This week's Lost episode was all about hell. After unintentionally killing a man way back in 1867, Richard/Ricardo tried to avoid going to hell. The Man in Black told Richard he was in hell and needed to kill the devil to get out. And Lost fans (well, at least this one) wondered how their favorite show ended up so hellishly bad this week.
Of course, more questions were answered this week, yada yada yada. The show featured its first flashback of the season, focusing on Richard Alpert, formerly one of the show's most mysterious characters. Turns out Richard used to be "Ricardo"—a man living in the Canary Islands with his wife, Isabella, in the mid 1800s. Isabella falls ill, Ricardo accidentally kills a doctor when he can't afford medicine to save her (too bad health reform hadn't passed yet) and finds himself first imprisoned and then enslaved aboard the Black Rock. There's a storm, an epic shipwreck, everyone else dies, and Richard meets first the Man in Black and then Jacob, who are both excited to have another pawn to use in their never-ending game of manipulation. After literally baptizing Richard in the ocean, Jacob even sends Richard back to the Man in Black bearing a white stone as a present. Checkmate.
We learn that while Jacob is supposed to be some sort of prison guard, keeping the Man in Black on the island. Using a bottle of wine and a cork, Jacob demonstrates to Richard that the island is a cork keeping hell or evil or the darkness (whatever you want to call it) out of the world. Jacob recruits Richard to play for his team with the gift (curse?) of immortality, a gift that in the present day, Richard is starting to regret.
So Richard's story has been revealed and Lost has made it sufficiently sympathetic yet nuanced enough to satisfy basic character requirements. Like a Christmas morning when you ask for a surprise and get new underwear, some Lost watchers might feel a hint of letdown. It really is ending. And sometimes the answers are nowhere near as exhilarating as the questions.
Did ya see that? Moment of the week: Ricardo is purchased as a slave by Magnus Hanso...a distant relative of the Hanso Foundation's founder?
Far-fetched theory I hope comes true: Hurley has been taking the lead among the survivors in Jack's camp, his power increasing as he masters his abilities as medium for the dead. Maybe—even against the other brains and brawn of the show—this favorite underdog is set to actually become Jacob's successor.
Props of the week go to: Both Jacob and the Man in Black. Hundreds of years just chilling on the island? I was bored enough just watching this episode.