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The Knick: “Crutchfield”

By Eleonora Iafano on Oct 24, 2014 to The Knick


To say that things have hit rock bottom for some of our beloved characters on The Knick is an understatement. Season Finales often have a knack for being dramatic and gut wrenching and this episode had it all. Sister Harriet and Cleary end up helping out Cornelia with her predicament. It is with both shock, and perhaps a little relief, that Cornelia places her trust in Sister Harriet. It was my impression that Sister Harriet understood that the baby was not Phillip’s and knew that Cornelia was vulnerable. Having Sister Harriet help her through this difficult situation must have been of some comfort.

We see our doomed lovers, Cornelia and Algernon, speaking on the morning of her wedding day. He cuts her off coldly; dismissing any thoughts of a future with her. She is clearly torn, wanting to be with her true love but also wanting to do her duty to her family. After going through with the abortion and with the wedding imminent, Algernon decides to end the relationship once and for all. Cornelia is devastated. All she can do is go ahead with her marriage and make arrangements to see that Cleary and Sister Harriet paid for their services (and their silence). Watching Cornelia walk down the aisle with her father towards Phillip made me shudder. The look of fear and uncertainty on her face as she glances over at her disgusting pervert of a father in law made me sit on the edge of my seat. Will Cornelia tell Phillip about his father? Will she ever be safe from her father in law? Will she move to San Francisco in a bid to escape his perverted desires? What will her future at the Knick be?


Back at the Knick, we find Barrow hiring Wu, the man from the opium den, to “take care of a man” – to murder Bunky Collier. Oh, sure, not only would it solve the debt that Barrow had, but it would also get rid of a ruthless pimp and loan shark. In going to Wu with this request, Barrow lies about who the favour is for and the rationale. He clearly did not think things through – Wu is no idiot and the man is not to be trifled with. Thackeray once said that you did not mess around with a man like Wu. No kidding. What ends up happening is that Barrow exchanges one set of problems for another: Bunky and his crew are killed single handedly by Wu. Unfortunately for Barrow, Bunky kept a ledger of accounts receivables and Barrow’s name just happened to be in it. In having Wu get rid of Bunky and Company, Barrow has now placed himself in Wu’s debt, whether he likes it or not. Barrow was warned not to do business with Wu. He did not heed the warning and now has to pay the piper.

Dr. Gallinger continues to suffer emotional distress. Upon visiting his wife, where he is hoping to see some progress and states that money is of no object, he finds that she has lapsed further into melancholy and darkness. The treatment doctor had pulled all of her teeth out – apparently this was a form of medical treatment for those who were afflicted with mental illness or depression at the turn of the century. The doctor also tells Gallinger that he has performed the procedure on his own children. My jaw sank when I realized that poor Eleanor had all her teeth pulled. Medical precaution?! I think not! More like infliction of cruel and unnecessary pain and torture on a wounded soul. Gallinger is clearly on the edge of a breakdown himself. Can you blame him? Meanwhile Algernon, refusing to attend the wedding ceremony, ends up in a tavern and has a few drinks. His anger gets the better of him and what happens next is a boxing match. With a very well built opponent. It appears that Algernon has quite a boxing swing but in this round, things were not favourable. He is beaten and punched until he falls to the ground. The problem is, he doesn’t get back up. We don’t know if it’s because he’s unconscious….or worse.

Going down the rabbit hole, Thackeray believes that he can successfully perform a blood transfusion. The use of cocaine has got him haggard and paranoid. He is paranoid over Dr. Zinberg’s studies on blood cells and hemoglobin make up that he doesn’t ask Bertie and Algernon for help, he literally demands that they provide blood samples so that he can conduct further research. He also wants Bertie to spy on Dr. Zinberg. Hello? Thackeray, have you ever heard of team work and collaboration? Apparently not. In his overzealous actions, he becomes irrational; he needs to be the man on top and has to beat whatever it is that Dr. Zinberg is on the verge of discovering. What Thackeray should have done was listened to Bertie about Zinberg’s position papers; had he read through them and carefully took note of what Zinberg had to say, the outcome could have been way different.
Instead, he wants Nurse Elkins to collect blood samples from all the nurses and doctors on staff so he can conduct his own experiments. He attempts to perform a blood transfusion on a young woman at the Knick and the results are tragic. Worn out, over tired, paranoid and disjointed, Thackeray sinks down to the floor in abject defeat and despair. Nurse Elkins looks on at her lover with a mixture of fear and sadness. Thackeray has sunk to the lowest level and needs help. He needed help a few episodes ago, but it seems to be the case that a person never listens to good advice until it is too late. One patient dead and one unsuccessful transfusion later lead to Thackeray’s medical career up in the air.


Lucy has no one else to turn to and in order to keep this from spreading; she calls on Bertie to help. Bertie, seeing his mentor now a complete mess, has his eyes wide opened. Thackeray is no longer the brilliant doctor who employed new medical techniques, but simply a burn out who is a drug addict. Bertie also sees that Lucy is in love with Thackeray and this, while painful, spurs Bertie into action. He calls upon his father, Dr. Chickering Senior, to handle the situation as delicately and discreetly as possible. Upon being ushered to a private hospital for drug addicts, Thackeray is shown to his room, using the alias “Crutchfield,” his mother’s maiden name. He will be there for a months in order to rehabilitate himself. The doctor treating Thackeray insists that the medication being used is safe and from the Bayer company. We see Thackeray being injected…with heroin. His eyes take on a clouded gaze and we see him drift off happily. What a joke: the man needs to get better, but instead of being deprived off drugs, he is given a small dosage. I suppose this is the weaning process but correct me if I’m wrong, shouldn’t rehab be a little bit tougher? As Thackeray slips off into the arms of unconsciousness, one can’t help but wonder, what is his future going to be like? Will the Knick close its’ doors for good and move uptown to serve only wealthy clientele? Will Algernon survive and take the helm at the Knick? Will Bertie be able to forgive Lucy and John? Will he go over to Zinberg’s medical practice and make his father happy? Will Gallinger get his wife back and his medical position restored? Will Cleary or Harriet keep going with their unlikely partnership? Will Barrow have to atone for his sins?

Cinemax has confirmed The Knick Season 2. We’ll see you next year and update you in the mean time with all the info we can shake a scalpel at.

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