Monday, November 30

The Brig (S3, ep. 19)

The Rewatch Column for "The Brig" has been strangled like Jabba The Hutt for your reading pleasure on

Hope the weekend was kind to all. Thanks for reading!



  1. Richard at least seems to think that it's required. As he's helping John cheat it by giving him Sawyer's file, he tells John that his father has to go. Now Richard seems a lot more pragmatic on the subject, seeming to think that however Anthony Cooper dies, he just needs to be dead. Seems like it isn't all Ben's idea, then.

    That suggests to me that, as you said, the main point of all this is to let go of the past. This would mean that John is something of an extreme case, a man for whom the past can only be forgotten if the past is literally killed.

  2. Hey, Greg.

    I'm wondering, though, whether Richard thinks actual murder is required because the Island/tradition requires it, or because Ben has made the claim that unless someone is willing to sacrifice as much as he did, and is willing to be as ruthless as he has been, then he is unwilling to give up leadership.

    You're right - either way it's required of him. I'm just probing potential motives.

  3. That's an interesting point, Morse. I hadn't thought of it as a matter of Ben's obstinacy.

    I guess it goes back to the question of just how absolute Ben's power is over the Others (and Richard in particular). Is Richard merely an advisor, but able to act with some autonomy behind Ben's back as he does with Locke? Or does Richard hold more authority than that, but choose not to excercise it? Perhaps he has the authority to oust Ben, or any leader of the Others, but to do so is considered a last-ditch option only, either by him or by Jacob. Or perhaps there is no check on the Leader's authority and that is part of what Jacob is looking to observe in these people.

  4. These are the sorts of questions I love asking, and I dig your musings on Richard's place in the world of the show.

    It seems to me that at least part of the problem between Richard and Ben is a question of transfer of power. Richard is obviously impatient, and Ben is obviously not happy about stepping down. We've seen that a good number of the Others are loyal to Ben, even if they don't necessarily like him. Richard's manuveuring could be seen as his working to effectuate what amounts to an attempt at a bloodless coup.

  5. It's interesting that Richard seemed to be much more willing to actively work around Widmore's or Hawking's authority during season five than he does to go around Ben's in season three. Can't think of a reason why, though.

    And just generally, Richard's motives have seemed kind of shady to me in light of what happened at the end of season five. I feel like this guy could be working for anyone at this point.

    Also interesting is the effect that Cooper's death had on Sawyer v. Locke. After some initial guilt, Sawyer genuinely seemed to move on, this is when he really starts to seem to head towards his leadership role. Locke though, seems to go downhill from this point. He gets shot by Ben and does a pretty miserable job trying to lead his little faction in season four. I guess that all just underlines your point about the act itself of killing being important.

  6. Wow, great column. If this is what the mythology rich episodes prompt from you, Morse, then this is going to be an awesome ride until Feb. 2.

    1) I started to respond to your question about barefoot Sawyer. I sort of noticed it before, but never thought about it until you posed the question. But upon being asked, i just thought of the literary Tom Sawyer whom I remember barefoot often. Given the importance of "Sawyers" in this episode, maybe that is it. Then again, there is the notion of demonstrating spiritually by walking barefoot through a patch of hot coals (I forget what religion this came from and whether it is an invention for movies/TV or is actually a practice demonstrating real theology - but if you want to run with that, I know your wikipedia skills surpass mine). So perhaps this barefoot sawyer precedes his tests which either advance him (or don't) to the next level of his development.

    2) your post chat discussion of Richard's recommendation got me really excited as not only did Richard meet John Locke in the past (only once as an adult - aside from his childhood visits) but Richard also met Sawyer SEVERAL times (Ok, just twice that i can think of) in the 70s and seemed to genuinely respect the guy. Think about it, Sawyer never claimed greatness or stated that he was special. but he was smart, effective, direct and brave. He also did what he did in the past to save not his own neck but the necks of his people around him. So it is interesting, that knowing who James Ford was, Richard would suggest to John that he might be a good substitute.

    As you said Morse, it seems that Sawyer (referred to as James or Jim much more often since this moment) did advance after killing the original Sawyer. While Locke, who didn't kill his father, continued to skip like a needle on a record.

    sorry that i am not better at being concise...

  7. Also, Greg and Katie, my thoughts in point 2 definitely came after yours, so I wanted to be sure to give credit to your insight. This is such fun to read and think about.

  8. last thought - this time on the Temple.

    Given the ancient walls and even the sound of the word "temple" plus the fact that we haven't seen it, I can't help thinking that the actual Temple will be very counter to all of these things. I keep thinking it will be like an Apple commercial or store - a modern, crisp, white, modern clean room totally at odds with the "ancient wall and tunnels which surround it. I initially thought it to be another Dharma Station when it was first mentioned, but then all imagery we've seen (including the ruins in "The Brig") have subtly suggested that the Others would go to an actual ruin.

  9. Regarding Jack's dickish behavior: Jack's what a call a likeable dick. He's a major jerk, but he's got your back most of the time. Season 3 is where I'm most sympathetic to him, actually, because I buy his blatant hostility toward the Others (Juliet excepted) because their behavior is so incongruous from his perspective.

    In terms of his behavior (post-return) to the other castaways, in some ways I think it's just the writers trying to mess with us, making us wonder via false tension whether Jack really might have turned.

    If you are looking for an in-show explanation, I would guess that Jack is feeling betrayed by his fellow castaways, after they expressly disregarded his instructions and went back for him, which ended up torching his way off the island. He's probably transferring his irritation with Kate and his rage with Locke to all of them. Conversely, he feels close with Juliet because she was kind to him and was also disappointed in her efforts to escape. It may be he even feels responsible for her own loss of that chance, since it was "his" people who caused it.

    Ok, that's my Jack psychoanalysis. I find myself being a bit of a Jack apologist, if you can't tell, because no matter how big an ass he is, I can't help but like the guy.

  10. I wish I could join in on the discussion at Chud but I find it's been impossible to try and register to that site. I'll have to post here.

    What is cool about this show, in particular season 3, is how scenes often will take on a new perspective in light of events later on. When Richard talks with Locke it is as if we are seeing the Man In Black's long con begin to set in motion. Richard only wants Locke to be leader because Locke himself told him he is supposed to be leader years before. It's like an endless loop. Because the scene with Locke and Richard would almost be the starting point, yet it would not happen had Locke not went back in time to tell Richard what Richard would later tell him. Each scene seems to give birth to the other.

  11. Regarding no shoes on Sawyer, he is often not wearing a shirt either. :-)

  12. look what I found reading about google wave...
    there's always a loophole...

  13. Wow. What a terrific batch of comments.

    Taking them one at a time:

    1) Katie, I think Richard may function as an emissary between Jacob and the MiB/Island. As for the killing of Cooper, I think it underlines the importance (in this case literal, but typically figurative) of 'letting go.'

    2) Miles, I like your thoughts on the Temple, though I really hope that the structure doesn't resemble an Apple store. I'd personally prefer the Temple to be an old structure, and not a futuristic one, but that's asthetics. I just hope that the final reveal is cool.

    3) Greg, I agree with you about Jack in the general sense. I actually quite like the character, but just found myself irritated by his behavior in these episodes. Your explanations make good sense to me, and I think they're correct.

    4) Anon, I agree.

    5) Erik, I take it you're a fan of shirtless Sawyer? ;)

    6) Andres, I can't tell what relevance that article has to Lost. Care to elaborate?

  14. Alright I am WAY behind on the rewatch but I felt the need to comment on this episode. Towards the end of Season 3 we start to see hints that Ben doesn't have absolute control over his followers, nor does he have the special communion with the island that the Others value. In Season 5, we learn that he is frustrated by Jacob's lack of approval (aka, he has daddy issues).

    I can't remember all the little details we've learned about Ben's leadership since this episode, so I'm not sure if this is canon or just my speculation - but I feel like Ben essentially took over The Others without the blessing of Jacob via Richard. He may have been on the path at some point, but I'm convinced that he didn't follow the rules to be ordained properly - maybe he got impatient and usurped the role, or maybe he was told he would never be the leader and refused to accept that outcome.

    If it's true that Ben is a pretender to the throne, then it makes perfect sense why he'd be threatened by Locke, whom Richard clearly favors and everybody else is excited about. The kill-your-father test may be a complete fabrication by Ben to distract his people and buy himself some time. As you said in your recap, there's no evidence that anyone else was required to provide such brutal proof of commitment to join the tribe.

    Yes, there is a lot of Biblical language in the paragraph above. It seemed appropriate, given this show :)

  15. Considering that the Bible is one of the shows major inspirations (Cuse admits as much in interviews), I think it's entirely appropriate, Jenny.

    Good thoughts, and they seem sound. I can't wait to discover the 'truth' about Ben's ascension, as well as his mysterious visit to the Temple.

  16. Why would Ben so blatantly lie about them kidnapping Cooper? Seems like he's lying just to lie.

    It's amusing that Ben suggests Locke say good-bye to Kate, but not to Jack or Sayid.

    Locke's efforts to get Sawyer to kill Cooper directly mirror Anti-Locke and Ben in "The Incident." Interesting.

    You'd think after blowing up their only way off the Island that at least one of the Others would be annoyed with Locke. Doesn't seem to be the case though.

    Is the Others' camping spot here the same in "Jughead"?

    I wonder if future Jack's camping ghost stories involve Christian . . .

    Why is Sayid digging a hole in the jungle?

    What would have happened if Locke actually killed Cooper? Besides Ben dropping his jaw in shock.

    They were letting the kids watch an execution? Weird.

    Cooper believes he's in Hell, but he doesn't care about pissing off its inhabitants. I wonder why.

    It's also interesting that Locke wants to become one of the Others (or at least get answers from them), but he's also actively helping to disrupt their impending raid on the castaways.