Season 6 Episode 9

Ab Aeterno

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 23, 2010 on ABC



  • Trivia

    • The white rock that the Man in Black is holding in the last scene is small, round and polished. This is not what the stone looked like when Richard handed it to the Man in Black.

    • In the scene where Jacob is talking to Ilana, it is the same scene as the one in "The Incident Part 1" with a bit added on. In the new part of the scene, Ilana's bandages are in a different position.

    • In the Official Lost Podcast of March 24, 2010, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirmed that the ship approaching the island under bright, sunny skies in "The Incident, Part 1" is in fact the Black Rock. According to them, shortly after Jacob and the Man in Black's conversation, a storm suddenly formed and threw the Black Rock inland.

    • International slave trade had been abolished in the Western Hemisphere by the time this episode's flashbacks take place (the US abolished international slave trade in 1809). As such, the Black Rock should not have been bound for the Americas.

    • In the scene where Richard and Ignacio are yelling for help after the crash, the subtitles "Help us!" and "We're down here" should be reversed.

    • Europeans by the middle of the 19th Century had long given up referring to the Americas as "The New World."

    • The bible Richard was reading is a bible printed with modern printers as opposed to a Rotary printing press or a Block feed printing press. Also, Richard was reading a King James Bible, i.e. a Protestant version of scripture, despite being Catholic and seeking absolution from a Catholic Priest.

    • The Numbers:
      -When Richard was in jail, he had the Bible open to Luke chapter 4.
      -Jacob dunks Richard in the ocean 4 times.

    • The clasp on Isabella's necklace is not period.

    • During the closeup of Richard's eye while in chains on the Black Rock, you can see his contact lens.

    • The subtitle at the beginning of Richard's flashback places the events in 1867, yet the Black Rock was thought to be lost at sea following its departure from Portsmouth, England, March 22, 1845 heading to Siam (in "The Constant") and the ledger was discovered in 1852.

    • Richard's home island, Tenerife, was made infamous by the deadliest plane crash in the history of aviation on March 27th, 1977.

    • Ab Aeterno is Latin for "from eternity". The phrase is used to mean "since the beginning" or "for long ages".

    • The readable text on The Bible from St. Luke:

      24....And he said. Verily I say unto you, "No prophet is accepted in his own country"
      *25... But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the "days of Elias, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
      *26- But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a  city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow
      *27- And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian
      *28- And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath
      *29- And rose up and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might[...]

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • This episode received an Emmy nomination in 2010 for Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series.

    • Sonya Masinovsky appears as the Russian nurse in archive footage. According to Jorge Garcia and Nestor Carbonell in Garcia's Geronimo Jack's Beard podcast, Masinovsky filmed new footage, but it was cut.

    • This is the fifth episode where most, but not all of the episode is a flash back. The other ones being season 2's "The Other 48 Days", season 3's "Flashes Before Your Eyes", season 4's "Meet Kevin Johnson" and season 5's "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham".

    • This is the ninth extended episode (not including double-length season premieres/finales) running 5 minutes longer than the standard 1 hour episodes of Lost. Previous extended episodes were: "The Other 48 Days," "What Kate Did," "The Long Con," "Maternity Leave," "Dave," "?", "316", and "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham".

    • This is the first episode this season not to have any flash-sideways. As well as being the first flashback episode of season 6.

    • As of this episode, Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond) has been missing for 8 episodes, beating Harold Perrineau's absence in Season 2 for the longest streak of not appearing in an episode while still being a regular.

    • This is one of two episodes to end in a flashback scene, the other being Dave. (Both episodes also end in a flashback of a different character than the centric one, yet take place during the same time period.)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Canada: March 23, 2010 on CTV
      United Kingdom: March 26, 2010 on Sky1
      Portugal: March 30, 2010 on FOX
      Spain: March 30, 2010 on FOX
      Australia: March 31, 2010 on 7TWO
      Latin America: April 6, 2010 on Canal AXN
      Finland: April 15, 2010 on Nelonen
      Norway: April 28, 2010 on TVNorge
      Germany: May 12, 2010 on FOX
      Sweden: May 26, 2010 on TV4
      Czech Republic: May 31, 2010 on AXN

    • A Richard Alpert-centric episode.

  • Allusions

    • Stephen King's The Stand: In the Official Lost Podcast of March 24, 2010, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse reported that the scene where the Man in Black releases Richard is a reference to this work, specifically, part of the novel where the Man in Black relases criminal Lloyd Henreid from being trapped in a jail cell. The Man in Black makes Lloyd promise to do exactly what he says.

    • Pugio: the Man in Black's knife is a Roman pugio. On the sheath there is a depiction of the Roman she-wolf suckling Remus and Romulus, twin founders of Rome.

    • This episode greatly alludes to classic literature and mythology. The ongoing contest of a man's inclination to good or evil is an allusion to Goethe's "Faust"; the limbo in purgatory is an allusion to Alighieri's "Divine Comedy"; and the "devil" statue that reels in ships on the island is a reference to Scylla and Charybdis from "The Odyssey".

    • Episode Title: "Ab Aeterno" comes from the Latin translation of the Bible found in Proverbs 8:23 : "I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began."

    • Absolution: In prison, Richard seeks absolution, which forgives the guilt associated with the penitent's sins, and removes the eternal punishment (Hell) associated with mortal sins. The penitent is still responsible for the temporal punishment (purgatory) associated with the confessed sins, unless an indulgence is applied.

    • Gospel of Luke: Richard is seen reading the Bible opened to Luke Chapter 4, verse 37. In Chapter 4, Jesus has returned from his time in the desert, where he thwarted the temptation of the Devil, and attends Temple in Nazareth. As verse 37 approaches, a man with "a spirit of an unclean devil" challenges Jesus, who then summons the devil out of the man, much to the amazement of the those present.