Night Shift Episode 7: Listen to my Heart
Previously, on Night Shift: "Leo" and Saira had sex but "Leo" told Jagger that "Leo" and Saira aren't dating, Saira diagnosed Stone as autistic and she and Jagger had a pretty nice chemistry that of course made "Leo" jealous, Claire and Kyle hung out by vending machines a lot and both wished they were in love, Robin and Patrick diagnosed Robert Scorpio with stage four colon cancer, Jagger was shirtless, Robin and Patrick were almost ridiculously adorable, Jagger was shirtless, petition drives started nationwide to get Sri Rao named head writer of the version of General Hospital that most of us suffer through when it is still light out, and Jagger was shirtless.
Holy crap, Mac Scorpio! How you doin'? Mac is visiting his brother Robert in the hospital and has brought a six-pack of bottled beer. As you do.
Mac and Robert engage in some rather adorable brotherly banter, which gets a bit serious when Mac only half-jokingly says that it's hell to see Robert in this condition.
Side note: John J. York's accent confuses me. I swear, when I started watching in the early 90s, he had an Australian one. Which makes sense, given that he was cast as Tristan Rogers' brother. (And this was back before the reign of idiotic terror of the current powers-that-be, who think it's a-okay that Jerry and Jasper Jax are brothers who were raised together yet one is British and one is Australian.) Then in recent years he hasn't had one, but in this scene I swear I heard a bit of one. I'm so confused. Has he been hanging out with Rick Springfield? And if so, do you think York could make a "Jessie's Girl" live performance happen?
Patrick hotly approaches Robin and hotly says he's been paging her. She didn't answer because she is obsessively checking out the instruments on the surgical tray for her dad's procedure, and she's enraged that there is no abdominal retractor. Patrick hotly reassures her that there will be one, and that there are people whose job it is to make sure all the tools are there. Patrick hotly anticipates that Robin is going to ask him to scrub in on Robert's surgery, so he agrees in advance. Robin is grateful. She gives him a quick kiss, but they are interrupted by Jagger (who is fully clothed). Jagger is, unfortunately, not at the hospital for a naked yoga class. Instead, he's there for a meeting, and to see Robert before his surgery. Robert is resting now though, so Jagger leaves Robin with a medallion thingie (it kind of looks like rosary beads) for protection -- it's the last thing he has of his mom's.
Aaawww. Robin thanks him sincerely and hugs him, then demands that he take off his shirt. Okay, that last part is false. Patrick hotly looks on, maybe a little jealous of the hug.
A groom and his groomsmen arrive in the ER, because the groom has passed out several times. The wedding is about to happen on a boat in the harbor (better steer clear of Jason), so the groom doesn't want to be at the hospital. "Leo" starts to examine him and the groom gets peeved and turns to head back to his wedding, and promptly faints.
After the super-short theme song, "Leo" and Epiphany load the groom onto a stretcher, and "Leo" tasks Kyle with "wrangling" the groomsmen. Kinky!
Claire breezes past the nurses' station in her ugly polka-dot top and is flagged down by a guy calling himself Ryan McCormick. Yowza.
Even on repeat viewing, I am still so dazed buy this guy's cuteness that I am tempted to be a total hack and start calling him, like Fine-an McHottie. But I will not do that to you, dear readers, because I know that you expect more. Well, no you don't, but I like to save up my truly hack moments for reviewing OG GH. Anyhoo, Claire fakes like she remembers Ryan but she totally doesn't, so she tries to blow him off by saying she has to head back to work.
Claire: That's great. Look, I gotta get back to work. But it was really nice seeing you.
Ryan: You know you could have called.
Claire: Excuse me?
Ryan: I waited for six months for my phone to ring.
Claire: Yeah, I got really busy.
Ryan: I thought we had a connection.
Claire: You did?
Ryan: That night? The way we made love?
Claire: We did . . .
Ryan: You know, I, uh, never told you this, but, that was my first time.
Claire: For what?
Ryan: I gave you my virginity, Claire.
Claire: Nuh-uh! [Hilarious delivery.]
Ryan: And then, you just threw me away, like some piece of dirty trash.
Claire: Look, I am so sorry. I mean, you seem like a really, really nice guy. And I don't know why I didn't call you. I make really bad choices when it comes to men!
He was kidding; they went to elementary, middle, and high school together. I was going to say, Claire, you're not really old enough to not be recognizing the guys you've been with. That doesn't kick in until, like, 28. Anyway, they don't like each other. But you know they're going to end up hot for each other, because you've seen a soap opera before.
At the autism support group that Saira is hosting, a father is telling a story about his son's bar mitzvah. Saira expositions that in her group, they refer to non-autistic kids as "typical." Which is a nice alternative to "normal," I think; less negative. Anyway, Jagger joins the group and listens to the other parents' stories. One of the mothers talks about her seven-year-old son going back into diapers earlier in the week, and how it's affecting her marriage. It's very sad. Jagger is sad.
Or upset. Or trying to get a poppy seed out of his teeth with his tongue.
Back to the brothers Scorpio, Robert is regaling Mac with a tale of the time Robert saved Mac from a shark attack. Mac remembers it the other way around. They argue good-naturedly. I miss this kind of thing on OG GH. Robert gets serious and tells Mac that "they want to cut open [his] gut." He says that his head is one thing, but for him, his guy is his "real compass, that's what keeps [him] alive." Mac assures Robert that he is invincible and will be fine.
Robin arrives and half-heartedly scolds Mac for having beer in the hospital. Robin is there to make sure that Robert knows the details of his surgery, before he signs the consent form. Robin explains that the surgeon is very qualified and has done a hundred of these surgeries. It could be routine, with chemotherapy and maybe radiation to follow. However, if the cancer has spread, they may have to take more of his intestines, and give him a colostomy, meaning he'll have a removable waste bag. The colostomy might be reversible, after chemo and radiation. Robert is clearly horrified by this prospect, saying maybe he'll get lucky and "die on the table." He asks Mac whether he "brought it"? Mac did, and "it" is a will, leaving everything of Robert's to Robin and her soon-to-be daughter. Robin is disturbed by the discussion, obviously. Damn, Kimberly McCullough and Tristan Rogers are good together. Too bad about Bob Guza's Scorpio-phobia ("Scorpiobia"?).
"Leo" is getting more details from the groom and is about to send him away with instructions to stay hydrated, when his irate bride bursts in, yelling his full name -- Lorenzo Anthony Costa. Much like with mothers, you are in serious trouble when your significant other busts out with the middle name. She bitches at him that if this is his way of bailing on the wedding, he's dead, etc.
Her name is, ironically, Grace, and Lorenzo assures Grace that he's not trying to be a runaway groom. He explains he has a stress-related condition, and she's all, dude, I have 150 Italian relatives and 150 Chinese relatives on a freaking boat waiting for me. "Leo" says Lorenzo is free to go, but of course the second he gets up, he faints.
I'm going to be lazy and just transcribe this next scene, because it's so rare that there are GH-related scenes that can stand alone just on the page.
Robin: The only thing I want my daughter to have of yours are your memories. Stories of all your adventures.
Robert: We've gotta be realistic.
Robin: Why start now?
Robert: Stuff happens.
Robin: Not to you. Not on my watch.
Robert: I want what you want. But, just in case. I -- I want that little rugrat to know that Grandpa Robert was here.
Robin: I want my little girl to have what I didn't have all those years; and that would be you, in her life.
Orderly: Pardon folks. I'm here to take you to pre-op.
Mac: Well, I guess this is it.
Robert: About that thing we discussed before. The colostomy.
Robin: Only if the cancer has spread.
Robert: I don't want it. You can make the medical decision, and I don't want it.
Robin: Dad, it's not that simple.
Robert: Robin, I'm not going to be hooked up to that thing. That's not the way Robert Scorpio will be remembered.
Robin: It's not about that. Will you just --
Robert (forcefully): I don't want it! That's the end of it. Come on, give your old man a kiss for luck.
Robert: I screwed up, in my life, plenty. You're the one thing I got right.
Robin: I love you, Daddy.
Robert: I love you more.
I totally teared up. In the interest of full disclosure but at the risk of over-sharing, my dad became seriously ill and died several years back. Without getting into details, this episode seriously hit home for me. I thought it was incredibly true to life, something I've stopped expecting from soaps of late but something that I'd welcome back on my shows if the writers could figure out how to do it this well.
Epiphany is getting Ryan settled in an exam area. He is shocked when in walks his doctor, and it's Claire. Who could have seen this coming?! Ryan is incredulous that Claire is a doctor, which is kind of douchey, but Claire's hair looks horrendous, so I can't really take a side here. Ryan tells Epiphany that Claire never gave him the time of day in school, and Epiphany says she's not surprised. Oh, there's that Epiphany, being all respectful of doctors and staying out of other people's business, like she always does. Ryan has some sciatica problem so Claire tells him to take off his pants. Ryan is a modern man and therefore injured himself doing yoga. Claire, while she is prodding around on his thigh, asks "how long?" and Ryan rather smarmily replies "what, in inches?" On the one hand, ew, but on the other, jeez, way to step right into that, blondie. The answer to how long ago is Tuesday morning, but I have no idea how long ago that is. Claire wants to do a CAT scan but Ryan wants an MRI because radiation isn't environmentally friendly. Claire, apparently forgetting that she is the doctor, caves and orders an MRI.
The autism support group continues, with another parent sharing her story. Saira tries to prompt Jagger to chime in, but he gets up and turns away, distressed.
Or constipated. Or remembering he left the stove on.
Robert is under the knife, with Patrick hotly assisting and Robin and Mac looking on via the observation window. Mac puts his arm around Robin and comforts her, reminding her of how strong Robert is.
Patrick comes out into the hallway to tell Robin that the cancer had spread further than they'd thought, and that to get rid of the cancer, they need to do a colostomy. The alternative is leaving the cancer as is, sending Robert home to die, basically.
Mac: Robin, he said he didn't want it.
Patrick: Yeah, but he'd be alive. It's inconvenient, but people live with colostomies all the time.
Mac: Look, I hear you doc, but this is Robert. He's a lot of things, but flexible isn't one of them.
Patrick: It's Robin's decision. I'll support you, whatever you decide.
Robin: If I say do it, he might never forgive me.
Patrick: Robin, they're waiting.
"Leo" is explaining to Lorenzo that he has a heart condition called Long Q-T Syndrome. Kyle says it's kind of like a heart murmur (hey, I have one of those!) except it's way more serious and it can kill him (oh, I do not have one of those). Grace is distraught and wants to call off the wedding, but Lorenzo says no way. They hug.
Saira wraps up the support group, but one of the parents wants her first to share something about herself. The mother says that they have all shared very personal stories and yet they know nothing about her. Does she have an autistic child? No, but she has an autistic brother. Saira explains that her younger brother is in a group home nearby, which is why she moved to Port Charles. He grew up when they knew much less about autism that they do now and despite the fact that both of their parents were doctors, he had a very hard life. Jagger looks on, gaining a new understanding of Saira.
Or trying to remember his phone number.
Claire brings a passel of other doctors into Ryan's exam area, and they all start trying to lift his shirt (smart doctors). The pulled muscle in his leg will be easily taken care of with physical therapy, but it turns out that Ryan is a freak of nature -- he has four kidneys! Weirdo.
Lorenzo is trying to leave for the wedding, and "Leo" agrees to prescribe him some beta-blockers to get through the wedding if he comes back tomorrow for more tests. Of course, Lorenzo promptly collapses, clutching his chest.
Jagger comes back to the meeting room to find Saira alone. She thinks he's forgotten something, but he's there to tell her that it took a lot of courage for her to tell her story. She says he will get comfortable in that setting as well. He says he doesn't want to get to a place where he's talking about such private things to strangers, but Saira explains that eventually they won't be strangers. Saira -- who I think is clearly distraught from the earlier discussion of her brother but I'm not positive because the actress is, well, not that convincing -- says her parents abandoned her brother and she was a part of it, and now she can't do anything to help him. Jagger hugs her, and then they kiss.
Saira inexplicably does not dissolve into a puddle of goo. Jagger stares at her, concerned about what he just did.
Or remembering that his parking meter is about to expire.
Side note: So the whole concept of this being the actual night shift is out the window, right? Because I assume the parents of autistic children don't abandon them in the middle of the night to go to a support group, that Jagger isn't wandering around at midnight making out with random women (although, if so, call me!), that Robert isn't having hours-long surgery that starts in the wee hours of the evening, etc.? I'm fine if they have totally disregarded that concept, particularly when unlike last year there was no explanation for why Patrick and Robin would even be working the night shift, but it kind of seems like something that should have been mentioned.
Saira, in a different outfit from when she was kissing Jagger, congratulations "Leo" -- who is lounging in a waiting-area chair -- on his emergency heart surgery success with Lorenzo. "Leo" has been up for 36 hours, and Saira suggests he hit the on-call room and take a shower. On Grey's Anatomy, both of those things would be invitations for sex, but apparently these are her literal recommendations. Anyway, apparently Lorenzo will be fine, except he has a bad staph infection that's been going around and made its way into the coronary ICU. Saira says that with Lorenzo's condition, traditional antibiotics may actually make him worse, and she knows of an alternative treatment that has been proven successful. "Leo" gets all typically condescending and laughs, says his patient is doing fine.
Robert wakes up and wants to know if they got all the cancer. Patrick hotly explains how the surgery went.
Robert wants to know "how much?" -- how much intestine did they have to take? Robin explains that they couldn't reconnect it.
Robert: Do I have a bag? I told you not to.
Robin: Dad, you would have died without it.
Robert: [Sarcastically] Now, I can live forever. Mac, how could you let her do this?
Robin: Don't blame Mac, it was my choice.
Robert: It was a bad one.
Robin: Without the colostomy, they would have sent you home to die. I'm sorry, but that is not a choice.
Robert turns away, pained. Sniffle.
Ryan has replaced the regular lightbulbs in his hospital room with compact fluorescents, and apparently wants Claire to give him a cookie for that. Ryan wants Claire to be his doctor, but she explains it's not her area of expertise. Ryan correctly shoots back that nobody exactly specializes in multiple useless organs. Claire accepts Ryan's offer of a mini-picnic of organic foods and says she finds his condition fascinating. He wants to know if by that she means hot, but apparently she does not. I don't know about the kidneys or the attitude, but come on, the boy is hot. (If they are ever casting a brother for Patrick on GH -- other than Matt, who I assume is going to turn out to be Drake #2 -- they should consider this guy. They could be hotly fraternal.) He asks her out and she hesitates. He accuses her of not having changed since high school, but she says he didn't know her then either. He changes the subject, saying he's going to sell his two spare kidneys.
"Leo" asks Lorenzo how he's feeling; Lorenzo is not doing so great because his chest really hurts. "Leo" orders Kyle to check the wound and when Kyle does, he immediately tells "Leo" to check it out. Basically, and I'll use technical medical terma here, Lorenzo's incision is majorly fucked up in a big way like whoa, yo.
Side note: Okay, so I know from our readers' comments that OLTL is better than any other soap and also possibly even better than the invention of actual soap itself, but do I understand from these commercials that a woman with amnesia is falling in love with one of the men who gang-raped her, a tidbit of their history that said man has chosen not to share with said rape victim? I hate to say this but, man, I think I prefer GH. Also, Elizabeth Berkeley as your "Everybody's got their something" person, really? Who did you piss off?
Jagger is wearing a different sexy t-shirt, so I guess it's a new day, and he's chatting with Robin in the hall about her dad. Jagger says she did what she had to do. Robin knows that, but says that she's not sure she's ready for the responsibility of making these decisions for Robert. Jagger can relate, because Stone is totally dependent on him. Jagger says you just have to do the best that you can. Saira comes up and basically babbles and makes goo-goo eyes at Jagger, who takes off after telling Robin he'll come back to see Robert tomorrow. Robin calls out Saira on acting like a weirdo, and Saira admits she kissed Jagger. She's giddy but also is talking kind of like she's on acid. Remember in the first episode when I said this actress's delivery may get on my nerves? I was right. Anyway, Robin wants to know whether Saira is into "Leo," or if she's interested in Jagger. Saira thinks about that.
Or hears a phone ringing in the distance. She and Jagger might be perfect for each other.
"Leo" informs Lorenzo's family in the waiting room that Lorenzo has a serious infection and is allergic to penicillin. "Leo" gives a speech about how the stuff after surgery is what matters most. Cut to "Leo" going to see Saira in her empty meeting room, bringing herbal tea. She thinks he may have made it with disinfectant. Burn. Anyway, it was a nice gesture, one that he uses to butter her up and ask her to help him out with that alternative to the antibiotics. After the commercial break, we see that the alternative treatment is this nasty pesto-looking stuff that they mix and then put on Lorenzo's incision. (That was a really weird place to break for commercial, BTW.)
Ryan is explaining to Claire that he's not going to sell his kidneys, exactly -- which she is pretty sure is illegal (duh) -- he's going to auction them off and give the money to environmental charities. Claire thinks this plan is bizarre. I would agree, and would add that it is an annoying C-plot. The idea of selling (or "auctioning" -- whatever) organs is a little repugnant, and I didn't get this storyline. It seems like Ryan having some disease that would require him to stay in the hospital and have Claire gradually grow close to him would have been better than this strangeness, no? However, I have a hunch that in order to remove two of one's freakish four kidneys, one will have to remove one's shirt. And I am emphatically pro-shirt-removal when it comes to hot men on soaps. So, on with the show.
"Leo" examines Lorenzo and finds that the infection is under control. Lorenzo is so relieved; he couldn't imagine that he might have to leave Grace. "Leo" gets a little personal, asking Lorenzo how he knew that Grace was the one. Lorenzo says that Grace loved him for who he was -- arrogant, stubborn, and sarcastic -- and wanted him just like that, without changing him. He didn't want to change anything about her either, and that's how he knew she was the one. Of course "Leo," because in his mind he is perfect, is very enthralled by this idea of someone loving him for exactly who he is.
In related news, "Leo" finds Saira lounging in the same chair he was before and says he won't lecture her about the on-call room. Saira is in yet another new outfit, BTW. "Leo" tells Saira she did nice work on Lorenzo. She says he did too. They think they make a good team. I will drop the quotes for a bit because this seemed like a conversation that Original Recipe Leo might actually have had.
Leo: Okay, look, I'm just going to say this. Whether you can handle it, or not. You're one of the most facinating women I've ever known. You're brilliant. And stubborn. And sexy. And . . . every time I come to work, I can't wait to see you. . . . Say something.
Saira: You are so not my type. You're arrogant, and obnoxious, and sometimes you are just plain mean. When you're good, like today, it gets to me. I feel -- I feel alive and challenged when I'm around you.
Leo: Okay then.
Saira: Okay then.
Leo: Now what?
Saira: I have no idea. But I should warn you that I have a really terrible track record when it comes to relationships.
Leo: It can't be worse than mine.
Saira: That I believe.
As a commitment-phobe, I liked the honesty of that conversation. However let's get real: This is not going to end well. Also: Saira, you kissed Jagger! Have you seen Jagger? Where are your priorities?!
Oh god, here we go. I freaking LOST IT during this scene.
Patrick and Robin look on as Robert sleeps and Epiphany tells them she has to clean his colostomy bag, hopefully before he wakes up. Robert wakes up and Robin explains that Epiphany has to change his bag. Epiphany says things may be a little sensitive because he isn't healed yet, and starts to work. Robert writhes in pain.
Epiphany tries to calmly explain what she's doing, but Robert is in agony. Patrick hotly offers his hand for Robert to squeeze.
He yelps. Robin turns away and leaves, not able to watch her dad in so much pain. Robert -- Robert Scorpio, heroic super-spy that you've watched for 20+ years -- starts crying in agony.
Robin tears up in the hallway. I sob in my bedroom.
Tristan Rogers is incredible. I cannot remember the last time I cried watching a soap. No wait, yes I can. But a recent soap? Hasn't affected me like this in ages. This wasn't OTT soapy or exploitative, it was just well written and superbly acted. With what we're usually subjected to on daytime, I can understand if it was also therefore terribly confusing.