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Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010


Episode 20 - Do No Harm

17 January 2017

Present: Jack operates on Boone to try and save him. Boone needs a blood transfusion and with Sun’s help, Jack gives him his blood. Boone’s leg is crushed and Jack enlists Michael to try and help cut it off. In the end Boone asks Jack to let him go. Meanwhile Claire starts having the baby out in the jungle. Kate has to deliver it while Jin and Charlie try to help. Shannon and Sayid spend the night together further down the beach.

Flashback: Jack is about to get married and is having trouble writing his vows. Christian arrives to give him some advice. It becomes apparent that Jack saved Sarah’s life and he is worried that he is marrying her because of that. When the ceremony comes though he says that he didn’t fix her, she fixed him and they get married.

The Good: Is there no end to Lost’s list of surprises? Admittedly this is more about style than content. This is Lost’s hospital drama episode as Boone dies and Claire gives birth. But as all those involved are main characters, this is in a way much more significant than the average episode of a hospital drama.

Boone’s death is a bit of a shock to anyone who has watched plenty of television. Whenever a main character dies in a show, it should be a big deal. And this is a very good example of how to dramatise a death. By focussing the episode around the attempts to save Boone, most of the audience will assume that Jack will succeed. It says a lot about the kind of show which Lost wants to be that he dies. Lost wants to break the mould of normal television shows and they have done that in many ways even before this episode. But for the show as a whole Boone’s death is an excellent decision. It tells the audience that the survivors are in danger on the island. It tells you that the actions on the island have real consequences. It also removes any doubt you may have had about the show after Charlie (111) and Jack (105) survived near death moments.

The dramatic tension is good and focussed largely on Jack’s inability to accept defeat. We are thrust immediately into the action by Jack puncturing Boone’s chest to help him breathe. The need for a blood transfusion is handled in a very realistic manner. The fact that no one knew their own blood type is a logical occurrence and the one character most likely to know theirs would be a doctor. So Jack being the blood donor makes both logical sense and a dramatic visual demonstration of his determination. The decision to cut off Boone’s leg is another great piece of drama. While seemingly a logical decision, it becomes apparent that Boone is too far gone for that. But what better demonstration of how desperate to succeed Jack is and how harsh island life can be than when they stick Boone’s leg in the cargo door and prepare to slice it off.

The episode isn’t even about Boone, it’s all about Jack. His flashback shows us that he married a woman who thought of him as a hero. Clearly it’s a role which Jack feels tremendous pressure to perform all the time. As soon as he sees Boone he makes the foolish promise that “I am gonna save you.” We know part of where this need to be the hero comes from and that is his relationship with his father Christian Shepherd. Interestingly here Jack is anxious for his father’s advice and support and Christian is happy to give it. It’s the friendliest we have seen them behave so far. Worryingly Jack seems to be marrying for the wrong reasons and he asks his father “What if I asked her because I saved her life? Should I marry her Dad?” The fact that on the eve of the wedding day he can be so racked with doubt is not a good sign. Christian puts his finger on the reality when he says Jack will have no problem committing but will struggle to let go. With both the Marshall (103) and now Boone he seems determined to try and save people past the point where they can be helped. It all makes Jack a fascinating and flawed character. Especially as we see him drinking a lot, just like his Dad.

There is some repetition of dialogue which is interesting. Boone let’s Jack “off the hook” for promising to save him. Just as Rose did (105) earlier in the season. But presumably more significantly Jack says “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” which has become former cripple John Locke’s catchphrase. Jack ends the episode blaming Locke for Boone’s death and it seems the two men are set for a confrontation. It’s an interesting contrast because Jack is clearly still living with the perception of himself which he had before coming to the island while Locke has created a whole new identity. Similarly Jack turns to science to solve the problems of the island while Locke turns to faith. Their confrontation should be interesting to see.

Meanwhile Kate does a nice job delivering Claire’s baby and is ably supported by Charlie and the now very likeable Jin. Sun also does a determined job of keeping Jack in line. Also Jack’s best man is the same man who Jack was friends with as a child in White Rabbit (105).

The Bad: The end of the episode sounds a bit clichéd. Jack claims Boone was murdered and he is off to hold Locke responsible. But Boone was clearly not murdered and even as he died seemed not to be angry at Locke. I suppose Jack is sleep and blood deprived when saying it but it still sounds like drama for drama’s sake.

Meanwhile there is no way Claire ought to be up and walking around after giving birth. She seems way too happy and relaxed for someone whose body has been through a major event.

The Unknown: What is Locke up to now? Did Jack really love Sarah?

Best Moment: Jack telling Sun that he is going to cut off Boone’s leg and then slicing a branch in half to test the cargo door. So often in television (and in most art), the most effective moments are ones which engage your imagination. The thought of slicing off Boone’s leg has horrific consequences for him and for the rest of the survivors. They would all have to live with the crippled Boone, a daily reminder of the island’s danger. And how much of “their” medicine would have to be used to keep him alive? It’s all so tragic to consider that it’s a hugely effective piece of writing.

The Bottom Line: A dark and dramatic episode. Boone’s death is a surprise and a very welcome sign that Lost will be a show with real consequence. Where characters really suffer life’s horrors and have to deal with tragedy and loss.

The episode itself if very good, though by making Jack the central focus, Boone’s death does lose something. Not a lot but Lost’s format does work against an ultra realistic dark look at Boone’s suffering. Perhaps that’s for the best in order to maintain a wide audience for the show. However there is something ungainly about focussing on Jack’s wedding while Boone’s life slowly ebbs away.



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  • This episode was much better than I remembered it being.

    Once again, Lost focusses on the theme of letting go and this time it's Jack that gets the focus. The character work is wonderful and I love the scene where Christian tells Jackt hat he will commit easily but won't be able to let go. And I remember from my first time through the show that he was absolutely right and that Jack's inability to let go started the chain of events that lead to Christian's death.

    The flashback story is nice overall and it was a nice surprise to see Jack getting married. The opening scene of the flashback does an excellent job of throwing off the viewer as well, as Lost always loves to do.

    Jack trying to save Boone's life is a gripping story and it had me engaged into the episode. As you stated above, the decision to have Boone die is excellent and drives the story going forward.

    Claire giving birth is handled very well and provides some moments of happiness to prevent this episode from being too depressing, which I appreciated. I love the idea of Boone dying while Claire gives birth and the use of the "Life and Death" soundtrack near the end of the episode.

    The best aspect of this episode is the contrast between the flashback and the on-island story. Like the last episode, the stories fit together perfectly and the overall structure of the episode is brilliant.

    This episode definitely had the content to be an 80 or higher episode in my eyes, but I found the idea of watching Jack getting married while Boone slowly dies to be a little awkward. It takes away a little from the episode that prevents it from reaching the heights of the last couple episodes.

    Lastly, Lost provides another excellent cliff hanger to build up the next episode. If there was one thing that Lost always did right, it was the cliff hangers.

    To conclude, I was impressed by the storytelling and the balance in this episode. It was written beautifully and is almost an instant classic. Lost has been fantastic for the last few episodes and I hope that it can keep up the quality until the end of this season.

    Viewer score: 79 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 14/01/2017 11:11am (4 years ago)

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