We finally, finally got Richard Alpert's backstory in "Ab Aeterno", this week's episode of Lost. And it did not disappoint! I would even say that this was the best character-centric origin story since Ben's episode "The Man Behind the Curtain" in Season 3. Maybe even since "Numbers" all the way back in the first season.
Something I couldn't help but catch: Tenerife was the location of one of the worst airline disasters in history. Was that something intentional on the part of the producers, to have Richard start out his life there? Anyways, what we have is a good man who was caught up in a tragedy composed of complete assholes: first that despicable doctor, then the even more despicable priest, followed by the officers of the Black Rock and then Jacob's adversary. Richard in some ways is the most tragic character we have seen on Lost: a person who longs for absolution from God more than anything else. I like to think that in the final scenes, he knew that he had that at last.
We also now know how the Black Rock came so far inland, and how the statue of Tawaret got demolished... all in one fell swoop! And most of all, we're starting to finally understand what the Island is: nothing less than a prison for the Man in Black and a material battleground between the cosmic battle between good and evil.
I've watched this episode three times so far, and it's still blowing my mind. I have unquestioning faith now in this show: that we are going to get solid answers to all of the big mysteries before the end two months from now.
"Ab Aeterno" gets 10 out of 10 from this viewer!