L O S T WITH AS I LAY DYING’S NICK HIPA: RECAP TRIPLE THREAT!!!
It’s wonderful to be back in the United States of America. Australia is a wonderful country and all, but there is no beating the comforts of home… specifically raging wifi and network television! Given that we are beyond the halfway point in the final season of L O S T, each remaining episode has been getting significantly more in depth and heavy. The consequence of watching more than one of these episodes at a time (in my case three in a row) and trying to process it all at once is very much like having this happen to you. So in order to make all of our lives easier, I’m going to take the episode-by-episode approach on this one…
This brain-scorching Richard Alpert-centered episode was everything I had hoped it to be: informative! Two of the biggest mysteries on the show were answered. How did the Black Rock end up in the middle of the Jungle? A brutal storm threw the Black Rock there via some epic waves. What happened to the Statue of Tawaret? The Black Rock took it out while cruising on a tidal wave towards the middle of the jungle!
I’m content to know now the answer to those questions, even if they are somewhat impossible and unreasonable. Most of you who pay close attention probably remember that we initially saw the ship on a cloudless and sunny horizon during the intro to Season 5’s final episode “The Incident,” where we first met Jacob and his Nemesis, then watched a conversation they had about the ship being brought there. That climate was in no way foreboding of a cataclysmic thunderstorm that would incite 200 foot waves! At least I didn’t think so. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, however, confirmed in a recent podcast that the same ship we saw then is the Black Rock we saw in this episode, and that immediately after Jacob and Nemesis’s conversation a gnarly storm magically appeared. The fact that Jacob was living under the statue yet apparently unaffected by a 200 foot tidal wave is also something I think is worth mentioning, but not worth trying to explain. As we approach the absolute end, I’ve accepted that we will probably need to let a lot of things like this simply be; it is primetime TV afterall!
A lot of people consider the huge bombshell of this episode to be Richard’s revelation to the Team Jacob castaways that all of them are literally dead, everything around them is not what it appears, they are not on an Island, and that they are all in hell. This can be taken literally, as references to hell, death, and the devil are all over this episode, but I’m with Erika Olson, who hypothesizes that that this was just the writer’s blatantly getting everyone worked up when there is a logical explanation for all the religious banter. Its almost as if they are purposefully instigating the resurrection of the “purgatory” theory they themselves dismissed seasons earlier! It’s a good way to get people talking I guess.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on why they aren’t “literally” in hell:
Richard’s life on the Canary Islands appeared simple and modest until the fateful night he accidentally murdered the greasy and grumpy physician. We witness his religious devotion and desire to be atoned for his wrong-doings during his confession to Father Suarez, in which he is told that its not possible and “I’m afraid the devil awaits you in hell. May God have mercy on your soul.” Those are pretty brutal words for a dude who doesn’t know any better and believes everything a priest tells him. Moments before the Black Rock’s crash onto the Island, his slave companion, Ignacio, looks out from the ship and reports to Richard that he sees land, but unfortunately it is protected by the devil. Add all of this up along with him witnessing the savage and unnatural thrashing murder the smoke monster unleashes on the surviving crew, and you have a dude who seriously thinks he’s in hell. I suspect Nemesis recognized this when he scanned Alpert (in addition to assessing his past) and from there began working an angle to get him to kill Jacob. First, he manifests himself into Isabella, who tells Richard they are, in fact, dead and in hell. Reinforcing his grip of fear on Richard, Nemesis-as-Isabella returns to the ship’s deck only to be fake captured by whatever the evil monstrous enemy is. A while later, he appears as a “friend” who frees him, re-establishes their current existence in hell, and leads him to believe the answer to all their problems is to murder the devil (Jacob). Richard believes wholly believes Nemesis and sets off to do his bidding until Jacob unleashes his surprising pugilistic prowess upon him, which in turn leads to him speaking and convincing him of a different truth.
This is who Richard Alpert is BEFORE he aligns himself with Jacob.
After Jacob’s death, however, Richard loses his grip on reality and starts believing that the past 140 years of his life turned out to be a lie… Jacob never did have a plan. From here, I feel like he reverted back to his previous life as the only explanation for what is going on, and hence, all the “we’re all dead and in hell” mumbo jumbo. The natural thing to do when you find out your new life, dreams, and beliefs are all empty and false is to either start over or go back to the way you were before; this is exactly what Richard attempted to do. He ventured to find the cross necklace of Isabella’s he had buried ages ago, and if not for Hurley would have surely forfeited all the promises of Jacob for those of Nemesis dude.
I watched an “Ab Aeterno” recap that explained this moment as one of Hurley’s purposes for being on the Island. Jacob knew Hurley’s dead seeing and communicating abilities would be absolutely essential to keeping Richard on his side, and so found a way to bring-him-to/keep-on the island. I don’t think this is Hurley’s entire purpose though, especially since he is a candidate to replace Jacob, but I thought it was a very interesting observation.
Although I don’t believe that they are dead or are literally in hell, I am very curious as to what type of pandora-boxish-fury Nemesis would unleash if he were to get off of the Island. Does anybody have any theories that further define his and Jacob’s true roles? I have nothing beyond what you would find on the episode recaps I’ve already linked here, and seeing how we are only a few weeks out from finding out all the answers (hopefully) I am content with waiting.
For me, “The Package” was a bit more than “par for the course” as Sun and Jin episodes go, which is usually “didn’t rule but wasn’t horrible.” I read a pretty decent recap highlighting the actual answers we were given on this one, with the most interesting being the writer’s theory that the ALT timeline is actually bleeding through into the Island’s current events. Its not without its flaws, but it is a really cool train of thought. The example of Sun hitting her head, going unconscious, then emerging speaking only Korean is among the supporting commentary that character consciousness is merging in BOTH timelines. Check it out and let me know what you think! The closer we get to figuring out how the two timelines merge the closer I will personally get to sleeping better at night, haha.
I was trying my best not to, but feel like I couldn’t talk about this episode without addressing the “two- nicely-sized-and-silky-smooth-looking-Asian-elephants” in the hotel room if you know what I mean. I really didn’t see that one coming, but don’t think it was too entirely gratuitous. The couple we see in the hotel room are obviously in love and stoked on each other, which is a stark contrast to the off-island Jin and Sun we saw in earlier season flashbacks. The result is a non-English speaking Sun who probably never have had an affair and is in no way contemplating leaving her significant other – in fact, she even suggested they run off together. This ALT timeline scenario, much like those of Hurley, Ben, Sawyer, and Jack, seems more desirable and ideal (with the exception of Jin unknowingly being sent on an errand to have himself killed). I bring this up only to note how closely the timelines are still mirroring each other, yet the ALT still seems like the more desirable of the two.
Another huge answer we were given in this episode is that Widmore is definitely NOT on Nemesis Dude’s team. It couldn’t have been made any clearer, and although it makes me wrong yet again, I’m happy to know for sure.
“Happily Ever After”
My feelings on last week’s Desmond-centric episode were initially bleh, but after re-watching it and nerding about the internet I’m beginning to think better of it. For one, we now understand Desmond’s complete crucialness to Widmore’s plan in that his unique imperviousness to fierce amounts of electromagnetic activity could very well be what saves them all! This dude’s recap lays out perfectly how truly vital Desmond’s role is in this ENTIRE show:
The ATL isn’t an epilogue, my friends. Nor is it a meaningless, inconsequential separate “what-if” reality. The ATL is the incorrect reality, dare I say, the enemy reality. It is the one that wasn’t supposed to happen, just like the Oceanic Six were never supposed to leave, the freighter was never supposed to reach the island, and the survivors were never supposed to change the past.
This incorrect reality only exists because of the actions of the one person capable of “changing things” – Desmond. It all starts at the Swan hatch when Desmond turns the failsafe key, subjecting himself to an unfathomable amount of electromagnetic energy. This makes him special: “the rules don’t apply” to him, as Faraday claims. He gains the ability to see the future – to see Charlie dying, specifically. And because of his uniqueness, he is able to prevent Charlie dying long enough in order for Charlie to disable the Looking Glass. Remember, the lock was musical, and Charlie is probably the only person among the crash survivors who could have disabled it. If Desmond hadn’t intervened and saved Charlie, the freighter never would have reached the island.
The rest, of course is history. Because Keamy’s team attacks, Ben moves the island, sending many of the crash survivors back in time and, eventually, the Incident transpires at the Swan construction site in 1977, launching the alternate reality. It was a reality that only occurred because of Desmond’s electromagnetic powers, which is why it will be up to Desmond – perhaps in both realities – to solve the equation and ensure that the true intended reality wins out.
How exactly Desmond will do this, I have no idea. I guess that’s another big question we’ll have to wait on!
Thank you for taking time to read this most epic of columns today, I realize its way too long, but even in my best efforts to condense everything, the Island ended up getting the better of me (and by Island I mean show, just thought it sounded cooler).
Have an excellent afternoon and get pumped for “Everybody Loves Hugo” tonight!
As I Lay Dying’s new album, The Powerless Rise, will be out May 11 on Metal Blade. While you’re awaiting its release, why not get L O S T on AILD’s MySpace page?