Never let it be said that A Gifted Man titles its episodes with understatements. ‘In Case of Complications’ definitely had complications. It was also, strangely enough, the most straightforward episode to date and probably one of the strongest.
There’s only one patient this week, instead of the usual two or three. Instead the second patients share of the airtime is taken up with a case Michael has already solved. He goes to court to testify that Jake, an arsonist who murdered three people, was actually under the influence of a cancerous brain tumour that affected his behaviour, and that once the tumour was removed Jake was remorseful. In light of Michael’s testimony, Jake is freed from psychiatric care.
The actual patient of the episode is Eduardo, who initially comes to the clinic so his daughter can be treated after stepping on broken glass. She’s fine, but Eduardo collapses and the doctors find he has stones and an infection in his gallbladder. It’s late in the evening before an ambulance is called to take him to hospital, but a woman comes into the clinic and takes Zeke, Kate, Anton and Eduardo hostage before the ambulance can arrive. She wants Michael.
Later, with the ambulance sent away and no immediate rescue in sight, Kate and Zeke are forced to operate on Eduardo. The woman uses Kate’s cell to text Michael, and he comes to the clinic. Eduardo’s condition fluctuates and the doctors convince the woman to let them continue the operation while she ‘talks’ to Michael. It’s revealed that the woman is the mother of a child who died in the fire Jake set. She blames Michael for Jake going free.
Michael tries to explain that he was only doing his job, but she’s understandably irrational. Anton tries to tackle her and is shot. And then Michael convinces the woman to let him treat Anton by suggesting that there’s a possibility her daughter’s spirit is watching events. Anton’s treated, the woman is arrested, and Eduardo is patched up.
This episode didn’t do anything that every other medical drama hasn’t done before it. At times this episode felt a little House-y and a little ER-y. But the main thing is, it was actually quite good. I would have liked the revelation of the woman’s motivations for wanting Michael to have been revealed earlier on (I’m sure we all guessed that she was the little girl’s mother), and perhaps her motivations should have been a little more revenge-based given how much she seemed to detest Michael, but that part of the plot was passable.
I think what made this episode stronger is that we had a lot more time to focus on the characters. There was a surprising lack of Michael for a good half of the episode or so, and when he was around we got some depth added to Kate’s marriage, and Michael’s feelings for her. There was some headway on the Zeke/Christina relationship too. Normally I would have thought this was all too relationship weighted (even with a possible Valentine’s connection in the plotting), but it was balanced out by the drama of the situation and the realization that while Anton may act all zen about Christina and Zeke, he’s really not.
(I have to admit, I was really worried that Anton was going to die in this episode. He’s quite possibly my favourite character; I want him to stick around for a long time yet!)
Hopefully, in light of the strength of this episode, A Gifted Man will start giving its characters and their lives more airtime. That is definitely where this shows strength lies.
What did you think of ‘In Case of Complications’? Let us know in the comments below!