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The Resident - Comrades in Arms & Identity Crisis - Double Review: "Victory?"

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What would your price tag say? How much money is an actual human life actually worth? How much would yours be? That’s what last week’s episode of “The Resident” tries to debate, and it did a darn good job at it. With each episode, we continue to get pulled into the not so glamourous facets of the US healthcare system, within an hour of television which, last week, included a lot of fist pumping. “The Resident” continues to entertain as the characters continue to grow on you, all of them in their own way. The medical interventions seem real, and the storyline realist. There isn’t too much fluff, not too much extraordinary cases. This show doses its different aspects quite beautifully, making me want to come back every week for more.

“Welcome to American Healthcare 101.” - Mina

The backbone of “Comrades in Arms” was surrounded around a hospital employee who didn’t have insurance to cover her medical tests. As the episode progresses, we also learn that she is an illegal immigrant. The Resident’s third episode touched two pretty hot topics in the US right now: insurance and immigrants. I have to wonder how the right wing advocates felt as they watched the episode. Was there someone watching that was actually siding with the administration? Is it possible for television to really influence the bigger picture somehow? Anyhow, I’m not going political right now.

Luisa is their most popular transport worker. She’s 22 and studying to become a doctor. She’s hard working, having volunteered at Chastain all through high school. The show did everything in its power to demonstrate that she’s paid her dues, that she isn’t leeching onto the system. She’s an upstanding member of society, but she wasn’t born in the US and that’s the problem. She was brought to the states as a young child, without papers, in hopes of securing a better life for her. It’s her home though, the only country she’s known, but rules are rules. And now, ICE is after her.

Profits before patients seems to be the new healthcare mantra, after Barb, the hospital’s financial advisor presents the residents and the nurses with C.U.T.E. The strategy is to charge more per procedure, to up-code their interventions. In other words, she’s making already overworked staff loose even more time on trivialities, and that’s probably accurate on how hospitals are actually run. It’s pretty sad to think about how broken that system is.

After diagnosing Luisa with an aggressive cancer that is wrapped around a lot of major organs, a decision must be made. To save or not to save. Barb, thinking only of the bottom line, declares the hospital not to be a charity and stops all treatment. Upon learning of this, the CEO then tries to auction off the girl to a nearby hospital. In that moment, you could really see how much healthcare really is a business. It doesn’t matter that they’re holding someone’s life, someone’s future in their hands. The bottom line is what’s important and Luisa could potentially cost them 2 million dollars. And I get it, the money does have to come from somewhere, but that’s what happens when you privatize everything. And that’s a criticism on society, not on hospital administration.

“That’s why I’m here. To help whoever walks through those doors and can’t help themselves. It doesn’t matter if they eat lobster or roadkill. I take care of them.” –Conrad

Conrad, Devon and Nic do their best to save Luisa despite all the hoops they have to jump through in order to secure her medical interventions. Hunter’s foundation would not pay the bills of a patient who isn’t a US resident. The several oncologists on staff would not perform the surgery, so they needed another alternative. That’s where Mina comes in. The surgery would be 7 to 8 hours, and Mina thinks she can do it. It doesn’t take much to convince Dr. Silvo to sign off on the surgery. The surgery is successful, but Luisa’s rehab markers seem to say she will end up costing the hospital upwards of two million dollars.

The money that will be needed for Luisa’s care will come out of the internal medicine and ER budget, meaning everyone will be overworked. I have to wonder what makes Conrad so special? He gets out of the mandatory meeting, and he doesn’t get fired for costing the hospital two million dollars. Is there something there, or am I simply overthinking this?

In this week’s episode, the budget cuts could be felt. It’s utter chaos in the ER. The staff was cut in half. The experienced nurse had to be let go because of monetary reasons, so there is a new triage nurse. She’s in way over her head and shows you just how crucial that job is. When a bus accident rolls in, it’s sink or swim, and she sinks. Multiple patients get wheeled in and bedlam ensues. It just comes to show how easy it is to kill someone in a hospital. Small mistakes have disastrous consequences. On a side note, what is the problem with nurses and their inappropriate moments to take pictures? It happened in the opening scene of the pilot, and again in the opening scene of “Identity Crisis.” Get a grip guys.

A young man walks into the ER, following a head injury on his skateboard and when she puts him in basic, he dies, without the proper care. Conrad, once again takes it hard, but is reminded that people make mistakes. He is reminded that he too made one in his beginnings, and he has to live with the fact that he caused the death of a 5 year old girl, just like the nurse will have to live with the fact that she was responsible for Eric’s death.

Jude stating that Conrad is taking everything too hard was on point, but that’s what we like about him, right? It’s been what we have learned about him in the past few epsiodes, but Jude is right though, Conrad is going to burn out if he continues . He’s not supposed to take everything so personally. That’s where you could see the divergence between Jude and Conrad, they break the rules, but their intentions couldn’t be more different. It’s been demonstrated that Dr. Silvo wants to break the rules because he wants to stick his middle finger to system, he needs that rush. Conrad on the other hand, wants to help the patient, no matter who that person is, no matter what it takes.

“We do the best we can, as often as we can, but we can’t save everyone.” –Dr. Hunter

Another patient in last week’s episode was the random drunk guy from the Doctors against Cancer Bike Race who fractured his tibia. Jude and Conrad worked together in and warzone type of intervention. Once back at Chastain, they run blood panels and discover Hank has acute hepatitis, meaning his oversolicitated liver was temporarily paralysed. He needs to stop drinking. That’s the diagnosis. The difference between Conrad and Jude was further painted there. Jude is a cynic while Conrad believes in people. By the end of the episode, Jude is the one proven right as their patient is seen at the bar, drinking beers. People don’t change. I feel like I’ve heard that one before.

In the high paced scene that starts off the episode, the dynamic between Conrad and Jude is painted. They’re competitive, and they like to win, but by the end of the race we could see they’re satisfied winning together, one of them doesn’t need to be the best. I loved that about them, but as the episode prolonged, we got to see a part of their friendship that is not so great in my opinion. As soon as Jude learns Conrad isn’t “Nic’s boy” anymore, he asks her out. Literally, it was a second later. Bro-code, dude? What the F? Even after his bud tells him she’s worth fighting for, he still wants to go for it. What kind of bro-code is that, that he can go after the woman his friend wants to fight for? I enjoyed "Comrade in Arms," I really did, but what I disliked was the obvious attempt at a love triangle. Do we really need one of those? I vote no.

“Surgery is underway. Sterile environment, you cannot enter under any circumstance. No one can.” –Nic

Once again, “The Resident” painted Nic as pretty badass, which she definitely is. She’s an awesome character, and I get why the guys would be fighting about for her. She’s simple, efficient and damn good at her job. Since the beginning, she seems to play the other characters’ (mainly Conrad’s) conscience. She’s extremely protective and cares for her friends, and for her patients. In “Comrade in Arms,” She secures Luisa’s surgery and has Barb fired, while saving the hospital from a lawsuit and saving a man’s metallic penis. I mean, that’s a pretty great feat for a 40 minute episode.

In this week’s episode, Nic is on the hunt for some answers surrounding Lily. The nurse is still suspicious of Dr. Hunter, and is worried about the patient and her deteriorating health. When Nic spots Lily is in the hospital to pick up a prescription who doesn’t look so well, she immediately offers to check her vitals but Lily refuses, saying she will go to Hunters clinic if need be. By the end of “Comrade in Arms,” Lily is back in the ER, making Nic even more suspicious of what happens at the oncologist’s clinic.

We then get to see Nic, on the hunt for some answers. She seems to be alone in this fight against Georgia’s best oncologist, the only one to see through. She tries to get the medical files sent over from the clinic, and while Lane seems to be helpful, the files never arrive. Nic takes it on herself to go get the files directly at the clinic. We get a glimpse of the clinic, and from a bystander point of view, there seemed to be nothing inherently bad about the place, but I ain’t no doctor. For a moment, I thought maybe Conrad was right, and that nothing suspicious is happening. Later, we got to witness an exchange between Nic and her old friend from nursing school. At that moment, we could really feel the unease. Something fishy is definitely going on there, and from Nic’s facial expression, she will stop at nothing to discover what exactly that is. Red sharpie anyone?

In “Identity Crisis,” the team had to save half of the couple of elderly people who found each other later in life. Dr. Bell is the one to do the surgery on the woman with gallbladder cancer, without Mina, who’s attitude needs to be put in check. I agree with the attending’s observation. I’m all for strong, but when you think you have nothing to learn from your seniors that’s where I draw the line. This week’s episode definitely did not make me root for Mina. I wish she would take it down a notch.

Bell is now on some new medication for his tremor, and for the time being, it seems to be working quite well. As mentioned in the previous episode though, this medication also comes with aggression and cognitive impairment, that can’t be good. The end of the episode really demonstrated how good he was, once upon a time. Bell hasn’t gotten to where he is by luck; he was good at his job. He was calm and collected, and really good under pressure. It was great to see that he isn’t all bad. That’s something that is great about this show no character is one sided. No character is either good or evil. They do the best they can.

There is one character who’s inherently good. After deciding he wanted to form an Acapella group with the medical staff in order to serenade the patients in a group named “Say Ah,” this week, Irving performs a wedding filled with airplane puns. He’s a more erased character, but he’s the shows comedic relief and he’s pretty darn endearing.

“I’m counting on you.” - Conrad

The chaos in the ER cause Conrad and Devon to initially give the death notice to the wrong parent. Conrad spends the remainder of the episode trying to discover the identity of their deceased John Doe. Not wanting anything more to happen on the unexperienced nurses shift, Conrad stays down to take over triage. He gives Devon the responsibility of making sure all the patients have been properly diagnosed, and that was a big step for them. He trusts him. They’ve come a long way from the first time they met. Devon showed he had what it takes. He got Medicaid to sign off on an expensive, experimental procedure. He didn’t give up, despite being put on hold, being hung up on. After 4 hours, he finally managed to secure the surgery for Shirley. Then, when the honeymooners wanted to leave, he set them up with a nice wedding right at the hospital. “Identity Crisis” did a great job at showing us that Devon can stand on his own.

What did you think of the past two episodes? Victory, or not?

On another note, sorry this has taken so long. It’s been a horrid two weeks. ;)

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