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Saturday, July 11, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E20 "Do No Harm" and S1E21 "The Greater Good"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 20 and 21 of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

Season 1 Episode 20 - "Do No Harm"

Jack promises Boone, "You are not going to die. I'm going to fix this, okay? I am going to save you."

We find out through flashbacks that Jack was married to Sarah, who became his fianceé after he "fixed her" when a car crash left her with a broken back that other doctors said was irreparable.

Claire begins to go into labor while Jack is trying to save Boone. Jack can't deliver the baby because by the time he finds out about Claire, he's in the middle of giving a blood transfusion from himself to Boone using a rubber tube and sea urchin spines as needles.

In a flashback, Jack's father shows up the night before the wedding. Jack has been drinking, and he asks Christian, "What if I can't be the husband, or the father, that I want to be? What if I asked her because I saved her life? Should I marry her, dad?" Christian's response seems very insightful, especially in the context of Jack's attempt to save Boone's life: "Commitment is what makes you tick, Jack. The problem is, you're just not good at letting go."

Jack decides that Boone's leg needs to be amputated because the blood is pooling there. Sun discovers that Boone is coughing up blood, indicating that he's bleeding internally, and she tells Jack that he can't save Boone. Interestingly, Jack says to her one of Locke's oft-repeated lines, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" Boone regains consciousness before Jack can amputate, and Boone lets Jack "off the hook" for his promise to save him. Boone's last words are "Tell Shannon— tell Shannon I..."

Meanwhile, at about the same time that Boone dies, Claire's baby boy Aaron (as he will later be named) is born.

As Claire, her newborn, Kate, Charlie, and Jin return to the beach, the other survivors all gather around to see the new baby. While everyone adores Aaron, Sayid and Shannon return from an overnight excursion on another beach, and Jack approaches them and tells Shannon about Boone. Later when she sees his body, she mourns bitterly.

Jack sits alone on the beach. Kate walks up to him and asks if he wants to talk about Boone's death. Jack answers, "He didn't die. He was murdered." He begins to walk away while donning a backpack, and a confused Kate asks, "What? Jack, where are you going?" "To find John Locke." Rather than blaming himself for Boone's death or just letting it go, Jack seems to want to put the blame on someone else. In the next episode, Jack explains to Kate that the reason he blames Locke is that "Boone did not fall off any cliff. His leg was crushed, and I based my medical treatment on his lie."

Season 1 Episode 21 - "The Greater Good"

The episode begins with Sayid trying to comfort Shannon as she plays with her deceased step-brother's hair. Sayid asks if there's anything he can do for her, but she doesn't respond.

In a flashback, Sayid is escorted in handcuffs through Heathrow Airport in the UK. This wouldn't be the last time Sayid would wear handcuffs in an airport; in Season 5, Ilana escorts a handcuffed Sayid onto Ajira Flight 316. In the UK airport, Sayid is coerced by CIA and ASIS agents into helping them shut down a terror cell to which his former roommate Essam is connected, and in return the agents offer to give Sayid information on Nadia's whereabouts.

At Boone's funeral, Shannon doesn't want to say anything. Everyone is quiet until Sayid shares a few kind words. Then Locke shows up wearing a shirt drenched in Boone's blood, and he explains how Boone died. He says that Boone died while trying to call for help on the Beechcraft's radio, and that Boone was a hero. After Locke finishes his speech, Jack flips out and runs toward Locke, tackles him, and screams at him, demanding that Locke explain where he was and what he did to Boone, and accusing him of having lied the night before. Jack collapses, still weak and exhausted from the blood transfusion he gave Boone the night before.

A little later after Jack has had a chance to calm down a bit, Jack tells Sayid that Boone had mentioned a hatch and that Locke had told Boone not to tell anyone about it.

In a flashback, we see Sayid praying in the same mosque where Essam is praying. We would later see Sayid pray in this manner on Desmond's boat in the Season 2 finale, "Live Together, Die Alone". At Essam's apartment, Sayid finds a small microphone concealed in a non-working smoke detector and defuses it, and Essam explains to his leader Haddad that Sayid worked for the Republican Guard and "He knows things." This pleases Haddad, who says, "Perhaps it's not happenstance that you and Essam met at the mosque. Perhaps it is fate."

Charlie calls Claire's baby "Turnip-Head" for the first time, explaining to Claire that "It's just what I'm calling him until you give him a name because his head—it's like a turnip." Thankfully, Claire doesn't take long to decide on a name. She names him Aaron in the second half the season finale, "Exodus, Part 2".

Locke approaches Shannon while she's sitting alone on the beach and gives Boone's backpack to her. He sits down with Shannon and offers her a sincere and heartfelt apology. Locke asks for her forgiveness, and when she doesn't say anything else, he gets up and walks away. Shannon then goes to Sayid and says, "You asked if you could do anything for me. John Locke killed my brother. Will you do something about that?"

Sayid goes with Locke to the plane, interrogating him along the way. He tells John that he knows he's concealing a gun, and John gives it to Sayid explaining that he found it on the body of a drug smuggler, but this fails to bring Sayid to trust him. Locke then voluntarily reveals something that Sayid doesn't know: that Locke was the one who knocked out Sayid when he tried to triangulate the source of Danielle's radio transmission (as seen in the episode "The Moth"). Sayid is furious, and Locke explains his opinion that Sayid hadn't been thinking clearly and wouldn't have listened to him if he told Sayid it was a bad idea to go to "The source of a distress call that kept saying they're dead, it killed them all, over and over." Sayid asks John if he burned the raft, and John says no. He then asks "What is the hatch?" and Locke is visibly surprised, but quickly thinks up the response that there are "Two hatches on a plane, Sayid, could be forward or aft."

In flashbacks, the CIA agent orders Sayid to convince his friend Essam to go through with a suicide bombing, and the agent threatens to arrest Nadia if he doesn't, saying "Your girlfriend's an Iraqi living abroad with a record of insurgency. Wouldn't it be terrible if she got picked up as an enemy combatant, Sayid?" Sayid begrudgingly complies. Essam is concerned about taking the lives of innocent people because "The Imam preaches peace, Sayid. Every human life is sacred." Sayid convinces him by saying "It's true, innocent lives will be lost—in service of a greater good." This is where the episode title comes from.

Kate drugs Jack to force him to get some sleep. While Jack is sedated, Shannon steals the key to the gun case from him and goes to get a gun to kill John Locke. How in the world did Shannon know where the gun case was? Or even that Jack had the key to it around his neck? These mysteries were never explained on the show.

Shannon corners Locke in the jungle and Sayid finds her holding a gun and preparing to shoot. Jack and Kate show up, and Locke repeats to Shannon that "it was an accident," and Shannon says "Jack, you told me he was a liar." Shannon then shoots at Locke, but Sayid leaps at her just as she begins to fire the gun, and the bullet just grazes the side of John's head. Jack gives Locke a dirty look and walks away.

We find out through flashbacks that Sayid tries to convince Essam at the last minute not to kill himself and to run away instead, explaining that he has been working undercover for the CIA. Essam is distressed and angry at Sayid for lying to him, and he shoots himself in the head (yet another suicide by a gun to the head). When the agents show up, they give Sayid an Oceanic plane ticket, but Sayid asks "What happens to his body?" They explain that Essam will be cremated because there's nobody to claim the body. Sayid tells the agents that "A Muslim man is supposed to be buried," and he volunteers to stay in Sydney an extra day so he can ensure that his friend will be buried instead of cremated. Sayid was on Oceanic Flight 815 because he stayed the extra day in Sydney to ensure that his friend received a proper burial. If he had gone on the earlier flight, he never would have been on the Island, and he likely would have found Nadia and lived happily ever after. Back in the episode "Walkabout", Sayid was the first to object to Jack's plan to burn the fuselage and all the bodies inside because he felt it wasn't right to have no regard for the wishes or religions of the deceased passengers.

Sayid approaches Locke as he puts some ointment on his head wound. John thanks Sayid for saving his life, saying "I know what it cost you to do what you did," referring to losing Shannon as his girlfriend (although Sayid begins to woo her again by the season finale). Sayid demands that John take him to the hatch: "John, no more lies."

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Blogger Erin W said...

Just started reading your rewatch posts - excellent! Thanks for your hard work and well-written posts!

Sunday, July 12, 2009 7:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tohdom said...

I can understand Jack. Boone said "i felt off the airplane", "the hatch, John said don't tell anyone". I can easily imagine that Jack thought Lock beat Boone on purpose.

one more thing, don't you think it got dark too fast (while they running back and forth)?

Monday, July 13, 2009 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Josh Long said...

FunintheSwan: Thank you very much for the compliments! I've been putting exhaustive amounts of time into the rewatch, so I'm really grateful for all the positive feedback I've been getting in return.

Toh: It's difficult to say for sure whether it got dark too fast. We don't know the exact size of the Island, but I think the characters are often traveling for quite a long time even though they don't show much of the travel time (showing people walking for an hour would be rather boring, after all). They don't often give much indication of what time people leave and arrive so it's hard to guess how long they're having to travel. Sometimes there may be intentional plot-related reasons for darkness and light on the Island, but I think at other times it's more of a production issue (weather, having to film within time constraints, etc.).

Monday, July 13, 2009 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Deb H said...

Great job, Josh. It is very much appreciated!! I always look forward to reading your interpretations.

Sunday, July 19, 2009 8:24:00 PM  

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