We need to remember that actors are just players telling a story. And when an actor is lucky enough to work on a network show that airs season after season, they become people who make a good amount of money.
They drive fancy cars, send their kids to private schools, pay maids to wash their underwear. And often, they get lazy. Not just in life, but in their work. It must be pretty comfy to be an actor on a longstanding show that needs you there to wrap up the story that is being told. Because you could easily just phone in your performance –as many do – and get along just fine.
But every week, I am constantly amazed at the dedication and genuineness that the actors on Lost put into their roles.
I believe Nestor Carbonell as a confident advisor. I believe him as a mad man losing his mind. And I believe him as a Spanish-speaking farmhand sold into slavery. It’s so fun to watch each one.
I don’t know if it’s the directing on this show, the writing, the pure skill of the actors, the warm Hawaii sun, or a combination of all four, but this shit is goooooood!
Here’s what went down this week, in a tiny buried crucifix:
In 1867, Richard (Ricardo) lived in a world that seems like the cover of a romance novel. He was a poor farm hand living in a rural area of the Canary Islands. He accidentally kills a doctor while trying to get medicine for his dying wife. His love, Isabella, dies, and he is sold into slavery, after being told by a priest that he is going to hell. The Black Rock slave ship wrecks on the island. Some die in the crash, some are killed by the captain, then everyone but Richard is killed by the smoke monster. Richard sees his dead wife, then the MIB helps him and asks him to kill “the devil” (Jacob). Jacob stops Richard and asks him instead to work for him, in exchange for eternal life (and therefore, no hell). In present day, we see that Richard – who is almost mad – has given up on Jacob and calls out to the MIB to take him up on his offer to switch to his side. But then Hurley arrives, and translates a beautiful convo between dead Isabella and Richard.
Here’s what we learn:
1. Maybe I’ve watched The Notebook and Highlander one too many times, but this may have been my favorite episode of Lost EVER.
2. We see the rest of that hospital conversation that Jacob had with Ilana. He explicitly asks her to protect the six remaining candidates.
3. Jack learns that he is a candidate to replace Jacob.
4. Nice callback, opening the show with an eye close up!
5. We learn about Richard’s arrival on the island. We already knew he was a slave on the Black Rock, but now, we know all the details, and that he was the only one to survive.
6. Richard believes he is in hell. This is a fantastic development as a Lost viewer because it brings us back to our roots: remember those early theories of heaven, hell, and purgatory? For a moment, it seems possible again. After all, maybe Richard (and Jack, etc) cannot die because they are already dead? But it seems that this is just a belief in Richard’s head. A belief that was reinforced by the priest and by the MIB.
7. What did the Smoke Monster see that made him spare Richard’s life? Did he see that Richard was capable of killing a man and that is a skill he sought? Why, then, did he kill the captain? This Smoke Monster test still needs explanation.
8. I lost my shit in this episode. Totally cried when Hurley pulled a Whoopi Goldberg and translated Isabella’s ghost talk to Richard. And when the priest tells him he can’t escape hell? And when he spends hours upon hours prying out the nail and then it gets away from him??? Man! That was GOOD TELEVISION!
9. Richard on that horse was Danielle Steele gold!
10. We learn how and why Jacob gives Richard eternal life. What Richard really wants is his wife. Jacob cannot give him that, nor can he absolve him of his sins. He can, however, keep him from facing hell by giving him eternal life, which he does. In return, Richard will work for Jacob, as a middleman to the island’s visitors, persuading them to do right, since Jacob does not want to interfere with their choices himself. This explains why Jacob (in previous episodes) was so stand-offish with visitors to the island.
Also, Jacob’s deal with Richard brings up another point. Jacob tells Richard that he cannot absolve him of his sins. This leads us to believe that Jacob believes in the absolution of sins, and therefore, in God. This gives us some more insight into the world in which they operate. In their world. God (and therefore, the devil) does exist.
11. We learn a BIG explanation of the island, and the real beef between Jacob and the MIB. The island is like a buffer, holding massive amounts of negative, evil, bad energy in place. MIB, as we know, wants to get off of the island, and let this evil out. He can only do so by killing Jacob, but, as we know, he cannot kill him himself. The ongoing contest between Jacob and his nemesis is this: MIB believes that people are inherently corrupt. Jacob believes they are inherently good. The people he brings to the island are just subjects in their debate.
12. O yeah, and Jacob gives MIB a stone. No idea about that one.