Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Second Chances” | Aired June 3, 2014
It’s been two weeks since Jordan took over the night shift, and while things are under control, it’s still not smooth sailing between Ragosa and TC. Overall, however, it feels as if those on the shift are working as a cohesive unit, exactly as Jordan predicted. “Second Chances” reminds us that we should never regret a minute of the time we get and to always keep moving forward.
Once again, the entire hour takes place over the course of one shift. It’s not only patients who appear feverish, as the pacing takes some getting used to. Covering 12 hours in 42 minutes (or so) means you’re not going to get the meat of the stories delivered to you on a silver platter. You’ll have to work at putting together all of the pieces that will fully flesh out the characters and their backstories while they work through the crazy cases that come through San Antonio Memorial.
The night shift starts at 7 p.m., but the gang is already hanging together in their rooftop oasis. Five minutes before the action, a nurse rallies the troops, and we get a look at how they’re preparing for another busy night. Drew is sparring and showing off his athletic prowess. Krista gets in just before the bell rings and kicks his partner in the stomach, proving she, too, is ready for a fight. Topher is lounging alongside his buddy, TC, who is (thank you, God) relaxing in a kiddie pool.
Of course Jordan asks if he’ll use any excuse to take his shirt off, and he reminds her of a time she used to look for any excuse for him to take his shirt off. Touché! Female viewers are just happy to be here. Clap your hands for a show that caters to its audience!
The Night Shift make San Antonio feel small and quaint. Although I’ve visited, I don’t have a lot of experience outside the city center, so I don’t know how true that statement is. But when a deputy, Nick, is gunned down, he also happens to have been in combat with TC and his brother, Thad. Thad was killed while they looked for Nick’s shooters. TC had Thad’s heart directly donated to Nick; in a way, that kept Thad alive for TC long after his death.
TC needs to do whatever he can to save Nick, which includes going over Ragosa’s head to call in the woman who performed Nick’s initial surgery, Dr. Flannery Mills (Katherine LaNasa). Ragosa is a closer. If you need something done, whether it’s calling the state police to expedite a background check or trying to get a woman out of an ambulance when she refuses to budge, Ragosa’s your guy. He’s the guy we want to hate, but just can’t.
Flannery isn’t authorized to work at Memorial, and Ragosa pitches a fit. He’s not an unreasonable man — just uninformed. When he discovers the story behind the victim and that Flannery performed the transplant, Ragosa is stunned. “I didn’t know that. It would have been good to know that,” he tells Topher. No kidding.
There’s a brain-dead junkie/jumper who is a match for Nick, and TC takes it upon himself to start prepping the kid for surgery. If his parents directly donate, Nick can be saved again. It won’t save Thad’s heart, but it would still be a win.
It becomes an agonizing waiting game that turns into a miracle for one family and hell for another. When the jumper, or “William,” as Topher reminds TC, is removed from life support, he starts breathing on his own. He needs surgery, and TC and Topher are the ones to perform it. I couldn’t have been the only person who had a stray thought that TC might go off the deep end and fudge the surgery to secure the heart. TC’s a wildcard, but he’s a good doctor. He won’t do anything to jeopardize a patient, even if it means saving the only piece left of his brother.
The only hope for Nick is that Flannery can work a second miracle. She can’t. We’re spared the words to his family, but not the flood of pain that washes over TC. He’s tough and does his best to hide his feelings, but his first stop after the shift is Thad’s grave. He just lost a friend and the last piece of his brother in one night. It even takes a toll on Eoin Macken, who plays TC. No, really, take a look (if you’re watching and not following along on Twitter, you’re missing out):
I need somebody to hold me during this episode, preferably after they’ve showered but I won’t be picky #NightShift
— Eoin Macken (@eoincmacken) June 4, 2014
That’s not the only case, of course, although it is the most personal. The case of the bearded Nazi is shocking. Being in an accident isn’t the worst thing that can happen on your wedding day. That award would go to the wedding party shaving your husband’s beard off to reveal a face full of Nazi tattoos. Don’t say that what you do as a teen can’t come back to haunt you or that tattoos will express your feelings for as long as you bear them, because that could come back and bite you in the butt.
Equally bizarre is a case Drew and Landry are working on, involving a boy who appears to be abused. While Landry tries to determine the root of the abuse, the 12-year-old boy goes to sleep and awakes with the personality of a girl. It’s not a question of gender identity; he has multiple personality disorder.
Drew and Landry question the boy’s mother, but it’s revealed that she, too, is being abused — by her son. Landry uses his mother’s potential arrest to instigate a personality change, and the kid is enraged, throwing himself against the wall and trying to attack everyone in the room. Ragosa talks to child services and closes another case; the boy can get treatment and the mother will not be charged for withholding information that could have helped him sooner for fear he might be taken away.
Landry has several run-ins with Ragosa and sees in him what we do too — he’s a decent guy with something chipping away at him. She offers her services as a therapist and, although initially hesitant, he decides to talk with her. Not only is he going blind, as we learned last week, but his wife left him three months ago and took his kids. They sneak into rooms away from her to call their daddy. It’s always best to have as much information as possible about someone before making a judgment call.
Ragosa is under so much pressure, and yet still works through it at the hospital. TC is the same way, especially tonight, as he has to deal with so much loss. I’m betting the two will find some common ground and might even become friends. Have you ever noticed how some of your best friends are people you initially disliked? Don’t say that’s just me.
There were some other puzzle pieces out on the table forming this family of doctors, as well. Landry and TC have kept their affair casual, and the way things are between TC and Jordan, I’d say that’s a good thing. The less people know when they eventually break things off, the better. It also helped that Ragosa wasn’t informed, as he wouldn’t have asked Landry’s professional opinion on TC and missed his talk with her.
Kenny asked Drew when he was going to break up with his girlfriend, and Drew later received an email with a photo of him and another handsome guy — his boyfriend Rick. I caught the email so you can take a look! This crew is so close and they rely on each other very heavily, but they have a lot of secrets squirreled away. Thankfully, they aren’t kept from us!
I really enjoy the micro world of the hospital, but I’d like to see more of the macro world outside it as well. Knowing Jordan and Topher were going to be keeping TC company made me wonder what Landry would be doing with her time. Drew and Kenny were taking Krista and Paul out to show them the town. After spending the day treating elderly patients from a nearby retirement home for STDs, they should have let Paul have his day at the Riverwalk like the tourist in him desired, but he’s vetoed.
The Night Shift is so jam-packed full of adrenaline and emotions that it’s impossible to cover all the fun details. Let me know how you like the coverage. If you think I should spend more time on different stories in the same amount of space, point me there. Let’s celebrate finding an electrifying new show together!
The Night Shift, rated TV-14, airs Tuesdays at 10/9 C on NBC.