Tweetable Takeaway: When temperatures rise, tempers flare and situations get out of hand at The Knick.
Airtime: Friday at 10pm on Cinemax
By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
After the love fest that was last week’s episode, this week THE KNICK does a complete 180. This time, there’s far more at stake than daddy’s disapproval. It’s the height of summer at The Knick and everyone’s hot and bothered, but not in a good way. The corrupt cop (whose name I would look up if he weren’t about to be obsolete) approaches a nicely dressed African American woman on the street, attempting to recruit her for his little scheme. She insists that she’s not a hooker and soon enough her boyfriend arrives on the scene to make that abundantly clear with his fists and a knife. The cop is rushed to The Knick.
Racial tensions are clearly already at the forefront of the show and the city. An angry mob storms the hospital while Thackery and Edwards work with Bertie to save him. This is Dr. Gallinger’s first day back after the death of his daughter and he quickly realizes he’s been replaced. Not only has Edwards taken his place in the operating room, but he’s being highly praised by Thackery for is automatic suction machine. They save the cop, but he’s still in critical condition. In the recovery room, Edwards checks on the patient, much to the distress of the family and fellow police officers.
Unfortunately, the cop dies and his mother incites the crowd to violence, pushing them to find the man who killed his son and kill him. Well, instead they decide to attack every single black person they encounter. Thackery sees this and jumps in to help their first victim and soon enough The Knick is crowded with patients on both sides of the riot. Soon enough the cops and rioters break down the doors to the hospital and Barrow, Edwards, Thackery, Cornelia, Bertie…well, everyone, rush the black patients down to the secret basement clinic, which doesn’t go over well with Barrow or Gallinger.
Here’s where the chaos really begins. Outside Cleary breaks up a scuffle, while everyone inside realizes that they have to get these patients out – fast. Sister Harriet offers to walk with some to the church, while Thackery, Elkins, Cornelia and Cleary will take the rest to the black hospital across town. Since their horses were stolen during the riot, Cleary pulls the ambulance loaded with patients and everyone else pushes patients on gurneys covered with sheets with Edwards hiding underneath. Once they get to the hospital, they realize it’s overrun with patients and they all stay to lend a hand. Supplies are low, so Thackery offers his own supply of cocaine to ease the pain of the patients. Meanwhile, Barrow goes to check on his hooker who he finds with another man.
Outside, the rain seems to cool tempers and everyone goes about their business. Edwards and Cornelia go back to the hospital and find that the secret clinic has been untouched. After a sweet moment, we finally get what we’ve all been waiting for – a kiss! Well, more like a make out session that seems to be leading to much, much more. Same goes for Thackery and Elkins who get high and have sex. The next morning, Elkins seems to regret either the drugs or Thackery but soon enough she smiles and we know she’s hooked.
I guess the moral of the story is that when things get rough, you get your priorities straight. What would you save in a fire? Barrow doesn’t check on his wife, he runs straight to his mistress/hooker. Edwards and Cornelia have been dancing around their relationship for months, if not years. Elkins and Thackery have likewise been on the verge of furthering their relationship for a while now. Things heated to the boiling point before boiling over and the consequences are likely to change things at The Knick.
More than the individual characters on the show, this episode served to underscore the racial tensions and racism of the time. We already knew it ran rampant after watching Edwards battle Thackery, Gallinger and patients every day but this episode serves as a reminder that it often went beyond harsh words and escalated to physical violence, too. This episode reminded me a lot of “Do the Right Thing,” especially with the analogy of hot weather and hot tempers. Although Thackery already seems to be coming around, we’ll see how much this riot changes things at The Knick.
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?