If you have not watched The Resident 2×13 “Virtually Impossible”, then you definitely need to drop whatever you are doing, and watch one of the best episodes that this show has graced us with.
This show truly gets better and better due to one key thing: character investment. We are absolutely 100% in love with these characters. Throughout season one, we fell in love with Conrad and then Nic. And we fell in love with their love and respect for one another. When we thought that we couldn’t love a cold-hearted Mina or a cocky, arrogant new resident doctor, Devon Pravesh – we fell in love with them, too. They gave us the abrasive, yet quirky, AJ Austin, and with time we realized that we adored his passion and unique outlook on life.
This episode may have even made me respect Dr. Randolph Bell just a (tiny) bit, but yes, The Resident can even make you love a character like Dr. Bell, or at least have an understanding of him. In this episode, we wanted to hold our beloved Chastain team. We rejoiced in their surgical win. And we truly smiled a big Conrad-like grin when everyone seemed to end up on the same side for once. But the theme of this episode was the great unknown, and we held our breath with these characters the whole way through.
The Surgical Unknown
Dr. Kitt Voss’s (Jane Leeves) patient Eloise (Chelsea Kurtz) is in need of a double lung transplant because of cystic fibrosis. Dr. Voss tells Conrad early on that Eloise is special to her, because she is a devoted medical student. After determining that Eloise is no longer eligible for the transplant due to liver failure and elevated sugar levels, Conrad and Kitt reveal to Eloise that there is another way: a liver, pancreas and lung transplant.
Eloise and her parents decide to go through with the transplant, as Eloise would only have a few weeks to live without the surgery. The surgery has only been successfully completed once before in Canada, and the surgeons will need approval from the ethics board to go through with it.
Eloise’s character seemed familiar to me and with an online search, I realized that her character was reminiscent of a real-life cystic fibrosis warrior, Claire Wineland, who graced the internet with her story and survival while battling cystic fibrosis through videos, stories, and positive messages of living life the best way we can. Claire sadly passed away in September, but left her mark as an activist and author in the cystic fibrosis community.
The character of Eloise, too, wanted to share her medical procedures and the risky surgery with medical students and other cystic fibrosis patients as an educational tool. I love that this show uses real-life inspiration for their characters and sheds the light on real circumstances of patients and medical personnel.
Dr. Voss asks Conrad what doctor would be crazy enough to chance this surgery, and with a comically executed scene change, viewers are shown the infinite ‘Raptor’ dutifully accepting the challenge and announcing that the “quarterback is coming off the bench”. Unfortunately, Dr. Austin has recently been sidelined once again by Bell after he was confronted with Mina’s findings about the defective QuoVadis heart valves. Bell tells AJ to “lay low” and to halt performing high-risk surgeries until Bell can look into the valves further.
Dr. Voss and Conrad appeal to the ethics committee by appealing to Bell’s’ inner surgeon. Dr. Voss narrates a moment in medical times, when there was a surgeon who would’ve performed any challenging surgery in Atlanta that came his way just to save a patient. She further shares that the Dr. Bell from another time would’ve jumped on the chance to advance science and to make history. And because clearly Dr. Voss knows Bell and knows how to appeal to his inner arrogance, Bell eats this up and agrees to the surgery.
And what a surgery it is. After complications with the donor lungs, Eloise’s parents volunteer to each donate a lobe of their lungs to Eloise. Eloise’s mother suffers complications, but ultimately, the surgery is successful and Eloise breathes through healthy lungs for the first time.
This scene was mesmerizing to watch, and not for the surgical chaos that is was. And not for the livestream video that was being streamed to Eloise’s fellow med students at her request. It was beautiful to watch this epic tag team surgery of awesome surgeons. Mina, AJ, and Bell relying on and trusting one another. Conrad supporting Kitt, as she held her breath watching her beloved patient undergoing an intense and very risky surgery. This, hands down, was probably one of the most emotional and most well-done scene involving our doctors yet.
Viewers continued to struggle emotionally when Eloise takes her breath from healthy lungs donated lovingly from her parents, and she declares that it feels like she was born again. Sob. And further sob when her mother squeezes her hand despite being on a breathing tube after her surgery complication. This show. My god, the feelings.
While the team is focused on Eloise and her high-risk procedure, Nic is focused on her high-risk sister, Jessie (Julianna Guill). Nic has arranged for a job interview as a paralegal for Jessie. Nic does all of Jessie’s homework for her. She researches the job and the firm’s cases. Jessie seems anxious, but Nic passes it off as nerves due to the interview. When Jessie shows up at the hospital in a new outfit and having already missed the bus, Conrad and Mina know something is going on with her. Nic gives Jessie twenty dollars to catch a cab and wishes her luck ignoring the obvious signs of Jessie’s changing moods.
When Conrad tries to question whether or not Jessie should be tested, Nic snaps at him and explains that they are in a really good place.
Nic tries to text Jessie later for an update, but runs into parents of a high school friend of Jessie’s. When she asks about their daughter, they bring her to the room of a woman on a ventilator. Their daughter is the organ donor for Eloise. Nic is then subjected to a tale of a very familiar story.
The parents talk about how their daughter has been addicted to opioids since high school. She was prescribed oxycodone for an athletic injury and the addiction spawned from there. The mother said she thought she was back on track but the father shamefully admits that he saw the signs: lack of appetite, mood swings etc. When the mother asks why he didn’t say anything to her, he admits that he didn’t want to see it.
If the Chastain team wins the award for best scene this episode, Emily VanCamp wins best solo performance hands down. She can portray so much emotion with her facial expressions alone. Her face in that scene alone said so much without her even uttering a single word. You knew her thoughts. You felt her emotions and you knew that Nic Nevins was getting in a vehicle to find her sister. Because she knew in that moment, she just didn’t want to admit that Jessie was using again.
After returning home and ultimately finding pills in Jessie’s purse, Nic tells her that she is going back to rehab. Jessie refuses and Nic painfully tells her to leave. I cannot tell you enough how beautifully executed this scene was. VanCamp and Guill portrayed this familial bond fighting through addiction so well. As Nic closes the door, Jessie is left crying over a pile of pills on the floor and Nic is left sobbing over her steering wheel as she finally has to cut the cord and let her sister hit rock bottom before she will accept help. Their performances were outstanding.
Search and Rescue
Hikers locate Julian’s car at the beginning of the episode. Police recover the vehicle from the bottom of the lake and identify the vehicle’s owner as Julian Booth. When they go to open the vehicle, there is no body.
They indicate that a search and rescue team will attempt to recover the body from the lake. This new information is broadcasted all over the news and is seen by the doctors of Chastain, including Mina and Conrad. Conrad dutifully calls Devon to let him know. Devon, who has returned to his empty and Priya-less apartment is awoken to his cell phone ringing. After Conrad break the news, Devon shows up at Julian’s apartment and convinces her landlord that he is actually there to take Julian’s abandoned cat. After getting caught going through Julian’s mail by the landlord, Devon takes her cat and her phone bill. He later discovers that Julian’s last phone call was placed to the FDA.
He goes to Conrad and Nic with his newfound discoveries. Just last season it was Nic who was investigating the felonious wrongdoings of Lane Hunter. She became invested and almost got taken down for looking into Lane’s murderous poisoning of patients. Will Devon be the next target for looking too closely? It does appear that way.
Yet, once again viewers are left with a big question: Where is Julian?
Toe to Toe
When Bell is confronted with the information of Dr. Benedict’s payout from QuoVadis by Mina and AJ, they reveal their source of the information: a website called “Dollars For Docs”. And as soon as Mina and AJ have left the room, Bell confirms what he already knows; that he is also a doctor tied monetarily to QuoVadis. Bell schedules a meeting with Gordon Page (Michael Weston).
Whether he likes it or not, Bell trusts Mina, and he believes in the skill level of AJ Austin. So when he is presented with the evidence that Mina has researched the downfall of these heart valves, Bell knows that this is bad news. He asks Page about the valves and questions whether or not they should be pulled until they are further researched. Page puffs up his chest and tells Bell that when he asked him for money, Page didn’t hesitate to give him money, put him on his board, and only ask for loyalty in return. Page threatens Bell and informs him that he is disappointed that he would even dare inform Page on how to run his company, and says if Bell pulls the valves, there will be consequences.
Nic had to send her sister into an unknown spiral of addiction. Devon still faces perplexing question of the unknown whereabouts of Julian. Eloise took a leap of faith and without knowing what the outcome of her surgery would be, she took a chance on life. And like all of these characters taking giant steps forward into the unknown circumstances that lay ahead, Dr. Randolph Bell took a chance and did the right thing. He pulled the QuoVadis heart valves from Chastain after working with this colleagues and getting a little taste again of the surgeon he once was.
Hopefully he doesn’t face these threatened consequences.
- AJ and Mina strolled into Bell’s office like a power couple once again.
- Gordon Page’s character is almost a little too creepy villainous now. His staring out the window spouting out threats was a little intense.
- I love every episode with Dr. Kitt Voss in it. I feel like she always adds something to the episode.
- “Looks like I’m going to need more oxygen for this. I don’t like the look on your faces.” I love Eloise’s spirit. And sass.
- And this episode was a great follow up to the last one with Nic and Conrad’s extremely depressing talk. This Conrad is why Nic is not ready to be surprised with a new apartment. She is emotionally drained by her sister’s addiction.
- “If you die, I won’t feel guilty… I gave you every chance.” Oh, this scene. Heart wrenching.
- Devon’s going to take the fall for Julian’s disappearance. Page knew what he was doing here.
- I have lovingly named Dr. Nolan (Michael Hogan), the attending trauma surgeon, Dr. Douche. Because every time he opens his mouth, I yell: “Douche”.
- Mina expected arrogance after the surgery, but AJ surprises her and says he’s recently dined on “humble pie” and doesn’t plan on changing. Did you see her surprise? Intrigue? Did you see the way they looked at one another? Oh, when these two end up together, it will be EPIC.
- I love how Devon turned to Conrad and Nic. They are a team. They are family. Conrad will stick by him.
- Oh, Jessie. I hope you survive this. This will break Nic beyond repair.
The Resident airs on Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.