TV Show Review

TV Review: THE KNICK: Season 1, Episode 2: Mr. Paris Shoes [Cinemax]

Andre' Holland The Knick Mr. Paris Shoes

Cinemax‘s The Knick Mr. Paris Shoes TV Show Review. The Knick: Season 1, Episode 2: Mr. Paris Shoes is officially off (to the races) — Jack Amiel and Michael Begler’s script unfolded effortlessly with installment 2 of Cinemax’s new series The Knick. The pacing perfect, strategic…completely compelling.

Cinematographer Peter Andrews (Steven Soderbergh) use of shadow and darkness in this 2nd episode is striking. There are several scenes you find yourself leaning toward the screen to get more visibility. And therein lies the excellence and clearly the goal…your visual senses feel in the midst of the turn-of-the-century.

With the premiere we saw The Knickerbocker hospital being wired for electricity…in the very last moments, the hallway sconces lit up one by one by one before credits rolled.

And with the dawn of a new day…a harrowing scene in the newly lit operating room, where a cauterizing iron shorted due to substandard wiring, setting the patient on fire while on the table. The storyline opened up and gave us a much deeper understanding of The Knick’s hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb), who we learned had looted the contracted funds (for the electrical wiring) to pay off a loan shark, leaving less money for a better contractor initially…and now Herman in a world of trouble.

The title: Mr. Paris Shoes referred to Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre’ Holland) having purchased his well made, dashing shoes while studying abroad. The writers did a perfect job providing us with myriad details about Dr. Edwards’ character in this episode, as a man and his life as a surgeon. At this time, Dr. Edwards was living in a roach infested room and board in the Tenderloin. Tormented by a fellow tenant who thought he was “highfalutin” with the shoes, et al.

Back at the hospital, the black doctor was hardly tolerated by the rest of the staff, thus barely able to practice his talents as a surgeon. Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) had no use for Edwards at all…until a patient died from a failed aortic aneurysm and he began to consider Edwards earlier suggested insight. [This attitude of Thackery’s has less to do with racism and speaks far more to his single-mindedness and wanting nothing to slow him down or get in his way.]

The writers expertly showed us just who Algernon Edwards is when he was confronted once again by the combative, threatening tenant. The good doctor beat him down with several swift fists to the face. The camera held on the fallen man…when Edwards came out of his room to lay a bottle of iodine and roll of gauze on the man’s bloody shirt. Algernon is a good man. In this chapter, he also courageously started an unauthorized clinic for black patients in the Knick’s basement.

The lighting…the color palette…the arresting music..all bolster the sense of a rapidly changing world around and inside The Knickerbocker hospital. Times are a changing, perhaps most strikingly in medical technology.

I’m thrilled The Knick has already been renewed for a 2nd season. I find the exploration of this field and time period endlessly intriguing. Good for you Cinemax.

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Eden Tirl

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