Tuesday, April 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Resident' - Devon and Leela Perform an Improvised Surgery Following a Devastating Tornado in 'After the Storm'

FOX's The Resident - Episode 4.11 "After the Storm"

When a tornado touches down in Atlanta with Chastain directly in its path, the entire staff goes into crisis mode. Conrad and Nic work on an injured EMT. Devon and Leela become trapped with a man who has severe head trauma, causing them to operate with limited medical supplies. Bell pulls AJ and Jake onto a case involving a young cancer patient in need of a very risky surgery. Cain gets assigned a new resident.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 next episode of FOX's The Resident.

"After the Storm" was written by Peter Elkoff & Eric I. Lu and directed by Pablo Gómez Castro

Kitt, Cain and Billie look out a window and see a tornado coming directly for Chastain. It's a visceral image that propels the episode straight into its key dramatic premise. This is a disaster episode where the characters are pushed to their limits at their jobs. An ambulance crashes through the door to the emergency room. Parts of the building collapse. None of the main characters suffer significant injuries. Sure, broken glass cuts Conrad's shoulder. Nic says it's more serious than he lets on. It's not enough to significantly delay any medical progress that happens elsewhere in the hour. The priority remains on trying to save a paramedic trapped under debris. Conrad, Nic and Kitt rally to save this life. They have to amputate one of her legs. It's a dire situation where that doesn't immediately fix all of her internal problems. Surgery is still required. She still dies from her injuries on the operating table. It's a tragic story. One where these doctors fought to save the life of a person they interact with every shift. They fail. They pass along that grief. They empathize and hope to have the right words of wisdom. It's still a heartbreaking loss. It affirms just how traumatic this job can be. By the end of it, Nic is fully willing to listen to Conrad's advice about taking a break now instead of working until she gives birth. The hospital needs trained doctors and nurses to save as many lives as possible. However, Nic has to focus on her well-being as well. She extends compassion to those who need it. Conrad loves that about her. It has its toil on her in this profession. Right now, she has to adjust to her changing life elsewhere. Conrad understands that and accepts it fully. He is a proud supporter of the actions taken to protect their expanding family. The drama remains centered on the chaos at the hospital though. That is still the foundation of the show. And yes, this episode is off a little bit in featuring unbearable emergencies as a result of the tornado mixed with cutting edge procedures that could happen in any other episode of the series. It's still engaging to see Bell, AJ and Jake operate together. Sure, it's the one story where it is clearly outlining some future direction for the overall narrative. It's a welcome and winning development though. The story highlights the high burden of life-saving treatment. The doctors rally around Sammy. They will do the impossible to save her life instead of condemning her to death with an inoperable tumor. Her story may still end in tragedy. Her adoptive parents were hoping for a magical fix that would cure everything instantly. That's not what occurs. They aren't prepared for that. They don't want their daughter to die. That's as far as their connection is capable of going. They operate from a place of luxury while Jake and Greg would love to adopt but face state laws that still allow discrimination against them. Jake bonds with this young girl in a moving and significant way that may show him stepping up as a parent in an unexpected way. That seems inevitable. And yet, it is well executed. Sometimes, that's all it takes to lure the viewer into every moment of action. The investment is necessary. The stakes have to be high. The situations can be formulaic and familiar. However, they can still produce an entertaining story. Devon and Leela are trapped in a room in the hospital without the proper tools to save a man whose skull has been impaled. They have to improvise a surgery. Cain gives them direction on the basic tenants of what must be done. It's up to them to save this life. They are committed to the endeavor. They support each other as well. That's actually a crucial development because the show is essentially setting them up as a new romantic pairing. It has been so forced and obvious in the previous episodes Leela has been in. Here, it actually works. That comes from propping up their skills as surgeons as well as the respect they have for each other in this profession. The show lost Mina in the previous episode. Now, it wants to reassure the audience that her absence won't derail the narrative's momentum. In fact, several recurring faces from the season get to occupy space in this episode that provides value to their continued presence in this world. Billie and Leela haven't exactly had that luxury before. Jake has been a priority for the season. Seeing them hanging out casually with the other series regulars provides banter and a relaxed quality that signals bright futures ahead for all of them. They won't necessarily be defined by one dynamic with one other character. This introduces them to potentially several layered relationships. That's needed for any character worth investing in. This episode helps everyone step up in that ordeal while telling an engaging story along the way. It appears the season has now bounced back after some middling episodes by refocusing on what works with these characters both old and new. Hopefully, that trajectory continues for the home stretch of the season.