Lessons Learned in “The Brig”
1. One Must Consider Purgatory Very Closely
It’s one of those things that producers have been denying for months, and yet this entire episode clearly placed purgatory as a real option, especially considering the speech from Locke’s father regarding his last moment before arriving on the island. In the end, I think that there’s a case to be made…but it’s a case being made as a red herring from the producers. [For more background on this, The Elder McNutt sends us in the direction of the Lostpedia Wiki: “The Purgatory Theory”]
The case brought forward by Naomi, and by Locke’s father, is that the plane crashed off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, and was in a four-mile deep trench in the ocean. Through the use of robot video cameras, the wreckage was verified including all of its passengers. Now, this certainly seems like purgatory would make sense, especially because Locke’s father’s last memory is a near-fatal car crash. However, let’s look at why this can’t actually be the case.
– Juliet, Richard, Ethan, etc.
Juliet is a problem because she traveled to the island without, you know, dying, although you could argue that concoction killed her. Richard and Ethan is the same problem: they clearly travel between the two worlds. The only way this could be unwritten is if the purple explosion killed everyone and began the purgatory…but some people had no ill effects, so that can’t be the case either.
– The Possibility for a Fake Crash
It’s very clear that this crash site has been seen as proof to the general public, but let’s consider it more closely. The site is in a four mile trench…that’s deep. It was investigated by tiny cameras, and has never been seen by human eyes. This means that people are able to manipulate things in whatever way they please. Would it be impossible for Dharma to control this coverage and create a fake crash site using elaborate dummies? We know that before the purple flash they were able to communicate and move between the island and the real world. This would give them plenty of time to fabricate things, so this “They have to be dead they found the plane!” crap doesn’t prove anything related to purgatory.
So, in the end, I think we need to take this all with a grain of salt. A big one.
2. Locke, first and foremost, is concerned about Locke
Locke isn’t out to help others, but rather to reconcile his own existence. Ben is playing off this, in my view, and I think it’s all a ploy. This is the second time someone has received a message of dissent within the Others (Juliet to Jack, and now Richard to Locke) and I have to wonder whether either of them was truly genuine. Do people really want a change from Ben’s leadership this time around? If I can, I figure Ben’s kind of like Gorbachev; Ben is trying to fix the Others’ problems, but in doing so he’s losing sight of the big picture. Of course, in the USSR, this brought on the failed August Coup. However, what if that Coup had a leader like Locke? I think it would be an entirely different story.
But, Soviet history aside, the situation here is proof that Locke is most concerned with his own well-being and destiny on the island. With his father dead, and with the Boone thing behind him, and with Eko’s death having purpose thanks to its coordinates, Locke is pretty well guilt free right now. Will he be able to make a difference with the Others? Only time will tell.
3. Jack and Juliet Went Up the Hill to Hatch a Plan
It’s the question I think we’re most curious about after the episode’s end: what exactly are Jack and Juliet up to. Has Juliet informed Jack about Ben’s upcoming visit to their camp, and all of their plans? Or are they cooking up something entirely different. Juliet’s motivations have always remained on the fence, and Jack’s reaction to Kate’s news was awfully strange.
Personally, I can’t know for sure what they’re up to, but I’d say that Jack is in the know regarding Ben’s plan. The question now, though, is why Ben would ever trust Juliet with any truly important information knowing her position with Jack. Is he that naïve? Or does he have something up his sleeve. Something to consider, I guess.
4. Sawyer Got His Man
Finally, Sawyer manages to come to grips with his childhood trauma and kill the man who did it to him. It wasn’t a really integral part of things, but it’s good to see some movement in Sawyer’s character. It was well-acted, his meltdown, and certainly allowed us to delve a little deeper into Sawyer’s past. He remains, however, intricately connected to pretty well every castaway imaginable (He was in Boone’s back story, his baby mama was in Kate’s, he met with Jack’s father at the bar in Sydney, etc.), so it should be interesting to see what role he plays in the show’s overall mythology as we get closer to it.
5. Rousseau + Box of Dynamite = ???
It could have just been a throwaway, but let’s keep this in mind for future episodes. Rousseau is now carrying around a box of unstable dynamite (From everyone’s favourite 1st season slave boat The Black Rock!), and knows that the Others are holding her daughter hostage. I daresay that she might be considering some form of rash action.
Want to know what else went down in “The Brig”? Continuing reading for a full recap of the episode.
Previously on Lost: Locke donates a kidney. Locke gets shoved out a window. Locke regains the use of his legs, and Ben knows about it all…and about a magic box of sorts. And then an exploding submarine. And then Locke’s Dad in the Box.Locke reads a file very carefully, poring over its details as someone struggles within a mask. Locke tells him to save his breath: no one can hear him. And then he burns the file.
8 Days Ago: Locke enters the box to find Locke’s father in a feral state. His father asks Locke if he knows where they are. Locke gets bitten, and then they exit. Ben tells them that they’ll be heading to a new place…well, an old place really. Ben tells Locke to go say goodbye to Kate.
Meanwhile, on the beach, Sawyer and Kate are spending some time getting cozy post-coital. Kate, however, is not so big on sleeping in a different tent…but Sawyer offers to go with her. Kate is used to old habits, she says, and decides to scram. Sawyer offers to escort her, and they share a kiss to overcome the clear awkwardness of the situation. Sawyer, meanwhile, places a fun in his belt. He exits the tent to find a returned Hurley and Jin looking rather suspicious in front of a tent. Sawyer is, understandably, interested as he goes to take a leak. He’s even more interested to find that Locke has returned, flashlight in tow.
Sawyer’s gun remains pointed at Locke, but the latter suggests that Sawyer’s fly might be perhaps a more pressing matter. Locke notes that he has infiltrated the Others, and recently kidnapped Ben in order to prove this. Locke knows about their files, and he wants Sawyer to come with him…to kill Ben. He knows about the man in Sydney, and he thinks he’s the man for the job. Sawyer, meanwhile, agrees, and runs off after him.
3 Days Ago: Locke assists Cindy, the flight attendant, in putting up a tent. She mentions that people have been waiting for him, as people gawk and stare. Meanwhile, Ben is in his tent listening to Juliet’s tape, and the plan is indeed to kidnap pregnant women from the beach. Locke passes Ben his cane of sorts, as he’s in much better physical shape. Locke’s arrival, it seems, has somewhat cured him. Unfortunately, according to Ben, Locke’s true powers have not quite been harnessed as he is crippled by the man he used to be. It is the father’s hold, his father’s actions, that cloud his existence.
He explains that people need to prove their commitment, their free will, through an action: in this case, Locke is asked to kill his father.
Charlie, meanwhile, is stockpiling food stuffs for Naomi as Jack stops by and invites himself on the next camping trip. Charlie, meanwhile, sneaks off to pass the good to Jin who takes it into the tent. Desmond is skeptical of Jack’s trustworthiness thanks to Juliet’s presence and the like, so he’s not letting him in with the plan. For Desmond, Naomi is the way off this island…and it appears that Desmond’s power base is growing. Big time.
Sawyer travels with Locke, and seems to have forgotten shoes. Sawyer wants to know what’s in his file…and reveals that it contains the daddy issues of his own (His father shooting his mother and then committing suicide). They have high school transcript, criminal record, etc…and Sawyer is growing very paranoid and attempts to take Locke out. He wants to know if this is a trap, but it isn’t: Locke can’t do it himself, he just can’t, so he went to get Sawyer instead. Sawyer isn’t so much into the murder, but apparently he might change his mind when he hears what Ben has to say. Locke is convinced of it.
Speaking of murder, here’s resident torturer Sayid digging a hole of some sort while Hurley stares a hole in the back of his head. Hurley asks if Sayid can keep a secret, as it appears that Sayid is 2nd in command of sorts. Sayid heads in to speak to Naomi, who apparently has some interesting things to say. Sayid asks the usual questions: where did you crash, where did you do, etc.?
Naomi’s answers: She got onto the island by launching from a freighter 80 miles away. This is unimportant compared to what comes next. The important thing is that she notes that the plane had been found intact in an ocean trench 4 miles deep, and with robots they had found every single body intact within the wreckage. She claims that she was given coordinates by Penelope in order to find the island, and that it was all about Desmond. Sayid accuses her of lying, being a plant of sorts, but she just reveals her satellite phone and promises not to save him when the time comes. Is that romantic tension? Shannon is rolling in her grave.
Sawyer and Locke spend some time bonding, at which point Sawyer is really trying to figure out what’s going on here. Sawyer tries to explain why he killed the guy in Sydney, but doesn’t get through his story before we head to…
Three Days Ago: Ben stops by Locke’s…spot on the grass and says that it is time for the…sacrifice, of sorts? Something like that. As the tents illuminate below, Locke and Ben head to the altar of sorts to visit the feral father. Locke pulls a knife from a sheath, or prepares to, and Ben says that it will be quick. Locke’s father claims that he’ll never do it, that he will hesitate…but Ben says that it’s all a lie. That hesitation is for a man who stole a kidney, who destroyed his life. The gallery begins to grow, in terms of an audience, and now his father is trying to pull him back in.
As long as his father is present, he will always be the sad man in the wheelchair in some way shape or form. Locke tries, pushes against the threshold…but he can’t do it. Ben, instead, nails him with a rather smashing cane shot to the side of the head. Ben announces to the crowd that Locke isn’t who they think he is, who they hoped he was. He’s let them down, Locke has, and everyone looks very disappointed as Locke makes his exit.
Locke and Sawyer return to what appears to…the Black Rock! Ben is inside, in the brig, and they head into the ship to the tune of rather creepy music. The last time we were here was, well, memorable, so we’ll see to what extent this can follow. Locke believes they were picking up slaves to try to mine the island (See: Dynamite), and Sawyer is surprised to hear that Ben has indeed been kidnapped. Sawyer insists on no more murder, but we can’t know for sure at this point.
What we do know for sure? Locke barricades Sawyer into the room as he enters, and he finds that it’s not Ben: it’s Locke’s father. So, Locke is trying to fulfill and join the Others, as opposed to killing them.
We return to tech guru Sayid playing with an incredibly sophisticated satellite phone that he’s never really seen before. Hurley is more worried about the whole “We’re dead in some world” but Sayid has kind of fixed the phone…when Kate stops by. And she is yet another person who might well talk to Jack about it. Who do her loyalties lie with? (Hint: It’s Jack.)
Well, here’s an interesting development: Rousseau has stopped by for some dynamite, and asks why Locke has stopped by. He doesn’t answer, and directs her to the crate. And then she leaves. Sawyer is certainly angry behind the door, but Locke remains stoic.
Two Days Ago: Locke does up his hand, currently quite bruised, and looks down over his father. Richard, the doctor from Juliet’s backstories, stops by for a visit. He says that Ben wanted to embarrass him because people were getting too excited about Locke’s abilities. Basically, Ben doesn’t want people to think he’s special, because it subverts his authority. Richard is searching for a new leader, someone who has their right purpose as opposed to someone else.
Richard has a proposal: if Locke isn’t going to kill his father, then perhaps someone else can. James Ford, perhaps.
Meanwhile, Sawyer is spending some time threatening Locke through the door with his gun, but Locke is smart enough to note its lack of bullets. Locke’s father, meanwhile, has no idea he’s on an island. The last thing his father remembers is hitting a barricade, and having a paramedic smile at him as they inserted his IV. Locke’s father explains that as far as he knows, his son died in the Pacific. He thinks it’s purgatory, apparently, as that’s where he was headed as well. He thinks it’s hell…if it’s not, where is this?
Sawyer is more worried about figuring out to what level this man is Locke’s father, and we discuss his relationship with Locke. And, in the process, we learn he was a con-man. And, as Sawyer learns, Tom Sawyer was one of his aliases. And that’s Sawyer’s name too. Oh snap.
Yesterday: Camp is moving, it seems. Locke isn’t coming with them, however, as he is staying behind with his father. He’s his mess now, it seems, and Locke questions Ben’s decision…and Ben is pissed. He doesn’t think Locke is special anymore, and basically abandons him along with everyone else. He says they’ll leave a trail, but don’t bother following unless he has a corpse to show for it.
Meanwhile, Locke plays with a knife as he waits for Sawyer to do what he has spent years waiting for. Sawyer asks him whether he’s ever been to Jasper, Alabama. He’s been there, it seems, and asks if he’s his father or something. Sawyer, meanwhile, is carrying the letter from Season One in his pocket and forces Locke Sr. to read it. He had sex with his mother, stole his dad’s mother, so he killed his mother and then himself. “Blah blah blah blah. So what? Is this supposed to be you?” Them’s fighting words. He calls Sawyer out on his revenge kick, and then starts to claim it was just another con…but her name was Mary. It was something different for Sawyer, something important.
Ooooh, and now he’s claiming that his mother was trying to remove herself from her depressing life, but Sawyer wants him to finish the letter…and then he rips it in half…and then Sawyer pulls a Jack Bauer and strangles him with a chain. Sawyer is emotionally frazzled as Locke re-enters the room. Locke thanks him for his actions within the brig.
Juliet makes her first appearance in the episode, as Jack notes that she’s likely missing her fancier foods. It’s interrupted, however, by Tattletale Kate. Kate asks for time alone and Jack refuses to let Juliet leave. Kate, meanwhile, bitches out Jack for losing people’s trust thanks to the Juliet tryst, and then explains the entire situation. Jack wants facts, but Kate wants to talk about how he’s failing as a leader. Juliet says that they should tell her (About what?)…but Jack says no (No to what? Tell Me!). The show does not comply, and Jack walks off without informing Kate. Which is just a whole bundle of confusing.
Sawyer spends some time barfing in the reeds, and asks Locke why he did this. He did it because that man ruined their lives, and he had it coming. Locke informs Sawyer that Juliet is a mole, in regards to the pregnancy plan. In three days Ben and company will be coming in. Sawyer wonders why he told him this, considering he’s clearly coming back with him, but Locke says he isn’t. Locke is on his own journey now; he is no longer part of the castaways. Locke gives Sawyer Ben’s tape recorder as proof of Juliet’s actions. Sawyer asks whether the cripple part of things is true. Locke’s answer: “Not anymore.” And, officially, one Daddy issue has been resolved. Now, if only Jack can find his own mystical father somewhere in the jungle.
Back at his stuff, Locke puts on his backpack and prepares for his new journey with his father’s corpse slung over his shoulder. He is determined, and is prepared for a new purpose. A new leader rising?