I will attempt to tie the following pop culture themes together in summarizing last night’s episode of LOST. A Bar, Bugs Bunny, The Whedonverse, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, Wargames, The Brady Bunch, Jim Croce, current events involving India and Bangladesh, and Myst.
Do not try this at home. Ok, give me lots of room.
First off, love the show. LOST continues to be a drug that I cannot kick. It’s also a lot like golf. I suck at it. It drives me nuts. However, all it takes is one good drive or putt, or one chip shot out of a bunker and onto green and I am willing to keep coming back. It is the junkie that promises me some real high quality stuff as a sample (Pilot) that hooks me deep only make me pay for more, which turns out to be crap (Nikki and Paulo) and then when I threaten to go somewhere else starts to give me some really quality stuff again (Season 5 and 6.)
Ok, now that the ridiculously thin analogous connections are out of the way, let’s hug it out.
"Ab Aeterno" or “from the beginning” is the title and that conjures up all sorts of ideas about struggles that last an eternity. But more importantly, it is about the struggle for the audience to check off their Richard Alpert bingo cards for correct theories. “B-7: He’s a slave” “BINGO!”
So, that brings us to our first theory that gets partially blown out of the water. Back in Sundown, I proposed that Alpert was,
7. Richard Alpert on the black rock as an Egyptian Slave. Something causes the ship to wreck into the middle of the island and the MiB frees him. He was given long life by the MiB as a wish fulfillment but somehow caused MiB’s non corporeal state when he realizes that he’s on the wrong side and takes the role of PR man for Jacob. “It’s nice to see you out of those chains.”Ok, it’s only slightly wrong. Richard is not Egyptian, he is Spanish or at least a resident of the Canary Islands. He rides home like he’s Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans to see his sick wife, Isabella. She needs medicine and gives him her cross as payment to the doctor who turns out to be a dick. If only healthcare reform would have existed in the 19th century. Anyway, Ricardo as he is called accidentally kills the doctor to get the medicine but is too late to save his wife who dies. He is then imprisoned and about to be executed. He asks for absolution of his sins but is told that he does not have the time to make up for it….. Yarrr, there be foreshadowing ahead. Because he can speak a little English he is sold to Magnus Hanso as a slave and bound for the New World, just not the one he thinks.
The weather started getting rough, the Black Rock ship was tossed… right through the head of the statue of Taweret, smashing it into pieces save a foot. It comes to rest in the middle of the island where it is today. That answers one of the fundamental head scratchers since Season One. How the Eff did that ship get so far inland? Now, we have Jonas Whitfield taking out slaves in order to keep himself from a prisoner uprising but he gets yanked through the hold by Smokey the Bad Guy. After attempts to escape, a boar visit, and a wife visit, Ricardo is visited on by one of the residents of Fantasy Island who lo and behold is Smokey, maybe.
The MiB gives him some water and food and tells him he is dead and in hell but there is a way to escape, kill the devil aka Jacob who oddly enough plays Satan in another kick ass show, Supernatural. MiB gives him a knife and tells him to seek out the statue and kill him but remember, earmuffs.
Ricardo heads to the foot and gets disarmed by Jacob who says, “What, me, the devil? Pfft.” Soon we have a reversal of the truth and Jacob tells Ricardo and the audience exactly what is going on. This island is a cork in a bottle. “If I could save time in a bottle…” Inside the bottle is pure evil and the island is the only thing keeping the evil from getting out. The MiB believes that humanity is inherently evil because of their nature meanwhile Jacob wants to prove him wrong. In order to do that he has to keep bring more and more people to the island to put on plays of morality without the influence of himself, which sets the stage for one of the most elaborate barguments in the history of the world. He’s done it before and that’s why Ricardo’s ship crashed on the island. Apparently, Peter Brady, here, didn’t get the lecture about playing ball in the house and broke his mom’s favorite vase. In order to help Jacob stay clear of the game, Ricardo is appointed the advisor or intermediary of the island. That brings us full circle to How Richard got on the island, why he doesn’t age, and what his purpose is. But…… as much as I want to breathe easy and relax now that one huge mystery has been solved I have to cry foul a bit.
One day soon, I will sit my daughter down and have her watch all six Star Wars movies. But I will make her watch them in the order that I had seen them, starting with A New Hope. Why? Because if you start at Episode I, you ruin the “snake in the mailbox” reveal of Empire Strikes Back. Finding out that Vader is Luke’s father makes the scene all the more awesome. But if you go into A New Hope already knowing that Anakin Skywalker IS Darth Vader then you ruin the last three movies. And because George Lucas started in the middle of the story with A New Hope, he sets himself up for a big problem by using the first three movies to explain the origins of how Anakin becomes Vader. He literally wastes so much time in Episode I setting up the chess board that he is forced to cram too much information and back story into Episode II and III and ultimately truncates the best parts of what makes up the given circumstances of Episode IV. The Clone Wars. The Betrayal of The Republic. The Rise of Palpatine as Emperor of The Empire. The same thing happens with Richard Alpert, here.
Since Season 3 we have been given this mystery of who is Richard Alpert and why does he never age. We’ve theorized and speculated for three years as to the reasons behind such a great character and finally we get the brass ring, an Alpertcentric storyline including flash backs and there is so much to say and figure out that the development of that character gets truncated to this, Alpert is a tragic man who committed murder by accident and is now on the island to atone for his sin. He loves and misses his wife and wants to live forever to absolve himself of his guilt. He is simply task man for Jacob bringing people to the island like Juliet and may or may not know how to proceed from here on out. He was shortchanged in the character development because we have less than ten episodes to wrap this all up. If not for Nestor Carbonell’s heartbreaking performance this Everlasting Gobstopper from the Carlton and Cuse Chocolate Factory would have tasted pretty sour.
Now, that was the big draw for millions of LOST fans for this episode, but ah, not everything is as it seems. Richards story was merely a backdrop for a bigger mystery to be solved and that mystery was solved a few weeks ago. The Lockeness Monster told Sawyer the island is “Just a damn island.” But it’s more than that. It is the black box stage for the play within a play. It is the sandbox. It is a blank canvas on which the continual struggle to show the true nature of humanity as it is played out over centuries with different actors. Each one is a complex game of tic-tac-toe being played by Jacob and the MiB in order to prove a point. Nobody ever wins. Frankly, it is a mere distraction to pass the time with as a jailer and his prisoner sit upon an island and discuss the meaning of life and the nature of good and evil. What happens on the island is merely a product of what people want to happen. It is basically, the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Whoever opens the case sees what they want to see, something valuable. Locke wanted to be able to do the things he could never do again, poof arise and walk. Jack wanted to resolve the issues he has with his father and leadership, poof lead the Losties and somehow, hopefully soon, resolve those daddy issues. Sawyer wanted to find the man responsible for the death of his parents, poof here is Anthony Cooper bound and waiting for you to kill. It is as Ben put it, “The island is a magic box. Inside that box is everything you want or need to fulfill your wishes at a price. It’s the holodeck.
The fate of the island in the sideways flashes is that it sank. Perhaps it sinks because no conclusion came to the argument between Jacob and the MiB and the island merely said, “I’m out of here.” Maybe the creators of LOST are able to turn their own donkey wheel and see the future because this actually happened just recently with New Moore Island. India and Bangladesh have argued for years over ownership of the island. Sounds just like Widmore and Ben.
JACOB AND MIB
I could on for length about the relationship of these two but I will sum it up in for words. Morning, Sam. Morning, Ralph. Ok, for those of you not old enough to remember Saturday Morning Cartoons or Bugs Bunny as a series of short films, let me ‘splain. Actually, let me sum up. Go here.
"Morning Man in Black"
This entire “experiment” is a bargument, as I said. A distraction to pass the eons as Jacob guards the whole from evil and in that role he keeps the MiB from escaping the island. If he were to be able to leave, the world would go to hell because he would influence that side of our human nature that is evil and we would do bad things. It sounds a lot like Christianity but I think this goes further than that. MiB is evil in the world. The island is a sort of Pandora’s box and Jacob is trying to keep people from opening it. Jacob thinks that if he can prove that humanity is more good than evil and that they can make the right decisions without influence then the MiB has no reason to escape. And he does that by crashing boats and planes into the island to prove his point. Until he does, his will keeps the MiB trapped. Also, he took his body so that he couldn’t just take a boat and leave. Think of the Season One episode of Angel called “That Vision Thing” Angel goes down into a dungeon of sorts and sees a man standing in a cage of fire. He meets Skip and the following dialogue takes place.
ANGEL: Hi.That will and the fact that he’s still alive at this point. So, MiB takes measures to try and influence the visitors to the island to do the wrong thing and thereby proving not only his point but also helping MiB escape by killing Jacob. If you’ve ever played the computer game Myst you’ll recognize the struggle by visitors to discern who is good and who is evil. Two brothers are trapped in separate magical books that serve as a prison. The player retrieves pages of these books from magical locations on an island and by inserting them they get more of the story. If they choose to insert the last page in either they release one of the brothers... but it turns out that both brothers are evil and will trap you in their book after you release them. This is the core of the mystery in LOST as to who is good and who is evil and neither one gives you enough information at one time to make a decision. That’s how they recruit sides to their cause, being economical with the truth. In MiB’s case he needs to do multiple things to escape. One, kill Jacob as he keeps him trapped. Two, find a body to inhabit, so that he can leave. Three, kill or convert the remaining list of candidates to keep a new Jacob from stopping him from leaving.
SKIP: Hi. You know you're not supposed to be here, right?
ANGEL: Yeah. What about him?
SKIP: Oh, him? Oh, he's supposed to be here. Do you have any idea how monstrous a guy has to be before he gets sent to us? We're a *very* high-end institution.
ANGEL: And it's your job to keep him here.
SKIP: Yeah. (Offers his hand) I'm Skip.
(they shake hands)
ANGEL: Angel. So, ah, you live in here, Skip?
SKIP: No. I commute. It's not too bad - about twenty minutes.
ANGEL: Uh, what keeps him in the fire?
SKIP: My will.
In one of his earliest tries, MiB attempts to get Richard to be the loophole but fails. It took the elaborate “play” of the Oceanic 815 survivors visit to the island to give MiB his best shot, John Locke. Several times, MiB tried to recruit Locke into service. He attempted to suck Locke down into the tunnels in Season One but is thwarted by a stick of dynamite. Perhaps all of this is merely a play with a play within a play and both Jacob and MiB came to the island as part of some sort of playground or sandbox for them to argue in and they themselves are mere actors on a stage.
Ok, I’ve rambled enough. Theory time.
From Sundown the following are now moot.
1. MiB, UnLocke, Flocke, Lockeness, Esau, Nemesis, Not Lock, whatever you call him is a fallen angel, perhaps the devil.I think the show transcends religion and iconography from religion. If you believe that all religions tell the same stories in different ways with different characters representing God or gods then you can say that the island is simply employing these because they are relatable to the people experiencing them. It draws on several myths and dogmas to create a singular mythology to tell the story. MiB and Jacob seem to predate Christianity. They seem to be flies in the primordial soup. It’s as if MiB is the First Evil from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Jacob is "The Powers That Be" unable to directly influence those champions who are trying to stop evil from getting out of the Hellmouth.
9. Hurley is the key to everything. The last episode is entitled Everybody Loves Hugo. (Highlight this with your mouse to see it.This is not the last episode, it was just listed last in the available set of titles. The last one is still listed as “TBA” but Hurley may still be the key.
From Dr. Linus the following are now questionable.
1. The island sank after the Dharma Initiative left due to:I now am beginning to believe that the island sank because the MiB escaped. Everything that he has done to get off the island has created a paradox by which the Losties have not interacted with Jacob or the island and therefore the butterfly effect has resulted in MiB proving Jacob wrong and has escaped leaving the island with no purpose…. Alcatraz if you will. It’s a tourist spot for divers.
a. The Incident minus the Jughead. Most DI non essential personal were off the island priorAmy, Horace, Roger, Ben)
b. The building of The Swan by the DI which hit the pocket of energy and with no way to contain it (i.e. Jughead, button) the island sank but not before Dharma Initiative were able to escape.
From Recon the following are now questionable.
4. Jacob and Locke Monster are actually brothers and the whole mother thing will play out a bit more in a final showdown. We already know that Alpert is the only character to have a flashback this season so it stands to reason that any explanations will be done through exposition between characters.They may yet turn out to be brothers and in that fashion Jacob is his brother’s keeper or jailer in this case. The mommy issue might be a red herring to just get Kate to do what he wants. We know from production notes that Ab Aeterno is the only flash back we will see of these two so no back story will be shown. It will have to be done through exposition. I don’t see that happening.
a. Jacob was loved more than MiB
b. MiB will be known as either Samuel or Esau
- The season will end…
- With Jack and Locke sitting on the beach having the same conversation as Jacob and the MiB did with a ship off in the distance. Bringing everything full circle.
- The MiB will finally “get it” and Jacob/replacement will release him and the show will end like those Looney Tunes shorts where the time clock whistle blows and Jacob and MiB punch a clock and go home, “Night Sam. Night Ralph.”
- All of this is simply a Role Playing Game, Company Retreat type exercise for the sole purpose of a team building exercise for employees of Hurley’s businesses and he is taking part. The last scene will be them all leaving on an Oceanic jet, first class. Call it the “Snow Globe Dream Ending”
Deeb a deeb a deeb that’s all folks.