TV Show Review

TV Review: THE KNICK: Season 1, Episode 4: Where’s the Dignity [Cinemax]

Cara Seymour Chris Sullivan The Knick Where's the Dignity

Cinemax’s The Knick Where’s the Dignity TV Show Review. The Knick: Season 1, Episode 4: Where’s the Dignity opened with the palpable, delicious, hypnotic  tension that has become The Knick’s signature in only 4 episodes. created by the marriage of Steven Soderbergh’s direction and the perfect electronic composition of Cliff Martinez.

At the top, boorish ambulance driver Tom Cleary (Chris Sullivan) had been summoned out onto the street by a young boy. He walked away from the boy with a burlap bag slung over his back and carried it to an underground fighting ring surrounded by a motley crew of men egging on a lone man McTeague (Clarke Thorell), standing in the ring. Cleary entered the ring and emptied the contents at the man’s feet. Think cockfighting…only with rats. This was bad enough, but got worrisome when the man fell into the blood and guts of the vermin and wiped his sweaty face with a bloody fist. [The tension in the opening is what I genuinely love about The Knick. I am a welcome voyeur…like I’m being “let in” on an era and history, a history I am in no way familiar with. It feels rare and unique.]

Cleary’s character broadened this week, when an experience with a young immigrant (who performed a catastrophic abortion on herself) affected him greatly. The title “Where’s the Dignity” came from Cleary when he stood at the girl’s grave. He went to the trouble of burying her, and brought Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) along for prayers…and to propose that he wouldn’t just fleece her with the 60/40 split in her abortion business, but that he would also provide her with clients.

Several other story lines unfolded finely in this episode: Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) was making up the hospital’s deficit any way he could, and was not beneath cremating a pig and packaging it as human remains for financial gain.

We saw a John Thackery (Clive Owen) of the past with a flashback of he and Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin) in happier days. [This flashback helped to give us a more rounded out Thackery. Thus far we have only seen him in high gear and coked up at the hostpital, or on opium in the dens on off hours. Was great to see him smile, joke…and love.]  And as Nurse Elkins (Eve Hewson) kept a sharp eye on Thackery this episode, I don’t doubt a relationship unfolding here soon.

Bertie Chickering’s (Michael Angarano) world opened up to show family life at home. Obviously a devoted son and competent surgeon…Bertie was still admonished by his father. Clearly a successful surgeon himself, wanted his son to work in another class of hospital, and wasn’t feeling The Knickerbocker the right fit.

Conversely, Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) father also showed at the Knick, but in praise of Algernon’s rise and position. As Captain Robertson (Grainger Hines)’s chauffeur, he was with horse and carriage and escorted his son back to the house for a party Algernon was invited to. We saw the response from the guests to Algernon’s presence…and the struggles still to come for the black community in society. And a definite nod to a relationship between Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance) and Algernon, one that has already happened…[and hopefully continues.]

And Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson), who was held hostage in the operating theater when Dr. Edwards went silent with any further instructions on the surgery he was to assist on from the sidelines. Thus forcing Gallinger to hand over the scalpel to Algernon, who was entirely successful…much to Gallingers chagrin.

Typhoid fever is currently on the rise plotwise. But in a devasting final moment, Gallinger unknowingly brushed his knuckle up against an open wound on the patient bit by the rats…and took that knuckle home and let his infant daughter suckle on it. [This is going to be bad..very bad.]

I like the space and quiet moments of The Knick.

I find myself excited for Friday night…which hasn’t happened since I was a kid.

Loving The Knick.

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Eden Tirl

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