2 Feb

Before we begin, I would like to inform you all that despite its OBVIOUS AND ASTOUNDING levels of quality, Do No Harm debuted to literally the WORST series premiere ratings anything has ever gotten EVER on a real network, and the fact that it is still scheduled to air a second episode next week is frankly miraculous. THEREFORE I urge you all to sign my internet petition to SAVE DO NO HARM from a swift and unjust cancellation. Also tweet about it! TWEETING SAVES LIVES SHOWS!

I’d also like to apologize for what I said about this show at upfronts:

I can’t really give NBC a hard time for how terrible most of their new shows look, since they aimed high last year with shows like Prime Suspect, Awake, and Smash, and look how that turned out. The only one people watched was Smash, which is, as I understand it, the worst of the three.

But this show? This show? I can’t even decide which useless and terrible clip to feature, they’re all here and they all look like they’re from a made-for-YouTube series with a budget of five dollars. THIS IS THE KIND OF SHOW THAT NEEDS A TRAILER, NBC.

This was obviously harsh and unthinking of and not at all accurate. This clearly had a budget of at LEAST three hundred dollars, most of which I think went to creating dramatic effects for the HAPPY BIRTHDAY arms, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Do No Harm is the story of Jason Cole [J. Cole, Jekyll…you know]. Jason Cole is a doctor with dissociative identity disorder who keeps his condition a secret and self-medicates with illegal and experimental drugs. His alter ego, Ian Price, is a PARTY MONSTER.

NO, SERIOUSLY, THAT’S THE SHOW. I was expecting it to be the result of a freak accident or him experimenting on himself or something, but apparently for his entire life he has just turned into Ian Price [I. Price, Hyde…no, not a thing] at 8:25 PM every single night, then back into Jason Cole at 8:25 AM, and…somehow he managed? Like the dude was able to get through his entire childhood and high school and college and med school and residency even though for twelve hours a day he was an impulsive, self-destructive PARTY MONSTER, and he just always explained to his bosses and whoever that he couldn’t work at night on account of his fictional diabetes. [DIABETES! SO HOT RIGHT NOW!] It seems like maybe five to eight years ago some SHIT WENT DOWN and Ian tried to kill Jason’s wife or girlfriend or whoever, and also got Jason fired, so Jason started a NEW LIFE in Philadelphia and got a job at a new hospital and became Chief of Neurosurgery despite the fact that his diabetes meant he couldn’t work outside the hours of 9AM and 8PM and if I’ve learned anything from Grey’s Anatomy, it’s that that shit wouldn’t fly. BUT OKAY! Anyway, when the show starts, he has been taking a special sedative every night for twelve years that knocks him out so Ian can’t do anything.

Do No Harm opens on some terribly edited establishing shots of Philadelphia, then takes us to Jason’s bedroom, WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS, if by “magic” you mean “using one of those gun-looking things to inject himself with a vial of a hardcore sedative every night,” or possibly “having a landline on your bedside table with no sign of a cell phone.” As the clock hits 8:25AM, Jason wakes up, no alarm. A timer on his watch is counting down from twelve hours.

Then he goes to the hospital and does some stuff IDK who cares. He does some surgery, but before he can start a machine checks his blood sugar because he has “DIABETES,” and the surgery is just terribly edited, I SAY THIS ALL THE TIME BUT I THINK I’VE WATCHED ENOUGH GREY’S ANATOMY TO KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Then after surgery his boss Phylicia Rashad gives him tickets to a baseball game and he’s like I CAN’T GO and she’s like “why? Just because your diabetes prevents you from working at night doesn’t prevent you from going to a game” like DOES HE REALLY JUST TRY TO PRETEND THAT DIABETES TURNS YOU INTO A REVERSE VAMPIRE WHO CAN’T GO OUT AT NIGHT? IF HE CAN’T WORK PAST 8PM EVER HOW IS HE A SURGEON MUCH LESS CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY?

Samm Levine is Jason’s shockingly unobservant and terrible assistant. Some doctor is the one making Jason the nightly sedative, and he delivers the STUNNING line “I may be illegally supplying drugs to the chief of neurosurgery, but I still have standards.” Emmys. RAINING EMMYS. Dr. Drugs is like “you have lethal levels of basically EVERYTHING in your system” and Jason’s like I’M GOOD. Jason passes a hot lady doctor in the hall and they flirt weirdly about how it’s his birthday and she asks him out and he’s like I CAN’T, I HAVE…A THING? JUST TELL HER YOU HAVE DIABETES! She’s disappointed but he says he has to go to……………….church.

“Church” is actually a support group that meets in a church. It’s for people with dissociative identity disorder, and up to this point in the show I still thought he had been exposed to radiation or chemicals or something that CREATED Ian, so when he went off on this whole thing to the group leader about how Jason’s not LIKE the others, it made sense to me, like he didn’t actually have a traditional condition, BUT HE ACTUALLY DOES? Like I guess maybe his is unique in that it works on a schedule, but there doesn’t seem to be anything supernatural or science-fictiony about it SO I DON’T UNDERSTAND HIS WHINING ABOUT HOW HE IS A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE WITH SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE PAIN AND SUPPORT GROUPS WILL BE NO HELP? Dude, you have a legit medical condition. Do what you can to handle it responsibly and safely. For all intents and purposes, it looks like he HAS been independently managing to do that by knocking himself out for twelve hours a day, but we obviously wouldn’t be there if that weren’t about to go to shit, so.

Anyway the support group leader is like “you may be suppressing Ian, but you’ve put yourself in a cage, so go have fun!” So Jason goes to find Doctor Gurlf even though he only has 45 minutes on his timer? That just seems like shoddy planning, like when someone on The Amazing Race books themselves a 30 minute international connection and you’re like THIS WILL END IN HILARIOUS DISASTER and then it does. He and Doctor Gurlf SUPER hit it off, and they’re about to make out when he starts doubling over and freaking out because THE CHANGE IS COMING, and he only has like twelve minutes to run home and lock himself up and inject himself, but then HE CHANGES ANYWAY. He says “it’s not working” and his eyes go all weird and then it cuts to black and then he wakes up in bed with a bunch of ladies.

BECAUSE LIKE I SAID, APPARENTLY HE TURNS INTO A PARTY MONSTER AT NIGHT. He wanders around the apartment he ended up in, and there are half-naked people passed out everywhere, and I kind of thought maybe he had killed them, but NOPE, he just enjoyed some cocaine and got into a fight and then banged a bunch of ladies.

Then he looks at his forearms, where Ian has left him a SINISTER MESSAGE, and the lighting and the music go WILD over it:


He goes to work all fucked up and bloody, and Samm Levine is like ARE YOU OKAY? and Jason tells him to book a bunch of tests and clear his schedule, and even after Jason tells Samm Levine that the tests are for himself and Samm Levine is like YOU ARE WEARING A BLOODY SHIT and Jason says to get him a clean one, Samm Levine is still kind of appalled over the schedule clearing. Look, Samm Levine: Your boss clearly had a night of brawling and coke-fueled orgies. Just roll with it. And also:

“Oh, and see if Dr. Freeman has an opening, I should probably get a vasectomy.”

I think the weirdest thing about this show is definitely that he’s put SO MUCH effort into hiding his condition from everyone he can for years, and once Ian starts manifesting again, Jason just totally drops ALL ATTEMPTS to act like a normal human being. CALL IN SICK, DUDE. Maybe go home and put on a not-bloody shirt and be a little bit late for work? He’s blowing off meetings and patients right and left and just generally acting completely unhinged.

Jason and Dr. Gurlf have a talk about how he can’t be in a relationship, Jason and Dr. Drugs have a talk about how Ian is immune to the sedative now and upping the dosage will kill them both, but Jason has kept Ian at bay for five years and now Ian is PISSED and is going to try to ruin Jason’s life, and at the end of the day Jason has a cab driver take him “as far away as [he] can get” and gets a room in a shitty motel, where he leaves his phone and wallet with the guy at the desk and says a messenger will come and that they’re to be sent to an address that he apparently had a nine year old write down for him:

And then he goes to his room and takes a shower and THE CHANGE COMES:


Ian flips a shit when he realizes he’s in the middle of nowhere with no money and no cell phone, but after he smashes everything in the room he finds Doctor Gurlf’s number in his pocket, so he calls her and she drives like A HUNDRED MILES to some shitty no-name hotel for a booty call? And then even though he has blood on his shirt because Samm Levine never came through with that replacement and everything in the room is destroyed and he is CLEARLY not stable, she’s STILL INTO IT? Doctor Gurlf I don’t even know.

Blah blah blah Jason wakes up alone and coughing because Ian smoked an entire pack of cigarettes, Jason goes to work and continues to be a total mess [not since Defying Gravity have I seen a character give fewer fucks about hiding the fact that they’re in the middle of a total breakdown], Jason runs into Doctor Gurlf and she FREAKS OUT and tells at him to get away from her and never speak to her again, AND LOOK, I’M JUST GOING TO GO RIGHT AHEAD AND TELL YOU THAT IAN DID NOT RAPE HER, the show just makes the absolutely horrifying decision to create RAPE SUSPENSE. Jason flashes back to Ian holding her against a wall and taking off her bra and then staring at himself creepily in a mirror, and Jason’s all OH NO WHAT DID HE DO TO HER, and we eventually find out that what actually happened was that she pushed him away and he laughed at her cruelly. THERE YOU GO, I JUST SAVED YOU HALF AN EPISODE OF RAPE SUSPENSE. WHO EVEN KNEW THAT WAS A THING? THAT SHOULD NOT BE A THING.

FYI I’m halfway through the episode. The rest of the episode is mostly useless though! Jason gets a Motorola Razr – DUH – out of a safe in his office and calls someone named Olivia and is like “HE’S OUT!” He takes a train to go see her, and she’s his ex-something – they had what sounds like a pretty serious relationship, and they used to talk about going somewhere on the other side of the world so that Ian would come out during the day and Jason and Olivia could be together at night, OR SOMETHING, so clearly she’s familiar with his condition, but not so familiar that she doesn’t say “how do I know it’s you?” This show very firmly establishes that the change only ever happens like clockwork, so maybe she can tell it’s Jason by LOOKING AT HER FUCKING WATCH? Jason is all IAN’S GONNA COME FOR YOU YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF TOWN and she’s all I’M NOT LETTING YOU TWO ASSHOLES RUIN MY LIFE AGAIN and gives him back an engagement ring and then it turns out that she’s got a scar on her temple from something Ian did to her, and this is all just SO FUCKED UP, she says “he just wanted me to love him instead of you” like she’s excusing Ian? I’m glad this show is going to get cancelled.

Meanwhile there have been two patients of the week – one guy with a brain issue and one lady with what she said was a tennis injury, but actually her husband is hurting her. She doesn’t want to leave him, she won’t press charges, she just wants him to stop hurting her. So…Jason goes to their house at 8:24 and tells the husband he has a minute to turn himself in or THE BEAST COMES OUT, and then the husband starts beating Jason up, but when Jason turns into Ian, Ian DESTROYS the dude, and the man never hurt his wife again and they had the happiest marriage ever for the rest of their lives the end.

Then Jason’s pager goes off and Ian’s like TIME TO GO PERFORM SOME BRAIN SURGERY! even though he doesn’t have any of Jason’s training. I have to say, Ian is clearly psychotic but he’s also way more fun to watch. He gets better soundtrack too! He’s all ready to operate – he wants to kill the guy with incompetence to ruin Jason’s career – but the OR staff make him log his glucose levels with the diabetes machine first, and the diabetes machine goes WILD so they think he’s going into diabetic shock and inject him with insulin, which causes him to pass out. Apparently this is all part of Jason’s GREAT MASTER PLAN OF SCIENCE, because Ian is so aggressive that his body chemistry is different from Jason’s and blah blah blah THE FAILSAFE WORKS, IAN CAN NEVER SNEAK IN TO AN OPERATION OR SOMETHING.

Jason successfully operates on the dude, the abused wife thanks him for beating the shit out of her husband, Jason’s rival calls a hospital he used to work at and asks why he left [if this uncovers something – DID HIS CURRENT HOSPITAL NOT DO ANY KIND OF REFERENCE CHECK?], Jason chases after Dr. Gurlf – wtf, dude, if you think you forced yourself on her while you were Ian, maybe make the effort to RESPECT HER BOUNDARIES? – and she tells him what happened, and then he goes to Dr. Drugs and is like “I HAVE A PLAN: WE KILL THE BATMAN IAN.” Something about how he’s going to trick Ian into thinking they’re coexisting while Dr. Drugs researches a cure? I don’t know. Or care. He records a video for Ian that’s basically “LIVE AND LET LIVE?” but nobody explains who is going to be in charge of sleeping in this arrangement.

The last scene is at Olivia’s house! SHE HAS A KID WHO LOOKS LIKE HE’S AROUND FIVE, YOU GUYS! UH OH! IAN IS IN THE BUSHES! UH OH! The kid drops a toy while he and his mom are out getting the paper, and he comes back outside for it by himself [for someone who has been looking over her shoulder for five years and has just found out that the guy she’s so afraid of is on the loose again, Olivia sure is comfortable letting her five year old outside by himself] and Ian’s all “hey, kid, is this your monkey? What’s your name?” And then kid’s name is Cole. VERY CLEVER, OLIVIA, THEY’LL NEVER FIGURE THAT ONE OUT.

Final line of the episode: “Here you go, Cole. Careful: Monkeys have been known to eat their young.” AND SCENE.

Coming this season on Do No Harm: Goofus and Gallant, basically.


3 Responses to “HARDLY ANY OF THE PILOTS: Do No Harm”

  1. h February 3, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    please keep watching this. FOR THE PEOPLE

  2. Siobhán February 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    This was an A++ plus review from you, and although I will never be watching this show again, if you were to do so, I would certainly not be averse to reading more on the subject from you. It was like I was reliving it.

    However, I must point out that adding insult to injury is that “Some doctor […] making Jason the nightly sedative”, hereafter referred to as Dr Drugs, is the one and only, double-Tony-award-winning LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA. What the heck he is doing in this I have no earthly idea and must blame him entirely for enticing me to watch it in the first place.

  3. Siobhán February 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Also, whoever devised that promo poster up top for the shot is a. demented, b. going to give me nightmares, c. a genius.

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