Lost S1E20: Do No Harm
You know, I dunked a lot on Jack at the start of this season.
And he deserved it, a little bit – Captain I-Took-A-Class-In-That is my least favourite iteration of the character, that’s for sure. But the more time has passed, the more I have had to come around to the idea that I actually love Jack’s character. And this week’s episode, Do No Harm, was just another reminder of How Fucking Wrong my dumb (but sexy) ass can be.
Do No Harm picks off where last week left off, as Boone clings to life after being involved in an accident with Locke (who has vanished into the woods and left Twink Stranding to deal with his own shit). I think the show is at its best when the people on the island are facing an immediate and present danger or problem, and have to come together with their pooled expertise and limited resources to try and solve it: it’s exciting and immediate and makes all that endless character work seem pointed, for a change. Jack and Sun have to MacGyver a blood donation out of sea anemone bits, and Jack and Michael put together an impromptu leg amputation station out of some bits of leftover plane, and it’s genuinely engaging television to watch these people fight against the odds to try and fix what is unfixable.
And I love to see Jack up against it, because it’s when Matthew Fox is just at his most commanding on-screen – like I wrote a few weeks ago, Jack losing control is by far the most compelling version of him that we have. Frantic, self-destructive, and irrational, it’s amazing what a little adversity can do to switch up a character, you know?
Because Boone, of course, dies (thus proving my point about the gay-coding, because gay romances are always the first to go). I can’t believe I’m actually sad to see Ian Somerhalder go, but I am – I’ve enjoyed his performance, especially when he’s balanced with Terry O’Quinn’s Locke, but I think it’s for the best that he’s out of the picture. The stakes are higher, and we’ve officially lost (heh) one of our own now. It makes sense to ease up the tension with a loss like this one, though I wish my One True Island Pairing didn’t come in for it as a result.
And, this being a fantasy show, there can’t be a death without a life that comes with it, so Claire drops her sprog with the help of Kate (and Charlie, watching from a distance, hopefully keeping his mouth shut about the size of Kate’s boobs this time). Look, I’m not saying the passing of the torch in a death/life episode is exactly ground-breaking, but it’s an easy way to tap into some big emotions, and this show works best on broad strokes. The silent moment at the end of the episode, when Shannon returns to Boone, too late to say goodbye to him, and sits with his body, is genuinely and actually affecting, and doesn’t feel like the usual scrabble for pathos Lost has to indulge in to make things work.
And, okay, I have to give some credit to the tiny detail in the scene where everyone is being introduced to the baby – Sawyer, though it’s not focused on at all, is looking at Kate the entire time. Maybe there’s time for me to ship this couple yet, guys. (there’s not)
As we’re rounding the corner on the end of the series – only a couple more weeks of recaps left, given that we have (groan) a three-part finale in hand – it’s good to see them focusing in on their strongest and most compelling characters once more. I’m hoping that this focus continues, and that they make dragging my ass through the entirety of this season worthwhile. And also a little fearful that they might con me into season two, as well.
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(header image via Doux Reviews)