Well, it’s the end of the line on THE KNICK and to finish off the season, we have a wedding to look forward to and illusions to shatter. We start off this week with Cornelia on her way with Cleary to get her abortion. She’s pretty suspicious of the whole situation but when she arrives and sees that it’s Harriet who performs the procedure, she’s both relieved and saddened. They’re friends and each wonders aloud why the other didn’t confide in her. The whole truth never comes out, though, as Harriet is left in the dark as to the father of the child.
We’re then immediately thrust into one of the more gory parts of the episode. Dr. Thackery is performing brain surgery while his newest rival Dr. Zinberg watches. This throws Thack a bit off his game and when Zinberg suggests collaborating on his newest project – typing blood – Thackery declines with his patented charm. It actually took me a few minutes to catch on to what the project was. I didn’t realize that this late in the game, medical science still didn’t know about blood types or why some blood transfusions worked and some didn’t. It’s one of those mind-blowing things that you assume has always been known. Anyway, poor Dr. Gallinger has fallen furthest of all during the season and he’s still got a little way to go. When visiting his wife in the mental hospital, he’s informed by the doctor that her teeth were all removed because they are likely the cause of her mental illness. If that doesn’t work, the next things to go are her tonsils and colon. Yikes.
And the hits just keep on coming – literally. While Barrow is with “his woman” at the brothel, he’s visited by his very angry bookie, Bunky Collier, who gets one of his thugs to punch Barrow where the sun don’t shine as punishment for a late payment. Needless to say, this doesn’t go down very well and soon enough Barrow is asking Thackery to introduce him to the owner of the brothel so he can have Bunky killed. Thackery is so appalled at the suggestion that he asks, “What have you gotten yourself into?” and, “You want me to ask for a favor for you?” while literally shooting up the drugs Barrow tried so hard to find for him last week. This guy’s unbelievable, and not in a good way.
Now that Cornelia’s moderately recovered, it’s all wedding bells and tulle except when Dr. Edwards stops by. They’ve each taken the other’s perspective now – Edwards thinks the affair was a mistake, while Cornelia argues that the abortion was. Meanwhile, Thackery has become obsessed with beating Zinberg to the punch after watching him successfully remove a spleen. Edwards suggests that this frenetic mania might be a result of his drug use and it seems like even Bertie is starting to see the cracks in the veneer, especially after Thack draws his blood for experiments and asks him to spy on Zinberg. Even Nurse Elkins is hesitant about giving Thack “his medicine.” A bit later Gallinger comes back to the Knick and attacks Edwards because he “ruined his life.” It’s unfortunate to see how far Gallinger has fallen but he’s obviously not a changed man yet.
Of course, Bertie does go visit Zinberg at Thackery’s request but Thack may have been sending him into the arms of another man. Zinberg is talented, kind, and willing to collaborate. Compared to Thackery, he’s the whole package. He’s even selfless to the point of giving Bertie all his research and pretty much saying let the best man win. It’s all about the patients, not about winning a Nobel prize. When he returns to the Knick, Thackery claims to have figured it out but accuses Bertie and others of spying on him and his research. In fact, Thackery is so confident about his findings that he tests it out on a young patient, transfusing his blood directly into her. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it doesn’t go well and the patient dies, which launches Thackery into some kind of mental break with reality.
Speaking of breaks with reality, Barrow visits the brothel to recruit an assassin, saying that it’s Thackery who is in trouble with Collier and is being threatened. The brothel owner dutifully (and spectacularly) kills Collier and his minions. Things are looking up for Barrow until he chats with the brothel owner who makes it clear that Barrow’s debts have now transferred and he still owes every penny of that $10,000. I guess karma’s a bitch.
Near the end of the episode, we get the juxtaposition of Cornelia’s wedding and Edwards’ slow decline. Edwards is at the bar again – never a good sign – and picks a fight with a huge guy almost twice his size. Meanwhile, Cornelia is wrestling with a problem herself – she’s engaged to be married to a man who wants to move her across the country, with a father who is ready to attack her at any moment and her own father’s business can’t afford to lose the connection this wedding will bring. It’s a great pairing of the literal, physical, masculine struggle for Edwards and the metaphorical, mental, feminine struggle for Cornelia. They’re both fighting real obstacles and situations that they shouldn’t be in. Unfortunately, they both lose – Edwards get knocked out and Cornelia is led away in a horse-drawn carriage with her new husband.
After the wedding, Elkins finds Bertie and rushes him to Thackery’s side where he finally sees things clearly. He sees the drugs, the state Thack’s in, and the intimacy between him and Elkins and realizes that he’s been wrong about pretty much everything right from the beginning. It’s sad to see Bertie – our last naive hold out – lose everything in one fell swoop, but it’s a fitting end to the season. They get Thackery to rehab where he checks in under his mother’s name, Crutchfield, and gets an experimental new drug to help with the withdrawals – heroin. Looks like we’ve got the plot all set up for next season!
Well, if you were expecting to end the season on a happy note, you were sorely disappointed. Likewise, if you were looking for the season finale to go out with a bang, well, you’re wrong there, too. The season ended much as it began, slow and steady…and unhappily. We’ve gotten just a glimpse of our anti-hero over the course of ten episodes but not much more than that. We’ve seen him through his darkest days but it’s almost guaranteed that there are darker times ahead. Nor is anyone else much better off – in fact, I would argue that each and every character is worse off now than they were 10 weeks ago, with the possibly exception of Cleary who seems to be doing just fine. This isn’t meant to be an uplifting show, but between the gore, the sex, and the drugs, this season was certainly entertaining. See you next year and remember – crack is whack.
In Rikki’s perfect world, she’s Queen of Westeros, best friends with Mindy Kaling, and her other car is a TARDIS…a girl can dream, right?