'''Season 6, Episode 9''':
!Ab Aeterno

{{FLASHBACK}}! [[Recap/LostS05E16TheIncident Ilana, her face wrapped in bandages, is lying in a Russian hospital bed when a man wearing black clothes and black gloves takes a seat next to her. It's Jacob.]] He gives Ilana a list of names--the remaining Candidates--and asks her to help protect them. She is instructed to bring the Candidates to the Temple, and once there, "Ricardus" will know what to do.


Ilana finishes telling this story to Jack, Sun, Hurley, Ben, Miles, Lapidus and Richard this story while they sit around a campfire at night, still at the beach camp. Ilana and Jack ask Richard what they're supposed to do next, but Richard has no idea, on top of [[Recap/LostS06E04Lighthouse having completely lost faith in Jacob and his plan.]]

->'''Richard''': You wanna know a secret, Jack? Something I've known a long, long time? You're dead.
->'''Hurley''': You mean that figuratively, right?
->'''Richard''': No, I mean literally. We are all dead, every single one of us. And this, this, all this, it's not what you think it is. We're not on an island, we never were. We're in Hell. So, I'm not interested in what Jacob said. In fact, maybe it's time to stop listening to him, and we started listening to someone else, and that's exactly what I'm gonna do.

Richard leaves the camp and Ilana follows, despite Jack saying that Richard has lost his mind and clearly doesn't know what they need to do. The rest of the group start to explain the "Locke" situation to Jack, but he doesn't pay attention, having noticed Hurley standing by the water and having one of his [[ISeeDeadPeople "ghost" conversations]] in Spanish. Jack thinks he's talking to Jacob, but Hurley claims it's someone else and refuses to talk about it. Ben agrees with Jack's earlier point about Richard being a waste of time, and explains to Lapidus about Richard's agelessness. Lapidus wonders how a thing like that might've happened...


Tenerife, Canary Islands, 1867. Ricardo returns home via horseback and finds that his wife, Isabella, is even more sick with fever than when he left. He promises to bring back a doctor or some medicine, and Isabella gives him her crucifix necklace. Ricardo rides through the night and the pouring rain to the home of the nearest doctor, a rich snob who refuses to give up the medicine that could save Isabella, despite Ricardo offering all the money he has. Ricardo tries to take the medicine by force, and in the ensuing scuffle he accidentally kills the doctor. Medicine in hand, Ricardo rides back to his home only to find that he's too late and Isabella has died. Moments later, constables arrive to arrest him.

In prison, Ricardo has nothing but an English bible--he and Isabella had been planning to travel to the New World and were learning English--and Isabella's crucifix. A priest takes his confession but refuses to grant Ricardo forgiveness in the eyes of God because the only way for him to earn absolution is through penance, and he doesn't have enough time to do so: Ricardo is to be hanged the next day. Later, the priest takes Ricardo from his cell and brings him to an Englishman named Jonas Whitfield. Because he can speak English and was previously a farmer, Ricardo is sold as a slave to Magnus Hanso, captain of the ''Black Rock''. The ship spends weeks at sea on its way to the New World before being hit by a severe storm. Ricardo is locked in the hold with the other slaves, one of whom manages to spot an island--'''the''' Island--through a crack in the wall. He mistakes the intact statue of Tarawet for the Devil and shouts that the Island is a cursed place. As Ricardo prays for safe passage, a tidal wave picks up the ''Black Rock'' and propels it ''into'' the statue, smashing it to pieces.

When Ricardo regains consciousness, it's the next morning, most of the crew--including Captain Hanso--are dead, most of the slaves are alive, and the ''Black Rock'' is lying in the middle of the jungle. Whitfield goes down into the hold and starts killing the slaves, not wanting to risk them revolting against the crew. He finishes off the others and is about to run Ricardo through with a sword when the Smoke Monster shows up and wipes out the rest of the crew, including Whitfield. It enters the hold, goes right up to Ricardo, [[Recap/LostS02E10TheTwentyThirdPsalm "scans" him]] and then leaves. Still chained up in the hold, Ricardo is left for days without food, water or means of escape. At one point, he is almost gouged by a wild boar that enters the hold to feed on the dead remains of the slaves. Just as he's ready to give up, he is visited by Isabella [[note]]not a mirage, mind you; he's able to reach out and touch her[[/note]], who claims they have both died and gone to hell. She tries to free him before "the Devil" returns, but they hear the sound of the Monster approaching and Ricardo tells her to run. She has barely climbed out of the hold when Ricardo hears the sounds of the Smoke Monster attacking and Isabella screaming.

That night, Ricardo is woken by the arrival of a man arrives, a man with water and the keys needed to free him from the chains, a Man in Black. He claims to be a friend and confirms that Ricardo is in hell, and that Isabella was taken by the Devil. Ricardo promises to help the Man in Black in exchange for being freed, and for his help in trying to rescue Isabella.

->'''The Man in Black''': Got to get you on your feet. Gonna need your strength if we're going to escape.
->'''Ricardo''': Escape?
->'''The Man in Black''': That's right. I'm afraid there's only one way to escape from Hell. You're going to have to kill the Devil.

Once outside, the Man in Black feeds Ricardo, tells him that the Devil can be found at the remains of the statue and gives him [[Recap/LostS06E05Sundown a ceremonial dagger, along with instructions to kill the Devil before he can speak, or else it will already be too late.]]

->'''Ricardo''': How, how can I kill him with this? He's black smoke.
->'''The Man in Black''': No. I am.
->'''Ricardo''': My wife, Isabella, she was running from you?
->'''The Man in Black''': She was running from him. I'm sorry. I saw him take her but I couldn't do anything to stop it.
->'''Ricardo''': But if you are the black smoke...
->'''The Man in Black''': You aren't the only one who's lost something, my friend. The Devil betrayed me. He took my body. My humanity.
->'''Ricardo''': You killed the officers on the ship.
->'''The Man in Black''': I'm not the one you need to worry about. The Devil has your wife, and you are going to have to kill him if you ever want to get her back.
->'''Ricardo''': Murder is wrong. That is what brought me here.
->'''The Man in Black''': My friend, you and I can talk all day long about what's right or wrong, but the question before you remains the same: do you ever want to see your wife again?

Ricardo takes the knife and goes to the statue, prepared to kill "the Devil". Among the statue's debris he is attacked and quickly subdued by Jacob, who quickly realises what's going on and tells Ricardo that he's not really dead, and what he saw wasn't his wife. When Ricardo continues to claim that he's in hell, Jacob drags him to the water and holds him under until Ricardo exclaims that he wants to live. Jacob brings Ricardo some blankets and some wine, and they talk.

->'''Ricardo''': Are you the Devil?
->'''Jacob''': [''smiles''] No.
->'''Ricardo''': Then who are you?
->'''Jacob''': My name is Jacob. I'm the one who brought your ship to this island.
->'''Ricardo''': You brought it here? Why?
->'''Jacob''': [''picks up the bottle of wine''] Think of this wine as what you keep calling hell. There's many other names for it too: malevolence, evil, darkness. And here it is, swirling around in the bottle, unable to get out because if it did, it would spread. The cork is this Island and it's the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs. That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it's in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here, their past doesn't matter.
->'''Ricardo''': Before you brought my ship, there were others?
->'''Jacob''': Yes, many.
->'''Ricardo''': What happened to them?
->'''Jacob''': They're all dead.
->'''Ricardo''': But if you brought them here, why didn't you help them?
->'''Jacob''': Because I wanted them to help themselves. To know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them. It's all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything. Why should I have to step in?
->'''Ricardo''': If you don't, he will.

Those words strike home, so Jacob decides to give Ricardo a job as his ''intermediary'', guiding people on his behalf so that he doesn't have to step in himself, and as payment, he offers Ricardo whatever he wants. Ricardo asks for his wife back, and then for his sins to be absolved so that he doesn't have to go to Hell, but Jacob can't do either of those.

->'''Ricardo''': I never want to die. I want to live forever.
->'''Jacob''': Now that... [''touches Ricardo's shoulder''] ...I can do.

Ricardo returns to the stone bench where the Man in Black is waiting and gives him a white stone, a gift from Jacob. The Man in Black isn't surprised that Ricardo didn't go through with it ("He can be very... convincing"), and tells Ricardo that the offer still stands if he ever changes his mind. He also gives Ricardo something: Isabella's crucifix necklace, recovered from the ship. Once the Man in Black has gone, Ricardo buries the necklace under the stone bench and says goodbye to his wife.


Present day. Richard Alpert returns to the stone bench, digs up the necklace and starts shouting that he's changed his mind and wants to know if the offer still stands. He hears someone approaching, but it's not the Man in Black: it's Hurley. Richard gets angry until Hurley says that he was sent by Isabella, who wants to know why Richard buried her cross. He doesn't believe it at first, until Hurley tells him to close his eyes--something Isabella said to him before he died--and relays her message.

->'''Isabella''': [''subtitled Spanish''] It wasn't your fault that I died, Ricardo. As much as you wanted to save me... it was my time.
->''Richard begins to cry. Isabella places her hand on his face.''
->'''Isabella''': [''subtitled Spanish''] You've suffered enough, Ricardo.
->'''Richard''': [''subtitled Spanish''] I miss you. I would do anything for us to be together again.
->'''Isabella''': [''subtitled Spanish''] My love. We are already together.

She disappears, but not before giving Hurley one final message for Richard.

->'''Hurley''': She kinda said one more thing. Something you have to do.
->'''Richard''': What?
->'''Hurley''': She said you have to stop the Man in Black. You have to stop him from leaving the island. 'Cause if you don't... [''subtitled Spanish''] We all go to hell.

As Richard and Hurley talk, the Man in Black watches from a distance.


1867. Jacob and the Man in Black sit on a log overlooking a valley and talk about the recent events concerning Ricardo.

->'''The Man in Black''': I want to leave. Just let me leave, Jacob.
->'''Jacob''': As long as I'm alive, you're not going anywhere.
->'''The 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.
->'''The Man in Black''': Then I'll kill them too.

Jacob gives him a bottle of wine ("something for you to pass the time") and leaves. The Man in Black takes the bottle by its stem and, once Jacob has gone, smashes it against the log, spilling wine everywhere.