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.
6×01 – LA X, Part 1
After the revelation of John Locke’s body, Richard attempted to deny Ilana and Bram entrance to the statue of Taweret, claiming that asking “what lies in the shadow of the statue” does not make them in charge. He repeated the maxim that nobody enters unless invited by Jacob. Immediately after, Ben walked out of the statue and asked Richard to go inside and talk to Locke. An exasperated Richard dragged Ben to the Ajira crate and tossed him on the ground, bringing Ben face-to-face with the truly dead Locke.
6×02 – LA X, Part 2
The following morning, Richard saw the Temple’s warning flare, possibly alerting him to Jacob’s death. Just then, the Man In Black descended from the statue in the form of Locke. The Others draw their guns on him but Richard implored them to not shoot. The Man in Black approached Richard and commented that it was good to see him “out of [his] chains.” Upon hearing this phrase from his past Richard recognized the Man in Black. The Man in Black quickly knocked Richard unconscious and carried him off into the jungle, while the others on the beach watch helplessly. (“LA X, Part 2”)
6×04 – The Substitute
Deep in the jungle, the Man in Black tied up the unconscious Richard in a tarp and hung it from a tree. He then left Richard there for a short while as he explored the island in his black smoke form. Returning later in the form of Locke when Richard awoke, the Man in Black cut him down with a machete and began questioning Richard after providing him with water. He told Richard that he had always wanted Richard to come with him. Richard asked why the Man in Black looked like Locke, and the Man in Black replied that Locke could get close to Jacob because he was a “candidate”. When Richard inquired as to what a candidate is, the Man in Black responded with restrained sarcasm, asking why Richard would follow Jacob without knowing what he was following him for and that the Man in Black would never have kept Richard in the dark. The Man in Black again invited Richard to come with him and promised to tell him everything, but Richard refused to go with him. At that moment, the Man in Black saw a mysterious blonde boy in the jungle exposing two bloodied arms. The Man in Black seemed disturbed, but Richard could not see the boy. After the boy seemingly vanished, the Man in Black walked away, saying he would see Richard “sooner than he thinks.”
Some time later, Richard emerged from the jungle near Sawyer, who was temporarily alone while the Man in Black was chasing after the mysterious boy. Richard warned Sawyer that the man who looks like Locke wanted all of Sawyer’s friends dead, and urgently asked Sawyer to accompany him to the Temple. Sawyer pointed out to Richard that he had already left the Temple and that he wanted to learn the answers that the Man in Black promised him. Before Richard could argue with Sawyer any further, he heard the approach of the Man in Black and fled back into the jungle. (“The Substitute”)
Richard eventually reached the Temple at some point after the massacre by the Man in Black. Not long afterward, Richard came across Hurley and Jack in the midst of an argument about the direction of the Temple. Richard indicated that the Temple was in another direction, and Jack and Hurley followed him. Hurley, curious about Richard’s agelessness, asked if he was time travelling, a cyborg, or a vampire. Richard explained that the reason for his agelessness is because Jacob gave him a gift. The three of them then arrived at the Black Rock. Richard told Jack and Hurley that he never had any intention of going to the Temple because he already went there and saw that everyone was dead. However, he did not see Jack and Hurley’s friends, and guessed they might have gotten out in time. Richard entered the Black Rock, followed by Jack and Hurley. Richard stopped to examine some chains and shackles and mused that he had been on the Island for a long time and this was his first visit back to the ship.
Richard started haphazardly handling some dynamite stowed in a crate, much to Hurley’s distress. He tossed a stick on top of a barrel, but the dynamite did not explode. Richard explained that Jacob touched him, and ever since, Richard had been unable to die by his own hands. Because of this, Richard wanted Jack to light the fuse in order to kill him. He told Jack that his long life on the Island actually had no purpose, and lamented that Jacob had promised to share his plans with Richard, but did not do so before he died. Jack listened and lit the stick of dynamite, but instead of leaving, he sat across from Richard to have a talk. He told Richard about how the mirrors in Jacob’s Lighthouse showed Jack’s childhood home, and that Jacob had been watching Jack his whole life. Jack said he was not worried about the dynamite exploding because Jacob would not have invested all that time in him only to allow his and Richard’s lives to end this way. As Richard watched intently, the fuse apparently extinguished itself just before reaching the dynamite. Richard declared, with a touch of sarcasm, that Jack was now the one “with all the answers,” and asked where they should go next. Jack replied with a smile: “Back to where it all started.”
Richard, emboldened by Jack’s words, joined Jack and Hurley on their return to the survivors’ beach camp, where they reunited with Sun, Lapidus, Ilana, Miles, and Ben who had already gone there for safety from the Man in Black. Richard stood apart from the group (as does Ben on the opposite side) and silently watched the friends happily reunite, and Ilana’s introduction to Jack and Hurley. (“Dr. Linus”)
6×09 – Ab Aeterno
Later on the beach, Richard was bemused by Ilana’s supposition that he knew what to do next. With renewed cynicism, he told the group that the Island is Hell, and that it was time to stop listening to Jacob and to listen to someone else instead. Richard then walked off into the jungle. Upon reaching the place where he had met with the Man in Black long ago, he dug up his wife’s cross pendant and then called out for the Man in Black. He shouted that his previous choice was wrong and asked if the Man in Black’s offer still stood. Hurley then arrived and revealed to Richard that he had been talking to Isabella, and that he followed him from the beach with her guidance. Hurley told Richard that Isabella loved him and, although she missed him, she was meant to die. Hurley then mediated the reunion of Richard and Isabella, after which Richard emotionally thanked Hurley and put Isabella’s pendant around his neck. Hesitantly, Hurley added that Isabella said Richard must stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island, or else they would “all go to hell”. (“Ab Aeterno”)
6×10 – The Package
Along with Hurley, Richard returned to the beach camp and joined the group, much to Ilana’s relief. He soon learned that the Man in Black had visited Ben and told him that he could be found on Hydra Island. Richard then announced that the group’s next move must be to go to Hydra Island and blow up the Ajira plane in order to prevent the Man in Black from escaping to the outside world. (“The Package”)
6×12 – Everybody Loves Hugo
Ilana retreived some dynamite from the Black Rock for Richard, but accidentally detonated it, killing herself. Richard then led the group back to the Black Rock for more dynamite when he noticed that Hurley had disappeared. Moments later, Hurley came running out of the ship, yelling for everyone to get down. Then, the Black Rock exploded before Richard’s eyes, Hurley having lit the remaining dynamite stores. An enraged Richard demanded to know why Hurley had destroyed the ship, to which Hurley responded that he felt they should simply talk to the Man in Black. When Hurley tried to justify his actions by claiming that Jacob had told him to destroy the ship, Richard detected his lie by asking a question that only Jacob could answer (how he’d described the Island to Richard when they first met), and recognizing that Jacob would never directly tell anybody what to do. After confirming with Ben that there were still explosives at the Barracks, Richard offered to lead everyone there to continue their mission. However, Jack, Sun, and Frank all chose to follow Hurley in reasoning with the Man in Black, and Richard took only Ben and Miles, determined to complete his mission and destroy the plane. (“Everybody Loves Hugo”)
6×16 – What They Died For
Shortly after arriving at the barracks, Richard’s group was met by Charles Widmore and Zoe, who informed them that they were there by Jacob’s invitation. Before any further explanation could be made, the Man in Black arrived via outrigger. Richard informed the group (quite incorrectly) that the only thing the Man in Black wanted was him.
As Ben looked on, Richard went down to intercede on the group’s behalf. The Man in Black arrived in his smoke form and attacked, grabbing Richard by the throat, slamming him against a tree, and then throwing him. Ben returned to the front porch of his former house and sat down in a rocking chair to pensively but outwardly nonchalantly await the Man in Black. (“What They Died For”)
6×17 – The End
After the Man in Black and Ben left, Miles found Richard alive in the jungle beyond the barracks. Richard told Miles they had to get to the other island and finish what they started – they had to blow up the plane. Before they did, Miles noticed that Richard had gotten his first gray hair, making Richard realize (in good timing, according to Miles) that he wanted to live. On their way, they found Frank floating in the ocean with the debris from the submarine explosion and got him and their canoe. Richard told Frank what he and Miles were about to do, but Frank (being the pilot that he was) suggested they just take the plane off the island to keep the black smoke from leaving. Once the three got to Hydra Island, Claire came and shot at them, assuming the Man in Black had sent them to kill her, but Richard explained they had a chance to get far away from him, and offered Claire to come with them, but she refused.
As Desmond’s removal of the cork at The Heart of the Island during a massive storm threatened to destroy the island, Richard helped Miles and Lapidus make repairs to the Ajira plane. They succeeded in doing so and Richard, along with Kate, Lapidus, Claire, Miles, and Sawyer, lifted off and escaped the island, making their way for the mainland. (“The End”)
After the Island
Nothing is known about what happened to Richard after he left the Island, but it can be assumed that he continued to age as a normal person would. The reason for his absence in the flash sideways world is unknown.