2014 has come and gone, and as we start our new year, let’s take a moment to look back on what made the previous one great and what made it teeth-grindingly frustrating. Here are the best and worst of 2014 as voted by you! Thanks to everyone who voted, hope to see you back here at the end of 2015 for more judgment!
Previously on The Knick: Lucy and Barrow stuck their necks out to get Thack the cocaine he needs just to function, Cornelia discovered that she was pregnant and Edwards couldn’t bring himself to perform an abortion on her, and Eleanor Gallinger went completely crazy.
It’s nighttime. Cornelia waits for an approaching carriage and is startled to find it driven by Cleary. If he’s surprised to see her he doesn’t show it. He tells her to get in the back of the ambulance. On the way, she asks where they’re going, but he will only reassure her that it’s safe and she won’t see anyone she knows there. He chuckles that he’s seen more of her type than she’d think. I can’t help but wonder how she found him in the first place.
Previously on The Knick: A cocaine shortage sent Thack into serious withdrawal, Gallinger brought a replacement baby home to Eleanor (which went as well as you can expect), and Cornelia and Edwards continued their affair.
Thack is now so desperate he actually breaks into a pharmacy in the dead of night. A beat cop finds him there, just as he’s about to shoot up.
Barrow and Mr Robertson are summoned to the police station, which I’m sure delighted both of them. Barrow tries to play this off as a doctor going to desperate lengths to secure medicine for his patients. After all, Thack is white! White men don’t steal! Unless they work on Wall Street! The captain’s like, ‘yeah, we practically found the guy with a needle in his foot, so we’re pretty sure we know what we’re dealing with.’ Robertson pays the captain off to make the charges go away.
Previously on The Knick: A mob tore up the hospital during a race riot, and Thack and Lucy and Cornelia and Edwards started hooking up.
Thack and Lucy are engaging in a little foreplay, which for them includes Lucy asking him to shoot her up. Because nothing gets one in the mood like a little coke. Afterwards, she talks about how her father preaches on the weekends and tells everyone how evil they are 24/7. Thack observes that that must have been fun to grow up with. His own father was a mean, violent drunk who was as devout as they come. It’s kind of turned Thack off religion. And he doesn’t think that sex and pleasure are sinful. He also thinks God’s kind of a jerk for letting kids get sick and decent people starve. She doesn’t seem too at ease with him badmouthing God.
Previously on The Knick: Thack found the Clandestine Clinic and was not pleased, but he came around somewhat when Edwards proposed sharing credit for his new hernia procedure. Gallinger’s baby died, Bertie worked with Thack to fix the placenta previa problem, a policeman started procuring for Barrow’s favourite brothel, and Cornelia’s future father-in-law is creepy as all hell.
A man walks down the stairs of the surgery gallery, crosses the surgical floor, and joins Thack and Christiansen in the prep room. He’s a friend of Christiansen’s from Baltimore, Dr William Halstead. Christiansen introduces Thack, who’s a big fan of Halstead’s. Halstead is fairly modest. Christiansen heaps praise on Thack and promises Halstead he’ll be getting a good show that day. Halstead’s looking forward to it. Thack’s worried about the surgery, concerned it could fail, but Christiansen’s confident. He and Thack go to a room next door to shoot up and Thack wonders what Halstead would think of this.
Christiansen: Who do you think passed this along to me?
Previously on The Knick: Edwards found a new way to treat hernias in the Clandestine Clinic while Thack struggled to keep placenta previa patients from bleeding out and Bertie struggled to gain his father’s approval. Cornelia and Speight were hot on the trail of the person spreading typhoid throughout the city, and Gallinger’s daughter Lillian came down with meningitis.
It’s very, very early in the morning and the phone rings at Bertie’s place. It’s answered by his dad, who is about as pleased as any dad is to be roused from sleep by a phone call for his kid. He fetches Bertie and, after a quick chat, Bertie hangs up and tells his father he’s needed by Thack at the hospital for an experiment. Of course, his dad berates him for that.
Previously on The Knick: Edwards opened a secret clinic in the basement so he could treat the city’s non-white patients and actually get to practice some medicine for a change. Barrow was in deep with a nasty lot led by Bunky, and Cornelia was helping Speight investigate the sudden typhoid outbreak amongst the city’s upper crust.
Bunky’s men bring one of his thugs into a place that makes the Clandestine Clinic look like the Mayo. The totally incompetent doctor checks the guy out and initially says he should just get some rest and he’ll be fine, but Bunky points out that the guy’s leg is all messed up, on account of the bullet in it. The doctor takes a cursory look and gets ready to just saw the limb off. Bunky, who originally pooh pooed the idea of taking the man to the Knick because he didn’t want to be indebted to Barrow (he prefers it the other way around) finally decides that seeing a real doctor would be a good idea.
Previously on The Knick: Thack was regularly stealing away to Chinatown to spend his off hours in an opium-induced haze; Edwards was facing endless racism at work, so it’s just as well he’s apparently kind of a badass; Cleary discovered Harriet’s side business giving abortions to desperate poor women; and Barrow started stealing and selling bodies from the hospital.
Cleary’s evening playing darts at his local is interrupted by some kid, who calls Cleary out to the street. Cleary gives the kid some instructions (we can’t hear what they’re talking about) and then makes his way to the basement of some building nearby, having acquired a sack along the way. The basement is filled with men cheering and placing bets while one guy walks around a ring in the centre. I figured this was some sort of underground cock fighting or boxing thing, but no, this is a bloodsport with a particular New York twist: The guy’s going up against Cleary’s sack full of NYC rats. He starts stomping and kicking them to death, gorily, but then slips in the blood and the rats start chomping on him.
Previously on The Knick: Edwards dealt with being marginalized at the hospital by opening a secret clinic for black patients in the basement. Baxter’s in deep with some very bad people and paid for it with a tooth, Sister Harriet’s performing abortions for poor women, and wealthy uptowners are coming down with typhoid.
A woman arrives at the hospital and asks the nurse at the front desk where she can find Thack. We don’t see her face, but when the nurse does, what she sees makes her pause briefly, so we know it must be bad.
Lucy is the lucky one who gets to interrupt Thack in whatever research he’s working on to tell him he has a patient calling herself his friend.
Previously on The Knick: Repeated surgical failures finally got to Dr Christiansen, who committed suicide, leaving his second-in-command, Thack, in charge. He’s forced to hire a new second, a black man, which does not make him happy in the least.
We start by cutting between scenes of Cornelia’s luxurious life in a mansion and Edwards’s crappy life in a gross boardinghouse that clearly caters to black men. Cornelia is wakened by a maid, Edwards is wakened by a roach scuttling across his pillow. Edwards is bugged in line for the bathroom by some other guy with a huge attitude who wants to know where he got those fancy shoes from. Cornelia has breakfast with her parents and admits she feels a bit awkward at the Knick. Her dad reassures her that nobody, not even her brother, thinks as similarly to him as she does and he knows she can handle it. After breakfast, she’s carefully dressed by two maids who take care to make sure she looks perfect. Edwards, also looking perfect (though he clearly had to do it himself) heads into work.