A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Knick’s solid run continues in its fifth week and it seems inevitable that something massive is about to crack. They Capture the Heat is largely about entrapment, the feeling that one cannot escape their current reality that is enshrouded by secrecy without incredible damage. That’s not to say the hour was completely without any levity and sweetness. There’s a lovely little sequence with Nurse Elkins teaching Dr. Thackery how to ride a bike that makes the guy almost lovable (before you remembers that he’s an unapologetic racist with a terribly ruinous disposition).
The primary medical breakthrough the season will follows appears to be the troubling C-section procedure whose failure led to Dr. Christiansen shooting himself in the head. “We can do this,” Dr. Thackery says hopefully, with determination. Cue next shot and the patient and the child are dead. It’s one of the most brutal uses of editing I remember seeing. There’s an ostensible hope and the very next shot is full of despair and dread. It’s absolutely brilliant and brutal. I have a feeling that it will be the combined efforts of Drs. Thackery and Edwards that results in the successful C-Section that’s inevitably coming. Is that a little too dramatic? Yes, yes it is. But it will be well-earned and for it to work, it doesn’t even mean that the two will become friends or anything. They just have to work together to get the job done. Speaking of the pairing, Dr. Thackery made the momentous call of being the one who saved Dr. Edwards’s mother. It’s not a completely redeeming moment but I would like for his racism abating to become one of the driving thematic thrusts of the series. So far, it’s doing a good job of that.
Harriet and Cleary continue to be my favorite pairing on the show. There’s just something impeccable about watching a nun that provides abortions and a bearded, foul-mouthed crook that bond over a beer that is just impeccable to watch. They bring up the potential move of the Knick to the more posh uptown area, which largely gives them both to play up their personalities. If the move indeed does happen, that puts the poor patients who rely on Dr. Edwards’s underground operations out and potentially take away Sister Harriet’s ability to use the Knick and her connections there to perform needed abortions for needed women. The Knick is struggling, but is it worth it to move upscale if they’re causing more deaths in the background?
Speaking of underground operations, Dr. Edwards is continuing his secret medical procedures, something that missing in last week’s brilliant episode. There’s a great moment where everyone is in darkness as some idiotic teenagers are trying to open the door. They go away and the light comes back on. It’s palpable, how everyone sighs and gets back to work. The hernia is successfully removed with a silver wire, but note before the patients utters the line of the hour: “They say every cloud has a silver lining. Now I will, too.” There’s always something to be admired in hilarious dialogue in an episode where two patients due in a botched operation.
The majority of the hour is spent with Barrow, who is clearly being set up for a major moment of tragedy. I wouldn’t care too much about what happens to him personally, but those around him he’s screwing over need to watch out. His corruption reaches new heights as he sets up a prostitution ring with the help of law enforcement. It’s clear he absolutely hungers to escape his station in life, something many can sympathize with. But the way he’s going about it isn’t going to get him there anytime soon. He lost money on Wall Street and that’s terrible (wait until 1929, buddy – if he survives that long). But he’s losing sympathy with his actions so quickly I wouldn’t give a damn if anything happened to him. I’m more interested in the ramifications his character’s actions are going to bring. The Knick wraps up this solid hour and as usual I can’t wait until next week.
Episode Title: They Capture the Heat
Writer: Steven Katz
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Image Courtesy: This Infamous