As always, spoilers will be in this entry.
This is the episode we've been waiting seasons for. Richard's episode. Since the "ageless" man was introduced, I've been waiting and waiting to find out his story. Why doesn't he age? Where did he come from? Who does he work for?
Turns out, like many of the Losties, Richard's story is a tragic one. He lost his wife, Isabella, after accidentally killing the doctor he'd gone to for help. The day of his execution, he speaks to a very creepy (and unsympathetic) priest, who tells him that he will be going to hell. However, Richard is sold into slavery, and is bound in chains on the Black Rock.
I'd figured Richard came to the island on the Black Rock after the Man in Black mentioned that he'd still be in chains if not for his help a few episodes back.
After being freed from the chains, the Man in Black tells Richard to kill Jacob, in order to escape "hell". Jacob easily overpowers Richard, and explains that he is NOT dead, and that the Man in Black is the evil one, not him. From my understanding, the island is essentially a prison for the Man in Black. Should he leave the island, it'd be as if pure evil were entering into the rest of the world. Jacob used a wine+bottle+cork metaphor that I liked quite a bit.
Again, here's my understanding of it. The Man in Black was the wine, Jacob was the cork, and the bottle was the island. The Man in Black can't leave the island because of Jacob. Later we see the Man in Black with the bottle. He can't get the cork off. So he smashes the bottle. I took this as a metaphor for destroying the island. Perhaps this is a sign that the Man in Black's true intentions are not just escaping the island as he says, but destroying it?
I also enjoyed finding out why Jacob brings people to the island. He does it to prove that people can do good things without guidance, even if they've done horrible things in their "past lives". The island is a clean slate for them. Jacob is essentially implying that he is something of a God figure for the island, because he brings people to the island, and watches what they do, but without interfering. Clearly he exerts some level of control over their pre-island lives as well, because he has to get them to the island in the first place.
My favourite part of the episode was when Hurley was telling Richard that Isabella was standing right beside him, and he passed her messages along to him. It was very touching. One of the things I've always loved about Lost is the ability it has to make the viewers actually feel something. It's impossible not to get invested in the characters, because it's such a character oriented show.
I also liked that Richard had essentially given up on Jacob, and was turning himself over to the Man in Black when Isabella came to him with the help of Hurley. And it gave the audience confirmation, in many ways, that the Man in Black is the "evil" one. Is Jacob completely "clean" and pure? I don't think so. But I do think that the Man in Black is the villain he's been set up to be. I must say, I would kind of like them to give him a name. But what do you name a character of his magnitude? He's got this almost legendary build up, that any name would seem kind of strange. Maybe it's best they keep it a mystery? Who knows?
Let's get some discussion going. What did you all think of the episode?