Richard’s hair, or which Richard did Ben meet in the 1970s? Speaking of the 70s, where is Ben?

I seem to be better at posting questions than theories.

Ok, sometime in the 1970s, Ben the Boy comes to the Island and meets Richard in the jungle. Richard looks like he’s wearing the clothes of a 19th century sailor (check out the details of his shirt rags- there are horizontal braid trim knots on the front- a common theme of military and nautical dress in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the very least, this was not an uncommon knot and toggle closure for a shirt in the past) with longish, disheveled hair.

In 1954, he’s wearing contemporary clothing, well cut, with short hair and a clean shaven appearance. He even has modern shoes.

How could be be wearing clothing in the style of 130+ years before, 20 years AFTER dressing in a modern fashion, as he does in every single other instance we see him?

Could Ben have met an apparition of Richard as he appeared when he actually died or originally came to the Island? What’s going on here?

Also, in both the1950s and the 1970s, he takes on a much more visible, leadership role than he does while Ben is in charge.

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40 thoughts on “Richard’s hair, or which Richard did Ben meet in the 1970s? Speaking of the 70s, where is Ben?

  1. Ben is coming, I’m sure of it. He’s probably there on the island but they just haven’t explored it for us yet. There was already quite a bit going on in the last episode.

    As for Richard… I don’t know. We also see the Others living in the barracks (when we first met them) living in houses and wearing normal, modern clothing… then later they’re off in the woods wearing their rags… It’s a mystery…

  2. To Answer 1 question, we see young Ben very soon. As highbrow said, it would be too many twists maybe to have him show up last episode. There needs to be some meat for this episode, especially after a 2 week break!

    Now to Richard: I think he has been time traveling, but with control, like Desmond. That might be false, and if it’s true it still doesn’t explain much, but there is still very little information, especially with the long hair. Maybe that was at a time that he was still aging. I do not want to say he is dead though.

  3. I have questioned the “Richard Theory” many times.

    We know that Richard does not age, in every single episode (whether it be a flashback,flashfoward, or losties traveling through time) Richard always looks the same. And Juliet mentions how “Richard has always been here” but as it seems, they really did not tell her shit, your a doctor, worry about babies not the island.

    I just can’t fathom why he looks the same age, yet so different when he meets Ben for the first time.

    My only theory is that –

    1. By this time we know the truce is broken. Think about the scene where Ben is a little boy in school, they pretty much have a hostile alarm (like a fire alarm) that goes off and the teacher whips out a gun from under her desk. Crazy

    2. Ben’s father complains to Horace that he did not sign up for this job to be risking his life fighting hostiles while he is trying to clean the toilets (just a joke – workman=janitor)

    3. Maybe now that the truce is broken, the hostiles are not the only ones making an attack. The DI could have possibly launched a large scale attack which wiped out the hostiles and their technology.

    4. In this case Richard may have lost a lot of people, all his fancy clothes, and the barber giving him such nice haircuts!

    (his makeup artist obviously survived)

    5. When Richard meets Ben for the first time maybe it was not an accident. Jacob or the black smoke monster was using Ben’s dead mother to speak to call him past the fence. Richard could have been waiting for this opportunity to meet the “special” Ben who will be the savior of his people.

    maybe once Ben is grown-up and ready to lead, Richard feels they can launch their counter-attack on the DI = The Purge.

  4. sohrshah, I don’t know why you are uncomfortable with writing theories, when you articulate yourself so well.

    Richard is the one individual in the show, who I have yet to get a ‘firm’ understanding of. Your observations are astute, to say the least.

    The impression I get with Richard in the ‘period’ clothing, indicative of The Black Rock, and changes in appearance he makes, is similar to that of what we recently seen with Christian Shephard, who we are fairly certain is dead. kinda, sorta, maybe. lol

    I am under the impression, Richard may not be able to actually be ‘the leader’, perhaps because he is not actually amongst the living, as we know them.

    Once again, as with Christian Shephard, Richard seems to take on a very similar role, as emissary as opposed to actual leader.

    Both of these men, seem to act in an advisory capacity. This leads me to believe, that John Locke, will be representing another side of that ‘coin’, so to speak.

    I don’t think Richard,was ever leader, in the true sense of what we know leadership to be. For some unknown reason, this role goes to the living.

    I guess I am leaning towards Richard, as not being a living entity, such as we know it!

    Good stuff!

  5. Yeah, it could have been fake… Maybe he was trying to appear to Ben the way Ben might expect him to appear or to give the impression that the Hostiles are really just simple folk, trying to protect their island from the evils of the powerful DHARMA Initiative… kind of a bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat kind of thing…

  6. Yea! Remember when Jin, Sun and Sayid went on that boat to go around the island for a sneak attack (this is the first time they see the foot of the statue)

    The others had a fake camp setup to make it seem as though they were not very advanced and lived in huts. When Sayid attacks this fake camp no one is there, and when he opens the door that they were “protecting”, nothing is behind it, it was all a hoax.

    This could have been similar to why Richard was dressed/looked that way when he met Ben, trying to give Ben a different interpretation of what the “Hostiles” were actually like.

    wow highbrow we are actually on the same page today!

  7. Dab – thank you for the compliment! I am new to this whole forum/theory thing, so maybe in time I’ll feel more confident in expressing theories as you and AES do.

    I have the same impression you do regarding Richard being unable to become the leader, but I still feel that he is presented as having significantly more power/influence before Ben was leader.

    I have long felt that he is not alive and mortal in the truest sense of the words.

    The garb for appearances thing does fit to some point, but is hard to confirm because we never see Alpert dressed in rags while the Losties are around, do we? Does anyone recall a scene where he’s in rag dress with wig, etc. other than the Ben as a boy scene? If we’ve already seen Richard in modern clothes, in the DHARMA camp prior to this time, he’d have no reason to galavant in rags, and could not have known Ben would follow his mother’s apparition into the forest…

    I don’t buy the “war” explanation, because war or not, he’d still have his modern clothes as worn in the 1950s, 60s and earlier during the 70s as we’ve seen him. So even disheveled, they’d be modern.

  8. When the truce is officially broken (for reasons we still do not know)

    Maybe the DI will attack Richard and the others with a bomb or something that will destroy their entire camp, including Richard’s collection of nice clothes!

    We know the truce will be broken because Richard mentioned how “the only thing keeping me from coming here (the barracks) is our truce”

    When the truce is broken, the DI will react in a way that affects the “the hostiles” so much that they feel a purge (killing the DI) will be the only way to keep peace on the island.

    Don’t kill me on this one – just an idea!

  9. Josh – I’m sorry if you felt “killed” before. I apologize if my response seemed overly-harsh to anything you said.

    That said, I think your idea is among the best options we’ve got at the moment.

  10. Haha that was my insurance policy to keep highbrow from ripping me apart like the other day.

    I said some ridiculous shit, but to be fair, it was not all me, people in my office were getting involved and throwing in ideas. We got completely off topic lol

  11. Like right now? 😛

    Tonight is Lost night here in Southern California and perhaps we’ll find out some answers about Richard looking like he’s just spent three months at Pennsic.

  12. Thanks sohrshah you’re so nice!

    I think either Richard was pretending to dress and look like that to make an impression on Ben (similar to fake camp invaded by Sayid in season2).


    What I really think is that the truce will be broken by the DI. I really believe that if Richard made a truce/deal with the DI then he is a man of his word and would not break it.

    The DI on the otherhand is probably a little out of control, wildcards all over the place (dancing girl in the security room, looked like something out of a Jason movie).

    Once the DI breaks the truce, it will be so bad that Richard will lose all of his nice possessions and be forced to live off the land, atleast until he gets back on his feet.

    When Ben is very young, the Hostiles and the DI are at war! I pointed out earlier the scene where Ben and Annie are young students learning about the volcano,

    and the HOSTILE alarm goes off, the nice teacher WHIPS OUT A GUN from under her desk ready to go!

    The Hostiles seem to be losing this war, which is why Richard may be in hiding (and looking like a homeless guy)

    Recruiting Ben, and waiting for him to grow up (maybe they needed him to lead the purge since he has access to the DI by being a member of it) They were finally able to stop the DI and make peace on the island.

    Then the hostiles/others go steal all of the DI Stations.

    Richard orders his clothes online – he is special! (JOKE)

  13. Well, here’s the deal on Richard and his ever interchangeable wardrobe.

    He can appear as a leftover pirate from the Black Rock, and move into 1950’s island fatigues, to more casual attire in the 70’s. Long hair, short hair, messy and neatly groomed, to Armani suit wearing guy when recruiting Juliette.

    It would seem Richard had no reason to appear in ‘period’ attire when meeting young Ben, especially if Horace and Dharma already knew him. I would say this was for young Ben’s benefit, for whatever reason.

    A discussion was raised awhile back, why ‘the others’ originally presented themselves as ‘backward’ island folk, when they were anything but. I feel this was to create a false impression in the minds of ‘the losties’ as to who they were really dealing with.

    If Richard Alpert is not a ‘live’ soul, and is a representative of ‘the island’ and/or the ‘smoke monster’ at different times, this could be why he is never attired the same way.

    Some times, it’s Richard and some times it’s the ‘smoke monster’. Perhaps, it needs to sort through its photo albums to present itself, in the appropriate ‘timed’ attire. Just kidding, but you know what I mean! lol

  14. Here’s the thing though… the sequence of events doesn’t really seem to match up.

    We know that Ben should be on the island already when the Losties get there, right? He should at least be there by 1977… The war was going already happening when he got there, wasn’t it? Remember Annie showing him what to do during an attack?

    Then again, it certainly doesn’t seem like there’s a war going on while the Pasties are running around as late as 1977… what gives?

    I’m confused.

  15. Maybe with “LaFleur” as the head of security – and after his little chat with Richard, Sawyer has secured this truce so that it is still intact in 1977.

    As we all know, something must happen that will force the truce to be broken anyway, and at this point I am going to assume that it will be the losties coming back to the island in 1977.

    Remember when Ben was planning his trip to cut off Jack&Crew at the radio tower so they would not call the freighter.

    – He was holding the two wooden dolls given to him by his DI childhood friend Annie on his birthday.

    He said to Richard – “today is my birthday, do you remember birthdays Richard?”

    That to me was a huge giveaway that tells us in no way is Richard mortal, and because of that reason he cannot lead, but only assist whomever is chosen to lead.

  16. Do we know how old Ben was supposed to be turning in 1992? Maybe we are assuming that he was born earlier than he was. Maybe he will arrive in 1977 as an 10 year old, and maybe it will happen tonight! If so, then perhaps we will get some answers regarding Olivia as well. She’s a DHARMA teacher, but maybe divorced from Horace.

  17. sohrshah, great question! I read today in an interview on EW, that in 1977, Ben was supposed to be 11 years old. Meaning he was born in 1966! Anti-Christ, anyone?? lol

    It also stated that Ben was 17 years old when the incident occurred.

    This does not add up ‘time’ wise. That would mean that ‘the incident’ would have occurred in 1982!!

    Just on a note of interest, it was supposedly in 1992 that Ben purges Dharma. I suspect either Ben is lying about the date, or something else is off on the timing.

    I’m not sure which.

  18. Yeah, the numbers aren’t adding up in terms of the stated age and the fact that the incident had to had occurred prior to 1980. as for the Purge, it isn’t the same thing as the incident, so Ben would not have been 17. He’d have been… 26.

  19. The Others were probably been training and teaching him a lot to prepare him for leading and initiating the purge.

    He probably disguised himself as a workman inside the DI so that no one would ever suspect he was capable of anything.

    He must have been a spy working for Others the entire time.

    Who blends in and is noticed less than a creepy bug-eyed little workman – no one – he was perfect!

  20. Joshcgs, I said he was 17 during ‘the incident’, not ‘the purge’.

    sohrshah, good question about Ben’s education. I’ve wondered this myself, and thought he was perhaps educated off island, or had somebody brilliant come to ‘the island’ to school him.

  21. What is the incident you are referring to?

    is that when the Dharma Station got screwed up and leaked electromagnetic energy so that the button had to be pushed?

    If so, where did you read Ben was 17 when this took place?

    Are we sure the other’s even knew about it?

  22. Joshcgs, from Lostpedia on ‘the incident’.

    The Incident was an electromagnetic anomaly that apparently caused a catastrophic event that resulted in the DHARMA Initiative establishing the Swan station’s protocol. The Incident was first mentioned by Dr. Marvin Candle in the Swan Orientation film. (“Orientation”) The Incident occured due to a system failure of the Swan reactor in the Incident Room.

    There is more information about it, if you want to visit the site. Hope it’s helpful.

  23. Josh, Homerun questions here. The “hair” idea I feel was answered adequatly, exactly what I was going to say.
    As for Richard always looking the same no matter when we saw him. This seems a little too easy, but…
    When we see John Locke in 1954, he looks the same as in 2004. The same as he will in 1974. The same as he looked in…get where Im going with this?
    Richards immortality is a trick. It may not be as intentional as to make people believe he is immortal, as much as its a trick complete his “work” for the isalnd. Michael couldnt die, Jack supposedly couldnt die, and I am guessing Ben cannot die. Locke did die and was resurected to complete his island work. Was this the universe “course correcting” for Lockes death? We all knew he had more work to do, so why would the island allow Ben to kill him. Because it doesnt matter. The universe will course correct to allow him to complete what he is “supposed to”.
    I think that we have seen different circumstances of course correction on Lost thusfar, and Richards “agelessness” will be yet another.

    Excellent questions Josh. Which Richard indeed.

  24. Dabs, this still doesn’t explain how it could have happened when Ben was 17, because it MUST have occurred no later than 1980. He can’t be 11 in 1977 and 17 in 1979. Hmmmm.

  25. I’m just throwing this out there, but if Richard is dead… Is it possible that the shaggy haired look is Richard’s original true look from the Black Rock and that all the other looks are the way other people see him?

    In other words only Ben sees him the way he truly is. His un-changing self. Richard can will other people to see him in modern day dress, but only Ben sees through that?

  26. Andre, this is akin to what I was saying, but I really don’t want to believe that Richard is dead in the classic sense of things. Nor is he mortal.

    What if Richard is the ISLAND’S constant?

    Just a thought.

    I don’t even know where I read that Ben was supposed to be 17 at the time of the Incident, but I really don’t think it can be true. A new thread should be created for this, but… how can we have a season and a half left to make about three years pass by? (More in a new thread)

  27. I don’t see a problem with the timeline. There was never an indication given as to Bens age at the time of the incident. I also believe that the belief that Ben was 17 at the time of the purge is based on the observation that “he looks about 17”. If at some point he’d said “Hey dad… It’s my 17th birthday today. Do you think we can actually do something this year?” then we’d know… but we’re just assuming.

    Ben is around 14 when the incident happens and about 26 at the time of the purge. That makes him about 38 when the Losties get lost and 41 and 11 in our most recent episodes.

  28. Richard has got to be on the island with Sun and Lupidas. I am sure Locke, Ben (who got hit with a paddle by Sun that was great!) and the Ajira crew will find a way over ther.

    When the first flash took place, Locke appeared to be standing in the jungle alone and everyone else disappeared, but we find out that it was really Locke who disappeared and not Richard&crew.

    For some reason Richard&crew do not flash, and have remained in 2007 with the runway, etc.

    I am sure Ben will find them very soon!

  29. highbrow, you are confused. Ben is 11 years old in 1977, meaning he was born in 1966 or thereabout.

    When ‘the incident’ occurred, they are saying Ben was 17 years old. Ben didn’t kill his father at the age of 17, no matter what!

    Which would mean, if this is accurate, Ben killed his father in 1992, during ‘the purge’ he would have been approximately 26 years old, give or take.

    I do NOT think Ben’s age is off by that far. Lostpedia says he was born in the 60’s.

    If this is not a continuity problem, something is off. You can clearly see from last nights episode, Ben is no older than 11 or 12 years of age.

  30. I’m not confused. You just said exactly the same thing I did! Ben was born in 1966 making him 11 when we saw him last night, 14 or so at the incident (assuming it happened in 1980) and 26 at the purge.

    If this is so then there is no problem with the timeline.

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