Most shows wait a few episodes (or seasons!) before throwing their main characters in life-and-death situations. That’s why I can’t tell if 911 was being bold when they decided Chimney would get into a terrifying car accident in the third episode or if the writers didn’t have enough faith in their show and wanted to rely on gore and shock value.
It’s very important to be able to tell the difference because as jaw-dropping and gruesome it is to watch a piece of rebar go through Chimney’s skull, the show has barely spent any time on the character to make us emotionally invested in his journey (how many of you knew his name was Chimney?). Plus, this raises the bar (pun intended) unprecedentedly high that it makes us expect similar carnage on a weekly basis. And if there’s anything I learned from watching The Gifted this year, it’s to manage expectations.
With that said, there isn’t a dull or lackluster moment in Next of Kin. The episode zips from one scene to the other effortlessly and utilizes its fantastic cast as much as possible. While there are some tonally jarring scenes (this episode seemed much more serious than last week) and Abby is nearly absent until the second half of the hour, the writers know how to keep things interesting and fun enough to keep me coming back for more.
– Last week’s cliffhanger luckily isn’t resolved within the first 5 minutes. In fact, Athena’s subplot with her overdosed daughter is executed with extreme subtlety and nuance. Well done, show.
– Points for the suicide attempt not being about the gay father too.
– Who else got Grey’s Anatomy vibes this week, particularly to the Into You Like A Train episode from season two? Still one of my all-time favorites.
– I think Henrietta (Hen) is becoming my favorite character. Can we get some backstory on her, please?
– How horrible is Tatiana, Chimney’s girlfriend, for not wanting to visit him in the hospital?
– Also, I genuinely thought the writers were going to throw in a twist with Bobby and Tatiana sleeping together. Thank God that didn’t happen.
– That’s Doug Savant from Desperate Housewives as Abby’s brother! I miss Lynette and Tom.
– Very few memorable victims-of-the-week this time (and yes, that’s what I’m calling them on this show).
– The final scene as Chimney grabs Bobby’s hand with Buck and Hen by his side is admittedly tear-jerking.
Chimney: I thought this was what you wanted.
Tatiana: You should’ve asked me before you did this.
Chimney: You wanted me to ask you to ask you to marry me?
Bobby: Normally, I’d be consulting with my smartest EMT, but right now he’s got a rebar stuck in his head.
Buck: That was badass, but I thought we weren’t here to blow off steam.
Hen: You know what you can blow.
Bobby: You don’t have to say yes. You just have to come hold his hand. This is not about love, it’s about decency.
Tatiana: That’s my point. Anything I do now that isn’t being Florence Nightingale, it makes me look like some kind of jerk. So I hold his hand when he wakes up. Then it’s stay with him until he’s out of the hospital. And then it’s you can’t break up with him until he can walk or talk again, and that’s assuming that he ever can. And you want me to just play like I’m in love for how long? A month? A year? I am not a bad person. I am just not in love with him.
It may be “too much, too soon” for the third episode of a freshman series, but Next of Kin is still an enjoyable hour of television.