Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon The Night Shift - Off the Rails - Review: "The TC Experience"

    Enable Dark Mode!

  • What's HOT
  • Premiere Calendar
  • Ratings News
  • Movies
  • YouTube Channel
  • Submit Scoop
  • Contact Us
  • Search
  • Privacy Policy

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers


The Night Shift - Off the Rails - Review: "The TC Experience"

Is it too cheesy to call this episode off the rails in a totally unexpected way? Because that was how I felt. Though "Off the Rails" was not as crazy as season premiere "Recoil", it did deliver a perfect formula of thrills, humor, and absolute heartbreak.

"Off the Rails" began where "Recoil" left off. Drew (Brendan Fehr) had been lifted high in the air, tasked with rescuing two girls from atop a roller coaster. However, only one, Abby (Madalyn Horcher), could fit on the cart that had lifted Drew up, leaving the other, Sofia (Kelli Berglund), left to fall a slightly terrifying distance to an inflatable air mat down below. Instead of falling, she hung onto the cart, endangering herself, Drew, and her friend. As she cried for him to pull her up, Drew carefully peeled her fingers off and let her fall to safety. It was a subtle, yet brave move; I was afraid the show wouldn't go there. It would have been all too predictable for the contraption to magically be capable of holding more weight. I'm really glad The Night Shift went for this: not the happy ending we deserved, but the happy ending that made the most narrative sense.

Of course, the rollercoaster debacle's happy ending was just the beginning to an even more riveting tale back at the San Antonio Memorial Hospital. As Abby was rolled into the doors, her intestines exposed while she was crying in pain, her mother Dana (Amanda Brooks) came in, asking about her daughter. As they rushed Abby into surgery, Dr. Scott Clemmens (Scott Wolf) asked Dana if her daughter had ever had any prior surgical procedures. While Dana said no, Abby said that she'd had a secret abortion across the border in Mexico. However, the abortion turned out to be botched, and Abby got a second chance. Dana got a second chance too; she was going to be deployed to Korea, but in hearing that her daughter was pregnant and was going to carry the baby to term, she stayed. After spending most of her motherhood way from her daughter, Dana got a second chance to be a mother. The moments between Dana and Abby were extremely sweet. They were a highlight of the episode, and it was a great way to explore the theme of second chances that ran throughout the episode.

Things for Sofia were a little less cut and dry. What initially appeared to be a relatively simple series of seizures turned out to be the effects of cocaine and antidepressants mingling throughout her system. One heartwarming point of the episode was Sofia's relationship with Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.). Initially hesitant to return to the hospital, a need to get into the OR and help Sofia made him put the scrubs back on. While Paul's father, Dr. Julian Cummings (James McDaniel), assumed that Sofia's shakes were basic seizures, Paul's empathetic nature and ability to listen to his patients led him to determine the true cause of Sofia's disease. This, in turn, showed Julian Cummings that his son was a seriously good doctor. This allowed the two to mend the relationship. As Sofia recovered after surgery, Paul told her that he'd called her parents, told them that their neglect of her was child abuse, and demanded that they come back and square up. I'm really happy about how Sofia and Paul's narratives also paralleled each other. Both not treated properly by their parents, both acting out in their own ways. At the end of the day, they were both betrayed kids, and the two betrayed kids helped each other get a second chance of having real relationships with their parents.

Nurse Cain Diaz (Mark Consuelos) got a second chance in this episode, too. After displaying skills that better fitted a highly experienced doctor than the low-ranking nurse he was at San Antonio, he revealed his history to the staff members. He was an immigrant from Mexico. He was a highly experienced ER chief where he came from, the Topher of his hometown hospital. After seeing too much blood and violence, he moved to America, got a nursing license instead of having to start the extensive doctor's journey all over again, and began working at San Antonio Memorial. After sharing his story, he was temporarily fired, and then rehired, this time as a new resident. Upon his hiring, Jordan (Jill Flint) uttered my favorite line ever uttered on this show: "We're getting the TC experience at Shannon prices". It was a perfect quip at a perfect time, and I would like to give whoever thought of that line a giant handshake.

In a way, Cain does seem like an echo of those that came before him. In addition to giving the hospital a new wave of the "TC experience", Mark's hazing war with Kenny (JR Lemon) reminded me of the short-lived prank war between Paul and Kenny back in season 1. Though some fans would find the repeat strange, I find the storyline a fun way to tie the show back to its roots. I'd missed the pranks as the show went forward, and I'm excited to see the Cain/Kenny dynamic continue. Cain is a great character, and I know that his tenure on this show will be great, too. Besides, San Antonio really deserves a bit of TC (Eoin Macken) in San Antonio while TC is all the way in Syria.

Halfway across the world, TC is able to find Syd (Jennifer Beals). With the help of former enemy Omar (Jaylen Moore), they're able to get back to a base to meet a chopper that would have taken them both back to America. Their arrival at the base made me able to breathe again. I was so happy that they'd be going home, that they'd be safe, and that they'd see their families again. In the end, however, Syd went back home, while TC stayed in Syria to help out where he could. All of the bumps and bruises for nothing. TC was staying. It's kind of disappointing, but it made sense for the character. TC's always had a bit of a hero complex, and I'm sure the continued Syria storyline will allow him to develop as a character. Besides, I do have a soft spot for Amira (Rana Roy). I wouldn't mind it at all if she stuck around, if she was TC's family away from his San Antonio family.

I know that in my last review, I said that I wanted a family bonding moment for the San Antonio family. This episode, I got one, but at the cost of my heart. The episode ended with a sweet scene of all of the ER doctors and nurses hanging out, eating breakfast in the morning light outside of their workplace. Drew told his daughter Brianna (Kyla Kenedy) that she can call him anytime at work. Meanwhile, Paul and Shannon (Tanaya Beatty) bantered and kissed, all the while Jordan walked by and told them to get a room. That was the kind of friendly interaction I want in every single episode. I would have been satisfied if it ended right there.

Instead, Jordan learned about a fatal car crash involving Topher (Ken Leung). With tears in her eyes, she broke the news to the staff members in the parking lot and a TC listening in through the phone. Jill Flint's acting, combined with the effects on her voice that portrayed the world's most depressing phone call, truly cut deep into my heart.

I was worried about how The Night Shift would handle Topher's departure. He was such an integral character. There would be no way to just quietly never mention him again, like they did with Landry (Daniella Alonso) in season 2, and Michael (Freddy Rodriguez), Krista (Jeananne Goossen), Joey (Adam Rodriguez), and Gwen (Merle Dandridge) in season 3. It's because The Night Shift, at its core, is about family. All the other characters were important, but Topher was the glue that held the family together, and he would never leave his family.  It's not the end the fans wanted. It's not the end that we hoped for. I thought they'd say that he found a new job, a better job somewhere. I thought maybe his wife would find a job out of the state, or maybe he could just switch to the day shift for the time being. It would be something about hours or seeing his family. But he was Topher, he was tenacious, and he was going to find a way back into the lives of his San Antonio family, somehow. Though I'll never totally agree with the decision, I have to acknowledge that killing him off made the most narrative sense (at least in comparison to all other exits).

At the end of the day, I don't think we'll ever really know what happened to the departed cast members, the departed family members. I hope that Landry got to take her mother and leave her toxic father. I hope Krista and Joey are finding love somewhere as they're saving lives, working for Doctors without Borders. I hope Gwen is killing it in law school and fighting for abuse victims whenever she can. I hope that Michael – oh Michael, how I miss you so – is becoming one kickass doctor and still being an amazing parent. I hope that Topher is in heaven, looking down on his work family, and wishing he was down there with them. There's a small part of me that hopes some of them will come back someday, that we'll get a throwaway line about how Gwen is doing great, or how they all wish it was Michael here instead of Julian. Darn it, there's even a small part of me that hopes Ken Leung will come back and Topher will inexplicably show up on the job in season 5, and no one will say anything about it. After all, there's no continuity in the words "night shift".

For all of its continuity issues, The Night Shift never truly disappoints. I'll probably be crying throughout all of next episode (and throughout the rest of the season), but between all the tears will be a viewer genuinely interested in what the characters do next.

What did you think of this week's episode of The Night Shift? How do you think Cain will fit into the family now as a doctor? What are your feelings on TC's continued stay in Syria? Share your answers in the comments below!