Finally, some answers!
This episode mainly deals with Richard Alpert and by mainly, I mean there aren’t really any flashbacks fading in and out of the present. It’s mostly a flashback of Richard’s life. I’ve got to say it was another great episode.
The show opens up with Ilana explaining that she came to the island to protect the candidates and that the candidates are people who are supposed to replace Jacob. Her instructions after she took the candidates to the temple were to ask Richard what to do next, but he goes off on a crazed frenzy. He says he’s known a secret that no one else knows about the island and it’s not what it seems and I hold my breath. But then he continues his crazed frenzy and thinks he’s in Hell and storms off stating that he thinks he might follow someone else.
Jack sees Hurley talking to no one in Spanish and assumes it’s Jacob. Hurley says it’s not and storms off.
The flash back starts in 1867 on Tenerife on the Canary Islands. Richards wife Isabella is ill so he rides into town to get medicine taking all of the money he has and his wife’s gold cross. The doctor refuses to ride in the rain to help her and he won’t sell the medicine for such a cheap price. Richard panics and pushes the doctor and he hits his head on a table and dies. Richard leaves panicked with the medicine and returns to his wife, but she has already passed. He cries over her body as men come to take him away.
In prison, a priest visits him and Richard has a confession. However, the priest will not forgive him for his sin, because the priest says he can’t absolve him of his sins for murder. If the Dharma Initiative was instated at the time or if Jacob was recruiting Others, I would have sworn that the priest was behind something sinister, because it was such a shock and he did look creepy and not really sympathetic. He said Richard needed to do penance but he didn’t have time because he was going to be hanged. I’m not sure what was the point in the confession, but the priest didn’t seem concerned. It was like “Want to be forgiven? That’s too bad. Have a nice time burning in Hell, you murderer!”
Instead of being hung, a British Captain buys Richard because he can speak English and plans on taking him to the New World. During the ride a storm breaks out and they are drawn to the island. The Black Rock smashes into the Statue of Taweret, which answers what happened to it and then the ship crashes in the middle of the jungle.
The Captain is sure the slaves will rise up and kill them and the supplies are limited anyway, so he starts killing all of the slaves. Richard is the last one, but the killing spree is interrupted by the one who does it best: Smokie! The smoke monster begins killing the crew and the Captain looks up while blood is dripping down on him. It was kind of horrifyingly awesome for tv. Then Smokie kills the Captain and does the whole “I’m gonna approach you but leave” thing to Richard.
Richard is stuck trying to escape for the next few days but then he sees his dead wife. She tells him that they’re in Hell and that he has to leave before the devil homes. They hear Smokie and then she runs away. Richard hears her scream and begins to panic, still trapped in chains and unable to help.
Enter Man in Black. He gets Richard out of the chains and gives him water. He admits to being the black smoke and confirms that they are in Hell and that the devil has his wife. He give Richard a knife and tells him to go kill the devil living in the statue. Richard agrees since it’s the only way to save his wife. It mimics how fake Locke convinced Ben and how Dogen convinced Sayid.
He goes to kill Jacob, but Jacob kicks his butt and convinces Richard that he’s not in Hell by sort of drowning him. I thought Jacob was a lot more passive than what he appeared to be in this episode, so I was a bit shocked. He tells Richard that he brings people to the island to prove to the Man in Black that people are good while the Man in Black believes that they are corrupted. All of the people Jacob brought has died. Some people think that Jacob might not be as good as what people believe but it would seem that his has a disconnection with humanity. All of these people’s lives are like games to MIB and Jacob. Richard wants to know why Jacob doesn’t interfere and Jacob says that he believes that there’s no point in the argument if he has to tell people to choose good. Richard says “If you don’t then he will.”
Jacob then asks if Richard would like a job to interfere on his behalf. In return, Richard asks for his wife back and Jacob says that he can’t do this. I thought this was very important because we keep seeing dead people appear on the island but whose to say who is dead or what? No one has really ever come back for the dead so resurrection seems to be out of the question, though the Man in Black is promising it to Sayid. Is Man in Black lying or does he posses a power that Jacob does not or does Jacob think it’s wrong to resurrect people? Richard also asks to be absolved from his sins, but Jacob says he can’t do that either so if anyone has any theories that Jacob is God, then I think that proves them wrong, but he does seem to have a separation from humanity. Then Richard asks to live forever so he can never go to Hell and Jacob agrees to doing that.
Richard’s first task is to give the Man in Black a white rock. MIB explains that he knows Jacob can be persuasive and says that if Richard EVER changes his mind, he’ll have him.
MIB and Jacob talk. MIB just wants his body back and he wants to leave the island. Jacob can’t do that because apparently, MIB is evil incarnate. MIB says he has no choice but to kill Jacob and Jacob says that if he manages to kill him, he’ll just have a replacement. So the candidates are NOT protecting the island. The island is protecting everyone else from MIB. This makes a lot more sense. But since there is no island in the sideways universe, I’m curious to know the consequences.
Flashbacks end and Richard goes to a spot where he had buried his wife’s cross. He cries and calls out to MIB. Hurley then emerges and says that he was talking with Isabella. After Richard and Isabella have a conversation via Hurley about how her death wasn’t his fault, Richard feels better. Hurley also tells Richard that Isabella said that they have to stop MIB from leaving the island or “they all go to Hell.”
In the distance, MIB is watching.
This was a very great episode. I was troubled by how Richard snapped, but I suppose he has been around for a long time and there's no telling everything he went through. His story with his wife was very sad and it was touching when he got to speak with her again. This episode was probably the second best of the season, but I'm looking forward to some more great ones before it's all over.