Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Review: Lost 1.20: Do No Harm

Lost - Season One, Episode Twenty - Do No Harm
Written 9/6/13

Do No Harm shifts the show's gear-lever up to maximum as we face the first season's most intense and beautifully tragic episode, seeing the culmination of both a long-awaited event and of a more recent, more surprising one. Matthew Fox's acting and Michael Giaccino's score do everything in their power to make Boone's death as sad as is physically possible, and they jolly well manage it, too. Do No Harm seems custom built to balance just the right amount of happiness with these tragic events - not to even them out, of course, but to in comparison make the tragedy even worse.
Boone takes one for the team.
     Jack desperately tries to treat Boone, ranging from using his own blood to transfuse him to creating a make-shift guillotine in order to prepare to chop his leg off. Just as he's pouring his own blood into Boone and praying that it'll work, Jin rushes through the jungle and Sun translates that errand-running Kate has stopped to help Claire, who is now having the baby in the middle of the jungle. He sends Jin and Charlie back with the message that Kate will have to deliver it. Boone awakens before Jack prepares to amputate his leg and tells him to stop, soon after succumbing to his wounds. Claire's baby is born, and in the celebration Jack must tell Shannon of Boone's death. Later, he goes off on a hunt for Locke, whom he blames for the whole affair.
     In his flashback, whose purpose seems to be a wonderfully cute counterpoint to the main plot, Jack is getting married to Sarah, who conveniently explains via an expositional wedding rehearsal speech that he performed miraculous back surgery on her a few years ago and saved her from paralysis. He struggles to come up with his own vows, frightened of getting them wrong, but a visit from not-quite-yet-disgraced Christian helps him to channel his thoughts. At the wedding, he claims he hasn't written any vows, because he can't put down in words how much she means to him. Aww.
     Initially I thought that the focus on Jack was a little odd for Boone's last episode, but the development of Jack's main character trait in the early seasons (obsessive commitment) really works well with both of these scenarios and you can't help but feel for the poor guy as he, in the words of Christian Shephard, "isn't good at letting go" when there's little hope of Boone's survival. Had anyone else been in that situation, it would have probably been euthanasia time, considering the level of bleeding and the fact that they're on an Island in the middle of nowhere, but Jack's desperation to save him just this once ties into a deeper insecurity that we see in his flashbacks. It's really well-done character development and I think it's just marvellous.
Jack is nervous about writing his vows for wife-to-be Sarah
      The birth of Claire's baby (which fans all know as Aaron) is also a big moment in the season, with Kate's delivery forming the inception of the Kate/Claire relationship that would get so much time spent on it in the later seasons. I don't really think the baby could have been born in any other circumstances, really - the deliberate life-and-death symbolism aside, I think that its presence here allows all sources of tension to be stretched to their absolute limits, which leaves behind an episode that is powerful and memorable.
     Do No Harm was a sad episode for me, and thus as far as I'm concerned that meant that it was a qualified success. I had a lot of nasty things to say about Boone over the course of his run, but the character was beginning to grow on me in his last few episodes and this is the beginning of a looooong Lost tradition whereby the moment that a character comes to terms with their personal baggage, they get killed for their troubles. I'm going to miss Boone, but my feelings around that are less important than how excited I am as we inch ever closer to this season's finale.


NEXT WEEK: Sayid gets to the bottom of whatever the fuck Locke's doing in The Greater Good.

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