March 24, 2010

Ab Aeterno

Let's talk about LOST!   Ab Aeterno.

The episode opens with Ilana's eye.   Jacob visits bandaged Ilana; apparently they know each other a long time.  He's giving her a list of the remaining candidates.   {Jacob already knew he needed a replacement.}
{Flash Whoosh-the opening moments go back and forth to the beach}
Ilana doesn't know what to do next.  {The scene switches to un-bandaged Ilana in the hospital}  "After I brought them to the temple...what do I do?"    
Jacob tells her to ask Ricardus; he'll know what to do.
{Scene back on the beach.} The castaways learn that Richard is Ricardus.
Richard laughs and mentions that he was trying to kill himself when Jack found him.
He reveals a secret to Jack, "You're dead".   Literally not figuratively.    
He's known for a long time that all this isn't what they think it is; they aren't on an island, never were. They're in hell.  He's very angry and adamant about Jacob being a liar; he suggests listening to someone else and he heads off.
Richard marches through the dark jungle with his torch. 

Ilana wants to go after Richard because Jacob told her Richard "has to know" what to do next.
Jack feels Richard has lost his mind and thinks we're in hell.    If he cared about what Jacob said he wouldn't care about talking to someone else.
Richard is going to Locke but the gang knows Locke is dead.  Ben informs them the consolation it's not exactly Locke.

Hurley is speaking Spanish to an invisible person
Jack asks Hurley "What's he saying?"   Jack says he saw Hurley talking to Jacob.   
Hurley says he's not talking to Jacob. 
Jack- "Don't lie to me. Please, if you know any something, anything that can help us..."    
Hurley insists it's not Jacob and it has nothing to do with Jack.
Miles is watching Hurley and Jack. 
Ben tells Ilana that Shephard is right about Richard; going after him is a waste of time, "He doesn't know anything."

Richard continues to make his way through the jungle.

Ben shares with the group the thing that makes him so sure that Richard doesn't know anything is that he's known him since he was 12 years old that should count for something
Frank remarks, "So guys met when you were kids, huh?"
Ben clarifies that he was a kid and Richard looked just like he does today.  Ben is saying this guy doesn't age.
Frank-"And how the hell do ya think that happened?"
Confused and lost Richard still carries his torch walking through the dark jungle.
{No Flash Whoosh/Air plane engine/sounds-rumble} 

Tenerife, Canary Islands.  1867

Ricardo rides on horseback to a house.  Isabella is sick, coughing up blood and dying.  Ricardo tells her to go back to sleep and kisses her forehead.  She's burning up so he puts a cloth on her forehead.
He wants to hurry to get the doctor; God willing he'll be back by dawn.   He grabs whatever coins he has, praying they have enough.  Isabella gives him her beloved cross to give to the doctor as well.  He takes it along.
Emotional Ricardo feels if anything ever happened to her...  
Isabella and Ricardo share deep love.
Isabella- "Close your eyes  {He does} We'll always be together."   
She kisses him while he keeps his eyes closed seemingly with happy thoughts.
Ricardo proclaims, "I will save you."    {He must have a case of the Jack Shephard's. lol}
Isabella clutches a black covered book as Ricardo braves the stormy night on horseback.

The Doctor is eating.   
The butler yells from the front door,  "You can't some in! You can't be here!"
Ricardo walks right in and pleads with the hungry doctor, as he couldn't wait because his wife is sick, to which the cold hungry doc suggests blankets, not for Ricardo, but because Ricardo is dripping water all over his floor.
Ricardo pleads for his help and the selfish doctor won't take the half a day journey in the pouring rain.  But he has very expensive medicine that can save her life.   The doctor unlocks a cabinet retrieving the medicine.   Ricardo pours out all the coins he has and when that is  not enough he adds Isabella's cross to the pot.
Ricardo-"Now you have everything."
The doctor says it's worthless and tosses it aside.  This upsets Ricardo and he scrambles to pick it up.  He begs the Doc to let him work off the debt.   When the doctor won't go for it Ricardo tugs on him, pleading, until things take a turn that cause Ricardo to push the doctor; making him hit his head on the table.   The man with the blankets sees Ricardo.
Ricardo had the small cork topped bottle of medicine {Which he technically paid money for} and runs off; riding off into the dark stormy night.

Ricardo arrives back home. {Still dark out. Half a day journey-twice and yet those candles are still burning! lol}
Isabella has passed. {Eyes open.}   He listens for her heartbeat and breaks down crying.

Cuffed Ricardo sits in a jail reading the bible. {Luke 4:37}  He wears Isabella's cross.   The Chaplin comes in with food but Ricardo isn't hungry.   The father notes the bible is in English.   Ricardo has been teaching himself because he and Isabella were going to travel to the new world and start a family, a new life.
Ricardo is prepared to make his confession.  He kneels downs, crosses/blesses himself, "Forgive me Father for I have sinned."   Truly repentant Ricardo begs for God's forgiveness to which the Chaplin informs him he cannot grant him absolution for murder.  This shocks Ricardo because this was an accident.  He feels there must be some way to earn God’s forgiveness.   
The only way to return God's grace is through penance and Ricardo is willing to do anything.   The Chaplin smiles and scoffs at this as Ricardo doesn't have time, because tomorrow he will be hanged.  The Chaplin's afraid the devil awaits him in hell.  Ricardo is left stunned.
Ricardo looks out his cell window up at a dead tree.   {A tree symbolizes life and that one is dead. Crow caws}  
Ricardo is led blindfolded
Whitfield looks at Ricardo's strong hands and in this mouth as he asks about his English speaking ability.  Ricardo also shares he works in the fields.
It’s his lucky day because Magnus Hanso will take him on a boat ride; he's Hanso's property now.   Whitfield pays the "father" for Ricardo and hopes Ricardo doesn't get seasick.
They sail the rough and stormy seas.  The chained men try to see what's outside the boat by peering through the thin wood planked walls of the ship. 
“Can you see anything?”    
It’s too dark.”
"There’s an island”
One prisoner sees the statue in the dark and declares it to be The Devil
"The Island is guarded by the devil!" {Oh wow! It's 'guarded by' the devil!}
Ricardo is afraid and clutches the cross around his neck.  
The terrific storm causes the ship  to actually take flight, crashing into the statue breaking it apart and then ends up in the middle of the bloody jungle.

It's daylight and the survivors of the bizarre shipwreck wake up.  From down below the chained passengers all look up into the daylight calling out for help, "We're alive!"
We hear that Captain Hanso is dead.
Whitfield comes down revealing there are only 5 officers left and limited supplies so he kills the prisoners.  He tells Ricardo his actions are because if he freed him "it would only be a matter of time before you killed me".   
Ricardo doesn't have the cross around his neck.
Just then the smoke monster is on deck and takes lives. 
Whitfield wants to know what's going on up there and yells out to this men,  "I said report!"
He is taken by the smoke monster!
The smoke comes face to face with scared Ricardo, flashing its Flashes.   Ricardo closes his eyes and whispers {prayers}.   All of a sudden it is gone but is heard in the distance.

A blue butterfly flies into the Black Rock.  
Ricardo tries desperately to remove a nail from a floor plank so he can use  it as a tool to help free himself.  It starts to rain and he tries to drink the dripping water but he can't reach it.
Weakening and tired Ricardo retrieves the nail and continues to work on freeing himself.   A hungry boar is chowing on one of the prisoners.  Ricardo tells the boar to get out of here, "I'll kill you!" and uses the nail as his only defense.  The boar speeds by causing Ricardo to drop the nail a few inches out of his reach.
Very weak Ricardo hears a woman's voice.  He tries to focus his eyes to see clearly; it's Isabella. {This seems to be 5 days later. There are 5 score marks on a post}
He wonders how she is "here".  
Isabella tells him they are both dead, "We're in hell."  
{Why would they be in hell?! Why is she there period?!}   She claims to be there to save him before "he" comes back; the devil.  She shares that she looked in his eyes and all she saw was evil.   She asks if he saw him too and Richard "thinks he has".  

The smoke monster nears and Ricardo tells her to run; he insists he said he would save her.  "If you love me, GO!"     She heads up the stairs right into the smoke monster's path.
Ricardo breaks down.

A man with a lantern enters the dark ship, brings water/silver cups to weak and broken Ricardo.  He touches the left shoulder of unconscious Ricardo.    It's the MIB with dark eye/eyes.
Ricardo-"Who are you?"       
The MIB-"A friend."
Ricardo-"I am in hell?"
MIB-"Yes, I'm afraid you are."    
The man explains he was there long before "your ship".   
Ricardo shares about Isabella being there and how when the black smoke came she ran and hasn't come back.
MIB seems to not be aware of her and states "It probably means he has her." 
MIB-"I think you know who."   {Who? The devil?}
MIB will help him because he wants to be free too.   As  luck would have it he found keys on one of the officers outside.   He thinks they'll work, but before he tries he needs to know that Ricardo will help and will do anything he asks.   They agree, so MIB frees him from his chains

MIB complements his friend "It's good to see you out of those chains."
The MIB helps him and tells him he's going to need his strength if they're going to escape.   He also explains there's only one way to escape from hell and that's to kill the devil.
Blue eyed MIB directs Ricardo to the broken statue and where he'll find the devil.  He presents him with a fancy dagger to use to kill the devil; giving him the same instructions Dogen gave Sayid.
He also reveals he is the black smoke and claims Isabella was running from "him"  and there wasn't anything he could do to stop it.   The devil betrayed him, took his body and humanity; the devil can be very persuasive.
Ricardo knows murder is wrong and feels that's what brought him "here".
The MIB says they can continue to talk about what's right or wrong all day, but the question remains the same. Basically what will he do to see his wife again?
{The MIB leads us to believe the he/black smoke and the devil are two different beings and not one in the same.}
Emotionally torn Richard does indeed head to the broken statue on his mission and ends up getting his ass kicked by Jacob.  Jacob wonders who gave him the dagger and also claims to not know his wife.
Richard explains she didn't come on the ship and she's dead.
With that Jacob asks, "Then why are you asking me where she is?"
It is revealed Ricardo met a man dressed in black in the jungle who said Jacob was the devil.  {Watch Jacob's expression here.}
Ricardo again claims to have seen his wife in this place and Jacob says it wasn't his wife.   Ricardo blurts out she is dead just like him and he is in hell.
Jacob-"You really think you're dead?"
Ricardo-"Where else would I be?"
Jacob assures him he is not dead and proves it by forcefully submerging him the water repeatedly making him realize he had to hold his breath and bringing him up for air.
Jacob-"Why should I stop?!"
Ricardo-"Because I want to live!"
Jacob feels that's the first sensible thing he's said.
Ricardo's wet body is warmed by a gray blanket. Jacob brings over a corked bottle of wine and two silver cups.    Ricardo wonders what is inside (nods to the foot statue) and Jacob informs him "No one comes in unless I invite them in." He drinks.
Ricardo outright asks, "Are you the devil?"
Brown eyed Jacob says with a smirky smile, "No."
Ricardo-"Then who are you?"
His name is Jacob and he's the one who brought his ship to the island.   His explanation and illustration involves the use of the bottle of wine.  He demonstrates the wine as "hell/malevolence/evil/darkness" swirling around in the bottle unable to get out because if it did it would spread.  "The cork is this island, and it's the only thing keeping the darkness in....where it belongs."
He turns the bottle upside down to prove the cork's strength.
Jacob also explains that "That man who sent you to kill me believes everyone's corruptible because it's in their very nature to sin.   I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here their past doesn't matter."  

We learn there were many brought to the island before the black rock's arrival and those people are all dead. {Jacob delivers that news very nonchalantly}
Richard is curious that if Jacob is the one who brought them then why didn't he help them.
Jacob wanted them to help themselves.  "To know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them.  It's all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything. Why should I have to step in?"  
Ricardo feels if Jacob won't "he/MIB will".
Blue eyed Jacob, seeming as if a light bulb went off, offers Richard a job, giving him a purpose.  The job is too "step in" because Jacob doesn't want to "step in".   He can be the representative, an intermediary between the people Jacob brings to the island and in return he will give Ricardo something.
Ricardo makes a few suggestions:  He wants his wife back, which Jacob can't do.  He asks if Jacob can absolve him of his sins so he doesn't go to hell, which Jacob can't do either. {Why? Because he's not God.}   Richard doesn't want to die, "I want to live forever."   
BINGO!  "That" Jacob can do. {He touches Ricardo's right shoulder.}

Ricardo returns to the MIB {green eyes} with his mission unaccomplished.   Ricardo gives a white rock to MIB from Jacob.
MIB-"I'm sure you realize if you go with him you'll never be with your wife again.  I understand...he can be very...convincing.  But I want you to know if you ever change your mind, and I mean ever, my offer still stands.  I have something for you."   
He hands him Isabella's cross; he found it on the ship.
Ricardo looks down at the cross and looks up to find the MIB has disappeared.
Ricardo buries the cross under the stone bench.  He kisses it and says goodbye to his love.
{Air plane engine/sounds-rumble} 
Richard digs up the cross because he's changed his mind.    
He looks up, "Are you listening to me?  I've changed my mind...I was wrong!   You said I could change my mind...You said the offer would stand...Does the offer still stand?!  Does the offer still stand!?   Does the offer still stand!?" 
Hurley appears, "What offer, dude?"   
He kinda followed Richard out there.   
Richard yells at him to get out. "Didn't you hear what I said?  I told you people I don't know anything!  Why did you follow me?"     
Hurley said his wife sent him and she's standing right next to him.  Apparently Isabella saw him dig up the cross.
Isabella tells Hurley in Spanish-"He doesn't believe you."   
Hurley translates; Richard doesn't see her.   
Isabella compliments his English and he replies Spanish.   Isabella wants Richard to close his eyes; it's okay because Hurley will tell him what she says.
Isabella tells him it wasn't his fault that she died, it was her time. "You've suffered enough, Ricardo."
Richard misses her and would do anything to be together.  
She tells him they are already together and she kisses his cheek.    
Richard cries and puts her cross around his neck and asks Hurley if something’s wrong.
Hurley mentions that she said one more thing "Something you have to do. She said you have to stop the man in black. You have to stop him from leaving the island. Cause if you don't...{Spanish}We all go to hell."   {Uh…She didn’t say that!  WTF is Hurley doing?!}
John Locke is watching this from afar

MIB sits on a log playing with a white rock and Jacob joins him.   It is evident these two are at odds but one seems to be there against his will.    As long as Jacob's alive the MIB isn't going anywhere.  The MIB's mission is to kill Jacob and anyone who replaces him.   
Jacob gives him the corked bottle of wine; something to pass the time.   
Jacob will see him around.
MIB-“Sooner than you think." and he smashes the bottle on the log.
Ab Aeterno is a GREAT episode!
The first thing I need to get off my chest is that these bratty boys just can't seem to get along! They should be punished! They both manipulate and con.   Although, I do believe we saw many elements that could mean the two are one in the same; two halves of a whole or opposition.

The episode drowned me in the words hell and devil so much they proved to not only be irrelevant but just plain old meaningless.
I loved that this episode kept things human.    Ricardo lost the love of his life and felt he was forsaken and abandoned by his "god".   Jacob took advantage of Richard’s vulnerability and claimed him; giving him a job and a purpose in “this place”. 
But I do feel it's Richard's perspective that he is in “hell".   It's rooted in his own personal belief system of being religious.  Richard has a broken heart, lost his wife and accidentally "killed" a man...that's why he's on the "Island".   He is broken and lost.  He’s literally bearing the cross of his loss and his self imposed suffering.    Interesting that Jack doesn't think they're in hell; as a matter of fact he sounds sure of it.

So, we know they’re not on an “Island” and it isn’t “hell” and come on…it’s not a “cork” that plugs up an opening to something on a moving “Island”.

Let’s talk about hell for a second. I researched some things and agree with the problem I find with the concept of hell. It takes in four important issues.
1). That it would have to exist in the first place.
2). That only some/certain people go there.
3). That there is no escape from the depths of it.
4). It is punishment for actions displayed during lifespan on Earth.

People could only commit a finite number of sins within their lifetime, but if they went to "hell" they would suffer punishment eternally, infinitely. That's just friggin' over the top punishment. Why would Richard's God not grant truly pennant Ricardo forgiveness for a death that was clearly an accident? Why would he be punished forever for such a circumstance? Of course it’s "man" who didn't grant him time for penance. Some coincidence, huh?

Let’s be honest each castaway has sinned, but did they sin enough to bring them to float the rest of their lives on a cork?!   Now Kate blowing up her father was murder so she should float on the fucking cork.

Richard claims they’re all dead and they're not on an Island, they never were and they're in hell.  Yeah, a personal "hell" not a literal "hell", where Apollo bars don’t melt or ranch dressing doesn't need refrigeration once opened.

If these two sides are ping pong-ing their life away, trying to beat each other with their little game of "bring the lost people to the island”,  all in an effort to "see" if people know the difference between right and wrong, and one side is supposed to be a positive stimulus and the other side a negative stimulus, why the hell are neither trying to influence to better the situation?   Maybe they like the chaos that gets created on the “Island” or they need a reminder of what right and wrong really is too.   These two sides just can't seem to find balance at all.

Everybody is lying and conning each other. A conman makes the game work by making the “mark” think ideas came from them. The con exploits human characteristics victimizing individuals. Isn’t that what Jacob is doing by bringing people to the “Island”.

I want to touch on something from the past. The John Locke we see now seems to have shown himself to us in the past many, many times, but specifically in season three.
That motivated Locke showed us:
* That he was determined to get to Ben, Jacob and the sub.
* Locke pushed Mikhail into the sonic fence trying to kill him, or at least silence him for a while.
* He utilized a loophole/cheat (encouraged by Richard).
* Got Sawyer to kill Anthony Cooper {but that also enabled Sawyer to face something that he needed closure on.}
* In Man behind the Curtain Locke beats the shit out of Mikhail when he refers to John an outsider.
* John offer Ben and doesn’t drink it.

Things to note...Questions to ask...
* Jacob and MIB eye color changes brown-blue-(green). {Maybe w/different TV's it shows up different.} There is a different brown eye color for the Losties and Isabella.
* Again I must ask if Richard doesn't age why the hell would he need reading glasses?!
* Richard. Ricardo. Ricardus.
* Richard comes from a very "religious/faith" based background and that is what the "Island" played on all these "years".
* Richard was literally being "blindly" led.
* The Black Smoke doesn't kill Ricardo and returns Isabella's cross.
* Crazy. Lost mind. Somebody may have a serious case of split personality and need to pull themselves together.
* The medicine bottle was corked and the wine bottle was corked.
* Medicine. Wine/alcohol
* Some of Richard's details were just like Desmond's details. Boat journey on a stormy night, running for the Doc, pushing a man who hits his head/killing him. That's not coincidence.
* Are they all in jail or just imprisoned by their own suffering?
* We don't see MIB eat or drink. We only see Jacob with food/drink. Here the selfish doctor was eating.
* Why did one of the prisoners claim the statue/island to be the devil?
* Is it only Jacob that ever left the "Island" to recruit people?
* Sun was taught English so she could go to America.
* The “new world”.  Jin and Sun wanted to escape to America.
* Whitfield.  In The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, Locke comes across three instances with the word "field" in his travels: SouthField. Fieldcroft. Westerfield.  
* Teach. Learn. Language.
* Real. Not real.
* Boar-scavenger, Butterfly, Isabella… Was it MIB? Isabella was inside the ship while the black smoke can be heard outside in the distance.
* Who would grant someone eternal life? Did Jacob literally give eternal life or did Ricardo assume it and/or ask for it? {wish} The MIB touched Ricardo too.
* 1867: The Black Rock voyage was to have begun March 22 1845
* The "Island" is guarded "by" the devil.
* Would the "devil" admit he's the devil?   No.
* Would the "devil" try to convince someone that someone else is the devil? 
* Ilana is bandaged and then she's not. WTF? How was she healed? How much time passed?
* Why was Richard seeming pretty sure that Jack is dead?
* Michael told Jack and Locke that the computer wasn't what they thought it was.
* Black book/Bible.   Black smoke. 
* Be careful who you think is good and who you think is bad. Things and people still aren't what you think they are.
* The very patient MIB still seems as if he wants to be free of the game.
* Is it Jacob who doesn't use the "Isabella" card again until he needed it or is there a third grand master in play?
* What is the "Island"?

Vocabulary and Research...
* Ab Aeterno (Translation) Counting from Eternal
1). Since the beginning of time. 2). (figuratively) Since a very long time ago.
* Abaddon: The Hebrew word meaning "destruction" is sometimes used as a synonym of Hell.
* Diyu is typically depicted as an underground maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for their sins committed when they were alive.
* The Hellschreiber or Feldhellschreiber was a facsimile based teleprinter invented by Rudolf Hell. It has since been emulated on computer sound cards by amateur radio operators; the resulting mode is referred to as Hellschreiber, Feld-Hell, or simply Hell. "Hellschreiber" translates into English as "Light Writer," "Bright Writer," or "Clear Writer," and is a pun on the name of its inventor Hell (the adjective) is German for "light," the adverb is "bright."
* Cork anagrams to ROCK.
* Ab Aeterno anagrams to- Eaten Boar
* El Socorro anagrams to- Rose Color 

I am so happy that the writers gave Nestor this chance to shine.  His portrayal of suffering Richard was amazing and truly engaging.

The LOST story makes total and perfect sense if you understand the metaphor of it all.  Everyone there has lost something that has caused a part of them to die.  Also part of the metaphor is to "let go" and also to let part of you/your ego to die so you can become new/ really live.
I still believe they need to face things, rid the negative and find themselves.  And when they accomplish "balance" they don't have to be in hell or in “this place” anymore...They can just walk through the escape hatch.

Love to all who are "LOST"™

Disclaimer: I never claim to know everything about the show and my thoughts by no means make me right! The things I share here are my views and/or opinions. I don't claim to catch every single detail either! You all know I hate spoilers! And I stand clear of reading certain sites as to not take me off my own course of research. The one thing I don't need to do here is rehash all of the obvious clues from an episode, we all know what they are. Understood? Good! Let the fun begin! I'll only note things that I know come up as clues later, but need to be noted when they first show up and things I find that will be of importance! It will get very exciting as we progress into the story.


  1. Hey Karen,

    Such a great blog. I had such a love hate relationship with this episode because they put the whole idea that the "Island" could either be hell or the "cork" that stopping hell from spreading throughout the world. I think this episode specifically defined the MIB as the devil or the evil character by having him tempting whoever that comes along with the promise of getting something that they really want if they do what he says. Similarly they showed Jacob as the God character by putting the idea out that Jacob wants to prove the men can be truly but they have to choose to be good by free will. The episode also made clear that the MIB is being held prisoner by Jacob and whoever replaces Jacob will take over this duty.

    Question 1) Is the MIB the cause of the sickness and with him leaving the island will that spread the sickness to the world?

    Question 2) How could the MIB be the evil that is held at bay if he was just a man just like Sawyer was?

    That is all, thank you so much for writing your wonderful lost blog, because it's something that have me rethinking each episode of LOST a little differently each week.

  2. If you have been following my rants on Twitter/other blogs comments section, I am on a Dragonball Z riff at the moment :)

    Hell in the censored version of DBZ is called HFIL - Home For Infinite Losers, which I think sums up the Island better than 6 seasons of Lost :)

    This was a great episode of Lost, but the most important scene may have been missed altogether - Jacob visiting Ilana. What WAS up with that?!

  3. Another great edition of the Notebook. Thanks. What about the brief profile of MIB when he first came to Richard in the Black Rock? I thought it was Christian from the profile and voice. And he had a lantern! Very much like the Christian/Locke scene at the Donkey Wheel.


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