The last few episodes of The Resident had me questioning my loyalty. I had already been hesitant about starting a medical drama in the first place but quickly learned that the show was so much more than another Grey’s Anatomy. Due to the fantastic casting, the series truly worked from the very first episode. Because that is what makes The Resident great: These actors are everything.
But when The Resident started taking a turn, causing viewers to question whether or not they fell into a bad crime novel, I started questioning the writers. This show does not need any elements of a thriller novel because it is way too good all on its own. The acting is TOO good for intense fluff. I loved these characters from the pilot — especially the dynamic and chemistry of #CoNic.
There’s a lot going on in “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and I felt that the writers tied up this first season very well, considering all of the plot lines that were left dangling out in the wind. The Resident has been renewed for a second season; and with a new Chairman of the Board at Chastain, next season, things are bound to get interesting.
When I first started watching the show, I admit I thought to myself that Mina was written to be The Resident’s version of Dr. Christina Yang (from Grey’s). Mina seems cold, distant, and prefers to keep her distance from her patients so that she can focus on what she does best: surgery. Sound familiar?
Shaunette Renee Wilson brings so much more to her character than just the stereotypical, career-driven doctor with no empathy. For one, Mina has drive because she had to work harder to get to where she is; she’s working in the United States on a work visa from Nigeria to practice medicine. The list could go on to show how Wilson brings her own presence and personality to the character, but we always got peeks into the humanity and the warmth that secretly drives Mina’s. In episode 6, viewers learned that Mina secretly runs a clinic out of her apartment building with supplies stolen from Chastain to help the uninsured members of her community who need medical attention.
The finale begins with a scene the morning after an evening between Mina and Micah; despite Mina insisting that she would not date a patient, nor would she ever be emotionally invested in a relationship. While Mina’s trying to convince Micah that she is still not emotionally invested, and while inquiring as to how he takes his coffee (yeah, a little contradictory there, Mina), Micah starts to have trouble breathing and appears to be in a seizure-like state.
Micah is brought back to Chastain, where he is all too familiar and recognized due to his recent heart transplant. Though the moment is intense and fast-paced, Wilson manages to get me to laugh out loud when she yells, “Exertion” while her colleagues are inquiring into how Micah ended up back at the hospital.
When Mina learns that Micah is in essentially a medical Catch-22, Wilson begins delivering her best performance to date. There is a complication with Micah’s heart transplant that requires surgery, but the surgery appears to be too risky to actually perform; therefore, it appears he will continue to suffer and eventually lose his life. Viewers see Mina is scared, an emotion that Dr. Okafor has never before seemed to experience.
What’s the Deal With AJ Austin?
Dr. AJ Austin, played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, joined the series in the episode titled “The Raptor,” when Dr. Bell recruited the cardio thoracic surgeon to come to Chastain because of his elite skills. Austin is arrogant, cut-throat, and has no filter when it comes to telling his colleagues like it is. He has even gotten on the bad side of Mina, who generally connects better with non-invested people. So, when Mina goes to Austin in the finale to ask him to do the surgery on Micah, Austin senses the difference in Mina.
This leads to the best OR moment of the season. I questioned Austin’s new presence in the show. I mean, the man is a strange, too quirky, and unlikable character; but Austin coaches Mina to channel her feelings, emotions, and passions into getting the job done. He tells her that the best surgeons are not emotionless but, rather, channel all of their passion into their work. There’s an intense moment where it appears Micah may not survive the surgery; but ultimately, his heart pulls through. Austin speaks almost soothingly to Mina, telling her she did a great job but reminding her that Micah may not wake up. I was surprised by Mina’s reaction to the kind gesture of Austin placing his hand upon hers. I expected Mina to pull away, but Austin seems to have earned Mina’s respect.
I am not sure where this Mina and AJ Austin path is going to take us. Is Austin just trying to take a great surgeon and turn her into a project for him? Is there more there for Austin? Does he see a bit of himself in Mina? I guess we the viewers will learn where this new elite surgeon duo will take us in season 2.
Wilson’s performance as Mina sat by Micah’s bedside was powerful. This is a doctor who we have grown to love because of her quick wit, her unfiltered view of the world and medicine, and her passion for being a great surgeon. So, when Dr. Mina Okafor sat at the bedside of the man she claimed to not be emotionally invested in, cried, and appeared to pray, I lost it a little.
I look forward to seeing more of this side of Mina in The Resident’s second season.
I am going to be honest: I hated this storyline.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that the Lane Hunter storyline was good. Lilly was a catalyst for Nic, Conrad, and Devon. She represented all that was good and pure in patients that trust their doctors maybe a little too much. She was young and bright and had so much potential in life. I think back to the episode she passed away and think of her lighting up when she played with that puppy, only to be dead within the next hour. Intense stuff.
The Lilly/Lane storyline was important and vital to this show, but Bad Bounty Hunter Nic was obnoxious and almost out-of-character for a character that we are still trying to learn and navigate. I actually thought to myself: “Nic is too smart for this” and then thought “well, I think, I think she is too smart for this.” I think she’s better than this because in a first season, we are still trying to learn all that we can about these characters. But for a nurse practitioner, who’s brilliant at what she does, this seemed like a pretty poor plot line.
I get it. Lilly was a driving force for Nic. She loved Lilly and became invested in Lilly. She knew that Lilly was wronged in all of the ways a young, beautiful girl with a full life to live ahead of her was wronged — but Nic is smart. Way smarter than this. Was Nic that naive to trust that Lane Hunter would not try to bring her down in all of the ways that she did eventually bring her down? We are talking medical fraud and murder here. Nic truly thought that confronting Lane at a coffee shop was going to shake her?
Regardless, Nic ultimately falling for the trap leading to her arrest was written and did happen. Conrad goes to the person he would only go to if he needed the biggest possible favor: his estranged father. This is a testament to how much he truly loves Nic. While Nic is waiting for Conrad to come through for her, a corrections officer seeks out her assistance to aid her corrections officer colleague/girlfriend who is having a medical emergency. I was confused by this scene and its relevance to this episode. This was a fast-paced finale, with answers and wrap-up to all of the season’s storylines; so, this entire scene felt out of place. We know that Nic is still invested in her work. We know that she is skilled, resourceful and compassionate. We did not need a random, prison medical emergency to understand this.
Conrad meets with his father to talk about getting Nic out. His estranged father starts talking about plans for Conrad’s future. I assumed this plot was going to go down the path of Conrad’s father making Conrad leave and run the hospital that they had spoken about earlier in the season. Nic is released and Conrad beckons her to Chastain to deal with a new problem. But seriously, Nic? You go to the hospital where Lane Hunter is most likely parading around while she just put you in jail for a felony?
The Hope in a Hypochondriac
Seriously, my favorite aspect of The Resident is how the patients at Chastain are an integral part of the plot. Lilly, Micah, and even Olivia, the hypochondriac, have become an essential part of the series. When Olivia returns to the emergency room for yet another WebMD diagnosis, Irving and Devon are ready to dismiss her until she reveals an interesting medical dilemma: She is receiving chemo for lymphoma. Because of her frequent ER trips, Devon knows that there is no possible way that Olivia has cancer. Therefore, our most obnoxiously-loved hypochondriac becomes the key that Devon, Conrad, and Nic need to finally take down Lane.
One of my questions coming into this finale was “What ever happened to Priya’s research on Lane? I thought Priya was trying to gather intel?” So, when Devon hung the media-star carrot in front of Olivia’s face and offered her a chance to be famous for telling her medical fraud story to a reporter, I was pleased that Priya was brought back into the storyline. The Resident, once again, consistently weaved the supporting cast into the season’s plot.
When the Bell Sings
I was honestly thinking that Bell went soft with Lane for a little while. One of the opening scenes is them parading around half-dressed in Bell’s sleek, modern home like a normal, less-vile and evil couple. Bell tells Lane that she is a source of good luck for him; and then they passionately kiss, much to the disgust of the audience, in front of the oversized glass walls of the Bell pad. Because if you’re going to be the two representations of all of what is wrong with humanity, why not do it together as evil’s worst power couple?
So when Bell comforts Lane as the walls begin crumbling all around her thanks to our favorite hypochondriac and the best phone call to the FBI from CoNic and Devon, I wonder is Bell really that smitten with Lane that he would allow her to destroy all of the damning files at his home? But Bell’s ego, desire to be the best and most-respected man all over the headlines, and selfish nature pulls through when he takes down Lane by reporting her file destruction to the FBI himself. I have to admit that I was a little happy that Bell remained true to his own character and took down the woman who potentially had all of the blackmail on him. There’s an evil, vile man in Dr. Bell, but Bruce Greenwood makes one heck of a bad guy.
Lane meets her fate: a pat down and handcuffing by the FBI and her face plastered all over the newspapers as a murderer. Bell takes the credit for discovering her wrongdoings while Devon, Nic, and Conrad watch on, knowing that they are the true heroes.
Bell gets a surprise all of his own, though, when he learns the new Chairman of the Board and his boss is none other than Conrad’s father. Now, this could be good.
Okay, so Conrad gets you out of jail and makes your $100,000 bail. But then you tell him afterwards that you don’t know what this relationship means and you don’t know where all of this is going? Oh, Nic.
CoNic is both my guilty pleasure and top annoyance with The Resident. VanCamp and Czuchry are on fire. They have a remarkable, sultry chemistry that makes fans just melt into the floor and want more, more, more. The actors are so good that you almost forget that you don’t know a damn thing about what happened to them, pre-pilot.
That is honestly my biggest annoyance with this series: What the hell happened between Conrad and Nic? How long did they date? Why did they break up? We get insinuations into their former relationship but never real answers. Quite frankly, I’m annoyed. I want more CoNic, and I want more answers. Good thing there’s a season 2.
The season finale far exceeded even my expectations for The Resident. I think season 2 has great potential if the show sticks to what it is best at: great acting and great chemistry.
The Resident will return to FOX in the fall on Mondays at 8:00.