I loved this show's opening scene: The x-ray vision of her tendons, muscles, wires moving as she plays the violin, struggling as her brain disconnects... the violin falling only seconds before she did.
And suddenly we're in the tense, matter-of-fact New York medical office of Dr. Doug Hanson (
Stanley Tucci), where a mother is being fed gigantic neurological terms she doesn't understand and Hanson is as cold as ice, but calm and collected at the same time, omitting any emotion or feeling, having not a care in the world other than the work at hand.
We meet Penny - who sells medical equipment - someone finally able to break Hanson's straight face with a warm greeting in the locker room. A past fling perhaps?
Things get interesting - and personal - when Hanson is scrubbing in and sees a vision of a little girl holding a sand pail. Who is she? A former patient he wasn't able to save? His daughter? It's as if he can turn it on and off when she disappears as he goes into surgery.
The back and forth between one patient's MRI and Cassie's (
Madeline Zima) examination is an interesting balance. Here's this older man with a malformation in his brain and a young girl with her brain wide open, smelling lilacs in the middle of the OR. Hanson triggered a sensory memory, an emotional moment for Cassie. But only Dr. Seger (
Mark Feuerstein) - Hanson's new fellow - understands and allows himself to be aware of the patient's life outside the OR walls.
Seger and Adrianne Holland (
Indira Varma) have a private moment we can only hope will turn into something steamy (maybe not McSteamy, but something to keep us interested). And then we see Hanson glaring down at them. Is there history there?
The clinic begins to see some real drama when the older man's son comes to the clinic to see his dad once he's heard about the malformation, but his father is nowhere to be found. He's on the roof, hiding but waiting to be found. And Cassie's prepped for surgery but unable to speak. She's struggling to say something and we see a very odd dream of her standing on her performance chair, violin bow reaching for falling cards on the ceiling, each with a printed word on them. "Snowy" is the first one that falls to her feet.
While the doctors argue about her treatment, Hanson's illusion (or flashback?) returns, but this time the little girl in her swimsuit is sitting on a bench outside, swinging her legs back and forth, her pail at her side. She gives him strength somehow... maybe hope, motivation to heal everyone from now on.
In an odd scene, Hanson offers to try Penny's new MRI machine on himself. During this anonymous test scan, flashes of the little girl turned teenager stare back at him under the machine's hovering cover. When he's looking at the enlarged scan of his own brain, Seger steps in and suggests an angiogram when Hanson tells him it's a patient who has visual hallucinations that are getting stronger. As they dispute their evaluation of the MRI, the conversation gets heated and circles back to Cassie's care, and Hanson and Seger finally have it out. "I can't screw around in somebody's head and not know whose soul I'm bumping up against," says Seger. "Then go," says Hanson.
And when the nonfeeling doctor storms off to a private room, dark as his personality, he finds a former patient, blind and with her seeing-eye dog at her side. She's there for a follow-up exam and wants to remember who he is by feeling every nook of his face, clearly making him feel uncomfortable.
Frustrated and confiding in Adrianne, Seger tries to figure out his next move, but she spells it out for him. Doug Hanson is logical. Wires in a box. There's no gray area, she explains.
But it's taken up to this point for another scene to stand out since the opening one: Hanson and another surgeon are in surgery debating the existence of God and the "nobody" intern, Dr. Flores (
Armando Riesco), has his own interpretation. "What if
we're the disease?" he asks. It's a little bit of the familiar sarcastic humor blended in with scalpels and flatlines that I like about
And with an inspiring musical backdrop, Seger makes up for letting Dr. Coles (
Griffin Dunne) butt in on his case by confronting Cassie's mom and making her see that the "tumor is the enemy" - not Hanson. It's the doctor-patient exchange I love on these medical shows.
On a little field trip from the clinic, Hanson and Seger are in the car, stuck in the traffic of carpools and parents. A young girl gets in the car in her school uniform while Hanson flirts with a blonde mom (Coles' wife) standing by her typical suburban SUV. Enter Hanson's daughter. She reveals to Seger - who she thinks is her new driver - that Hanson cheated on her mom. Was she the hallucination he keeps seeing? The two teenagers look different to me, but I'm not completely sure.
A short time later, Cassie is being rolled into surgery and she motions to Hanson, wanting to know if her musical abilities are still alive, and he reassures her they're safe. Slipping iPod earphones into her ears while a tear streams down her cheek was a Hanson moment that proved he does care just a little, just enough. "I'll get your words back," he says to her softly. This milder moment segues nicely into a montage of scenes... with Coldplay's "Fix You" playing loud and clear, we see the father reaching for his son's hand, Dr. Holland holding her own heart (something Seger suggested earlier as a relaxation technique), CPR being done on Cassie, the floating "Sister" card rising back up to the ceiling of other words, Hanson and Seger walking out of surgery like heroes.
The next morning, Seger examines a stable Cassie and finds a pad next to her bed. "Jenna says hi" is written on it, implying her near-death experience, seeing her twin sister who had passed away the year before.
There was a lot of talk going around that TV didn't need another Dr. House - another cold, hard-hitting doctor who sticks to the facts and does his job. But with Stanley Tucci attempting to make room on the medical-drama board, I think this show might actually have a chance. I'm already wondering about his hallucinations, his daughter, his past, his health. Was he always like that or did a big event - or a series of small ones - affect his life as a surgeon, his perspective on the brain? There's something intriguing about the layout of the show - despite the lack of the kind of fluid flow I feel other shows have nailed down - and the scenes that suggest something more is happening than just plain medical intervention. Interspersed with moments that aren't as real, aren't as believable as the medical jargon and neurological story lines, the show may be able to hold its own in a TV world already heavily packed with know-it-all doctors.
I loved this show's opening scene: The x-ray vision of her tendons, muscles, wires moving as she plays the violin, struggling as her brain disconnects... the violin falling only seconds before she did. And suddenly we're in the tense, matter-of-fact New York medical office of Dr. Doug Hanson (Stanley Tucci), where a mother is being fed gigantic neurological terms she doesn't understand and Hanson is as cold as ice, but calm and collected at the same time, omitting any emotion or feeling, having not a care in the world other than the work at hand.We meet Penny who sells medical equipment someone finally able to break Hanson's straight face with a warm greeting in the locker room. A past fling perhaps?Things get interesting and personal when Hanson is scrubbing in and sees a vision of a little girl holding a sand pail. Who is she? A former patient he wasn't able to save? His daughter? It's as if he can turn it on and off when she disappears as he goes into ...