''Think of this wine for what you keep calling hell. There are 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 thinks 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.''And from EW:
Ricardo asked if others had been brought to The Island before him. ''Yes. Many,'' Jacob said. Ricardo asked what happened to them. ''They're all dead,'' he replied matter-of-factly. (Both Pellegrino and Titus Welliver as Man In Black injected their line readings with some knowing humor that lightened the mood while making their characters even more inscrutable and unsettling.) Ricardo asked a crucial question: How come Jacob doesn't take a more active role in shepherding his spiritual reclamation projects? ''Because I want them to help themselves. To be able to tell 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?'' Richard's reply: ''If you don't, he will.''Also, there's an excellent interview with Nestor Carbonell here. Definitely a good read.
And I'm in love with this recap/review from LA Times. I'll have to read there more often!
But none of this would work without the emotional core at the center of the episode, which is the story of Richard Alpert and the woman he loved and lost, and the way the Island could bring them together, but not really. We've talked about how the Man in Black gives you what you want, but there's always some sort of twist that keeps you from really having it, and how Jacob gives you what you want but in such a way that you can never really have it. And so, Jacob and the Island returns Isabella to Richard for a few moments more, but only a few moments. You can never really get what you want in this world or in the world of "Lost." Richard Alpert has spent a lifetime trying to get back a handful of moments, a silvery cross that proves ultimately worthless to everyone but him. Things slip through your fingers, and the Island, then, acts as a kind of repository, a place where you can live out those last moments one more time before getting on to the work you have to do. It's a hard life, but someone has to live it, over and over and over again.