‘Lost’: Freewill Doesn’t Come Cheap


The Brig
Season 3 Episode 19

Courtesy of ABC

Last night on Lost, the unthinkable happened: a plotline was (partially) resolved. It turns out that the Others brought Locke’s father to the island so that Locke would kill him. What’s with these people and their patricide?

Theory #1 When Locke is unable to cut his dad’s throat, Ben publicly shames him in front of the Others. According to Freud, the slaying of the father is what “enabled mankind to enter history.” As discussed last week, the island — if, indeed, it is an island — appears to be a place of origin where all inhabitants can shed their past and begin again. Maybe Ben needs Locke for his new society because Locke’s healing powers have given him a messianic status among the Others. But in order for this birth of a new civilization to commence, Locke must overcome what Freud calls “the anxiety of influence” (okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying he should murder his dad). Any way you look at it, Locke’s dad was a jerk.

Theory #2: The episode was called “The Brig,” a reference to the mid-nineteenth-century slave ship that nobody seemed particularly surprised to find wrecked on the island. That Locke chose this location for his father’s death is no accident: Locke is not only a slave to his father, but also to Ben. By ordering Locke to kill his father, Ben betrayed his woeful misunderstanding of “freewill”: You can’t command someone to carry it out. Locke, who shares his name with epistemologist John Locke, seems to follow the English philosopher’s belief that freewill should correspond with goodness — which is why he couldn’t do it. (Vengeful Sawyer had fewer qualms.)

Theory #3: Speaking of fathers, Jack — formerly the crew’s paterfamilias — was ousted from the in-group (Hurley, Sayid, Charlie, Desmond) because no one trusts him anymore. Why is he hanging out with Juliet? It seems obvious that the secret he and Juliet are keeping from the others is that Kate is pregnant. For doctors, these two are pretty unprofessional.

Next week: Ben shares more secrets of the “island” with Locke. Juliet’s jig is up when Sawyer reveals that she’s been working for Ben. —Phoebe Reilly

Related: Theories About “The Brig” [LostPedia]
“The Brig” [LostBlog]
Things I Noticed: “The Brig” [DarkUFO]

‘Lost’: Freewill Doesn’t Come Cheap