Tuesday, September 1, 2020

REVIEW: 'Transplant' - Bash Jumps Into Action After a Tragedy Occurs at His New Job in 'Pilot'

NBC's Transplant - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

When a tragic event takes place, Bashir Hamed, a Syrian refugee who was a doctor in his home country, can't help but use his training to save the wounded.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of NBC's Transplant.

"Pilot" was written by Joseph Kay and directed by Holly Dale

A Syrian refugee gets to be a hero. That is a powerful and visceral image. It happens in a world that is cruelly conditioned into seeing Middle Eastern bodies as nothing more than criminals and terrorists. Even when Bash is a hero here, he is still treated with suspicion. This is a very high octane premiere. It runs around a lot in the hopes that the intensity will captivate and lure in the viewer. It is a successful pattern. It may not translate into a cohesive series moving forward. This premiere is all about establishing Bash's credentials as a doctor who knows what he is doing. He has been taken in by Canada with the hopes of starting a new life with his brother and sister. People are grateful that he was there to treat their injuries in the immediate aftermath of this tragic incident. His priority is caring for his younger sister though. He is outwardly empathetic. He cares about what is happening to the people around him. That makes him a great doctor. It makes him a solid sibling too. He understands why his brother is terrified to go to the hospital to get his injuries treated. He doesn't want to be subjected to suspicion or have his concerns about pain be dismissed by people who don't know better. Bash treats these injuries. But he cares about what is happening with his sister. That is where his mind is at right now. He will risk his own health to ensure that she isn't abandoned in this world again. They come from a war torn country. They are grateful to be welcomed by Canada. It's still hard to build a new life. Bash was a doctor in Syria. And now, he has to accept working at a restaurant as the best he can do. His initial interview with Dr. Bishop didn't lead to him being hired at the hospital. That changes because of his actions in the field here. He knows exactly what needs to be done. He doesn't need tests or imaging to know the injuries that have been sustained. That may make him reckless. Practicing medicine in the field is drastically different than the business of life in a hospital. The doctors who treat the victims of this incident are a little too generic. They absolutely come out of the typical approach to this genre. They compete amongst themselves over who can get the best procedures. They desperately need to prove that their medical theories are correct. They fight against the idea that they missed something that should have been apparent earlier to them. They expect to deal with the consequences from their supervisors. And yet, information slips through the cracks. Magalie didn't know that her patient gave birth to the infant her adult daughter is carrying around. That information may have been passed along at some point. It just got lost in translation. People don't even know that Bash is the hero of the day. Some doctors believe that Bishop is the savior who treated these patients initially. He needed immediate medical help himself. He is alive because of Bash's quick actions. He did so with no hesitation and no need to be appreciated either. He just needs to know that Amira is safe. He doesn't want tragedy to define her birthday. He gives her a phone to strengthen their connection. He is constantly running around hoping to provide her with the clarity she needs. This family has been through a trauma already. They don't want to add to that now. Life may be looking up for them because Bash's talents are recognized here. Now, he'll have to figure out how to fit in with this hospital environment. It's a place where some people will still refuse to treat him with respect. It treats the xenophobia by the police officer in a way that acknowledges just how dangerous daily life can be for this family. It's revolutionary for Bash to take up space and be allowed to thrive as a hero. As a result, his journey to protect those he cares about even in the face of discrimination is what makes this premiere work. That gives this show a hook that allows it to be more than just another generic medical procedural. The episodes after this may not be as intense and action-driven. As such, more work needs to be done with the ensemble. And yet, this is a very promising premiere grounded with a lead character whose story is unique and compelling.