As expected, I pretty much LOVED this episode.
I always like when the show takes some time to really sit down with a character and get to know him.
And oh my god, answers!
Nothing big, nothing we couldn't put together before now, but that's called 'playing fair' and big props to Lost for giving us the hints and then telling us exactly what the deal was.
Finally, we are told the Major Conflict, and (at least in a metaphysical sense) what the island is.
I really, really enjoyed seeing Richard's backstory, and it's even more tragic than I suspected. I loved seeing just how persuasive Jacob *and* the man in black can be. The man in black is always telling people how much of a silver tongued devil Jacob is, I wonder if he realises just how good at it HE is.
All that, plus how the Black Rock got into the middle of the jungle (Which I don't quite buy, but hey, magic island) and how the statue was broken. Which...if a wooden ship crashed into a stone statue, you would think the statue would be the one in more pieces, more whole, than the boat. But whatever. It's Lost. ;)
I'm so glad they kept Richard on the side of good, and it was also great to see them come right out and say 'the island is Hell and everyone's dead' but not *really* mean it aside from it being Richard's lingering old world superstitions, since that has often been the most common theory. So seeing the show give a nod to that and almost say "Nono, just kidding" was good.
Nestor Carbonell is awesome, hands down.
THIS is the episode I've been waiting for all season, with the promise of answers, and I was not disappointed. It gave us some crumbs, it pieced some threads together, and it still leaves the big pieces left to deal with, while still giving us some added hints for those as well.
Best of all? No sideflashes.