The Knick: Taking a Level in Badass

the-knick-season-1-episode-7Previously 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?

The surgery of the day is an appendectomy, which apparently was basically non-existent until this particular moment. Christiansen does an opening spiel and the doctors get started, with Thack showing them how they can accurately find the appendix each and every time. The surgery is a success.

Thack’s just trying to relax in his favourite opium den when he’s wakened by one of the girls. Wu’s choking or something. Thack swiftly performs an emergency tracheotomy and tells one of the girls to load up a bowl for Wu, because he’s going to need it. Uh, how would he smoke that? Man’s got a hole in his throat now. Thack also asks her to prep one for him. That had better be on the house.

Edwards wakes  in his crappy boardinghouse.

Meanwhile, Sears the crooked cop eyes a black woman from across the street. He approaches her and starts selling her on the idea of working with Bucky, but she indignantly informs him that she’s no streetwalker, she’s waiting for her boyfriend. This seems like a serious miscalculation on his part, because she’s actually quite well—and not very flashily—dressed. Not a good assumption, sir. Unfortunately for him, her boyfriend shows up, and when he hears what the cop’s been up to, he gets mad enough to stab him several times in the kidney area. Yowch.

Sears is taken to the Knick, where Cleary explains he was stabbed by ‘a dirty coon’ in the street.

Gallinger and Cornelia arrive in time to see a large and angry crowd of Irish people gathering at the door to the hospital. Cornelia wryly notes that this is a great way for him to start his first day back. Gallinger gallantly clears a path for her to the door.

He goes immediately to the surgical theatre, where Thack and the others are working on Sears. Gallinger apologises for being late, but Thack’s like, ‘Your baby just died, a tragic occurrence for which you’ll probably blame yourself until your dying day. You get a pass. Scrub in!’ The doctors work away, but Sears is in a bad way. Thack loves the new blood sucker vacuum. Gallinger returns and is startled to see both Edwards and the new machine, asking what the heck is going on.

Thack: Trust me, you’ll learn to love this machine. It’s awesome wrapped in some sort of bacon-like awesome substance, coated in awesomesauce.

Sears’s family arrives, and they’re pretty much a roundup of Irish stereotypes. Wife is clearly popping out children as fast as she can ovulate, and mom, who must have had Sears when she was about 14 because she’s pretty young looking, is already drunk even though it’s still fairly early in the morning. She demands to know where the ‘butchers’ have taken her boy as one of the policemen guides her through the crowd and tries to reassure her.

Barrow goes to the theatre, where the operation’s finished and tells the doctors the family is there. Thack goes to tell them that Sears is still alive, but weak. There’s more surgery to come, but they need to wait until he’s stronger. Cornelia is with them and tells the family she knows Sears and thinks he’s a good man. Ma Sears shouts that they need to find the…guy who did this and string him up. The policemen standing nearby promise they’ll find him and make him pay. Or just make anyone who vaguely resembles a black man pay, because why not? Cornelia gently says that sort of talk’s not too helpful just now but Ma tells her to shut up, because her son’s going to be just fine, because he’s great! Let’s drink to that! She raises a bottle and Cornelia nervously says, ‘that’s the…spirit.’ Heh.

Gallinger goes to the ward and finds Bertie there. Gallinger asks what the hell is going on, what with the mobs outside and Edwards actually getting to do some doctoring. Bertie explains that, since Gallinger wasn’t there and Thack needed another surgeon, Edwards was the natural choice. He refuses to play along with Gallinger’s sulking and shuts it right down.

Edwards goes to check on Sears, which does not please Ma, who asks if he’s there to finish the job. Yeah, because all black men are the same black man. Though you’d think that, considering the situation, the other doctors would have kept Edwards away from this one unless strictly necessary. Edwards patiently explains that he’s a surgeon and helped keep her son alive to this point. He reels off some instructions to Lucy, and when she goes to do his bidding, a policeman blocks the door and incredulously asks if she actually takes orders from this guy. She informs him she takes orders from all the doctors and breezes past this asshole. Way to get in the way of your buddy’s care just so you could wave your racist flag for a bit, you idiot. Edwards glares at the two men and leaves.

Cleary goes outside and tells the mob that Sears is alive and they should head home, because it could be days before there’s any news. They refuse to leave. Cleary and his sidekick get back inside.

Lucy fetches Thack and tells him Sears has taken a turn for the worse. He’s probably not being helped by the whisky his mother’s pouring down his throat either. Sears has internal bleeding. Thack needs to do a procedure right there in his room. He sends Lucy for supplies, but in the minute it takes her to get them, Sears dies.

The Sears family is led outside and sit down on a bench. Ma tells the assembled crowd that her son’s dead and urges them to go ahead and start a race riot. They are only too happy to oblige, setting on some poor bastard who’s just walking past. Thack sees this and rushes to help the man, pushing away the three guys who are kicking the poor men to a bloody mess. Thack screams at the crowd to stop just standing there and help the man.

They don’t, of course, so it’s up to Thack to get the man inside for care. He tells the nurses to lock all the windows and doors and tells Edwards to stay out of sight.

Irish people and policemen wander the streets, beating up any black person they come across, man or woman.

Black and white casualties of this are brought to the Knick. Harriet is called in to lend a hand.

Cleary and his partner watch the crowd through the front doors. One member sees them and actually punches at them through the glass. Cleary, without blinking an eye, delivers a good bat blow to the intruding hand.

Black victims limp towards the hospital’s back entrance, watched by some kid. As they make their way into the clinic, Gallinger tries to tell them to get lost, and another guy dials that up to 11 and starts just attacking them and shouting racial slurs which even makes Gallinger take a step back. Edwards gets in on the fisticuffs until Thack calls him off. Once things calm down a bit, Thack separates the patients, directing the black patients to one side of the room, despite Gallinger’s protests.

The kid runs back to the mob and tells Ma Sears that the hospital has black patients. She tells a nearby policeman that the man who killed her son is in the hospital right now. The policeman turns to another guy and solemnly tells him to get the rope.

The police run to the front door and start tying the rope to it. Cleary realizes that shit’s about to get really real and leaves his partner with the bat while he goes to tell Barrow (who’s on the phone trying to reassure his wife) that the mob’s going to have the doors off in about ten seconds. Barrow hangs up and wonders why the police aren’t controlling this mob. Cleary tells him the police basically are this mob. Barrow races towards the clinic to warn everyone.

The crowd hauls on the ropes while Cleary’s poor partner tries to hold the doors manually. That lasts, as Cleary said, all of about 10 seconds before one of the doors pops right off the hinges and the mob pours in, searching rooms for black patients.

Barrow gets to the clinic and tells everyone that the mob is inside, as he slides a crutch through the clinic’s doorhandles to try to slow them down just a little. Thack tells everyone to help the black patients get out of there and head down the south stairs. Nurses, doctors, and nuns start hustling patients out of there as quickly as they can as the mob busts the door glass. Barrow, kind of endearingly, brings up the rear of the group of patients, brandishing a stool threateningly at the mob. I know he’s kind of a racist dick, but he’s really stepping up here.

Cleary goes out to the ambulance bay and finds a man beating up a black guy. He sets on the beater and starts kicking his ass, only to have a policeman come running over and start beating the tar out of Cleary. New York’s finest, folks. The policeman then moves along to the poor, helpless black guy, as someone steals the ambulance’s horses. ‘Whose side are you on?’ Cleary screams at the cop.

The patients are brought down to the Clandestine Clinic, and Gallinger and Barrow are both like, what the hell is this? An operating room? The HELL? Gallinger asks Thack if he knew about this and Thack says of course he did, how else could he have helped Edwards out with it as much as he did? Harriet, listening to the crowd stomping around upstairs, notes that it’s only a matter of time before they’re found there, but Barrow snits that they may miss it, since he did. ‘They’re obviously looking a little harder than you did,’ Cornelia points out. Barrow sees one of Edwards’s nurses and asks if she isn’t a laundress? ‘Down here I’m a surgical nurse,’ she tells him in a take-no-shit-from-you, sonny voice. Good for you, lady! Barrow asks if Edwards stole most of the equipment and Edwards, insulted, said he either repaired and reused or bought it. Thack chimes in that the obstetrical equipment was stolen. By Thack.

Cornelia: You delivered babies here? Awww.

Barrow orders all the black patients out of the building and Thack agrees that they need to be moved. Bertie points out that they aren’t safe out on the street, so Harriet immediately offers to take the walking wounded to Our Lady of Sorrows a few blocks down, because even hooligans won’t go attacking a church. Good Catholic hooligans, these. Thack orders Gallinger to go along with them, which he reluctantly does. The patients recovering in the Clandestine Clinic can’t walk, so they’ll have to be transferred to another hospital. Bertie and Cornelia make a couple of suggestions, neither of which will work, so Edwards suggests a black hospital in Little Africa.

They head up the back stairs to the ambulance bay, only to find there are no horses. They’ll have to do this on foot. Thack asks Bertie if he’ll remain behind so there’s a surgeon at the Knick. Cornelia notes that there isn’t enough manpower to transfer all the patients. Cleary tells them to load the gurneys and put the overflow in the ambulance, which he pulls by himself, accompanied by his bat-wielding partner, followed by orderlies, nurses, Cornelia, and Thack, pushing gurneys. The patients are completely covered in sheets, and Edwards is hiding underneath Cornelia’s gurney. Thack has Lucy load up some opium for his patient, who complains of pain. She administers it on the move, which is impressive. They’re stopped by some Irishman, who asks what they have under the sheets. Lucy thinks fast and tells him they’re leprosy patients being taken to the morgue. She tells him he can take a peek, but in a week he’ll be wondering where his balls went. He lets them pass.

Harriet, brandishing a crucifix, escorts her patients through the streets, seeing off hooligans left and right. One of them whines that one of these guys could be Sears’s killer. ‘Oh, hump off, you didn’t even know the man!’ she snaps. Hee!

Those back at the Knick start clearing up the completely trashed clinic. Barrow takes in the wreckage while Bertie brightsides that the mob seems have moved on. Barrow says that, once things are reasonably cleaned up, they need inventories on all patients and supplies. Bertie’s patient tells him that uptown all the prostitutes have been turned out onto the streets and are pretty much fair game, with all the policemen too busy beating up innocent civilians to do their goddamn jobs. Barrow hears this and hauls ass out of there.

Cleary and the others finally arrive at the other hospital, which is pretty crowded, as you can imagine. Thack quickly finds the surgeon in charge (Dr Williams), who knows Edwards—they were both at Harvard. ‘He was the one in his year, I was the one in mine,’ Edwards explains. Thack quickly catches Williams up and offers the services of all the Knick staffers who have come along on this merry journey, along with their supplies. Williams is grateful for both.

Barrow makes his way uptown to check on his favourite prostitute. He’s stopped at the door to the place by a policeman, who tells him now is not the time, because the place is closed. Barrow tries to insist but is sent on his way. So, he sneaks in a back window and makes his way into her room, where he finds her with a policeman client. She gasps that she’s fine, but, y’know, kinda busy. Barrow makes himself scarce.

Lucy assists Thack with a gross arm amputation, looking horrified. Thack asks if she needs a break but she insists she’s fine. Cornelia brings in a man with a gashed upper thigh and buttocks. Edwards checks him and notes that the cut goes down to the bone, so they’ll have to sew him up in layers. They have no more anaesthetic, so they’ll have to hold him down. Cornelia gets in position to help. Edwards tells her she can go if this is too offensive but she sniffs that she’s seen a buttock before. ‘A black one?’ Edwards asks. Why does that matter? Are black ones somehow more offensive to a lady’s eyes? Cornelia reminds him that she’s seen his bare bum, back when they used to run around the garden. ‘We were three,’ Edwards quickly explains to Williams. ‘And he saw mine,’ she adds. Heh.

A storm comes through, calming the crowds somewhat.

Bertie’s performing surgery, led by a nurse reading instructions out loud and showing him pictures. He’s basically doing the 1900 equivalent of performing surgery by watching Youtube videos and Googling.

Thack is working on the last patient. The worst is over. Williams shakes Edwards’s hand and says he’d like to catch up soon. Edwards agrees. The Knick crew gathers and discusses next steps. Cleary’ll take the ambulance back, but he can’t take the gurneys too, so Edwards and Cornelia agree to push them while Thack escorts Lucy home.

Things are quiet at the Knick as well. Bertie goes to the room on the ward that formerly housed Sears and collapses on the bed, exhausted.

Edwards and Cornelia go down to the Clandestine Clinic, which has remained untouched. Guess the mob wasn’t looking that carefully after all. She asks about the babies he delivered (both girls) and comments that he’s become someone she didn’t expect: a man who did something truly remarkable. She says it was really great to see him work that day. It’s made her think differently about him. And she was terrified for him as well, with a whole city wanting to hurt him. He jocularly says that he only had her to protect him. She solemnly says she would have. And then they start making out. Eh, I’m not feeling this relationship, honestly. Up to this point, the energy between these two has seemed pretty fraternal. I’ve never really detected any sexual tension, so this seems pretty out of the blue.

Thack sees Lucy home to her boardinghouse and she invites him inside, and then invites him into her room, telling him her roommate will have already left for work. It’s either the middle of the night or super early in the morning—still dark—so what the hell does her roommate do? Thack follows her in and she lights a lamp, then asks for his help getting out of her uniform. Aww, poor Bertie. As Thack gently undoes the buttons down her back, she asks him if it’ll hurt, turning to face him. He promises he can make it painless and perfect.

The next morning, she sits on the edge of her bed, looking down at a couple of glass vials on the floor, flashing back to their night together. I have no idea what was in those vials, but I guess it was some sort of painkiller. Which they both took. Nothing like looking back on your first time in a drug-addled haze. Lucy dresses and sits with a cup of tea, smiling dreamily as her roommate comes in. The roommate notes the look on her face and asks what’s up. Lucy just smiles a bit more.



One thought on “The Knick: Taking a Level in Badass

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.