As far as I'm concerned, the entire series could have ended with this episode. That sums up how much I absolutely loved the ninth hour of the final season.
In the interest of time and desire to provide more content than photos, I am not using any new screen grabs in this post.
So let's untether ourselves and smash a bottle of analysis wide open together...
Meeting the Man in Black...
I found myself laughing out loud after the last scene, as one week ago I was sitting in a bar in Vancouver with the Man in Black, Titus Welliver...as he was drinking wine. Seriously. It does not get more surreal than that.
I know that many of you get frustrated that I never share spoilers, but there is NO way that I will ever share what Titus and I talked about with regard to Lost. When I do get spoiled, and obviously I can't complain when it happens under amazing circumstances, it is my choice not to ruin the Lost experience for others.
The title of this episode is Latin for everlasting and eternity. In the S5 finale (The Incident), Alpert told notLocke that "I'm this way because of Jacob" and we are finally treated to the scene where that took place. It seems as if Jacob simply touched Alpert, which we've seen him do to others who have come to the island. Although those people are all still alive, they have aged. So Jacob's magic touch must have varying degrees of efficacy.
THE Conversation, Part 2
The S5 finale scene between Jacob and the Man in Black was, without a doubt, one of the most significant and overanalyzed in Lost history. And now we have a very illuminating second conversation to add to the collection:
J: "I see you got my present."
MiB: "Don't gloat, it doesn't become you."
J: "So you tried to kill me."
MiB: "You expect an apology?"
J: "No, I guess I'm just wondering why you did it."
MiB: "Because I want to leave. Just let me leave."
J: "As long as I'm alive, you're not going anywhere."
MiB: "Now you know why I want to kill you. And I will kill you."
J: "Even if you do, someone else will take my place."
MiB: "I'll kill them too."
J: "Here...something for you to pass the time. I'll see you around."
MiB: "Sooner than you think."
The Devil Wears Nada
They used the words Devil and Hell so frequently in this episode that I'm strongly considering them to be red herrings. It almost seems too obvious, especially given that the creators, producers and writers of this show have emphatically stated since the beginning that the island does not represent Heaven, Purgatory or Hell.
- "We're all dead. We're not on an island, we never were. We're in Hell."
- "The devil awaits you in Hell."
- "I see the devil."
- "The island is guarded by the devil."
- "We're dead, both of us. We're in Hell."
- "I am...in Hell?" "Yes, I'm afraid you are."
- "There's only one way to escape from hell; we have to kill the devil."
- "The devil betrayed me and took my body, my humanity."
- "Are you the devil?"
- "Think of this wine as what you keep calling Hell."
- "You have to stop him from leaving the island. If you don't, we all go to Hell."
Let's not forget Anthony Cooper's statement in S3 (The Brig) right before Sawyer killed him in the brig...of the Black Rock: "You're sure it's an island? Little hot for Heaven, isn't it? If this isn't hell, then where are we?"
As I recently stated, giving all credit to my friend Jack from the Jay and Jack podcast for originally suggesting it earlier this season, it now seems entirely plausible that Jacob and the Man in Black are one in the same.
When the Man in Black said that "the devil betrayed me and took my body," I got goosebumps. The Man in Black took Locke's body, and now I feel as though we must consider whether or not the real, original Man in Black actually looks like Jacob. Or if they are the same person, obvious representatives of good and evil in everyone.
Although it is an unpopular notion with many, it is hard to argue that the island is nothing more than a board upon which the players in the game change over the years. The one consistent aspect of this game has been the dangling carrots that always seem to tempt and test a player's fate and free will - loved ones. Ricardo only wants to see his wife again. Jack only wants to see his father again. Claire only wants to see Aaron again. Juliet only wanted to see her sister again. And so on.
I Write Sins Not Tragedies
"The man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong, and when they get here - their past doesn't matter....I 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?"
Jacob's statement sums up exactly why certain people are pre-determined/destined to come to the island, and at this point the most obvious Candidate (who has proven to have the best grasp of right vs wrong) is Hurley. But taking a look back at the 7 Deadly Sins of those who are still alive...some are more character flaws than actual sins:
Hurley: gluttony and sloth (his weight led to deck collapse that killed 2 people)
Jack, Jin, Locke: pride
Kate, Sayid, Sawyer: wrath (murder, torture, etc.)
Sun: lust (affair)
In Your Eyes
In S1 (White Rabbit), Locke described his first encounter with Smokey, "I've looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw was beautiful." In this episode, Ricardo described his first encounter with the Man in Black (as Smokey), "I looked into his eyes and all I saw was evil."
Locke's words of wisdom on the beach in the Pilot episode still ring true and have proven to be crucial to the overall series: "Two players, two sides; one is light, one is dark."
When Alpert gave the Man in Black a white stone from Jacob, my (very observant and much smarter) better half wondered out loud whether or not they exchanged the black and white rocks with every round...when Jacob saves/spares a soul and the Man in Black takes one away, for example.
Whomever the Adam and Eve skeletons wind up being, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that each represented opposite sides and perhaps killed one another; one from Team Jacob and one from Team MiB. That a set of black and white stones was found with their bodies is clue number one.
Loophole Failure, Pt 2
The Man in Black gave Ricardo the exact same instructions for killing Jacob that Dogen gave Sayid for killing the Man in Black earlier this season (Sundown). Plunge the dagger in his chest: check. If he speaks, it is too late: check. Both Ricardo and Sayid failed, but neither the Man in Black nor Dogen seemed particularly surprised. Why? Because they come, they fight, they destroy and they corrupt, but it always ends the same.
In Book 2 of John Milton's masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, Satan travels to a 'new world,' confronting Death, Sin and Chaos along the way. Upon arrival, he engaged in war with God. Sound familiar?
Red Red Wine
"Think of this wine was what you keep calling Hell. There are many other names for it too; malevolence, evil, darkness. Here it is, 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 where it belongs."
I loved Jacob's use of the wine as an allegory for the island, and was instantly reminded of the Moriah Vineyards wine that was produced at the monastery in Scotland where Desmond met Penny in S3 (Catch 22). Incidentally, Moriah Vineyards is an anagram for Harmed Visionary. Given Desmond's vision of Claire and Aaron getting rescued on a helicopter, which led to Charlie's sacrifice...we only have a few episodes left to discover whether or not Des is in fact a harmed visionary.
Raise your hand if you think that the brilliant writers on Lost are closet Twilight fans.
Two episodes ago (Dr. Linus), Hurley asked Alpert if he was a vampire. In this episode, Jacob revealed that "no one comes in unless I invite them in." As you may or may not know, a vampire is not allowed to enter a home unless invited in by the owner.
If the Man in Black's real name is ever revealed to be Edward...I might be among the very few who would find that very amusing. For the record, I'm not on either Team Jacob or Team Edward, just as I'm not a Skater or Jater.
Ladies and gentlemen, they have introduced us to yet another locale featuring a significant volcano and accompanying mythology. Ricardo and Isabella lived on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, which happens to house Mount Teide, the third largest volcano in the world. Legend has it that a devil abducted a god of sun, held him inside of this volcano and then when the tables were turned...the god prevailed and the devil was locked inside the volcano. This particular devil was frequently portrayed as a mythical creature or a black...dog.
In addition, Alpert lived on or near El Socorro, which (in reality) is a volcanic sand beach. And, of course, the Astrophysical Institute of the Canaries is located on Tenerife. Perhaps that is where Faraday used to holiday...
Did anyone else notice that the homes in the village (where Ricardo went to the see the doctor) were yellow? One might say 'canary yellow.' [sidenote: yes, I am aware that they simply filmed the exteriors in New Otherton/Dharmaville. I'm just having a bit of fun.]
That's the Way the Statue Crumbles
File under: not how I expected. Clearly the water levels were very high during that storm, which explains how a ship can topple a statue and how it might land in the middle of a jungle when the waters recede. However, I am only disappointed because in my crazy mind...the ship wound up there after the island disappeared and was in the wrong place at the wrong time when it emerged again.
In S1 (Walkabout), boars were heard in the fuselage as they heading to the deceased passengers for food. In this episode, a boar was in the Black Rock doing the same.
I don't know about you, but I saw a visual nod to the Tree of Souls in Avatar. The bench where Ricardo buried his wife's necklace sits beneath a giant tree that we've never seen before, and given that it also serves as a meeting point for the Man in Black...alluding to it as a tree of souls seems rather appropriate now.
Ricardo's promise to his dying wife, "I will save you," was so reminiscent of Jack's constant desire to 'fix' people.
When I saw the vial that Ricardo took from the doctor to save his wife, I literally jumped off of the couch because I thought it was the same one he later brought young Locke in the foster home as part of that infamous test. Doh! Looking at the vial on the table in front of Locke, it appears as if it contains sand rather than the substance in Ricardo's vial.
When the priest refused to forgive Ricardo for his sins in the prison cell, it reminded me of Ghost Yemi's appearance to his brother Eko right before Eko was killed by Smokey. Unlike Ricardo, Eko expressed no guilt for his sins; thus, smote by Smokey. After Ricardo confessed his sins with great guilt, he was spared (from death, but being chained in a ship that winds up marooned on an island from hell turns out to be almost as bad).
When Ricardo yelled out "I was wrong" to no one in particular, I thought about Locke's "I was wrong" admission in the S2 finale (Live Together, Die Alone) after he stopped pressing the button and right before the Swan imploded.
Can we finally lay to rest the lingering mystery about why Alpert appeared to young Ben looking like Captain Caveman after a bender back in S3? I think so.
CHARLES WIDMORE and the HANSO FAMILY
Although we did not see him in this episode, Widmore is quite significant because we saw him purchase the Black Rock first mate's journal in S4 (The Constant) at an auction. This ledger belonged to Tovard Hanso, who must be related to Magnus Hanso, the man who bought/spared Alpert's life and seems to have owned the ship as well.
We were first introduced to the Hanso name in S2 (Orientation), when Jack and Locke watched the Orientation film that revealed how the Dharma Initiative was "funded by an experimental psychology research group, The Hanso Foundation."
Later in S2 (Lockdown), we discover the blast door map in the Swan, which contains the following phrase in the bottom right quadrant: 'known final resting place of Magnus Hanso/Black Rock."
So what does all of this have to do with Widmore? He must have seen the Black Rock on the island before being exiled, and probably bought the journal to see if it contained information that would assist his journey back there. Widmore and Hanso seem to have two things in common: wealth and boats. Both have had vessels crash on the island as well...
He is still a Candidate, but it certainly seems as though he is the new Alpert in an advisory role to Jacob. So I have to wonder if he does get off the island...will be return and report to whomever the final Candidate is?
My first thought after tonight's episode was that her mysterious injuries occurred during preparation for her journey to the island. I had always assumed that Ilana had been to the island before, but now I'm not so sure.
During the episode, I referred to her as notSalmaHayek.
In my eyes, Ricardo and Isabella give Desmond and Penny a run for their money in the sentimental-couple-to-root-for department.
It was subtle, but I think that I now know why Jacob appeared was wearing gloves when he went to see Ilana in the hospital, yet was dressed normally and without gloves to everyone else we've seen him visit off island. Shortly after their initial chat about the six people that Jacob needed her to protect, Ilana appeared to be fully healed. You may argue that an unknown amount of time had passed but I seriously doubt that Jacob waited around for several days or weeks while she finished healing normally.
My theory is that Jacob wore the gloves en route to those he needed to touch, to avoid healing/directing/saving others he merely encountered in his travels; he took off the gloves, touched Ilana and healed her wounds quickly.
I am struck by the violent arrivals of both the Black Rock and Oceanic flight 815 on the island. It seems that Jacob can summon them, but not control how they actually arrive. And yet no matter the vehicle, he determines who lives and who dies.
MAN IN BLACK
Very few have been spared by Smokey, and now Alpert can be added to this elite list. Much like he flashed and scanned Kate and Juliet in S3 (Left Behind), and the "beautiful bright light" that Locke described after his first encounter in S1 (Walkabout), Smokey appeared to have assessed Alpert's past, present and future before deeming him worthy of use at some point.
The only slightly baffling line of dialogue in this episode was delivered by the Man in Black to Ricardo on the Black Rock, "That probably means that he has her. You know who." Given that Ricardo had been chained on the marooned ship and not met anyone else, I am not sure who they are referring to...
When the Man in Black said "it's good to see you out of those chains" to Ricardo for the first time (chronologically, as notLocke said it to Richard earlier this season), I had to wonder if Alpert had truly not seen the Man in Black since that time.
That wraps up my initial analysis of episode 6.09, Ab Aeterno. As we wind down to the final few episodes of the series, please allow me to reiterate how much I appreciate every single one of you who takes the time to read my theories every week. Without your feedback and support, this site and my posts would not be the same. Every week, I look forward to your thoughts and theories almost as much as new episodes.
As always, I encourage constructive Comments. Apologies for not providing follow-up posts after every episode; those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter are probably already aware that my travel schedule this year has been rather busy and random, and I have not had as much time as I would like to dedicate to this site every week.
Take care, my friends! Namaste.