Monday, January 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Resident' - A Quarantine Puts the Pressure on Conrad and Nic's Relationship in 'Fear Finds a Way'

FOX's The Resident - Episode 2.12 "Fear Finds a Way"

When a nasty flu season turns out to be masking a terribly infectious disease, Chastain must race to quarantine and diagnose infected patients. While Conrad, Nic and Alec work tirelessly on Meg, who was Nic's favorite guard from her stint in prison, Devon treats Sam, a lovesick patient. Mina tests Quovadis medical devices in an effort to defend Austin, who is serving penance by staying away from the OR. Conrad is prepared to take the next step with Nic, but finds that she may not be as ready.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's The Resident.

"Fear Finds a Way" was written by Todd Harthan & Michael Notarile and directed by Bronwen Hughes

Every medical procedural eventually tells a story where the hospital is forced into a quarantine because some infectious and lethal disease has been discovered in one of the patients. It's a stock trope for this specific genre. There is also the expected plot beat of someone deciding to put their own life on the line because they can't just watch their patient deteriorate while they have to put on the full hazmat suit. As such, The Resident hits every single expected plot point of this kind of story. That can make it very lame and unimaginative. It's the same way dozens of medical procedurals have handled stories like this. There really isn't anything new added to the proceedings. That's very disappointing. Sure, it's surprising that Nic is the one who ultimately breaks the quarantine in order to save the patient. She does so because she has a personal connection to Meg. Dot-Marie Jones returns as the one prison guard Nic actually liked during her brief stint there. It's a welcome callback while also getting to employ a really great actor once more. But it's also the show suggesting that there is a shift in the relationship dynamic between Conrad and Nic. Up to this point, Conrad has been the troubled hero who needs fixing. He's the one with complicated personal relationships and an inability to properly express himself. And now, the show is essentially saying that all of his problems have been fixed. That's not true in the slightest. However, it makes for a compelling and convenient transition here where he is calling out Nic for not having an honest conversation with him. Sure, he is still a dick for how he goes about all of this. He thought they were ready to move in together without talking about it first with her. He just surprised her with an apartment they could barely afford together. All of this also ties into the sudden addition of Alec as someone who also presents as a rule-breaking doctor Nic is choosing to work closely with. The tension is certainly there that something more could eventually happen between them. But again, all of this is built around the idea that now Nic has become the person who refuses to talk about how she's feeling and puts himself in harm's way for selfish reasons. She believes she is justified in order to save Meg's life. In the end, the hospital is able to save everyone. That's a welcome development that doesn't always happen in this storyline. But it also feels like a bunch of ideas connected together in the hopes that something more compelling would take place. The show has the aspiration of making this an actual investigation where the doctors are trying to track down who first contracted this disease and how far it has spread in the hospital. Bell wants to transfer the two patients to a hospital that is better equipped and prepared for mysterious diseases like this. He doesn't want the fear of an outbreak to scare away the patients that are already coming into the hospital with flu symptoms. In the end though, that mostly feels like a selfish interest considering the main doctors are able to solve this before the helicopter arrives for the transfer. Elsewhere, Austin finally gets to confront his mentor about the bad advice given to him about Quovadis and the need for him to learn humility. Sure, Mina testing the heart valves to see if they would crack under the pressure just to exonerate Austin feels like it could further tease their own sexual tension. However, it still feels rewarding when Austin does get that victory. Hopefully, that means this loss of confidence was really brief.