If you haven't seen "Ab Aeterno" yet, here's your Spoiler Warning! The whole episode will be discussed below...
When I learned that this week's Lost was going to feature Richard Alpert, I knew we were in for something special. "Ab Aeterno" lives up to what I imagined a Richard flashback would be like. At this stage, it isn't heavy on the answers (we already know a lot about the character) but it's a great story that chronicles his journey to the island and his life changing encounter with both the Man in Black and Jacob. The overall story of Lost benefits immensely from the clarity that this week's episode provides. And it's all capped by one outstanding performance by Nestor Carbonell. Batmanuel - take a bow!
There isn't a whole lot of new information thrown at us but we do get a hell of a lot of confirmation on much of the speculation from over the last couple of seasons. A lot of assumptions that the Lost community had can now be confirmed. Richard Alpert arrived on the Black Rock, as a prisoner (something we weren't 100% sure of), was approached by Jacob and was made his representative. We now KNOW this about Richard. It's out of the way. Richard is no longer a mystery and for someone as mysterious as he has been throughout the course of the series - that is a huge deal!
Still, there is much we do learn about Ricardo's journey to the island that not only gives us some much needed insight into his character and his motivation but tells us a lot about both Jacob and the Man in Black. I think it was important to depict Richard as a god-fearing man as his encounters with both Jacob and MiB benefited from this particular point of view. From Richard's point-of-view there was only good or evil and not much room for anything in between. That made him easy prey for MiB who sought to use his beliefs as a way to turn him against Jacob - and it almost worked.
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