Revisiting Kingdom Hospital – episode 9

Kind of a weird episode, this one, but Matt finds that he's hooked on the Hospital now, for better or worse...

We come to something of an incongruous episode in the series, and I’m not sure how it fits into things as a whole. The episode spends a great deal of time giving us the back story to a famous baseball player dubbed “Butterfingers” because he missed the ball in a crucial game back in the eighties. We’re shown how, following his misdemeanour, the player was taunted, heckled and attacked almost everywhere he went. Then we come to the present day, and the same baseball player is sitting alone in his flat with a gun pointed to his head. Clearly the taunts and jibes have reached their peak. He pulls the trigger.

At Kingdom Hospital, Dr. Lona tries to do a scan on the baseball player, however, Mary has told Sally Druse that doing so may trap him in the in-between lands forever. And so Sally Druse begs and pleads with Dr. Lona not to go through with the scan, or else condemn the man to a fate worse than death, but nobody will listen to her.

Down in the old kingdom, the in-between space, the baseball player sees his dead girlfriend zombified and taunting him, a dead tarantula crawling out of her mouth. Then he’s attacked by a rather scary-looking zombie policeman. Finally, he comes to a room with a water-filled tank in it, where Paul is spending some nap time, it seems. He awakens, and proceeds to taunt the poor guy from under water.

Mary takes Peter Rickman to the baseball player in the old kingdom and informs him that Paul has to spend time in the tank to recharge his powers from time to time, and while he’s in there he’s not as powerful. With their main threat out of the way, Mary and Peter travel back in time to that crucial game where they give the baseball player a second chance to re-live one of the worst moments in his life. He catches the ball, thus altering history. In Kingdom Hospital, he vanishes from the MRI scanning table because he never shot himself in the first place, and none of the doctors can remember what they were about to do.

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Kingdom Hospital then, is a place where time can be changed, and history can be altered. That should come in handy in future episodes. This was quite a successful episode, throwing in a few genuine scares and keeping the tension mounting. I’ve grown to know these characters, to understand their motives and their actions, and a suitably creepy atmosphere pervades the hospital corridors, mixed with a homely warmth generated by its occupants. It’s for these reasons that I keep coming back to the kingdom. And you should, too. Next time.