Richard Stacks the Deck
I’m seriously looking forward to Richard’s episode. That one’s going to answer a LOT of questions. Richard being a “slave” makes no sense to me. Being a prisoner for mutiny or another crime, having been mutinied against, or perhaps taking part in a ruse all seem like far more viable scenarios- especially given the window of time in which we know the Black Rock sailed and was borne on the island. Given the “betting” nature of Jacob and MIB, my guess is that Richard wins a wager against one of them (or both) and claims immortality (or some form of it) as a result. I suppose we could also invert that; perhaps his seeming inability to age is some form of punishment. Either way, Richard is a glaring exception to every other character on the show, with the notable exception of our resident (demi?)gods. There must be a significant reason why we have never seen anything else like him.
As an addendum to this theory, ponder this: Could Richard’s long life have a connection to the obstetric curse of the island? What if his agelessness is a result of “stealing” life from preggos and their eggos, and would this be the case, could Claire and Sun have escaped this fate by avoiding gestation (ie. conception through projection) entirely on the island? I believe the Spring may play a part, but I won’t touch the idea beyond that.