There are episodes of Lost we all love, cherish, and can recite on cue. Then there are others we barely remember, those that don’t ring a bell, or those that simply make us draw a blank when they are referenced. "Do No Harm" is one of those latter episodes for me. I remember the big two events, but other than that, it was a total blur to me before sitting down again tonight to rewatch it.
And now I know why I was so fuzzy on it: because this episode made me want to curl up into a ball and die with all the overly realistic ways in which Jack tries to keep Boone alive. Sweet Jeebus, this is not my cup of tea. I can fairly say that I purposefully forgot the details of this episode just so I could get a peaceful night of sleep. Oh well, the sacrifices I make for you, the readers at home. Hope you can sleep well tonight, even if I can’t.
Do No Harm
4) In Short
"Boone falls up the plane, Boone falls down the plane."
8) On the Island
It’s literally right after the events of "Deus ex Machina," with people frantically trying to help Boone. Jack co-opts Sun as his primary assistant, while ordering others to get the necessary equipment needed to help him. But everything stops when Boone’s lung collapses, forcing Jack to literally drive a hole into Boone’s chest. All together now: holy crap. Jack assures Boone that he will save him. Unfortunately, he cannot rebuild him, in that he does not have the technology.
On the beach, Claire asks Michael how long until the raft will be complete. Michael thinks it’s a week from being done. Jin works through the impromptu lunch break, as if a man possessed. Kate interrupts the lunch, seeking all the alcohol in Sawyer’s stash. Sawyer offers to help, but Kate insists they have enough people in the caves.
In the caves, they’ve set up a makeshift surgical ward. Boone needs a blood transfusion, but Jack decides to set his leg first. Sun essentially sends Jack from the ward, to get some air. Jack walks smack dab into a panicked Charlie, who prompts Jack to lose his cool thanks to his insistent questioning. Sun’s on point, luckily, providing a stick for Boone to chomp down on as OH MY GOD JACK JUST REBROKE HIS LEG AND EEEK THIS IS WHY I COULD NEVER BE A DOCTOR OH MOMMY MOMMY HOLD ME.
Kate manages to trip, fall, and bust open every nip of alcohol in her bag in her rush to get back to the caves. However, she manages to come across Claire, who, as luck would have it, is in labor. This is like a sweeps episode of E.R. at this point. Kate shouts for help, and the only person who hears her is Jin. He bounds into the jungle, because he’s Jin and he’s effin’ awesome. He eventually comes upon the scene, and instantly regrets his inner morality. Seriously, his initial "Oh!" is one of my favorite Season 1 moments.
Back in the caves, Sun continues to play "Calm Doc" and Jack plays "Pretty Much Freaking Out Doc." Boone reveals his blood type (A negative), which sends Sun on a scavenger hunt. Jack tells her to find Shannon as well. Too bad she’s out in the jungle with Sayid. Nice to see the show remembered it forced these two into a relationship that nobody bought. Awww, Sayid set up a surprise fire-lit picnic date! Kick me in the face.
Back at the Caves of Pain and Misery, the group’s having little to no luck finding blood. If you want a comparison, think about the trouble Ian Somerhalder had finding work after this episode. Once again, Sun saves the day, finding a sea urchin with spines that could function as needles. Sun’s batting 1.000 so far in this episode. Turns out Jack himself is O negative, a universal donor. That’s good. Course, his blood could also send Boone into shock, never mind render Jack woozy and unable to operate at peak performance. That’s bad. Much like the cursed frogurt from The Simpsons, there are pros and cons to this.
Jin runs into the caves to find Jack, and it’s hard to tell what he’s more surprised by seeing: Boone on the makeshift table or his wife as his makeshift nurse. Fantastic moment. The camera pans slowly over the impromptu IV drip, and now I remember that I blocked all this out because I get all Hurley around blood. Jin drops the Claire knowledge, leading to a series of awkward exchanges all around. All the while, Jack gets woozier and woozier. This is the first time Jack and I have ever had anything in common. Jack gets Charlie all the necessary instructions for childbirth, as he won’t be able to leave Boone’s side.
In the jungle, Claire’s water breaks. In the caves, Boone’s silence breaks. Boone tells Jack about the plane that fell on him, which piques Jack’s interest. Mention of a "hatch" further confuses Jack. After that, all Boone can do is mutter his sister’s name, but she’s too busy making googly eyes with the Iraqi down at Craphole Island’s equivalent of Sandals. Shannon finally tells Sayid her relationship with Boone (at least, the PG version of it).
Charlie and Jin catch up to Claire and Kate. Ms. Austen freaks more than a little out when she realizes she has to deliver the baby. Claire freaks out that there might be something wrong with the baby. And back in the caves, Jack freaks out that he might not actually be able to save Boone. As Charlie might sing, "Freak out, everybody!"
Jack realizes that Boone’s leg is undoing all the work from the transfusion. Sun stops Jack from donating more (Sun doubles down the line!), which prompts a now very sallow Jack to ask Hurley to fetch Michael from the beach. The two men ponder the age old question of, "What remaining tool in our arsenal is best equipped to chop a man’s leg off?" Remember when the show was devoid of hatches, bungalows, and food drops? The show featured a lot of this type of stuff. No wonder Dharma constructed New Otherton. They couldn’t take this type of lifestyle either.
Claire’s trying to hold her breath to stop the contractions. She fears her child will intuitively know she tried to give it away. Kate steps up, Sun-like, and helps convince Claire to push for the sake of her, her child, and the Lostaways as a whole. Some of Evangeline’s best work of the season here.
Welcome to Amputation Theatre. I swear to God, this scene plays tense as hell, but not as tense as the first time, where I further swear to God I was convinced they were going to actually go through with this and turn Boone into an emo version of Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump. Luckily, they didn’t, and you could surmise that fact by noting I am alive and not very dead, having been felled by a heart attack when this initially aired. And who stops it? Boone, who is put into the awkward position of telling Jack to let him die, that he’s "letting [him] off the hook."
Cue Elton John, as the circle of life turns fully: Boone dies as Claire’s son is born. It’s a magnificent sequence not simply for the two plots converging so nicely but for watching people we’ve grown to know (a little) and love (a lot) share the most important moments of their lives together, celebrating life with each other and seeking solace from grief in each other.
The following morning, a wordless sequence in which Claire’s child is presented to the Lostaways. Joy turns to grief as Shannon and Sayid return from their romantic excursion, with Jack relaying the bad news to the couple as the quintessential Lost musical motif plays. Freakin’ motif makes me cry every time.
Jack declares the baby fit as a fiddle to Kate. He also declares one other thing: his intention to find John Locke, whom he believes murdered Boone. Looks like Jack and Locke might have a bit of an argument brewing, wouldn’t you say?
15) Off the Island
Jack’s tying a bowtie onto his friend Sullivan, dressed in a tux. It’s Jack’s wedding day. Well, it will be soon, at least. For now, we have the rehearsal dinner, in which Sarah, Jack’s fiancée, tells the story of how they met. It’s the old chestnut of "boy meets girl after girl drives over the median and slams into an oncoming SUV, boy manages to cure what others consider to be inoperable spinal damage." You know, that cliché. She thinks Jack is the type of man who fixes things.
He’s also the type of man who plays the piano, turns out, as Sarah catches him that night tickling the ivories in the hotel lobby. She joins him for a duet of "Heart and Soul." Turns out Jack’s having a hard time writing his vows. My wife and I had that problem as well, which is why we simply quoted from Meatloaf’s "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Nevertheless, while these two are nominally talking about vows, one gets the impression that there’s more going on beneath the surface here.
Jack is drinking alone by the pool later on. Christian settles in beside him, having smelled the booze from 4,000 yards away. Papa Shephard reads Jack’s vows-in-progress, only to find out they are Sarah’s, not his. Jack’s got writer’s block. The two have a heart-to-heart, in which Jack betrays a few fears he has. He wonders if he only proposed to Sarah because he saved her life. Christian replies that while Jack has no problem with commitment, but that he does have a problem knowing when to let go.
It’s Jack’s wedding day, with Sarah flawlessly reciting her written vows. Time for Jack’s sage words: "Sarah, when you were talking about the accident — you got it all wrong. I didn’t fix you. You fixed me. I love you, Sarah, and I always will. At least until I meet a hot chick on a deserted island with a propensity to say, ‘I’m coming with you,’ at least once per episode." OK, maybe I paraphrased that last bit. He said with his eyes, though, trust me.
16) The Mythology
23) The Moment
Boone screaming in agony after jack re-sets his leg. Youch.
42) In Retrospect
- Loved seeing Jack play the piano, given his penchant for doing so in New Otherton. I don’t think it has much mythological significance so much as psychological: it’s what the guy does when trapped in something from which he doesn’t know how to escape.
- Can’t help but wonder, given Christian’s role in the show now, what function Jack’s marriage to Sarah serves his overall agenda. Moreover, given the overabundance of car crashes on this show, and the person also involved in Sarah’s crash, can we really say Sarah wasn’t led directly into Jack’s life?
- My wife pointed out that it’s fitting that Kate first holds Aaron, given her off-Island relationship to Turnip Head. I wouldn’t give the show credit for thinking that far ahead, but I will say that it makes later events make perfect sense. After all, Kate would have an extremely primal association with this child, and would be fit for tending to him in Claire’s absence.
- While blindingly obvious even upon first viewing, Jack’s "don’t tell me what I can’t do!" line binds him ever more with Locke upon later viewings. The two really aren’t as different as they think; they are merely individuals with different skill sets and weaknesses that offset each other. Too bad they really never had a chance after Boone’s death to exploit this relationship for the good of themselves or the Island.
108) In Summary
More so than any episode in the series, this strove to show the difficulty of simple survival on this Island. In time, the Island would reveal showers, washing machines, and even CD players, but this episode played it hard, played it real, and above all, played it MEAN.
But amidst all the blood and pain and trauma, there was genuine compassion as well. Sun essentially keeps Jack sane, while keeping Boone alive as long as possible. Kate steps up in a big way, saving Claire’s sanity (and her son’s health) through her quick thinking and clear purpose. And a host of other people selflessly helped out whenever possible, taking a group of cohabitating people are turning them into a family overnight.
Course, with Jack’s last words of the episode, looks like that family might start splintering sooner than we’d like.
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