course, of course I’ll help you”, but he made Richard promise that he would help him in return, that he would do anything he asked.  Esau strikes a hard bargain.

-Oh, nice.  Esau used the same trick on Richard that he later used on Claire.  ‘He has your wife.’  ‘They have Aaron’.  Both times he was lying.  And both times when he gets caught in the lie he doesn’t even show remorse he just continues on as if nothing happened.

-How can Esau expect people to trust him, to want to be on his side if he continues to turn into Smokey and kill everyone around them?

-Esau says that the Devil (Jacob) took his body, his humanity.  And he’s said that he’s trapped on the Island.  Smokey uses dead bodies to walk around, I’m sure this guy I refer to as Esau was just a dead guy on the Island at sometime.  So that would mean that the Smokey form isn’t his true, or original form.  It would be fun to see what that true form is.  I hope it isn’t a demon type character.   On second thought, maybe I’m happy with the “Locke” body.
Seriously though, he was probably just another human.  That’s kinda boring.

-Jacob says that Esau believes that “everyone is corruptible because it’s in their very nature to sin”.  That sounds pretty right.
It’s quite clear that he was right about many people.  He was definitely right about Sayid and Claire.
Shockingly he wasn’t right about Ben… yet.  No, I’m kidding.
I think what we should take away from that speech is that Esau wants to corrupt people.

-Aww, come on.  Hurley and Jacob referred to to Esau as “the Man in Black”.  Damnit, we’ll never get his name.
(On a slightly related note, he strikes me as a Malachi or a Jeremiah, something prophety but sad.)

Jack

-I was very sure that Jack’s conversation with Richard restored all of Richard’s lost faith.  Apparently all it did was stop him from killing himself.  Maybe it helped Jack more than Richard.

-Jack was quite right about Richard, I think he did actually lose his mind in the first part of this episode.  He was very behaving erratically.

-Jack, “If he cared about what Jacob said he wouldn’t be talking about listening to someone else.”  Sounds like someone cares about what Jacob said.

-I forgot that Jack didn’t know about the whole “Locke” thing.  I guess we’ll be getting that triumphant reunion sometime soon.  There’s something to look forward to.

-I guess Jack is on Jacob’s course to goodness.  Jacob wants people to “help themselves, to know the different between right and wrong without me (Jacob) having to tell them.”  Poor Jack is going to have a very hard time.  But that’s that.

Frank

-I think Frank was either feeling left out or relieved when Sun listed the Candidates.  He said, “Well that’s great.  What do we do now?”  If that was sarcastic then he was a little disappointed that he wasn’t chosen after all.  But it seems more likely that he was relieved that he was free.

Alvar Hanso

-That was disappointing.  I really wish we got to see that guy.  Even if it was just a random asian, I wouldn’t mind.  Maybe there was a deleted scene.

Locke

-Here’s a very exciting possibility: Hurley having a conversation with both Lockes.  That would be great.  I’ll bet old Locke would be appalled at “Locke”‘s current craziness.

Sayid

-I wonder what would happen if Hurley did some Nadia talking for Sayid.  I’ll bet Sayid would freak out and do something violent, but that’s a pretty safe bet.

Flashes (what we know now):

Healing

They purposefully filmed a scene where we see Ilana’s arm still has that bandage on it.  I don’t think that’s for style anymore, I think that bandage might be still there to show that the Island isn’t healing people anymore.

Have there been any other moments where people ave healed quickly since Jacob died?  Maybe Jack and Sawyer recovered quickly from their fights, but I think nine episodes in that kind of makeup is just getting annoying.

Jin’s leg is pretty badly damaged, we haven’t seen it in a while, but it certainly hasn’t healed miraculously.

Weather

I don’t really want to even mention this, it’s so totally strange, but when Richard is trying work up that floorboard we see the Black Rock from the exterior and it is a beautiful sunny day and then we see inside the ship and it suddenly turns into a storm.  This happened way back in Season 1, it was one of the Locke moments, but it seems different here.  I find it hard to believe that it was an accident, I tend to think it had some kind of meaning.

Statue vs. The Black Rock

Remember this old theory.  Ah good times.  I still wonder about that.  It’s pretty irrelevant now of course.

But I still wonder what exactly happened.  It seems pretty obvious that the storm that washed the Black Rock up into the middle of the Island was the same one that knocked over the statue.  And earlier that day (presumably) Jacob and Esau were on the beach debating the merits of bringing people to the Island.  Maybe “Locke” caused the storm.

The Dagger

That knife that Esau gives to Richard to kill Jacob with is the same knife that Dogen gave to Sayid to kill “Locke”.  There must be something special about that knife.  I think I might be willing to believe that theory about the “don’t let him say a word” thing.  Possibly both Esau and Dogen were being completely literal.  I would like to think that they were just talking about Jacob and “Locke”‘s persuasive powers but now that the same situation has been repeated twice I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  I think it would have killed “Locke” if Sayid hadn’t let him say hello.

Hell

I’m not going to discuss for a second the possibility that the Island is Hell.

God and the Devil

Do I even need to expand on this?  Surely everyone familiar with Genesis or any other part of the Bible was thinking the same thing.  Smokey is the Biblical Devil and Jacob is God.  I’ll write another post later where I write more about that.  I’d like to confine that discussion to its own post.

– izi

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7 Responses to “609 – Ab Aeterno”


  1. 1 TheMonkeyKing
    March 30, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Glad you are back and did not have your own version of “Lost.”

    I waited to post this…but do you think that this other time, the sideways version, is a timeline where Esau gets off the island?

    • March 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Hahaha, when I was on my many plane rides I was thinking a lot about Lost. I was mostly checking out the other passengers, none of them looked nearly as interesting as the Oceanic passengers.
      I don’t really think that Esau and Jacob lived through the sinking of the Island. Or maybe they never existed (that would be weird). Watching these flashsideways, I can’t imagine how they could incorporate that kind of intense mythology. I think of this alternate timeline as a big what if fantasy. You know how sometimes you let yourself imagine a big what if scenario, then you start imagining too much and soon you have to stop yourself because things are just getting crazy. I think that’s what would happen if we had Jacob or Esau in both timelines.
      On the other hand, maybe it would be fun to see Esau released in the real world wreaking havoc. That might make us care more about Esau not getting off the Island in the original timeline. It might up the stakes. And it would make me happy because I really want to see a tragic ending in that other timeline.

  2. 3 mins
    March 30, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I still think, somehow, that Jacob and MIB are brothers.
    Wonder why Richard wasn’t a candidate. He was closer to Jacob than Locke ever was.
    It was obvious Isabella was Smokey in the ship. MIB uses the vulnerabilities of others to win them over. But…they had me wondering too if Jacob could transform..and if we’ll ever know what Locke was talking about (white light,etc). Lots of MIB mind games. MIB actor portrays MIB pretty well..the grimness is of the character.
    LOL richard’s crazy laugh at the beginning was funny; and those high pants!
    Sun said she is a candidate. Ilana never said that. She said she doesn’t know if it’s Sun, Jin or both. Good call about the delayed healing. Seems tied to Jacob just like the spring. Re Jacob’s spring:in the bible,Jacob dug the well in a town called Shechem. It’s ancient egyptian hieroglyph word is “Sekem” which means “vitality” or “life”.
    Do you think there’s 2 knives? The first one ended up in the temple,i assume jacob put it there. The second one, Ben used..was it the same kind?
    The island is a cork ! Then what happens if it gets sunk as seen in the opener?
    I also forgot jack didn’t know about “LOcke”. He last saw Locke in the coffin before getting on Ajira. LOVE Hurley. This lovable guy is becoming more like a leader and is quite good at it. Jack is so used to being in control, calling the shots, and Hurley following him. This season, it’s all reversed. We had a nice hint of this back at the temple with Miles saying Hurley’s getting “all leadership-like”.
    Hope Ilana’s backstory, or the important parts, will be shown soon..like what is her last name? how did she meet jacob? why’s she so tearful in accepting jacob’s request to help?
    This is one of my favorite episodes. Carbonell was just amazing. I was tearing up a few times.
    Oh, that white stone- same one MIB threw out of the cave?

    • March 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

      I can’t wait for an Ilana story.
      I never really thought about what happened to Jacob or Smokey in the other timeline. I don’t really think that timeline has any mythological significance. I would be very surprised if they managed to shoe-horn Jacob into that story.
      The dagger Ben used was definitely different, but the one Dogen gave Sayid was exactly the same as the one Sayid gave Richard.

  3. March 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Here’s a weird thing I just thought of. Ben talked to Jacob before he killed him. Now I’m not so sure about that no talking rule.

    • 6 mins
      March 30, 2010 at 11:52 am

      hey that’s very true izi. would the no talking rule mean you get persuaded to listen (as MIB said to richard..jacob can be very persuasive) which makes you change your mind?
      I think there’s something particular about Ben that made him a loophole for MIB; Ben was the one person MIB focussed on to do the killing. Sayid couldn’t kill MIB, talk or no talk. Is there something about Ben’s past, his near death, or his leadership in the name of Jacob, that is the loophole? I still don’t get why Locke either.
      BTW, if Richard is to be the moral voice for people,on behalf of jacob, why did he not discourage the gassing of Dharma?
      And why did he bury isabella’s necklace? He didn’t answer hurley on that. That bullseye of a redshirt on hurley is really making me nervous. hope it’s just a desire for colour in the midst of all the drab colors the others are wearing.
      I can’t help chuckling still about richard’s crazy giggle and his rant “you’re all dead! and you’re in hell!”

  4. 7 LVGirl
    March 30, 2010 at 11:04 am

    You know that I loved this episode. High water pants were the way of things until only 40 or 50 years ago. Think of how muddy everything was in the older days without all of this glorious pavement.

    Now, the Evil in the Bottle metaphor, I thought it was a simplistic way to tell a person like Richard what was going on. If the wine is in the bottle with the cork on, it’s okay, but if you take that wine and start spewing it out everywhere, would you be able to get all of it back in? Would you even find all the spots? I know in my own kitchen I’d be hard pressed to find it all to clean it up let alone get it back in the bottle.

    I don’t think that Jacob is the smoke at all. I have yet to see Jacob deceive anyone. He can not for some reason mess with a person’s free will. We’ll have to see where this pans out in the long run. I think the MIB has the power to read a person’s consciousness and he uses it against them. He used Richard’s love for Isabella.

    Anyway, there was so much to this episode, that I could just go on and on.


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