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'The Night Shift' recap: Drugs, guns, a stripper, a virgin and PTSD

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “Blood Brothers” | Aired July 8, 2014

We’re treated to a cold open this week as Topher and TC are preparing a patient. An armed man (Steven Bauer, Ray Donovan) demands they get the patient talking right now. When that simple request isn’t met to his approval, he cold-cocks TC.

This opening lets us know “Blood Brothers” isn’t going to be a normal episode of The Night Shift. Without the usual time shot indicating the start of the shift, we’re left a bit disoriented. It’s not a pleasant feeling. It’s not going to get any easier, either.

Seconds later, we shift to TC working with another patient with something sticking out of his eye. Based on his khaki vest, I’m guessing fishing line. TC asks Jordan for an assist and wonders if everything is fine between her and Scott. She flashes him the stink eye. They’ll talk about it later. When TC is called away by Topher to head out to a small plane crash, the fisherman teases Jordan, “You’re kind of sweet on him, aren’t ya?”

While in the helicopter, the pilot makes a remark about the war. TC is instantly returned to battle with his brother. After a quick exchange, TC witnesses his bother shot multiple times upon entering a house. Snapped back to the present, he and Topher discover the helicopter can’t land, so they have to descend by rope. Topher is not pleased.

Back at Memorial, a bikini-wearing stripper who fell off her pole and cracked her neck is wheeled in with all of the customary reactions. Paul practically trips on himself before awkwardly introducing himself to Candy. Kenny reminds Paul where her eyes are, but Paul is smitten.

At the accident site, it seems we can connect the dots from the only remaining man alive, Eric, and the gun-wielding gentleman when a couple of bricks of either heroin or cocaine fall out of Eric’s pockets. Whoops.

Krista is met by a young woman who cannot speak. Taking a look down her throat, Krista is stunned to see the tines of a fork sticking upward. As one of my college roommates swallowed a spoon, I’m calling bulimic. Krista has to play a living game of “Operation,” as she grabs the fork to pull it out.

Gun man is on the crash victim like white on rice, claiming to be DEA Agent Osborn. He shows his badge, but immediately confiscates the drugs “for evidence.” Something is very wrong here, even knowing he’ll be waving that gun around later.

The Night Shift - Season 1

Drew tells Candy they have to wait for her labs, but she wants to get back to work. Paul offers her money to stay and help him out with something—his girlfriend is coming into town, and she’s never spent the night before. He has a lot of questions about women, including the how-tos and the when-tos, and maybe Candy can clear that up so he doesn’t have to ask the guys. Is he putting us on? NO. Paul’s a virgin. Awwww, of course he is!

Krista is talking with the bulimic, Nina. She understands what Nina is going through because she was bulimic through most of high school. Krista offers herself as someone Nina can talk to, and the girl admits she’s been doing it since she was 12. It’s become more difficult as she’s gotten older, and Nina has to plunge deeper to vomit every time.

As Paul stumbles through his concerns about being with his girlfriend for the first time, Candy says, “You talk too much, Paul.” She decides the best way to curb his fear and shut him up is to give him a lap dance. If she thinks a lap dance while talking about urinary tract infections she gets from riding on the pole is sexy, Candy must not be a very successful stripper. Gross. She starts to stutter and collapses in Paul’s lap. Drew assesses she’s having a stroke; she’s already paralyzed on her right side. Maybe that’s why she fell off the pole!

Krista tells Nina’s parents about the eating disorder, suggesting they keep Nina in the hospital so she can deal with her it. Nina’s parents aren’t going to let their girl skip school because she wants to be skinny like all the girls. If they need help, they’ll call their priest. Unless their priest is a woman who had bulimia in her teen years, I hardly think he’ll be of much help.

Dwayne (Marc Comstock) puts on music in the CT scan room, sending TC back to Afghanistan again. Soldiers are break-dancing and newbie Topher busts a move. TC talks to Jordan through the camera (not our camera, but one being held by a soldier), introducing Topher to the woman with whom he intends to spend the rest of his life. TC shares with Topher that he’ll be asking Jordan to get married when he gets home. There’s a barrage of gunfire and when everyone dives to the ground, Topher freezes and is tackled by TC.

The Night Shift - Season 1

Krista wants Landry to put a psychiatric hold on Nina, but unless the patient is in immediate danger, that’s not possible. Krista is outraged and not interested in the social mores of the Latina community—she only cares about Nina’s disease. Jordan reminds her that yelling at an attending is not only inappropriate, but fruitless.

Drew noticed a comment Kenny made earlier about keeping secrets and wants to know what’s up. Kenny’s immediate thought is to say, “This is going to sound gay,” but he knows he can’t say that. He doesn’t care that Drew is gay, but is pissed that Drew didn’t think he could trust in Kenny’s friendship: “Just knowing that you had to shoulder this whole thing by yourself and live a lie around me? Man, it kills me. I just thought we were better friends than that, that’s all.” Drew concurs, that did sound a little gay. He reminds Kenny that it was his thing and had nothing to do with their friendship. Drew and Kenny hug it out, while Kenny calls Drew “stupid face.” How sweet is that? Now that Krista is done “bearding” for Drew, Kenny thinks Drew should help him out. I concur.

The smarminess of Agent Osborn is confirmed when he refuses to talk to local authorities on the phone and steals a badge so he can follow TC and Topher. After a quick replay of the cold open, Osborn shoots Dwayne between the eyes. What the hell?! He never even saw it coming, and he’s dead on the floor. If this doesn’t send TC back to hell in Afghanistan, nothing will.

When Osborn questions Eric, he makes Topher and TC shut up. If I were Osborn, I’d want them talking amongst themselves so they didn’t hear me talk to Eric about cash and being double-crossed. Either that’s why I’m not a bad guy, or that’s why I’d be the best one in the world. Eric apologizes to Osborn and passes out. Smarmy and an idiot, Osborn won’t let the docs take Eric to the operating room. If they don’t take him, he’ll never talk—but I get the feeling they’re going to be operating on a CT machine.

Jordan is with Candy trying to assess why she’s stroking out. Apparently an artery tore when she fell. Kenny calls Paul their little virgin hero. If Paul hadn’t gotten the lap dance, Candy might have had a stoke while driving and things would be a lot worse. When Kenny draws blood, it looks like chocolate. The virgin hero saves the day again when Paul recalls her story of urinary tract infections—if she’s taking too many over-the-counter drugs to self-treat, it would cause all of her symptoms. Ladies, let this be a lesson for you. Stay away from dirty, slippery stripper poles.

TC MacGyvers his way into Eric’s throat and helps him breathe. Osborn is embarrassingly chattering the entire time, threatening the very men he needs to help him. They resort to binder clips to clamp off bleeders, but they know the guy is meat. TC continues going in and out of memories of Afghanistan, and he can’t stop reliving the day his brother was shot.

The Night Shift - Season 1

Nina was very excited at the opportunity to get help for her bulimia, and when Krista breaks the news that she won’t be admitted but she’ll always be available for her, Nina is visibly upset. Landry tries to talk her parents into allowing Nina to stay, but they’re adamant. A nurse bolts from Nina’s room—she’s unresponsive. Nina swallowed something: a scalpel. She starts to vomit blood, and I audibly scream loud enough at the thought of Nina’s mental anguish and the sight of the blood that my sister wonders if I’m OK. It’s too bad Nina’s parents don’t show the same concern.

Krista confronts Nina’s parent:, “Your daughter is sick, and if you don’t admit her, something like this will happen again.” The approach works, but Landry wants Krista to realize being angry enough to risk her job will not always pay off and could get her fired. Krista mutters, “I guess I’ll be getting fired a lot.”

Jordan gets pulled into the room with TC and Topher, and it’s captured on security cameras. Ragosa is alerted and calls in a hostage situation. As the threesome attempts to trick Osborn into thinking Eric is alive and will eventually talk, Ragosa tells Drew what’s up. Ragosa needs Drew to step up, take charge of the incoming wounded from a chemical fire and manage the situation. Drew calls people together. They’re going to see some scary stuff tonight, but the patients are always more scared than the doctors.

When SWAT arrives, they want to shut down the hospital. As the only trauma center within miles, there is no way to do that. Ragosa gathers the troops and delivers the news about the hostage situation. Treat the patients like they’re your own family, he advises, before joining SWAT. He won’t let SWAT make a move until they’ve reviewed their plan with him. Those are his guys in there, and he wants to ensure medical teams are standing by in case anything goes wrong.

TC knows shit is going to hit the fan, but they have no idea SWAT is coming for them. He tries to prepare Jordan and Topher. Osborn waves the gun at Jordan; he wants to take her as his hostage so he can escape the hospital. Seconds later, a flashbang is tossed in. They hit the floor and TC lurches at Osborn, knocking the gun out of his hand. Boiling with anger and memories of losing his brother, TC pounds Osborn with his fists and SWAT has to tear him away. The gun went off as TC attacked and Topher was hit in the abdomen. He collapses next to Dwayne.

There are a lot of heroes on shift tonight, virgin and otherwise. TC was catapulted back into PTSD, something that can happen for the rest of his life. Any time adrenaline kicks in, the risk of relapse is a real danger to anyone with PTSD. With the kind of job TC has, he must be holding back some serious anxiety for it to have taken this long to progress.

Did you notice they never reached the end of their shift? For the first time since the series started, we were hanging in the middle of the night shift with no way to judge the passage of time. The finale has a lot of loose ends to wrap up, most notably this shift, saving Topher’s life and hoping that TC realizes he’s in the thick of it. If he doesn’t, maybe Jordan can see it. We’ll see you back here one more time, next Tuesday!

The Night Shift airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on NBC.

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