The hour began with Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance)’s decision to go ahead with the abortion of her and Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) baby. Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) delivered her to Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour), both women understandably taken aback with the recognition of the other. A very tender scene unfolded as each confessed their secrets. [Juliet Rylance truly shined throughout this episode. Very consistent and dynamically acted.]
The tempo of this finale episode was measured. Instead of blowing you away at the top of the hour (as many finales do)…The Knick started as a slow burn. By the time Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson) horrifying discovered his wife’s psychiatrist had pulled all the teeth from her mouth in an effort to rid her of mental toxins…well, things began to pick up speed.
Desperate Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) lied and told Ping Wu (Perry Yung) that Thackery wanted Bunky Collier (Danny Hoch) dead…in an effort to enlist him to do the killing. And that he did. In one fell swoop, Ping killed several of Collier’s henchmen, ending promptly with an axe to the pimp’s forehead. [Ping Wu is an excellent character that I hope the creators will bring back next season. I personally want to know more about him, his life and the opium culture at this time in history.]
Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), in his raging effort to beat rival surgeon Levi Zinberg (Michael Nathanson), performed a blood transfusion on a young patient and killed her. This was the edge…and Thackery had just fallen off of it.
A frustrated Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) enlisted his father to help with what to do for his ailing mentor…
This was a relentless finale….proven in the very last moments. The admitting doctor at the “detox” sanitarium talked to a spent, silent Thackery, explaining calmly that they have had very good results with a new medicine, made by Bayer (so it’s safe?!), that will make him feel better in no time. After being injected, Thack fell gently to his pillow, a warm smile took over his face. The camera racked focus…onto a bottle of heroin.
The series director Steven Soderbergh, co-creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler have conceived and executed a prodigious premiere season.
Bound by debts and the loss of their head surgeon (“…and the only other person with a scalpel is a negro!”), the board made the decision to close The Knickerbocker…and move it Uptown…
See you next season.
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