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What if Richard IS the man?

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I know some may have already theorized this, but what if Richard really IS the man?

Richard's story arc reminds me of a movie called The Usual Suspects (1995). You can read more about the plot here, but be careful as it contains spoilers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Usual_Suspects

What I am proposing is maybe Richard is the leader (in this context when referring to leader, I mean leader of the island, not leader of the Others), and not Jacob. Again, I know many may have already suggested this, but we may have been given additional evidence to support this claim.

Richard is just as mysterious as Jacob is in terms of origin, age, and purpose. The major difference between the two is Richard for the majority of the last 3 seasons has had a face and Jacob had not. Richard has always been associated as Jacob's emissary and his purpose is to serve Jacob and by extension protect the island. The reality is, we do not truly know Jacob's purpose so to presume we know what Richard's purpose is probably premature.

Now that Jacob has been revealed, many bloggers may believe Richard is indeed "lieutenant officer" debunking the aforementioned theory. But looking back at Lost for the last 3 seasons still leaves the window open that Richard may be the "Wizard" after all. Jacob's new confirmed existence may have added greater strength to the theory.

When you consider Richard's role on the island, he is the leader without the title or the bullseye. Like Jacob appears to be, Richard is ageless making a wonderful candidate to maintain consistency in leadership. Maybe Richard knows leaders often have targets on their backs because they are always subject to rebellion and coups and by extension their lives are always in danger. Perhaps Richard arranged a "figurehead" to assume a facade of leadership while Richard can maintain authority as the "lieutenant officer" so to speak. Richard has always been the face of the island predating Charles, Eloise, Ben, and Locke. He chose at least 2 leaders that we are aware of (Ben and Locke) and may have chosen the others "through" Jacob. He moves on and off the island freely at will, he recruits people to the island (Mittelos Laboratories), he knows Jacob's will and location, he knows all the secrets to the island, and he used the temple to restore Ben's health. It's almost like Jacob gives him free reign to do what is necessary to protct the island. Or maybe like Flocke said, Richard makes up these rules as he goes along. Maybe the reason Richard allowed Flocke and Ben to enter the statue was because Jacob is expendable and Richard could learn Flocke's true intentions. Let's face it, Richard stands to learn more about his people while standing among them than above them. This unique position not only keeps him well informed, but in control as well.

Problems:

What is the purpose of the discussion between Jacob and Nemesis at the beginning of The Incident? Well, the only plausible explanation I could come up with is...maybe Richard has everyone fooled including Nemesis who believes Jacob is actually the leader.

Why does Jacob ask Ilana for a favor? Well it seems like Jacob was asking a favor on behalf of Richard. The favor(s) as far as we can theorize is...Ilana went to the cabin to see if Nemesis had escaped; since he did, she burned it down probably because it could no longer be used as a prison or whatever else it was used for. The other favor was towing John's body back to the statue to inform "Ricardus" of the type of thing they were dealing with. In other words, a warning. Perhaps the information was not intended for Jacob, but Richard. Also, it does not appear the information prevented Jacob from dying, but it may have helped Richard to survive. Perhaps less significant is throughout The Incident Jacob appears to be a man that knows his time is short and his death is imminent. Maybe a willing sacrifice for Richard.

Thoughts?

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