Okay, so it's not just me who was confused by Richard's actions. Good. My wife and I kept asking each other "did we miss something?" last season. I gather from the collective confusion about this that perhaps the show runners could have presented this new thread a little better. My take on it is that they likely have run out of things for Richard to do, so they have come up with something completely new, tangentially tied into his greater arc, and had trouble rolling it out in editing. Either way, glad he's still in motion - he's probably one of my favorite characters.