Here it is, the season finale of The Knick. The final act before Thack’s circus closes for the season. And what a season. What a goddamn, blood soaked, fury of medical malpractice, season. We started out with rough edges and jarring music, we finish with ten episodes of glorious television that might make me need therapy. The sets, the costume, the lighting, the acting, the historical accuracy, the unflinching realism. Its shows like this that make me happy to pay my bloated cable bill. Its shows like this that make me nod my head in emphatic agreement whenever I hear someone say we are in the midst of a television programming renaissance.
Tonight, “Crutchfield” ties up loose ends, and sets a definite tone for season two.
Gallinger has relinquished the care of his wife to the tender mercies of John Hodgman’s psychiatric treatment. Unfortunately, his preferred method is to surgically remove bits and pieces of his patients; sites of infection, places that might harbor bacteria and thus make the brain sick. Sicker? Which would explain why he pulled all of Mrs. Gallinger’s teeth. Sure, the treatment has yet to be effective and is widely criticized, but Hodgman is sure it will work. Mostly sure. Kind of sure. Sure enough to schedule removal of her tonsils and colon next.
Poor Gallinger. What does he have left? In one season he has lost his career, two babies, and now his wife. I would love to see him turn his life around in season two, but can someone survive so much trauma?
It will come as a shock to no one that Robertson ends up getting an abortion from the Sister and Cleary. She seems surprised that Edwards does not feel like hugging it out after the fact. They both deal with the termination (of both baby and relationship) in similar ways. He surrenders his face for a back alley beat down while she plasters a smile on hers and runs off to get married and look forward to a lifetime of sexual assault at the hands of her father-in-law. Ugh.
As for the weasel (in order of casting genius, Jeremy Bobb’s work on this show comes right on the heels of Clive Owen and Andre Holland), he has had enough. Enough debt. Enough beatings from Bunky. Enough dick punches. He is sick and tired and he is not going to take it anymore.
Besides, is it too much to ask that he skip a debt payment and buys a prostitute instead? It may not have been the smartest move, buying one of Bunky’s prostitutes with what was, technically, Bunky’s money. Anywho. The weasel, being a clever little dickens, figures he can convince Thack’s Chinatown connection to kill Bunky under the pretext that he would be doing a favor for the surgeon. Too bad for the weasel, Ping Wu knows how to read (“left to right, not just up and down”) Bunky’s ledger. The weasel has managed to trade in one psycho loan shark for, well, another psycho loan shark.
Thank god Robertson, Sr. and the board have decided to shutter the Knick and move downtown. Full disclosure, it is this viewer’s opinion that a certain pair of earrings, received as a wedding gift, will be used to rescue the Knick from financial ruin.
And last but not least, Thack. Thack starts the episode trepanning skulls and poking brain tumors. At first glance he appears to be back on top. Until you notice how sweaty, bloodshot, and paranoid he has become. Not to mention a wee obsessed with winning the race of surgical advancement against the young Dr. Zinberg. He will start by solving the riddle of successful blood transfusion and he does not give a shit if Edwards thinks this new found ambition is cocaine fueled. Fuck Edwards. And fuck Lucy, Bertie, and anyone else who thinks he needs to pump the brakes and get some rest. Who needs rest when there are medical discoveries to be made? When someone, like Thack, has the fortitude piled on top of the brilliance, nay, the god like insight to perform cutting edge, experimental, blood transfusions on sick pregnant women.
Do you see where this is going? Of course the first step to a successful blood transfusion is to not give the sick patient your own cocaine laden blood. Imagine getting a blood transfusion from Richard Pryor in the ‘70s.
Murdering a patient outright finally pushes Thack right over the edge. Luckily, Lucy is there to catch him. She enlists the much abused and outwardly bitter Bertie to get Thack into a reputable rehab program. Not to worry; the physicians are using a new, perfectly safe, treatment developed by the Bayer drug company. It eliminates cocaine addiction with virtually no symptoms of withdrawal.
Wow. That newfangled “heroin” really is a wonder drug!
Fun Fact @AtTheKnick: Early doctors believed that mental insanity was caused by physical infection of the teeth.