The Why of Alpert

I find Richard Alpert to be one of the most intriguing characters on Lost. He is certainly one of the most mysterious. One of the few things we know about Alpert is that Jacob is responsible for making Alpert ageless. I’m fascinated on the ‘why’ aspect and have been trying to come up with possibilities. Why would Jacob make Alpert ageless and seemingly immortal?

And the possibility that I came up with is that it is a reward from Jacob. I believe Richard did something that was of great benefit to Jacob and Jacob granted Richard the ability to stop aging and longevity of life. But what could Richard have done? We know that Jacob and Nemesis have opposite philosophical views and that they have been trying to prove each other wrong. Maybe the situation involving the crew of the Black Rock (which most of us are assuming Richard was on and is the same ship we see in the Season 5 finale) and Nemesis got so out of hand that it called for drastic action on Jacob’s part. Since Jacob can’t kill Nemesis according to their rules the next best thing that Jacob could do is imprison Nemesis. From what we’ve seen so far it is implied that Jacob and Nemesis can not take direct action against each other but maybe they can interfere with each other’s plans so Jacob has Richard imprison Nemesis in the part of the Island that the cabin is eventually built on. So as a reward for doing this Jacob grants Richard agelessness and longevity. Not only that he makes Richard his liason to the Others and tasks Richard with keeping an eye on the Others. And ever since then Richard has done Jacob’s bidding.

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Lungbarrow, Achalli Number516644 Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconcieved notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. - T.H. Huxley

15 thoughts on “The Why of Alpert

  1. This is really good stuff Achalli! I’ve been contemplating Richard and the cabin myself recently as I rewatched season 5. It was a little confusing to me because Ilanna and company first went to the Cabin before going to the Statue and asking for Ricardos. Were they looking for Richard at the cabin?
    Your scenario cleans it up nicely! They went to the Cabin first to see if Nemesis is still imprisoned there. It also clears up Ilannas statement outside the Statue to Richard about knowing what they are dealing with.

  2. Achalli, there is no doubt about Richard Alpert being an enigma. Until we learn his back story however, much is open for speculation, including this.

    I have always stated since the end of Season 5, that Richards immortality may not be a gift.

    Given that many ancient beliefs revolve around the afterlife, the whole idea of immortality might be viewed more as a punishment. Holding a human being bound to an eternal life on earth, as opposed to eternal life of the soul in the afterlife might be viewed in such a manner.

    Richard states to Ilana “Jacob made me this way”. The statement was ambiguous, IMO. If we are to believe Richards statements, and that Jacob serves on the side which is light, we would have to believe that Jacob punished Richard by making him immortal.

    However, if it were Nemesis who made Richard immortal, in the sense that he took Richards soul in exchange for everlasting life, than perhaps this might be the most plausible explanation of the two.

    It is possible that if Nemesis is responsible for Richards immortality that at some point, Richard may have switched alliances and allegiance in order to serve Jacob.

    One other possibility is, that Richard is lying about Jacob making him immortal, and he has been betraying Jacob all along and really serves Nemesis.

    We will eventually learn which of these is true.

    Excellent topic for discussion!

  3. Roland, with this scenario the most likely reason Ilana looked for Richard at the cabin is that Richard is Nemesis’ jailor. This would also explain why Richard was shocked when Ilana showed him Lockels body. Richard is just realizing that Nemesis has escaped.

    Dabs, you are correct that anything about Richard is speculation at this point and all the points you raise are valid. IMO Richard is on Jacob’s side and always has been. One other possibility I would like to through out is that all though Richard has stopped showing signs of aging he doesn’t necessarily need to be immortal. Jacob may have simply granted him longevity in exchange for being Nemesis’ jailor and guard. Also, this could be one of Smokey’s functions also. It would appear that a performance review would be in order for both of them then.

  4. Achailli, I agree on many of your points here, and in doing so, I have written a ridiculously long explanation of what I feel is the “why” of Alpert, I hope you are not offended for a second theory, but my response has turned into just that…it will post in about an hour…

    Great topic and thoughts…I have a lot to say with my wheels turning now, and I almost have to put it in a theory for it to make the most sense..

  5. AES I’m not offended at all. Actually quite the opposite. I’ve always consider a theory succesful based on the discussions it generates, not if it turns out to be right. I’m glad you’re doing it as a seperate theory. I use my phone a lot to respond to my postings but after a certain number of comments I’m not able to access all of the post. So if I donLt respond to anyone right away it is due to technicle reasons.

  6. I agree with dabiatchishere. I don’t think Richard’s immortality is a gift, even if it started as such. I suppose you could relate it to say how Richard Cullen became a vampire or the little girl in Interview with a Vampire became one.

    Maybe LOST Richard is on his deathbed. Jacob is with him. Jacob offers the choice: die or live forever. Maybe Jacob didn’t give him the choice – instead he chose for him but were his intentions selfish? Maybe. Maybe he just needed an errand boy. Regardless – living forever sounds like punishment.

    I’m digging Achailli’s thought that Richard might only appear ageless on the outside. Maybe his situation is similar to the uterus X-Ray he showed Juliet. Or not.

  7. I like ur theory about the mib aks smokey being imprisoned in the cabin. This explains the, “Help me.” John Locke heard, as I have stated before I have always thought Locke has had a communion w/ smokey from the beginning…

  8. Maybe I’m just hoping, but I still hold out that Flocke is just Locke. And Jacob and his buddy are just human. And that Richard is also just human. He appears to not age, just like Jacob appears not to age. Maybe something else is up.

  9. I think Richard (my absolute favorite character) came from the black rock as you stated but was the captain of the vessel.
    Richards name in latin is
    Ricardos – powerful ruler
    Albertus – bright nobility
    Sounds like a powerful man.
    But I believe like you said he has nothing left in his life.He is empty and alone but in a position of power. I believe the black rock occupants are the others past generations. Yet Richard needed to guide every single generation so nobody starts to corrupt, and fight. And the ay he was trusted with this position of power is helping capture Un-locke.
    The reason Im so detailed is because I know not every bit of this is right or even any of it but more details means a higher chance of something being right.

  10. The main problem of Smokey being who/what is trapped in the cabin is simply that we have seen the monster MANY times prior to seeing John hear “help me” in the cabin…

  11. That’s true AES… I think the cabin had to be Jacob’s at one point b/c that’s where they went to look for him. Maybe Jacob was protected there until the ring was broken, which I believe Hurley broke. I don’t know… A message was left there as to Jacob’s whereabouts…

  12. I agree with AES that Smokey and Nemesis are two seperate entites. If I recall correctly it was horace that built the cabin, but IMO Nemesis was imprisoned in that spot well before the cabin was built, possibly as a form of E/M energy.

    BanLinus, I believe Richard is human but something has been done to alter him so that he stopped aging and has a long lifespan.

    I’ve also always got the impression, based mainly on his conversation with John right before he gives him Sawyer’s file, that Richard keeps tabs on the Others and basically lets the ‘leader’ direct them as they see fit but if they start doing something that Jacob wouldn’t like then Richard steers them back to the path.

    I want to thank everyone for their comments. This has generated a better discussion than I thought it would.

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