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Review and Recap of Lost Episode "Ab Aeterno"

Let's Get Lost: "Ab Aeterno" Recap

Consider my mind blown. I knew I would enjoy this week's Lost since it centers on Richard Alpert, but I didn't expect to get so many answers in one hour. The title "Ab Aeterno" means "from eternity" in Latin, or in other words, since the beginning, and we really do go back a long, long way (it also seems to reference the fact that Richard has eternal life).

It finally feels like we're getting a clear picture of exactly where the writers are headed in the coming weeks, and while some of the intrigue is gone, it does make me curious to watch how everything goes down. I can't even begin to discuss the evening without giving away oodles of spoilers, so let's cut the gabbing, and head straight into the jungle when you


  • Why has Ilana been tapped as Jacob's right-hand woman? The episode opens with her bandaged in the hospital — which we've already witnessed — but this time, we get more deets. Like, how the six people she's supposed to protect are candidates, and he tells her to seek out Ricardus, who will know what to do next.
  • Of course, Ricardus is Richard/Ricardo, who announces to Jack and the rest of the people at the beach that they're not on an island — they're in hell. That doesn't seem as probable as the episode continues, though I have to admit that he had me going. Soon we're thrust into his backstory (specifically the Canary Islands in 1867) where his wife, Isabella, is dying. She gives him her gold cross necklace to pay a doctor, so he goes to get medicine, but accidentally kills the doc. By the time he returns, Isabella is dead, and Ricardus is on death row, only to be saved by a man, Whitfield, who buys him as a slave to Magnus Hanso (the forebear of Alvar?), owner of the Black Rock.
  • The significance of Luke 4:37, which Ricardus reads in jail: it's the story of Jesus coming out of the desert (after being tempted by the devil) and finding a man with a devil-like spirit inside him, which he commands to come out. Could this "man" be an allusion to the Man in Black?
  • As the Black Rock approaches the island in a storm, we get a glimpse of the Taweret statue in its full form, as one of the ship captives exclaims that the land is being guarded by the devil. Sounds reasonable, although if you think about it further, the statue Taweret is usually associated with good. Full disclosure: I'm taking this straight from Wikipedia, but Tawaret is "seen as one who protected against evil by restraining it." After this episode, it kind of makes sense that Jacob lives underneath it, doesn't it? The ship crashes into the statue, leaving the foot, of course.
  • When Ricardus comes to, Whitfield comes down to the slave stowage to kill them one by one — that is, until the smoke monster intervenes. The only person it spares: Ricardus. By the by, did anyone notice a very fake-looking blue butterfly flying through the ship? It's odd enough for me to assume it may be significant.
  • Still in his chains, a delirious Ricardus has a vision of Isabella, and she tells him that they're both dead and in hell. She also says that the smoke monster is the devil, until it appears and takes her, too. The Man in Black appears shortly after, breaking Ricardus from his shackles in return for a favor — he must kill the devil. Here, M.I.B. proceeds to give him the exact speech Dogen told Sayid when going after Flocke, by telling him to drive the dagger (yep, the same dagger) into the devil before letting him speak. Also worth noting: the Man in Black tells Ricardus, "It's good to see you out of those chains" — which is obviously the same phrase Flocke quoted to Richard when Jacob had just died.
  • Side note: the Man in Black tells Ricardus that the devil betrayed him and took his body and his humanity. So are we to believe that the body that the Man in Black inhabits is another person he possessed, like he did with Locke? Perhaps the Man in Black is just carrying out the "devil's" wishes, and he actually used to be a human being, too? Or of course there's the very probable case that he's just lying.
  • Per his assignment, Ricardus finds Jacob, who immediately tries to knock him out. Ricardus tells Jacob that he thinks he's in hell, which Jacob tries to disprove by nearly drowning him. Did you notice that Jacob tells Ricardus that no one goes inside the spot under the statues unless Jacob invites them in? Does this mean that he actually wanted Flocke and Ben to come in and kill him?
  • Huzzah! A quasi-easy explanation: Jacob shows Ricardus a wine bottle and compares the wine to evil and the cork to the island. In a nut shell, the island (and Jacob) are the only thing keeping the Man in Black from unleashing his evil on the world — which is precisely why Jacob needs those replacement candidates. He goes further, discussing how the Man in Black believes every man is corruptible, so Jacob brings people to the island to prove him wrong. Seems obvious, but isn't it nice to hear it from Jacob's mouth?
  • Jacob hires Ricardus as an intermediary for the people he brings to the island, and since he can't bring back Isabella or absolve him of his sins, he offers to fulfill Richard's third request: eternal life. Richard actually asked for it? All along I sort of assumed Jacob bestowed it on him, just so he could carry out his duties.
  • Ricardus returns to the Man in Black with a white rock from Jacob (remember the scale with the black and white stones?), and in turn, the M.I.B. tells Ricardus he can see his wife if he ever changes his mind, handing him Isabella's cross, which Richard promptly buries. Richard does, in fact, change his mind in the current time, and he races back to dig it up. Hurley shows, admitting that he's talking to Isabella (hence, his Spanish ghost before) and that she says Richard has to stop the Man in Black from leaving the island or they're all going to hell. This does raise one question in my mind: when we see Isabella on the Black Rock, is she just a vision in Ricardus's mind? Or can the Man in Black actually appear as ghosts, too? It might explain why we saw Christian Shepard before.
  • Notice Richard does not have a flash sideways, suggesting he may not exist in the other time. Is this because he's from the 1800s and would therefore be long dead if not for Jacob's gift of eternal life — if the incident in the '70s isn't what prompted the sideways reality?

What did you think of the episode? There's a lot of ground to cover, so give me all your best theories in the comments, or head over to Lost Fans in community to chat some more.

Photos copyright 2010 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
KatyCat KatyCat 7 years
I felt so bad for Richard when he lost his wife a second time. it makes me see Richard in such a different light. Im still unsure of jacob though he's just such a mystery
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
And where did the physical body of MIB go? How come he couldn't use that body when the Losties are there? Richard seemed surprised when he figured out Locke was him? And why Locke's body? Sorry for all the questions!
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
I wonder if neither one of them (MIB or Jacob) are good or evil. Maybe they are both equally good and evil but the other thinks that they are the evil one? Does that make sense? Maybe they both think they are the good one? This show gives me a headache .... but in a good way.
pianoteacher1 pianoteacher1 7 years
Oh, btw, I think Mark Pellegrino in this episode is HOT! Jacob and MIB would make a great couple! Or Jacob and
pianoteacher1 pianoteacher1 7 years
Just read EW recap of Lost, it really hurts my head, but makes me appreciate the story even more! BTW, isn't it obvious (or not) that Hurley will be the new guard of the island? Using the same "dirty" tricks as Jacob does.....but it was a touching moment with Richard and his dead wife, redemption achieved?
pianoteacher1 pianoteacher1 7 years
Loved this episode, especially Richard! Do I smell an Emmy coming? Who knows he's such a good actor, and I'm glad someone finally give an entire episode to him AND also solving a lot of questions! I am a bit disappointed that they are going with the good VS evil storyline and not something more outrageous, but hey, they have only 9 more episodes left! lol So Widmore.....Whitfield, wonder if they are relate.....Widmore comes to the Island with a submarine.....Whitfield with the BlackRock.....probably no significance....
356UIK 356UIK 7 years
I also thought the actor portraying Richard did a REALLY good job. It was the first time we got to see him doing anything except for being extremely rational and wise!
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
I saw this and thought it was interesting: Claire had a dream back in Season 1 (?) about a 'black rock'. I guess we assumed then that it meant the ship, but now it could have meant MIB's rock and she was always destined to be on his side?
bingbingboom bingbingboom 7 years
What an episode! Throughout the night, I couldn't stop thinking "wow, Richard's life really sucks!". Witnessing his wife dying and accidentally killed a man, ready to be hanged and only to be sold as a slave, and then trapped in his body for 200+ years, geez! The episode definitely sheds a brighter light on good vs evil, except I don't think it's completely black or white. Even if say Jacob was good, I don't think he has the right to recruit people onto the island against their will. At least M.I.B gave Richard a choice!
zeze zeze 7 years
I think this was my favorite Lost episode ever! Wow!!! As for theories - I am honestly not convinced who is good and who is evil. Think of the statue, if as Buzz mentioned, there to contain evil and Jacob lives inside it...then maybe Jacob is the evil? And now we finally know what the "game" is...about lists and people...but how did Ben and Widmore get into this game as mini Jacobs and mini MIN. Seems like jacob enlisted Ben, who was eventually corrupted, while Widmore stayed true to MIN. Another question I have, how is the 70's bomb even relevant anymore, since it wasn't the "energy" that really brought them there, but Jacob who brings people there, and since this whole thing has been happening loooong before the 1970s, why should that incident effect the history at all? It might effect the oceanic people temporarily, but that doesn't mean Jacob won't bring them in another way. I think the sideways world and the island world will collied some how as Jacob finds a way to make them all end up at the island anyway.
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
myfairlady - I like that theory about him assessing the thoughts and also the connection to Eko.
myfairlady93 myfairlady93 7 years
Fantastic episode! I've always loved Richard and I am very satisfied with his backstory and enjoyed seeing Jacob/MIB With regards to Richard seeing Isabella on the Black Rock, it reminds of when the Smoke Monster and Eko had a staredown and then Eko saw his brother Yemi. When Smokie looked at Richard on the Black Rock, he was probably accessing his memories, so he could use them to manipulate Richard.
mstrauss mstrauss 7 years
Jelly888- My theory is that MIB gets off the island and that the "flash sideways" is actually the future based on his release. We see MIB making deals with so many of the losties, and I think that as part of his release, he is able to give those people what they want off the island (sorta). Nadia lives, Claire keeps her baby, etc. There is so much more to my theory but it is too much to write here. MIB has said that he just wants to go home and since we don't know where home is, I wonder if his release from the island might be his release from life. The island does end up under water, right?!? Just like Richard wants to kill himself and can't, maybe MIB has the same intentions. He just wants to stop living forever.
356UIK 356UIK 7 years
I think its also worth mentioning, the part where Jacob talks about proving that humanity is not inherently evil and that he is trying to prove MIB wrong. Also, how he then mentioned those who came before Richard died (I assume which means they did not choose good over evil)?
redchick152 redchick152 7 years
so when MIB says that "the devil" (i'm assuming he's referring to Jacob) took his humanity and his body, he's obviously got a grudge. MIB then said something to Richard about how if Richard doesn't kill Jacob, he will find someone else to do so (enter Ben Linus). so along the same lines of what Jelly posted (#7), i'm thinking that MIB and Jacob...whoever they really are...are not in their original bodies/forms. they must have started out similarly, but one good and one evil. they've been constantly looking for their own "replacements" out of the people on the island. now the big question is who are their replacements?? they are obviosuly trying to separate the island into sides. is Locke really it or is his body just being used for the time being?? Sawyer and Jack would be the obvious choices, but i'm thinking the writers are going to surprise us. also, is Aaron important at all...he has to be!? and what about Charles Widmore...why is he so damned interested in getting BACK to the island...he's looking for something. sorry this was long, but i was impressed that this episode gave us SO MANY actual details about MIB and Jacob....Richard too. i can't believe they are only 7 episodes left!!!! i'm dying
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
Just a thought....I wonder if those aren't Jacob and MIB original bodies and that they just inhabit whomever is there??
Jelly888 Jelly888 7 years
I also liked this episode. I wonder if since the island was underwater, maybe MIB got out and then the flash sideways are what happens now that we released?? It was good that they gave some answers of the bigger picture of what is going on. It was creepy at the end when Flocke was there listening to Hurley and Richard! Loved it!
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I loved this episode too! Some people thought it was dull, but I liked the departure from the usual stuff happening on the Island. I didn't think of the fact that Richard hasn't appeared in any flash sideways. That's kind of a nice thought... if he's dead and therefore has found absolution and is reunited with Isabella. In response to Ben killing Jacob... I always thought that was part of Jacob's plan. Through that act Ben ultimately finds redemption, right? Jacob said he doesn't want to intervene, but he seems to have been doing so all along... hm.
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