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GETTING ON: “Is Soap A Hazardous Substance?”

By Jef Dinsmore on Nov 18, 2014 to Getting On

GettingOn_Season2By the trailer and the title of this week’s episode it appears to be Patsy-centric. It seems Nurse de la Serda will get ill or injured. Which type of affliction is it and why is he so incapacitated? Does he get sick over Dawn’s news? Does he get hurt by someone hating his lame ward-wide nonsense? Only the episode will reveal the answer, but surely we must address Dawn’s pregnancy and how it affects her and the rest of the staff.

Episode #02 – Is Soap A Hazardous Substance?

Wham! This episode packs a surprise alright and it is not about PatsyDe la Serda or any other lead for that matter. I struggle between revealing it here or just teasing you into watching the show for yourself. But, as I slowly reveal some plot points here you’ll see it has to do with the title of the episode. But, first let’s back up and focus on what our lead characters are up to here.

The two big expected stories in the episode and the whole season are setting up for Hospice care in the Billy Barnes ward and Dawn Forchette’s pregnancy. She looks like she going to love the pregnancy thing; she lit up when she saw the benefits of maternity leave entitled to her. The only glitch is finding the right time to tell Patsy he will be the co-parent in the situation and that she already put money down on a apartment to fit the happy family. Well, at first she is only able to tell him a part of the news and that is the news about the apartment. Poor Patsy does not take it very well at all. He totally seizes up over that whole notion which drives him to a panic attack which is misinterpreted as a heart attack and there you go with the whole down and out De la Serda routine. How is Dawn going to approach him about parenthood after that?  


In continuing the train of thought of what happens between these two nurses we open up to a larger moment. GETTING ON, and many others shows, use an interesting technique from time to time that catches you off guard and it happens in this episode quite effectively. There is a small moment when Paula, the HR liason, notices that Dawn’s hands are quite red and raw. It is mentioned in passing as non-consequential dialog, but later in the episode proves not to be a thrown away line but quite important. It leads to a meeting about Dawn complaint over Patsy’s new push for using hand sanitizers in the ward. Here is how that scene plays out.

What a fun addition the strong character of Paula is to the show. She really puts herself out there and is totally unaware of her impact. Just when you think a small scene is a small issue it blows up into something bigger and she is often the impetus of that explosion. Paula also happens to blurt out, in her way, that Dawn may be injuring herself by absorbing all that alcohol into her system which is not good for someone in her condition. That of course takes us to the title question. Is soap a hazardous substance?  

Moving on to our other plotline we have the hospice care and Dr. Jenna James in the thick of it. She is clearly tolerable of the situation and trying to look at a bigger picture. Dragged into taking on the additional duties, of course, is Didi Ortley. It seems unfair that Didi is always the one to get through to the patients. The others mean well, but they just don’t have that heartfelt connection that Didi puts into every one of the guests on her ward. She helps a difficult patient named Dottie Levy three times. Surely, the writer’s could put in a moment or two of awesome bedside manner achieved by Dr. Jenna or Nurse Dawn and hell, I don’t even know the last time Patsy ever got close to a patient. Nurse DiDi clearly serves as the compassionate entity for the viewers.

In addition to the new hospice patients, who seem to not cause much of a stir this episode, there are your everyday ornery patients that come in and out of the ward. In this episode we have two such guests. One is the aforementioned Dottie Levy, played by Betty Buckley and the other is a woman with dementia being tended to by her daughter-in-law, played by Jean Smart. These two performances add a dose of real drama to the installment.


Betty B.’s Dottie Levy (pictured with DiDi) proves a stunning highlight to the episode I think. The series should always tread carefully though the serious stuff as so those scenes don’t appear to be detached from the rest of the episode as a moment that takes us out of the flow of things. The Jean Smart plotline seems a bit more out of place. The scenario is fine as it deals with an unstable lady not taking the situation well of dealing with the ailing mother-in-law. She will have more impact with the following episode I believe as Buckley steals the show this week. Why does she? That is the spoiler I hesitate to reveal. Let’s just say that Dottie Levy is a chronic alcoholic to the degree that Dr. Jameson says one more drink could kill her. Yep, she is that bad off. How it resolves will stick with the viewer. Do Jenna and Didi get through to her? And how about all the other unanswered questions? Does the hospice care go well? Do Patsy and Dawn work out their relationship?

 Also don’t forget the most important question of all – Is soap a hazardous substance?        



 We leave you with next week’s trailer (and if you missed episode 01.)

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