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The Night Shift - Resurgence - Review: "Battle Ready"


It's been a rollercoaster of a summer, Night Shift fans. In a short span of ten episodes, we had the death of a beloved main cast member, the suicide attempt of a prominent recurring storylines, and more drama. But, like a real life night shift, The Night Shift had to end eventually, it's just a question of whether it ended with a bang.

"Resurgence" saw the execution of the recently introduced "turn San Antonio Memorial into a school of combat medicine" storyline. At the beginning of the episode, we saw our main cast members lead a group of medics through a training simulation. The simulation is ended after Reagan (Missy Peregrym), a student of the school, makes a mistake. While Reagan is debriefed by instructors TC (Eoin Macken) and Drew (Brendan Fehr), Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.) and Shannon (Tanaya Beatty) deal with one of the simulation's actors (Holly Taylor), a girl who collapsed during the simulation.

Meanwhile, Scott (Scott Wolf) and Julian (James McDaniel) walk through the halls of San Antonio Memorial. Julian is not pleased with the gamble San Antonio Memorial is taking by establishing the school of combat medicine. Meanwhile, Scott is adamant that the school is not a major risk. Julian tries to shut the school down. However, a shooting occurs at a local university and several of The Night Shift's doctors and their new students rush off to help under the orders of Scott and contrary to the wishes of Julian.

The shooting plot is easily one of the most flimsy the school has done the entire season. Usually, with such a heavy topic, The Night Shift likes to spend time on exposition and fleshing out several characters coming from the plotline, whether they be a cause of an effect of the inciting event. However, the only reasoning we get for why the shooting takes place is because the school had hired a conservative commencement speaker, and people were angry. We never get to meet the commencement speaker and see why people were so angry. We only get to see a warzone on a college campus.

While on the campus, Jordan (Jill Flint), Amira (Rana Roy), and their student Boone (Wilmer Calderon) set up triage in a building while Drew, TC, and Reagan look for survivors, with the help of SWAT teams and the local police.

While tending to the injured, Jordan and Amira talk about their similar experiences and bond. It was nice seeing two strong female characters who have dated the same man have no animosity toward each other. They work well together, and they seem to be becoming friends. Things are all well at triage, until the two women venture out to save more people.

While out and about, they come upon a fallen police officer. While trying to save him, Jordan and Amira are approached by Bernadine (Kasha Kropinski), a woman dressed in police uniform. She seems to be a friend at first, until she shoots the fallen officer and turns her gun onto Jordan and Amira. Luckily, she is shot and subdued, and Jordan and Amira are berated over the fact that they ventured out of triage without a SWAT escort.

Jordan and Amira bring Bernadine back to their triage base of operations, where Bernadine screams and tries to argue with them. However, the only argument that occurs is between Amira, who believes (from her time at Syria) that Bernadine may not need to be saved, and Jordan, who believes (in accordance with the doctors' code of "do no harm") that it's their duty to save Bernadine. Despite Amira's initial reluctance, Bernadine is given medical care. Meanwhile, Boone notices that Drew, TC, and Reagan have not returned and go out looking for them, trying to get them back before the ambulances leave.

While trying to find injured civilians, Drew, TC, and Reagan stumble on wounded history teacher Wyatt (Aaron Fili). Unable to move him back to triage, Drew, TC, and Reagan move him into a building and operate on his wounded leg and nose. After some successful treatment, Wyatt complains of testicular pain. Examination by Drew and TC lead them to conclude that Wyatt has an internal injury that is cutting off the blood flow to his testicles, possibly compromising his ability of have children. The doctors tell Wyatt that they need to get him back to San Antonio asap.

Their plans are complicated as shooters posing as law enforcement on the other side of the door try to fool the doctors into trusting them. When the doctors realize the ruse, the shooters turn on them. Luckily, Boone arrives in the nick of time and helps the doctors take down their attackers.

Everyone is rushed back to San Antonio. As Bernadine is being treated, she screams and yells about American imperialism and the military industrial complex and how the system wouldn't listen to peace so she and her friends had to turn to violence. The debate between Jordan and Amira resurfaces, though it never really leads to a conflict. It's just a debate that allows them to segue into more conversation and start a real friendship. They confide in each other about their struggles and about TC. It's not the most interesting part of the episode, but it is extremely refreshing.

What was not refreshing was Bernadine as a character. Her screentime pretty much only composed of her attacking or yelling at Amira and Jordan. She seems like a Liberal SJW caricature talked about on Fox News. While her dialogue did had some factual basis to it, it was so unrealistic that I couldn't help to roll my eyes. I'm a seventeen year old girl with a active Tumblr account. If I'm rolling my eyes at this, you know it must be terrible. It was also pointless too. I thought that after the previous episode, The Night Shift would at least have something to say about people like Bernadine and their place in society, but nothing. At some point, it felt like her character was just shoehorned in to create drama and fill the time. In the end, however, she just became a nuisance whose only purpose was to get Jordan and Amira to talk to each other.

TC, Drew, and Reagan's patient Wyatt was better. Wyatt had told the doctors that he and his wife had been trying for a kid, trying to create a legacy while back at the college. After Wyatt comes out of the operation, Drew tells him that blood flow to his testicles was cut off for so long that he can never have children. Wyatt is upset, but then Drew assures him that he can adopt, and that he has created a legacy through his students. It's a nice speech, but it's one that seems a bit melodramatic given the nature of the episode. Wyatt was only in like, three scenes. We, as viewers, never got the chance to care for him. We didn't grow to like him. He was just forced on us, not unlike much of the drama that occurs within the world of The Night Shift.

The only patient that was given halfway adequate screentime was Paul and Shannon's young woman. While getting treated, the girl talks about how her passion is working with cars, but her parents want her to pursue academics. However, Shannon tells her that she is better off doing what she wants instead of appeasing her parents. After getting diagnosed with a slightly life-threatening heart condition, the girl decides to drop out of school and pursue her dream full-time. It was a nice story was a good message. In normal episode, this would have been a nice B- or C-plot. However, it was given the emotional gravitas of an A-plot in a finale that didn't deliver on the stakes its true A-plot (the shooting storyline) should have.

Instead of focusing on the medical drama for its season finale, The Night Shift focused on tying of each character's personal issues.

In a nice scene while waiting for their patient's MRI, Shannon and Paul discuss their futures. Shannon is unhappy with her place at San Antonio; she now has a strained relationship with the person that brought her here, Jordan, and she doesn't like the combat medicine direction the hospital is going in. She says that she is looking for places elsewhere. Paul feels like it is time to move on too, though he wants to go in the opposite direction, towards battles instead of away from them. Paul is one of my favorite characters on The Night Shift, and it was nice to see him develop from the queasy, scared Paul of the first season.

It was great to see Shannon and Paul be mature and discuss their situations, especially considering that they're the youngest doctors of the main cast and have every reason to be immature. It's extremely refreshing that they both know where they want to be after the TC "will he go, will he stay" drama that has been echoing ever since he got back from Syria.

After their discussion, Paul talks to TC and asks him for help finding a way out of the hospital. TC, again, is still trying to figure out whether to go or to stay. TC initially doesn't believe in Paul's abilities, but Paul reassures him that he is ready for bigger things. TC agrees to help Paul.

Meanwhile, Drew considers being a ranger. Reagan tells him about her experience being a ranger, how it was great but not worth giving it up. It makes him reconsider what he wanted, until Kenny's party comes around at the end of the episode, that is.

The newly engaged Kenny (Jr Lemon) and Bella (Erica Tazel) throw an engagement party. It was really nice to see everyone out of their hospital scrubs for once. The first thirty or so minutes of the episode felt like any other episode of the show. There was nothing that truly screamed "this is a finale" to me, and that made the episode seem rather lackluster. However, Jordan's toast at the engagement party finally deliver on the finale feeling.

As Jordan gives her speech, a montage plays of everyone in the coming months. Shannon is back on her reservation clinic for a few months, trying to figure out what she wants. There, she sees a shipment from the Cummings Medical group, and she smiles. Drew, after getting support from his husband during the party, is injured while at rangers school. Kenny is fully indoctrinated into the Cummings family as he walks
down the hall of San Antonio Memorial with Julian, wearing a suit and looking more like a businessman than a nurse. In a plot twist that I saw coming the moment Paul initiated a conversation with TC, Paul and Amira are in Syria, rescuing civilians from rubble. As the speech comes to a close, Jordan locks eyes with TC, talks about love connecting you whether you're right next to each other or a million miles away, and revives the TC/Jordan ship all the while giving a very beautiful toast for Kenny and Bella.

The episode ends some time later. TC arrives at San Antonio Memorial, telling Jordan and Scott that he is staying in San Antonio for now before they all drive off into the sunset.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think that this was a series finale. After all, everyone got some loose ends tied up. We got acknowledgement of the previously thought super dead TC/Jordan ship. Everyone but Drew got a happy ending. The Night Shift's other season finales had stakes, they had hospital closures and staff firings and staff walkouts. This is quiet and unsure. There is enough leeway left for a renewal, but just enough loose ends tied up for many fans to be satisfied.

I understand why they did it this way. The Night Shift's ratings, while still pretty good, aren't as strong as they used to be. Additionally, the show is owned by Sony, and not NBC, which means that NBC profits less from a good episode of The Night Shift than from a "meh" episode of anything that it outright owns.

I just wish that they would have gone out with a bang. Give me a finale that gives me real danger, like season one's hospital shooting. Give me a finale that isn't wishy-washy. Damn it, give me a finale that ties up some real loose ends instead of just giving us some easily workable endings. What happened to Annie? What happened to Cain? We were given cliffhangers and promises of emotional payoff, and then nothing.

If "Resurgence" was placed in the middle of the season, I'd call it a nice episode with uninteresting medical drama but really good character development. But for a finale? It's lackluster. It's mediocre. It's a filler episode with some finale scenes tacked on at the end. It's not the best The Night Shift has done, and it's not something that makes a casual watcher want to tune in for the next season.

Despite my apathy towards the finale, I firmly believe that The Night Shift deserves a season five. The other episodes of the season were good, and there are still things to be tied up and stories to tell. I want to see what happens with the school for combat medicine. Hopefully, that will give way to some good action not unlike some of the scenes at the college. Though the shooting plotline didn't deliver, the scenes were well-acted, and the action-y and suspenseful music that played while the cast was at the college was perfect. It established the setting well. Some of the instrumental movements even reminded me of Agents of Shield's score, and that's a compliment, because I love their score. The Night Shift has a lot of potential across multiple departments, and I'd hate to see it go to waste.

What did you think of this week's The Night Shift? How do you feel about where each character ended up? Are you hoping for a renewal? Share your answers in the comments below!

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