Richard's long desired episode was a surprisingly Gothic tale of how he too came to this island during his own "dark night of the soul," ripe for the tricks of MIB and Jacob after he survives his island arrival. I'd be tempted to say that he has a better chance of saving his soul with MIB, than with an 18th century Catholic priest, but I won't go there but to say thank the Lord for the Reformation. Overall this episode was one of the most artfully beautiful, with the backstory scenes looking very much like a painting by Caravaggio, who did a painting that we saw last season BTW.
Nitpick #1: should we call anachronism-shenanigans here? I don't think that there were modern study-bibles with the center column footnotes back in the 18th century.
Nitpick #2: throw rotten tomatoes at me if you will, but in my mind I imagined a much more science-y, or Scifi, mechanism that put the Black Rock in the center of the island, and broke up the statue. I'm just saying. That's just a product of giving us way too much time to think about what the source of those mysteries were I guess.
Nitpick #3: ducking tomatoes again, some of the Black Rock scenes dragged on a bit for my taste, I began to lose concentration here and there.
I am very confused as to what went on between the crew, Smokey, MIB, Fisabella, and all that MIB told Richard, but I hope that those things will become clear soon. It seems as if MIB has the keys to everyone's happiness or desires, except for his own. And BTW, if all of the crew was killed by the shipwreck or Smokey, who buried Magnus as noted in Radzinsky's Blast Door Map recordings? Hmm?
I wasn't very impressed by Jacob's cavalier attitude towards RA, or the way he seemingly left RA to starve and rot to be fodder for MIB's plans, but maybe that's all a part of The Rules. Can Jacob not approach them until MIB does? Or can he not help the humans until they come to him for help? And why doesn't Jacob seem to care about the fact that everyone else who he's brought to the island is dead? Maybe he just knows that they're in that "better place" or something. But now we know how RA chose the eternal island life, most likely with the echoes of the priest ludicrously refusing him absolution still ringing in his head. He surely would have chosen eternity with Isabella instead, if he hadn't have been scared into false thoughts of his own damnation.
All of MIB's talk about Hell probably didn't help Richard's psyche any either, as MIB knew exactly how to scare him into believing his stories and helping him. MIB told Sawyer that there wasn't anything special about this island, but for him the island is a living hell. It makes you wonder if the island is some kind of universal prison that he's been banished to like those prisoners in the Superman-2 movie who were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. Come to think of it, MIB does act a lot like General Zod at times. Or it could be something much simpler, as a job that Jacob and MIB have been assigned to, and MIB just can't stand to be stuck in one place. "The mind is its own place, it can make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven" ~ Milton.
Meanwhile back at the ranch-beach, the Losties try to cheer RA up, and get some answers out of Ilana to no avail. RA is inconsolable and returns to his mock grave for Isabella giving us another classic touching Lost scene to make the eyes tear up. Thankfully Hurley assists RA in finding some peace with his memories a-la Sawyer's Little House episode. And Isabella leaves me wondering what she meant by saying that she and RA are already together, as in, are we sure that it's just an island and not some way-station between Life and Death?