Herbert (the man in black): My friend, you and I can talk all day long about what’s right or wrong, but the question before you remains the same.
This week: It turns out the most interesting man in the world actually doesn’t have too much going on, besides an exciting couple of days here and there.
I. Don’t You Get It? We’re In Hell! This Isn’t LOST, It’s Suddenly Susan!
A. Every time I had seen Richard on the show before this episode, I couldn’t shake one nagging question. Whether he was reading a book in 1954, recruiting Young John Locke in the 60s, meeting Ben in the 70s, hiring Juliet in the 90s or just building model ships in a bottle by the sea shore in the 00s, I always wanted to know…what were his first 72 hours on the Island like? And boy, they were incredible. I mean, BOARS, everybody! How often do we see boars, besides like every time Sawyer needed to be taught a moral lesson back before his hair grew out?
B. Then again, apparently it took Richard like 140 years to confront a) his past, b) the tremendous feeling of loss over his wife and c) the lingering internal fear that maybe the first guy he met was right and this place was hell. I’ll bet being the Island’s office manager is a demanding and time-consuming job, but you’ve gotta make time for yourself. Keep it all bottled up for a century and a half without gaining appreciable knowledge or making a discernible personal connection and it’s really going to start affecting your work. I also like how he treated Locke/Herbert like an ex-girlfriend who he hadn’t seen in years – first he flipped out, then he was like, “damn, actually he was looking pretty good, maybe I should give him a call…”
C. How about Sun telling Ilana’s story for her around the campfire? No, please, I’d like to hear more about the secrets of the Island, but I want to hear them from someone who sounds like she’s constantly surprised by her own voice and liberally shoehorns the word “husband” into every conversation.
D. You’ve gotta give Dickie Alps some credit: he took Jack to school on backstory-beard-growing. He may have looked like he was one step away from playing a homeless clown in the El Socorro talent show, but at least it was real-looking. He probably grew that between takes.
E. I think 1867 was the year before the Canary Islands were officially renamed the Dickhead Islands. The doctors won’t heal you, the priests won’t save you, the butlers can’t find the towels quick enough to stop that vagrant from killing you and even the executioners would rather sell you off to pirates than do their job. Hindsight is 20/20 with the whole shipwreck/ethical conflict/immortality/crisis of faith thing, but Richard probably lucked out by blowing that pop stand.
F. Maybe that guy was stabbing all the slaves because he was concerned about supplies running out, or maybe someone on the crew mentioned to him that whole thing about the Emancipation Proclamation passing three years before they were bringing a crew of Spanish slaves to the New World. He was seeing all that red-hot Spanish labor dough burning up right in front of him.
G. I’m no Doctor Of Ocean And Wave Science, but how does a slave ship collide with the top of a 30-story statue that’s on the beach? I know the weather started getting rough, I know the tiny ship was tossed, I know that if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Black Rock would be LOST. But give me a break, Island Physics. How The Statue Got Broke was not on my Top Ten list of pressing questions.
H. This whole Jacob/Herbert thing is an allegory for divorce. Herb is like “I’m leaving” and Jacob is all “stay 2gether 4 the kids” (little known fact: Jacob also thinks Blink 182 is inherently good, so, you know, not exactly the ultimate authority) and Herb tries to convince Ricky Ricardus to kill his hubby so they can run off together, but Jacob makes him have second thoughts and they go into business together (after some negotiations over salary and benefits) and Jacob gives Herbert a really crappy gift to signify their enduring love and Herbert is pissed but he can’t throw the gift into the ocean until Jacob is dead so he keeps it on display in his den for when company comes over but he really can’t wait until he can become a new man and get rid of all this baggage.
I. No surprise here, but I’m having trouble grasping this ethical struggle between Jake and Herbie. Jacob is all about how people must be good and employ Richard as his messenger, except he never really talks to Richard after going all Old Testament Jacob and giving him that baptismal swirlie in the ocean. He also seemed a little too pleased that Herbert called him the devil. As the Metatron, Richard’s greatest hits include (among other things) helping Locke scheme to get Sawyer to kill his dad and helping Ben scheme to kill the entire Dharma Initiative. Meanwhile, Herbert is all about how people sin, a belief he demonstrates by murdering people before they even have time to sin.
J. Easiest way to spot a Black Smoke Monster: sun-damage. Between Leatherneck Locke and The-Man-Without-A-Name-But-Seriously-Its-That-Guy-From-Deadwood I think I might have skin cancer. Also, I don’t think people are surprised that he’s Locke so much as he’s not wearing that black smock anymore. “Beware of the man in bla…ah, shit, it’s…it’s kind of a dark khaki, maybe? Beware the man in earth tones? Does that work?”
K. Yes, it’s difficult to work under a figurehead CEO who doesn’t give you much in the way of performance reviews, but if the mysterious Island, Black Smoke Monster, lack of any new gray hairs since 1867 and/or the fact that your girlfriend’s necklace stayed two feet underground in a rainy tropical climate throughout all those years weren’t enough to make you less skeptical about the 350-lb Mexican who talks to your dead girlfriend, you need to reconsider your attitude.