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'The Night Shift' recap: The agony and the ecstasy

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Grace Under Fire” | Aired June 17, 2014

Even when you’re around a lot of people, you can feel very alone. Getting around that desolation is sort of the theme of “Grace Under Fire.”

Jordan is preparing to celebrate her birthday — alone. She was hoping her boyfriend Scott (Scott Wolf joins the cast tonight!) would be able to join her, but a quick phone call reveals they’ll be doing their celebrating a week later.

The day is not without its gifts for the birthday girl, however, as a Christian Scientist (Kenneth Mitchell, the “it” guy for guest spots and supporting roles these days; see Switched at Birth) arrives from the Alamo, where he attacked a reenactor and was shot with an actual musket. He’s sporting a “do not treat” bracelet, which Jordan quickly cuts off. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but Jordan feels a desperation with the situation that we have yet to understand.

You do not treat people without their consent, especially if they’ve physically armed themselves with the fact they don’t want it. Jordan’s actions, the gift that keeps on giving, get her temporarily suspended to desk duty until Landry can assess the man’s mental stability and legal has its say on the matter.

Ragosa is not pleased about what he has to do, and makes sure everyone understands that it’s a temporary measure until the hospital has its butt covered. That’s a common thing in medicine. It’s also amusing that, moments later, Landry is walking by with a patient. “Let’s move a little faster so we can get you a robe,” she tells the dirty older fellow in his undies. Perhaps I’m a step above the rest, but I would have taken the robe to him rather than parading him around the hall in that state. Just sayin’.

Landry and Jordan have a few run-ins over the course of the night. Jordan is angry that Landry didn’t bother to tell her about her relationship with TC despite several personal conversations the two shared. It feels like a betrayal of the trust they were forming. They also argue over the Christian Scientist (named George), because Landry believes in personal freedom.

The idea of personal freedom versus receiving much-needed medical care prompts Jordan to tell Landry about her father. He died when she was a teenager, because he wanted to pray on his illness and her mother let him. Watching him die from something treatable colors the way Jordan sees George. As it would; could anyone not be affected by witnessing the negative effects of the power of prayer at such a young age? I’m surprised Jordan isn’t more jaded, to be honest.

The good news is that George is bipolar (hey, it’s good news in this context) and confused. His girlfriend says he went to the church to find his way after quitting lithium cold turkey. If you’re on lithium, only stop taking it under proper supervision. There’s a reason such medication is prescribed and not available over the counter. George is happy to have been saved. TC talks to the medic who brought him in to make sure he saw events the way Jordan did, and all is right with the world.

Drew is out in the trenches of Texas doing some military drills. Riding with him in a Humvee is a homophobe, spouting his mouth off about said phobia, worrying that men in the field will be thinking about sex instead of what counts. Drew shares his own thoughts on the situation: “Yeah, ‘cuz I’m sure that’s what he’s thinkin’: ‘I could die out here right now, but man, look at that scrawny, pimply ass on Charlie.’” Charlie decides he needs to shoot some things after the rigorous discussion, causing the Humvee to overturn, throwing them into a real life-or-death situation. Charlie is not very bright.

Drew was using his sexuality as a reason not to try his hand at the Rangers. Thanks to Charlie, Drew discovers he really has what it takes to be a great Ranger. They need him as much as he needs them. A fellow soldier drives that home when he tells Drew that the crap Charlie was saying was on Charlie, not Drew, and it is an honor serving with someone as dedicated as Drew.

The Night Shift - Season 1Ragosa’s raging headache is gone when he takes some pills from Landry’s desk: MDMA, aka ecstasy. Landry was working with it to treat PTSD patients and had some lying around (in an unmarked bottle looking a lot like aspirin). Ragosa’s world is opened as a result of taking it. Life is groovy and beautiful, and he shares all of his thoughts with anyone who will listen.

Seeing Ragosa freed from the constraints of his job, even if it meant taking dangerous and illicit drugs to get there, shows us the man he can be when he isn’t bogged down by the rules and regulations he’s required to enforce. He goes so far as to say it’s an enlightening experience.

Krista is busy filming him when Topher tells her to get back to work, so he can get a little video of the administrator tripping the light fantastic. Will there soon be a movie day, when they put it all out there for Ragosa so he can see his full potential? I want to be there for that!

Through her discussions with Landry, we learn that Jordan came to San Antonio because of TC. They have more than history. TC’s PTSD was so bad when he returned from war that the couple essentially went through hell together. She’ll always have feelings for him. No Scotts or Landrys will ever sever what they share. That’s why I think both Scott and Landry are in for a world of hurt if they stay with Jordan and TC.

It was difficult not to feel badly for Jordan when Krista came running by, telling Jordan to hurry because she doesn’t want to miss “this,” and there is cake involved. Jordan arrives, acting shocked and surprised that they remembered her birthday, only to find a giant cake shaped like two soccer balls — depicting Topher’s actual, ahem, kahunas. He’s getting snipped.

Last week, I completely lost track of Topher’s family. He had a conversation with TC at the fight, and I thought he was talking about his wife being weirded out that her mother was having twins. Noooo. He was talking about his daughter named Lynn, who wasn’t happy with her mother having twins. That makes so much more sense, especially in light of tonight’s events. Apparently Topher is extremely fertile, so they’re remedying the situation to keep any further reproduction at bay. Aha! Do we know the name of Topher’s wife? Let me know if I’ve missed even more of this story!

Jordan’s day may have been strange, but when she gets off shift, chatting on the phone to Scott, he tells her to hang up. He’s waiting for her outside with a cupcake and kisses. She’s very happy at least someone remembered her birthday, she says, unaware that TC is following behind with a very messily wrapped gift for his friend. It’s not delivered.

Yep, there is going to be some big trouble between the foursome during the second half of the season. Speaking of which, here are my hopes for the remainder of season 1:

  • TC and Jordan fighting for what they had despite who they have, because they are more than friends and it’s worth the risk
  • Ragosa making a move on Landry (they’re really cute together, even if she can’t see it because of TC)
  • Kenny’s realization that Krista isn’t with Drew and making a play for her affection
  • Drew’s boyfriend returning from Afghanistan
  • Paul getting the long end of the stick — i.e., having a really great day without a prank, and solving a difficult case on his own.

I seem to have love on the brain, with the exception of Paul. Hmmm … they’re teasing us with these romantic entanglements!

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



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