Emily Owens, MD Season 1 Review “Pilot” – You Can Take the Girl Out of High School, But…


I have to admit…I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the premiere of the CW’s newest show, Emily Owens, MD, probably because they’ve been playing one particular scene over and over again for months, and it’s not the show’s finest moment. If they’d shown more of the rest of the episode, I might have gotten more excited. As it is, what I saw was both surprising and promising.

Emily Owens (Mamie Gummer) is a brand new intern at Denver Memorial (nice touch…not a city that’s been home to any other major medical shows to my knowledge). She’s neurotic and insecure and finds it much easier to relate to adolescent patients than deal with people her own age. She also has a med-school-long crush on Will Collins (Justin Hartley) and an elementary-school-long hatred of Cassandra Kopelson (Aja Naomi King), both of whom are interning with her. After Cassandra picks right back up with torturing Emily, she finds an ally in Tyra (Kelly McCreary), the daughter of the chief of staff who has come out to everyone but her father, for fear of messing up his perfect life, which isn’t actually so perfect since Emily caught him kissing a nurse in the stairwell.

All of this is great setup for a classic medical drama, but the one thing that surprised me is how amazingly competent Emily is at her job. Usually in these kind of shows, the main character stumbles a lot or bumbles her way to a brilliant ending, but only after starting off at the bottom of the pack. Not Emily. Even when she’s daydreaming about Will’s jaw, she’s able to rattle off a perfect answer to her supervisor. She knows exactly how to save her young patient’s life and she figures out the mystery of a car crash involving two drunk brothers.

It’s not hard to see why Cassandra was jealous of her in grade school. Academic things come easy to her. It’s the other stuff that’s hard. I was absolutely prepared for an entire season of Emily debating if she should tell Will how she felt about him, so I was very happy to see her blurt it out to him forty minutes into the pilot. Of course, he doesn’t feel the same (at least right now), so things will be awkward between them, but I have a feeling he might come around, especially if his blossoming attraction to Cassandra doesn’t work out.

As for romance, I’m rooting for Micah (Michael Rady), an older intern with a nice streak and a dying mother, who took a particular interest in Emily. He’s cute and sweet and just as crush-worthy as Will. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Emily sees that. More and more shows are setting up this idea of having two really great guys who both would be great with the lead. I blame Twilight for that, by the way.

This show has been described as Gray’s Anatomy meets Mean Girls and I can understand that comparison, but unlike Gray’s, Gummer’s Emily is actually pretty likeable. She’s not without a backbone, but she’s just starting to realize that she has one. It’s an interesting, if not entirely congruous, dicotomy. Surgeons need to have balvery (balls/bravery), and while Emily has displayed that she’s capable of manning up, she’s not quite up to where I’d expect a medical superstar like her to be just yet. But that’s what the rest of the season is for, isn’t it?

What did you think of the episode? Let me know below! And remember you can always follow me on Twitter @krieli1 so you never miss a review.