It was certainly curious how the episode opened with an extended version of the Season 5 finale scene showing Jacob’s meeting with Ilana. I wonder when we will get the proper flashback treatment for the mysterious protector of the Candidates. Back on the beach as Ilana explained her purpose to Jack et al, I was a little creeped out by Hurley standing by himself speaking in tongues (being from South Louisiana I learned French in high school not Spanish so it was gibberish to me). When Richard said that he didn’t know what Jacob wanted him to do and stormed off the beach, I knew that he was headed for a meeting with the Man in Black.

The last time that Richard was mortal was 140 years before the Island present of 2007. Is there any significance to that amount of time? I’m not sure yet but it was sad yet unsurprising to see that his pre-Island life wasn’t any easier than anyone else stuck there. After he accidentally killed a man while trying to save his dying wife, Ricardus was sold into slavery to Magnus Hanso, great grandfather of Dharma Initiative financier Alvar Hanso. The mystery of the destruction of the statue was finally solved as we learned that it was destroyed by the Black Rock as she ran aground on the Island. That was one hell of a storm! Not unlike the wreckage of Oceanic 815 in the jungle, the Smoke Monster made short work of all of the survivors except Richard. Instead, it chose to “scan” him in the same manner that we saw him/it scan Mr. Eko, Juliet and Kate. It was no real surprise to see Richard’s dead wife appear to him which I’m presuming as actually one of the Smoke Monster’s many forms. However, I do find it curious that it appeared that the Smoke Monster returned and snatched Isabella from the ship. Was the Man in Black in two places at once? Up until now, we have only seen the Man in Black either in a human form or as the Smoke Monster but not both at the same time. So was it the Man in Black taking the form of Isabella or was it someone else…perhaps Jacob?

The really cool stuff happened after the Man in Black (back in Season 5 form) released Richard from his bondage on the condition that he help get rid of his nemesis. Curiously, the Man in Black gave Richard the same dagger to kill Jacob that Dogen gave to Sayid in “Sundown.” Furthermore, he gave him verbatim instructions on how and when to kill Jacob. Richard fails in his mission when he has the crap beaten out of him by Jacob. But then things got really interesting as Jacob explained what the Man in Black was trying to achieve and how disastrous it would be for the world if he did manage to escape the Island. Also of note: Jacob said that whatever Richard did before the Island didn’t matter. Why can Jacob only offer to grant some of Richard’s wishes but not all. Why can’t he reunite Ricardus with Isabella? Is it the same as why Dogen could only save his son if he never saw him again: Jacob’s blessing/curse?

The Man in Black was disappointed in Alpert but not so much that he shut the door on any future “professional” relationship between the two. This of course turned out to be precisely the reason for Richard’s lone trek through the jungle. Thankfully, Hurley had Isaballa’s ghost guidance keeping Richard from embracing the darkness much to the chagrin of Fake Locke who we saw looking on in disdain. When talking to Richard, Hurley referred to the spirit inhabiting Locke as “The Man in Black,” which is what we have been calling Jacob’s nemesis since “The Incident” but I think this is the first time that he has been given any sort of “name” by someone on the show.

I was expecting the episode to end after we saw Fake Locke angrily watching Hurley and Richard, but we got the extra little tag of Jacob and the Man in Black discussing the Island. Unless we are getting more of a smokescreen(!), we can be fairly certain that Jacob’s mission had always been to keep the Man in Black on the Island. But is there something more sinister to Jacob’s motivation? If we find out definitively, I don’t think it will happen until the series finale.



By yanam49

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