Richard Alpert (also known as Richardus and by his birth name Ricardo) was a long-time inhabitant of the Island, having arrived in 1867 as a slave on the Black Rock. Soon after he arrived, he asked Jacob to make him ageless, and in exchange held a leadership position with the Others as an advisor and the sole intermediary between Jacob and the people who were brought to the Island. Richard believed that even though he could not kill himself, others were capable of killing him. He perpetually appeared to be in his late 30s or early 40s, whether on or off the Island.
Richard had on occasion left and returned to the Island. In the outside world, he monitored John Locke’s early life, having visited him as a baby and at age five. He also presented himself as a recruiter for Mittelos Bioscience, helping to bring Juliet to the Island in 2001.
After the crash of Ajira Flight 316 in 2007, Richard led the Man in Black, who he thought was a resurrected John Locke, to Jacob. This resulted in Jacob being murdered by Benjamin Linus, at the prompting of the Man in Black. After Jacob’s death, Richard tried to kill himself, believing all the years he had spent on the Island were meaningless, as Jacob had promised him he would tell him everything he knew. Through the mediumship of Hurley, Richard found out from his long-dead wife, Isabella, that he must prevent the Man in Black from leaving the Island. After spearheading a plan to destroy Ajira Airways Flight 316 with explosives, Richard attempted to negotiate with the Man in Black to buy Widmore and others time to hide, but was instead violently thrown through the air by the Monster. Richard survived the attack and realized he had begun aging normally. He helped Miles and Frank fix Ajira Flight 316 and left the Island with the two of them, along with Kate, Sawyer and Claire, to live in the outside world.
Ben contacted someone via a signal mirror while on his way to the Orchid station. Later that day, it was implied to be Richard who had been contacted, when he showed up to intercept Sayid and Kate while they were searching for Jack. He told them to put their guns down, and when they refused, the remaining Others emerged from the surrounding bushes, guns at the ready. After disarming the two, Richard led them into the jungle. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1”)
He then made a deal with Sayid and Kate that if they helped the Others rescue Ben, they could leave the Island on the helicopter. After ambushing the mercenaries from the freighter, Richard saved Sayid from Keamy by shooting the latter in the back, though not fatally as is later revealed.
Ben showed up and thanked Richard, who replied somewhat curtly, “My pleasure.” He then informed Ben of the deal with Sayid and Kate, and Ben expressed his approval. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)
Prior to leaving the Island via the Orchid, Ben told Locke that Richard and his people were two miles east of the station. Ben also said that Richard would answer all of Locke’s questions about the Island and follow all his commands. Locke proceeded to the camp to be warmly welcomed by Richard and the Others. The two were talking when the sky began to glow as Ben began the process of moving the Island. Locke disappeared at this point, while Richard and the Others remained in the same time. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3”)
5×15 – Follow the Leader
In 2007, Richard Alpert was working on a ship in a bottle when he was interrupted by the arrival of the Man in Black, in the form of the recently deceased John Locke. Richard, however, thought the individual was the latter. The Man in Black greeted him, saying it had been a while; three years, according to Richard. The Man in Black then told Richard that they “had an errand to run” and he would explain everything on the way. A few moments later, the two were approached by Sun, who showed Richard the photo of her friends from 1977, and asked Richard if he remembered seeing them in that year. Richard replied that he remembered very well, as he himself had watched them all die.
Later that night, the Man in Black, Richard, and Ben made their way to the Beechcraft. Before reaching their destination, the Man in Black told Richard he expects to see Jacob later on; while Richard seemed surprised and reluctant, he agreed to listen to the Man in Black, now the leader of the Others. Once there, the Man in Black gave Richard a medical kit and told him that a wounded man would come out of the jungle. Richard was told to extract the bullet from the man’s leg and tell him that he should bring back everyone who had left the Island and that in order to do that, the man would have to die. The Man in Black also tricked Richard to give ‘his’ compass to the man. The man emerged from the jungle, limping. To Richard’s and Ben’s surprise, it was the actual John before his death, who was time-traveling as a result of the Island’s move. (“Follow the Leader”)
5×01 – Because You Left
Unknowingly following the Man in Back’s orders, Richard approached the actual John. The time-traveling Locke said that he had been shot by Ethan, and Richard replied, “Well, what comes around goes around,” referring to the survivors shooting Ethan. John questioned how Richard even knew he was shot in the first place, to which Richard responded that “Locke” told him so. Locke denied this, and Richard answered, “Well, you will.” (Richard was still unaware that the present-day John Locke was in fact the Man in Black). Richard put on a pair of glasses and removed the bullet, demonstrating skills appropriate to a field medic. He covered the wound, told Locke to keep it clean and said the island would do the rest. (“Because You Left”)
Explaining that John was about to “move on,” Richard quickly explained what Locke had to do. Richard told Locke that the next time they met, Richard would not recognize him and gave the Man in Black’s compass to John so he would be able to provide proof that they had met before. The last instruction Richard had for John was that in order to save the island Locke would have to bring the Oceanic Six (who had returned to civilization) back to the Island. As the Island started to “skip” again, John asked Richard how he could do that, and Richard replied, “You’re gonna have to die, John.” Seconds later, Locke vanished. (“Because You Left”)
5×15 – Follow the Leader
Richard made his way back to the Man in Black and Ben, and seemed satisfied that the time-traveling John believed him. Richard was happy that Locke did not actually have to die (which he actually did) to which the Man in Black revealed to him that he did. (“Follow the Leader”)
Shortly after, Richard, Ben and the Man in Black made their way back to camp. The Man in Black introduced himself to his people, and informed them that Richard is going to take him, along with the rest of them, to see their unseen leader, Jacob. Quietly, Richard wondered if the Man in Black would only cause trouble, to which Ben exclaimed that this was the reason he tried to kill him, a comment which elicited a surprised response from Richard (“Follow the Leader”)
5×16 – The Incident, Part 1
Richard led the Man in Black and the rest of the Others to the ruins of the statue of Taweret, informing him that this is where Jacob lived. Along the way he told the Man in Black the reason for him being the way he was (seemingly unaging), was because of Jacob and he suspected that Locke’s ‘apparent’ resurrection may have something to do with Jacob as well. Once they arrived at the statue ruins, the Man in Black wanted to take Ben with him to see Jacob but Richard objected, stating that the rules he follows says that only the Leader can meet Jacob and there can only be one leader on the island at a time. Despite hearing this and accusing Richard of making the rules up as he goes along, the Man in Black insisted on Ben’s inclusion and Richard eventually gave in to his demand. Richard pushed in a stone at the base of the statue allowing access and departed after telling them both to say “hi” to Jacob.
5×17 – The Incident, Part 2
Later, Ilana and her group arrived and asked for “Richardus”. Richard came forward and corrected her by saying, “Actually, it’s Richard.” Ilana asked him the question, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” To which Richard responded (in Latin), “He who shall save us all”, apparently the correct answer. Ilana then said that she had something to show him. She opened the crate she and her people had been carrying around to reveal the corpse of John Locke. Richard asked Ilana where she found him and she explained thus revealing to Richard and all the Others that the “John Locke” whom Richard had been following was apparently an impostor. (“The Incident, Part 2”)