Code Black ep 12

*Spoilers.*

We’re back at the scene of last week’s post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland multi-vehicle accident: Mario and Heather are working on a dying patient at gunpoint, Christa and Lily are signalling for help, and Neal is wandering around, looking perplexed but still handsome, wondering where the hell all his doctors are.

Still no sign of any police or firefighters though, so it’s left to the multi-tasking medics to sort everything out themselves.

Mario – even more insufferable than usual – jumps the man with the gun, then, all puffed up with his own heroism/stupidity, rushes him to Angels, tries to boss everyone around and gets busy with Heather by way of reward. Ugh.

Not that the “fun” ends there. Oh no. Gun man wakes up with a hole in his head and amnesia but there’s still no appearance from of any psych staff – perhaps they’ve forgotten they work there – and, although I can’t imagine anybody wants a Mario / Heather / Angus love triangle (except perhaps Mario, Heather and Angus), suddenly that’s what we’ve got.

Luckily there’s more than enough Christa, Lily and Neal adorableness to make up for it. After having successfully attracted his attention with their awesomeness (and a top-notch Morse code / headlights scheme), Neal sorts out a CHOPPER to rescue them and the rest of the family (I love Neal) and back to the hospital they all go too, where he tells Christa how amazing she is, they do a bit of life-saving surgery together (no big) and they gaze adoringly at each other like it’s an Olympic sport. Swoon.

Of course, she’s all jokey about it – I cannot believe she said REDACTED then took it back in such a relaxed way, but hi-fives to her for carrying it off with such confidence – and he’s all earnest and serious and ‘(you’re) beautiful.” Which means I am beyond excited, but ultimately disappointed since, as Leanne has to learn a lesson, Carla has to be REDACTED and Guthrie Junior has to run away like an asshat, flirting’s as far as poor Neal and Christa are allowed to get. FFS.

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Code Black ep 11

*Spoilers*

This week on Code Black, three quarters of the cast head out in their high-vis vests to the scene of a multi-vehicle accident and it’s just as well they do since it doesn’t seem like there are any other emergency services planning to help out at all.

Back at the hospital, Gina and Jesse are both good fun and there’s an unnecessarily grim Carla sub-plot tacked on, but the field stuff is the main event, making this a very entertaining, if very silly episode lacking somewhat in the verisimilitude department.

So many cars and trucks scattered so far apart and so randomly, it looks more like a scene from a post-apocalyptic dystopia drama than a medical one; no police or firemen at all so it’s doctors who are pulling folk out of burning cars and freeing people from cement death traps; and all these Angels staff seemingly wandering about with no clear system of search or rescue, just saving / black tagging folk if they happen to come upon their cars while walking by…. while the saves are exciting and the losses sad, it’s hard to take much of it seriously when you keep thinking things like “Why is Mario the one who has to get the axe? Where are the professional firefighters with the bloody rescue equipment?”

For all that, the awesome Christa (Bonnie Somerville) has an absolutely gripping, terrific storyline which more than makes up for it: while wandering around looking for folk to save (*rolls eyes*), she finds an injured family, falls down a verge towards them, dislocates her shoulder and then has to work with their equally awesome daughter Lily to do all sorts of excellent field-type saves (including the classic pen-tracheotomy, trope fans) and hope for rescue. Since Neal Handsome Hudson (Raza Jaffrey) has noticed she’s missing and is all worried, I’m hoping for a big soppy, huggy rescue next week – and perhaps an early internship for Lily because she’s ace – but I fear he’s going to get distracted by having to save the wretched Mario and Heather from the dude with the gun first. And then the wretched Mario and Heather will get together and my ship will STILL be the only one getting nowhere on this show. Sigh.

Code Black ep 10

A good but thoroughly frustrating episode this week, as Jesse almost dies so Leanne can truly live, while Mario picks the worst time possible to suddenly try and be a human being and ruins the best thing about the show in the process.

The main event is, of course, Jesse’s heart attack: he collapses in a very nice but apparently almost sound-proof storage room so nobody notices for ages till the awesome Dr Perello finds him and kickstarts the lifesaving. It’s all very dramatic and fraught, and there’s a lot of dynamic chest-compressing and dashing around and medical crises to contend with, as everyone tries to bring him round without freaking the hell out. Oddly, however – apart from a lovely motivational speech from Dr Neal, at Dr Perello’s behest, acknowledging the importance of “Mama” in his own right – Jesse’s heart attack is much more about giving Leanne a life, rather than Jesse an actual storyline. The poor man is shifted from gurney to operating table to hospital bed and back again, in varying degrees of mortal peril, but insists on spending every minute of his life/death battle telling Leanne that his blocked arteries mean she should get out there and get busy livin’. With Guthrie Junior, I assume – or at least that’s how Leanne takes it, so thanks for that, Jesse. Even I can’t ship those two.

Neal and Christa, however, are two people I’ve been shipping from the start, so the Code Black writers have apparently made it their mission to keep them apart.

This week, Neal is running the Trauma Room while Leanne’s busy crying over Jesse’s chest, and somehow this translates to Neal and Mario recycling Leanne and Christa’s story from ep 1: vulnerable child at risk in the city, Attending forbids Resident to get involved, Resident does it anyway because Resident is deeply caring human being and top-notch doctor. That scenario worked brilliantly for Christa because “deeply caring human being and top-notch doctor” is Christa in a nutshell, but Mario? Dude has spent the entire season so far getting every single diagnosis wrong and giving a stuff about nobody but himself, and suddenly this week he’s a top diagnostician (Angus got it wrong and Mario got it right? Seriously?) AND a selfless humanitarian risking his own career to help a patient in need? Come on.

Again, however, this completely unconvincing about-turn/personality swap for Mario isn’t so much about him becoming a good egg as it is about driving a wedge between the best eggs, if you know what I mean. Because, for reasons driven exclusively by plot rather than any sort of logic or sense, Maverick Mario has to drag all the other Residents into his heroism – not so they can actually take part, just so they can ALL get into trouble if he does – and drives a wedge between my beloved Neal and Christa in the process. The cold look Neal gives her after letting Mario off the hook suggests Savetti might be forgiven, but Christa is most definitely not and she didn’t even DO ANYTHING, for pity’s sake. HURRUMPH.

Code Black ep 9

Back after the hiatus, and the first thing Code Black decides to do is suspend the sardonic, hilarious, tall-ish Caucasian male Dr Taylor and replace him with the sardonic, hilarious, small-ish Latina female Dr Perello which at first perplexes but then amuses both Dr Taylor and me, since they’re so physically different and yet so essentially the same: “I just feel like I’m looking in a circus mirror,” he says. HEE.

Happily, Dr Perello (Christina Vidal) pretty much has the measure of everyone before she’s even met them, so Angus is “the nepotist,” Mario is “the long shot” and – because Dr Perello RULES – Neal (Raza Jaffrey) is “Prince Charming,” giving rise to a frankly joyous scene where the miffed Mario asks “Why do I get ‘long shot’ and he gets ‘Prince Charming’?” and the entirely unabashed Dr Perello just points at Dr Neal and says “Look at him.” HEE again.

The fact that Dr Neal’s amused little smile at this is absolutely adorable does not do any harm at all, either.

Swoon.

As well as being all handsome, Dr Neal also gets to be all heroic again, as the surgical team borrows him to help out in the OR, he does something medically awesome up there (I’ve no idea what it was, but Guthrie Junior seemed very impressed) and he then comes back down to Trauma to continue being terrific there, too. I love Dr Neal.

And so, maybe, does Christa? This week, they work together on a tragic case involving an elderly man with dementia and his caring, struggling teenage son; a poignant story which is handled beautifully by all concerned – there’s a particular scene where Christa tells the teen about her own loss that is played so beautifully by Bonnie Somerville, she had me in tears. Even the final scene, with the Lion King serenade, works – yes, it’s corny, yes, it’s manipulative, but it’s also really, really moving. And it had me in pieces.

Sniff.

In between all my crying, though, I still managed a bit of shipping – Christa puts her hand on Neal’s chest for a few seconds! Neal’s gaze lingers where her hand was! CJ gets very excited and can’t understand why they’re not making out already!

Sigh.

While Neal and Christa are being lovely and wonderful as usual, then, and Dunn and Perello are providing the comedy, everyone else is being…. tolerable? Angus resists his natural tendency to dither and saves a couple of patients instead. Mario lies to save his own skin again (FFS Mario, STOP DOING THAT) but also gets through to a traumatised teenager when no one else can, so as far as the devil and the angel on Savetti’s respective shoulders are concerned, I guess it’s a score draw. And Leanne gets all maudlin as usual, but also manages to set up both Jesse singing (albeit inadvertently) and the Lion King song scene, so maybe there’s hope for her yet.

Public Service Announcement 4 of 2016: Code Black

Just a quick reminder to the handful of folk watching Code Black in the UK that the show’s winter break is over and season one resumes tonight (Thursday) at 9pm on Watch. Hopes of a second season are slim to non-existent, so we may only have a few eps left to enjoy what has turned into a generally agreeable if not in any way revolutionary hospital drama, but a few eps with Raza Jaffrey’s Dr Neal and Bonnie Somerville’s Dr Christa is better than none, so I’ll be watching and reviewing for now anyway.

Code Black ep 8

After hitting its deliriously enjoyable Neal-centric peak a few weeks ago, Code Black seems to have settled back down into its comfort zone, this latest instalment being the third in a run of entirely watchable, perfectly passable but largely unremarkable eps.

Oddly – since he is a jerk – the show seems determined to make Dr Savetti happen, and, in fairness, this ep comes closest to making us feel sorry for him: despite himself, he bonds with an ailing, but keenly perceptive, HIV-positive patient, and in the course of it, we learn that Mario had a terrible childhood, may currently be struggling with his sexuality, has to deal with an unsettling medical scare and understands all the week’s allusions to Titanic, no matter how much he denies it. However – since he is a jerk – he manages to squander much of the sympathy the story (and his scene partner) try and build up for him by being a total asshat to Angus, and while I applaud the writers for trying to create a complex, multi-layered, prickly character, the problem is I’d rather spend my weekly trip to Angels Memorial with almost anyone else they can dig up.

I say “almost” of course, because Dr Leanne Rorish is still being her soundbite-spouting self, always preaching, never praising, and this week, bizarrely, flirting with her fellow obnoxious know-it-all Dr Guthrie Junior. There’s a truly bizarre sequence when, unhappy that a junior nurse is doing her job, DGJ throws a tantrum and a laptop, and Leanne, instead of being furious at this toddler-like display of temper and wastefulness, gets all starry-eyed – and quite embarrassingly – into it.

Of course, she still turns him down – because Secret Pain etc – but I imagine they’ll have some sort of smooch before the season/series finale. Probably BEFORE my beloved Neal (Raza Jaffrey) and Christa (Bonnie Somerville) at this rate; this week, the usually cool Neal is oddly apologetic and awkward (but still insanely handsome) about their breakfast Bloody Marys, getting all worked up because Christa might be thinking about other things (dude – if ONLY) when she has to take the “Code Bag” and run around the hospital resuscitating people. To her credit, however, Christa essentially tells him to get a grip, and resuscitates everybody she needs to in super-competent fashion because, as well as being super-nice, Christa is great. As is Neal, of course, who’s no less charming when he’s bashful, even if he has nothing to be bashful about. Swoon.

Code Black ep 7

An accident at a street fair means a very busy week for the Code Black staff and a solid, if predictable, episode which, to its credit, never seems rushed despite the inordinately high number of sub-plots/ patients featured.

The continuing, mysterious lack of any Psych staff – “They don’t have anyone here tonight,” or EVER – means that Angus forgets his dithering for the week, takes charge of the driver responsible for the accident and makes all the right sympathetic noises before making an obvious mistake that will probably haunt him forever. Or maybe for a couple of episodes. Whatever. I’m sure this means his confidence will be gone and he’ll be back to dithering next week, but at least it’s because he actually cares about his patients. Unlike the bafflingly unpleasant Mario Savetti who finds a new way to be a jerk just about every single week.

This time around, Mario gets all huffy about treating a man with priapism, on the basis that his own comfort is more important than his patient’s. Lovely Dr Neal (Raza Jaffrey) sets him straight – twice, because Savetti is too dense to get it the first time – and the show tries to excuse Mario’s lack of empathy by attributing it to Impostor Syndrome, but it seems more like Asshat Syndrome to me.

Lovely Dr Neal is making something of a speciality of talking people round, actually; he also has to manage the (justifiably) irate wife of a patient who was at the street fair with someone other than her. Oops. Leanne, meanwhile, de-bulges a pilot’s bulgy eye, and Christa (Bonnie Somerville) looks after a little boy with both health and immigration issues. Or, to put it more accurately, Christa is terrific with the boy, begs Leanne to help with the immigration difficulty and Leanne swoops in and takes the credit. Bah.

But Christa gets her reward anyway – breakfast with Dr Neal! And a lot of excited squeeing from the direction of my sofa. Swoon. I LOVE THESE TWO. Although they have some competition in the adorable stakes this week from the wonderful June Squibb’s Dorothy, an irresistible old lady in her 80’s who lights up every scene she’s in. Bless. If Dorothy could come back every week and just hang out with the equally charming Neal and Christa, Code Black would be amazing. As it is, it’s mostly just ok.