Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do No Harm: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

We start with ominious music and the clock shifting to 8:25 – and Dr. Jason Cole wakes up. He puts away an empty medicine phial and the injector that was by the side of his bed.

We catch up with him again in the hospital, gowned and scrubbing up, and he sets his watch alarm for 10 hours – when asked what happens in 10 hours, he says “company.”  Doctory stuff happens and we’re introduced to a whole bunch of masked people while he gets ready for surgery – which first involves a glucose test – he can’t operate until he’s sure his blood sugar is right, he’s diabetic. They go into surgery and pessimistic, sarcastic guy, Dr. Kenneth Jordan, is all gloom and doom about the guy they’re operating on going to die (just what you need assisting you in surgery). He thinks they should give up on him and spend more time on patients they can actually help. Of course, Jason hangs in there and saves the man; Kenny boy giving him a snippy look over his mask.

Switch to leaving time and his boss (after some fun joke flirting) gives him some $1,000 tickets for a baseball game courtesy of the man whose life he saved. He tries to beg off but she protests – it’s his birthday and his diabetes stops him working at night, not enjoying a game. He gives the tickets to Kelvin, a cleaner, explaining he’s “not himself” during the night games. He continues to walk out, constantly checking the time while he’s joined by a man called Josh (seems to be his lackey) who quickly runs down his schedule for the next day and finally gets his vial of “oblivion” illegally from his nice friend, Reuben who also warns him that his medical chart is all over with elevated badnesses. Jason can’t talk about it – he has to get home.

This follows some real, non-funny flirting with Dr. Solis who wishes him a happy birthday (she knows, she googled him) she invites him out but he begs off – she realises he doesn’t have plans even though it’s his birthday and he adds that he’s going to church.

Which he does go to – and speaks to a man there, Will, just as he breaks up a support group. He supports people with Dissociative Personality disorder – something Jason denies he has but Will says affects everyone differently. Jason claims he’s had 5 years without incident – he’s in control. Will counters that knocking himself out every night is avoidance. Jason says he doesn’t have time to do more because he only has 12 hours – every day at 8:25, Ian Price takes over only to go away again at 8:25 the next day, which is how its always been. He says he’s interested in a woman (Dr. Solis I presume) but how can he pursue it when he’s only conscious for 8 hours a day? That’s when his alarm goes off – 45 minutes left. Will says he’s in a cage and urges him to surprise himself, make his remaining time count.

So he goes to the club Dr. Solis mentioned and meets her there. They talk about why they became doctors (he hurt someone very badly as a child and now wants to atone) when his alarm goes off – she wants to know why he’s keeping her at arm’s length and they kiss – until he starts almost seizing. He leaves rapidly. He runs home, fumbling doors and locks to grab his vial and inject it with only 10 seconds to go. But he doesn’t fall unconscious. It doesn’t work.

He wakes in a strange place, in a bed with 3 women. He leaves the bed and finds more people passed out sleeping after some heavy partying. He has flashes of memories of partying, drugs,. Getting in a fight. He has “Happy Birthday” written on his arms.

At work he orders a full range of tests from his lackey Josh then goes to see Dr. Ken Jordan (the arsehole, who is threatening a poor lackey for having a stutter) to get him to take over his rounds, then to Dr. Lena Solis to try and do the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. She offers to be a friend and supporter if he needs it.

Jason goes to see Reuben panicked about “Oblivion” not working and Reuben tells him that “he” (Ian) has become immune – and he can’t make it any stronger without it becoming deadly. Reuben promises to work on something else – but what about tonight and Ian seeking revenge?

Jason gets in a taxi and asks to be taken “as far away as you can get.” He arrives at a motel with 10 minutes to spare, and has the desk clerk post his personal items back to Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, in the hospital, man wakes up and starts hallucinating things when he sees himself in the mirror. He panics and has to be sedated while they call to page Dr. Cole – Jason.

At the motel Jason takes a shower and shakily writes “Do No Har-“ in the condensation when Ian takes over. And realises Jason has left him with no cash or credit cards. He ransacks the room out of temper as much search – but does find Lena Solis’s phone number that Jason tucked into his pocket.  He calls her and she comes to the motel.

She’s all concerned and he, Ian, is all creepy. He invites her into the trashed motel room and locks the door. He instantly begins manoeuvring her into bed and out of her clothes, actually starting to unbutton her clothes, very very confidently. She thinks there were better and closer hotels, but they end up in bed together.

The next day Jason wakes up, coughing, to find his shoe full of cigarettes and cigarette butts. Into work to see lackey Josh, telling him to change his credit cards, bank accounts and computer passwords and get him nicotine gum and patch. Josh tells him that he’s missed several meetings and appointments and is in bad books. He takes a phone out of his safe and tries to call someone called Olivia but before she can pick up someone comes in to tell him Donald White is conscious..

Jason explains to Donald he has prosapagnosia , a condition that prevents facial recognition and, due to his particular case, yes it’s likely to be permanent. He doesn’t recognise anyone, even his family.

Back into surgery again (complete with blood test for diabetes) and Jason discovers that the injury he’s operating on isn’t the tennis injury the patient reported – it’s sign of repeated trauma. After surgery he checks with his little crew who tell him she once tried to get a restraining order against her husband. He has 2 of the minions fill out a police report and goes to see Lena – who instantly pushes him away and refuses to let him touch her. He has a brief memory of them having sex. In a panic he grabs his phone again to call Olivia and tell her “he’s out.”

Later he starts to leave, chased by minions and he gives out instructions – when he’s paged to hurry to Donald White. He’s having a seizure and not breathing. Crisis solved he hurries to the next one, bursting in on Dr. Young (boss lady) in a meeting. She and Dr. Ken Jordan (the arsehole) were talking about him – they’re concerned. He puts that aside and says he wants to operate on Donald to cure his porsapagnosia and seizures – though it’s extremely risky and his symptoms are manageable. And he wants to do it while Donald is awake to reduce the risk. Dr. Young agrees with the most ridiculous logic I’ve ever heard, including “you’ve never done this operation before so you have an unblemished record” and an aim to get the hospital nationally ranked.

Um… shouldn’t risk to the patient and all that be things we’re considering here? No?

After work he meets Olivia at the station – she’s afraid of him until he proves that he’s Jason and not Ian (they dreamed of going to opposite ends of the Earth – so she could have the day and he could have the night. So it sounds like she has a similar condition).  He warns her that he’s coming for her and she needs to run. She refuses and won’t let Ian ruin her life again – and gives back an engagement ring, saying she’s living with someone now. She has a scar on her temple – Jason apologises but she says it was Ian, who wanted her to love Ian not Jason. She leaves and tells him to move on with his life

Back at the hospital, Jason tries to convince Sienna, the woman with the “tennis injury” to leave her husband – she says they’ve been together 30 years, she can’t imagine leaving him but wants him to stop. He promises to help her – which is when a policeman arrives. Not to take a report – it’s her husband. Jason rushes to tell Dr. Young but she says they called social services and she isn’t pressing charges against her cop husband so there’s nothing more they can do.

Reuben has a temporary solution to changing into Ian – an isolation lock down cell. Perfect – except Jason made a promise to help Sienna and he’s determined to do that… somehow. His plan is to stand on the front door step and warn the abusive husband to turn himself in within the minute or face a bad side of him/ The cop isn’t impressed and smacks Jason down and starts beating him quite easily until Jason becomes Ian. Ian grabs the cop “give me a second to catch up, are we fighting, is this a fight?” The cop hits him, clarifying things for Ian and Ian sets to with joyous abandon.  The cop promises to never touch her again while Ian repeatedly kicks him while he’s down. He stops kicking when he is paged for surgery. And Ian isn’t a surgeon.

He goes to the hospital to perform that brain surgery on Donald. On the way he meets Ken (the arsehole) and when Ken snarks he comments that he must have a small penis and to stop taking it out on the rest of them – (and he whispers that he’s not trying to ruin Ken’s career, he’s trying to ruin his own). This earns the instant devotion and glee of the minions who follow Ian rather than Ken.  

He scrubs up, gowns up, takes his scalpel and says “let’s have some fun”. He calls for music which he never usually has but then they insist he check his glucose levels. And they won’t let him dodge it. Turns out his blood sugar is 3.15 which panics the minions because their doctor’s hypoglycaemic  and going into diabetic shock. He fights the staff who try to inject him – they restrain him, inject him and he collapses while someone yells about him having an adverse reaction to the insulin.

He wakes up at 8:25 as Jason to find Reuben by his bedside. And it turns out to have all been Jason’s plan all along. He moved the surgery forwards on purpose, knowing that Ian wouldn’t be able to resist screwing it up, but wouldn’t be allowed to operate because aggression = adrenaline which looks like high blood sugar which would result in him being given insulin that would knock him out.

Now he can do into the actual surgery with Donald. Which is squishy and involves brains. Dr. Ken (the arsehole) checks up on Jason’s last job and why he was fired.

Sienna arrives in the hospital to thank Jason and Jason goes to see Donald doing well with his family. He lurks outside until Lena leaves and begs to talk to her while she tries to get away from him. he tells her that he doesn’t remember what happened and needs to know what he did, that the man in the motel room wasn’t him. She asks why she should believe him, he says because he’s a terrible liar (something she told him earlier). She tells him he took off her clothes and pushed her against the wall – she pushed him off and he laughed at her, told her that it was a game from the beginning. He says that’s not him and she’ll never see that side of him again, she says goodbye.

Jason goes to Reunen and says he wants to find a drug not to control him, but to kill Ian, however possible. If possible, it’s going to take a considerable amount of time to research that – and to buy that time he says he’s going to make a truce with Ian.

He records a message for Ian – they have to co-exist. He will give Ian back his life, if Ian will stay out of his.

We cut to Olivia picking up her morning paper, and her young son dropping his stuffed monkey. Ian steps out and picks it up. The child comes out to get it and tells Ian his name is Cole. Ian gives it back but says, ominously that “monkeys have been known to eat their young”)

Too many characters. Way way way way way too many characters. And they’ve all got names and he talked to them all. I’m vaguely managing to keep track but I don’t know how many of these are going to be regular, main characters etc except him and Lena.

I’m disturbed by the attack – even attempted rape on Lena and the overtly labelled abuse of Olivia. It’s the first episode and already the evil of Ian has been established primarily through the abuse of women.

It’s an interesting take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and one that covers not just the damage “Hyde” can do but also the damage that losing 12 hours of every day can do to your life, which is a nice development. I am, however, extremely wary of this not being a magic potion of some sort, but actual dissociative personality disorder – I worry that this won’t be treated in a way that is overly respectful of mentally ill people

I’m intrigued.