Mina Okafor and AJ Austin are one of the greatest ships on TV. I said it. The Resident 2×15 “Queens” proves that AJ and Mina are a slow, but forceful burn, and it’s only getting better. Mina and AJ aside, this episode was one of the best we’ve seen yet on this show.
I know. I throw this around a lot in these reviews, but I am not pulling your strings when I tell you that this show gets utterly more impressive as the season goes on. It is one of the best cable TV network shows that I have seen in a long time. This episode touched on the essence of womanhood, family ties, and the true aspects that make us fierce and bold.
In “Queens” we are introduced to Mina’s friend, Adaku (Erinn Westbrook). Adaku and Mina are meeting with Adaku’s oncologist, who is giving a consultation. Adaku has been diagnosed with breast cancer. After already losing her mother to the disease, Adaku understands the harsh realities of her fate but insists, despite the suggestion of her oncologist, that she does not want a double mastectomy. She asserts, “You’re not taking my breasts.”
Later, when Mina tries to explain to her friend that the mastectomy is the only resolution to ensure that she survives, Adaku explains that she will not be cut up and lose her breasts and sense of womanhood to cancer. Mina tells her friend that she will call the best breast cancer surgeon she knows for the job.
Adaku balks, “Do you mean who I think you mean?”
Whoa. What’s going on here?
Chastain is now on alert that a legend is coming to the hospital. Bell has assembled a welcoming committee for Dr. Jospehine Okeke (Lynn Whitfield) from Nigeria. Mina finds AJ outside waiting for her and she surprises him by informing him that Dr. Okeke is coming to Chastain at her request. Dr. Austin says that Dr. Okeke is a legend, and is intrigued as to how Mina is so familiar with her.
When Dr. Okeke exits her limousine, she immediately targets Mina and that’s when viewers discover that Dr. Okeke is actually Mina’s mother. Well, then. Viewers quickly conclude that they are also nothing alike.
This storyline showcases the complicated relationship of mother and daughter, but truly gets into the emotional intensity of a family encapsulated in scandal, regret, and grief.
Dr. Okeke paints Mina as a cold and withdrawn doctor, who doesn’t feel for her patients and tries to overcompensate her warmth by acting intensely emotionally invested. She projects big, grand statements of love and caring; however, it feels forced. Not quite right. Dr. Okeke convinces Adaku to go through with the double mastectomy and continues to berate Mina for not understanding “diplomacy, tact, and compassion”.
Yet, through the episode, we see the slow revelation and true character of Dr. Josephine Okeke unveiled. Mina has not spoken to her for four years and, despite the very fresh wounds of her mother’s disapproval, Mina still has called upon her to operate on a dear friend because she is the best. Mina put her own personal feelings aside to save a loved one.
Dr. Okeke tries to call out Mina at a lunch amongst her colleagues for the fire that killed her sisters – clearly a very private and devastating family secret that shouldn’t have been brought up at a work event. Mina knows that she needs to speak to her mother and waits for her to privately speak. She doesn’t do public scenes. She is reserved and restrained. Instead, Dr. Okeke spouts off that she believes Mina blames her for the fire, because of Dr. Okeke’s burden of long hours and challenge of not being home with her daughters. She shares with Mina that her sisters adored their mother and that she knows Mina always despised her.
But the most powerful scene of this entire episode was when Mina and Dr. Okeke enter the operating room to perform the double mastectomy together. Dr. Okeke still insists on berating Mina in front of her colleagues, sharing that Mina has never performed a surgery with her own mother when other residents would line up to accomplish such an honor. Dr. Austin, who was also present for the lunch that Mina stormed out of, enters to watch the surgery.
Dr. Bell joins and asks AJ how the surgery is going. The very intuitive AJ Austin spouts the truth: Dr. Okeke is a very gifted surgeon, but a problematic human. Bell rolls his eyes and says that Dr. Okeke is charming and wonderful. Austin narrates the truth about people like Dr. Okeke. They are charming as a form of deception, making you feel special and complete until you discover their true narcissistic selves. They will then turn on you, and move on to their next victims. Minutes later, Bell and Austin watch as Dr. Okeke slaps her own daughter’s hand and throws a scalpel across the room, as Nurse Jessica interrupts her. Guess AJ always knows best.
But The Resident doesn’t throw all of these character revelations in your face. There are subtle traits that are done so tastefully and discreetly, that you don’t even realize that they’ve happened. Dr. Okeke is warm and comforting to Adaku, her patient. She tells the young woman that she will take care of her, and that she is there for her. In the background, her own biological daughter walks away from her without comfort or the promise of being taken care of. This was after Mina had just comforted her friend who had just had her breasts removed and was struggling with losing something that made her feel feminine. Mina tells Adaku that she now has the scars of a warrior. Mina is by far the more compassionate human being.
When Bell says good-bye to Dr. Okeke, he tells her that she should be proud of Mina — that Mina will probably achieve greater success than both of them. Okeke hisses, “Speak for yourself.” Jealousy in regards to her own daughter? Heartless.
AJ later finds Mina crying alone. She confides that she is her mother, but is not her mother. He says he understands that she paved her own path and built her own family: the lovely doctors of Chastain. He. Gets. Her.
And this. This scene right here is why I say that AJ Austin and Mina Okafor are the best ship on TV. These writers have created these two amazing characters with layers upon layers of depth and back story, but have intertwined their trust and intuitiveness in each other. When we first were introduced to Mina, we thought okay here’s the stereotypical cold, career driven doctor on TV, but each week we were blessed with yet another beautiful detail of a character driven by so many good things.
AJ was the same. I actually despised “The Raptor” when he was first introduced into Chastain, but as the episodes have gone on, and we’ve seen more of his heart, I can’t get over what a well written, lovable character he is. But as Dr. Austin comforted Mina and allowed her to cry on his shoulder (yes, Dr. Badass Mina Okafor cried on AJ’s shoulder), I could not help but sit back and be wowed by the amazing writing, the brilliant character development, and the beauty in which it was all done, right before our eyes without any big, bold, intense in-your-face stuff. Just simple conversations and trust overtime.
Shaunette Renee Wilson was just beyond brilliant in this episode and I cannot express that with enough emphasis in words. These actors are great every episode, but she absolutely shined.
Mina also revealed to Nic in the beginning of the episode that she had not made a decision on Micah’s proposal. Well, that does not sound promising. Nic shared that she had also freaked out when Conrad asked her to move in together. Quick little scene, but big friendship that I love and am glad that they’re still investing in, and showing us little peeks into. Nic and Conrad are checking in on Henry (Evan Whitten) again this episode.
Zoey (Daniella Alonso) has brought him back into Chastain out of concerns that he may be having seizures again. Nic catches some strange bruising on Henry’s body and questions Zoe about her new boyfriend. Conrad and Nic both have separate one-on-one conversations with Henry. Henry reveals to Nic that he wish Conrad could be his father. He confides in Conrad that he is afraid that if he is sick again, it will drive his mother’s new boyfriend away. Just like his dad. And he just wants his mom to be happy. Henry and Conrad’s bond is so special. And I love these scenes, but I hate that we are seeing a glimpse into what will possibly drive Conrad and Nic apart.
Henry tells Conrad that he has randomly blacked out four times. When Conrad tries to tell Bell that Henry should be monitored overnight, Bell doesn’t listen. Page has instructed Bell to keep a low-profile on Henry now that Henry has become a poster child for QuoVadis products. When Conrad is walking Henry and Zoey out of the hospital, the boy ultimately collapses in the hospital lobby. His heart has stopped. This leads to the most intense scene of the episode, which The Resident has now mastered.
Viewers hold their breath as Bell, Nic, and Conrad realize that every time the nerve stimulator in Henry’s brain sends a signal, it is overstimulating his heart and stopping it. This discovery leads to Conrad sprinting through the hospital searching for the wand to disable the QuoVadis device, dashing across the street, smashing a glass door to break into an office where the device wand is located, Bell giving compressions, Nic giving compressions, waiting for Conrad to arrive with the wand. Whoa. Another crazy intense scene that is so well done by this show.
If Bell wasn’t actually convinced by the failure of the heart valves before, he is now certain that QuoVadis devices are nothing but bad news. He knows he is completely involved with a negligent company that is going to be responsible for death and destruction. Where are you, Julian? Save us all from Gordon Page.
Devon cannot catch a break this season. Whatever your feelings are towards Devon’s actions about Priya and their wedding, I think we can all agree that he’s a had a pretty rough go at life lately, both personally and professionally. When a patient comes into Chastain with abdominal pain, all of the signs point to appendicitis; however, the patient’s chart indicates that he has already had his appendix removed. Devon diagnoses him with kidney stones but the patient continuously gets worse and is rushed for a CT scan.
The patient still has an appendix and needs it removed immediately. Dr. Nolan — or the man who I have lovingly nicknamed Dr. Douche — lectures Devon on how he almost killed the patient. Devon decides to locate the patient’s emergency contact information and this all reveals that the patient was actually trying to use his twin brother’s insurance card. The twin comes in and explains that his brother is in so much student loan debt that he cannot afford to pay for insurance. Well, there you go again, The Resident bringing real world problems into your show.
When Irving tells Devon that he’s going to have to report the patient for fraud, Devon decides against it and allows the brother to be billed for the visit. This puts Devon in jeopardy of losing his license if it is discovered in the future. Hopefully, this won’t come back to bite Devon later. He’s already dealing with enough.
- I want to know more about Adaku and her friendship with Mina. I loved seeing this fiercely loyal friend side to Mina.
- Mina didn’t answer Micah at the restaurant after he got down on one knee in front of all those people. She didn’t cave to pressure. She stood her ground and said she’d think about it. I love how sure she is of herself.
- I loved the flashback to Mina’s assertion that she is a ‘Queen’ of her own making, because this episode revealed even more so that she is. She may have a mother that is a surgical legend, but Mina accomplished everything that she has on her own and not in the shadows of her estranged mother.
- Well, we knew Henry would suffer at the hands of QuoVadis eventually. Foreshadowing was rather obvious, wasn’t it?
- Mina’s mother made me want to throw several objects at my TV during this episode. And they think AJ is full of himself…
- Henry asking Nic if she’s going marry Conrad has me making the awkward Chrissy Teigen meme face. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about. He’s so sweet and innocent, and simply asking if Conrad could be his dad because he loves him, and Nic’s in full panic mode over her future in front of this kid.
- Oh, the devil himself, Gordon Page.
- And then there’s Dr. Douche. Such a douche.
- AJ knows it all. And in that restaurant, he knew what Dr. Okeke was talking about after Mina having shared it with him. He tried to protect her and change the subject. He is a class act. Dr. Okeke, not so much.
- I love how Conrad used his own parental experience with his father to relate to Henry. He is amazing with that boy.
- Kid couldn’t afford insurance because of outrageous student loan debt. Wow, this show is amazing at showing what’s really going on in this messed up system.
- Mina telling her friend that she is a warrior as she cries about feeling less like a woman… ugh, this scene made my heart literally ache. Womanhood. Friendship. Boldness. How is it possible that this show touched on so many topics and so well?
- Devon didn’t report him and, instead, bought the billing employee a latte. Devon really is a little budding Conrad. I love his heart.
- Oh. AJ talks about his adoption as Mina pours her heart on the table. Their bond and trust runs deep.
- “We will always appreciate you.” He knows exactly what she needs to hear. And she allows herself to be comforted by him.
- Matt Czuchry is quite the sprinter. Just saying.
- Bruce Greenwood is great at conveying emotions with his face. Bell is afraid. He’s afraid that if he doesn’t make a move on QuoVadis devices that people will die but he is also afraid of Page.
- This season is amazing.
The Resident airs on Mondays at 9/8C on FOX.