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The Night Shift - Control - Review: "Moral Injury"

Coming off of last week's depressing episode, I wasn't sure where The Night Shift was going to go. Thankfully, this episode was hopeful (well, as hopeful as a gory medical show can be). While still managing to tug on the heartstrings, this week's episode of The Night Shift also managed to be uplifting in a way I thought it had lost.

Over in Syria, TC (Eoin Macken) faces the consequences of his actions. After convincing a woman to provide false intel to the military in exchange for the treatment of her son, an op was ordered into dangerous territory based on the false intel. This led to Duke (Zeeko Zaki) being taken. Now, a rescue expedition led by Greggs (Chido Nwokocha) and joined by TC is sent to recover Duke. Duke is recovered, but Greggs is shot in the process. Luckily, TC, Amira (Rana Roy), and the rest of the medical staff at the army base is able to save Greggs. After the successful surgery, Amira congratulates TC, and TC admits to Amira that she was right. Apparently, after seeing Greggs get hurt, TC realizes that he isn't Mr. Right-All-The-Time, and that he should listen to the people around him. It's kind of sad that it took him four seasons and a stint to Syria to realize this, but I'm glad he's there. Call me a softie, but I'm also really glad no one had to die on screen for that realization to take place.

Back at San Antonio, Drew (Brendan Fehr) deals with Arthur (Dominic Burgess), a patient who has come in reporting mysterious abdominal issues. Drew figures out that Arthur is an actor paid by a company to fake an injury in order to evaluate the customer service of the hospital. It's a bit of an outlandish plotline, complete with Drew and Mollie (Esodie Geiger) faking that they've just diagnosed him with a wild disease in order to get him to confess. But, the story finds its ground by fleshing Arthur out as more than just an annoying actor.

As Drew takes a break outside the ER, he runs into Arthur, who is waiting for a ride, and discusses their kids. Arthur talks about how he hates this job and that he's only doing this to provide for his family, while Drew explains that how his schedule has been so packed since adopting Brianna, and how he can't call on his parents for help because they aren't as accepting of Drew being gay as he'd like them to be. After their talk, Drew accidentally leaves his phone outside the ER, and Arthur takes the liberty of texting Drew's mom as Drew. By the end of the episode, Drew and his mother on their way to reconnecting and being a family again. It's a really sweet storyline, and I'm not ashamed to say it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

In other news, Jordan (Jill Flint) and Cain (Mark Consuelos) take on Martin (Michael Graziadei), a patient who had a rock-climbing accident. The case seems relatively cut-and-dry, until Martin freaks out at the sound of a tray getting knocked over. It seems like PTSD, but Martin denies having war PTSD to Jordan. In order to get down to the bottom of what is going on, Jill brings in her friend Mac (Mac Brandt) to talk to Martin. After the conversation, Mac tells Jordan that Martin is suffering from the consequences of a moral injury, which means being forced to do something you normally wouldn't do in wartime. Mac is able to tell Martin to join a support group. Though the viewer is never privy to what Martin's moral injury was, the plot is effective nonetheless. It still displays a sense of hope, and it teaches the important lesson that there's always help.

Meanwhile, a young girl named Tina (Camille Hyde) comes in, asking for the doctors to remove her tumor. However, before our favorite doctors can begin operating, her grandfather (John Cothran), a devout Jehovah's Witness who is against the use of blood transfusion, comes in and asks the doctors to release Tina. There's a long argument, and by the end, Tina forces the doctors to operate on her by slicing part of the tumor herself.

It's a hard scene to watch, even if you're used to all the bloodshed of medical drama. The scene where the doctors roll Tina's gurney across a puddle of Tina's own blood on the way to operate on her is seemed a little gratuitous. After that, Tina spends most of her under the knife with Scott (Scott Wolf), Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.), Shannon (Tanaya Beatty), and Jocelyn (Alma Sisneros).

For most of the episode, it's hard to believe that Tina is going to make it. Her heart doesn't beat for 61 minutes of show-time. During those 61 minutes, the doctors are trying everything they can, even when they don't really believe in what they're doing. The more time passes, the less Paul, Shannon, and Jocelyn believe in Scott to take them home.

The episode creates a Scott that we've only seen glimpses of. He's determined, he's ambitious, he's confident in himself and in his abilities to save Tina. In the moment where everyone firmly believes that saving Tina is impossible, he gives a slightly cliche speech and says that they're surgeons, that "Impossible is for other people". If that's not Pinterest-worthy, I don't know what is.

The Tina storyline culminates beautifully. Tina's grandfather goes to the hospital's chapel to pray, and he is joined by Kenny (JR Lemon), Cain, and several other hospital workers and patrons. As the music swells, we see scenes of prayer cut with scenes of trying to save Tina. It's some of the best editing I've seen in The Night Shift's history, and I was slightly disappointed to see it end. When the music stops, there's a sense of unsettling calm. But then, we hear the EKG beeping, and we know that Tina is alive.

It's a miracle, to say the least. And though I'm no medical professional, I'm not sure it was one hundred percent realistic. But no one watches The Night Shift for realism (or continuity, for that matter). People watch The Night Shift because it makes them feel something, and the episode definitely felt like hope. Should they have magically rescued Annie if they wanted to explore the theme of hope? Maybe (well, that might just be the Annie fan in me talking). Should they have addressed the Annie stinger from last week, period? Yes. But for what it was, this week's The Night Shift was pretty good.

Do you think TC's character will develop further in Syria? How do you feel about about Scott's new direction? What do you think about this week's episode of The Night Shift? Share your answers in the comments below!

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