Getting drunk and high is one way to deal with a life-changing diagnosis. I’m sure a lot of patients blow off steam after learning they have cancer. But what if that patient happens to be an uptight doctor who missed all of the symptoms on her own body?
Thursday’s (Jan. 16) “Nottingham 7” revealed a whole new side to controlling Dr. Dana Kinny (Wendy Crewson). We’ve seen her get frisky with Joel in the past, but even then she tried to micro-manage the situation. This time around, Dana puts her trust in Alex’s hands. It takes a while for her to lighten up and let Alex do her job, but the important thing is that she actually allows herself to be vulnerable. Since she finally opens up, we get to learn more about her life and who she is. But she isn’t the only person who surprises us during this episode.
After Joel loses a patient due to a faulty hip replacement implant, he reexamines his other patients in the trial and realizes that their lives are in jeopardy. Joel makes an unexpected career-changing decision, which influences the other doctors in Hope Zion.
The Big C
Dana presents Alex with a patient’s file and asks for her diagnosis. Alex believes the patient is in the late stages of breast cancer. She gives her candid advice on how to remove the tumor and eradicate the cancer as much as possible. As Alex begins criticizing the patient for not catching this earlier and then Dana reveals that she is the patient in question. Alex is stunned, but offers her encouraging support.
Dana chooses Alex to perform the operation because she taught Alex and trusts her work. Needless to say, Alex is freaked out and nervous, but she appreciates Dana faith in her capability as a surgeon. Alex quickly starts researching and practicing to be sure she does everything perfectly.
Unfortunately, Dana nit-picks and gives Alex a hard time over every trivial detail. When Alex orders a test, Dana argues that she doesn’t need it, so she cancels it. Alex asserts that she is the doctor and Dana is the patient, so she needs to simmer down and let Alex do her job.
Later that evening, Alex makes a house call to give Dana the test results. Despite her cancellation, the blood work went through and it is even worse than they thought because it may be hereditary. Alex recommends completely removing both breasts and Dana is struggling to accept that reality.
What commences is a heartbreaking, yet funny emotional roller coaster ride. Crewson and Erica Durance nicely play off of each other. They capture the heaviness of the subject matter and manage to make it entertaining to watch at the same time. The ladies share their worries about the future over a few bottles of wine.
Alex opens up about her break-up with Charlie. She is truly heartbroken, but there’s nothing she can really do about it. She is just frustrated with him and hurt by his actions. Dana can relate. Her husband left her for his secretary, so she understands the pain of a bad break-up. Dana also admits that she is scared of how cancer will affect her future. She wants to watch her teenage daughter Molly grow up and she’s worried she may not be around for as long as she wanted.
Once Dana is sufficiently inebriated, she uncharacteristically orders some “pizza,” which turns out to be pot. Next thing you know, Alex and Dana are in trouble for skinny dipping in the neighbor’s pool. As the cop is about to arrest them for trespassing and possession of marijuana, Alex tells Dana to play the cancer card.
The cop sympathizes with Dana. He lost his wife to breast cancer, so he understands what Dana is going through. She tears up and hugs the officer, thanking him for letting them off with a warning.
As the cops leave, Molly returns home from her study group. She’s confused, but doesn’t pester her mom for details. After Molly leaves the room, Alex asks if Dana will share the test results with her. Dana doesn’t want Molly to spend her life worrying about what might happen. She wants Molly to embrace her body, not fear it. She will keep it secret for as long as she can to spare her child from an unnecessary burden. (That’s a tough decision to make. Would you have made the same decision?)
Fast forward to the day of the operation and Dana seems like a totally different person. She’s riding an anesthetic high, which has exposed the friendly and caring person she’s tried so hard to suppress. In another sweet moment, Hope Zion’s band of doctors gather around Dana and kindly express their support. Despite her bitchy tendencies, everyone knows that Dana has always meant well. She just felt the need to conduct herself as a strong-willed professional in order to own her position at the hospital and be taken seriously by her peers.
Dana lets go of the reigns and allows Alex to do her job. The surgery is a success. As this storyline wrap-up, it seems as though this experience may have changed Dana for the better.
I really like the way Dana and Alex’s patient, Blake, was used as a barometer of Dana’s transformation during this episode. When Blake asks for help with her TV, Dana dismisses her request, saying they’re doctors not maintenance. Alex, on the hand, kindly offers to help her out with. Dana thinks Alex’s behavior undermines their status. By the end of the episode, Dana has a change of heart. Being thoughtful and kind doesn’t make you any less of a doctor. I love how all the ladies huddle up to watch a rom-com on Dana’s TV. Let’s hope the camaraderie lasts after Dana has healed.
The hip thing to do
Hope Zion’s other case turns out to include more than one patient. Paulina, a ballerina, is part of a trail testing out a new prosthetic hip replacement. After her follow-up appointment with Joel, Paulina suddenly dies. An autopsy reveals that the cause of death comes from a defect in the prosthetic. Joel asks Charlie to confirm his theory and both agree that the implant is faulty.
Unfortunately, Emilia, a representative for the prosthetic’s company and a former one-stand of Joel’s, takes the implant with her as part of her study on the trial. She isn’t going to let Joel bad-mouth her company without putting up a fight.
Joel is unsettled by all of this. He knows something is wrong with the product, so he calls all of his other trial patients. After double-checking everybody, he realizes that Paulina wasn’t the only person suffering from the side-effects of a leaky implant. He has other lives to protect, so Joel sacks up and does what any ethical doctor would do.
When Paulina’s husband approaches Joel with a legitimate lawsuit against Emilia’s company, he decides to forgo his spiteful lover’s warning and fight for justice. He reveals his intentions to some of the other doctors and Dawn thinks it is a bad idea. She also argues that undergoing a lawsuit of this magnitude would prevent him from fulfilling his duties as Chief.
Joel ultimately decides to resign as Chief and he nominates Dawn as his successor, a move that totally insults Shahir. Especially after their awkward bonding moment in the last episode, I wonder if Shahir assumed he would have been Joel’s automatic successor. Anyway, I think it takes more than Joel’s nomination to select the next Chief. It will be interesting to see if Dawn ends up with the job. If the team survived working under Dana, they can probably handle Dawn. But it still makes you wonder if she will use her power to torment certain doctors over others (cough Alex cough). Bottom line: Good for Joel. I don’t think he was really happy as Chief anyway, so it is the right thing to do in many ways.
Pixie dust and promises
This week’s haunting was pretty subdued compared to others. Charlie sees Paulina’s ghost and she has one simple request. She wants Charlie to relay a message to the young girls she’s been secretly teaching. Charlie fears that he will have to partake in dancing or wear a tutu or do something ridiculous. He argues that he fell asleep during the only ballet he attended. Charlie then calls up Alex to corroborate his story (side note: Alex was the one who fell asleep, while Charlie enjoyed the show.)
We realize how torn up both of them are over this break-up. Alex can’t handle the mixed messages of Charlie’s calls. If they’ve broken up then they need to set boundaries. We know Charlie still loves Alex. He let her go thinking he was doing the right thing. But he is obviously hurting.
Charlie has a brief chat with Melanda while overlooking Alex’s operation on Dana. Melanda defends her friend, but can see that Charlie isn’t happy either, so she doesn’t understand why he broke up with her. Charlie asks Melanda to be Alex’s friend, to take her out and listen to what she has to say. That’s nice, but I’m still annoyed. I’m really hating this break-up. Hopefully they will reconcile at some point this season. I digress…back to the haunting.
Charlie realizes that he’s being silly and decides to fulfill Paulina’s dying wish. He visits the group of young girls before their recital and performs Paulina’s secret ritual, which adorably involves pixie dust. It really is a very sweet scene and it is always nice to see Charlie’s softer side. Maybe he’ll have a chance to show more of it as the season continues.
What did you think of this episode? What were your favorites? Did anything surprise you? Did you enjoying seeing a different side of Dana? DO you think this will change her behavior from now on? Or will she revert to being a no-non-sense, bossy doctor?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
This article was originally published on Examiner.com on January 22, 2014.