3.19 “The Brig”
Locke returns to the beach camp to recruit Sawyer for a mysterious mission that only he can fulfill.
|Written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse
Directed by Eric Laneuville
Eight days before Locke took Sawyer to the Black Rock, and right after he found out that Anthony Cooper was on the island, he removed the gag from his father’s mouth, and his father bit his hand. Ben escorted Locke out of the cell and told him that the Others were leaving the Barracks first thing in the morning and setting out for a very old place on the island, and asked if Locke would like to come along.
Three days ago, Locke settled in with the Others at a small tent city they erected in a valley near some ancient Ruins. While helping Cindy (the Oceanic 815 flight attendant who spent time among the tailies) to secure her tent, he noticed that many of the Others stared at him a lot. Cindy told him that everyone was excited that he was there, because they’d been waiting for him. Tom appeared and mentioned that Ben wanted to see him. At Ben’s tent, Locke noticed Ben listening to the audio tape recording that Juliet left for him at the Staff station. Locke asked what it was, and Ben, surprisingly, told him the truth: that Juliet had infiltrated the survivors’ camp so that the Others could determine if any of the women there were pregnant. Then, the Others were going to go and take the ones who were and bring them into their society. Locke expressed concern at this, but Ben promised that no one would be hurt during the kidnappings. Ben then showed Locke that his condition was improving, and he was able to walk with the help of a cane — a turn of events he said he had Locke to thank for, because his improvement began when Locke showed up. He was eager to show Locke the secrets of the island, but said that Locke wasn’t ready yet, because he had never learned to let go of the hold his father had over him. Locke mentioned the “Magic Box” and how it had supposedly brought his father to the island, but Ben revealed that the Box was just a metaphor. He said that when people became one of the Others, they were required to demonstrate their commitment somehow, and that Locke would have to do this by killing his father — who was tied up nearby to a large pillar that stood as part of the Ruins.
Late that night, Locke was woken up by Ben, who told him it was time to do the deed: kill his father. He took Locke up to the Ruins where Anthony was still tied, and gave him a very large knife. Anthony taunted his son, suggesting that he was too cowardly to kill his own father. A crowd formed as the Others heard the commotion and came to see what was going on. But despite everything, Locke still just couldn’t bring himself to commit murder. So Ben took back the knife and told the crowd that apparently, Locke wasn’t who they all believed he was.
The next day, Locke was approached privately by Richard Alpert, who told him that Ben staged the entire event last night because he wanted to embarrass and discredit Locke in front of the Others. When Locke asked why Ben would do that, Richard said that Locke was extremely special, as proven by the fact that he had a broken spine that was miraculously healed. According to Richard, the Others have had their eye on Locke ever since the crash, and have been excited about his arrival on the island, all this time. He said that Ben has been wasting their time with less-important matters like fertility issues, and the Others are in need of someone to remind them that they’re on the island for more important reasons than that. He explained that he wanted to help Locke find his purpose, but that would only happen after Anthony was dead. He said that since Locke couldn’t do what was necessary, he knew someone else who would. He gave Locke a red file containing information about Sawyer’s past.
The next day, the Others picked up stakes and began to continue their journey across the island to their mysterious destination. Ben told Locke that he was no longer invited to come with them, and that they were leaving Anthony behind in his care, too. He told him that the Others would leave a trail that he could follow, but unless he was carrying his father’s dead body, not to bother.
Locke stares at a red folder by firelight, in a dark place we can’t quite make out. A muffled voice complains somewhere nearby, but Locke tells the other person to save their breath because no one will hear them here. Locke then tosses the folder into the fire and watches it burn.
Kate wakes up in the middle of the night after another round of sex with Sawyer, and says she needs to return to her own tent to sleep. After she’s gone, Sawyer leaves his tent to use pee, but passes by a suspicious-acting Hurley and Jin. When he steps into the jungle, Sawyer is met there by Locke, who says he’s there to find Sawyer. Sawyer doesn’t trust him, asking why he’s back after he joined the other side, but Locke claims to have infiltrated them as a spy for the survivors. Locke alleges that a few hours ago he snuck into Ben’s tent and kidnapped him, tied him up, and left him at a certain location in the jungle. Locke asks Sawyer to return to the place where Ben is waiting, and kill him. Sawyer argues that he’s not a murderer, but eventually agrees to come anyway.
Charlie takes some Dharma food supplies from the kitchen to the tent where Desmond, Hurley, and Jin are watching over the injured woman who parachuted onto the island, whose name is Naomi Dorrit. Charlie wants to tell Jack about the woman, but Desmond says he’s uncertain that Jack can be trusted after his odd behavior lately with Juliet. Naomi had promised them that if they kept her safe, she was their ticket off the island. He proposes instead bringing someone they can actually trust: Sayid. Sayid is brought into their confidence and asks Naomi to hear her story. She says that her helicopter took off from a freighter eighty nautical miles west of the island that’s part of a search and recovery team. She says that the entire wreck of Oceanic 815 was found in an ocean trench four miles deep off the coast of Bali. Naomi explains that since Oceanic 815 was already found, her people weren’t looking for the survivors, they were looking for Desmond. She was hired by Penny, Desmond’s girlfriend, who gave her a set of coordinates of where to find him. She knew nothing of the island until she lost power to her helicopter while doing a grid-by-grid search of the coordinates. Sayid doesn’t believe her story, suggesting it’s all too convenient, but Naomi produces her satellite phone for him to see, convincing him otherwise.
As Locke and Sawyer walk together through the jungle, Locke tells Sawyer about all of the things he learned in Sawyer’s file. Sawyer grows suspicious and jumps Locke when he turns his back, demanding to know where they’re going and why Locke won’t just kill Ben himself. Locke says he can’t do it, and that’s why he came back for Sawyer. Sawyer says he’ll go with Locke to see Ben, but that they’re going to bring him back to the camp instead of kill him. Locke agrees but asserts that Sawyer will change his mind when they get there.
Sawyer and Locke arrive at their destination: the Black Rock. Locke takes Sawyer to the ship’s brig, where Ben is supposedly waiting. But when Sawyer’s inside, he sees that their captive isn’t Ben at all — it’s Locke’s father, Anthony Cooper. Before he can do anything about it, Locke bars Sawyer inside with the man. Sawyer’s furious of course, but Locke seats himself calmly outside of the brig and waits. Danielle Rousseau enters the ship and tells Locke she’s come to get some dynamite. Locke greets her but refuses to explain himself, despite Sawyer’s irate shouting from inside the brig. Rousseau takes a large crate of dynamite and leaves.
Back at the beach, Sayid repairs Naomi’s broken satellite phone but realizes that there’s some kind of interference that’s blocking every channel. They won’t be able to use the phone as long as the interference is jamming all transmissions. But as he and Hurley discuss the phone’s workings, Kate stumbles across them and demands to know what’s going on. Sayid takes her into his confidence and tells her everything about Naomi, but asks that she keep Jack out of the loop.
Sawyer removes Anthony’s gag and finds out that this man he’s never met is Locke’s father. Anthony reveals that he was driving through Tallahassee, Florida when someone ran his car off the road. A group of people posing as paramedics loaded him into an ambulance and used drugs to knock him out. They brought him to the island and he didn’t wake up until the moment Ben revealed him to Locke. Anthony tells Sawyer how Oceanic 815 was found on the bottom of the ocean, and asserts that this place they’re on isn’t an island at all — it’s Hell. They’re all dead, he says. As they talk, Anthony reveals that he’s a con man by trade, and Sawyer starts to piece together what all this is about. He asks Anthony what his name is, and Anthony says he’s gone by many names — one of which is Tom Sawyer. Hearing this, Sawyer realizes that this is the man responsible for his parents’ deaths, the man he’s been searching for his entire life. He asks if Anthony’s ever been to Jasper, Alabama, and Anthony says he has. Sawyer tells Anthony that he killed his parents, and pulls out the letter he wrote as a child, telling Anthony to read it. Anthony starts, but refuses to finish, despite Sawyer’s increasingly furious demands. Finally, he tears it into little pieces, and Sawyer’s rage becomes so great he can’t keep his vengeance at bay any longer. He grabs a chain hanging from the ceiling, wraps it around Anthony’s neck, and strangles the old man before breaking his neck. Once it’s done, Locke opens the door and merely says “thank you.” No further explanation is necessary between either of them.
At the beach, Kate goes to Jack and asks to speak to him alone. Juliet agrees to give them some privacy, but Jack insists that she stay, telling Kate that anything she says she can say in front of Juliet. Kate angrily tells Jack that Juliet is the reason that no one trusts him, and the reason that no one wants to tell him about the injured woman hiding in a tent who parachuted onto the island. Jack and Juliet both are surprised to hear this news, and Juliet says to Jack that the two of them should tell Kate about a secret they’re keeping between them. But Jack refuses to tell anyone yet.
Outside the Black Rock, Sawyer vomits and then asks why Locke did all this. Locke says that his father ruined his life, and Sawyer’s too, so he had it coming. Then he tells Sawyer that Juliet is working as a mole for Ben, and that Sawyer should warn the survivors. Locke explains that he’s not going back to camp, and that he was never undercover among the Others. He’s on his own journey now, he says. Locke produces the tape recorder that Juliet recorded her covert message to Ben on and gives it to Sawyer to show the others as proof of her treachery. Locke then hefts his father’s body onto his back and marches off on an appointment with destiny.
- The original Sawyer was none other than Anthony Cooper, John Locke’s father.
Question: Who was the original “Sawyer,” who our Sawyer blames for his parents’ death? [1.08]
- It’s never revealed either way, but the implication we’re meant to believe is that after the Others learned of Locke’s “extremely special” healing after he crashed onto the island, he became a figure of great interest and excitement among the Others. So it’s very possible that Ben really was on his way to find Locke when he was caught.
Question: Was “Henry” telling the truth when he said he was on his way to find Locke when he was caught by Danielle’s trap? [2.20]
- Ben was likely on his way to see Locke to discuss the possibility abandoning the survivors to join up with the Others.
Question: If Henry was telling the truth about being sent by his people to find Locke, then what did he want with Locke? [2.20]
- The Magic Box is just a metaphor for the miraculous properties of the island.
Question: Where is the Magic Box that Ben told Locke about? Given that everything Ben said during that conversation was part of a big ploy to manipulate him… was Ben telling the truth about the Box? Does it even exist? [3.13]
- It would appear that Anthony Cooper’s arrival on the island was part of an elaborate plan to discredit Locke in front of the Others. Cooper claimed that he was brought to the island after someone ran his car off the road in Tallahassee, Florida.
Question: How did Anthony Cooper wind up on the island? Was he magically brought there by the island, as Ben suggested? [3.13]
- Ben is obsessed with solving the fertility issues of the Others, and his means of doing this is to seek out any pregnant women than wind up on the island and kidnap them. He has sent Juliet to the Oceanic survivors’ camp to find out which ones of them are pregnant, if any. At the end of Juliet’s week among the survivors, Ben plans to send his people to the survivors’ camp and take the pregnant women.
Question: Why did Ben order Juliet to infiltrate the survivors’ beach camp? What’s he planning to do in a week? [3.16]
- What’s the “very old place” the Others are going to?
- What are the Ruins leftovers of?
- Why have the Others been waiting for Locke? What exactly do they expect of him?
- What’s blocking radio transmissions to and from the island?
- The survivors have been able to receive transmissions on the island before now, such as Rousseau’s distress call and the radio station Sayid and Hurley once picked up. Why are transmissions being jammed now, seemingly out of the blue?
- Richard seems to hold a unique position among the Others, able to defy Ben with no repercussions. What’s the story between these two? And what’s Richard’s role defined as?
- Why was Danielle retrieving so much dynamite from the Black Rock?
“The Brig” is the seventh Locke-centric episode of the series.
Josh Holloway’s slow burn performance in the brig scene is one of the highlights of his work on the show. While it’s hard for most people in this day and age to condone the death penalty, Anthony Cooper was such a wicked, unrepentant person, and Sawyer’s (and Locke’s) pain was so raw and real, it was hard to see Sawyer’s murder of Anthony as anything but some much-needed, cathartic justice.
It’s so different to look back now and see how everything Ben did involving Locke this season was part of an endless series of manipulations to try and keep Locke from supplanting him as leader of the Others. And it’s likely that Ben himself was being manipulated by Jacob’s nemesis so that he could eventually take over Locke’s body. What a tangled web!