Season 3 Episode 19

The Brig

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 02, 2007 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (139)

out of 10
1,585 votes
  • Two character's traumatic Backstories are laid to rest along with the culprit in spectacular fashion!

    And thus begins Lost's outstanding Season 3 wrap-up!
    Absolutely amazing episode, which I would agree with most people is the darkest hour of the series thus far!
    Once again it's all about the performances, which makes the episode so special. We all know that Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emmerson have considerable talent, that is made manifest by the complex characters they are playing. Up until now, Josh Holloway hasn't had much chance to dig deeper into his acting soul. Most of Josh Holloway's acting skills required for this series up to now, at least on-island, has been to play the bad ass, the cocky southerner with a penchant for nicknames. However, here we are witness to a different side to Josh Holloway, one which is very welcome and is sure to be embraced by most watching. In every line he roars at Anthony Cooper inside the Black Rock you can feel the emotional pain Holloway's character feels. Never before has an acting performance on Lost stopped my heart at places like when he screams "Finish it!", referring to his letter. Kevin Tigh's portrayal as Anthony Cooper is also worthy of praise and is enough to give Josh Holloway the incentive to deliver his own 100% performance. Josh Holloway only goes to prove how much every actor/actress on the show has improved.
    With performances like these who needs special effects, jungle chases, explosions, implosions and rampaging polar bears and smoke monsters to generate excitement.
    With Sawyer being so pivotal to this episode and Josh Holloway stealing the show literally it is easy to forget that this episode is actually Locke-centric. I still refer to it as a Locke-Sawyer centric episode because it concerns them both just as equally. It is Locke-centric because to be fair Locke gets more episode screen time, owing to his on-island flashbacks, which tracks him following the cliffhanger of "The Man from Tallahassee".
    Once again the concept of the "Magic Box" is raised and new light on this subject got my mind going back to Season 1. Ben tells Locke in this episode that Anthony Cooper came out of the box because Locke somehow willed it. In "The Man from Tallahassee" Ben says that the box holds what you imagine or hope would be in it, so, in essence, Locke imagined or hoped Cooper would be on the island. If Ben is telling the truth then this information relates directly to Walt in Season 1. As far back as the Pilot episode we were quickly introduced to Walt's powers. We saw him read a spanish comic with a Polar Bear in it, moments before a real one appears before several other castaways. Once again this connection was made more definitive in "Special" later that season when Walt's fury that his comic had been thrown in the fire by Michael on the Polar Bear page had been enough to imagine, hope and thus will the Polar Bear onto the island, maybe to seek revenge on Michael. However, the plan may not have turned out as hoped as Walt was trapped with the animal and Michael rescued Walt and himself from the attack. It is quite possible, thought, that Walt is unaware of his "Magic Box" abilities, just as Locke isn't. Locke can't understand how he could have used his "Magic Box" to bring Anthony Cooper to the island. Of course, even if Locke or Walt did imagine themselves up a Polar Bear or an Anthony Cooper or even when Charlie hoped his guitar would be on the island in one piece, it still doesn't explain how this all connects with how Cooper was actually brought to the island, which was supposedly by a car accident. The whole "Magic Box" issue does get us to wonder what things on the island are due to the imaginations of our characters and which are due to the Smoke Monster [see The Cost of Living, earlier this season]. At this time I believe that the manifestations of Dave, Christian Shepherd and Yemi are all creations of the monster, whereas Anthony Cooper [possibly], Walt's Polar Bear and Charlie's guitar came out of the magic box. The island is one large magic box where all your dreams can come true, physically or spiritually or both [Locke's legs and his faith].
    I think we have only just scratched the surface of the "Magic Box" and look forward to where that story goes from here.
    Another interesting plot point concerns the Others. We have been led to believe that there exists a great leader on the island, who is in control of the Others and quite possibly in charge of everything that goes on on the island. We will get clarification in the following episode that his name is "Jacob", a name that has been referenced numerous times this season. Beneath Jacob in the Others hierarchy there stands Ben as the sub-leader of the Others, the physical presence of a leader, against Jacob who seems to be at this stage of the game an unseen force of the island.
    Ben seems to have taken on this responsibility for some time but it is becoming quite clear that his methods of leadership are not going down too well with the rest of the community. Certainly, Richard hints at this to Locke when he tells him that Ben has been wasting their time on fertility problems instead of seeking their true potential on the island. This makes Juliet's actions to Jack in the early part of the season much clearer. Juliet informed Jack that the community are unhappy with Ben and want him gone. Of course Juliet would later deny this but even Tom, when he finds out has an understanding expression on his face. Richard Alpert also tells Locke that, Ben aside, everyone in the community thinks Locke is special and important to the island, hinting that they believe they have found their new sub-leader to replace Ben. This would explain why, as Richard explains, that Locke doesn't want anyone to think Locke is special and wanted to see him fail to embarrass Locke and to boost Ben's self-esteem. Ben doesn't guess that Locke would return with the Others with Anthony Cooper on his back. Ben, obviously realises that Locke is somehow special and has a irrefutable communion with the island, due in part to his sudden ability to walk again and also his ability to somehow speed up Ben's healing process just by being in his company. But Ben is also aware that Locke could be his successor and tries to put Locke in situations that he knows he will fail in, just to prove to the Others that Locke is not what they think he is. Ben can't handle the fact that Locke would be leading Ben rather than Ben leading Locke, which is getting near to happening. The whole "sacrifice" at the Ruins was very creepy and many have speculated that the Ruins are connected to the four-toed statue seen last season. Back on the beach Naomi expands on her story teased at the climax of the previous episode. She tells a disbelieving Sayid that they found the wreckage of Oceanic 815 and all the dead passengers in a trench near Bali. Sayid is suspicious, as am I. We saw halfway in Season 1 that the tide was coming in to wash up the wreckage of the plane and the survivors camp so they had to relocate further down shore. Okay, it is possible that the tide could flush pieces of the wreckage out to sea but that far out and in one piece enough to be identified by people. It is just as likely for someone to go back down to their original camp and try to find any part of the wreckage. We also know that part of the wreckage was nowhere near the shoreline as some of it was found further inland in the jungle and also in the Caves. Rewatching "White Rabbit" from Season 1 when Jack first discovers the caves only confirms this. So this is a blatant lie by Naomi, one that should be picked up by more than just Sayid [assuming that this is not an inconsistency in writing! I sure hope not!]. Why anyone has not already investigated back at their original camp is unclear. The tide may have pulled back out again making investigations that much easier. So I am pretty convinced at this point [without revealing what I know in Season 4] that this is a lie from Naomi.
    Anyhow, speculations aside this was a thoroughly entertaining episode, the darkest yet. In fact I would go as far as saying that Lost has produced a Film Noir episode.The moment when "Sawyer" strangles "Sawyer" with the chain is brutal and quite possibly the most violent thing we have seen up to this point.
    It will be interesting now to see where Locke and Ford's journeys go now. Sawyer, now taht he has killed the very man that ruined his life by conning his parents and resulting in their deaths, will probably be much more relaxed and looser on the island and may be more content to become one of the team. Locke, now that the man that was responsible for his paralysis as well as one less kidney and subsequent misery in his life, will probably have the freedom to choose his destiny now, even if that means joining the "enemy" as Sawyer calls them. Locke is not choosing to join the Others out of spite for his fellow survivors, rather than as an outlet to gain a better understanding of the island and to prove or disprove in what he secretly believes. That belief would be sorely tested once again in the following episode.
    "The Brig" was one of the best episodes of the season and the standard had once again been raised. Things would only get even better!
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