And The Mob Doctor’s back! For now, at least. Judging by the previews, next week’s episode triggers the big showdown between Constantine and Moretti. So tonight’s episode is one of those calm-before-the-storm episodes in which not much happens.
Sadly, it’s way too early in the series’ run to expect the writers to take advantage of a narrative lull by doing a comedic episode, or an episode entirely from the point of view of, say, Dr. White (Zeljko Ivanek). Instead, it’s all about character development. And then there’s the father-daughter theme, which I find significant. I’m convinced we’re being fed hints that Constantine, rather than the man Grace knew as her father, may be her biological father. Or that Constantine at least thinks this is a possibility. Or, perhaps, that viewers like me are supposed to think this is a possibility.
Moretti and Franco (aka Mobbed-Up Ex-Boyfriend) get the night off, as does Grace’s alleged best friend. Dr. Boyfriend spends the episode solving a medical mystery with Grace’s evil rival Dr. Watson, who finds out everyone thinks she’s a bitch while demonstrating that she may not be. And Baby Brother Nate gets a hard lesson about what it means to be one of Constantine’s lieutenants.
In the opening flashback Grace tells us about the time her mother left town for an aunt’s funeral, and mean, drunken dad suddenly turned into a devoted dad who made pancakes and swung Grace in the air so she could pretend to fly. For once, Grace tells us, she didn’t want anything to change. In the present, Grace is prepping a young woman of about her own age for a heart transplant, only to have Dr. Superstar from last episode (aka Dr. Baylor, aka guest star Shohreh Aghdashloo ) call the operation off when the patient turns out to be running a fever. So the heart goes to someone else.
Meanwhile, Dr. Boyfriend is tending to a teenage boy with a mysterious bowel obstruction. When his patient’s younger brother almost electrocutes himself on a frayed wire, Dr. Boyfriend pulls in Dr. Watson to take care of it. And both of them are wearing black scrubs, which somehow make me think of uniforms on Star Trek, or maybe Battlestar Galactica.
Grace gets a message from Constantine, who wants her to visit an old friend of his with a unqiue medical situation. The first unique thing about the friend is that he’s in a maximum-security prison (Constantine, by contrast, made his call from the side of his very nicely landscaped pool). The second thing is that the friend is not really sick; the third thing, as anyone who saw the previews knows, is that he’s the estranged father of Grace’s heart patient, Sara, and he wants Grace to kill him so Sara can have his heart.
Sara’s father, Eddie, spent fifteen years as Constantine’s cellmate, and he quickly realizes Grace is “Danielle’s daughter.” He knows all about Grace’s mother, because Constantine talked about her so much, and about how Grace won a scholarship to medical school, which had Constantine bursting with (paternal?) pride. The conversation shuts down when Grace refuses to kill him. But Sara’s deteriorating, and soon ends up on some kind of artificial pump. Grace asks her about her parents, and Sara says they’re both dead. However, she’s not getting off that easily; Eddie fakes a heart attack and insists that he be treated by Grace (who points out that faking heart disease may not be the smartest move if what you really want to is to donate said heart to someone else). He’s been reading up on poisons, and knows just how Grace should kill him. Constantine wants her to do this, he says. Apparently Constantine is very understanding of fathers who want to make sacrifices for their daughters.
In another plotline, Dr. Watson notices that her patient (the brother of Dr. Boyfriend’s patient) has a mysterious limp and wants to do further tests, but in the MRI she pulls his shoe off, only to discover his foot hideously distorted by a severe muscle spasm. Things just get worse from there – it’s a very House-like subplot. It gets even more House-like when Dr. Boyfriend can’t find any obstruction in the older brother’s bowels, and Dr. Watson finally figures out that the older brother is having muscle spasms too, except his are in his intestines instead of his musculoskeletal system. And they started at the same age, suggesting the brothers share a genetic disorder whose onset coincides with puberty.
In yet another plotline, Constantine tells Baby Brother Nate that it’s “time to step up.” It’s Nate’s job to talk to all the bar owners in the old neighborhood and explain that they will be installing the new video poker machines, and sharing the proceeds 40/60. Otherwise, Constantine will call in their debts. The owner of the first bar Nate visits grumbles, then caves in. The owner of the second, a strip joint, happily agrees, praises Constantine as good for the neighborhood, then instructs one of the strippers to show Nate the “captain’s quarters.”
The third bar owner sneers at Nate, and refers him to a burly police sergeant hanging out in the bar, who says he’d love some dirt on Constantine, who’s still on parole and only needs one violation to get put back inside. He takes Nate out back for a savage beating when Nate refuses to name Constantine. Later, the sergeant shows up at Constantine’s door, asking for his pay. Nate’s apparently passed Constantine’s test of his loyalties — the sergeant says Nate has a “a lot to learn,” but that Constantine may have “found a warrior”. Later, Grace tends to his wounds while wearing a tank top (sundress? nightgown?) in a faintly disturbing scene that suggests the Devlins might be capable of generating Greek-tragedy levels of familial complications.
Grace won’t kill Eddie, but she is willing to get him in to see his daughter, who is not doing well. Grace tells Sara Eddie is in the hospital and wants to see her while setting her up with a morphine pump to treat her pain during what may be her last days. Sara initially refuses, but after Grace talks about how her own father, who was also a rotten dad, died before he was able to apologize, Sara agrees. However, when Grace brings Eddie to her bedside, Sara berates him for being a terrible father. She only ever saw him twice, she says, before he went to prison, and one of those times was when he showed up drunk on Christmas. She’s not interested in forgiveness.
Dr. Watson and Dr. Boyfriend explain what they found in the brothers’ genes to Dr. White and the boy’s mother. (Dr. White doesn’t have much to do tonight either). They both have some kind of acute hereditary dystonia, which can apparently be treated with medication, The younger brother’s disorder was put into overdrive by the electrical shock; as a result he needs some kind of electrical device implanted in his brain. And then this plotline just kind of stops. I’m not sure what that was all about. Proving that Dr. Watson is not a complete bitch and not completely stupid, I guess. Which may mean they’re building up her character to play a bigger part in the show. Whatever.
Grace is looking for another heart for Sara when Constantine calls her out for some mysterious meeting in the ambulance bay. Constantine’s not there, but Eddie is, awaiting transport back to prison. He nods knowingly to Grace, then takes a bullet in the forehead, courtesy of Constantine.
Sara’s getting her heart, but she doesn’t want it. She tells Grace she refuses to have part of her hated father inside of her. Finally, Grace knocks her out with morphine from her own pump, then goes and tells Dr. White and Dr. Baylor that Sara consented to the transplant just before slipping intp unconsciousness. Meanwhile, Dr. White observes what a suspiciously amazing coincidence it is that Eddie has turned out to be Sara’s father. When Sara wakes up, she’s got a new heart. She tells Grace that she could report her for this; Grace says that in that case she’d accept the consequences, and that while Eddie was an awful man, at the end of the day he came through for Sara.
Final flashback time – when Grace’s mother came home again, her father started drinking again, only now it was worse because now Grace knew he could be a good father, he just chose not to be. And we cut right from Good Dad playing airplane with Grace during their idyllic weekend to Constantine’s face, as Grace arrives to confront him about Eddie’s shooting. Don’t tell me that cut’s not significant. Next week – Moretti and gunplay.