Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lost 6.9: Richard's Story

Well, we finally get the story of Richard Alpert in Lost 6.9. Turns out he's not quite eternal, having come to the island on the shipwrecked Black Rock in 1867, but that certainly suffices for ageless immortality for our 20th-21st century characters.

First, let me say I always liked Richard. Timeless characters, whether observers or players, provide a satisfying unity, an anchor, to high-flying magic and science fiction. Over on Fringe, J. J. Abrams latest excellent creation, the eternal bald observer (revealed as part of a team of eternal bald guys) does a good job in this role.

Unlike eternal characters who literally look the same all their lives, Richard Alpert's appearance and manner changed with circumstances, while his age stayed constant (late 30s, maybe a little older). He was homespun on the island, but urbane when he traveled in the greater world, as when he recruited Juliet.

Tonight we learn that through all of this he has been a pawn in the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black (aka Nemesis, faux-Locke). Jacob pulled the Black Rock to the island, Nemesis recruited Richard to kill Jacob, but Jacob succeeded in turning Richard to the better cause and making him ageless in the bargain. We got about as explicit a statement from Jacob as we've so far heard about this cause: keep the evil that is now faux-Locke from spreading out from the island to the world at large. Keep the evil genie in the island-bottle.

Richard's commitment to Jacob and the good receives its ultimate test in Lost 6.9. Devastated by Jacob's death, recalling the Man in Black's offer to Richard to join him if Richard ever changes his mind, Richard is about to move over to the dark side when Hurley engages him in the jungle. Hurley's ability to see and converse with the dead - more full-fledged than Miles' - puts Richard in touch with Isabella, his wife, deceased. Richard's attempt to save her back in 1867 put him on this path of restless immortality. Fortunately, Hurley Reyes is of course fluent in Spanish, and easily converses with Isabella's ghost, who among other things praises Ricardo's fine English. The result: Richard is staying with the good guys after all.

There were some good Tenerife (Richard's original home) scenes in tonight's show, some interesting background on the Jacob-Nemesis conflict, but overall the story was oddly unsurprising, and I missed alternate better-LA and its inexplicably intersecting characters, which I look forward to seeing more of next week.

5-min podcast review of Lost

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast? ... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport ... Lost 6.4:  Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last ... Lost 6.5: Jack's Family and Prester John's Speculum ... Lost 6.6: Sayid the Assassin in Both Realities ... Lost 6.7: A Better Ben in Both Realities ... Lost 6.8: The Third Team

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke

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