Night Shift Episode 8: Employee of the Month
Previously, General Hospital: Night Shift pretty much sucked and lived up to none of its "More Drama. More Sex. More Soap. More Story." tagline. If you need to catch up on the series so far, here's an episode-by-episode recap:
I'd summarize last night's as "bad." There have been worse episodes, but this was a pretty crappy hour of television.
I'm not doing everything chronologically tonight because there was one subplot, from which the episode got its title, that didn't tie into anything else and can be easily summed up and then not mentioned for the rest of the recap. Basically Epiphany had a cheesy Employee of the Month plaque made for Toussaint (it involved a Polaroid, if that gives you an idea of the visual) to reward him for fixing the elevator. She wrapped it and was all reluctant about whether or not to give it to him throughout the episode in a way that I'm pretty sure was supposed to be endearing and flirtatious but that I instead found unconvincing and annoying, and then she finally gave it to him and he was happy. If you didn't see the episode, no, it really wasn't any more interesting than that.
Anyhoo, the episode opens with a close-up on a posting in the lounge that informs viewers and GH staff that there is a mandatory sexual harassment seminar, apparently the result of the lawsuit Pablo filed about Kelly 15 minutes after he got fired, in the heretofore unknown 24-hour court.
Jolene and Leyla discuss the seminar. I so do not care. Cut to Kelly in that nasty shower where tons of people have sex that I wouldn't set foot in without platform flip-flops and latex waders. As she's getting out, Pablo creepily stares at her from outside the shower and slime-ily says he wants to still be friends. She approaches him in a way that initially made me think she was going to kiss him, but then she knees him in the groin. How is it that this woman has men falling at her feet, yet I am single?
A guy is coming into the ER with a serious leg injury from his fighting dogs that turned on him. Stan makes an "every dog has his day" pun/"joke." Stan is, sadly, basically useless. No wonder Kiko Ellsworth left. Regina is wearing another cute scarf as a headband. That is the most interesting thing Regina does this episode. The patient in question is never mentioned again. What an f'ing pointless scene.
Spinelli is wearing plaid shorts and a t-shirt with a different plaid print (the only worse outfit I saw this week was Britney's) for what he tells Billy Dee is "going to be a memorable night."
MAXIE! Finally! Maxie is, despiting flatlining approximately two weeks ago (even in TV time, since each episode is suppose to be one Saturday night shift), still alive. But Jolene and Leyla are in her room, so maybe not for long. They exit, with Jolene commenting that this is one of those times when it's really hard to stay detached. Why? Because they're such good friends with Maxie...? What does that even mean?
Dr. Julian comes into Maxie's room with his hair once again mercifully pulled back. (He looks gorgeous, actually. Dominic Raims, I implore you, get a haircut.) He informs a clearly weak Maxie that an echo-cardiogram showed she has an abscess in BJ's heart. It can be repaired, but he won't do the surgery.
Robin is in the nursery with Stacy's baby girl. (Note: Stupid IMDB said it was "Stacey," but now they've changed it to "Stacy," so my recaps are not going to have a consistent spelling and yes I am just OCD enough that that is going to bug me.) Patrick hotly looks on. I reserve the right to remove the hotly qualifier if it turns out he was looking on pissily.
Lainey's very combative dad is in the ER, either having taken a fall or having a complication from his Alzheimer's. Lainey isn't sure which. I sure hope another doctor is going to try to figure it out.
Patrick gets a page and takes off without saying anything to Robin, despite the fact that she saw him watching her and the baby. Consider the hotly qualifier in jeopardy.
Dr. Lee and Pablo argue in the lounge over his lawsuit. Pablo is wearing a shirt open literally to his navel, with a gold chain, and refers to Kelly as "mamita" and then says something in Spanish about her reputation being trashed. I'm so glad this show is steering clear of offensive stereotypes!
In a hallway, the hospital lawyer introduces Dr. Ford to the chief counsel of MedCam, who tells Ford that things are pretty out of control at GH, what with the
- ambulance blowing up
- Dr. Julian almost doing surgery on the wrong dude
- two patients getting murdered, and
- "a gangster performed a c-section in an elevator"
Unsurprisingly, MedCam has officially announced it is trying to take over GH. Who the hell thought a hospital takeover involving not a single character any regular GH viewer gives a crap about would make a good storyline?
Mr. Winters is so agitated and combative that Patrick is hotly having trouble doing an exam. Lainey tries to calm him down, but Mr. Winters pushes her and she goes flying across the exam room and clunks into a big cabinet.
For reasons he won't share, Dr. Julian is not doing Maxie's surgery despite her pleas for him to. Mac (hey stranger!) is angry. Georgie tries to calm him down. Dr. Julian leaves Maxie's room and is clearly upset.
Mr. Winters wants who he thinks is his current doctor, who is actually his doctor (and Lainey's ex-boyfriend) from a long time ago who has since moved away. Lainey decides Stan should fake being that doctor. Stan's like, hey, I'm busy being a mafia computer hacker by day and labor organizer by night, plus I'm not even very good at faking being an orderly so I don't think getting a fake promotion to MD is a good idea. Lainey says she knows it's awkward because they've only been on one date and Stan went out of his way to make that "as unpleasant as possible," but she'd like his help. Wait, am I misremembering or wasn't that date on GH? And immediately afterward, didn't Stan sleep with Kelly, on Night Shift? What of the alternate reality, bitches?!
Stan relents, asking "how was the sex?" He wants to know if Lainey and the ex had good sex so he can get into character, see? This is charming and hilarious! On planet Totally Different From This One.
Dr. Julian is calling around trying to find someone to do Maxie's surgery. Regina wants to know why he won't do it himself. We don't find out. Cut to Mac in Maxie's room, ranting about arrogant Dr. Julian suddenly flaking on Maxie. Georgie tries to talk him down. Dr. Julian opens the door and says he'll do the surgery. Who could have seen this coming?
Dr. Archer, who Mallory likes and who we were therefore sure would turn out to be the serial killer, is doing that weird IV drug thing he does to get some sleep. (By the way, Ron Melendez is going to guest star on Grey's Anatomy! I'm sure that show will seem oddly familiar to him...)
Patrick and Robin unintentionally arrive at the nursery at the same time. Robin says she tried to talk to him earlier but he is pissy and says "we're working, remember?" Okay, Dr. Work and Play Are Separate, what about all that supply-closet sex? (And by the way, WHERE IS THE BANTER?! I love this couple's banter, and we at least used to get some to balance out the pissy arguments, but we've had none in weeks. I hate this show. And regular General Hospital. And leggings. And People magazine. Oh dear, I've drifted again.) Robin says all the baby's tests came back negative. Robin then reveals that she's named the baby Anna. Patrick [redacted] freaks out a bit (though it is totally weird that 1) Robin got to name the baby, and 2) she named Stacy's baby after her own mom). Then Robin drops the bomb: she wants to keep Anna.
Spinelli rambles on and on in an exam area, in a way that no human being actually talks, about proposing a date to Jolene. It's totally obvious that he's just practicing and then literally, because apparently we as viewers are just that stupid, there is a record-scratching sound effect and we see that he's actually practicing with Billy Dee. Billy Dee is unimpressed: "The words should go through your brain before they go through your mouth." Intergalactic high-five, Lando C. Spinelli thanks Billy Dee for his input and leaves. Billy Dee reaches down to pick up some trash and has an episode of some kind -- like he's in pain, or dizzy, or something. Well, they still aren't making good use of Billy Dee Williams' puzzling agreement to appear on this turd of a show, but at least nothing he did this episode sounded or looked dirty. Progress!
Patrick and Robin argue over the baby. The actors are great, but this whole thing is ridiculous. Robin wouldn't make this decision without checking with Patrick. Patrick [redacted] throws down the "biological clock" and "walking hormone" cards. Duuuuude. Robin is being crazy, but those slams are along the lines of "why are you being such a bitch, are you getting your period?" and should therefore never, ever be uttered by a guy who values his physical and mental parts all being in their current locations and conditions. Robin seizes on this opportunity of assholitude to lower the crazy boom:
Robin: I'm trying to help a child in need.
Patrick: And I'm not supposed to notice that you have an irrational attachment to a baby?
Robin: It's not irrational to want to make my life about something bigger than myself.
Patrick: It's not just your life! [Jason Thompson might have broken my cold heart a little bit with that line.]
Robin: Well, don't worry, I'm not going to be asking anything from you.
Okay, alternate reality my ass, this makes NO SENSE and is entirely out of character. Why the hell would Robin even consider adopting a baby without so much as consulting Patrick? Why the hell would Robin so quickly consider adopting a baby, period? She's contemplative and a planner to a fault. I just...I can't even go on about this, I'll just sum up by staying it is stupid and irritating to no end.
A social worker arrives and says that because there is no dad in the picture and Stacy has no other family, the baby will be going into foster care until they can find a permanent adoptive home. Robin looks pained.
Also stupid and irritating: An HIV-positive woman very close to her due date who had wanted a child for years and used artificial insemination to get pregnant made absolutely no arrangements for her baby if something happened to her? I'm sure the writers didn't intend this, but that kind of made me hate Stacy.
Patrick is ranting his way through the hospital, inappropriately confiding in Leyla about his personal life with Robin. Then I think I'm supposed to think they shared a moment that was so intense Leyla felt the need to walk away, but they have no chemistry whatsoever, so who knows what to take away from that. And it's worth noting that in general, Jason Thompson has chemistry with every one of his scene partners and occasionally even with inanimate objects, so . . . well, I'll try to be nice and say that's just worth noting.
A pink-scrubbed figure sneaks in to where Dr. Archer is "sleeping" and ups his dosage.
Layla catches Cody sneaking around in medical supplies. She thinks he might have been shot, but he says there's no bullet in him, people just asked too many questions. Buh? We'll get no explanation of what that means.
Lainey and Stan (now dressed as a doctor) are prepping for his performance. She says he should act the way he did on their date -- "arrogant, self-absorbed, judgmental." Heh. They go into Mr. Winters' room and further confuse him, but then Stan gets the idea to paw and make out with Lainey in front of her dad, which causes Mr. Winters to "recognize" Stan as David (Lainey's ex). Wow, that ex was quite a catch. For a psychiatrist, Lainey is a terrible judge of character.
Jolene comes in to wake up Dr. Archer, who has over"slept" and is needed in surgery ASAP. Kelly comes flying in and angrily says he is "out of control" and he shoots back with "look who's talking." He busts her chops about the lawsuit, she calls him a drug addict. Tune in next week when Kelly calls Andy a paste-eater and he tells her she smells like poo!
The demonstration of maturity and intellect ends with Dr. Archer's closing salvo of "You're the one who's out of control. Sooner or later you'll see the writing on the walls. Of the men's room." That was done much more succinctly and to better effect in Mean Girls, to wit: "Boo, you whore."
In an OR, Dr. Archer is groggily intubating Maxie. Anesthesiologists intubate? Not on ER or Grey's. But whatever. Dr. Julian is freaking out a bit, having one of those awake nightmares that he loses Maxie on the table. He snaps out of it, walks over to Maxie on the table, picks up a scalpel, and freezes just before doing the incision. Please remind me never to get critically ill on a Saturday night in Port Charles. (And yes, you can remind me of the distinction between fact and fiction at the same time, if you must.)
More takeover arguing between Dr. Ford and the MedCam dude. Dull-o-rama.
Jolene and Leyla overhear the MedCam argument and decide that the sexual harassment suit was the final nail in GH's coffin, and Leyla vents that she's not going to give up everything she's worked for "because Dr. Lee is a bloody nymphomaniac." Dr. Lee is standing right behind her and of course hears every word. 1) Who could have seen this coming?!, and 2) Good god, Leyla is an unlikeable character (what a mistake that they're bringing her to the OG GH).
Spinelli follows Jolene down a dark hallway and then sneaks up on Jolene. He startles her, and whips out some flowers. She goes off on him: "Stop sneaking up on me, you freak! You're getting on my nerves." She calls him a stalker (which...he kind of is) and tells him to leave her the hell alone. Because I am as naive as a newborn baby, I have no idea whether this flash of unbalanced personality means that there might be something even worse going on with Jolene.
Dr. Julian is having some kind of panic attack. He takes off his mask and is all sweaty and short of breath. The nurse is telling him they have to get started, Dr. Archer is barely keeping his eyes open, then suddenly Maxie has turned blue and Dr. Julian snaps to attention to announce that she's suffocating because doped-up Dr. Archer "intubated her esophagus" (when, I know from years of faithful medical drama watching, he should have put the tube in her trachea). All the little alarms are going off and I think Maxie is close to flatlining again. Seriously: Worst. hospital. ever.
Mr. Winters, Lainey, and Stan-in-disguise are chatting with Mr. Winters, who is totally buying it. Patrick pulls Lainey and Stan into the hall to say that he suffered "severe neurological damage unrelated to the alzheimer's and his condition is worsening." Stan walks away (oddly quickly), leaving Lainey to ask Patrick whether he needs to do the surgery they'd previously discussed. Dr. Ford comes up at that moment to announce that with MedCam poking around they can't do unnecessary surgeries so he's sorry but Lainey's dad is just going to have to die a horrible death in a gutter somewhere. Or something along those lines. Lainey goes back in to her dad and tells him everything will work out he says "I love you, so...I want to die." Yikes. Lainey tears up while Cody eavesdrops outside the room.
Robin's in the nursery with Stacy's baby, again. _______ Barrett looks on from outside in her wheelchair. This ______ Barrett plot manages to be both pointless (eight episodes in and there's been what development?) and anger-making (because of the possibility this chick is going to be Brenda).
Later, Mr. Winters is in his room alone, turning off the light, when Cody comes in. I can't really recap this scene, so here it is:
Winters: There's nothing left to do, but die.
Cody: I have to respectfully disagree.
Winters: You don't know what it's like.
Cody: A struggle that seems to have no end, no purpose.
Winters: Why fight that battle?
Cody: For the people you're charged to protect and defend.
Winters: When you can't anymore?
Cody: Let them protect and defend you. Allow them that honor, sir.
Which...fine. But I don't care about either of these characters, and I only marginally give a crap about Lainey, the only regular GHer to whom they are tied. What made the writers think anyone would get invested in a bunch of randoms, when there were plenty of people within the regular GH cast who don't get enough airtime and around whom stories could have been built? Sigh.
Out at the nurses' station, some random lady grabs Stan and wants him to answer a question about her medication. Stan still has on the white doctor coat and starts to say he's not a doctor, but Epiphany swoops in and rescues him by saying the pushy woman should talk to her surgeon. Stan starts to preemptively apologize for not living up to Epiphany's dreams for him to have a career in medicine but she says "look, Stanford, we all do what we can, okay?" and compliments him on what he did for Mr. Winters. I suppose that was a nice exchange, but Epiphany is so annoying in general and Stan is so useless and poorly developed as a character that, once again, I don't care.
After Maxie's surgery, Regina is mooning over Dr. Julian's performance while he kicks himself for initially freezing up. Given the recent history with Maxie's storyline, we should find out the reason he froze up in a month or so.
Kelly is once again about to get naked with some hospital employee we've never seen before. They're kissing and groping and he backs her up against . . . a corpse! They're in the morgue! She gasps in horror. Holy shit, if that isn't your rock bottom, Kel, I don't know what to tell you.
Dr. Julian bitches out Dr. Archer, who thinks it's a fine excuse that while he is a druggie, he isn't a big druggie, because someone upped his dosage just like happened to Dr. Boyd. They want to know who the hell would do something like that, and we cut to who the hell would do something like that, as the pink-scrubbed perpetrator sneaks into Maxie's room and messes with her IVs. Maxie flatlines. Again. Expect an update in 2009. We follow the angel of death out into the hallway and pan up to see that it is JOLENE. I guess I didn't totally see that coming, but . . . eh.
Spinelli is at the nurses' station, banging his head on the desk over having been such an idiot with Jolene. He makes some bizarre comparison involving oozing (ew!) to a video game...or something. I honestly don't know what he's saying anymore. Regina is inexplicably amused by all of this.
Jolene's in the basement with MedCam dude. They're in cahoots. Duh. She says Maxie "nearly died" as a result of her IV-tampering (the writers could partially redeem themselves for this assy spin-off if at some point some character makes a "your friend is only mostly dead" reference). MedCam dude tells Jolene that the company appreciates her "efforts," as we see that she blew up the ambulance (with the nonflammable gas, but whatever), killed Mrs. Storch, and threw water in the elevator panel to short it out. MedCam dude says: "You've done an excellent job, shining a light on the incompetence in this hosptial, paving the way for MedCam to take over. Your father would be proud." And with that, cue the montage, with a Doctors Are Evil voiceover by Jolene as we see:
- Dr. Julian taking unconscious Maxie's hand (I could see these two being good together -- I think he's the only character I would bring back to the mother ship GH permanently, and of course even then only if he cuts his damn hair; but hey, where the hell is Coop?!)
- Cody saluting Mr. Winters while Lainey looks on
- Dr. Archer slamming stuff around, doing more weird drugs through an oxygen mask
- Kelly tearing the sexual harassment seminar notice off the wall and tearing it to bits; I think she's crying but since the upper half of her face doesn't move I can't be sure
- Billy Dee thanking Epiphany for the award
- Robin signing an adoption petition (!!!)
- Patrick angry on the roof with CGI sunrise. Leyla approaches, touches his hand and strokes his face, and then there's a pull-back shot to reveal that horribly fake skyline as she continues to weirdly comfort him. I totally, totally thought they were going to make out, but I'm not even relieved because I'm sure they will in a future episode.
There are a lot of reasons why I thought this episode sucked, but it mostly comes down to:
1) if you had never watched General Hospital, so all you knew of Patrick and Robin was what you saw on Night Shift, would you like them? At all? I would not. I know they have to pull soap couples apart so that they can put them back together (over and over), but couldn't they do it, I don't know, better? More consistently with their established characters? This version of Patrick and Robin is annoying as individuals and terrible as a couple. Which, given that this is an alternate reality that the writers can -- if they realize the damage they've done -- mostly ignore back on GH, wouldn't be terrible, except wasn't the Patrick/Robin relationship supposed to be the center of this show? Right now this show has no center. And I can't see it getting one in the next few weeks.
2) This is similar to #1, but here's the thing: I don't think there are any likable characters on this show. I guess Maxie and Dr. Julian were tolerable this week, but Maxie was dead half the time, and with Dr. Julian I might just be blinded by Dominic Raims being cute. Just look at the list: Patrick, Robin, Kelly, Lainey, Dr. Ford, Jolene, Regina, Leyla, Spinelli, Epiphany, and Stan. I don't care what happens next to any of them, with the possible exception of Patrick and Robin, and even then that's only regular GH Patrick and Robin, not Alternate Reality Patrick and Robin. I just don't get what the point is of this show. More drama, sex, soap, and story? Where?
3) This is the second episode that I think would have been better if Jason had been in it. I don't need to tell you how upsetting that is, and how much time I'm going to have to spend over this long weekend reconsidering the meaning of life, or at least of soap-viewing.