"Ab Aeterno" is the 9th episode in Season 6 of Lost and the 112th produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on March 23, 2010. Richard changes his allegiance before having an unexpected meeting.
Previously on Lost
- Sun asks Ben who Richard is. Ben explains that Richard is "a kind of... advisor, and he has had that job for a very, very long time." ("Follow the Leader")
- Inside the Black Rock, Richard explains to Jack that following Jacob's death, his life has no purpose. ("Dr. Linus").
Tenerife, Canary Islands — 1867. Richard Alpert rides his horse back to his remote house at Socorro and enters. His wife, Isabella, is laying with a high fever and coughing blood. Richard decides to get the Doctor and worries about not having enough money for the fee, so Isabella gives him her golden chain and crucifix and tells him to give it to the doctor. Richard is hesitant to take it but she asks him to close his eyes and closes his hand around the chain. She whispers that they will always be together and kisses him on the cheek. He promises he will save her and departs.
Richard rides through a storm to the doctor. The doctor lives in large house and is having dinner. Upon seeing Richard coming in soaked, he orders his butler to bring him some blankets, Richard tries to thank him but the doctor replies the towels are not for him but for the floor which he is dripping water onto. Richard tells him about his dying wife but the Doctor looks disinterested and says he won't ride for half a day under the storm. When Richard begs, the Doctor says that he has some medicine which can save the woman's life but remarks how expensive it is. Richard gives him all his money and when the Doctor asks contemptuously if that's everything, he also gives him the crucifix. The Doctor examines it for a second and throws it away saying it is worthless. Richard picks it up and pleads with him and they grapple. As the Doctor tries to push him away, Richard pushes him and his head strike a table. Richard has the phial of medicine and and runs out past the butler. Richard arrives home and finds Isabella dead. The constabulary burst through the door.
In jail, Richard is visited by a Catholic priest. The priest notices that the Bible Richard is reading is in English and Richard tells him that he has taught himself English and dreamed of moving to the New World with his wife. The priest receives his confession and Richard confesses killing the Doctor. The priest denies Richard absolution, heretically stating that murder is a sin that cannot be forgiven, only made up for with a life of penance, which, as he will be executed next day, won't be possible, so he will go to Hell. The next morning Richard is blindfolded and taken to a room where Jonas Whitfield, an officer of a ship is waiting. The officer questions Richard about his English and willingness to work and satisfied, pays the priest and declares that Richard is now the property of Magnus Hanso.
On the Black Rock, Richard and other slaves are in chains below deck while the ship is caught in a terrible storm. One of the other slaves looks out of the cracks in the ship and tells Richard he sees land. The man then sees the Statue of Taweret and he shrieks that he sees the Devil. The ship then is carried up by a gigantic wave which throws her against the head of the statue and everything goes to black.
Richard and his fellow captives awaken to daylight. Five officers remain alive. Whitfield comes below deck and proceeds to kill the captives one by one with his sword. He tells Richard that they have no water and limited supplies and it would only be a matter of time before they attempt to kill him. Just as he is about to kill Richard, the familiar sounds that accompany the black smoke are heard above deck followed by trashing and screaming, then there is silence. Finally the black smoke takes Whitfield and draws right up to Richard's face. The smoke examines him and leaves.
Still chained, Richard begins to loosen a nail from the floor. Over time he removes the nail and uses it to gouge around the chain fixture on the wall and pulls with all his strenght but is unable to break it loose. He passes out and comes to when a boar in the hull disturbs him. The boar is munching on the remains of one of the dead captives. Trying to fend it off, the nail falls from his hands, out of reach and he passes out again. He's roused by his wife, Isabella. She tells Richard that they are both dead and the Island is Hell and that she has come to save him before the monster returns. As she unsuccessfully tries to free him the monster returns and Richard demands she escape. She runs off and the smoke monster seems to take her as she resists, screaming. Richard is devastated.
Some time later, a man comes to Richard and says he's a friend, offering him some water. Richard asks after Isabella and explains what happened and the Man in Black says that "he has her", implying that the Devil got her. Richard begs him for help to save her and the Man in Black says he is willing to, as he's also trapped. The Man in Black has keys he obtained from the dead officers but makes Richard promise him to do exactly as he's told before he frees him. The Man in Black unlocks the chains and when Richard thanks him the Man in Black says "it is good to see you out of those chains". Then the Man in Black carries Richard out of the Black Rock as he explains that the only way to retrieve Richard's wife and escape from Hell is to kill the Devil.
Richard eats a pig roasted on a spit by the Man in Black. The Man in Black directs him to the statue, now broken into pieces after the collission with the Black Rock, and tells him that is where he will find the Devil. He gives him an ornate dagger warning Richard that he has but one chance to stab the Devil, to not hesitate or let the Devil speak because he is very persuasive. Richard wonders how he can kill the Devil if he is black smoke but the Man in Black admits that he is the black smoke. He claims that the devil betrayed him and stole his body and his humanity. He explains that Isabella was not running from the black smoke but from the Devil. He adds that he saw the Devil take Isabella but couldn't stop him. He deflects questions about the morality and reasons of the ship's officials murders saying that if Richard wants to see his wife again he must hurry up.
All that remains of the statue is the foot after being struck by the Black Rock. Richard walks toward the base. As he approaches with knife drawn Jacob attacks and disarms him. Richard asks where his wife is. Jacob asks whether Richard met the Man in Black. Richard explains that the Man in Black said that the only way he could see his wife again was if he killed Jacob. Jacob says the person he saw was not his wife, that he is not dead and he is not in hell. Richard remains convinced that he is dead so Jacob drags him into the sea and submerges him thrice until Richard says, "I want to live!"
On the beach the two sit together. Jacob explains he is not the devil but that he brought The Black Rock to the Island. Richard asks why. Jacob uses a bottle of wine as a metaphor for the island. The wine is evil, malevolent, the bottle is containing it, because otherwise "it would spread." He explains that the cork represents the island, holding the darkness where it belongs. Jacob says that the Man in Black believes everyone can be corrupted because it is in their nature to be bad and that he, Jacob brings people here to prove the man in black wrong. When questioned on whether or not Jacob has brought people to the island in the past and what happened to them, Jacob replies that he has but they are all now dead. Jacob says he wants people to know the difference between right and wrong without being told. He then offers the job of representative or intermediary for Jacob to the people he brings to the island. When Richard says that he wants his wife back, Jacob admits he cannot help, and neither can he absolve him of his sins. However, he can help with Richard's third wish, to live forever and never die.
Richard returns to the Man in Black who realizes that Richard didn't kill Jacob. Richard gives him a white rock, a gift from Jacob. The Man in Black tells Richard that his offer of joining him will stand, he gives Richard the pendant and disappears. Richard buries his wife's pendant and crucifix and says goodbye to his love.
The Man in Black
After his meeting with Richard, The Man in Black is seated on a log overlooking a valley of trees, while tossing the white stone. Jacob joins him. When Jacob asks about the gift of the stone, the Man in Black tells Jacob not to gloat. Jacob asks whether The Man in Black sent Richard to kill him. The Man in Black says he did it because he wants to leave the Island and asks Jacob to let him go. Jacob tells the Man in Black that, as long as he is alive, that won't happen. The Man in Black says that is why he will kill Jacob, to which Jacob replies that someone will replace him. The Man in Black then says that he'll just kill them, too.
Jacob says that he'll see the Man in Black later and gives him the wine bottle he used to describe the Island to Richard as a gift to pass the time. Jacob leaves saying that he'll see him around. The Man in Black says to himself "sooner than you think" and then smashes the bottle.
Ilana is in hospital with her face heavily bandaged. Jacob visits her and they speak in Russian. Ilana is very happy to see Jacob who asks for help. Jacob explains that there are six people that she is to protect, and that their names will be on his list. He explains that this is what she has been preparing for and that the six are the remaining candidates.
Sometime later Ilana is speaking with Jacob. She no longer is bandaged. She asks what she should do after she has brought "them" to the Temple. Jacob tells her to ask Ricardus who will know what to do next.
Present day (2007)
At the beach camp
Jack, Hurley, Sun, Frank, Miles, Ben and Ilana are crowded around a fire, with Richard standing close by. Ilana and Sun explain that Sun, Jack and Hurley are candidates to replace Jacob. Frank asks what are they to do now but Ilana admits that she doesn't know but says that Richard does knows and she asks him. Richard laughs almost hysterically and says that he has no idea. He says that he was trying to kill himself. He says that everything Jacob has ever said was a lie. Jack asks for an explanation and Richard says he will reveal a secret that he has known a long time. He says that all of them are literally dead and that everything around them is not what it appears, that they are not on an island but they are in hell. Richard says it's time to stop listening to Jacob and to start listening to someone else and he takes a flaming torch and heads into the jungle.
Planning to go after him, Ilana loads her rifle but is interrupted by Jack who says Richard has lost his mind and that if he cared about what Jacob said he wouldn't be talking about listening to someone else. Jack asks who Richard means to talk to. Sun explains that he means Locke. When Jack says Locke is dead Ben explains that it is not "exactly" Locke.
Jack goes up to Hurley who is a few feet away speaking in Spanish to someone. Jack interprets that he is speaking to Jacob and asks what is Jacob saying. Hurley says that it is not Jacob and that it has nothing to do with Jack. Hurley heads towards the Jungle.
Ben then says to Ilana that going after Richard is useless as he doesn't know anything. She isn't sure and Ben replies that he's known Richard since he was twelve. Frank asks if they've known each other since childhood but Ben explains that he has known him since "I was a kid" saying Richard looks the same as he did then. Frank realizes that Richard doesn't age, which Ben confirms and Frank asks, "Now, how the hell do you think that happened"?
In the jungle
Richard has been trekking all night and it is now the next day. Richard returns to the spot in a grassy clearing where he buried Isabella's crucifix at the base of a stone seat. He digs it up. Distraught he asks whether the Man in Black is listening to him and that he has changed his mind, that he was wrong. He calls out asking whether the offer still stood.
Hurley walks out of the jungle and asks Richard what offer he is speaking of. Richard is amazed that Hurley is there and angrily pushes him away reminding Hurley that he doesn't know anything. Hurley asks him to calm down and as Richard starts to yell Hurley blurts out that it is Richard's wife, Isabella who has sent him. Richard reacts in disbelief. Hurley says that she wants to know why Richard buried the cross. He tells Richard that she is standing right next to him. Isabella says to Hurley that Richard doesn't believe him and Hurley explains that it sometimes takes a while. Richard slowly turns toward where Hurley is speaking. Although Richard can't see Isabella he now addresses her. Hurley suggests he close his eyes and he will tell Richard what she says. She wants to tell him it wasn't his fault for her death but that it was her time and that he's suffered enough. He tells her he misses her and would do anything to be with her again. Isabella says that they are already together. She kisses him and then is gone. Richard put the necklace and crucifix around his neck. Hurley smiles, and says that Richard "got it".
Hurley reveals that she also said there is something else that Richard must do. He tells him that he has to stop the Man in Black from leaving the island because if he doesn't "We all go to hell."
Some distance away the Man in Black, in the guise of Locke, watches.
- Ab Aeterno is Latin for "from eternity". The phrase is used to mean "since the beginning" or "for long ages".
- Richard's home island, Tenerife, is later made infamous by the deadliest plane crash in the history of aviation on March 27th, 1977.
- There is a legend in Canary Islands which tells that exists an Eighth Island called "Isla de San Borondón" (St. Brendan Island) That Island has been seen several times along the history even there exist some ancient maps where eighth canary island is drawn. Stories about the mysterious island han been told by sailors who landed in the beaches of the island.
- Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), and Evangeline Lilly (Kate) do not appear in this episode.
- This is the ninth extended episode of Lost (not including season premieres or finales) running 5 minutes longer than the standard 1 hour episodes of Lost, other episodes that were extended were "The Other 48 Days," "What Kate Did," "The Long Con," "Maternity Leave," "Dave," "?", "316", and "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham".
- This was the first episode in Season 6 to feature flashbacks, all the other episodes previously solely featuring flash-sideways.
- This episode opens with the flashback of one character (Ilana), features a long flashback for a second character (Richard), and ends with a flashback of another character (The Man in Black).
- This is one of two episodes to end in a flashback scene, the other being Dave. (Both episodes also end in a flashback of a different character than the centric one, yet take place during the same time period.)
- Titus Welliver (The Man in Black) makes his second guest appearance in Lost after an 8 episode gap since "The Incident, Part 1".
Bloopers and continuity errors
- The subtitle at the beginning of Richard's flashback places the events in 1867, yet the Black Rock was thought to be lost at sea following its departure from Portsmouth, England, March 22, 1845 ("The Constant") and the ledger was discovered in 1852.
- During the closeup of Richard's eye while in chains on the Black Rock, you can see his contact lens.
- The clasp on Isabella's necklace is not period.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Richard had the Bible open to Luke chapter 4 verse 24 when he was in jail. (Religion) (The Numbers)
- Richard hands the Man In Black a white stone. (Black and white)
- Richard is chained on his ship and cannot escape after it wrecks on the island. (Imprisonment)
- Richard has a wife named Isabella. (Relationships)
- Isabella dies. (Life and death)
- It is raining when the Black Rock wrecks onto the island. (Rain)
- The Man In Black tries to convince Richard that the 'devil' is Jacob. (Deceptions and cons)
- The Man In Black touches Richard and revives him. (Rebirth)
- Jacob dunks Richard in the water in a manner similar to baptism, ironically to convince Richard he is not in hell. Very shortly thereafter Jacob tells him he can make it so he never dies. (Religion and ideologies)
- Jacob dunks Richard in the ocean 4 times. (The Numbers)
- Lightning strikes 4 times before the Man in Black appears to Richard. (The Numbers)
- Richard was "baptized" in the ocean by Jacob (Rebirth)
- Jacob tells Richard that he cannot interfere with people when they get to the island because he has to let them make their own decisions. (Fate versus free will)
- The episode begins with Ilana's eyes opening (Eyes)
- The episode features a shot of Richard's eyes opening. (Eyes)
- Isabella gives Richard a cross. (Religion and ideologies)
- Richard and Isabella are both Catholic. (Religion)
- Richard is jailed for accidentally killing the doctor, a crime the Priest will not absolve him of, though possible in the Catholic religion. (Imprisonment) (Crimes)
- Jacob explains to Richard that the Island prevents "hell" from getting out and spreading, covertly speaking of him trying to keep the Man in Black on the Island. (Imprisonment)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- Richard unintentionally kills the doctor and steals the medicine Richard needed for his wife. (Crimes)
- The Man in Black continues his struggle against Jacob by enlisting Richard to kill Jacob. (Rivalries)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- Gospel of Luke: Richard is seen reading the Bible opened to Luke Chapter 4, verse 24. The verse reads: "And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country." In Chapter 4, Jesus has returned from his time in the desert, where he thwarted the temptation of the Devil, and attends Temple in Nazareth where he cast out "a spirit of an unclean demon" from a possessed man and healed a woman with a great fever. (Religion)
- Richard was sold for a purseful of coins by a religious figure.(Religion)
- Absolution: In prison, Richard seeks absolution, which forgives the guilt associated with the penitent's sins, and removes the eternal punishment (Hell) associated with mortal sins. The penitent is still responsible for the temporal punishment (purgatory) associated with the confessed sins, unless an indulgence is applied. (Religion)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- The Man in Black tells Richard that he must stab Jacob in the chest before Jacob speaks a word. This is the same thing that Dogen said to Sayid when trying to kill the Man in Black, with the same dagger. (Juxtaposition) (Irony)
- The Man In Black touches Richard and asks his help to kill Jacob, Jacob touches Richard and asks him to represent him.
- Richard is told by the priest that he has no time left for penance as he is to be hanged the next day. Since then, he has spent almost two centuries on the Island without aging or dying. (Irony)
- Both the slaves and the ship's crew are attacked and ruthlessly killed by the Smoke Monster. (Redshirts)
- Richard's back-story is finally revealed. (Flashbacks)
- Magnus Hanso is mentioned as captain of the Black Rock, but not seen. (Unseen Character)
- The statue is ripped apart by a tidal wave carrying the Black Rock, leaving only a four-toed foot. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1")
- Ben mentions the first time he met Richard. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
- Richard becomes the property of Magnus Hanso, the owner of the Black Rock. ("The Constant")
- The Man in Black tells Richard "It's good to see you out of those chains." ("LA X, Part 1")
- Richard hands the Man in Black a white stone. ("The Substitute")
- The remainder of Jacob's hospital visit to Ilana is shown through her flashback. ("The Incident, Part 1")
- The Man in Black tells Richard to stab Jacob in the chest and that "If you let him speak, it's already too late." ("Sundown")
- The Man in Black treats Richard to a boar. ("Follow the Leader")
- The Black Rock is swept inland by a tidal wave, just as Arzt suggested when the survivors first visited the Black Rock. ("Exodus, Part 3")
- A servant carrying blankets discovers Richard standing over the body of the man he has just killed. This mirrors Libby carrying blankets when she walks in on Michael moments after he kills Ana Lucia. ("Two for the Road")
- Jacob refers to the Man in Black as a "darkness." ("What Kate Does")
- Richard calls the Island "Hell," echoing Anthony Cooper's sentiments when he was on the Island. ("The Brig")
- The Man in Black gives Richard the knife Dogen gave Sayid. ("Sundown")
- The Man in Black tells Jacob that he'll see him "sooner than you think." ("The Substitute")
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Ab Aeterno/Theories
- Why is Ilana injured?
- How do Ilana and Jacob know each other?
- How can Richard stop The Man in Black?
- Did Jacob really steal The Man in Black's humanity and body?
- What is the meaning of the White stone that Jacob sent to the Man in Black via Richard?
- How did Hurley catch up with Richard?