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The title told us we were going to see it from the beginning, and we did, at least from Richard Alpert's beginning. There were no huge surprises in this episode, but it was such fun to see the dots and splotches we had all been staring at for so long suddenly coalesce into a 3D picture. I'm content with not seeing the civilization that built the statue now. I imagine it was like Saïd's radio signal or Bernard's SOS: a project and a call to higher powers for protection and aid, and we know how it was destroyed.
We knew Richard was immortal, and we knew it was Jacob's doing. We knew he was an advisor, so we should have known he was Jacob's advocate. We saw Jacob pretty much admit to the Man in Black that he had brought the ship that had to be the Black Rock: why show another ship of the same era when the arrival of this one was such a puzzle. We knew the Man in Black wished to kill Jacob, but I thought it was a power struggle rather than a captor-warden situation. Now we know how badly the MiB wants to get off the island, and why. And the stakes.
We had a good idea that Richard arrived on the Black Rock because when he went there with Jack, he said he hadn't been back since he arrived. We suspected he had arrived in the hold and not the crew, because of the line "good to see you out of those chains"? I'm not sure why they inserted that scene earlier, but it was clever. It added to the weirdness of the situation without really giving us clues.
It was savvy for the writers to make explicit the "this is Hell" theme through the eyes of a delirious 19th century Spanish Catholic condemned to death and told by a priest that he would go to hell. It makes it plausible for that character to accept the premise, and thus the audience does not reject the theology outright, even if it doesn't mesh with their beliefs. I like the way Richard's initial belief that this was hell returned after all that time when he became disillusioned.
The scenes in the hold of the ship were fantastic. It had the attention span and attention to detail of a movie, as Ricardo's situation became more and more desperate. It didn't have to be that long to convey the desperation with which Ricardo accepted the MiB's offer of help, but it was excellent. As they approached in the storm I wondered how Richard had survived but left all his fellow captives to die in their chains, so I'm glad they answered that question definitively. The smoke monster was well used.
Consensus seems to be that when Ben saw Alex in the temple, telling him to do everything Locke says, that she was a formation of the smoke monster. That would suggest by symmetry that Isabella in the hold of the ship is also a smoke monster apparition, but for the episode to be logical, the Isabella to whom Hurley speaks must be the real one. I guessed right away that Hurley was talking to Isabella, but of course not what she was saying.
Now that we know the mission of the chosen candidate, can we make a judgment as to who is worthy?
- We see the Black Rock approaching the island in calm water and daylight, but the arrival occurred on a stormy night.
This question has been satisfied in my mind by ForeverLost23 and Imbeanie: the ship may have come into view on a good day, but who says that was the day it landed? Not knowing the correct coordinates, the navigator would be unable to escape and like Desmond on te sailboat and and Michael on the raft, end up back on the island without trying.
- How did the ship fly through the statue and into the jungle?
I have a theory for this--my next blog entry.
- How does a fragile item buried fifteen centimetres deep in soil so soft it can easily be dug with fingertips remain exactly where it was left for 140 years, despite huge storms and wild boar?
Best answer: "Island magic"
The island of Tenerife, where Ricardo and Isabella lived, was the site of the largest aircraft accident in history.