Archive for the bible

ab aeterno: hellish deeds

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

Daybreak. The air is thick, hot, sweaty. Thick with sweaty hotness. For we are onan island. And it is generally hot on islands. Except for, say, islands off of Canada or maybe Antarctica or something like that. BUT THAT IS NOT WHERE WE ARE SO THAT’S PRETTY MUCH IRRELEVANT.

this is a HOT island... to be clear

Said Island of Hotness is called Tenerife, a Spanish island located off the coast of Africa. And — LO! What now?! Is that mayhaps a timeless-looking, eyeliner-wearing man approaching?

it is!

Indeed! And he, like the island of Tenerife, is sweaty, hot and thick… with beard. His name is Ricardo, a rugged Spanish farmer lover, his unruly locks being tossed by both the ocean winds and his inner turmoil: his true temporary love is about to die from the consumption! THE HORROR! But sweaty, hot, thick, unruly Ricardo’s untamed heart cannot stand such misery!

baggage

so, instead of riding all night to see chicken-eating Dr. Douche and then accidentally killing him over some meds, leading Ricardo to become convicted of murder and sent to the New World as a slave for Magnus Hanso, but then never making it to said New World and instead becoming a pawn for two dueling demi-gods trying to prove each other wrong about human nature, INSTEAD OF THAT, Richard–err–Ricardo hops in a canoe and paddles across the Atlantic toward his true love, a breathtaking young red-ish haired maiden with an affinity for serial television and Chimay Blue who awaits his arrival… longingly…

WHOA THERE LOST FANS! I think I fell asleep at the blog there for a moment. You know, I talk in my sleep. I didn’t say anything embarrassing, did I?

it was a long night

Anyway, on to Ab Aeterno, the long-awaited Richard-flashback episode aired last week. It was, in my humble opinion, quite excellent. Part-Harlequin-Historic-Romance, part-Count-of-Monte-Cristo, part-Dante’s-Inferno, Ab Aeterno was very back-to-basics LOST: a flashback gives a glimpse into the as-yet-unknown history of an intriguing character, whose present predicament is relevant to events in said flashback.  Some good guesses about Richard’s history were confirmed: he did indeed come on the Black Rock, as a slave, and since has served as the go-between for Jacob and the Others, or people he brings to the island. Oh, and yes, he is immortal, thanks to J-Woww’s magic touch.

There was one major curveball:

THE BLACK ROCK BROKE THE STATUE!!!!!!!!!!

 

are you effing kidding me?

Wait… you mean… that huge fucking statue… of taweret… was.. broken by a WOODEN SHIP COMING IN OFF A TSUNAMI-LIKE WAVE?! Jigga what? Not that a wooden ship breaking a multiple-stories tall cement statue is the most incredulous thing in a story about black smoke monsters that read your mind or anything, but… that seemed a bit of a random development, non? Since the end of season 2, when Sayid turned to the Kwons and said, “I don’t know what is more disturbing, the fact that the rest of the statue is missing, or that is has four toes,” we’ve been wondering what the eff happened to that mofo-ing statue and, lo and behold — it’s the Black Rock? This incident smacks a bit of, “Well, we have to solve the mystery of how the Black Rock got into the middle of the jungle and how the statue broke (along with 10 trillion other mysteries), so let’s just kill two birds with one stone, shall we?” That or Jacob has a really shitty contractor. You know, J, you should really check those guys out before commissioning them to build giant statues of Egyptian deities. Just sayin…

But Richard’s soon-to-be-dead amigo didn’t know about Egyptians or contractors — he thought Ole Four Toes was EL DIABLO — the devil. Hell and heaven were very much on the brain in Ab Aeterno. But then again, Richardo did claim to be a Catholic (if only for Isabella) and when isn’t going to hell not on one’s mind in Catholicism? Actually, right after RA announced to Jack and Co. that they were in hell, I wondered if he hadn’t given it all away — despite Darlton’s insistence that they’re not dead, it’s not Purgatory etc. Being on the island is a rebirth, a resurrection after all. They emerged from literal and figurative wreckage to newborn selves (noting, of course, Jacob’s harsh baptism of Richard in this ep).

That’s what Jacob wants for them, anyway. But he is no coddling father. He wants them to come to the right conclusions themselves. Sort of. Notice that Jacob tells Richard that he’s all hands off, but it is who he puts his hands ON which is precisely what may have altered the lives of six of the casta-dates (candidates + castaways). Jacob is just as manipulative as MiB and I don’t doubt that he conned Richard into being his eternal consigliere. “What?” Jacob says. “That guy in black over there? He might get to them FIRST? Golly gee, bearded guy. I never thought of THAT!” Sure, J. Suuuuuure.

But like many of our castaways, Richard drank from the cups of both Heaven and Hell. Both Jacob and MiB offer the parched Richard some of their sweet wine in an attempt to cajole him to his side. And both are tricky fuckers. The image of the body and the blood repeated throughout both exchanges between RA and Jacob and MiB. The most fascinating line in the episode for me was when MiB (played so deliciously by Titus Welliver, who scared the crap out of me when I switched over to The Good Wife the other week and he popped up) said:

“You aren’t the only one who’s lost something, my friend. The Devil betrayed me. He took my body. My humanity.”

For a moment I entertained the idea that Jacob had pulled a switcheroo on MiB and who we think is Jacob is walking around in MiB’s skin and vice versa. But I think he means that Jacob has imprisioned him in this form: half-human, half-smoke thing, all bitter immortal. MiB also feeds flesh to Richard by putting the boar on the spit. Here MiB has roasted one of Richard’s enemies — that foul beat which caused him to lose his precious nail, perhaps his only salvation. (Side note: I thought RA’s time alone in the ship reminded me both of Sisyphean tasks (which Dante saw on his journal with Vergil through hell in Inferno) and of Jesus’ 40 days in te desert, where he resisted all the devil’s temptations and emerged victorious).  It is a display of power. Now if only Richard would sacrifice the Devil for him, then Richard will be further rewarded.

But Richard cannot take the Devil’s body. Jacob reminds RA of his own mortality by baptizing him anew in the ocean, only to make that humanity, the body, eternal only a few moments later. The blood, or the wine, was a central image too, as the bottle served as a symbol of the conflict between Jacob and MiB’s desires. Richard drinks of the blood; he is a converted believer. But Jacob controls who is allowed to partake in it. Or something. This whole body and the blood symbolism is getting a bit muddled, but you get the general idea… right?

QUICK HITS:

the significance of the cros: when RA had to take it up, use it to barter, toss it aside, bury it, dig it up.  Smokey’s stealing f it from Richard and then using it to manipulate him. More Christian imagery blah blah blah.

— several eye close ups: starting with Ilana, continuing with RA, and thecurious line uttered by ghost Isabella (presumably Smokey?): “I looked into his eyes and all I saw was evil.” This is a nice counterpoint to Locke’s famous “I looked into the eye of the island and what I saw was beautiful.”

— The page of Richard’s bible that we got a close up from was the book of Luke, Chapter 4. The camera focuses on the line “No prophet is accepted in his own country.”

luuuuuuuuuuuuke

— The rock that Jacob gives to MiB proves to at least me that the cave that Smokey took Sawyer to belonged to His Smokiness himself and not Jacob. When they enter the cave, Flocke makes a point of tossing the white rock into the ocean. He’s won. Jacob’s cheeky little present isn’t needed anymore.

— Hurley totally pulled a “Ghost” in this episode. Richard Alpert + Swayze? I’m in.

With only eight episodes left, things are certainly heating up. MiB/Flocke is ready to pop some bottles and make it rain (death) all over this club (island). I’ve reprinted their final convo below for your reference. Tomorrow I’ll take a look at what we have in store for episode 610, “The Package.” Until then, namaste, and sweet dreams!

prefers white

JACOB: Good morning

MAN IN BLACK: Morning.

[Jacob sits down. The Man in Black is lightly juggling the white rock given to him by Richard earlier.]

JACOB: I see you got my present.

MAN IN BLACK: Don’t gloat, Jacob. It doesn’t become you.

JACOB: So you tried to kill me?

MAN IN BLACK: You expect an apology?

JACOB: No. I guess I’m just wondering why you did it.

MAN IN BLACK: Because I want to leave. Just let me leave, Jacob.

JACOB: As long as I’m alive, you’re not going anywhere.

MAN IN BLACK: Well then, now you know why I want to kill you. And I will kill you, Jacob.

JACOB: Even if you do so, somebody else will take my place.

MAN IN BLACK: Then I’ll kill them too.

[Jacob reaches into his pouch and pulls out the bottle of wine. He offers it to the Man in Black.]

JACOB: Here. Something for you to pass the time.

[The Man in Black takes the bottle.]

JACOB: I’ll see you around.

[Jacob departs.]

MAN IN BLACK: Sooner than you think.

two sides: one light, one dark

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 15, 2009 by eyeoftheisland

although i had some issues with the pacing of “the incident” (along with a few questionable character motivations — mainly jack’s “i’m doing this for kate” tantrum), as i have had time to process the mythologies that it revealed, i am becoming more and more intrigued about “what it could all mean.” clearly the opening scene (my favorite moment) of the episode was important. i want to argue that it is the most revealing moment in the whole series. to recap:

oh, brother

oh, brother

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Morning.

BLOND MAN: Mornin’.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Mind if I join you?

BLOND MAN: [Shaking his head] Please. Want some fish?

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Thank you. I just ate.

[The gray-haired man sits down not far away.]

BLOND MAN: I take it you’re here ’cause of the ship.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: I am. How did they find the Island?

BLOND MAN: You’ll have to ask ’em when they get here.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?

BLOND MAN: You are wrong.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.

BLOND MAN: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.

[The gray-haired man stares at his compatriot.]

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Do you have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?

BLOND MAN: Yes.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: One of these days, sooner or later… I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.

BLOND MAN: Well, when you do, I’ll be right here.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Always nice talking to you, Jacob.

JACOB: Nice talking to you, too.

whoa dang. still get chills reading this. what is sort of outwardly displayed here are two forces: one is light and one is dark. jacob, with his sandy tresses and white linen and mr. nameless (although from here on in i will be referring to him as esau, jacob’s brother in the bible) with his dark, hairy demeanor and black shirt. two forces: one open, optimistic, progressive; the other angry, vengeful, pessimistic. oppositions are lost’s modus operandi, but it seems like all the point/counterpoint relationships we’ve encountered so far (jack vs. locke; ben vs. widmore; even kate vs. juliet) are mere blips on the radar compared with the two immortal collossi we have here.

for those of you who aren’t familiar/weren’t in a production of joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat in seventh grade, in the bible jacob and esau are twin brothers. (twins are a concept already embedded in the mythology of lost with gary troupe’s bad twin, a book that came out as a companion to the series; supposedly, the author was aboard 815 with his manuscript about a mystery involving the hanso foundation. click on the link above or the lostpedia entry to read more). when the twin boys were emerging from their mother, rebecca’s, wombthe first that came otu was the hairy esau, whose heel was being clutched by the wily jacob. jacob eventually steals the birthright that esau had earned for being the first born. having made jacob a ruler over his brothers, their father, isaac could only promise, “by your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck.”

resentment between them runs deep (esau vows that he will kill his brother), so they split and start two different tribes. eventually, jacob moves his family to egypt to avoid a famine in canaan. egypt, you say?

anyway, that is my gross oversimplifying of this historic brotherly feud. yet, we all know that lost likes to play with these traditional themes in its overarching theme: is man naturally good or evil? can oen change one’s nature? what is the effect of the environment upon human nature? the above conversation seems to indicate to me that we have two brotherly forces who have been engaged in this debate for eternity. one tries to prove one’s point to the other until both sides are proven correct — a positive plus a negative yields neutral results — and they are back to square one; back to “reset.”

and, i think, this is exactly what happened in the finale.

now that we know that “locke” has not been quite himself this whole season (let’s call him locke 2.0), we have to call into question all of the “apparitions” we’ve seen in the series thus far. i certainly think that the esau figure could be all the apparitions/visions of people we’ve seen before. thinking back on it, visions on the island have always manipulated people to do bad things, i.e. christian, kate’s horse, dave. and remember that it was “christian” that told locke to turn the wheel and locke 2.0 who sent richard to tell locke he had to die.  

 esau assumes he’s won by having ben kill jacob (ben would be the ultimate exhibit on jacob’s side; the son killing his father), but then, simultaneously, jacob wins with his juliet victory in the past. before the episode, i was in the miles camp and thought that what jack’s plan was going to cause was the incident (“whatever happened, happened”). now, with the “two brothers” plot, i am thinking that juliet’s actions have changed the course of history. like they always say in schmaltzy sci fi — you can predict everything except for human emotions. so because she loved sawyer and because she had the power of choice she changed things. essentially, her love for sawyer could save them all.

 thus with both a jacob win and an esau win (however temporary), we are back to square one. the brothers are in a constant stalemate. maybe. as i’ve said before, i am willing to roll with the punches as long as those punches are entertaining. i could make the complete opposite argument that jacob is the dark and his brother, the light. while jacob’s “touchy-feely” encounters with the losties in their pasts seems to indicate that they are the chosen (and may just save them), he also provided the means for many of them to destroy their lives. he kind of told kate it was okay to steal; he gave sawyer the implement to begin his revenge obsession; he allowed nadia, the person that was keeping sayid “good”, to die. the scenes are deliberately ambigous. what dreams may come?  bring it on, season 6!

and yet, the two opposing sides, the “light” and the “dark” have been around since episode one. as iconic as the opening scene of “the incident” was, we also have the following scene from “the pilot: part two” where two different sorts of players had a similar conversation:

the light and the dark

the light and the dark

LOCKE: Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That’s older than Jesus Christ.

WALT: Did they have dice and stuff?

LOCKE: [nods] Mhhm. But theirs weren’t made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.

WALT: Cool.

LOCKE: Two players. Two sides. One is light … one is dark. Walt, do you want to know a secret?

i can’t help but wonder what secret locke might have whispered in walt’s ear. what exactly did locke see when he looked into the eye of the island? and can the beautiful that exist there defeat the terrible, or will this cosmic tug of war last forever?

only time will tell.

namaste, friends. happy theorizing!

john [locke] 3:16

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 24, 2009 by eyeoftheisland

oh man episode 316 was biblical. no, i mean it. it was very bible-like.

(although it was also biblical as in “epic” , “monumental”, “bodacious” etc. but let’s focus, shall we?)

as you smarty-pantses out there have probably already surmised, “316” is not only the number of the flight  that eloise “time-travelling badass” hawking instructs the o6 to go on. it is also the the chapter and verse of what is one of the the most widely known passages of the bible. 316 comes from chapter 3 of the gospel of john, who is known for being the most divine-minded of the evangelists (thanks, sister alice! you once threatened that i would “fail religion” if i didn’t do my homework. but clearly something from your 9th grade new testament class stuck).

in chapter three, jesus is talking with nicodemus, who is convinced of jesus’ divinity by virtue of the miracles he has perfomed. but it’s that tricky “born again” thing that’s got nicodemus a little twisted:

“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

born again as an adult, eh (coughlockecough)? a spirit you can hear but do not know from whence it comes or goes (coughsmokeycough)? INTERESTING THOUGHTS, NICKY D! [i also like the thought of the “new life” as a spirit; if john returns to the island and is somehow resurrected, he will no longer be locke of the flesh, but locke of the spirit a la christian shepherd. notice how christian can be seen and heard but is not tangible. he cannot help john up. he is the daddy issue ethereal– “born of Spirit”].

but the title verse, 3:16, reads as follows:

john 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

this phrase has oft been called the “Gospel in  a nutshell”: christinanity simplified. the cornerstone of the faith. the new testament itself is like one big father-son tale: father has dreams for his son; son is sent to father’s old stomping grounds to bring renown to the family name; son suffers for what pops teaches him is the greater good. but if there is some island god (the island  itself? jacob?) then who is his son (ben? locke? widmore?)? how is he being given? is there a promise of eternal life (richard alpert?)? does becoming a man of faith guarantee eternal life?

john 3:16 is also ubiquitous in pop culture, most notably making appearances on neon posterboards at sporting events. (remember stone cold steve austin’s “austin 3:16”? how i retained that piece of information at all is a mystery to me). the “john 3:16” sign, if i call correctly, is often associated with a last ditch effort; a half-court shot; a hail mary pass. you could say that the oceanic 6’s flight on ajira airways was one of these: a last minute shot in the dark at getting back to the island.

a final biblical note:  i just wrote out a long, convoluted comparison between john/jesus and ben/judas. but it’s a mess of ideas without much cohesion**. so suffice to say that ben may be well aware that he must play the role of master betrayer in order to save the island. that he must doest, he must doest quickly.

(although notice the reversal: john, like judas, hangs himself. who is the martyr, who is the mastermind? i guess we’ll have to see what happens in “the life and death of jeremy bentham” aka “the new testament of john locke.”)

**if you really want to read the crazy judas thing, shoot me an e-mail.