‘Deus Ex Machina’ saw Monday Mornings drop some of the more stylised elements that were seen in the pilot. Gone were the echoes and flashes and some, but not all, of the extreme close-ups. What we were left with was a basic medical drama that fails on almost every level.
It’s amazing how clumsily this show renders human emotion. When Dr Buck Tierney asks about an organ donor in an offhanded and somewhat disrespectful way, unaware that the donor’s mother is in the room, he’s sorry. He’s even more sorry later on, when he tries to console the donor’s mother and unwittingly implies that her son’s life was once meaningless but is now meaningful. Both of their reactions to this realisation was powerful.
Of course, that wasn’t enough for MM. Buck’s treatment of the patient himself had to be the subject of a Morbidity and Mortality meeting. Here Buck had to defend himself while Hooten acted like an overzealous schoolmaster. It was, to be frank, stupid. This is only the second episode and the meetings have already grown old and useless. We saw what happened with Buck and his patient. We didn’t need it recounted with added grandstanding.
Lest we imagine that bad things don’t happen offscreen, we were subjected to another M&M meeting (this one actually happened first, chronologically) about a patient who lost her sense of smell after an operation to remove a tumour. The result was a lawsuit against the hospital, something we didn’t hear about until after the M&M meeting in which Tina Ridgeway effectively threw resident Michelle Robidaux under the bus by implying that she was in charge of telling the patient the risks associated with her surgery. (Amusingly, Robidaux later thanks Ridgeway for not throwing her under the bus. I don’t know if this was sarcasm or if Robidaux is just that stupid.) This scene may have had more of an impact had we known about the lawsuit or seen the patient. Knowing and seeing neither, it came across as a waste of time.
Ridgeway also contributed to another scene of blunt force emotion MM-style when her feelings for Dr Ty Wilson were dragged out into the open during a chat with Dr Sydney Napur. These feelings are ridiculously obvious, especially in the scene immediately preceding the chat, but apparently a girly talk about Ridgeway possibly loving Wilson was needed anyway, in case we, the audience, are too dense to process the (complete lack) of subtlety.
Then there was Napur getting another doctor to ask her out. I can only imagine this scene was supposed to be cute, but given that all we’ve seen her do so far is a) get other doctors to take a look at patients and b) talk about her love life, I can’t bring myself to care about her clumsy attempt at getting a date.
One of the ways Napur got a diagnosis this week was by getting “Gato” Villanueva to take a look at a patient. Literally. He looked at a patient, asked if she cooked a certain type of food, and then diagnosed her as having worms contracted from raw pork. Later he attempted to give words of wisdom to a 13-year-old girl. This only served to show how much more mature and intelligent the 13-year-old was compared to him. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, that girl was the only character I actually liked this week.
We were left with an unresolved situation. Wilson feels guilty about the death of the boy last week, as evidenced by his hallucinations, and arranges a meeting with the boy’s mother. Given the way the phone call between them took place with close-ups of their mouths — hers lips pretty and her voice smooth — I can only assume that she, if MM‘s heavy-handed way is anything to go by, may be a possible romantic interest for Wilson. We can only hope otherwise.
What did you think of ‘Deus Ex Machina’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!