“Emily Owens, M.D.” recap (Ep. 5): Guilt and Beards


Well done, Emily Owens, M.D. In my opinion, this was one of the best episodes yet. Perhaps because the central theme of the episode revolved around guilt, which I may or may not have a lot of issues with myself. Just kidding, I most definitely do! Anyway, we also feel more empathy for Cassandra, and Tyra’s coming-out-to-her-father storyline finally starts to advance slightly. Also, Micah’s cancer-ridden mom elicits a lot of cries and proves once again why you should never be your own mom’s doctor.

After we’re introduced to some of our main patient storylines of the episode — small boy with glasses needs a liver transplant, sucks — we see Cassandra pleading with Emily to figure out what happened with Will because he keeps giving her the cold shoulder. Of course what happened was that Emily made it that way, oopsies, but Emily’s trying to keep up the good/selfish fight and not cave into her guilt. I’m still irked by this storyline because it makes me dislike Emily and I don’t want to dislike Emily.

Nope! No idea what you mean! Hahaha guilt is eating me alive!

Cassandra is acting too strangely sincere about it, though. If you had to come to your enemy about love advice, you think you’d be more annoyed about it. Yet when Emily tries to prompt her to say something mean, to help assuage the guilt thing again, Cassandra steps seamlessly to the plate each time. I actually enjoy this though, because it shows that Cassandra actually IS being herself, and is just genuinely upset about Will. Which makes you feel sort of bad for her–which is good. It’s good to feel slightly bad for your enemies. Also, it makes it easier to secretly enjoy when she is mean. Because I mean she’s pretty funny.

I’m experiencing a weird sensation. Maybe it’s the writers turning me into a real person.

As Emily escapes the hell of her own making, she then runs into Tyra, who presents the best gay storyline of the episode, and when I say best I mean sort of worst. She’s hiding from a police officer who’s shown up at the hospital, who’s a dude she used to smoke weed with in high school, and who she also recently told her parents was her boyfriend. Whoops? She has accordingly slid into in-the-closet panic-mode.

Here’s the best part of this scene, though: After Cassandra explains who the dude is to Emily, she says, “He doesn’t know he’s my beard.” Now, my memory is often wrong–but can any of you remember another time the phrase “beard” has been used on such a mainstream network show? I can’t articulate exactly why this single line made me feel so exhilarated, but it did. Perhaps because it’s a sign that at one point, just having a gay character like, be gay was making a bold statement, but now that gay character can be gay enough to infiltrate in gay vocabulary like it’s normal. Emily wasn’t like, “What’s a beard?” She just rolled her eyes and sighed. Of course, it’s gay lingo that’s associated with being closeted, which isn’t the best–but the fact that we even have to HAVE a vocabulary concerning being closeted might be new, and perhaps enlightening, information to some.

Speaking of the beard, he’s keeping watch over our Important Storyline of the Day #2, who’s a diabetic drug addict. When he reacts violently to some drugs Emily administers to him, he knocks her right onto the floor. As she falls, something attached to his anatomy crashes down with her. She has, unfortunately for her, grabbed his fake penis. A doppelwanger, as they call it, apparently — a second penis with clean urine attached so men can pass monitored drug testing. Good times. And because this is the obvious thing to do, another male doctor snaps a picture of her lying on the floor and looking at the doppelwanger in wonder. Instead of, you know, helping her up or something,  Haha! It’s funny, you see, because she was taken aback by someone having a second fake penis. Don’t worry, all male doctors in the hospital will most definitely give her a hard time about it for the entire episode. You so funny, male doctors! Emily and the beard share some cute banter afterwards though. The beard seems nice. Like the kind of guy you’d smoke weed with in high school.

Tyra of course inevitably does run into him, and explains the whole story in a wonderfully adorable fashion. Just in the nick of time before her father walks up, too, so the beard can play along. A perfect non-reaction from him occurs after Tyra says that her dad “doesn’t know she’s gay.” He doesn’t look uncomfortable or even blink, just laughs and says that she hasn’t changed since high school, still lying to her parents about things. Tyra doesn’t get enough screen time or character development on this show, for sure, but I’ll say one thing: her being gay has never, ever been a big deal. And it is great.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bandari is walking very briskly down the hall with Emily, giving her rapid fire instructions about how to care for her drug addict patient. I love this scene because, well, Bandari is super, super hot in it. Walking so fast! Spouting out the names of so many drugs so quickly! Wearing a perfectly fitting skirt like a badass! She also admonishes Emily to only treat his diabetic reactions, that his drug addiction is NOT her problem. So duh, obviously Emily is going to make it her problem.

Other tricky things that arise this episode: the dad of the boy who needs a liver transplant isn’t actually his biological dad, and not-biological dad had no idea. Wuh-oh. And Micah’s mom, who’s been undergoing treatment for her pancreatic cancer, gets some scans done which reveal that her tumor has in fact not shrunk at all. This is very not good news, and news that Micah of course refuses to accept. News that he’s also very good at refusing to admit to his mom as her doctor, painting the truth in as much happy paint as is murkily possible. His mom knows he’s BS-ing, of course, but doesn’t press it for his sake because that’s what moms do.

Everything is sad.

I know.

Mom then later calls in Emily to actually tell her the truth, as that is her right, and Emily obviously has to comply. I cry a little. When Micah finds out, he rages onto the roof where the interns are sharing a cozy game of bananagrams, and he’s angry and then sad. I cry a little more.

Things wrap up for our other patients as well as they can: the boy who needs a liver gets part of his sister’s, which is good, except that the dad knows he’s not the dad now and so some things still suck. As Emily contemplates her guilt about all of this on the rooftop, as she put the spilling-the-dad-beans in motion, Cassandra shows up and is once again Not Horrible. In fact, when Emily admits that she’s now “feeling guilty about being guilty” (I have no idea what you’re talking about, Emily! I mean, that sounds crazy!), Cassandra tells her that guilt isn’t always a bad thing. (Wait, what? Tell me more, Cassandra.) She then says that Emily is a good person and everyone knows it and whatever she did, her intentions were good. Huh.

Our drug addict, meanwhile, had had a heart to heart about addiction with Emily and was going to wait at the hospital until a bed was ready in a rehab center that she had arranged for him. When she went to check on him the next morning, alas, he had checked himself out. She runs to his room in disbelief. Bandari magically appears, says, I told you so. Emily gives an impassioned speech, of course, about how she had to care and try to do what she could anyway because that’s just who she is and let freedom ring or something. Bandari gives a look which is somewhere between, “Okay, sure,” and “Whatever, you naive puppy.”

Don’t worry, your heart will harden with time.

Then Micah returns to his mom’s room and actually lets himself be honest and vulnerable and sad. She invites him to get into bed with her for some snuggles. She calls him Micah Mouse. I cry more.

Micah Mouse. 🙁

Finally, we get to see all the lady interns out of their scrubs on their way out of the hospital, which I love because you get to see the contrast between Tyra’s uber hip style and Emily’s oversized sweater/sweater dress which I believe I owned in 1997.

Snowflakes are in this year.

Cassandra then pulls the girls into that magical foosball break room, where the doctor who took the original picture of Emily with the penis is biting into a huge sub, which Cassandra has wonderfully placed a doppelwanger inside of. Hehe, you bit into a penis. Doctor, girl solidarity will get you in the ass every time.

Does Apple even pay for product placement anymore?

Cassandra’s also in a bit of a better mood because Emily has, finally, allowed Will to go out with whoever he wants. Thank God. Emily also gets in a few words of encouragement to Tyra about coming out to her dad, because she in fact doesn’t want to be the same girl she was in high school. Y’know? Let’s hope the words sink in soon.

What did you think of this episode? Do you also approve of the changes in Cassandra? Do you think Tyra actually will be truthful with her dad in the near future?

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