This has nothing to do with any of the current acronyms
(ARG/DWY/OGR), but I thought it might be fun to take a closer look at Richard
Alpert and what his character represents to Lost. Let’s begin with a brief
introduction to a few terms and an integral person…
PANCHEN LAMA: The second highest ranking Lama after the
Dalai Lama. They form a Tulku reincarnation lineage.
TULKU: A Lama reincarnate, one who is reborn multiple times.
DR. RICHARD ALPERT (aka RAM DASS, servant of God): The real
Richard Alpert is a spiritual teacher. He was fired from his post at Harvard
for researching psychedelic chemicals.
And now, on to the theorizing…
ISLAND RICHARD ALPERT
The island’s Richard Alpert appears to be ageless; he remains
among the living as a teacher, a scholar, a peaceful negotiator, a calm
influence and ally, a voice of reason among the chaos. His character is homage
to both Ram Dass and the Panchen Lama.
There are limitless possibilities with regard to when Alpert
first appeared on the island, and in what capacity. One common theory is that
he was an original member of the Black Rock crew, and that his ship wound up in
the middle of the island after it was relocated during a previous turn of the
frozen donkey wheel (thus, his ‘Hostile’ ensemble). If Widmore is also an ageless
wonder, he may have been the one who turned it; thus, he was never able to
return to the island and only recently uncovered its whereabouts.
ALPERT & LOCKE
Alpert designated John Locke as the new incarnation of the island’s
Dalai Lama, which is why he was present at Locke’s birth.
When Locke was five
years old, Alpert administered a series of tests to see if young John
recognized items from his previous or future life. Alpert’s frustration with
Locke’s failure to choose the correct items foreshadows Locke’s eventual downfall
as leader on the island and death off island as Jeremy Bentham.
When Locke was a teenager, Alpert failed to recruit him
again (via Mittelos Bioscience, the same front that ultimately lured Juliet to
That Alpert’s Chosen One appears to have been an erroneous selection
may have serious ramifications for him on the island and with the one man who
ranks above him (it is up for debate whether that may be Jacob or Widmore, but
I do not believe Ben to be a candidate).
ALPERT & MEDICINE
When he was off the island, Alpert was a doctor (along with
Ethan) with Mittelos Bioscience. It is a safe bet that Alpert shares Ram Dass’
expertise with chemicals; he was probably responsible for creating the island’s
original vaccine (which Desmond, Kelvin, Claire & others injected), indicating
a peaceful alignment with Dharma that has never been alluded to (although if
Alpert really did oversee the Purge, that relationship went terribly amiss). It is more than likely that he also had a hand
in the breakthrough of Juliet’s infertility drug for her sister, and removed
any barriers to her success (i.e. ex-husband’s death via bus) and eventual path
to the island.
ALPERT AS 2ND IN COMMAND
As the number two go-to guy for the island, for Ben and
presumably for Jacob, Alpert traveled back and forth rather frequently and
stealthily. He successfully recruited Juliet and also delivered Anthony Cooper.
He convinced Locke to con Sawyer into killing his father. He negotiated with
Kate and Sayid to assist with Keamy’s release of Ben in return for seats on the
ALPERT AS…CHRISTIAN SHEPARD
The Black Smoke Monster manifests itself in various ways on
the island. It is also possible that Alpert shares that ability. Many of us have assumed that Smokey took the
shape of the deceased when they appeared to the living (ranging from Boone to
I strongly believe that Alpert appears as Christian Shephard,
and has since September 22, 2004 (the date of the 815 crash).
1) In the last Lost mobisode, we witnessed Christian tell
Vincent to go to his son Jack because ‘had work to do.’ Alpert’s role was to encourage Jack’s
leadership after the crash.
2) In the first episode of Season 4, Hurley happened upon
Jacob’s cabin and spied Christian there. When we don’t see Alpert for long periods of
time, he is protecting and in counsel with Jacob.
3) When Claire seemed on the edge of death following her
house explosion, Christian appeared to accompany her to the other side, to Jacob’s
cabin. (Side note: that Miles was able to actually see and hear Christian at
that time indicates his ability to communicate with the reincarnated as well as
the deceased). Alpert was there to sooth
her transition from life to death, appearing as her father to ease the journey
and arrange for the safe delivery of her son to a trusted source.
4) Christian spoke on behalf of Jacob when Locke asked how
to save the island, and was the one who informed him of the need to move it. Alpert
knew that Ben had to turn the wheel, and that Locke would remain to lead…one
final chance to prove his worth.
5) When Michael was on the freighter attempting to detonate
the bomb, Christian appeared to accompany him to the other side, and informed
him that it was ‘time to go.’ When you’ve redeemed yourself in the eyes of the island,
Alpert is the messenger.
6) After rescue, Jack sees Christian on two occasions and
speaks to him once. Alpert was there as his father to remind him of the lie and
to encourage his return to the island.
We have yet to see both Alpert and Christian in the same
scene. However, I do concede that I unable to explain why Christian’s actual
body has been missing from the coffin since the crash.
ALPERT’S CURRENT WHEREABOUTS
He was working with newly designated island leader Locke at
the time of the frozen donkey wheel turn, and did not appear to be surprised by
the event (given that he’d probably ‘lived’ through many such occurrences).
ALPERT & ABADDON
After multiple attempts to lure Locke to the island, did
Alpert assign Matthew Abaddon to influence Locke? Is that why Abaddon mysteriously
appeared during Locke’s back rehab and inspired his future walkabout (which is
why Locke was on Flight 815).
[aside: note the baseball poster above on the rehab facility
wall when Abaddon is pushing Locke in the wheelchair…one of Alpert’s test
items was a baseball glove.]
Obviously there are innumerable theories about exactly who
Richard Alpert is, and given that Nestor Carbonell has been upgraded to series
regular (as well as John Terry/Christian Shephard), I look forward to
discovering more about Alpert’s past and his future role on the island in Season 5.