'Light vs. Dark' in 'Lost': Richard Malkin's change of heart

1x10_malkin With the dust now settling from the fallout from the "Lost" panel at Comic-Con, it's time to revisit the "Light vs. Dark" series. Many of the moments described in this series are theoretical exercises designed to see if we can retroactively detect the influence of either Jacob or The Man in Black during key moments in the show's history. But today's iteration? I'm going to go out on a limb and say the show will definitively answer it one way or another come Season 6.

Why? Because the producers insist that the show will come full circle in its final year. Part of closing that loop involves seeing characters we haven't seen since Season 1. One way to do that? Revisit old moments from a new perspective. Fill in gaps in existing narrative. And today's moment cries out for the connective tissue between one of the most mysterious changes of heart in the show's history.

The Episode: "Raised by Another"

The Scene:
Two scenes, really. Richard Malkin, a self-described fraud of a psychic, gets a jolting vision when Claire Littleton's friend takes her to see him on a lark. When Richard takes her hands, he intuits that she's pregnant, and then gets a horrific vision that prompts him to return Claire's money and ask her to leave. Later, he reveals that she, and only she, can raise her unborn child. "It can't be another. You mustn't allow another to raise your baby," he tells her. But four months later, he offers her $12,000 to offer up the child for adoption to couple of "good people" in Los Angeles, completely contradicting his 16-week plea to raise the child herself. He insists she HAS to take Oceanic 815. So, why the change of heart, Richard?

The Case for Jacob: Without the intervention of the Island, Claire would have never raised Aaron herself. Her inherent fear of single motherhood would have pushed her into an Australian "Juno" scenario, only instead of giving the child up to Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, she would have given it up to The Man in Black's pawns. For some reason, this child is key in Jacob's master plan, and so he gave both Richard and Claire the "little push" for which he's so famous.

The Case for The Man in Black: How to separate Claire from Aaron? Bring her to the Island. Through what method? Her father. How to bring her father to the Island? Break his spirit off the Island, lending him down the path to a bender that lands him in, you guessed it, Australia. Get Christian's body on the same plane as Claire, and use his visage to lure her away when the time is right. Overly complicated? You betcha. But in the centuries' old chess game betwixt himself and his adversary, this is relatively only two or three moves in the grand scheme of things.

The Zap2it Opinion: The Man in Black's separation of Claire and Aaron via Cabin Christian in "Something Nice Back Home" was opportunism, not the result of long-term planning. We've seen two Christians after his death: the blue-suited version that represents the good half of his psyche, and the brown-shirted version that represents the darker side. The message? Within everyone always are both sides. Jacob and The Man in Black take bets on one particular side winning out. Without Claire's influence over Aaron, The Man in Black will win. And for some reason, this victory is possibly more important than any other in the show. More than Locke. More than Ben. More than Christian. Why? The answer may lie in the shadow of the statue. A statue of a fertility god.

What do YOU think?

Ryan invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group.

Related

Zap2it presents Greatest TV Characters