Peak medical drama greatness is when the E.R. descends into chaos!
It was one of many highlights of The Resident Season 6 Episode 2, as the emotional hour’s thematic approach centered on control — having it, losing it, and trying to function despite it being out of one’s hands.
And we also got the introduction of a sweet new character.
In hindsight, this hour felt like it could have made an excellent season opener. It had a bustling E.R., medical cases that not only got the audience invested but reflected on the characters we loved as well, and so many emotional notes, dynamic character interactions, and the promise of a looming threat that will impact the season.
While they are not precisely mincing words regarding Betz and who he represents, the setup for how his win will impact the city and hospital is glaring.
What’s exciting about it is how passionate Kit is about this, which means that she could be at the forefront of this arc and how it unfolds for the remainder of the season.
Kit is the best chief Chastain has ever had, and she’s helped guide the hospital through many tough transitions. Bell took on a medical board position to elevate healthcare and hold doctors and the field accountable, adding the necessary balance that it requires.
Kit potentially getting the opportunity to do the same in some capacity with medicine and politics could be incredibly exciting. They indeed are a power couple, Kit and Bell.
I’m unsure how immediate the effects of Betz’s win will have on Chastain and how that will be reflected, but I also cannot wait to see the results.
Regardless of one’s sentiments or politics, we can collectively agree on how politics have permeated every aspect of our lives. A brawl at the polling station is probably one of the most seemingly insane but real things that could cause a flood of people into the E.R. on a “Slow” day.
Unfortunately, while it shouldn’t be, healthcare is a political and social issue. The hour peppered in enough points to tease the potential plot of this arc and connect it with a few others.
For example, all of this merges with Devon’s clinical trial storyline, and the overlap between him and Kit is solid, allowing further exploration of their particular dynamic.
My heart ached for Kit for the entirety of the hour. Jane Leeves performed beautifully the whole time. Early on, she had a personal stake in Ben’s treatment and outcome, and she was projecting a lot.
However, the combination of the writing and Leeves’ performance resulted in this being a heartachingly strong hour for Kit depicting how human our Boss Voss is. She was incredibly sympathetic throughout, even when we knew she was patently wrong from the beginning.
It terrified her that if Ben wasn’t doing well because of this trial, and he could end up not walking again or worse, what did it say about Bell and his methods to combat his M.S.?
Billie: We can’t worry about things we can’t control.
Kit: Those are the things that worry me the most.
She was attempting to will the best possible outcome for Ben despite the risks, softening the reality of the situation and clinging to optimism beyond recommendation because Ben needed to be okay for Bell to be okay in her mind.
Devon and Billie attempted to reel her in some and add some nuance to her pitches. But Kit was committed, and understandably so.
The man she loves more than anything is battling this debilitating disease that can wreck them at any given moment, and that’s a hard state to be in for Bell and her as a loved one and caretaker.
I adored her line about how it felt as if they were standing on a plateau that could crumble at any time. It is emotionally draining and stressful to live in such a suspended state, hoping for the best all the time and fearing the worst at any point.
Kit: M.S. is such a bastard. You think you’re on a plateau, and then it just crumbles.
Devon: Things are developing all the time, Kit.
Kit: I know. Randolph is doing much better, but it’s always there, like a sword hanging over our heads. I think I’m handling it or at least compartmentalizing, but apparently, I’m scared.
Devon: For what it’s worth, you do a really good job of keeping that a secret.
Kit: I know.
Devon: There really is hope, you know.
Their lives could change in the blink of an eye, and for someone like Kit, who is used to having control over so many things, she struggled with this constant state of not having any control.
No one had to confront Kit about her actions because they understood where she was coming from and expressed genuine concern about what she was facing as a caretaker whose spouse was away.
Moreover, Kit was self-aware enough to come to grips with her actions when Ben’s surgery quickly took a turn for the worst. She was so distinctly vulnerable and honest with Devon, which was a beautiful, enlightening moment for her that peeled back some more layers of this beloved character.
She also cleared the air with Billie, both women acknowledging their behavior before heading out for drinks. It is so touching to see her support system at Chastain, and if anything, this hour hit home how much these people are genuinely family.
It wasn’t as superficial or surface-level as a big, grand event bringing them together, but more this deep appreciation for the quietest, smallest, everyday moments that support how they are family every day. It’s the little things that constantly feel the most meaningful.
The installment’s care with A.J. and Padma was another great way of capturing the genuine fondness between the characters. Sure, the storyline with Padma and A.J. is an acquired taste, and many people haven’t responded favorably to Padma.
However, during this installment, it was one of the strongest displays of what the show’s vision probably is for this unorthodox family, and Padma was a sympathetic, layered character.
A.J. and others were poking fun at her antics with her essential oils, random documentaries, and food cravings. She’s often an easy target, especially in a world filled with medical professionals, because her nomadic, hippy, frou-frou interest and whimsy are not standard.
But they’re the things that comfort her when she feels like she has no control over anything, like the safety and health of her twins.
It’s no secret that Padma’s plan to have a child felt impulsive, and she has not exactly been the poster child for responsibility and realism regarding her preparation. But the hour showed how aware of that she is.
Her being heavily pregnant and fresh off a scare that endangered her and the twins had the reality of the situation sinking in for her. She was terrified, worried about her babies dying or falling ill again, wondering if she was even fit for motherhood.
It was all perfectly normal responses of someone having their first children and on the precipice of life-changing events. In the end, if she needs to direct all her nervous energy into documentaries she badgers people about or all the other things she finds comfort in, then so be it.
Maybe stay off Twitter too, that can also cause aggression and mood swings.
It feels like Leela has a better understanding of her sister, and she also gets to serve as a bridge between A.J. and Padma in helping them understand each other and effectively work together as partners because that’s what they’re going to be: life partners, whether it becomes romantic or not.
And Leela is not above some humbling and learning. The hour had Leela feeling like the character we used to love upon her introduction again.
She and Maya get along rather well, and you could sense that her approach to mentoring wasn’t rooted in power trips and hierarchy but a genuine desire to connect with this young intern and teach her well.
And that feels like Leela.
Maya even has some bubbliness and go-getter attitude that felt reminiscent of Leela. She genuinely seems like a sweet girl, if not a bit naive. She’s someone I hope sticks around, too.
She’s empathetic and connects well with the patients. Her ability to provide comfort and compassion to Mendez was moving. She’s certainly fit for Chastain based on her bedside manner alone.
But she’s still young and inexperienced and has a lot to learn.
Understandably, she was furious at Leela for that “peek and shriek” commentary in the O.R. I couldn’t fault her for it either, even while understanding the necessity for doctors to emotionally detach as best as they can to prevent compassion fatigue, Leela’s behavior did come across callous.
Leela: It happens sometimes, we open someone up, and we can’t fix them. It’s a peek and shriek.
Maya: Peek and shriek. He’s someone’s father! I told him he was going to go to sleep and wake up better. We have to do something. How can you just give up? I don’t understand.
And I loved that A.J. didn’t hesitate to check her on it, reminding her that chief resident or not, she’s not above or done learning either. Leela took it well, too, had the necessary conversation she needed to have with Maya, and brought her in to show her how to handle bearing that news, cementing all of it as a teaching moment.
No doubt Leela will have some growing pains, but she’ll be a good mentor. Fortunately, she had and continues to have some great ones of her own.
It’s a far more compelling dynamic than her relationship drama with Devon or even her sister.
And, of course, Conrad is always the G.O.A.T. at showing sympathy and compassion, even when the person on the receiving end of it isn’t particularly likable.
Conrad: It was good being in the trenches with you.
Cade: You too.
Stuart was an asshole. It was no getting around that. He was one when he started a full-blown brawl at the polling place and shouted out microaggressions. He was one when he nearly attacked Billie. Hell, he was one when he didn’t even seem to appreciate the helping hand Conrad was extending him.
And based on his sister’s comments, he has always been a bit of a jerk, but the lack of impulse control was alarming. It’s incredible how something as simple as a bad reaction to anti-smoking meds could be the root cause of something.
One can appreciate they did not go the typical route of Stuart’s actions and aggression being rooted in his time in the service. And despite the chemistry behind his impulse issues, he didn’t get let off the hook for his violent behavior.
Too often, with veteran storylines, they’ll always go back to someone suffering from P.T.S.D. and that being used to justify or excuse certain behaviors or peddle the dangerous narrative that equates P.T.S.D. to violence.
The Resident blessedly sidestepped that altogether just as they bypassed any preconceived notions that could have arisen when Mendez had a blockage he didn’t want to be examined and had such a visceral reaction to law enforcement showing up.
We never found out what happened to Stuart after his diagnosis. Fortunately, when Hundley thought the police officer intended to go after Mendez, she directed him to Stuart as the instigator.
But in reality, when you’re in a hospital, you don’t always find out the play-by-play of what happens beyond the standard of care you provide.
Sometimes, we don’t need all of that extra information. And every potentially controversial or antagonistic character doesn’t have to become some statement, so kudos for Stuart not becoming more than he was.
Conrad’s compassion and sympathy also extended to Cade.
While many of us aren’t particularly fond of or invested in this love triangle, the hour did wonders in taking more steps to flesh it out and make it more interesting.
It was one of the stronger installments showcasing Conrad and Cade’s chemistry, particularly in their final scenes. We got that smoking hot and passionate prelude to sexytimes that made a girl realize how much physical passion has been missing from the series recently to their moments of comfort in the shadow of moonlight.
Conrad: What are you seeing?
Cade: Maybe it’s nothing. The other day I saw him take a pill. I don’t know what it was, I didn’t ask. But then today he had this bruise on this forehead and he said it was nothing but he seemed jittery.
Conrad: Well, I don’t pretend to know him like you do, but if he is using while working than that’s a problem, to put it lightly. Cade: I know.
Cade is a complicated character, and it seems we’ve only scratched the surface of who she is and what she can be. But what was notable from the hour and keeping with the theme of control is that she could have commitment issues.
It’s not that she doesn’t genuinely seem to like Conrad, but given how she’s spent her life the past couple of years, just because she’s stationary now and can plant roots doesn’t mean she knows how to do that with ease.
Conrad has been pushing for more time with Cade and Gigi as a unit, namely breakfast, which would require her actually to spend the night, but Cade keeps finding ways out of doing that.
Cade probably wants this, but she doesn’t know how to have it, or she’s still in the mindset that her life in Atlanta, at Chastain, is temporary, like sand slipping between the fingertips, unable to grasp.
It would be an understandable mindset for her, not just because of her time on the run as an informant but also because of her childhood with Ian raising her or not raising her.
In that sense, she’s a work in progress, which makes her interesting and adds something to her character that they can continue to explore.
And that’s not the only thing she has going on, as, of course, there’s her genuine concern for her father. It’s actually a big step for someone like Cade to confide in Conrad about that, and it’s a testament to the seriousness of their relationship right now.
This means the hour did a significantly better job selling us on this relationship and making it more convincing than they previously had.
The hour also sold Cade’s conflict better here. She has this past with her father, and she doesn’t know if he’s dependent on drugs again or not.
She was too afraid to ask him about it because, deep down, she probably didn’t want to know the truth. However, his injury alarmed her, and she couldn’t ignore any warning signs as a daughter or a doctor.
And Ian’s position is unique because he’s never harmed anyone while under substances, and it sounds like he could be a functioning dependent on substances. He’s able to stop on his own, no problem.
Ian is giving off Gregory House vibes in that regard, a pill-popper whose habit may not affect his ability to do his job. But it’s still a risk that can spiral out of control at any point, and it has to get addressed.
The situation distinguishes itself from Bell’s HODAD era at least, and until a conversation happens, we still don’t know the extent of Ian’s battle he may or may not have with substances.
Cade is facing quite the conundrum. And while Conrad was there to support and comfort her through that, he’s also right about the action they will have to take. Now that it’s out in the open between them, there’s no putting a cap on that.
On the other half of the love triangle front, it’s still not the most fun to see Billie pining as she does, but to her credit, it’s as clear as day that she loves Conrad enough to want what’s best for him and what makes him happy.
She’s jealous of who Cade is to Conrad, but she’s not jealous of Cade and sabotaging the relationship. She has moments where she gets swept up in having Conrad’s undivided attention, but then she has to check herself.
And her way of doing that is to add some distance between them, which is a reasonable thing to do. Billie can’t control her feelings for Conrad, but she can control how she allows them to dictate her life, his, and his relationship with Cade.
Conrad: I don’t know how to say this. You are Nic’s best friend,so every time I see you, it’s like Nic is watching me through you or something, I don’t know. I know it sounds weird.
Billie: Seriously, you have to let that go.
Conrad: It makes me second-guess everything. Would Nic approve of me and Cade?
Billie: Conrad, like I said, I just want you to be happy, whoever you’re with, so would Nic.
Conrad: OK, thank you. I just had to get that off my chest. You know everything I’ve been through with Nic better than anyone.
Billie: No worries. You’re all good.
She’s opting to step back, not making herself some priority in his life when he has Gigi and Cade now, and it’s noble.
Now and then, it’s still jarring how much they back-drafted the Billie/Nic best friend thing into the series. When Conrad told Billie that every time he looked at her, it was like Nic was watching him through her eyes and so forth; it took me out of the moment for a brief second, and the old wariness of how Billie got inserted into this series crept up.
But, yes, it has been years since Nic’s death, and we’re to presume that Billie has been by his side along the way, as Aunt Billie, helping him through some of the most challenging moments of being a single father after they both lost someone they loved.
We’re still getting told more about how close they’ve become than actually seeing it, but we A.R.E. seeing it more than we did before, which is doing wonders with fleshing out this love triangle.
Their elevator scene did crackle. When Conrad asked her if Nic would approve of Cade, he held onto her every breath and word as if anything she said at that moment would make or break him.
You could visibly see how valuable she has become in his life, and, yes, the intimacy of that scene and the conversation truly sold the notion of these two as best friends.
In that sense, Billie holds a lot of power, in her own right, in Conrad’s life, and her awareness of that and how that conflicts with her feelings is something she’s clearly trying to navigate.
Billie was right. Nic would simply want Conrad to be happy. He knows the answer to that, deep down, whether he needed some reassurance or not.
Maybe stay off Twitter too, that can also cause aggression and mood swings.
But Conrad is an intuitive man. Even if he’s not picking up why things have changed between him and Billie, he knows they have. It makes you wonder how long she can keep her feelings under wraps from him and what will happen when he learns the truth.
Over to you, Resident Fanatics. What were your thoughts on this installment? How are you feeling about the love triangle these days? Did you love the Kit content? Hit the comments.
You can watch The Resident online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.