Underappreciated 'Lost' Theatre: Do No Harm
Past entries in this series have included:
Live Together, Die Alone
Today, we're going back to Season 1 with "Do No Harm," a Jack-centric ep that saw the show's first major death as well as the birth of Turnip Head himself, Aaron. Should be a no-brainer in terms of canonical eps, and yet barely gets mentioned even when discussing Top 10 Season 1 episodes. So let's break down why that might be, and why it deserves a second look.
Why it's overlooked
Jack's flashback, in which we see the events leading up to his wedding, could possibly be used in sleep wards to cure insomnia. While later flashbacks involving his wife Sarah add shading to their unique relationship, at this point little is added to Jack's character. We already knew that he was Mr. Fix-It to a fault. Ironically, Christian's warning to his son in this episode ("Commitment is what makes you tick, Jack. The problem is that you're just not good at letting go.") rings even truer considering the dude just dropped a hydrogen bomb on the off chance he might score with Kate in another life, brutha.
As for Boone's death: I know only a few that truly loathed his character, but even fewer that truly liked him, either. His death was perhaps shocking at the time, but currently sits buried beneath the cavalcade of corpses that followed.
Why it's underappreciated
Boone's death might not be unique in terms of its importance, but it's incredibly unique in terms of its circumstances. Go ahead, watch the excruciating, ultra-realistic way in which Jack and Sun work to keep Boone alive. The show simply doesn't approach this level of specificity anymore, thanks to the discovery of hatches, arrival of pallet drops, and overall interaction with the outside world providing more and more creature comforts to the show's characters. But in "Do No Harm," Jack and Sun use their wits, what the Island provides, and make impossible choice after impossible choice. Boone's death ultimately matters through the effort made to keep him alive.
Of course, no discussion of this episode could be complete without mentioning the parallel plot involving Aaron's birth. Aaron's birth achieves about sixteen things at once. It solidifies the bond between Kate and Claire that drives Ms. Austen to return to the Island years later. It solidifies Charlie's desire to protect Claire, ending with his death two seasons later in the Looking Glass station. It instills a sense of paternity in Jin, leading to his drive to get Sun off the Island three seasons later. And let's not forget the complete recontextualization of this scene four seasons later in "The Little Prince," in which Sawyer witnesses the scene that sticks in his brain during the three years spent under the name "LaFleur" in New Otherton.
What's your favorite part of "Do No Harm"? Leave it below!
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