Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Resident 5x16 Review: “6 Volts” (Grief and Love Observed) [Contributor: Justine]

“6 Volts”
Original Airdate: March 29, 2022

The Resident returned this week with an episode that in many ways was a return to the series’ roots. And that's a good thing. Characters were given a chance to step back and reflect. The doctors were also given the opportunity to really advocate for their patients; they didn’t let those chances go to waste. 

In a continuation of episode 15, Bell (Bruce Greenwood) continued his crusade for patient justice in his new role on Georgia’s State Medical Board. Before that though, we got a delightful shot of him and Kit Voss (Jane Leeves) in the throes of domestic bliss; it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Back to Bell’s crusade, it never ceases to amaze that this man now advocates for patients who were the victims of medical errors by physicians was once known by his own hospital as HODAD (Hands of Death and Destruction). He also empowers these same patients to advocate for themselves, as we saw this week with patient Emily’s powerful testimony in front of the Georgia’s State Medical Board. You know what that is? Growth.

In another continuation of Bell’s story, he was forced to deal with an MS flair-up. This story was such an effective commentary on ableism within the medical profession. Bell was such an emblem of this when he refused to accept that he needed a cane during this most recent symptom recurrence. Seeing Conrad (Matt Czuchry) and A.J. (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) show their support for Bell was a tribute to both of these characters. Hopefully, if the show continues to depict the progression of Bell’s MS, it will keep doing so compassionately and authentically. 

A.J. came through as a fierce medical advocate for the hospital’s chaplain Pastor Aaron. After discovering that the beloved clergyman had been subjected to unnecessary testing and a procedure botched by a surgeon, A.J. took it upon himself to seek justice as only he could. This and Bell’s patient advocacy was a return to the show’s source material, Unaccountable by Marty Makary. The book was written by a physician who saw the glaring problems with the healthcare industry in the United States. A.J. and Bell were tasked this episode by addressing medical errors and incompetence, and they delivered. 

The medical drama of this episode centered around a patient, Eliza, with treatment-resistent depression. After a season of trying mostly trying to prove otherwise, Devon (Manish Dayal) showed that he does in fact have his bedside manner intact. Christina Brucato did such a masterful job of portraying a patient in such profound pain. When this show gets it right when portraying mental illness, it gets it really right. 

The medical storyline also paved the way for Billie’s (Jessica Lucas) return. The story slipped slightly into science fiction when she was demonstrating the modeling of the procedure she suggested, but it worked well enough. Trevor (Miles Fowler) also made a brief, alarming appearance initially in what looked like welding gear in a warehouse. No doubt we’ll return to that story before the season is finished. The two shared such a beautiful moment at the end of the episode, and it’s clear whatever else is happening that they’ll be able to support each other.

Finally, one of the most poignant aspects of this episode was its meditation on the non-linear nature of grief. Conrad admitting how much he still misses Nic (Emily VanCamp) was both devastating and incredibly touching. Even though three years have passed, grief is always present. A.J. was also given the opportunity to voice his anticipatory grief ahead of losing his mother. This is a type of grief that’s less discussed and understood, but it’s no less valid. 

This was one of the strongest episodes of The Resident so far this season. When the show is at its best, this is the type of captivating storytelling it’s capable of telling. Hopefully this bodes well for the upcoming episodes, which are sure to have many more stories to explore. The Resident shines when it maintains its focus on these complex and enthralling characters fans have grown to love so deeply.

Other Things:

  • Kit watching an entire video of a dog unable to eat his treat and being adorable is an entire mood
  • Devon and Irving (Tasso Feldman), it’s too bad we don’t get to see more of them on screen together, especially since Devon’s focus is now more on research.
  • Now that we know Cade’s backstory, are we basically done with this character? If she was only meant to be a potential love interest for Conrad, I’m more than okay with this. 
  • “My reservoir of hope is empty.”
  • “If 100 good doctors do nothing about one bad one, we have 101 bad doctors.”
  • “You know, this whole moral crusader thing looks good on you. It's very superhero-y.” “You should see me in spandex.”


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