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'The Night Shift' recap: Pork chopping is a thing, y’all!

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Hog Wild” | Aired June 10, 2014

There are a lot of good things that can be said about The Night Shift, and one of them is that you’re never bored while watching. Because events go down so quickly in an emergency room, as they do, the hour just flies by.

I’ve been spending my time watching the series while on Twitter because, frankly, the antics with the cast and crew just enhance my viewing experience. They’re having as much fun off screen as they are on, and knowing how well they get along makes the entire ordeal gel that much more. Here’s your proof!

It also means that I’ve seen some complaints from viewers that the stories are too scattered, and it’s too difficult to get involved or engaged with the characters to give a damn about what’s happening. This recap will prove that theory wrong.

At 5:44 p.m., a mere hour and 15 minutes before their shift begins, most of the team is supporting Drew at one of his fights. This time it’s for real. He’s in a “cage” and kicking some butt. Krista is raging on the side of the cage cheering Drew on, while Kenny pines after her. Paul reminds Kenny that he’s never going to tap that, given how bad she has it for Drew. Don’t worry, Kenny! You have a chance, man. I feel it in my bones!

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TC catches up with Topher in the stands and asks if he’s missed anything. Um … yeah, buddy, Drew is on his ass one second and flipping his opponent the next. The fight is intense! What I love about the scene is how they’ve all come together to support Drew. Granted, Krista is into Drew in that “special way,” but she and Paul are brand new to San Antonio Memorial, and through the work they do there, they already feel like part of the family. Who doesn’t want a job like that?

The shift starts and my man Ragosa breaks the bad news that he’s closing down The Tailgate. (Turns out the rooftop oasis had a name!) That junkie/jumper was a liability for more than one night. When Ragosa wants an aside with Landry about his family, she tells him that closing The Tailgate was a “dick move.” Her words, not mine! If he wants people to respect him, he has to stop being such a dick. She makes the assumption that if he treats people at work that way, he probably treats his family the same. He doesn’t like what she has to say, but he can’t exactly ignore the fact that she’s right. He’s not an idiot.

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We learn a little bit about Topher’s family life in passing conversation with TC, and we discover what an amazing father he would be when he finds a little girl wandering the hallway. “Do you work here?” he asks. She looks at him like he’s crazy, informing him that she’s nine years old. She does a pretty decent impression of the need for an MRI, but starts screaming when she’s inside the machine — it’s really her father that needs the help. She’s taken two buses on her own to get her father to follow her, so she can trick him into going where he wouldn’t go himself.

When the father is found, his little girl runs to him (in slow-motion, hair whipping in the air), and Topher realizes he needs something. He calls his wife, Lynn, just to hear her voice; his own breaks. Being away from his family for long periods of time is difficult.

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TC and Paul rush off to an incident that requires a medevac to reach the wounded. The scene sends TC straight back into a flashback of combat in Afghanistan. There is a woman on the ground with an arrow sticking out of her shoulder and a dude a little ways away with his hand bitten off by a hog. It’s pitch black and people are darting all around (drunk, says a helping hand) firing off rounds while holding flashlights. What the heck?! They’re hunting wild hogs. Now, I wouldn’t call it “pork chopping,” but that’s a term they toss around in reference to the messy situation.

What’s totally crazy is that there is a freakin’ medevac chopper and doctors attending to two obviously wounded people, and these yahoos are all over the place, never for one second stopping their games. And that’s what it is — a game. While there are hogs running around, the people are hardly using hunting etiquette while gunning for them. So, Texans, is this a thing?! I know hunters take to the sky in choppers for a little pork chopping in the hope of quelling the size of the herd, but do groups of people gather at night in drunken raves to try to accomplish the same thing?

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Back at Memorial, they’re coming in full … boar. Yep — that baby is on a gurney because he bit off the hand of the wounded dude. The kind caregivers at Memorial aren’t going to kill the hog, but gently remove the hand to reattach. Isn’t that sweet? Even when Ragosa slaps it on the butt, awaking it from its anesthesia so it starts running amok inside the hospital, they still wait for animal control and tranquilizers rather than doing it any harm. Awwww.

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Jordan’s news of the night is that her boyfriend, Scott, might be coming to Memorial to take over the trauma unit. His friend Todd is interested in Landry, and Jordan wants to set them up for brunch. This is the first we’ve heard of Scott, and he’s closer than I would have imagined. All the guys at Memorial know about “Big Todd” because he’s, ahem, well endowed. The X-ray tech took a peek in the locker room. What? Don’t say you wouldn’t look! TC is a bit jealous and makes a big deal out of Big Todd, but he also gets down with Landry in the utility closet to remind her of his own prowess.

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Unfortunately for Paul, he’s also in the utility closet, not getting down with TC and Landry, but inside the Resusci Annie (10 points to you if you knew how that was spelled), hoping to get back at Krista for an earlier prank she played on him. Paul never wins, and when he loses, he loses hard. The result is like something from a horror movie, but instead of being stabbed to death, he has to suffer through his superiors having sex practically on top of him. Oh. My. God.

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Krista doesn’t exactly come out on top, however. HA! No pun intended. Drew hurts his hand during his fight and isn’t stitching well enough or fast enough for Jordan, who is looming over his shoulder. He asks Krista to shadow him all night so he doesn’t mess anything up, and she takes this as a sign of reciprocation of her affection (to which I ask — why?). She plants a kiss on him while they’re alone.

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It’s a little bit insulting that the only reason she can muster up for him to pull away is that Drew must be gay, but she goes there and he’s caught like a deer in the headlights. They end the night as best buds, and when Krista tells Kenny she’s catching up with Drew for a drink, Kenny again thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. Keep on keepin’ on, Kenny!

As the shift ends, Drew promises Jordan he’ll never engage in a sanctioned fight again, but he can’t stop training. It’s like therapy. Everyone he trains with is a veteran. They don’t just train, but talk about their experiences in Afghanistan. She didn’t know that and is happy he has that outlet. She probably wishes TC had a similar outlet to help him through his issues. Jordan expects Drew to stick to his promise not to fight because she knows everything that goes on at Memorial. Ironically, she really says this without a clue that TC and Landry are doing the nasty in the utility closet just after she hooked Landry up with Big Todd. Whoops!

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Ragosa tries to deliver some good news, but delivers it with a squeeze of lemon. He’s reopening The Tailgate, this time in the parking lot. This way they’ll all be closer to the ER and won’t have to go up so many steps. They’ll also have to give up one of their 15-minute breaks per shift (I don’t think this is a legal maneuver) and limit the amount of time they spend there after work. They have to save on electricity! Once a dick, always a dick? Nah — I have hope.

As fast as it goes down at Memorial, we still learn a lot about the characters while they’re effectively attending to patients. This isn’t an either/or proposition. There is plenty of medical action as well as personal interaction to keep viewers satisfied on both levels. Surely you agree.

The Night Shift, rated TV-14, airs Tuesdays at 10/9 C on NBC.

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