On the second episode of the series, which I found myself way more immersed in than the pilot, but this was more due to engaging hospital patient storylines than screentime with Kelly McCreary’s face, of which there wasn’t enough. So hooray on one hand, boo on the other.
We start this week with Emily once again talking to herself and trying to reassure her brain that she will not collapse into an awkward mess when she sees Will, who if you remember, she poured her romantical guts out to last week in a very dramatic type of way. And to which Will replied, “Eh, nah.” I feel for Emily on this one — having to see a person on a daily basis after something like this is one of the worst things on Earth, after hangnails and wet socks and Bud Light and stuff.
Luckily, she totally mucks it up! As she strolls up to the desk where Will, Cassandra, and Tyra are standing and acting like normal people, she yells, “Hey! Willie!” Hence proving that you should never fall in love with someone who’s named Will on the off chance that you might yell “Hey! Willie!” by accident in front of people. To shake it off, she proceeds to the next logical step, which is laughing out loud to herself like a crazy, after which she says she was just thinking of something she saw on TV. “It was a…horse thing.” A horse thing! Amazing! Tyra meanwhile is trying to shoot “Abort, girl, abort!” glances her way, but there’s no helping Emily, really. And finally, her logic takes over, and she slinks away.
After she shakes herself off and Tyra gets the scoop about this Will thing, we’re introduced to the First Gut-Wrenching Patient of the Day, who’s an old old man who just survived a heart attack. His heart is still failing, and he’s essentially too old for any kind of procedure to save it, but with oxygen and a bunch of other crappy stuff he could maybe live for a year.
This is very sad because the old man is plucky and good and he’s accompanied by his grandson who loves him very much and also lives with him and there is nothing more tender than close relationships with grandparents. As Emily had to hand all this news to them, she’s very somber as she leaves the room. Dr. Gina Bendari, played by Necar Zadegan, stops her and says, “Your face looks sad.” Emily, apparently thinking this was said in sympathy, says, “I know. That was hard.” Dr. Bendari replies, “Make it stop looking like that.” Snap.
Dr. Bendari and Necar Zadegan are important to discuss because Dr. Bendari is such a good hardass and also beautiful and Necar has starred in so many gay, gay things before! Notably, she was Elena in the 2010 lesbian movie Elena Undone, and also played yet another lesbo in the 2007 film The Touch. How I would adore for her to appreciate the ladies on this show, as well, but it seems like her only love is medicine. Sigh. There’s always hope though.
Onwards and upwards to our Second Gut-Wrenching Patient of the Day, a woman who is suffering from some serious OCD. While her disease is making her appear like a highly irritating freak, I think OCD is often dealt with insensitively so I appreciate the storyline. She actually seems like a very smart, kind person behind all of her neuroses.
Emily, rightly, also suspects midway through the episode that something more serious is going on with her, and ends up twisting some protocol in order to get her a speedy MRI. See, at the end of last episode, she accidentally saw the Chief of Surgery, Tyra’s daddy, making out with the not-lesbian nurse, Jessica, in the stairwell. TV hospitals, man. So even though Emily’s supposed to ask Hotness Bendari for the MRI permission, she’s unavailable and she really needs the MRI so she’s all, sign this, Chief, because I saw you making out with the nurse lady haha gotcha! This, of course, pisses off both the Chief and Bendari, but she gets the MRI and girl indeed has a brain tumor.
Chief, by the way, is played by Harry Lennix, who has been in a bunch of things but I remember him best in Dollhouse as Eliza Dushku’s protector and during all of his and Emily’s interactions I just keep waiting for her to say, “Did I fall asleep?”
Everything’s going to be all right, now that you’re here.
Emily has been assigned to OCD/brain tumor patient as a funny joke by the nurses, as the patient is understandably hard to deal with and also the nurses hate Emily. They are apparently still offended by her fake hitting on Jessica, not because of the gay thing (which is refreshing), but because doctors hitting on nurses is a condescending cliche. While true, this also allows the show to play into another annoying cliche, that all nurses are weirdly bitchy. Nurses are often really nice people, y’all! Seriously!
Still, this continuation of the Emily-as-lesbian-predator storyline is still humorous, and the gayest thing on this episode, and allows her and Tyra some good back and forths. As they walk down the hall together at one point, Emily tells Tyra to stop thinking about Jessica, pointing to lots of other cute female nurses around them. To which one passing by retorts, “We’re not all pieces of meat, you know.”
To add on to Emily’s pile of awkwardness, in an effort to persuade Will that she’s totally over him anyway she tells him that she already had another crush, on Micah, the doctor with the mom with pancreatic cancer. In another scene, Tyra tells Emily that this rumor has also made its rounds in the hospital and on Twitter, to which Emily says, well at least the nurses will stop thinking I was hitting on Jessica now. Tyra responds with my favorite line of the episode: “Actually, now they think you’re bisexual. And a horndog. Which is your hashtag, by the way.” Maybe it’s just me, but a hashtag joke is always funny!
Speaking of Micah and this glorious room which includes foosball and tea and couches, he and Emily share a sweet moment there later where he confides that his mom has cancer, and she confides that she doesn’t actually have a crush on him but just used him as an excuse to get over her Will looooove. His face reacts with a look that resembles something like, “Hey, I thought dealing with my mom’s cancer was bad, but that preemptive rejection was an unexpected bonus!”
Time for an update on the Gut-Wrenching Patients: Old Guy has demanded the heart surgeries even though there’s little chance of him surviving them. He barely makes it through the first one, forcing the even riskier second one, but somehow miraculously makes it. Grandson can rejoice! (His case also included a cleverly timed reference to the Affordable Care Act, which Emily was able to wield over the insurance company who originally rejected coverage for his surgeries. Nice work, Emily Owens/socialized medicine.)
OCD/brain tumor girl meanwhile prepares for her brain surgery, which she and her fiance are excited about because it means they can actually get their life back afterwards. I forgot to mention, her case is made even more sympathetic because of this wonderfully scruffy fiance, who has stuck by her side even though she hasn’t allowed him to touch her for SIX MONTHS.
Alas, Emily Owens’ first 24-hour-shift is over and all seems well, although she sticks around the hospital for a few extra hours as anyone who doesn’t have a real reason to return home does. Some of these hours are taken up doing crosswords with Micah’s mom in the waiting room, and as Micah walks up and sees this, you can practically hear his heart breaking open for her as they fill in 24 across. I know I don’t have to be too angsty about Micah and Emily because it’s clear that they’re going to drag on the Will thing for just long enough until Emily opens her eyes and suddenly understands the dreaminess that is Micah, but still—how can she not see it right now?! He is the dreamiest of the dreamy! Okay, maybe I am a little in love with him! Whatever don’t judge me.
Micah takes over looking after his mom, Emily finally changes out of those scrubs, and finally she’s on her way out the door when suddenly—no—no!—she sees Wonderfully Scruffy Fiance talking to a doctor and collapsing into wracking sobs. No! OCD girl cannot be dead! Emily can’t believe it either! The brain surgery hadn’t even been described as risky. I never expected anything but survival. She rushes to the nurses’ station; Dr. Bendari steps in to explain that the tumor was more complicated than believed and created a brain hemorrhaging that couldn’t be stopped. Emily is beset by guilt because she was the one who found the tumor which led to the surgery in the first place, but this is where Bendari actually fulfills her role as mentor, assuring Emily that there was no preventing this. This is why we put distance between ourselves, she says.
As I would do, Emily escapes to the roof to cry. Will just happens to step onto the roof at that moment too, and after a full episode of excruciating interactions, here they share a warm, funny, and natural conversation. For the first time, it becomes apparent to us how she might have fallen in love with him so hard.
While I enjoyed this scene, I was still a little distracted because I really can’t get over OCD girl’s death. I’ve watched enough hospital dramas that I should be prepared for these things, but apparently, I’m not! She and her fiance hadn’t touched each other in SIX MONTHS! She was a lawyer! He was scruffy! They were going to get married and get their lives back! The pain fiance must be going through is too much. Life is unfair and I hate it.
Okay. Deep breath, Jill. Deep breath. Curse you, hospital shows and life.
What did you think of the second episode? Did you think it was stronger than the pilot? Are you still interested in watching more? What do you want to see more of?