By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
Where last week we followed Dr. Thackery during his morning routine, this week we pick up on the morning habits of both Dr. Edwards and Cornelia Robertson. The funny thing is, for how different these two characters are, there’s an underlying theme here. Dr. Edwards wakes up to a cockroach on his pillow, whereas Cornelia is woken by the friendly voice of a servant. Dr. Edwards waits in line and is harassed on his way to the bathroom, while Cornelia gets her breakfast served to her on a silver platter. What comes next is very important: Cornelia discusses her role at the hospital over breakfast with her parents. Here’s where we realize that although Dr. Edwards and Cornelia are outwardly very different, they’re similar in that they’re outsiders looking in on the Knick where no one takes them seriously or even wants them around. It’s a sad realization but at least they have each other, right? And, of course, we get a glimpse of Thackery shooting up between the toes while a weird futuristic synth music bed plays over the scene. It’s still weird, but we’ll go with it.
At the hospital, sketchy ambulance driver Cleary brings two more bodies to The Knick, one very bloodied and alive, the other very bloodied and dead. Since they get paid for each live body, Cleary lies to Herman Barrow but Barrow’s no fool and there are plenty of doctors around to check, so the truth quickly comes out. Thackery is in Dr. Christianson’s office deep in the midst of a flashback when the late doctor’s widow walks in. Thack explains that the good doctor killed himself because he lost sight of the procedure and focused too much on the patients (and the fact that they’re all dying).
Speaking of surgery, Thackery, Gallinger and Bertie are performing some kind of abdominal surgery on an unfortunate patient. While cauterizing the wound, the electric cauterizer (sure?) sparks and catches on fire, which spreads to the patient. Bertie quickly drops the device and a quick thinking but misguided nurse quickly douses it with a bucket of water, shorting out the power and killing her in the process. Oops. Cornelia and Thackery talk to Barrow about going after the contractor who put in the electricity but Barrow convinces them to hold off until he can take care of it. Something’s up here…
Cornelia goes in search of Dr. Edwards and finds him in a dark corner of the basement, his new office. More like a dungeon, but we won’t split hairs. Anyway, Dr. Edwards mentions that he’s not really allowed to do much around the hospital but he expected that to be the case. But he still tries, like when he suggests a better surgical procedure that he did in Paris that is 60% more accurate than the one Thackery is about to try on a patient. He gets shot down immediately and, adding insult to injury, the lights still keep flickering and surging, causing Thackery to go bat-shit crazy and take an ax to the circuit breaker. Dude Hulked out before that was even a thing.
Barrow meets with the contractor and we find out that there is something amiss – Barrow skimmed some money off the top and if he wants the contractor to keep quiet about it, he’s gotta pay up. Back with Dr. Edwards, we get another peek into what he has to deal with on a day-to-day basis when the mother of his patient asks if he has to touch her so much when he puts in the stitches. Then he notices an African American patient turned away at the door. The good news is, Bertie seems to be slightly on Team Edwards. So he’s got that going for him. In response to the patient being turned away, Dr. Edwards makes up a makeshift clinic in the basement of the hospital. He eventually tracks down the patient and helps her (with the aid of cocaine) with her arm ailment and even gets a referral out of it.
In surgery, the team lose yet another patient – I really don’t think they can do worse if they just stay home – and Bertie suggests they try Dr. Edwards’ method. Gallinger is against this but Thackery thinks it’s worth a shot. To cut out Edwards even further, Gallinger suggests they just find the paper that was published on the procedure rather than get Edwards in to help them out. Cue Cleary, Gallinger, and Bertie breaking into a rival hospital for the paper, only to find that it’s entirely written in French. Guess who’s laughing now?
Meanwhile, Barrow is shaken down by his loan shark who wants the money that he’s owed. Barrow is in debt to the tune of $9,000, which is a big enough sum in 2014, but imagine how much that was back in 1900. Yikes. When he tries to get an extension, he loses a tooth instead – the hard way. Wrapping up a minor plot line from last week, Thackery apologizes to the poor nurse who had to give him his “dose” of cocaine and impresses on her how important it is that no one else finds out.
Off on a completely tangential storyline, Cleary gets curious and follows the nun to a boarding house where she gives a troubled woman a quickie abortion. At his own boarding house, Dr. Edwards is threatened by a fellow lodger who thinks he’s too “high and mighty” and his shoes are too fancy. Edwards looks worried for about a minute before he turns around and kicks some ass. It’s refreshing to see this take-charge side of Edwards and it would be nice to see more of it at the hospital. Always the good doctor, Edwards gives his victim the items he needs to patch himself up. We find Thackery at the brothel/drug den/gambling house saying what we’re all thinking, “where else would I be?”
(Source: Entertainment Weekly)
Much of this episode seemed disjointed with a lot of subplots getting played out but no clear A plot to focus on. I’m confident that these will all come together eventually. Most of these supporting characters, like the nun and Cleary, are really interesting but this episode especially, there’s just too much going on. Next week, I’ll be looking for a bit more focus and a bit more gore. Bring it on.
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?