Thursday, November 5, 2009

3.19 The Brig

Follow along! The episode guide for “The Brig” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 152-158.

This episode saddens me to no end – Holloway gives his best performance to that point in the series, and the pain experienced by Sawyer and O’Quinn cuts through both of them. I remember when this episode aired, and being so baffled by the fact that a plane had been found, and Cooper was saying they were all in Hell – could he be right? Were they really all dead and ended up in Hell? It was a great ep that had many people scratching their heads and forums lighting up afterwards.

Fun things I noticed:
• I still get the biggest kick out of “Rousseau.” “Locke.” Hearing those two names in juxtaposition is great.
• Cooper’s “blahblahblahblah” is the most painful “etcetera” I’ve ever seen. Wow.
• Sawyer strangles Cooper the way Leia killed Jabba the Hutt… and Cooper looks about the same by the end of it.

Things that have new meaning:
• I could be wrong about this, but Sawyer is still barefoot by the beginning of season 5, and I'm wondering if it all started with this episode. Poor guy will never have another pair of shoes… he’ll have to go to 1977 to get those. ;)
• Ben tells Locke they’re going to an old place, and it appears to be the same clearing where Alpert had his people in 1954, when Locke first approached him to tell him he was the chosen one in “Jughead.” Cindy tells Locke that everyone’s staring because they’ve all been waiting for him… since when? 1954? How much do they know?
• Naomi’s helicopter story doesn’t mesh with what we later see – that the freighter only holds one chopper on deck. If her helicopter went down, then where did the second one magically appear from? When the Kahana leaves the dock in Fiji and Michael is on board, there’s only one helicopter on the freighter.
• Ben hands Locke a knife and tells him to stab his father, and Locke doesn’t do it. Not-Locke hands Ben a knife and tells him to stab Jacob, and Ben does it.
• Ben says, “It’s time” right before trying to get Locke to stab his father, but it appears that “time” is the very element that can temper someone’s anger and feelings for revenge. Ben stabs Jacob because he’s so freshly angry that Locke has usurped him; he kills his father because his father has been right there nattering at him for years. Locke, on the other hand, has been out of Cooper’s clutches for years, and has been given a second chance at walking on the island, so his anger isn’t as fresh, and therefore he can’t bring himself to do it. Had Ben handed Locke the knife a week after he’d been thrown out the window, things would have been very different.
• “John Locke. My dead son.” CREEPY! He will be dead, and then he’ll be resurrected, just like Cooper believes he’s been resurrected on the island already.
• Watching Alpert give Locke the file on Sawyer is completely different now that we know what Alpert’s role in all of this is. He’s the “advisor” to the leader, and the one who gets orders from Jacob to give to the leader. But it’s also different knowing that Alpert’s been watching Locke since before Locke was born, and truly believes he’s the leader and will travel back in time to tell him that. SO much in this episode is different now in retrospect.
• Locke telling Sawyer that his future girlfriend is a mole is yet another one of those awkward moments in light of the Suliet pairing.


Marebabe said...

Nikki, regarding barefoot Sawyer, when you suggested that he won’t have another pair of shoes until 1977 (or didn’t they arrive in 1974 and stay for 3 years?), anyway, I immediately thought of Earth Shoes. You’re too young to have ever worn them, but they were the cat’s meow in the mid-70’s. I think it would’ve been an absolute scream if the costumers had managed to outfit the Dharma folks in Earth Shoes!

Who do you trust? That’s always been a key question in Lost, but it’s a much more intense issue now.

Ben, speaking about Locke, to the group: “He’s not who we thought he was.” And who was that, exactly?” I’d forgotten that we see Zack and Emma again. There they are, among the background Others.

Nikki, I thought I noticed that the top page in Sawyer’s file (the one that Richard handed to Locke) was written in French. And then you confirmed in your chapter on this episode that it was a French police report. What’s up with that? Apparently, Sawyer spent some time in France (or Quebec?), at least long enough to have run afoul of the law at least once. Is the whole file in French? Can Locke read French? Of course, if he can, the Others know that, because they know everything...

I agree that it’s a curious statement when Cooper says, “I guess I didn’t raise no dummies.” Because he had absolutely nothing to do with Locke’s upbringing. He was just the sperm-donor. Maybe this was just him bragging on his superior genetic line producing intelligent offspring.

Marebabe said...

I don't get it. If Locke could understand/speak/read French, we would've found this out in S1, when the 815ers were trying to make sense of Rousseau's radio message, and later when Sayid was trying to make sense of the notations she had written on her map of the Island. And if Sawyer had spent time in a French-speaking country, he would've at least known a little conversational French, enough to get by. But then the writers wouldn't have had such a logical reason (translating) for getting Sayid and Shannon together. I dunno. What's up with that French police report in Sawyer's file?!

JW said...

Sawyer strangles Cooper the way Leia killed Jabba the Hutt

Nikki, I not only thought the same thing I actually had Return of the Jedi's soundtrack in my head while I watched it unfold.

Anyway, this seemed like a bit of a filler episode to me. The writers had introduced John's father and had to "clean up that mess", and they wanted to conclude Sawyer's quest, so they killed two birds with one stone. Even when the episode aired, I thought it was fairly predictable. (I don't mean to say it was a bad episode... I did enjoy it.)

crazyinlost said...

This ep has a wierd story-telling method. Are they flash-backs, or flash-forwards, or both, or neither?

Hurley's not a very convincing liar, is he!lol

It's amazing to me how manipulating someone like John can be, since he has been manipulated all his life.
That half smile he does with his back turned to Sawyer-a little bit creepy!

Gee, is Jack feeling left out?

Sawyer looks so torn, like he's in pain, over what he was and what he's trying to become. Josh Holloway is brilliant!

Sayid is digging a pit. My first thought was, "What'd I miss? Who died now??"

Anthony Cooper calls Ben, "Bug-Eye"

So where'd Sayid get the spare battery for the sat-phone?

Sawyer pulls his letter out of his pocket. With all the times he's gotten those jeans wet, wouldn't that letter be mush by now?

So, why does RA really think John is special? He shows up a John's birth, per John's request, then gave him the test when he was older (which he failed), so this ep is the first time RA has seen him since the test, but John's been told his whole life he's special, so...who started the whole "special" delio? RA? or Jacob? or was it John? It's the chicken or the egg...

SonshineMusic said...

Sawyer: "Now that you're back form you 'blow up everything that could get us off the Island' tour," to Locke cracked me up.

You know, in this episode I could really see how Locke just keeps getting more and more Ben-like.

Just a thought regarding Locke - what if John hadn't picked the knife as a little boy? What if he had picked something else? Would his "gesture" have been different if he had picked, say, the compass? Or am I trying too hard to make connections? :P

When Locke tells Danielle "Careful, it's unstable," I could practically hear her thinking, "Ummm... so are you..."

Sawyer's face throughout this whole scene is just heartbreakingly tortured. Definitely some of his best acting.

And grrrrr.... Jack is SO on my hit list for this episode. (Even more than usual)

As for Locke speaking French - he really wasn't around when they were trying to translate the Rousseau notes, right? He was too busy chasing boar and throwing knives.

Marebabe said...

@Sonshine: Regarding your final thought about Locke, good point! He was off on safari much of the time during S1. Not too available for sit-down chores such as translating French scribbles.

The Question Mark said...

What a great episode. Tip of the cap to Master Holloway for a heartbreaking & terrifying performance.

One little nitpick I had: I LOVE the Lost writers, they're pretty much some of the best in the world, in my opinion. But throughout Lost (and this episode in particular) characters just ask the most ridiculously enigmatic questions, for what seems to be simply the sake of sounding mysterious.

SAWYER: ...What else?
LOCKE: What else what?
SAWYER: What else did it say? The file you read about me.


KATE: The reason nobody told you this, Jack, is because nobody trusts you anymore.
JACK: ...How?
KATE: How what?
JACK: How is Naomi gonna contact the people on her boat?

If these guys are expecting answers right away to these one-word questions, they've got another thing coming. LOL

Anonymous said...

Completely off-topic, but I think I just saw the actress who plays Cindy the flight attendant in a Bounty paper towels commercial.

Sawyer was amazing in this episode. I absolutely loved how incredibly evil Locke's dad was and continued to be, and how calmly and matter-of-factly he seemed to accept that he was in Hell. (I imagine he was thinking, "This is the worst ya got?") I was a little surprised that Sawyer killed him so quickly; had it been me, who had been looking for this exact guy my entire life, I would have had a much more in-depth conversation with him. And then pulled out his toenails, one by one. ;)

Fred said...

@The Question Mark: First Kate explains to Jack that no one trusts him anymore, then what does Jack do? When Juliet asks if they should tell Kate, he juest blocks her, saying, no. Great going Jack, no wonder people aren't trusting you when you're not willing to share information with others.

@Nikki: I was thinking the same thing when Ben was taunting Locke to kill Cooper, and it reminded me (like probably everyone else on this blog now that we've seen Season 5) of the Jacob, Ben and not-Locke scene. Also I liked that little scene were Ben and the Others are leaving Locke behind. In a few lines we get the famous: "He's your MESS, John. Why would we CLEAN it up?" and then "Don't tell me what I can't do, John." and finally John asks, "But I thought I was SPECIAL?" Wow, all we needed was for John to have said, I can fix this, to make the set complete. And two of those lines were given by Ben, like he was throwing those lines in John's face.

Going back to Locke needing Sawyer to kill Cooper. Is this like the test Ben gave of a Catch 22? If Locke can't kill Cooper, then he'
s not who they thought he was. BUt if he can, then it would be like Juliet killing Pickett, a breaking of the rules. By choosing Sawyer, Locke figures it out, his own sort of loophole in the rules. What do you all think, is there anything to this?

Okay, what does Rousseau need dynamite for? And did she take some sometime before?

crazyinlost said...

@Fred-I just remembered Rousseau needs the dynamite for Jack and Juliette and their big idea. Also, I like your idea about the loophole.

A.G.Wooding said...

Not sure if anyone has already answered this further up but in an interview with one of the writers, they said that there had been two helicopters on the freighter but one had been an extremely small one (a one man helicopter or something like that, I'm not sure) so there would have been room for Frank's copter and the small one.

This also happens to be one of my favourite Lost episodes ever and it still baffles me that Josh Holloway didn't win an award for this episode (or did he maybe I'm wrong.)

I'm always creeped out by the kids, Zach and Emma, in this episode. I'm not sure if the writers want us to care about them or not but as far as I'm concerned they can stay with the others and keep they're creepy knowing smiles with them. Still gives me a shiver to see them leering at Locke.

Has anyone ever understood Naomi's line about, "Remind me not to rescue you Sayid." What the hell does that mean, is there more to it or is it just bad writing, because I still don't get it.

JS said...

I can't find who said it, but I love the idea that we may get an episode with Zach and Emma's PoV of what happened after they were abducted, and how they perceived all the events around JL killing his father.

JS said...

I can't find who said it, but I love the idea that we may get an episode with Zach and Emma's PoV of what happened after they were abducted, and how they perceived all the events around JL killing his father.

SonshineMusic said...

@A.G. Wooding: Has anyone ever understood Naomi's line about, "Remind me not to rescue you Sayid."

In context I always assumed she was being rather sarcastic in that he wouldn't believe her, so she didn't want to have the freighter rescue him.

But when I read your comment alone my first thought was how Sayid is dying at the end of season 5 and my overactive brain began to wonder if we'll run into Naomi again - in the past? and she saves Sayid's life? But the writers have said that the time travel was over (of course they also said that time travel wasn't going to happen, so....:). I'm sure it's just me being crazy, but that's what popped into my head.

Fred said...

@A.G.Wooding: yeah, it seems canon that there were 2 helicopters. The ship seems so small it might not hold 2, but an aerial shot indicates there were 2 pads.

That said, sometimes things change on the show to fit later story lines. Take the speculation that occured over Miles when he went up the stairs and later came back down. One of the photos on the wall seemed to change--screen shots show it did. This has been debated endlessly on various sites, but conscensus suggests it may just be a continuity error. Otherwise you've got to allow for alterations to the timeline. Other times things are just unclear, like where Goodwin was killed. Ana Lucia seemed to kill him on a hillside sloping into woods, but when Jin and Eko find his body he's in the woods. Later when Juliet is shown the body, he seems back more in the open.

Susan said...

I think I remember reading that you can see 2 choppers on the Kahana deck in Michael's flashback in "Meet Kevin Johnson." We'll have to check on that when we get to season 4.

My favorite line: when John says to Rousseau, "What brings you to the Black Rock?" she replies, "Dynamite. You?"

Teebore said...

@Fred By choosing Sawyer, Locke figures it out, his own sort of loophole in the rules. What do you all think, is there anything to this?

I definitely think there is.

If Esau can't kill Jacob directly, perhaps that's where the law that Others can't kill each other comes from.

I'd forgotten that Cooper added to the whole "they found your plane" mystery in this episode.

Stan said...

As for the loophole, I'm not sure that Cooper can be considered an "Other" can he? He is more like a prisoner like Jack, Kate and Sawyer were. So killing Cooper wouldn't violate their rule.

Jenn said...

This was a great Locke episode. I couldn't believe her couldn't kill Cooper. I mean Cooper took EVERYTHINg from John—everything. However, I believed that Locke was showing his "human compassion" or his "moral compass" by refusing to kill Cooper. I thought that was both really cool, and very interesting. We were being led to believe that Locke was kind-of a baddie through and through, then we get to see his conscious come through.
On the same page, I was shocked that Sawyer did it, and with such violence. I always thought of Sawyer as Baddie with a soft side, or Rebel with human compassion. I mistakingly translated the guilt he felt over killing the man in Sydney as guilt over killing in general, rather than guilt over killing an innocent man, or the wrong man.
Either way, the whole sequence surprised me, and it was heart-wrenching. Wonderful acting from both Holloway and O'Quinn.

Susan said...

The thing that bugs me about John is that he couldn't kill Cooper, the guy who ruined his life, but he could kill Naomi by stabbing her in the back.

Cooper is not Sawyer's first murder. He already killed Duckett, as well as an Other in Live Together Die Alone. He will also kill Tom at the end of season 3.

Jenn said...

Ya! No kidding! Wow, I never really thought of that, but you're right! He can't kill Cooper, but he kills Naomi without blinking! How annoying of him.

SonshineMusic said...

I think one of the things that gets me the most about this episode is the aftermath. Sawyer runs from the ship vomiting and gagging - obviously not settled by what he did (and this continues to show in the next couple of episodes) whereas Locke calmly shoulders the dead body and leaves Sawyer there without a backward glance having used him for everything he needed. To me that makes John much colder, even if he couldn't physically, personally kill Cooper

Nikki Stafford said...

Susan: The thing that bugs me about John is that he couldn't kill Cooper, the guy who ruined his life, but he could kill Naomi by stabbing her in the back.

Actually, I think once again this isn't annoying nor is it indicative of Locke's coldness; I think it shows something in him that's quite the opposite. His bone to pick with Cooper is a personal one -- Cooper destroyed HIS life, he paralyzed HIM, he betrayed HIM, he ruined HIS chances at love and marriage. But did Cooper hurt anyone else in the same way? No. The only time Locke decides to come back into Cooper's life was to stop him from ruining another family's life the way he destroyed Locke's. But until then, he'd decided to keep to himself. If Locke had killed Cooper on the island, it would have been for entirely selfish reasons -- revenge for what Cooper did to Locke.

Naomi, on the other hand, Locke has intuited (correctly, we seem to forget!!) is there not to rescue anyone, but to lead a mission to get Ben and possibly kill every person on the island. So he stabs her in the back without a second thought. That woman poses a threat not only to him, but to everyone, from his Oceanic 815-mates to the Others and to the island itself.

His lack of hesitation with Naomi is the fact that she poses a threat to the greater good. His hesitation over Cooper is the fact that he knows deep down it's for personal revenge only. So I don't see how that makes him a necessarily bad person; I think it points to something much deeper in him that the other people on the island don't see until Juliet realizes the sacrifice he's going to make when he goes down the well and finally thanks him.

Sawyer, on the other hand, kills Cooper because of what he did to Sawyer and his parents. Sawyer is essentially not a team player at this point (bear with me, before you list off all the things he's done for everyone, which I'm aware of, but it's usually for reasons that would help him first) -- he does things for himself OR for anyone who means a great deal to him. So he kills Cooper as revenge for destroying not just him, but his parents. He kills Cooper not to protect the others on the island, but to finally put an end to a life-long search for the man who did this to him. He doesn't think it through the way Locke does, and he finishes it. Then he walks outside and vomits, realizing that he's finally fulfilled his only goal in life... and it didn't make things better. He's still the sad and broken little boy he always was.

So the fundamental change we see in Sawyer after this is how he becomes part of the group. He leads the others through the jungle, he saves Claire, he jumps from the chopper, he becomes head of security in the DI... he was always someone who would help others, but again, only if they meant something to him. I don't think he would have been diving in the water to save Nikki's life, simply because she didn't mean anything to him. But if Kate had been drowning, he'd be the first person to her. Once he kills Cooper he realizes how unsatisfying it is to do things for yourself, and we see that fundamental change in him.

This is all, of course, just my interpretation of events, and I can totally see other readings of it and respect those as well. :)

Teebore said...

Per usual, Nikki, I think your analysis is spot-on (and more thoughtful and well-written than what I would have wrote, which was along the lines of "Locke killed Naomi for the good of the island, not himself").

It's also worth noting that Sawyer later kills Tom not for what he did to Sawyer (shooting him, blowing up the raft, locking him in the polar bear cage) but for taking Walt (though I suppose that still fits Sawyers MO of defending the people he personally cares about).

Fred said...

@Nikki: I liked your analysis of Sawyer and Locke. I feel though that Sawyer's actions are deep felt, having endured what he did at the hands of Cooper. Cooper's actions not only led to the death of Sawyer's mother and father, but it happened right in front of the child (had his mother not hidden him, his father would have killed the child too). I feel Cooper robbed Sawyer of his identity with the death of his family. It is difficult to find a parallel in common experience for what Sawyer must have felt/experienced. But psychologists have dealt with such individuals who have undergone such trauma their entire sense of self vanishes--James Ford did the only thing possible, which was eventually assume the identity of the man who had destroyed his own identity.

Now, years later, when Locke places Sawyer in a room confronting the same man, Sawyer is given no satisfaction. When Amir confronts Sayid, he at first denies her (in all probability she is not even a memory for him among so many). Sayid's eventual recognition of her, I feel he returns something to her, recognition as a individual/human being. Cooper denies any such recognition to Sawyer, and Sawyer's reaction is simply to break (call it a psychotic break) and he kills Cooper.

This is different from both his killing of Frank Duckett in Australia and Tom on the island. The first is a planned out revenge, for which Sawyer realizes he is guilty--it is a crime he wishes to hide from his fellow survivors. And it is also one he tries to redeem himself from during the boar incident. (I really liked you write up in your book, Nikki). But the situation with Tom is classic Sawyer, motivated by anger and revenge. It smacks of "eye for and eye" type of justice--also Sawyer knows Tom would not hesitate to do him in, if Ben told him to.

If Sawyer, as you point out, becomes part of the group after Cooper, the process is not an instantaneous one. Think of anyone trying to overcome an addiction (smoking, drinking etc.). There is no straight line between where they start and where they want to get to. Backsliding is frequent, and LOST portrays such individuals in all their back-sliding glory (Charlie, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, Jack). So Sawyer's reaction to Tom is the old Sawyer, but this time without the penitential remorse as with Frank Duckett. Sawyer acheives a new integrated personality, one able to assume and "eye for an eye" mentality, and at the same time assume a group identity. I like how you sum up his attachment to friends (Hurley, Kate, Jack) and how he'd do anything for them (but not Nikki and Paulo).

Locke on the other hand is a different story, and in some ways more complicated.

The Rush Blog said...

Sawyer strangles Cooper the way Leia killed Jabba the Hutt… and Cooper looks about the same by the end of it.

You found this a fun moment to watch? I didn't. I found it pathetic. What exactly did Sawyer achieve? All he did was verify in his mind that Cooper was solely responsible for his parents' deaths.

The problem I have with this is that Cooper WAS NOT solely responsible. He was guilty of conning the Fords of their money and having an affair with Mrs. Ford. However, Mrs. Ford is just as guilty for taking part of the affair. And Mr. Ford was too cowardly to accept the fact that his greed and stupidity allowed Cooper to con him of his money. In fact, Mr. Ford was so cowardly, he resorted to the murder of his wife and suicide, rather than face re-building his future.

Sawyer is just as bad. He would rather murder the con man out of vengeance than admit that his father was more responsible for his family's destruction than Anthony Cooper. How pathetic!