Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LT356: Ab Aeterno - First Impressions


I feel like I just sat through a Sunday service. To be fair, the story of LOST does not require a religion. It is the story of good versus evil. But then that concept always leads one back to gods - one good and one evil.

Let's break down this sermon a little bit...


Many feel that God speaks in riddles, half-explanations and makes impossible requests. On the surface, His instructions can seem almost contradictory. Say hello to Jacob. While Jacob may not be THE God, he is a manifestation of him.

Consider the motives behind Jacob's actions. He tells Richard that he brought him and others to the island in order to show the Man in Black that people will choose good. And yet, time and time (since the Adam and Eve skeletons in the cave?) each person fall short of the required faith.

Before we elevate Jacob to deity, let's remind ourselves that his power is limited. He can not return Isabella to Richard. He can not absolve Richard of his sins. But he can grant immortality. It looks like we will have to see a few more episodes in order to figure out all the rules of this game - much like every member of a congregation has to do!

One more observation: Jacob is rarely there when he is needed. Again, a common complaint of God's followers. Interesting.


Every since Boone died and Aaron was born in the same instance we have witnessed a foreshadowing of the concept of a pendulum. The dictionary defines a pendulum as "a body suspended from a fixed support so that it swings freely back and forth under the influence of gravity, commonly used to measure time".

On this island the force of influence is good and evil. Or one might argue it is one's own nature. Decisions...consequences.

As Ben turns back to good, Richard turns to evil. Tick-tock, tick-tock.


I enjoyed the re-quotes such as "I see you are in chains." His words are clever, full of half-truths, and full of undisclosed conditions.

And we learn his role is to kill Jacob.

The wine analogy was very helpful. The evil is kept bottled up and the island is the lid. Now I can't quite rationalize how some of it seeps out in the form of black smoke, but the concept is understood. If the cork comes off we could be unleashing the forces of Hell upon the Earth. This is very similar to the concept of the Bible's devil being kept at bay in the bottomless pit.

There must be days when the Man in Black (and Satan) wake up and just wants to wipe humanity off the face of the planet. But there are rules like Job. It seems to me that Richard was protected by some force and this is why he did not die while below deck in the Black Rock.


We are going to have a number of topics to discuss this week such as:

* The Black Rock crushing the statue
* The priest compromising his position for a few silver coins
* Magnus Hanso
* Rules we can construct such as to escape from hell one must kill the devil
* Hurley, dude
* Rules like Jacob must invite you inside - so was Ben invited?
* Who controls Jacob and the Man in Black


I give this episode a B+.

The show was nearly an entire flashback for Richard...and long overdue. I appreciated the story of love which required sacrifice, but how that commitment can blind one to rage and end in tragedy. It is a very thin line we walk along and that was depicted very well.

Ab Aeterno means "before time" and in religious circles it is used to described events "outside of time" such as Creation happening before time began (well, as we know it). These almost seem to suggest events prior to mankind...the events that lead right up to Adam and Eve.

It wouldn't surprise me if the two beings on the island agree to a challenge. A challenge where the two sides agree that the next person's decision - to serve good or to serve evil - will determine the fate of mankind. That would have to be Adam and Eve and we know how that turns out. So it seems Desmond was, after all, indeed, saving the world. He was putting off that final challenge. He was keeping mankind afloat for another cycle in order to finally find one person who would choose good and we could avoid the sinful nature we find ourselves plagued with today.

If the opening scene of Season 6 is any indicator (along with the history of mankind), then it appears hope does not float. It sinks to the bottom of the ocean along with the island. In this story, truth wins and the truth hurts. Because unlike the movies, the good guys do not win.

Very strong episode, but now I am ever so depressed.


1 comment:

gms said...

I thought this episode was very good, but would have loved just a couple more answers (as usual!)

Questions/Observations I had (apologies if they have already been explored):

MIB says Ricardo cannot let Jacob speak before he stabs him, the same thing Sayid was told in regards to Flocke. However, Ben carried on a conversation with Jacob before stabbing him, right?

I surely can't be the only one disappointed by a storm surge being responsible for putting the Block Rock into its current position, can I?

Also, I don't think the Block Rock would be in tact after hitting that statue.

Didn't we see the Black Rock from Jacob/MIB POV in calm seas? It is easy to believe a storm rose quickly and pushed the BR back to the Ocean, but it felt a little disjointed to me.

Do we know who was shooting the flaming arrows on one of the time flashe?

I also can't help but dream of another season where the entire story of the island is torn chronologically, even if it was 95% old material.