Night Shift Episode 5: Family Values
Previously on Night Shift, Robert Scorpio's benign brain tumor led to the discovery of his clearly not benign colon cancer, we learned that Kyle and "Leo" are brothers and hate each other, Epiphany and Billy Dee went out on a date that looked like it was part of a different show, and Saira diagnosed Jagger's son Stone with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And prior to all of that, Jagger was shirtless!
Patrick runs into Jagger (who is, unfortunately, fully clothed) and Stone arriving at the hospital. Patrick is obviously feeling less than his usual hotly confident self around Jagger, and it is hilarious. He gives dumb answers to Jagger's questions (How is Robin? Oh, "she's good...she's still pregnant...but you know that.") and asks dumber ones himself ("How's the FBI?" Hee.). Jagger and Stone head off for their appointment with Dr. Batra and Patrick hotly walks off in the opposite direction, hotly giving one of those "OMG, I am SUCH a dumbass" head shakes and sighs. I LOVE this non-cocky version of Patrick. Between this and Patrick and Robin having different conversations every week, I totally want to make out with Sri Rao. (And yes, I read that he's not into girls, but hello, it's an expression. Or at least I think it is. Maybe this is how I got a bad reputation.)
Robin comes into Robert's room to give him some lab reports and is shocked to find him packing his very large bag to leave. In response to her query as to what he's doing, he nonchalantly says he's looking for his anti-venom kit. He says there will be hell to pay if he gets bit by a snake while walking out through the GH lobby. Snakes and hospitals. If you ever meet me and want to see me pass out or have a mild coronary (What? Maybe you're a big Sonny Corinthos fan or something.), please feel free to remind me of the even theoretical combination of snakes and hospitals. THE HORROR.
Robert wants a lift from Robin back to what's left of his plane, while Robin looks at him like he's crazy and says he's not going anywhere.
Billy Dee and Epiphany run into each other in the locker room. He says she's a sight for sore eyes and gives her a kiss on the cheek, and then a bouquet of red roses. I like this version of Epiphany much better than the one who was a screeching buttinski with no respect for doctors, but I'm pretty unmoved by this romance with Toussaint for some reason. It may be because, as Mal noted last week, Billy Dee is seriously not even trying, and he's not really convincing me that Toussaint has the hots for Epiphany. So basically, they're boring, but since that's an improvement over 98% of this show from last season, I'm not going to rant about them or anything.
Two women are rushed into the ER after having been pulled from a burning house. Kyle, Patrick, and "Leo" are tending to the worse off of the two, who is in shock, nonresponsive, and has third degree burns to more than 70% of her body. Yikes. Claire is assisting too, as the woman flatlines, and Patrick uses the paddle-thingies to no avail.
Cue the mercifully short theme song.
Patrick, "Leo," and Kyle are in the fire victim's room, using a little exposition to fill us in on her condition -- basically, she's brain-dead and her heart is barely functioning. The woman who came into the ER with her, Allison, appears at the door and calls out after the patient Cynthia, who turns out to be her partner of nine years. Kyle is clearly moved. Patrick hotly says Allison can have as much time with Cynthia as she wants, and leaves. Allison asks "Leo" whether Cynthia is in any paid, at which point "Leo" hands Kyle Cynthia's chart and bails. Classy. Kyle assures Allison that Cynthia is not in pain, then runs after "Leo." They have an argument allegedly over the patient but really over "Leo" being a dick in general.
Robert and Robin sit down in his hospital room.
Robin: You have stage four colon cancer.
Robert: Four out of...?
Robert: Oh. Oh. At least I get an A plus. Survival rate?
Robin: Ten percent.
Robert: Well, I've had, uh, I've had worse odds in my life. Darling, life's always been a game to me. A dangerous one, but a game. And lady luck's always been on my side.
Robin: Dad, we have to perform surgery to remove part of your colon. And then we're going to have to follow up with a rigorous course of chemotherapy.
Robin: All in all, we're looking at several months before we know if you're in the clear.
Robert: That's unacceptable.
Robert has spy business to get back to and tries to play that off as his concern, when thanks to Tristan Rogers being awesome we can see that the problem really is that Robert is terrified. Robert bolts, promising to send Robin a postcard, or a text message, or "something on [her] FriendSpace." Ha.
Billy Dee and Claire bring a body to the morgue. Small problem: The corpse is coughing. They are understandably confused and, in Claire's case, freaked the hell out:
Claire: Oh my god, if you open that drawer and something pops out, I am totally going to crap my pants! Like, everywhere.
Hee! However, 1) every medical show in history has already done this story, 2) Claire is being crazily unprofessional, and 3) Claire continues to be an absolute carbon copy of Izzy on Grey's Anatomy (she even punctuates her freak-out with a "seriously!"). Anyway, yeah, the dude is undead.
Saira is playing blocks with Stone, giving him positive reinforcement. He moves over to a train on the floor, and Saira follows. She directs him how to play with the train, but instead he takes the cars off and starts meticulously lining them up side-by-side. Jagger looks on.
He is upset. Or furious. Or...planning his next stakeout.
Saira asks Stone to come back to the table with the blocks but Stone keeps lining up the train cars. Jagger gets upset and takes Stone's arm, sitting him down with Saira. Stone is upset and knocks down all the blocks. Saira asks Stone to pick them up while she and his dad go to talk about something in the hall. Sadly, that is not a euphemism, and they do just talk. Saira wants Jagger to be an observer only at this point. Jagger finds all this therapy involving blocks and trains to be a bit of a head-scratcher.
Jagger still doesn't understand Stone's diagnosis -- he says Stone is really smart and just shy. Saira patiently explains that autism does not have anything to do with intellect. Do you get the feeling, as I do, that many people have had to have patient conversations related to intellect with Jagger over the years?
Billy Dee and Claire roll the non-corpse past Patrick, who directs them to return it to the morgue. Then the corpse talks, and Patrick hotly questions what the eff is going on. Perhaps Patrick is confused additionally because Billy Dee and Claire have left the sheet over the talking non-corpse's head. The non-corpse is Alan Skinner (who prefers Alien Skin), a kind of douche-y looking emo-rocker type who has annoyed me with just .8 seconds of screentime. Alan insists he is actually dead, a point that Patrick hotly disputes based on the fact that they are having a conversation. Patrick directs Claire to figure out what's going on, and Billy Dee to get the non-corpse off the gurney so he doesn't freak people out.
Allison is forlornly watching Cynthia when Cynthia's parents burst into the room. "Leo" comes in and has the sad task of telling them there is nothing that can be done to save their daughter. Cynthia's dad wants to know next steps and "Leo" asks whether she has a living will or has expressed any desire about what to do under these circumstances. It turns out that Cynthia's parents haven't spoken to her in many years, so they have no idea. Allison interjects gently that she knows what Cynthia would want. Cynthia's dad is kind of dick, saying they don't know Allison and that this is a "family matter." Allison explains that she is Cynthia's family, and as she starts to explain Cynthia's wishes, Cynthia's dad asks "Leo" to kick Allison out of the room. "Leo" caves and asks Allison to leave.
Robert and Robin continue their discussion/argument by the nurses' station. Robert says he can get treatment elsewhere (To which Robin wisely replies, "Yeah, because the Congo's known for good quality chemo."), but that he just can't let the cancer rule his life. Robin accurately points out that Robert is scared. They argue some more and then Robert asks Epiphany if he is free to go. She confirms that he is. Robin threatens to have Robert declared incompetent and be committed. Robert says she wouldn't dare, but Robin says go ahead and try her. There's that Scorpio spark!
Robert and Robin continue to bicker over his departure. Robert is condescending about Robin's ability to have him committed, and Robin is furious. She sets off on a tear, concluding with a request that he go to hell and that she get a telegram with the location of his funeral. Damn, girl!
Epiphany tells Robert that Robin didn't mean what she said. Robert starts to say that yes, she actually did, but doubles over in pain first. He says he doesn't know what came over him, and Epiphany helpfully points out that perhaps it "was a little colon cancer"?
Kyle is incensed that "Leo" kicked Allison out of Cynthia's room. "Leo" calls Kyle a drama queen. What an ass. Which is what Kyle calls "Leo," who then pulls rank and says he is Kyle's attending. They argue about protocol and yadda yadda, and "Leo" yanks Kyle off the case claiming Kyle's judgment is clouded.
Undead Alan used to be in a band. Shocking. As if the heavy eyeliner, assy haircut, and aura of self-importance didn't give it away. Claire tells Patrick that they can't find anything wrong with Alan. Billy Dee quizzes Alan about his stupid band, while Patrick tries to get serious and explains that breaking into the morgue and playing dead is a criminal offense.
Claire and Kyle have one of their vending-machine-adjacent chats. Claire wants to know how Leo reacted to Kyle being gay. Kyle says Leo was hard to live up to, totally popular, got all the girls, etc. Really? I'm not buying it. Anyway, Kyle says "Leo" reacted to his coming out with a smirk and that ever since, Kyle has felt invisible to "Leo." Yeah, sounds about right, if we're talking about this post-personality-transplant version of Leo.
Back in the inexplicably-happening-in-the-middle-of-the-night-shift counseling session for a six-year-old, Saira tries to get Stone to make eye contact with her, and after a couple of attempts he throws himself to the floor and starts flailing and yelling. Saira tries to comfort him. God, the little boy playing Stone is adorable.
Cynthia's parents emerge from her room while Allison looks on from the waiting area, still in her robe with a bandage on her head. Kyle brings her coffee and tells her Cynthia's parents have asked that she be removed from life support (which Allison says is what Cynthia would have wanted). They have a pretty heavy-handed conversation about the rights of same-sex partners, but it is 1/10th as heavy-handed as any "deep" conversation last year, so I was going to let it pass, but then things went to a very icky place.
Kyle: Is there anything I can do?
Allison: Yeah, actually.
Allison: We were trying to have a baby. Cyn was going to carry it. Is there anyway you can get me her eggs?
Allison: It's just that if I could have a piece of her, something to hold onto, I could keep our love alive. We could have the family we always planned to.
Okay, first of all, again, every hospital show -- and several non-hospital shows, including Ugly Betty
-- have done the post-brain-death or post-mortem sperm harvest
storyline. Second of all, I find it entirely creepy. I get that it will help the
survivor be close and keep love alive etc. etc., but, like, death means
you can't get pregnant with that person anymore. (This was the
original tagline for Love Story.) Unless the dead or nearly
dead person had left explicit instructions, I think it's really creepy
to use his or her DNA to create a human being. And what about the
kid? "When did your dad/mom die?" "Oh, before I was conceived."
Weird! Anyway, I found it creepy when we were talking about sperm, but
with eggs when they have to do surgery and everything it just heightens
the squick factor to me. Third, I feel like this storyline didn't
need the egg-harvesting to make it convoluted. It could have been
sufficiently soapy with just the battle for Allison to make end-of-life
decisions for Cynthia and her blood relatives objecting. (Uh, anyway,
all that being said, to each their own, and my apologies if I have
offended those of our readers who are busy conceiving babies with dead
people's genetic material. You go, girls/boys!)
In the break room, Robin feels guilty for having been mean to her father and Patrick hotly tries to comfort her.
Robin: It's like banging your head against the wall. He's so stubborn!
Hee! Yeah, something about an apple and its proximity to the tree.
Robin sits on his lap while Patrick continues to hotly try to comfort her and tells her she has to let her dad make his decisions himself, but she is worried it might be too late for Robert. Patrick hotly says that's "the price you pay for loving a Scorpio." Aw.
Saira tries to explain ASD to Jagger while he adorably strokes Stone's hair as Stone naps (it is, after all, the middle of the freaking night). Saira explains that Jagger is going to go through a whole range of emotions (oh dear, I hope Antonio Sabato Jr. won't have to portray them all) before he finally accepts Stone's condition. Jagger sadly explains that Stone "is all [he] has."
Cynthia's parents are preparing to say goodbye to her when Kyle comes in and explains that Cynthia was in the process of trying to have a child, and could he have their permission to harvest her eggs? Oy. The asshole father does not react well, duh. He says this isn't what Cynthia wanted, it's what "that woman" wants. He blames Allison for "ripping our family apart." Yes, lesbian kidnappings that lead to long-term committed relationships are a serious societal problem! Anyway, Asshole Dad continues on about not letting "that woman steal any part of Cynthia," which ultimately leads to Leo at least temporarily losing the sarcastic quotation marks.
Asshole Dad: I'll tell you what the problem is. This doctor here is trying to push his immoral agenda onto our family.
Kyle: My immoral agenda is honoring who Cynthia was. If you have such great family values, then why haven't you spoken to your daughter in nine years?
Asshole Dad: GH used to be a respectable hospital. I didn't know you had a bunch of homos running around in here.
Leo: Hey -- what did you just call him?
Asshole Dad: Get out of my face.
Leo: Let's get something straight. I've been tolerating your narrow-minded bigoted crap out of respect for the difficult situation your family is in. But under no circumstances will you disrespect my doctors on this staff in that manner again. Or I will personally throw you out on your ass.
I hate this storyline, but that was pretty awesome of Leo.
In Robert's hospital room, he asks Epiphany when it became okay for kids to talk to their parents the way Robin did to him. Epiphany says since roughly the beginning of time. They have a nice chat, during which Epiphany sadly says she would give anything for Stan to have one more opportunity to cuss her out. She wants to know why Robert is running away from his family.
Billy Dee is with undead Alan, who is 27, the same age as Joplin, Hendrix, and Morrison (Alan had previously mentioned wanting to join the awesome band that must be rocking in heaven). Billy Dee tries to convince Alan that all of those people aren't legend because they died young, they're legends because they were incredible musicians, and Alan shouldn't try to check out early. Ugh, I'm bored by this sub-plot.
Robin runs into Jagger leaving the hospital with Stone adorably sleeping on his shoulder. Jagger tells Robin about Stone's diagnosis -- saying for the first time out loud that his son is autistic. Jagger apologizes for lashing out at Robin, and Robin says they're family (aaawww) and "sometimes families say things they don't mean, then they get over it." Nice little callback to the Robin-Robert storyline there.
At the nurses' station, Claire sees the roses and figures out they are Epiphany's, sing-songing that "Epiphany has a boyfriend." Epiphany insists no, the flowers are from a patient. Claire's not buying it, including throwing down her prior experience working in a florist to dispute Epiphany's timeline.
Epiphany: Well excuse me, Ms. CSI Flower Unit.
Ha! It's nice to see ol' Pip on the hot seat after she made life so miserable for others for so long. Then there is one of those cliched rom-com moments where, to get Claire off her back, Epiphany says they're from a guy but he doesn't mean anything to her, and of course Billy Dee overhears that. Who could have seen this coming?!
In Patrick's chief of staff office (I still can't type that without giggling; it's just so ridiculous), Kyle is trying to convince Patrick that Cynthia's organ donation agreement covers her eggs. Patrick is skeptical. As am I. Kyle discovered that Cynthia had been coming to GH for fertility treatments for six months, which seems to soften Patrick's resolve but he just can't bring himself to allow the harvest out of concern for the hospital's liability. And then again, we get some heavy-handedness, which somehow came off better in motion than in does on the page:
Patrick: I can't see it, Dr. Julian. I can't. I appreciate where your heart is coming from, but legally this is a gray area at best, and this hospital cannot afford a lawsuit. I'm sorry. As doctors, we have to separate our personal feelings from the job.
Kyle: You know, everybody keeps saying that. But do we? I mean, isn't that exactly why I'm trying to be a doctor? With all due respect Dr. Drake, it's easy for you. You're having a baby, without even really trying that hard. For me, I want to have a family someday too. I want to get married, I want to have kids. But it's just not so simple because there are so many people standing in the way. I look at Cynthia and Allison and I think that could be me some day. My family may not look the same as yours, but can't I have one too?
The writing isn't bad here, but to me it's misplaced. Patrick isn't an ideologue, standing against Allison's wishes because she's gay. He's concerned about the hospital's exposure, as he should be (particularly given what an asshole Cynthia's dad is). It was a nice speech, but did Patrick of all people really need a lecture about how families come in different packages?
Cynthia is wheeled past the nurses' station on a gurney and Asshole
Dad demands to speak to Patrick's supervisor and threatens to take the
hospital to court. Patrick tells Asshole Dad to chill and that
hopefully by the time the lawsuit gets to court, he'll be enjoying
playing with his grandchild and he'll feel differently about the whole
situation. First of all, have you met this guy? He won't. Second, I
do not like that Patrick caved on this.
Saira and "Leo" chat at the nurses' station. She thinks he showed a lot of strength and compassion in standing up to Asshole Dad. She thinks he should drop the macho facade because she knows that contrary to his protestations, everything gets to him, and she finds that really attractive. He smiles uber-goofily at her back as she walks away.
Kyle has arranged for Allison to have a few minutes alone with Cynthia, to say goodbye. Allison is very grateful and gives him a big hug. He seems genuinely touched, though says he was just doing his job.
Epiphany tries to get Billy Dee's attention, but it takes her a couple of hollers. She was thinking they could grab breakfast at Kelly's but he declines. He says he's too old for game-playing and tells her he overhead her conversation with Claire. He says he thinks people lie when they're ashamed, and he's always held his head high -- even when he was mopping floors -- and he's not about to change now. He leaves. Epiphany is peeved. I am still bored.
In the locker room, Leo gives Kyle props for his handling of Cynthia's case. Kyle thanks Leo for the case and for standing up for him to Asshole Dad. Leo says Kyle is his little brother and it's his job to stand up for him. Cute. Ethan Raimes really needs a haircut, though. And there's probably no need for me to see Adam Grimes shirtless again. Antonio Sabato Jr. has kind of ruined me for other soapy leading men.
Robin is at the nurses' station when Robert approaches, back in his hospital gown and robe.
Robert: So, I'm going to stay in this flop house. I- I think we can raise the level of service.
Robin: Okay, what do you have in mind?
Robert: For starters, let's have a bar ["baaah"]!
Robin: Okay, I'll see what I can do about having one installed.
Robert: And what about some entertainment? I mean, come on, I've stayed in Bombay slums that had a better nightly line-up.
Patrick: Hey, I can play my guitar. That dead alien guy gave me some lessons.
Robin: That's okay.
Robert: No, thank you. Maybe later.
Robert confirms that he got some other people to cover his super-spy business and will be sticking around for a while. Robin shows him to his room, bantering about the hospital's many amenities. Patrick hotly looks after them and smiles, thinking how adorable the Scorpios are and how great it is to see them together, and how if OG GH were one-tenth as good as this otherwise rather average spin-off is, a dozen daily episodes of Port Charles' Brave Mobster Tales wouldn't sit on his TiVo waiting to disappoint him. Oh no wait, that last stuff is me.