Halloween special episodes can be some of the best material and some of the worst for a TV series. For The Resident, the Halloween episode was done rather tastefully — some Halloween humor, costumes and a creepy nightmare mystery, but it was not too over the top.
Clyde and a Thumbs Up
The cheeky Halloween humor included a detached arm appearing in the emergency room before its limbless owner. Every time Dr. Pravesh (Manish Dayal) went to check on the limb, the fingers were manipulated in a different way, including giving a thumbs up. Dr. Austin fondly named the ‘Lost and Found’ bound appendage “Clyde”. The arm was later joined by an abandoned leg. The owner, a car accident victim, later arrived at Chastain and had to be operated on by an interesting, but effective team: Dr. Austin (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Dr. Bell (Bruce Greenwood), Dr. Okafor (Shaunette Renee Wilson) and Dr. Voss (Jane Leeves).
The limbs were reattached in an obvious close-call surgery, but Dr. AJ Austin once again brought his own quirky charm to the operating room by saving the patient while beat-boxing his heart into a normal rhythm. Because The Resident, unlike other medical dramas, brings us charming, unconventional characters that make viewers beg for more.
Nic’s sister, Jessie (Julianna Guill), returns to The Resident and joins Nic (Emily VanCamp) at Mina’s annual (and exclusive) Halloween party. Irving apparently has a difficult time getting into the party every year due to Mina’s distaste of his tacky Halloween costume choices. Nic spends most of the party playing babysitter to her sister, who is trying to stay clean after recently overdosing. When Mina leaves for the emergency surgery of the car accident victim, she puts Nic in charge of the party. When she goes to look for Jessie, her sister has suddenly disappeared with a half-dressed Tarzan.
After Jessie is located in the bathroom and there is a disagreement between the sisters about Nic being too overbearing, Nic starts spiraling out of control herself. She begins ripping off the necklaces of her Egyptian-inspired costume and is forced to seat herself on the floor of the kitchen. Jessie finds her struggling to breathe and Nic admits that she’s been having panic attacks for a year. It is not surprising that Nic, the woman who puts the weight of the world on her shoulders, has secretly been suffering. It’s especially realistic after the revelation of her miscarriage, her arrest, and her failed relationship with Conrad the first time around.
I’m actually glad they humanized Nic more. She’s been through a lot and she always seems to have everything figured out. Those are the types of people that hide their demons the most.
This episode, “Nightmares” is appropriately named because the main storyline of the night involves Conrad (Matt Czuchry) trying to find the cause of a woman’s aggressive reoccurring nightmares. Laurie Dante (Bailey Noble) arrives at Chastain seeking help for dreams that she expresses are horrifying. Viewers witness knife-wielding men with canvas bags for heads chasing around a frantic Laurie.
The condition seems to worsen as Laurie cannot even recognize Conrad anymore — a doctor who she has learned to trust because of his empathetic demeanor and compassion. She trusts him so much that he is able to talk her down from the hospital roof ledge when she fears that she may be taunted by her dreams the rest of her life.
After jumping through a glass window in the hospital during the middle of a lucid dream, Conrad discovers that there’s a mass in her abdomen while she is being scanned for her injury to the femoral artery. Conrad insists that the attending surgeon go into the abdomen to see if the mass has anything to do with Laurie’s altered mental status. Because Conrad is naturally always right, the mass turns out to be a rare lesion — with teeth (ew) — that can cause an infection that affects the brain. Once again, Conrad really listens to the patient and saves the day.
Medical dramas are sometimes obnoxious to me because of the quickness of it all. There’s a cause and an effect that is figured out in 42 minutes time and then we are onto the next episode where we start all over again. One of my favorite things about The Resident is that storylines always seem to come full circle. Laurie, the main focus of the episode comes to the ER with horrible dreams, in which she is chased, and then even falls from a building. In her background conversation with Conrad, she reveals that she had a cousin who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and ultimately committed suicide by jumping off of a bridge.
Laurie then ends up on the rooftop of Chastain contemplating ending her own life. Conrad talks her down, but she ends up jumping and falling through a window within the hospital. This, however, is what helps Conrad to find the cause of her altered mental status. Conrad tells Laurie, in an attempt to build a rapport, that everyone has bad dreams including himself.
After being stood up by his father, and then later denied an answer as to what Marshall Winthrop (Glenn Morshower) was hiding from him, the episode ends with Conrad’s very cryptic dream about a woman falling down the stairs and breaking her neck. In the dream, a little boy runs over to the woman and screams for his mother but is told to get out of the room by a deep, scary voice of a man. When the boy tries to run away he is stuck to the floor by some sort of sticky glue-like substance and cannot escape. He refers to the man as his father and he turns around to look at Winthrop, causing viewers to think that the boy is Conrad as a child. He wakes up in a panic in Nic’s arms and she tries to soothe him, but he leaves the bed clearly disturbed by the dream.
This isn’t just loose storylines thrown together to make a medical drama. This is great, interconnected writing that intertwines characters and makes connections that are difficult to make. Nic is even included in the falling out of control theme when she spirals herself down to the floor during her panic attack. I thought it was a great episode revealing some hidden demons for both Conrad and Nic. Will they be able to rely on one another to fight those demons together? At least it seems like CoNic are really trying.
- Dr. Austin wins for his humor once again. Between naming the arm ‘Clyde’, beat-boxing while massaging the car accident victim’s beating heart, or calling the manipulated loner arm in a thumbs up position ‘Austin approved’, AJ (and apparently, Clyde) clearly had the best sense of humor during this episode.
- Conrad told Laurie that women under 35 are the most misdiagnosed patients in the country. Now, I don’t know if that’s an accurate statistic, but that seems rather likely considering my own experiences at doctor’s appointments.
- Mina wins the best one-liner of the episode once again by instructing Nic: “Perhaps, you should let go of kitty’s leash.” This is in reference to Nic babysitting her adult sister (who happened to be dressed like a cat).
- I cracked up when Nic went back into the closet to check the pulse of passed-out guy. I was actually surprised when she didn’t check the first time and when she went back in, I cracked up. Very true to Nic.
- When AJ and Devon realize that Dr. Voss is a grandmother is hilarious. Malcolm-Jamal Warner has really made this show for me. Surprised she didn’t leave an aspirin in his shirt pocket.
- Clearly there’s A LOT that we do not know about Conrad and Marshall’s past. We learn that they were estranged for nearly 10 years and that the only reason Marshall found Conrad was because he hired a private investigator. What really happened to Conrad’s mother?
- I like Irving and his awkwardness, but leave the humor to Dr. Austin from now on. The talking in his sleep bit was too much. We get it — it’s a show about dreams. Where was his handcuff-toting nurse friend?
- Big fan of a Julian-free episode!
- Cringe Alert: Dr. Bell and his being set up with his new assistant’s mother is horrifying. He also calls their one-night stand “indelible”. Who does that? That’ll sure be an awkward encounter with his assistant in the morning.
The Resident airs on Mondays at 8/7C on FOX.