We still have no idea why this man doesn’t age.
First of all, apologies are in order. When we heard this episode focused on Richard Alpert, we sort of expected, you know, that we might learn a few things about the mysterious, timeless Head Other consigliere. Like why he doesn’t age. Or how he got the job. Or what he knows about the island since he’s been around forever. Or what he and Jacob do together on Friday nights. Something. Anything.
Instead we got nothing. For the part we may have inadvertently played in hyping up this episode’s Richardness — and here we are speaking directly to Mr. Allen — we apologize.
He did give us one juicy tidbit: Everyone near and dear to us dies in 1977. This was in response to Sun’s question if Richard remembered Jin. Should we trust Richard? We say yes. He is the antithesis of Benjamin Linus. Richard may be cryptic and mysterious, but he’s also guileless. Right? One might argue that Richard simply keeps his cards close to his chest and is crafty in his own way. There’s the scene when John Locke is telling his people they’re all going on a field trip to see Jacob and we get an aside from Ben and Richard. Richard says, “I’m starting to think John Locke is going to be trouble.” Ben responds, “Why do you think I tried to kill him?”
Is this proof of Richard’s cunning? Or his complicity in some kind of scheme or cover-up? Or simply him lamenting the adjustment to a new boss’s management style?
We suspect it’s merely the latter. Richard has never seemed capable of disobeying orders. As Ben describes him to Sun, “Richard is a kind of advisor … and he has had that job for a very, very long time.” His dependency credentials look pretty sound.
Does this mean, then, that the Oceanic 816 survivors do all die in 1977? We don’t think so. As proof, recall the moment tonight when Richard aids the injured John Locke. Resurrected John Locke (or John Locke 2.0, if you prefer) instructs Richard to inform Island John Locke (from earlier this season when the donkey wheel was “skipping” and everyone on the island was jumping to and fro in time) that he must die to bring the Oceanic Six back to the island. When Richard finishes the task (Island John Locke goes poof), he returns to John Locke 2.0 and is clearly relieved to tell him death wasn’t necessary. JL 2.0 gets that smug grin of his (it has been consistently smug all season but reached code red levels of smug last night) and says, No, actually I did die. This is probably not a development Ben foresaw when he went Anton Chigurh on John in a seedy hotel. Needless to say, it was an awkward moment.
If Richard didn’t understand the implications of John’s disappearance, we question if what he witnessed in 1977 was really a massacre or something else beyond his comprehension. For someone who’s been around forever and presumably knows many of the Island’s secrets, Richard strikes us as a little dense sometimes.
Side note: Can you imagine how brutal junior high was for Nestor Carbonell? His parents named him Nestor. And he’s a boy. We also learned this fun fact from his Wikipedia page: His cousin is Rafael Palmeiro! (There is also this, which would appear to be the final word on Carbonell’s eyeliner.)
What else did we learn tonight?
Patrick Fischler likes to hit girls. What a punk. Take Juliet’s cuffs off and it’d be no contest. Zero.
Miles and his dad, Denys Lai — er, we mean, Dr. Chang — are properly introduced. This was somewhat of a letdown. After “Some Like It Hoth,” we imagined Miles shaking off his complacency/cynicism and initiating this father/son bonding moment. Last week he denied it when Daniel told Dr. Chang that Miles was his son; this week we expected Miles to make amends. Instead, Chang follows Hurley ( “the fat guy”) into the hills and (comically) gets the truth out of Hurley. Then when Miles does tell Chang that he’s his dad, we expected a hug or something. Most dads hug when their son comes home for college break. Wouldn’t you hug your son if he traveled back in time to help save your life?
The CGI shot of the submarine submerging itself probably should’ve been cut. This didn’t look even remotely realistic. But moments before this CGI catastrophe, there was a great shot of a bloodied Sawyer looking up at the cliffs before he went down into the sub. “Good riddance,” he mumbles. But it was a beautiful shot! And no CGI was needed because, as you may have heard, “Lost” is filmed in Hawaii. On a gorgeous tropical island. With all kinds of breathtaking backdrops and natural wonders like those cliffs. Please, producers — you’ve already got everything you need.
That scene, and Sawyer’s line, also recalls Jack and Kate’s conversation in Eloise’s tent. Jack embraces Daniel’s plan and tells Kate that he believes detonating the hydrogen bomb will destroy the hatch, which will prevent Oceanic 816 from crashing, which will mean everyone on that plane lands safely in L.A. and never knows of an alternate existence on a strange, remote Pacific island. “All the misery that we’ve been through, we just wipe it clean. Never happened,” he tells Kate. “It was not all misery,” she responds. “Enough of it was,” Jack says.
This is where their paths began to splinter off in different directions, leading Kate to ask later on, “Since when did shooting kids and blowing up hydrogen bombs become okay?” But it echoes Sawyer’s moment at the sub because all of the castaways, to one degree or another, are still trying to determine if the island is a blessing or curse, heaven or hell. How could Sawyer behold such beauty and wish it “good riddance”? Well, being tortured by a bald guy named Radzinsky might have something to do with it. On the other hand, he’s fine leaving the island because he still has a good thing going with Juliet, right? Oh. Yeah. Forgot about what happened there. Yet another awkward “Trust-Me-When-I-Say-I-Got-Your-Back-Even-Though-An-Ex-Girlfriend-Who-I-Stupidly-Called-Freckles-In-Front-Of-You-Last-Week-Just-Sat-Right-Next-To-Us-On-This-Getaway-Sub-And-Oh-By-The-Way-I-Had-Sex-With-Her-In-A-Cage” moment.
Any predictions for next week’s season finale?
In an effort to make things right with Mike, we’ll link to Doc Jensen’s and Vozzek69’s posts in the comments when they’re up.