Episode # 5 – Nightshift
WooHoo! You go Niecy. Flat out and no doubt about it, but I thought Niecy Nash owned that episode beginning to end. The episode was a night in the life of the unit. After her assistant bails out Didi is left all alone to tend the ward. It starts out pretty uneventful as she occupies herself with solitaire and snooping through the fridge. It isn’t until a few medical emergencies occur that Didi starts feeling the stress. A new patient’s arrival and the late night thirst of Birdie are just the beginning though. It only gets worse when her colleagues arrive one by one.
What ensues is not really absurdity; they are real situations drawn quite genuinely. But when it all befalls on poor Didi at once it just ends up funny. First there is Dr. James dragging her intoxicated husband, played by Daniel Stern, onto the ward. They have taken a quick trip there so she can tackle his ingrown toenail that has gotten unbearable as the night went on. Okay, that is believable enough right? But he is a wily character bantering on about such things as his wife’s untamed pubic hair; also his dislike of the thought of moving to Cleveland.
Dawn shows up just as drunk or worse all upset over a date with Patsy. She is an emotive drunk going from friendly remarks to Didi to anger to pathetic crying. Almost the same things she does when sober, but the shifts in mood are a lot faster when inebriated. She is so put out and drunk that she falls in the fountain not once, but twice. That whole situation escalates to worse when Patsy arrives to discuss the night with Dawn only to discover her with another guy that she had called. The end result isn’t pretty ending up with Patsy crying Dawn dejected, Jenna annoyed and Did beside herself with exhaustion.
Episode # 5 has proven the best episode of the season so far. There is only one to go though so it could end up being the season’s best. Everyone’s performance, even the ones with shorter screen time, were substantial and telling. We learned a bit more about each member of the staff and how, in their own ways, they feel lost.
For example, Laurie Metcalfe’s Dr. James’ bluntly asks Nurse Ortley if she ever felt like she was on “the voyage of the damned.” Jenna James seems totally lost and invalid without the academic notoriety she strives to have. All of that becomes evident with the latest patient of the Billy Barnes Unit. Antoine brought over an elderly Swedish woman who proves quite dexterous in a gymnastic sort of way. (Okay, there is your one absurd moment.) Jenna immediately tries to cash in on the lady’s prowess with the notion of testing this woman and generating a geriatric flexibility study, thus boosting the good doctor’s career. She has proven quite obsessive in that goal and it is sad; though her silly bantering with her husband about her hair trimmings is cute. Not so cute, but also quite sad is the lost Dawn. Granted she was drunk, but she is so desperate for love that she leaves a voice mail for Patsy that she wants to have his baby. Why can’t they just get on with the relationship or at least talk it out? Well, maybe, the emotionally fragile Patsy has something to do with that. He is a mess as well. He doesn’t even seem to know who he is.
Hopefully, all this will seem to come to a head and possibly resolve in the upcoming final episode of GETTING ON. All I know is that the most stable and level-headed one is Nurse Didi Ortley and maybe that is why I like her. You go girl!
Here is a sneak peek of the season’s finale of GETTING ON.