(Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter)
Yeah, I’ve been waiting for that one for a long time. A very long time. And I was not disappointed. Some people are giving it “best episode of the season” status, and I’ve even heard some call it the best episode in the history of the show. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s definitely close. I don’t have any far-reaching theories or ideas based on this episode, but some comments, and a few questions.
The best line of the night, though, was at the very beginning, when Richard said he was leaving the beach to go with somebody else, and Jack said “What’s he talking about?” Ben’s response, “Oh, this is gonna be good” cracked me up.
Richard Alpert has been a mystery wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a twinkie, ever since we first saw him, and he has steadily gained ground as one of the most intriguing characters on the show, despite nobody having the first idea about who he really is or why he is there. But all of that is no longer.
Richard is from the Canary Islands. Richard rode horses. Richard wore leather vests. Richard learned English on his own because he and his beloved Isabella wanted to come to America, no doubt because he heard that wearing leather vests and eyeliner was wildly popular in parts of New York City. Richard seemed deeply sorry after accidentally killing the doctor, who, let’s be honest, sort of deserved it. It was an accident, after all, and he didn’t seem like the killing type. So he gets thrown in the clink, and he spends his days reading the bible and repenting. Then he confesses to a priest, who not only will not offer him forgiveness, BUT HE STEALS RICHARD’S BIBLE!!! That part killed me. That priest was a dick, man. A dick.
Then Mr. Whitfield shows up and buys Richard in the name of Magnus Hanso. First of all, Magnus? Awesome. Second of all, you know people of all kinds changed their names when they came to America, for various reasons. My grandfather, or great grandfather, or somebody, shortened Greenstein to Greene. Hakeem Olajuwon became Akeem Olajuwon, then went back to Hakeem. Mangosteen became Mango. Maybe Whitfield became Widmore? It’s just close enough that it’s a possibility, and it’s also just far enough apart that it could be completely ridiculous.
When Whitfield came down to slaughter all of Richard’s fellow slaves like dogs, that was pretty brutal. You’d think that if they were already supposed to be slaves, they’d keep them around to do slave things, like build homes, find food, and sing songs. I didn’t quite get that. Then, Smokey showed up and put everybody else except Richard out of their misery. He came up to Richard just like he did to Mr. Eko and to John Locke (the real John Locke) and looked right into their souls. He killed Eko, because Eko was unrepentant. Richard was repentant, so he let him live. Also, he happened to be the only person left alive that he might be able to convince to kill Jacob. The Devil. Not so sure about that one, but let’s just say I’m not necessarily convinced otherwise either.
Esau shows up (I am STILL not giving up on Esau) and gives Richard some unholy water, then gives him the exact same instructions Dogen gave Sayid, along with the same dagger! Stab him in the heart. Don’t let him speak, or it’ll be too late. That was curious. That sort of lends some weight to one of the theories floating around out there on the interwebs about Jacob and the Man in Black being the same person. If they each need to be killed in the same way, maybe they are the same person? For the record, I do not think they are. But if you were looking for support for that theory, that part might give you some.
But Richard says, “Why not, I’m already a murderer, give me that knife,” and takes off toward the four-toed statue that is all that is left after the Black Rock smashed it to smithereens! That was awesome. You know what else was awesome? Jacob giving Richard a Ben Linus-worthy beat down. That was awesome. Jacob saying “Nobody comes in unless I invite them in.” That was awesome. Jacob’s description of The Island as the cork keeping the “darkness” in the bottle? That was AWESOME.
Richard was sort of an impressionable chap back in the day. Go kill Jacob. Ok. Don’t kill me, help me stop the other guy from leaving? Ok. And all he wants in return is to have his wife back. Which Jacob cannot do. And to be forgiven for his sins. Which Jacob cannot do. How about everlasting life? No problem. Another unspoken part of the deal was a never ending supply of Old Navy Button Down Shirts.
So, what it all boils down to is, Esau is trying to leave The Island and spread his evil seed like some sort of diabolical Tiger Woods. And Jacob will not allow this. But short of not allowing Esau to leave, there doesn’t seem to be much Jacob CAN do. He can’t kill Esau, presumably, or he would have already. And Esau can’t kill Jacob, or he would have already. And he can’t step in when Esau tries to convince other people to do bad things, which is why he needs Richard around. Why can’t they do anything? Why do they have to get other people to do their work for them?
Is The Island really Hell? If so, who is the Devil? Are Jacob and Esau supposed to be God and the Devil? Are they angels? Are they human manifestations of cosmic forces, such as Fate and Free Will? Why does Jacob have the power to keep Esau on The Island, and why can’t Esau kill Jacob?? I’m sorry, but that part is driving me crazy.
Sorry for the late post. I am on the road this week and didn’t see the episode until yesterday afternoon. And I’m finishing this up on a lunch break during a deposition. Also, the next two weeks there will be no blog posts. Sorry. Amanda and I will be in Italy until April 7, and I might try to watch Lost while we are gone, but I am damn sure not going to be taking any more time away from drinking wine and eating gelato than I have to.