Tagged Juliet Rylance

American Gothic – Episode 13: “Whistler’s Mother”

CBS’ American Gothic
Episode 13: “Whistler’s Mother”
Directed by Greg Beeman
Written by Corinne Brinkerhoff & Aaron Fullerton

* For a review of Episode 12, “Madame X” – click here
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The finale is here – “Whistler’s Mother” you may remember is the informal name given to Arrangements in Grey and Black, which is the first episode of this mini-series. Why that painting, you wonder? This last episode in particular and yet so much of these episode has consisted of a focus on who?
Mama Hawthorne.
Everybody’s out voting for Mayor of Boston. Madeline (Virginia Madsen) is worrying about the “crazed dollmaker” after her family. So she has private security watching the house, and her paranoia is high. Tess (Megan Ketch) and Cam (Justin Chatwin), along with Jack (Gabriel Bateman), are down at the Alison Hawthorne (Juliet Rylance) campaign HQ. Even Garrett (Antony Starr) turns up to support his sister.
But nobody’s seen Alison. Where could she be?
Over at the station, Detectives Linda Cutter (Deirdre Lovejoy) and Brady Ross (Elliot Knight) lay the whole case with the new evidence out for everybody. Then Brady gets a call from his wife, worrying about her sister. Now, they’re worried the accomplice is very, very close to the campaign.
We all know from last episode it’s Naomi.
Or is it? That secret she had was all about union workers, supposedly. A background check proves Naomi has always been Naomi. A dead end. Ahhh, tricky. Only problem is the cops are still at square one. And who could be the accomplice?
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Sophie (Stephanie Leonidas) ends up at the Hawthorne door. She wants a few pictures before heading off for good. At the campaign HQ, Jack is starting to feel the effects of not having his mother around; he reads too much. Simultaneously, Christina (Catalina Sandino Moreno) has turned up to reconcile with Garrett. She’s planning to move to San Francisco and hopes he’ll go. Although he doesn’t want to leave his family, not after everything.
The detectives go to the grave of SBK’s wife, to see if maybe someone comes to visit. He has an epiphany about the cherry blossoms on Sophie’s neck. Just like the ones at the graveyard. And all alone in the mansion with Madeline, we find Stephanie revealing herself a bit more. Most of all after she plants a needle in her former mother-in-law’s neck. Jesus. I honestly never saw any of this coming.
Where do we go from here? Well, Madeline gets tied up for the time being. Sophie talks more about her life, her mother, her father and his ‘art’ of sorts. Seems SBK got his kill list, for him and his daughter, from the donors at the hospital. She tells us that the bells were there to symbolise the one thing that could save their victim stays “just out of reach.” When Cam turns up things get tricky. She reveals their love stayed her want for revenge, but of course things went sour.
Everyone’s closing in now. Will they make it to the mansion in time? Or will Sophie enact the last breaths of her plan for revenge? Looks like she managed to at least strangle Madeline.
Cam manages to get a gun and point it at Sophie. But Garrett doesn’t want him to kill anyone, not like he did, and to have to live with those memories the rest of his life. He prevents Cam from making a terrible decision. Yet Sophie makes off into the night once more.
In other news, Alison wins her bid for Mayor of Boston. What good is that when your family’s being hunted? Small victories, I suppose.
The Hawthorne family is devastated. For all her faults, it’s still not nice to have your mother murdered. And to have been infiltrated so deeply by SBK’s daughter, his accomplice. Just, staggering. Brady kicks himself for not seeing it sooner, though Cutter tries to assure him he couldn’t have known, and at least now they DO know. They came around to becoming better friends and partners throughout the entire ordeal.

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Skip to a year later. Everyone is doing well, Tess and Brady have their child, Cam and his lady friend are getting closer finally. The family is okay after all. Somehow. There’s still creepy Jack. Who knows how they’ll eventually end up. Naomi and Alison are together, happy. Then Garrett and Christina show up with their own little family.
With his little bear still holding his mom’s recorded voice, Jack stands alone listening to it, wondering when she’ll come back to take him. Because a normal life is not what he wants. He’s got that nasty gene somewhere deep down.
We discover more of the secrets hiding amongst the Hawthornes. Alison knew a long while ago that Sophie was the accomplice. She revealed it to her former sister-in-law. Hmm. She even kept one of those bells instead of tossing them all. Thing is, Alison made a deal: don’t kill anybody else, just mom. Holy. Shit. Kills her mother, essentially, and creepily she’s JUST LIKE HER MOTHER. What a twisting, turning, strange little end.
With these last words, Alison ends her interview and the mini-series: “You can be a victim of your circumstances, or you can summon the strength to push through; no matter what. Today our family is thriving. I think my mother would be proud.”

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The end personally surprised me, from the opening of this episode to the finish. Far as I know this is only meant to be a mini-series. I dig it that way. Leaves you not with questions, but with a deeper idea of the corrupted roots of the Hawthorne family. What was done cannot be undone. It begets more of its own violence, the secrets of their family. Lots of fun, weird stuff that happened, too. Throughout the whole series. I had a blast, honestly. Didn’t expect to get so into it. Yet here I am. Hope some of you reading have enjoyed as much as I have. A stellar finish, way better than anticipated!

American Gothic – Episode 12: “Madame X”

CBS’ American Gothic
Episode 12: “Madame X”
Directed by Edward Ornelas
Written by Allen MacDonald & Lauren Goodman

* For a review of Episode 11, “Freedom From Fear” – click here
* For a review of the finale, “Whistler’s Mother” – click here
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The penultimate episode upon us, its title comes from a John Singer Sargent painting formally known as Portrait of Madame X, but also just as Madame X; you can find it here.
So has the truth come out? Are Garrett (Antony Starr) and his mother Madeline (Virginia Madsen) telling the truth?
For now, they’re dealing with the diorama of their house including a figurine of each family member dead. Everybody’s back under one roof, as Brady (Elliot Knight) comes back with Garrett. Cam (Justin Chatwin) takes Jack (Gabriel Bateman) away, not wanting to be in a house supposedly targeted by the accomplice to the Silver Bells Killer. Most interesting is that Tess (Megan Ketch) appreciates what her older brother did for her. She tells Garrett: “You should run.” All but begging him. To start a new life, maybe get the chance to be a part of his son’s life with Christina (Catalina Sandino Moreno), someday. But he doesn’t want to do that. He’s all about family. “No more running,” he tells Tessa.
One thing’s for sure, Garrett and Madeline have fallen out completely. No love there. As far as legality goes, they’re both given suspended sentences so long as they cooperate with the investigation.
Oh, Alison (Juliet Rylance). She can’t let go of Naomi, who’s back in Boston for a little while. Their relationship was clearly more deep than a fling. You can tell just by how they talk to one another. When there’s cable being run in the Hawthorne residence, Alison discovers a box of silver bells in a vent. The ones Madeline said were gone so long ago. Uh oh.
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The police are doing their jobs now, all over, from fingerprinting the little diorama mansion to a sketch artist. Detective Cutter (Deirdre Lovejoy) and Detective Ross aren’t exactly pleased with two completely different drawings from the mother-son descriptions. But then Garrett remembers a tattoo on the man’s chest; a Brigid’s cross. Not exactly a perfect clue. A clue nonetheless.
Young Jack (Gabriel Bateman) relaxes watching stuff about jellyfish while his mother Sophie (Stephanie Leonidas) sneaks in, locking Cam in the bathroom. “You wanna go for a ride?” she asks her son. Shit. I do not like the sounds of this, I don’t know she’s capable of, really. By the time Cam breaks out of the bathroom, she’s gone with Jack in tow, and a knife in her husband’s tire.
Alison figures out that her mother is the likely culprit of Jennifer Windham’s death. Yikes! That woman is one bad bitch. Even admits to her daughter what she’d done. All for the family, right? Oh, my. “You can justify anything,” Alison nearly weeps. She further pieces together that her mother killed off her father in the hospital. So ole Madeline’s officially a serial killer, I guess. And incredibly delusional.

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Cam’s attempting to figure out where his wife has gone with their son, enlisting his sister Tess to help. They try tracking her down via credit card purchases, a bit of slick work from a couple rich kids. At the same time, Alison has the whole dilemma of wondering what to do about their mother. She’s too busy thinking about Naomi, though.
Over at her husband’s final resting place Madeline stows cash, a passport, all that good stuff. Just in case. Meanwhile, Garrett is at the station with Brady asking for a bit of help to track down Christina. We get a nice topical joke from Brady: “You need anything else? Maybe Hillarys emails, or Trumps tax returns?” At first I thought it was cheesy. Then I laughed a bunch. What we do find out: the accomplice must be female. The prints on the dollhouse diorama confirm it.
And so Alison tosses the silver bells box into the river. Letting the memories and souvenirs rest. Good idea? Certainly not the morally best idea. She lets her mother know, which obviously puts Madeline’s mind at ease. However, the ties are being cut. “As far as Im concerned you no longer exist,” Alison tells her before leaving. Ouch. Slash totally understandable.
Sophie took Jack to an aquarium. Nice gesture, if she didn’t technically kidnap him. When Tess and Cam show up, the husband and wife have a little confrontation. She talks about wanting “one last memory” and hopes her boy won’t forget his mother. I worry she might do something to herself. She isn’t a good mother, or person, but still…
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The detectives have Garrett trying to identify SBK, except nothing comes out. All of a sudden, Brady wonders if maybe the Brigid’s cross was meant for more than the symbol; maybe it was for a name. When they track down a name, Garrett finally recognises the man himself, the dreaded Silver Bells.
Turns out Naomi may be more important than anyone thought. She’s the daughter of the Silver Bells Killer, having reinvented herself to slip inside the inner circle of the Hawthorne family. A place where she could destroy them easily.

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WHOA! Nice little shock at the end.
The finale is titled “Whistler’s Mother” and I can’t wait to dig in.

American Gothic – Episode 9: “The Oxbow”

CBS’ American Gothic
Episode 9: “The Oxbow”
Directed by Doug Aarniokoski
Written by Lawrence Broch

* For a review of Episode 8, “Kindred Spirits” – click here
* For a review of Episode 9, “The Veteran in a New Field” – click here
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The title for this episode comes from Thomas Cole’s View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm. Otherwise known as The Oxbow.
I wonder where the series will give homage to the 1836 oil painting?
Brad Ross (Elliot Knight) is having a rough go of things. But at least now he’s got Garrett Hawthorne (Antony Starr) in custody. He’s got the missing piece and Garrett’s knife matched. Flash to 2002, as Madeline (Virginia Madsen) finds her son, covered in blood, holding a knife. “What did you do?” she asks.
Well, we’re not given a straight answer. He looks incredibly guilty. But what more is there. Much more, I bet. Madeline visits him in jail and tries to start spinning things in her favour, to help her son. Or is it mostly to help herself? For now, Garrett has an attorney working for him, although he’s not particularly worried about what she’s doing. Instead he rattles off quotes from Horace Mann: “If evil is inevitable, how are the wicked held accountable? Why do we call men wicked at all? Evil if inevitable, but it is also remediable.”
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Back to 2003. A younger Garrett wakes up before his family arrives at the cabin, he takes off into the woods on his own again. While breaking into a cabin, he comes across Al Jenkins (M.C. Gainey) who isn’t exactly convinced with his story of just being out on his own, away from Boston. You can tell there’s more to that relationship.
In the current day, Garrett gets a call from Cam (Justin Chatwin) in rehab. Both brothers in their own respective cages. The older of the two apologises for getting his younger brother close to drugs the last time. Cam doesn’t think he needs to, but Garrett feels guilty generally for never being around. He confides in Cam: “You stayed true to yourselfIm so proud of you.” Cut back to the younger Garrett, out in those woods. He chases a rabbit with a knife until coming across Al once again. They have a bit of dinner together around the fire. They bond. This leads to Garrett getting his own cabin after Al leads him to the place of a now dead old man. And the life of the wandering Hawthorne begins. Al teaches him a thing or two about surviving on his own.
In present day Alison (Juliet Rylance) doesn’t believe her brother was an accomplice of any kind to the Silver Bells Killer, their dear ole dad. Who knows what’s left to be done for the elder Garrett brother at this point, though. In other news, Alison has Jennifer Windham (Sarah Power) started on a bit of dirty work trying to dig up dirt on the current mayor. Ah, the greasy Hawthorne ethic comes out strong in this one.


Slide back to 2008. Al tells Garrett about losing a niece, as they bond over family members to which they were close; Garrett talks about his sister Tess (Megan Ketch) and how they were the closest of all the family. Speaking of Tess, she is certainly not convinced about her brother, either. She keeps telling her husband there must be some other explanation. However, Brady does not get her “loyalty” to a guy like Garrett. He suggests confronting her brother, seeing if he’ll confess or deny it to her face.
It’s on!
The painting from which the episode gets its name is all about the confrontation between wilderness and civilisation. We see that represented totally through Garrett. As the years pass, he stays in the woods, away from civilisation. Away from his family. He peeks in occasionally. He buys a newspaper to read Cam’s cartoon Roger’s Cube. There’s part of him that doesn’t want to let go. He gets his number to Tess without being seen, so they can get in touch: “If you need it,” Garrett lets her know. Their bond is so obviously a deep one, a caring one. Great scenes between those two.
When Tess goes to see him in jail things have changed. At least a little. Garrett’s mostly only concerned with his possible niece or nephew coming along. He doesn’t want anybody worrying about him. Tess asks him point blank about the knife. Her brother won’t answer what she needs to hear, casually suggesting his guilt. The change in their relationship is becoming more of a divide. Everyone’s opinion of Garrett has gone 180 degrees.
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Jennifer’s been tracking the mayor. He meets with Detective Linda Cutter (Deirdre Lovejoy) in secret. What exactly are they doing?
We see more of creepy little Jack (Gabriel Bateman) visiting his uncle, being weird. Talking about the bubonic plague and other happy things. He mentions seeing Christina (Catalina Sandino Moreno) at the hospital near the ultrasound department; Garrett tries calling her, but no luck in talking much. Then he calls his lawyer, desperate to get out of jail: he’s going to be a dad.
There are big things happening in the Silver Bells case. Mainly the police department is getting their ass kicked by Garrett’s lawyer. She starts bringing up chain of custody, mishandling evidence. Might not be long before Garrett does see the light of day.
Switch back to ’08. Garrett finds Al in pain on the floor, his heart aching. He’s writhing in agony. “This is it,” he says. Death is coming for him. So Al begs his friend: “Help me die.” Of course Garrett refuses. The begging becomes desperate until finally he agrees to help Al along the way. He holds a pillow over the man’s face and eases him into the afterlife.
Seeing this, can we actually now say that Garrett was an accomplice to murder? Definitely not in the first hand sense. He could barely help a dying man go ahead and die. There’s reason to suspect he may not be a killer whatsoever.
Then 2016 rolls around, and Garrett heads back to the city when his father’s ready to die. Present day, he sits behind the walls of prison. On the television he watches Jennifer Windham reporting on the Silver Bells Killer. Someone holds her hostage, making her read a note claiming himself as the true accomplice.

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In 2002, after Madeline walked in on Garrett with the blood stains over him, the knife in his hand, she asks what he’s done. The young Garrett replies: “He tried to kill me.”
Everything gets deeper and deeper, with every turn.
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A solid entry into the first season. Great episode! Suspenseful, mysterious.
Next is “The Veteran in a New Field” and is titled so after an 1865 painting by Winslow Homer depicting a man using a scythe in an open, empty field. You can find that painting here.

American Gothic – Episode 5: “The Artist in His Museum”

CBS’ American Gothic
Episode 5: “The Artist in His Museum”
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper
Written by Lauren MacKenzie & Andrew Gettens

* For a review of Episode 4, “Christina’s World” – click here
* For a review of Episode 6, “The Chess Players” – click here
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Last we left Garrett Hawthorne (Antony Starr) he was taking off his clothes, brandishing that belt, and moving uncomfortably close to Christina Morales (Catalina Sandino Moreno). Is he the Silver Bells Killer? Too obvious, right?
Well, they get interrupted and Garrett slips that belt back on. He’s nervous, especially considering Christina’s friend swears she recognises him from somewhere. “I cant do this,” Garrett tells her before leaving. Damn.
Washing blood off his hands, Cam (Justin Chatwin) decides to take a nice dose of heroin. Right as Brady Ross (Elliot Knight), brother-in-law, busts in to find out what he knows about the whole SBK case. Cam’s just shaken up about Sophie (Stephanie Leonidas), the drug dealer. However, Brady lets Cam know about the picture, the belt, so the poor junkie’s got more to worry about than a drug debt or a possibly cheating wife or anything else. At the Hawthorne Mansion, Tess (Megan Ketch) tries to talk with her husband. Unfortunately there’s so much going on that I don’t think there’s any way any single one of them can keep a lid on things. Furthermore, Tess once more refuses to let the family DNA go to the cops when her husband wants to test the needle Cam was ready to mainline. For his part the guy doesn’t want to be a junkie. As a former addict myself, I know the struggle (not heroin; and that’s worse). Still, it’s tough to deal with as the people around an addict.
Oh, and dear ole mom is out doing her own thing. That strange note she got during the last episode is in an envelope. Madeline (Virginia Madsen) fills it with twenties.
The Silver Bells case is not particularly going smooth. Not for Brady. Detective Linda Cutter (Deirdre Lovejoy) continually breaks his balls, even if he’s fighting for the good side. His boss is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. That’s all that really matters.
Alison (Juliet Rylance) and Naomi (Maureen Sebastian) are being blackmailed by a young woman working for the campaign. The one that saw them having a steamy time during the previous episode. While she’s extorting money, Alison has other pressing things to attend to apparently.
Now Cam is into the detox stage. He wants to get back on the wagon, shake the horse. Only problem is he’s seeing things. Terrifying things. Like silver bells falling out of the medicine cabinet. Like his father in the mirror, saying he needs to show his son a body. He’s hallucinating hardcore, as his father keeps chasing him. So much so Cam actually knocks his sister in the head accidentally. “You know what you saw,” Mitchell Hawthorne (Jamey Sheridan) says ominously to his son.
What an opener. This episode is titled after a painting by Charles Willson Peale, a self-portrait from 1822, in case anyone’s interested.
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So the police are looking to speak with Cam, and the Hawthorne children are struggling to hide him. To hide other things. Even things of which they have no clue. The sort of stuff their mother is hiding. Of course they all have skeletons. Although the dirtiest, darkest ones belong to mommy.
All the while, Cam is detoxing. His siblings, despite their attitudes, are trying their best to help him out. He’s finding reality tough to delineate from his hallucinations and the dreams and all the rest of it. Alison supports him. Or is that mostly out of concern for her political career? Not easy to tell with the Hawthornes. They’re master manipulators. All of them.
The always amazing Lin Shaye makes a nice cameo as Lila, waitress at a diner. She’s the one getting money from Madeline – her daughter. Yowzahs! Love that. Shaye is a fascinating presence. Just to see her now, the way she grifts from one moment to the next, it’s no wonder Madeline turned out at least a little skewed. Looking forward to more of that backstory.
Meanwhile, Garrett and Alison are left together. He confronts her. Wondering why she’s avoiding him. She excuses it all because of her busy schedule. When she makes insinuations about Garrett, his past, he tells her: “I have no idea what happened.” And then he makes cryptic references about secrets, meant to hold onto that “greater good” or otherwise known as the Hawthorne family’s best interests.

 


In Cam’s latest nightmare, his own son Jack (Gabriel Bateman) sits with his false teeth doll reciting Robert Burns’ poem “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” in eerie fashion, as Mitchell wanders around in other parts. The poor guy cannot catch a mental break. He later sees Mitch pulling a body down a spiral staircase, mumbling. Real creepy stuff.
Out at Lila’s trailer her daughter waits. Then the waitress comes flying home, drunk as hell. She nearly knocks the trailer over and tears up her own garden. Hammered. I guess most of that money Madeline is giving her goes to booze.
Detective Cutter keeps pressing, overstepping the boundaries by questioning Jack when nobody’s around. There’s definitely a bigger confrontation brewing there. Especially now with young Jack being brought into the mix. Tess decides it’s time to “end this” and wants to have the DNA finally tested.
Garrett hears Cam talking in his sleep. He needs to know more, though Cam is in the throes of an awful detox. So the older brother ties his younger brother up and heads out for a bit. He goes to see Christina to try and get some help.
We find out more about Madeline’s “arrangement” with her mother Lila. They’ve agreed, because of Mitchell, that she stay away from her grandchildren. Lila sees it as control. She mentions someone named Caleb, perhaps a previous husband or a boyfriend, somebody close. But Madeline says it was all her idea to keep Lila away. To protect her children from the dysfunction of her own mother. “People change,” Lila says between tears. “But you dont,” replies Madison. The relationship seems irreparable.

 


Cam is sweating it out, as his siblings try to rally around him. Lost in a dream he’s walked, hand in hand, by his father down the staircase, the body being dragged nearby. “Was it me, Cam?” Garrett asks, then Mitch asks, then Cam himself asks.
There’s a nasty secret buried somewhere deep down there. Wonder if it’ll work its way out.
Later, the brothers chat again. Garrett pokes around for more info. Cam says he’s had those images and thoughts in his head since his teenage years. He tells his brother about the body being dragged. He worries there’s more to the Silver Bells, the repressed memories he’s got floating around in his mind. But Garrett does his best to keep those memories repressed. Awhile later, Cam starts inspecting the staircase looking for clues of what happened on that staircase in his dreams, or if it’s all just smoke.
Brady tells Tess that it urns out Cam is not a match to the DNA.
However, there’s a familial match. The blood on that belt is still from a Hawthorne; the Silver Bells Killer.
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Fun episode. Again, not perfect. But I dig it enough to keep watching. Next episode is titled “The Chess Players” and is named after a painting by American artist Thomas Eakins.

American Gothic – Episode 4: “Christina’s World”

CBS’ American Gothic
Episode 4: “Christina’s World”
Directed by P.J. Pesce
Written by Lawrence Broch

* For a review of Episode 3, “Nighthawks” – click here
* For a review of Episode 5, “The Artist in His Museum” – click here
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This episode is titled after the painting “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth from 1948, one of the most recognised images in American art from the 20th century. How will it play in? We’ll see.
Alison (Juliet Rylance) is busy with her campaign manager, Naomi Flynn (Maureen Sebastian). In bed. Meanwhile, Mama Madeline (Virginia Madsen) calls to let her know about Gunther’s suicide. This propels all the Hawthornes back to home base.
Then there’s Brady Ross (Elliot Knight), caught between his wife’s family and his duty. He’s doing his best and claiming the Silver Bells Killer is indeed Gunther. Oh, the little he knows. His wife Tess (Megan Ketch) is busy trying to convince her mother to tell the cops about the bells, seeing as how Gunther is the supposed culprit now. But mother and Alison don’t think that’s any good. I can’t help feeling Madeline is most certainly hiding much deeper, darker secrets. And now she’s got her youngest daughter Tess mixed up in the whole lot.
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Cam (Justin Chatwin) is with his estranged wife Sophie (Stephanie Leonidas), and glad to not be a “suspected serial killer” like anybody would. These two are bad news together. No wonder little Jack (Gabriel Bateman) is a bit of a psychopath. His parents are degenerates, through and through.
Every married couple in this family has their trouble. Not least of which is the Ross arm of the clan. Brady tries apologising, admitting that everything is over at this point. Except Tess is getting sucker further into her family’s madness. That can’t be good at all for them going forward. The doubt about Brady, where his loyalties lie, is planted in her head. Mother exerts a strong influence.
More of Madeline’s deception comes out. A woman injured in the tunnel collapse is making things difficult for them. Of course mom makes it seem like the concern is for Alison and her campaign, but it’s more for the skeletons poking out of her closet. Doesn’t help now that Alison’s husband Tom Price (Dylan Bruce), hanging on by a thread in their relationship, owns Hawthorne Concrete. So he’s also got be involved. The whole thing isn’t going to go over easy. The woman agrees to drop her lawsuit for $15-million. Yiiiikes.


There’s a bit more trouble brewing on Cam’s front. His equally junkie wife has racked up a $4K drug debt with her tough-looking dealer, who happens to come poking around while she isn’t home. Cam gets a good punch in the face and a warning to pass on. And down at the station Cam’s family is getting bitched about by their neighbour, the owner of Caramel the cat. Will the macabre interests of young Jack bring more scrutiny on the Hawthornes? I’m just waiting for that to happen. In the meantime, Dt. Linda Cutter (Deirdre Lovejoy) thinks it’s possible Gunther just may be innocent.
Then who IS the Silver Bells Killer? We knew it couldn’t be as easy as the gardener, nor Colonel Mustard in the library.
Tom and Alison are busy trying to work their magic. They find some interesting little bits of information against Mayor Bill Conley (Enrico Colantoni). The sort of info they can use to get rid of their lawsuit problem.
Over at the Hawthorne mansion, Tess and her mother talk about life. Tess isn’t so sure about having a child anymore, not with Brady. At least things have changed for the moment. Getting pulled into the family is not a good thing, especially seeing as how there’s some ugly secret lurking in the background of the Hawthorne family. For her part, Madeline doesn’t totally go against Brady, but there isn’t anything righteous about her. Not truthfully so, anyway. She is a snake and I can only imagine what it is she’s sheltering from the world.


Finally, we find Garrett (Antony Starr) again, sitting in a bar. He’s watching the nurse again – Christina Morales (Catalina Sandino Moreno). Instead of being inconspicuous, she easily finds him out. They talk a bit, flirt around one another slightly. He’s still a complete enigma to most. What is most interesting comes when Garrett finds out she believes her father’s killer – Silver Bells – has been found, he’s dead. But the look in Garrett’s eyes, man… it speaks louder than any words in his vocabulary could manage. There is something else he knows. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop him from getting close to her. I just feel there’s going to be no good come of it, as Garrett is also hiding something.
Dts. Cutter and Ross figure out that Gunther could not have been the Silver Bells Killer. Not only was he laid up in a body cast during one of the murders, he was also ill, only a few weeks left to live. Cutter starts wondering if Gunther took the fall for somebody. Or maybe it’s the fact he knew of SBK’s identity and didn’t tell anyone that weighed him down full of guilt.
Big brother Garrett does his younger brother Cam a solid and asks Madeline for $4K. Hmm. Will Garrett use this as some kind of leverage over Cam later? Nah, he just hands it directly over to him in front of his mother telling him: “Be smart.” In other family news, Tess and Brady make up, which is a surprise to her husband. Even better they’re planning on having lots of sex. Y’know, for baby making purposes. And for good old fashioned fun.
The relationship between Garrett and Christina deepens. They picnic together, getting to know each other better. Yet each time Garrett hears her talk about her father, his eyes change and he makes comments about the killer likely not realising the “collateral damage” of the deaths he caused. Jesus. I’m just waiting for more of that backstory to drop. Did Garrett witness a kill? Did he find out about someone in the family doing some killing? Or maybe he did it. We’ll have to keep on waiting/sweating it out.


Mayor Conley and Alison take a run at their mutual opponent. Although the woman is not at all willing to work with them. Until they’ve got some video evidence of her breaking probation on a DUI charge. Ahh, this puts a chip in the lady’s plan. However, she still gets $1-million. With stipulations. The lawsuit has to be dropped, as well as Alison and Conley being pumped up on live television as real do-gooders.
At the same time, Madeline gets an odd note in the mail. It tells her COME SEE ME OR I’LL COME SEE YOU.
Cutter finds problems with the DNA that Brady brought in, supposedly from his wife. Turns out the DNA is from a Hispanic woman. Everything is spinning slightly out of control for ole Dt. Ross. He worries about Tess and what her family is involved in, what she may be involved in, whether directly or not. When he confronts Tess, he discovers that she planted the hair. A test for him, she says. The fire’s been lit under Brady and he is out for blood. He’ll figure out SBK, one way or another. Or die trying.
And Cam, he goes to meet Sophie’s dealer to give him the money owed. But the dealer says they’ve settled up. Not with any cash. She banged her dealer to pay off the debt, and that really bothers her husband. Worst of all, Cam is now beginning to figure out he and his wife are causing their son plenty of grief, likely why he’s completely messed up.
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Garrett goes to see Christina at her place, bottle of wine in hand. They spend a nice romantic evening together. Until the ghostly look on his face gives way to him taking off his shirt, undoing his belt, and brandishing it, the look in his eyes spelling murder.
Could this be what we’re seeing? Is Garrett the Silver Bells Killer, or is this him hoping to clean up a loose end and keep his family out from under scrutiny? Very, very hard to tell. Amazing ending.
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Loved this episode. The mini-series isn’t perfect, nor do I expect that. But it is enjoyable, it has enough edge to be fun. The next episode is titled “The Artist in His Museum” and I hope to find more secrets bulging from the seams.

The Knick – Season 1, Episode 6: “Start Calling Me Dad”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 1, Episode 6: “Start Calling Me Dad”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the previous episode, “They Capture the Heat” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Get the Rope” – click here
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This episode begins, again, with a ringing phone. Now, it is at the Chickering household and the call comes for Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano). At a very early hour. Just so happens it’s Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen). But then Dr. Bertram Chickering Sr (Reg Rogers) isn’t too pleased with the early calls. Even less impressed with Thackery and his early morning experiments.
When Bertie gets to the lab, there are naked Asian women sitting with Thack. They’ve been there a couple days straight: “We took a few small breaks,” John says with a saucy, sly grin. He has lots to show Bertie, hoping to improve on the placental problems they’d encountered when Dr. Christiansen was still around. The plan, says Thack, is to put pressure on the wound while performing a Cesarean inside the wound, rather than outside. Watching these innovations on the part of Thackery is amazing, almost like witnessing a piece of history. The excited way in which Clive Owen delivers these lines shows us both Thack’s own happiness to push forward into the future of medicine, as well as his raging cocaine addiction. Furthermore, the way he employs the prostitutes to help with his new experiments is sort of hilarious, especially the way he reels Bertie in to the entire thing. Well written opener to the sixth episode of The Knick‘s Season 1.


In less exciting and sadder news, Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and his wife Eleanor (Maya Kazan) are all but watching their child perish from meningitis. She is upset that Everett “brought this into our house” while he is devastated. Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) tries to tell Eleanor there isn’t much to be done, at all. Though, Everett mentions a slim chance bloodletting procedure, and the mother wants anything, everything to be done in order to try saving their child.
Inspector Speight (David Fierro) and Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance) are still trying to figure out the typhoid outbreak. He has a fairly well connected map of the disease spreading around New York City, so they’re merely trying to discover the link: ice cream. Or “whats in the ice cream“. Turns out a woman named Mary Mallon (Melissa McMeekin) made all the ice cream which got everyone sick; Typhoid Mary.
Meanwhile, Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) is trying to acquire an x-ray machine that doesn’t cost $3,000. The salesman of a second hand unit introduces Herman to the machine and takes an x-ray for him. “This should take about an hour,” the man tells him. Incredible how advanced we’ve become since.


Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) and Cornelia sit together for a talk. He seems pensive, perhaps depressed. His life at The Knickerbocker Hospital isn’t what it promised to be at the start. Here, we get insight into the young life of Algie, as an almost additional member of the Robertson clan, having played with Cornelia and her brother Henry as children. We can tell there is more to the relationship between Algernon and Cornelia, so it’ll be interesting to watch more of that come out as the season progresses.
Abby (Jennifer Ferrin) and her syphilis treatment is coming along. The poor thing is strapped constantly into a contraption which keeps her arm over her head, the skin from her inner bicep stitched to her nose. “Its always looks like rain,” Abby tells John, “if you only look at the clouds.” Her spirits are high, though, it’s probably only because of having to deal with her illness so long. She has become accustomed to it, sadly.
Then there’s Thackery dealing with the greasy salesman, Luff (Tom Papa) who hawked a second hand x-ray machine off on Barrow. He comes in with a liniment oil already emblazoned with Dr. Thackery’s face, ready to sell. Essentially, Luff is only concerned with his share of the “booming market” in medicine. He even talks about Dr. Pepper, whose “brain tonic is doing so well they’re serving it at fountains all around the city; as much a beverage as it is a remedy.” John doesn’t have much time for it, shooing Luff out and calling him a “moldy rogue”. Already in 1900, the vultures of capitalism are peeking their heads out and trying to make money from whatever they can in the burgeoning field.


Bertie is taking Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) out on a date. They have a pretzel and walk together, enjoying one another’s company. Smiling, talking. A new relationship is beginning here, but will the small looks between Lucy and Thackery become anything? Will that further cause tension between John and Bertie? Either way, for now Bertie clearly likes being with Lucy, and she seems to, as well.
In an African-American bar, Algernon is having a drink. His eyes are dangerous and his face looks almost vacant. The bartender talks about “the Big Nig“, someone to whom Algernon should not go looking for a fight. He does, though. And afterwards we watch him ice down his side, clearly after having gone for a fight with the man. Glad we didn’t get another scene of Edwards fighting, but that it’s merely alluded to heavily. Nice editing in this particular scene.
More sadness now, as the Gallingers finally lose their child to meningitis. Eleanor is apparently lost in her own mind, not thinking straight. She can’t accept the death of their daughter. Sister Harriet and Everett are both equally concerned. Of course, “the powerful wave of melancholia” is coming, and Harriet suggest perhaps they ought to adopt a baby that was left on the church steps recently. A way to get through things. Everett’s left to consider whether or not they ought to take the child in.
Such a juxtaposition to see Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) waiting outside for Harriet: “Weve got work to do,” he says. She goes from caring for children to abortion so quickly. Not that I have any issue with it, just an interesting parallel.
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Inspector Speight and Cornelia finally track down Typhoid Mary. She is at a new home serving ice cream again. Once the news of her typhoid is let out, everybody at the table eating drops their spoons, afraid they might contract her nastiness. Awesome little scene where Mary tries to run away and then Cornelia tackles her – “Definitely a new century,” Speight laughs remarking he’d “never seen a society girl join a fracas that quick.” This part had me laughing, in the best sort of way. Cornelia is a tough cookie.
At The Knick, another pregnant patient comes in and Thack gets himself ready by shooting up a good dose of cocaine. Bertie is along for the ride, once more. “Are you sure we’re ready?” he asks Thack. But John is all ready, he wants to go and figure things out. He wants to move forward and try getting the procedure right, on the table, in the operating theatre. No more experiments. So they used their new contraption to enter the vaginal canal and attempt to succeed where they’ve only managed to fail until now. Thack cuts into the stomach and forges on. Their new technique helps to slow the bleeding, allowing the successful delivery of the baby. The placental repair is named after all three men who influenced its development: Christiansen-Thackery-Chickering. A new step into the modern world of medicine and childbirth.
Late at night, Thack is working. He hears something downstairs and eventually comes upon the makeshift black emergency room which Algernon has been running. John wants them all out, so the gig is up. So it seems. This could be bad for Edwards, as well as the patients he will no longer get to service. He shows Thackery the extent of the little clinic, what he’s been doing down there with limited resources and under the virtual cover of darkness: “Are you out of your fucking mind?” John asks sternly. Things change slightly when Thack sees the blood pump Edwards made out of a vacuum cleaner: “Thats not the only thing Ive come up with down here,” Algie assures before introducing his solution for the inguinal hernia. John agrees not to say anything for now, as long as the door stays locked and nobody else wanders in. Even better, Algernon’s hernia treatment is heading for the big time and tenuous agreement is struck between the two doctors: “Dr. Edwards,” begins Thackery, “may I officially welcome you to The Knick?”


Cornelia is being readied to marry Phillip Showalter (Tom Lipinski). He believes she’ll be a perfect little housewife instead of continuing on with any business after their marriage. A tense, sort of creepy scene sees Phillip’s father Hobart Showalter (Gary Simpson) confront Cornelia in her room, as she happens to be undressing for the day. The name of the episode comes from these moments. He’s got lots of ideas about what needs to happen after Cornelia is hitched to Phillip. It is an unsettling and nervous scene, but sets the tone for Cornelia’s further relationship with Hobart and the Showalter clan. You could feel something more almost breaking through, and yet the episode finishes her on a strange, awkward note. Very interested to see where it all goes from here.


The next episode is titled “Get the Rope”. Stay tuned with me for another go round.

The Knick – Season 1, Episode 3: “The Busy Flea”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Busy Flea”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the previous episode, “Mr. Paris Shoes” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Where’s the Dignity?” – click here
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After an intense and wonderful second episode “Mr. Paris Shoes”, the third episode of Cinemax’s The Knick sees an old, familiar face to Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) come to visit at The Knickerbocker Hospital. It’s a woman named Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin). She’s a friend of John. On her face, she wears a fake nose with her tiny blue glasses. The savagery of syphilis. “No one handles the unexpected like John Thackery,” she says. “Its where I live,” replies John.
They were together once upon a time. Turns out, he’s always been a bit of a wild card. Abby tells him: “I could never get used to what you called normal.” There’s a tender scene where John takes her fake nose off, revealing the missing one from her face where a gaping wound sits. Abby’s husband and John are the only two men she has ever been with, but her husband was less than faithful. Such a sad state of affairs, to see a woman cheated on, but worse – cheated on and then given a terrible disease, one which at this point in 1900 was yet to be properly dealt with (penicillin did those old effects in after 1928). Rotten. Glad to see Thackery is still a friend after all their history, and further, a doctor who’s willing to try and help her with everything he can possibly do.
I love that their relationship is evident, but not through a total barrage of exposition. Just goes to show the writing in this series is quality. Courtesy of Jack Amiel & Michael Begler, a fantastic team alongside Steven Soderbergh and his fascinating filming techniques.


Out with his tooth missing, Herman ends up not getting a corpse for Thackery. We’ll see how that plays out for him. Back at the hospital, Herman’s wife Effie (Molly Price) arrives for a little meeting. They don’t seem to have much of relationship. Clearly, Herman is a crook, he keeps her in fine clothing. However, she appears to be always looking for money. So is Herman doing what he does just to fund her activities, or is it that Herman puts himself out there as a man on the town with all kinds of cash? I think he overextends himself. Not to put all the blame on him, but when Effie asks about earring of hers that went missing it’s clear Herman is pinching any penny, anywhere, just to live a lifestyle that he wants.
In the basement of The Knick, Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) is doing his best to secure everything for his undercover operations. He’s bringing in any of the other black employees at the hospital, regardless of where they happen to work there, from the young men shoveling coal in the furnace, to a laundry woman who finds herself promoted to “surgical nurse“.
Sneaking about the morgue we find Herman take the tag off a body, labeled as a patient of Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson). Is this the body he’ll give over to Thackery? Later on, Herman comes up with the money for Bunky Collier (Danny Hoch). For now he’s off the hook.


Thackery is busy working on pigs. Across town, Herman is being a pig, obviously not interested in being home with his wife, so there he is with a young prostitute being tended to in bed. So, not only is Barrow funding his wife for every possible thing, he’s also promising all sorts of things to this young lady. Wow. I knew he was greasy, but here’s Herman getting greasier than ever. The name of this episode comes from the act the prostitute does for him, as he jacks off. So strange.
But back to the basement of The Knick. A young black man leads a slightly older black gentleman down to the makeshift operation Dr. Edwards has going. There’s even a sort of reception. In the operating theatre, we might call it, Algernon has a patient on his table and dictates his entire surgery to a girl taking notes. The older laundress from earlier is next to the doctor, ready to stitch things up wherever and whenever needed. Dig this so much, to see Dr. Edwards do everything in his power to help his people in a time when nobody else will.
Everett is a troubled man. At home, his wife Eleanor (Maya Kazan) sort of wastes away. He isn’t exactly neglectful, though, I don’t get the feeling he’s a family man other than in appearance. The child cries upstairs, off goes Eleanor.
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Cornelia (Juliet Rylance) sits at home, listening to her father Captain August Robertson (Grainger Hines) go on and on. We find out Algernon’s parents work for the Robertsons – his father Jesse (Leon Addison Brown) drives carriage for them, Mrs. Edwards (La Tonya Borsay) serves them dinner and takes care of the house. August seems semi-genuine in his care for Algernon, wanting things to get along well at The Knick. But at the same time, I feel August is mostly a capitalist, so as far as Dr. Edwards is useful to him (re: profit), I’d bet that’s about as far as August is interested. We’ll see how all that goes. Even more, there’s talk of typhoid again. Possibly “the beginning of an epidemic“, as August hopes it’s not.
Thack is busy sawing up pigs when Cornelia visits him. She wants to smooth things out for Algernon, even if the man wants to tend to business himself. She cares, it’s very clear. Although, she wants to talk with Thackery about the possible start of a typhoid outbreak. The doctor suggests getting in touch with Inspector Speight (David Fierro). When he arrives on the scene Speight doesn’t care about “upsetting the apple cart” because, basically, that’s his entire job anyways. There is definitely interest in the case on his part, as well as the fact Cornelia wants to get digging on this whole thing. Interesting pair, these two.


Drs. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) and Gallinger head to see Thackery. It’s very apparent Everett is a racist. Algernon is a co-author on the paper they ransacked another hospital to find, concerning their upcoming surgery. John is pleased, really, but most of all wants to get back to his “preparations” – a.k.a shooting up cocaine. Only there’s more and more trouble finding a vein: “Hello,” he says after locating one: “Welcome back.”
Called to his basement office Algernon receives the hernia patient he advised to rest. But the man didn’t listen, now his hernia is burst and paining bad. The resulting operation is a mess. Algernon can’t quite get a handle on things, using the amateurs around him to do his best. But blood is pumping, thread is running out. Nothing happens the way it ought to, naturally. Unfortunately the patient dies and it’s clear Edwards takes the entire thing to heart. Even sadder, they have to discard the body in the bushes somewhere, to let somebody find him. Brutal.
Dr. Thackery tries his best to do a procedure for Abby. An old one where they used skin from the arm to graft onto the face, keeping the patient’s arm raised and next to the head. John is clearly upset, he wants better for Abby believing that “shell always be alone“. There is still a flame which burns in him for her. In other news, John does all he can for the friends of Cornelia who came in with typhoid; though a raging addict, he obviously has a true heart beneath it all. Somewhere deep inside is a pain that can’t be quelled.


At the end of the episode, Algernon is steaming. He sits at an African-American bar listening to someone next to him talk up a lady, saying he’s been all over the world; mostly America. Edwards starts chirping him, even calls the man “a regular Rudyard Kipling” and picking a fight. Ole Mr. Paris Shoes ends up going fist to fist, in an amazingly filmed sequence. There are a few things I like about this whole bit. Algernon is lashing out, and not because of any other reason than his oppression. Right now, the only thing he can do and is let to be done well is fight. That’s all. Because surgery has all but been yanked from his hands, he’s stuck in the basement. So at a bar, out in the open, Algernon picks a fight and absolutely destroys this other guy. All to prove he is top of his game, in any way he can. He is competitive, only because the white man keeps making him have to be. Anything else and he’d end up dead.

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Excited to see more of this coming up. Next episode is titled “Where’s the Dignity?”. Stay tuned with me.

The Knick – Season 1, Episode 2: “Mr. Paris Shoes”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 1, Episode 2: “Mr. Paris Shoes”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the first episode, “Method and Madness” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Busy Flea” – click here
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The beginning of this second episode gives a glimpse into the living of Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland), a doctor yet relegated to the virtual slums of New York City. We see the clash of culture between a black man like Algernon, and the other African-Americans living there with him. This episode’s title comes from this conversation, as Algernon has to explain he got his fancy shoes over in Paris; not impressing the man much. Just this one brief scene gives us so much insight into the low life an upper class man like Edwards must live, all because of the colour of his skin.
Meanwhile, Cornelia (Juliet Rylance) is butting heads with the patriarchal world in which she exists. Her father, Captain August Robertson (Grainger Hines), insists she keep up with it because, as he puts it: “If you were a man youd be running this damn city by now.” Seeing the stories of Cornelia and Algernon juxtaposed against one another, the contrast between African-Americans and women, re: status, is very present from the start. Excellent writing.


Over at The Knickerbocker Hospital, the new electrical system isn’t exactly running totally properly. This does nothing to quell the distaste in Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), but I’m sure cocaine will do the trick. Then there’s Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) still trying to get every last bit of funds out of Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) and the hospital. He’s an Irish man, no doubt having come over from the Old Country, so it couldn’t be too easy in 1900 for people immigrating to New York for them to make cash. We watch him try and negotiate for a corpse, which ends in him lifting a ring off the body; to cover costs, you know.
The death of Dr. Christiansen (Matt Frewer) still weighs heavily on Thack. He remembers moments in time with the now deceased doctor. Christiansen wanted to study the dead, in order to help the living, with diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, and so on. Little inklings of how Thackery got to The Knick come out, after he reveals having done work with Captain Robertson “in Nicaragua“. Interesting – we’ll see the rest of this come out in Season 2, giving us more backstory to the addicted doctor. John talks with Christiansen’s wife, Catherine (Melissa Errico), whose pain and suffering is also running rampant. She worries about John, that it all may take its toll on him, but he replies: “I have ways of getting through.”


More surgery now, with Thackery leading, as well as Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) at the ready. Steven Soderbergh offers us a look into the modernity of hospitals now, with the electrical system starting to kick up a fuss. During a routine cauterization, a fire starts. Then a nurse gets electrocuted to death. This truly drives Thackery mad. He and Cornelia go to see Barrow who accuses the contractor of wrongdoing. Herman looks slightly nervous about it all, wanting to speak with the contractor himself instead of rushing right to the courts. I believe we’re about to see more on Barrow, who he is, and exactly where the money from The Knick is going.
Furthermore, we also see how The Knick isn’t providing much comfort for Dr. Edwards; no more than his nasty little apartment where he lives among the lower classes. Cornelia is fairly unimpressed with it all, though, Algernon takes it in stride while trying to keep his anger below the surface. “I expect these things,” Edwards tells her: “Youre upset because you dont.”
Electricity still on the fritz, Gallinger brings Chickering, Edwards and Thackery in to see some new patients, one whose illness happens to be syphilis. The lights finally go out, and Thack gives Barrow a mouthful. Simultaneously, Edwards tries to put his ideas in the ring for Thack, but nobody is too eager to listen to him.


Finally, we see Herman meeting with the man who supposedly did the electrical work, Clarence Mulkeen (Andy Murray). Turns out, as I guessed, Barrow embezzled money meant to go towards the renovations, which prompted the bad work. Now he’s got to try and climb back up the hill. Will this put Herman in a bad way?
Plenty racism at The Knick sees Dr. Edwards being both monitored by Bertie, as well as scoffed at by a young patient’s mother; all because he’s black. Regardless, Dr. Chickering isn’t prejudiced, not that I can tell. He is simply doing the job assigned to him. Even more than that, Dr. Edwards notices a black woman trying to get medical attention, but The Knick won’t accept black patients. This is highly distressing to Edwards, naturally. Prompting him to start figuring out a way to accept African-Americans for service, albeit without anyone else knowing. I suppose his basement office isn’t so bad now, providing an inconspicuous place for him to begin seeing patients. Tricky, tricky, Algernon! I dig it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In the operating theatre, Thackery is dealing with an aneurysm. No electricity for now, so at least they won’t find themselves electrocuted. Also, we start to see more and more how Bertie is interested in Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson). Thack might be, too, as Everett so eagerly points out. Unfortunately, another patient is lost. The morbidity of modern medicine in 1900 is always alive and well on The Knick.


Returning to his office, Herman finds a couple thugs waiting for him – on behalf of Bunky Collier (Danny Hoch), there’s Jimmy (Happy Anderson) to start putting the hurt on Barrow. They’re not impressed about the debt: “You’re never too busy for Bunky,” Happy advises. They threaten his life if Herman doesn’t go see Collier. Looks like Herman is really in a bad way. Plus, he has Thackery on his back needing human cadavers for experiments, not the pigs they’ve got sitting down in the lab.
Dr. Thackery meets with Nurse Lucy in his office. He talks about his “circus town” and how it’s “no place for a girl”. Mostly he tries to apologize for the state in which she found him during the first episode. But she seems pretty keen on not rocking the boat, at least in the fact she understands the need of his secrecy, agreeing to keep his wild state between the two of them.
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Dr. Thackery: “There is a life we live within the walls of this hospital and one we live outside of it, and these two lives need not intersect, do you understand?”
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Tom Cleary helps Drs. Chickering and Gallinger break into another hospital. They search for information while Cleary riffs hilariously about a man with elephantiasis. Afterwards, Cleary is out drinking like a king. At the same time, Edwards is down in the basement of The Knick treating the woman who’d been refused previously.
The most interesting moment comes when we switch back to Cleary. He spies Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour), out of her habit, dressed almost solemnly. She heads to an apartment where a frightened, bleary eyed young redhead woman is requiring her services. Seems Harriet isn’t only married to Christ, she happens to help girls like this one with unwanted pregnancies. In a time such as 1900, this is certainly a shocking story. While I agree with Harriet’s ethics Tom now has a bit of dirt on the renegade sister.
Meeting with Bunky Collier down in a room with the same thugs who’d come to find him, Herman is “in the hole nine grand” and sweating around the collar. In fact, he’s sweating all over. Bunky is not a man to be fucked with. He even slams Barrow against the desk, putting a small pair of pliers in Herman’s mouth and roots out a tooth. Nasty chap, this Bunky.


Well, wellMr. Paris Shoes,” says the man who asked Algernon earlier about his nice shoes. They have a slight confrontation, which at first seems to be going the way of the other guy. Until Algernon absolutely pummels the man into unconsciousness on the floor of their apartment building. Incredible to see Edwards display such brute force. Then, before going inside for the night, he puts a few supplies on the man’s chest; stuff to help fix him up later.


Cut to John in the opium den once more. He’s having a shave, both eyes bloodshot and weary. Ping Wu (Perry Yung) gets his money, then Dr. Thackery heads out with his medical bag in tow. The guy all but lives there. Strolling out, he’s headed to work I imagine.
We’ll see him again next episode, “The Busy Flea”. Stay tuned for another of my recaps/reviews.

The Knick – Season 1, Episode 1: “Method and Madness”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 1, Episode 1: “Method and Madness”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the next episode, “Mr. Paris Shoes” – click here
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The first shot of the premiere opens with a faded view of white shoes, no socks underneath. A prostitute wakes Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen). They’re in an opium den. Outside at the carriage, John asks to go the long way over to his place of employment: The Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City. In the back of the ride we see who John is – to come down off the opium high, he injects cocaine in between the webbing of his toes. No wonder he didn’t have any socks on; easy access.
What’s most interesting about the opening of The Knick‘s first episode is the style. Not only do we get rich, gorgeous looking cinematography immediately, the score from Cliff Martinez readily pounds you. The electronic sounds mixed with the period piece story and the cinematography absolutely engages you from the first scene onward.
At the hospital, Dr. Thackery sets about his work. He’s an innovator in his own right, but works under Dr. J.M. Christiansen (Matt Frewer), the leading surgeon. In comes a pregnant woman, and BAM – Steven Soderbergh, Jack Amiel and Michael Begler take us quickly back to 1900, only a little over 100 years ago, when even pregnancy was a possible death sentence, for both mother and child. On the operating table, Drs. Christiansen and Thackery attempt to do a C-section, along with Drs. Everett Gallinger and Bertie Chickering (Eric Johnson & Michael Angarano) helping at their sides. But things go from bad to worse, to terrifying. Soderbergh and his team show us exactly what it was like for surgeons in the early 20th century, going by the seat of their pants, not always successful in their efforts. The blood is very present, the practical makeup effects are at times gruesome, raw. An excellent way to start off a new series.


Most surprising, though, is later after the failed surgery when Dr. Christiansen decides he can’t take the failure any longer, he can’t be a part of medicine, nor the world either. I wasn’t expecting such an intensely morbid opening, yet here we are – in the thick of it. And really, it’s such an effective way to introduce the characters. Now, this obviously fragile man in Thackery is left with his mentor of sorts gone, the burden resting on him. Even further, at the outset (I’ve seen all the episodes of both seasons at this point) I expected Christiansen to play a large part in the first season at least. Amazing how the story lured me in quickly, then switched so brutally and fast. This whole opening ten-plus minutes was the grasp I needed. Every second, every frame hooked me.
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Dr. Christiansen: “It seems we are still lacking
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An amazingly clear Thackery delivers a eulogy for Christiansen. It reveals his hope for the future, for the future of himself and of medicine.
Afterwards, we’re introduced to Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) and Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance), as well as Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb). Cornelia’s father owns the hospital, but she doesn’t get the deserved respect as a woman when he sends her to deal with the board. Barrow is a money man of sorts, running around worrying about funds for the building; worried over the “$30,000” deficit they’re tallying up. Little bit later there’s also Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) who drives the ambulance, and wouldn’t do too bad in a scrap either.
Things get shaken when apparently Cornelia’s father has ideas about who ought to be Deputy Chief of Surgery at The Knickerbocker. While Thack thinks Gallinger should have the position, Robertson rule says Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) is going to take it. We’ll see how Dr. Thackery sits with all of it. If he does.
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The history in this series is already super interesting. Cleary basically has to fight people to get paid, so he can be the ambulance who takes the fares back to the hospital. Wild to imagine a sort of capitalistic struggle on the streets of New York between ambulance drivers.
Furthermore, there are lots more good makeup effects. We see Thackery, Chickering and Gallinger go see a patient whose wounds are still healing, stitches coming together, and so on. The early days of modern medicine are on display, from the method of the ambulances, the way the hospital works, to the procedures and surgeries themselves.
So much of the period comes through in each scene. When a Health Inspector named Speight (David Fierro) heads into an apartment building, the look of the place is pure 1900. Even the air itself hangs in front of you, foggy, dim, the lights barely giving any of the rooms the light they need. It’s impressive work on the technical side, as well as the tight writing and solid acting.
Finally, Dr. Edwards arrives at The Knickerbocker. He meets with Dr. Thackery, who is busy putting together improvements for surgical instruments. Algernon and John don’t exactly get along. Not that I suspect John is racist, I just really don’t see him as a man wanting to take on the responsibility of innovating in racial relations. Edwards leaves, unimpressed, as Cornelia wonders what to do next.
Inspector Speight meets with Barrow. They talk of infectious disease; tuberculosis, in particular. The two make a deal, ensuring any further patients with the disease end up at The Knick. We get a good bit about tuberculosis here, as well as a dip into early doctor-patient relationships and patient rights. Cornelia has to give a woman terrible news, made even more terrible by the fact it has to be translated by her little daughter. Emotional scene, but also gives us more of that history I’m digging. Also, I can already tell Cornelia has a good heart and hopes to do good throughout the city, as best she can anyways.
We get confirmation of my theory – Thackery confirms he doesn’t want to “lead the charge in mixing the races“. He sees it as too progressive, a “social experiment” he won’t have in his life. So, maybe he has a little racism kicking around. Or lots.
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Dr. John Thackery: “You can only run away and join the circus if the circus wants you, and I dont want you in my circus.”
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Thackery reminisces of being introduced to injection by Christiansen. Then, he was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Cut back to his bloodshot eyes, his weakened state. It’ll be interesting to watch the progression of Thackery over the course of Season 1.
Meanwhile, Drs. Gallinger and Chickering examine their earlier patient, as Dr. Edwards is brought in and introduced. Bertie doesn’t have much issue with it, though, it appears Everett is slighted. Even more than that, Everett won’t have any of Edwards butting in on his patient. Lots of tension already starting, only bound to ramp up as time goes on.
Interesting scene sees Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) sent off to find Dr. Thackery. He’s at home, blunted to the bone and higher than any bird in the sky. She finds him in a terrible state, shivering, sweating in bed. Turns out he’s in withdrawal and needs an injection. This brings Nurse Lucy into the fold of his addiction, his dirty little secret. He was “trying to spend the night without it“, but obviously failed. This scene shows us the other side to John – there’s his brilliance and his determination as a surgeon, then there’s John the addict who rolls around in bed, sweaty and full of collapsed veins except for the one in his dick. There’s an intensity to this scene, which becomes quite personal, quite intimate, in a nasty way.
Flying back to The Knick, there’s Dr. Thackery in the operating theatre. They have to work on the aforementioned patient. He has bowel problems, specifically septicemia. Thack decides to inject a cocaine solution into the man’s spine. More intense moments, of a different kind, as the doctor goes about hi work. Very quiet, subtle bits here watching Thackery slowly inject the solution into this man’s spinal column. Great, great cinematography and wonderful writing, both bringing out the interesting days of early 20th century surgery. Fractured FX really give the goods here on the makeup effects, showing us the brutality of young modern surgical work in 1900. Even as a horror film buff, these scenes are some trying stuff. Definitely not for the faint of heart.


The finale of “Method and Madness” sees Dr. Thackery back in a carriage, full circle to the opening moments. He’s headed into Chinatown, Mott Street, apparently. At the same time, light is turned on at The Knick, the electricity up and running; all after Dr. Edwards was successfully welcomed into the fold, or well, unwelcomed.


Great episode. Looking forward to watching all these over for the second time since the original episode run. The next episode is “Mr. Paris Shoes”, which is another spectacular chapter in this first season. Stay tuned.

The Knick – Season 2, Episode 10: “This Is All We Are”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 2, Episode 10: “This Is All We Are”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 finish, “Do You Remember Moon Flower?” – click here
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And here we are: the Season 2 finale of The Knick.
Open on Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) headed into Chinatown. On the floor of a brothel, he finds Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) who doesn’t want to go to The Knickerbocker Hospital, but rather Mount Sinai – to see Dr. Levi Zinberg (Michael Nathanson). He needs a bit of work done on the bowels. Although, John wants to stay awake. Nothing to dull the pain. He and Zinberg are a little at odds, but something will be done either way.
Lots of condoms are being sold. Harriet (Cara Seymour) has them all packed up, disguised in boxed of vegetables, while Clear carries them to and from where they need to go.
Then we find ourselves with Henry Robertson (Charles Aitken) and Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson). He’s obviously torn up with the death of his father, the fire at the new Knick. He plans to take his mother to the country, away from the city and everything else. Henry offers Lucy to come stay at the guest house out there: “I dont know what Id do without you,” he says. Doesn’t seem she’s too eager to head out, though.


Many people mourn the death of Captain August Robertson (Grainger Hines). People attend his wake and funeral to give condolences to Henry, Cornelia (Juliet Rylance) and his wife. Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) arrives with his new lady, leaving fairly abruptly. Others such as Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) stay to grieve.
Outside, Herman is confronted by the police. He reels off his mouth a bit, calling the contractors down to the dirt to make himself look better. The cops, for their part, aren’t exactly interested in his bullshit. Herman further throws down a few insults acting all high and mighty. But with August gone, is he exactly in with the upper-ups? Not sure.
Back inside the wake, Algernon with his freshly beaten face talks with his father Jesse (Leon Addison Brown) about what happened between himself and Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson). You can tell Algie has had a history of fights. Not by his own fault, all the same. He is a properly defiant man for good reason. He’s always being thrown into fire, and also feels his father was essentially beaten into submission, “afraid to look up“. This scene comes off incredibly well, plus more perfect Cliff Martinez score works in to turn this into a spectacular moment between these characters. Dark, brooding, and intense.


Then the unexpected happens: Tom took the money he and Harriet earned. Except he took it to invest it in them, “in us” he says. Down on one knee, he asks Harriet to marry him. But then she rushes out, leaving him on the floor in a broken state.
At The Knickerbocker, in the operating theatre, John is getting things together to perform surgery: on himself. Alongside are Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) and Dr. Gallinger. They’re not too eager at first to do what Thack wants. Eventually, he gives an ultimatum: help, or get out.
Barrow is trying his best to weasel out of responsibility for any part in the fire. Furthermore, he’s hoping things will work out for him going forward. It’s possible the city may take over The Knick. Of course, Herman doesn’t like that because it means bureaucracy, which in turn means not much chance for more money. He heads down and talks to Thackery, who’s ingesting turpentine to keep him going. Herman’s flaunting his full membership of The Metropolitan Club: “Bully for you,” John says sarcastically. It doesn’t look like he’s much too concerned about The Knick, not any longer. Still, Herman squirms hoping to come out on top in the end.
Cornelia’s having a tough time after the death of her father, regardless of the business in which he was supposedly involved. Her husband Phillip (Tom Lipinski) is attempting to cheer her up. Then he lets slip Henry has been working on the ports for years. Exactly as I thought. “Turns out your brother is quite the wharf rat,” Phillip tells her. Really, now? Perhaps Henry’s been up to more than anybody ever expected. The look on Cornelia’s face says it all. I knew that sly bastard was up to something nasty, more than just his pornographic pictures.


I know what you did behind our fathers back,” Cornelia confronts Henry, who acts coy and unassuming. She accuses him of all the rotten things first assumed to have been done by their father. Henry felt his father was doing nothing with his fortune, pissing it away. And so he tried to take the reins, steer things towards his vision of the future. He further tries to put some blame on Cornelia for apparently pressing his hand into doing what he did. Henry says she won’t do anything like go to the press, to the police, to their mother because it’s Cornelia’s word against his. Very eerie moment where he backs her to the top of the stairs, and we wait with bated breath almost already assuming she’ll go tumbling down backwards at any moment. He threatens her and assures that her “onewoman crusade is over“. On her way out, Lucy is heading in with bags in tow. The disgust on Cornelia’s face is powerful, staring up at her brother in all his hideousness.


Cornelia: “How could you?”
Henry: “How could I not?”


Barrow is all but unraveling. His new lady Junia (Rachel Korine) is worried, too. Afraid she’ll be put out onto the streets. He’s going just about mad, looking outside and seeing police camped, waiting to see what he does next. Things in his world are becoming less and less fun as the days go by.
In the world of Tom Cleary, he’s over at the Catholic Church looking for a confessional. Kneeling, hilariously with his feet hanging out the back, he talks with the priest on the other side of the veil. He admits to lots of wrongdoing, but also believes he’s “an all right fella” for taking the sick to the hospital “lickety split“. He believes perhaps confessing to God his sin may be what Harriet needs before she can accept his hand in marriage. This is probably the best scene for Cleary, ever. He reveals to the priest he set Harriet up for the abortion crimes, telling a police officer to get things going. But he further shows how hateful he can be, yelling at the priest who scolds him: “She was a fuckinabortionist.” I like Cleary, though, he’s made me feel unimpressed at various times in both seasons. Then again, I guess it can’t be easy for someone like himself in America, at that time. So, kill or be killed, the motto of too many people forced out of their country and homes in the early 20th century.
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More of the modern medicine man Dr. John Thackery. He’s practicing in front of a mirror for the surgery he plans on doing, on himself. What I love is the determination in his eyes, you can almost feel him willing the power to perform right there. An impressive, if not a bit reckless man.
Then we jet back to Harriet and Tom – she’s wearing his ring, as they sit at the table ready for a meal. He spies it and stops. Her smile speaks volumes, and they both have a chuckle. But is he ever going to reveal to her what he told that priest? Can he be cold like that? Perhaps it’s better off, yet I don’t think Harriet could ever bring herself to stay with him if she knew.
Barrow is still being followed by Dt. Tuggle (Joe Hansard). Only now, the detective is apologizing. Seems the reach of The Metropolitan Club has smoothed things out for ole Herman. Plus, even though he’s an embezzler, we certainly do know the source of the fire and so on. Worse – on Herman’s hands are what looks like lesions.
Everett Gallinger is being offered an opportunity to spread the message of eugenics. From the board who reviewed his case, Dr. Phelps (David Pittu) says he would be the “prophet of eugenics“, planning on traversing the globe – of course starting in Germany; “As good a place as any,” says Everett.


But the main attraction – John’s surgery. Doctors of all sorts pile into the operating theatre, each of them eager to see what will happen. Then, Thack gets himself into the medicine locker for a bit of cocaine. We’re back to the old John Thackery. He bursts into the theatre hopped up on cocaine, mainlined to his veins. You can see that there’s a wildness in his eyes. He strips down naked and then gets ready on the table, wide-eyed and maniacal. In the audience, Dr. Levi Zinberg and others watch on with their own widened eyes. Into his spine goes the cocaine solution, rendering John’s lower body painless. And the surgery begins! Thack watches the mirror and cuts, only allowing the nurse present to cauterize and hand around the instruments, not wanting to be “accused of not performing the entire surgery myself“. It is a gruesome scene, and amazing all at once. He pulls intestine out, feeling around to look at the necrotic tissue and determining it worse than expected. Bertie and Everett want to help, though, he refuses any of it. The effects work in this show is at its PEAK here, with lots of nasty looking entrails on camera, a close-up view on the surgery itself putting us almost right in Thackery’s shoes. Soon enough, he nicks himself badly and starts to bleed a good deal. His visions starts to dull, making things a little more difficult. Though, everyone watches on quietly. Not wanting to disturb the mad doctor at work. “This is it,” John says almost passing out: “This is all we are.” Then he fades and fades, seeing images of the girl in his hallucinations. Then he’s out like a light. Algernon comes in from the crowd to help. John has no pulse. They’re all working now, blood pouring out of Thack and onto the floor. Rushing down to the office, Bertie flies like a bird: to get adrenaline. Into the chest goes the drug.


But now we cut to an empty Knickerbocker. At least the operating theatre. Algernon sits looking at pieces of rope on Thackery’s desk. He finds a book belonging to Abigail (Jennifer Ferrin), a diary. Has John died? Nowhere is he to be found.
Henry and Algernon have a meeting. The latter has problems with his eye, even worse now. He says he’ll need a “new profession” and it seems he’s looking to try furthering some of the work done by Thack: “I owe him at least that.” Sitting down on the addiction ward with Mr. Dominczyk (Eugene Poznyak), Algernon tries to continue his therapy. They talk of bad dreams, almost starting the idea Edwards will venture into psychiatry down the road, reminding us of a doctor and patient on the couch situation.
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I loved the end. A true cliffhanger if there ever were one.
Excited to see more of The Knick next year. Season 3 ought to be highly interesting, wherever it goes. I don’t believe Dr. Thackery is dead, but perhaps he’ll be disfigured or permanently injured due to his surgery. Maybe he and Edwards will continue in the third season together, going into a line of psychiatry involving addiction, or something similar. Who knows. He could very likely ACTUALLY be dead, too. It seems that way to most.
Either way, stay tuned with me – I’ll be going back to watch Season 1 over and review it soon enough. Cheers!

The Knick – Season 2, Episode 8: “Not Well At All”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 2, Episode 8: “Not Well At All”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the previous episode, “Williams and Walker” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Do You Remember Moon Flower?” – click here


The immense talents of Cliff Martinez lead us into this episode. With one of the patients Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) has in his care, an alcoholic, sneaking down to get booze straight from a main line. Only it looks as if it were formaldehyde form which he took a drink. “Well hes already half embalmed,” Thack says. “Lets get him up on the table and finish the job.”
At home, Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and his wife are rekindling their physical love once more. In other news, The Knickerbocker Hospital sees a man coming through the front doors wielding a gun, as Thack and Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) are busy doing work in the office involving all sorts of things injected into a rabbit, including potassium chloride. When the animal dies, Bertie brings him back with a dose of what I can only assume is adrenaline.
Turns out the man with the gun is in fact Mr. Brockhurst (Fred Weller). He’s pissed about the girls being separated. He wants them back together, which naturally can’t be done. From behind Brockhurst comes Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan). He cracks him a good one, accompanied by a chuckle, and then the mood goes back to being light at The Knick once more.


In Chinatown, Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) meets with Ping Wu (Perry Yung). More money exchanging hands. It seems Barrow is finally moving ahead with the plan to purchase his mistress, Junia (Rachel Korine). “Would you like a receipt?” Ping asks, tongue firmly in cheek, no doubt. Reeling off a quote, Ping tells Herman it is not from Confucius, but from the Irish bad boy Oscar Wilde.
The mood is also light over at the Gallinger residence, where Eleanor (Maya Kazan) and Everett are in high spirits after their latest sex. A Detective Frank Moorhouse (Tom Brangle) arrives at the house explaining Dr. Cotton is dead, having been poisoned. Retracing steps, this leads Dt. Moorhouse back to Gallinger’s place, as he had dinner there the night before his death – is this what made his stomach upset? Did Eleanor kill Cotton? Perhaps that’s exactly why she invited him over, even with all the fuss Everett made which she knew would’ve been coming. Has the madwoman struck? Yes. Not too long after, we see she put rat poison in his soup. White knight Gallinger tries to handle things. But Eleanor spies the trash can where he threw the poison. I can almost feel it coming, as she brings tea back into the room for the unsuspecting detective. Back in the early 20th century, nobody would’ve ever expected people to die at the house of a respected doctor and his wife, would they?


Eleanor: “Im sorry, Everett. I didnt think theyd catch me up so soon.”


More addiction therapy back at The Knickerbocker. Or, the admittance of nothing left to be done. Thack admits his addiction to the last remaining patient on the ward.
Cut to Harriet (Cara Seymour) who is making condoms. Tom is in the other part of the room, shielded, trying on the jimmy hats for good measure. A hilarious bit of dialogue between them, as Tom tries to “maintain” himself. I love how nothing has happened between them, even if it feels like it’s about to every moment. They’re two true friends, side by side in the hard times, both of them being Irish exports and all.
Toughing through another board meeting, Herman listens to the others chatting until he introduces a Mr. Raphael Warren (Ken Barnett), a man dealing with the blueprints and cost estimates for the renovation. Again, Barrow is put back in charge of the dealings. Will this give him more money to siphon off? Surely, if Herman can manage he’ll take what his pockets can hold. Kept back by Captain August Robertson (Grainger Hines), he finds out their exclusive club is granting him membership. He finds out $2,000 is required for a donation, plus for membership fees. This stresses Barrow out right away. He accomplishes getting the funds by selling his house off quickly. But what about his children and his wife? Uh oh.
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Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) has received a patient who claims Thackery worked on her. In fact, he was paid in heroin. He fixed up her nose, back at the start of the season, using a gold earring. Seems the earring was not gold and is corroding inside her flesh. He plans to make things right, “on the house“. Then from the guts come a pain, racking John completely. Out comes more turpentine. Algernon wants to help, though, the foolishly brave and arrogant John Thackery refuses. Going it alone, as usual.
John is also readying himself to start fixing Abby (Jennifer Ferrin). He further wants her to talk with an addiction patient, similarly to how she talked John down when he called about the twins’ surgery.
On the phone, Effie Barrow (Molly Price) gets a call about a vacuum sweeping machine – the one installed over at the new apartment. Oh, wow. Things are tumbling down on top of ole Herman’s head now.


Romance is alive, among everything else. Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) is being fawned over by Henry Robertson (Charles Aitken). Interrupted after awhile by Corenlia (Juliet Rylance) who is still followed by a man Phillip’s father employs to watch her comings and goings. She tells Henry about the implications against their father, concerning Inspector Speight and his untimely passing. Will Henry use this to overcome his father? Or will he run to his father with the information? I can only hope the first will come to pass, as Henry seems to want to take things over for himself and steer their business into a new, brighter future. It seems Captain August Robertson has been responsible for bubonic plague outbreaks in Chicago and other areas.
Dr. Gallinger is trying to find a suitable place for his wife to stay, a comfortable spot to tuck her away. A Dr. Adolf Warner (Dieter Riesle) assures she will be looked after and given the best possible life, “under the circumstances“. Tragic, and I hate Everett. Yet something had to be done, or else more murders would happen, further bodies would pile, and Everett would sink with the ship, as well. Only later on, Everett starts to move in close with Eleanor’s sister Dorothy. Pretty damn low.
Some of the nurses around The Knick believe Henry Robertson is turning the nursing staff into a rack of centerfolds, believing Lucy won’t have trouble keeping her job. Called off to the telephone, Lucy gets a call about her father A.D. Elkins (Stephen Spinella). Rushing to some dingy place, lit red in a dark basement where surely a house of sin exists, Lucy finds a crazy eyed A.D. looking full of drugs and falling into the deep end head first. We come to find he suffered a paralytic stroke, as Thack explains back in a room at the hospital: “The best I can do is keep him alive.”


At a show in the city, Cleary and Harriet have a good time, eating candies and checking out the different sights including a horror-picture show that makes the image look as if a man swallows the camera whole. Hilarious scene. Tom misreads signals and goes in for a kiss on Harriet. She believes he brought her ought to put the moves on her, but he was only honestly interested and thought she was, too. Harriet storms off and advises Tom to stay clear of her at home.
In a darkened office, Dr. Edwards is poking around quietly. He gets into a desk drawer and produces a large notebook. Within, he sees something we do not and exclaims to himself: “Jesus.”
Cut to the following day. Thack is drinking turpentine for his rotting guts. Algernon slides the notebook he found in the previous scene across the table. They’ve discovered Everett and his “eugenics project“: boys between the ages of 15 and 18 have been sterilized. Too young to consent, the boys in question have obviously been preyed upon. Nothing technically illegal has happened, so says Thackery, and he doesn’t know what can be done on his end. This disappoints Edwards, clearly.


Placing his last remaining addiction patient in a room facing the wall, Dr. Thackery has Abby come in for a conversation. She asks about him, the patient, Mr. Dominczyk (Eugene Poznyak) first. Then she works into the first time he’d ever drank, which he explains happened when he “was a baby“. His mother apparently used whiskey soaked rags to keep him quiet as a boy. Great practice to turn him into a future alcoholic and lifelong addict.
Bad news comes to bear at the Barrow household. Herman comes home to champagne and treats from Effie, who toasts her husband: “To surprises“. Of course, he doesn’t have any idea about it all. Things are getting mucked up for the greasy little man now that Effie’s discovered the apartment on 74th Street. But Herman reveals who the apartment is for, that he will live in it “with another woman“. He rented an apartment for her and the children downtown, planning to run off. He appropriately gets a drink in his face to end the conversation.
Switch to Herman, now happy and lively. He’s in Chinatown to collect Junia. They embrace with a kiss, each of them looking pleased. Out they go, away from the brothel. But will this new life treat Herman the way he wishes it to? I don’t particularly see much happy ending on his path, though, I may be wrong.


The finale of this episode sees Abby take in a bit of laudanum. Then, she’s off to surgery in the theatre with Dr. Thackery, Dr. Chickering, and the assistance of Nurse Elkins. She is sedated, but then her heart rate drops almost completely; no pulse. Rushing about, each of the three attempts to save Abby’s life. John is racing from one spot to the next, hoping not to see the love in his life die. Except she does. She slips off the mortal coil, as Thackery eventually stops his rush, slowing to a stop. What does this mean for John now? A plunge into addiction, further in I should say, is likely coming for him. Although, I’d like to think he’s getting stronger. Unfortunately I know the weakness for drugs runs high in his mind.
Right before the finish, Everett’s sister-in-law Dorothy enters his room. He does’t want her to leave. He wants her right where she is, moving towards his bed, and finally in his arms. Bad, bad Everett. I expected no less.


The next episode is titled “Do You Remember Moon Flower?” – the penultimate Season 2 episode. Stay with me for another review soon, folks.

The Knick – Season 2, Episode 7: “Williams and Walker”

Cinemax’s The Knick
Season 2, Episode 7: “Williams and Walker”
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

* For a review of the previous episode, “There Are Rules” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Not Well At All” – click here
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Back at The Knickerbocker Hospital for another round of surgery and experimentation in the early 20th century.
This episode starts with Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) and Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) pouring up liquor, again trying to hypnotize a patient into becoming sick at the thought of his former addiction. It seems to work on the man in front of them, exciting Thack to no end.
At the front desk, D.W. Garrison Carr (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) shows up saying he’s giving the go-ahead for the surgery himself, as if on a rogue mission. Feeling as if his wife is a little too involved, Algie gives Opal (Zaraah Abrahams) the tough eye.


In another part of town, Dr. Bertie Chickering Jr (Michael Angarano) is seducing Genevieve (Arielle Goldman) with a funny top hat routine, naked save for a towel. He’s charming, that Bertie. Finally in bed together, they appear a very sweet couple. Each of them are nervous, which makes it all the more gentle and beautiful. It’s nice to see two people like them in a relationship, instead of so many nasty, base relationships that happen throughout other parts of the story and its various plots.
Ping Wu (Perry Yung) is having sex with a prostitute, then says “give it to me“: Nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) puts out her foot, letting him suck her toe. Then she’s back in her apartment with a new dress.
The weasel Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) is skimming and being called on it by his contractor. Apparently, Herman’s indiscretions aren’t exactly quiet around town. But as is usual: people talk.


And back to Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson), whose racism knows no bounds, treating Carr like a regular animal, as I’m sure he sees him.
Thack is in his office, snorting on drugs and charting his findings. A pain in his gut prompts a swig of… turpentine? Then Everett bursts in: “Have you seen what’s in the ward?” Though John is not a racist like Gallinger, he was trying to help Algernon and feels betrayed. Giving him shit, Thack still doesn’t understand how things are for Algernon and other people of colour at that time.
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Algernon: “Its the future; you think its here too early, I think its here too late.”
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Cornelia Showalter (Juliet Rylance) is down at the docks once again, snooping around for more information. She meets with an Inspector there. Turns out, there’s a “usual deal” for the Robertson family that takes place at the end of the month. Cornelia lies her way into accepting a file full of interesting stuff. This leads into information about Inspector Speight and possible things he may have discovered, or may have caught. She further catches wind of lots that’s happening at the docks and Ellis Island.
In the operating theatre, Dr. Thackery is laying out the procedure he’ll be conducting on the conjoined twins. A bunch of nurses, Dr. Gallinger, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Chickering Jr are all in attendance. Then John announces he wants to capture the surgery with the new motion picture camera, to which Nurse Daisy Ryan (Emily Kinney) replies Henry Robertson (Charles Aitken) has one; Lucy’s eyes perk up a little at this comment, a bit of jealousy flaring possibly.
Former Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) is living with Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan), in a respectable situation for an unmarried man and woman sharing one apartment. Things seem to be going along smoothly. Then in other man-woman relations, it appears Thack is still sleeping over with Abby (Jennifer Ferrin), which hopefully will keep him grounded, as much as possible while he’s all but literally flying high.
Out in the dim light of the morning, John is off at a grave for a young girl. Surely, the one in his fever dreams so often.


Finally, we’ve come to the surgery of the conjoined sisters, Zoya and Nika (Miranda & Rebecca Gruss). Bertie and Thack start to get things prepared; the former notices something on the good doctor’s breath, though, John assures it’s only turpentine. Still, I don’t think the younger of the two is too worried. At the same time, Thackery is on edge. Back in his office he stands as if trying not to fall over. Before taking a bump to dull the edges, John calls Abby instead: “This used to be easier,” he tells her.
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Abby: “What do you need?”
John: “I need you to tell me that I can do this
Abby: “Of course you can. If I hadnt believed in you, I wouldnt even be here.”
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Down in the theatre, John explains to those watching he is hoping to help these girls out of freakdom, to help them lead a “human life” of which “fate robbed them“. With Henry filming, Thack begins to cut into their connecting tissue. Later, the theatre is full of people while Thackery runs through the motion film of the procedure. He even named a new suture after Everett: “The Gallinger Knot” based on his time with fishing knots in the Season 2 premiere. He is a true innovator, regardless of whether or not his mental state is always stable.
Cornelia is given jewelry by Mr. Hobart Showalter (Gary Simpson). They have a chat about her “running around” and their agreement, which brought her back to New York in the beginning. He knows she’s been “sneaking around like a thief in the night“. Hobart is the one who is having her tailed, as we recently saw. With Phillip (Tom Lipinski) she talks later about leaving, though, he has other plans.
At the apartment, Harriet has a few young girls over to teach them how to protect themselves. Tom shows up and I’m inclined to believe he has a bit of a thing for Harriet. We’ll see.


The big ball for The Knick is in swing, with Algernon and Opal in attendance, as well as Bertie and his new lady Genevieve, all of them looking wonderful and ready for a civilized dance, a few drinks, and so on. Others such as Captain August Robertson (Grainger Hines), Philip Showalter and those types are talking money, awards, plus everything else other than medicine which truly drives the hospital.
Having their own fun at home, Tom and Harriet eat a big meal, followed by a nice cobbler. Afterwards, Tom starts talking about getting condoms for people like the young girls there earlier, the men having sex with them. Even though he wants the money, part of him also wants to see people not have to go through hardships he’s watched others go through up close and personal. He and Harriet come to an agreement with a nice spit handshake.
At the party, Lucy begins to exert a degree of control of Horny Henry. First, it starts with him fetching drinks for them both. I have a feeling she’s finding her feminine power through sexuality, and at a time like the one in which The Knick is set I can’t say I blame her; the world she’s in doesn’t look well on a woman, so she has to do whatever she can to pull ahead of the game. Meanwhile, Cornelia warns Lucy about getting her hopes up over Henry, about the family and such. Although Lucky doesn’t feel too happy about standing around listening to any of that.
And then, we see Thack show up with Abby. Everyone stares, of course. But John assures her: “Youre beautiful.” Around the party they stroll, even introducing Abby to the Edwards’ and toasting drinks.


The most shocking event of this episode comes when the titular Williams and Walker are introduced, two supposed “coons“. A minstrel show-style act follows. In the audience everyone watches on. But even Algernon and his wife don’t look too taken back. Is it mere appearance, or do they not care?
Simultaneously, we also see the dark shadow of Everett standing in the door of Carr’s hospital room as he sleeps. While people dance away in the ballroom, enjoying their night out to various degrees, chemicals are being mixed in a vial. Is it Gallinger? Medicine is being replaced in tiny bottles. Is this what I believe it to be? Certainly. Gallinger doesn’t want Carr there, and even further wants his whole race essentially exterminated, stunted, sterilized and bent from procreation. Are the switched drugs meant to kill Carr, or simply sterilize him? I believe we’ll figure it out soon, and the former might be the right answer.
On the steps outside of the ball, Captain Robertson chats with Dr. Edwards and his wife. Opal is forward and wants to know if Algie will have a permanent position at the new hospital, though, her husband is reluctant. Yet she presses. August makes it apparent the position may not be guaranteed, which does not sit well with either Algernon or Opal.


Heading home for the night, Abby and Thack talk about her nose. She loves the way he compliments her, but asks if anything else can be done about her face, to make things look better. Nevertheless, Thack says: “I like this one just fine.” It’s apparent he loves her.
The contractor Herman came up against earlier is getting a beating at the hands of Jimmy (Happy Anderson), and now obviously it leaves Barrow to keep skimming for himself and Tammany Hall.
With Carr under the knife, Dr. Edwards begins his procedure. Everett shows up claiming he’d already missed one minstrel show and wouldn’t “want to miss another“. The curare to be injected has been messed with by Gallinger, and of course Algernon goes ahead and injects it, meaning to help Carr. Continuing on, the nurse says Carr’s heart rate isn’t right. He’s stopped breathing. Thack and Everett move in to help. It’s all stacked against Edwards, with Everett pocketing the vial he tainted while no one is watching.


Embarrassed and beaten down, Algernon is forced to rethink everything he’s done to that point. It could be a devastating blow for him, his confidence, his entire career. Luckily, Opal stands by his side in such a rough time assuring “there are better days“.
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Loving the progression overall in this season, from characters to subplots to giant events intersecting with history and its various issues, problems, et cetera. Looking forward to watching/reviewing the following episode, “Not Well At All”. Stay tuned, fellow fans.