Lost is the junk food or dirty weekend of TV. I enjoy it immensely while I’m watching, but feel let down and a bit guilty later. It’s entertaining, but there’s always something missing like uh logic and consistency.
I’m still trying to get my mind around the way the island moved in time, but not all the people on it shifted, and while I enjoy the Sidewaysverse, I know I’ll be disappointed in the explanation.
This is not a theory post nor do I have any inside dope, just a few words on last night’s Ab Aeterno — spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen it.
The episode opens with Ilana and Jacob, but I’ll skip that. The real excitement begins with a flashback of Richard on horseback looking muy buen mozo y como un galán en una novela. We’re in an exotic local, Tenerife in the Canary Islands — sight of the worst aviation disaster in history although this is of course more than a century before that. Richard or Ricardo as he is then known, rushes in to his dying wife. She gives him the cross off her neck, and he rides off to the doctor who turns out to be a greedy son of a bitch who takes the cross and tells him it’s worth nothing. Richard accidentally kills him, grabs the medicine and returns home, but it’s too late because his wife is already dead, and then the poor dolt is in jail awaiting execution and the worst priest ever won’t give him absolution, but instead tells him he’s going to hell, and then sells him to the Captain of the Black Rock.
Historical telenovela, much? That’s what it felt like, except if that was the case the wife would be alive, and it would all be about her thinking he was dead and winding up married to the doctor’s obnoxious son as Ricardo struggles to escape and come home while being tempted by the saucy Creole house servant on the plantation in which both are enslaved.
This being Lost, however, he lands on Craphole Island where the Black Rock smashes into the statue. The Captain shows up and runs his sword through the other guys in chains, and just as he’s about to gut Richard, Smokey intercedes and righteously destroys him. Then Richard, still in chains, survives on rainwater surrounded by corpses which are being devoured by a wild boar. One day his wife Isabella shows up except it’s probably Smokey playing with him because after that the Man in Black frees him and tells him, confirming what his “wife” said about their being in hell. MIB tells him that Jacob is the devil and took his wife, and the only way out of hell is to kill the devil. Blackshirt also admits to being Smokey, but Richard nevertheless believes him about Jacob and is willing to do his bidding. When he finally meets up with Jacob and Jacob convinces him that he’s the good guy and Smokey is evil, he believes that too. Jacob explains the island and his role in keeping MIB there by showing Richard a bottle of wine with a cork in it and telling him the wine stands for evil and the cork is the island keeping it from the world. Jacob decides to keep Richard around as a kind of emissary so that he doesn’t have to get too involved with the people he “brings” to the island as part of his ongoing pissing match with Mr. Evil-Man-with-No-Name-Not-Locke-Black-Shirt-Guy-Maybe-the Devil. Richard asks Jacob if he can be with his wife, which Jacob admits he can’t do. He asks not to go to hell when he dies which Jacob also can’t give him, so he settles for immortality.
While I was watching, it was entertaining. But after I’m left thinking: So that’s it? That’s all there is to the mysterious Mr. Alpert? A simple type who believes or believed in a literal heaven and hell and was absurdly gullible accepting that the doctor really could cure his wife and the priest was right about damnation? This is the guy we thought had the answers? And whose cute idea was it to name him for Ram Dass? And why did both Jacob and Smokey speak English to him with flat American accents? And what did we really learn here that we didn’t know before?
The whole season has been a tease where we are told that “questions will be answered,” but very few people even seem to ask. Neither Sawyer nor Richard have much to say when told by Man-In-Black that he is aka Smokey. I mean if you’d seen the smoke-monster in action and then you’re talking to some man who casually says, “Oh yeah, that was me.” Wouldn’t you be like, “No shit. How does that work?”
Despite Jacob’s cork blocking a wine-bottle-of-malevolence analogy, I’m still not convinced that Jacob is good though it does look like what’s his name is bad or at least full of crap.
And could we give him a name already? Too cute by half the lengths they go to in order to avoid saying it.
Favorite bit: I did love it when ghosty-wife shows up at the end with Hurley translating and says, “Tell him his English is magnificent.” Carbonell had such a beatific half-smile when he heard it. You could see all the character’s emotions — love enduring, hope, surprise, pride, and more.
It’s really those little moments, and not the possible answers to the big questions, that keep me coming back.