Tuesday, October 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Resident' - Cain Is Arrogant and Emboldened Even After Making a Reckless Mistake in 'Belief System'

FOX's The Resident - Episode 3.04 "Belief System"

When Devon's patient, who was pronounced dead, suddenly revives, Conrad is left doubting Devon's judgment and wondering what happened. A well-known white supremacist falls under the care of Cain and Nic, causing the two to butt heads on how to move forward. On their way to a medical convention, The Raptor and Mina get stuck in a strange town, where they uncover new information about Red Rock Medical.

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.

"Belief System" was written by Marqui Jackson and directed by Ti West

There are plenty of ways in which a hospital and the people who work there can be terrifying. It's commonplace for television shows to produce spooky stories around Halloween. This show actually wants to be a horror thriller for the hour. It just comes across as so different from what the show fundamentally is. It's startling to watch that sequence in which both Mina and Austin are tortured by these nightmares. It's ridiculously over-the-top as well. At the root of it all is a very serious and profound issue that is plaguing all of rural America at the moment. Health care is not accessible to everyone. In fact, it's mostly available to those who can pay for it and live in a condensed city. Rural communities are taken advantage of by the big conglomerates hoping to take advantage but then leave only devastation and despair in their wake. Again, this is all very relevant and powerful storytelling. Here though, the show presents it as a mere horror adventure that Austin and Mina go on when they get out of the city for a conference. It doesn't present as something that will have lasting and meaningful consequences. Austin tells the half dozen residents who still live there that they should sue Red Rock for the harsh chemicals and environment they have been exposed to as a result of their negligence. That should make Austin and Mina even more wary of the people who now own Chastain. And yet, that's an overwhelming feeling throughout the new world order this season. Cain operates as if the system is set up to protect his interests. He walks around with the confidence to do whatever he wants because he sees himself as too valuable an asset to be eliminated. Even when he makes a mistake, he doesn't have to deal with the consequences because he has enablers who will cover for him because of the value he brings. He forces them into compliance. That's a horrible way to conduct business. People should be held accountable for their actions. They should seek input from others to ensure that the best decisions are made at all times. Nic knew the sensible course of treatment would be to consult their patient's medical file to know fully what they were dealing with. Because they didn't do that before the surgery, Cain was doped. Of course, it's all wrapped up in a story where their patient is a white supremacist whose hatred has created a violent group of followers. But it also feels like nothing more than cheap thrills when Bell is confronted and threatened in his office. That doesn't present as something that elevates the story in any tangible way. It just ensures that he has a personal stake in the outcome of all of this. Because Cain moved quickly, he comes across as being the one responsible for the final outcome. He also believes that it is fully possible to remove hate from someone. It can never be seen as that easy. As such, the twist is a little inevitable. It is still tragic. But again, it feels way too blunt in the hopes of delivering some kind of strong message to the viewer. Sometimes being blunt and direct is vital. In this episode though, it just makes everything look silly. It also comes at the expense of a truly engaging disagreement between Conrad and Devon. It was horrifying when Conrad used his medical expertise to torture a patient for information. That's how this system can present as a horror thriller. It doesn't need to suddenly become something it isn't. It can have insight that way instead. It has to be seen as more than just a civil disagreement between colleagues as well. It's something Devon can't fundamentally tolerate. The ends don't justify the means in this case. Conrad crossed a major line and Devon lost all respect for him. That can't easily be restored. Conrad doesn't believe he did anything wrong. The show may still ask the viewer to have compassion for both sides of this debate. However, it's much more concise with Devon's point-of-view while struggling to present a way forward for Conrad. That may be unfortunate but the potential for growth is still present even with a ton of other stories happening at the moment too.