Wednesday’s episode diverged from the usual formula to offer up a look at just what the heck Locke has been up to in the past eight days, since Ben showed Locke that the magic metaphorical box contained our ex-paraplegic’s father. Combined with more relevant information from Naomi, the Woman Who Fell to Earth, a fabulously salty Sawyer and some highly perplexing Kate-Jack interaction (because, hey, it’s Lost and we expect to be perplexed, right?), "The Brig" brought the good stuff right throughout.
The byplay between Locke and Sawyer (our Sawyer, not Locke’s dad) was among the better two-man shows we’ve seen this season, and some of the others have also involved Terry O’Quinn. He is perhaps the best pure actor in the ensemble, and his castmates seem to raise their games when they get extensive time with him.
Of course, O’Quinn and Josh Holloway also had some pretty strong material to work with, each exploring the outer reaches of their characters’ morality. Locke probably already knew, in some part of him, that he’s not capable of killing his father, while for all of Sawyer’s talk about the murder he committed in Sydney being a mistake, he didn’t flinch at the moment he’d been awaiting most of his life.
Because, yeah, Locke’s dad (well done, Kevin Tighe) is the Real Sawyer (so Pops said, anyway), a theory that’s been out there in Lost fandom for some time now. And after Locke shut James in a room with him and James discovered who the man in front of him was, he pulled out the letter he’d written to the man who wrecked his life, then throttled him after the older man scoffed at his vengeful streak.
And now, it seems, both men got what they wanted, though Locke seems to have the better end of things, getting to continue his quest for answers about the island and himself. Sawyer got his revenge, but centuries of storytelling tradition tells us that’s not going to make him feel much better. Although exposing Juliet’s continuing connection to Ben, courtesy of the tape recorder Locke swiped, just might.
I also liked what the episode revealed about Ben and the Others, who I’m convinced now more than ever are part of a cult. All Ben’s talk about Locke not being free until he lets go of his old life — violently, in this case — smacks of brainwash talk, as does his humiliation of Locke when he couldn’t go through with killing his dad.
I’m inclined to believe Richard on that last part; I can’t really say why, except that in the little bit we’ve seen of him, he doesn’t seem like a guy you’d want to take lightly. I wonder, though, if the next three weeks will get us any closer to understanding what Richard’s agenda is.
Other points of interest from "The Brig":
- Naomi tells Hurley, Sayid et al. that the wreckage of Flight 815 (or "Flight 815") was found in a miles-deep trench off the coast of Bali (Real Sawyer says more or less the same thing to Sawyer). That does not jibe at all with what we know about the flight’s path, which was originally Sydney to Los Angeles but diverted several hours in to make its way to Fiji for an emergency landing. Fiji is thousands of miles east of Bali.
- Nice interaction between Sayid and Naomi. Game recognize game, even on a deserted island.
- Kate’s decision to tell Jack about Naomi, the satellite phone and the fact no one trusts him anymore: Maddening or crafty? I’m in the former camp; God forbid that woman ever consider a consequence before doing something. That scene, with Jack and Juliet taunting Kate (and us) with the idea that they have a secret, was the only really grating note in the episode for me. It seemed like it was there solely to set up events for next week, and since Sawyer has Juliet on tape giving information to Ben, what’s the point?
- What’s Rousseau gonna do with all that dynamite?
- Wherever the Others were camping, there appeared to be some large and old-looking structures around. Maybe the altar-like structure Real Sawyer was tied to has something to do with the giant four-toed statue?
Your turn: How did this episode of Lost stack up for you?