Sunday, March 28, 2010

From the Beginning of Time

Humanity is in a constant struggle between good and evil. Perhaps this is why last week’s episode of Lost entitled “Ab Aeterno” (from the beginning of time) was so satisfying. The storyline was dominated by Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell), the ageless character who has popped up from time to time as a messenger, advisor, or observer in relation to the trials and tribulations of the Oceanic Air survivors. (By the way, Carbonell should get an Emmy nomination for this performance!)

When the episode is over, we not only understand this mysterious figure, but we identify with him. Ricardo/Richard is a man who has sinned and seeks absolution for that sin. He commits murder, loses the love of his life, is sold into slavery, shipwrecked, tempted, and struggles to make the right moral choices. Although we might not have encountered all of these challenges, we certainly can identify with the last two!

Although “gifted” with an ageless life, Richard is still very human. He questions his choices and motivations. He seeks assurance and validation. He wants to be faithful but is tempted to faithlessness. He may be one of the most human individuals we have encountered on the island.

What does Richard Alpert symbolize? Is he a Christ figure, an angel, or just a struggling human being like each of us? We don’t know, but he is certainly a pivotal figure in the struggle between good and evil. I can identify with that.

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