Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Red Band Society continues to bring the gut-wrenching, hard hitting and dramatic tales of a children’s hospital in this week’s episode titled: “So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want.”
The episode focused on Charlie (Griffin Gluck) and the night he ended up in his coma. Through a series of flashbacks, the audience learns about the unfortunate car accident that led Charlie to being hospitalized and the heart-warming promise Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer) made to him that night. In the present, conflicts arise between Charlie’s parents, Nick (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Mandy (Susan Park), when their insurance company insists Charlie be moved from Ocean Park Hospital to a long-term care facility. Nurse Jackson does everything in her power to convince the insurance company and Doctor McAndrew (Dave Annable) that keeping Charlie at the hospital is his best chance. However, by the end of the hour, Nurse Jackson crosses a line no nurse should ever cross.
Octavia Spencer’s acting throughout this episode was brilliant. Up until this point, Nurse Jackson has been portrayed as a hardworking, mean nurse that rules over the children’s ward with an iron fist. In this episode however, that persona was stripped away to reveal a softer side, which was very refreshing. Spencer’s acting skills were showcased during a flashback scene where she waits with Charlie before he goes into surgery. When Charlie reveals he is scared, Nurse Jackson calms him down and persists that she will be there when he wakes up. This touching moment between Spencer and Gluck was the most well acted scene so far. Spencer was able to portray fear and encouragement at the same time that Gluck perfectly encapsulated a scared little boy who just needed a friend. Both brought the show to new heights with this scene and Spencer continues to prove why she is one of the main draws to the program.
Although Charlie and Nurse Jackson’s storyline soared this week, others fell flat. This week, Dash (Astro) and Kara (Zoe Levin) broke into an apartment building so Dash could graffiti a wall in order to “leave his mark.” Meanwhile, the awkward love triangle between Emma (Ciara Bravo), Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), and Leo (Charlie Rowe) escalated when Emma tried to teach Jordi how to drive. Both of these additional storylines fell flat and seemed like after thoughts. It would have served the episode better to have it entirely in flashback and focused on Charlie rather than throwing in two, seemingly boring, B and C storylines.
Red Band Society needs to work on making the show more of an ensemble effort. Each week, a storyline flourishes while the B and C story-lines fall flat and disappear. The show needs to take some tips from other ensemble shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, and Modern Family that have the formula for making each storyline equally important down to a science.
Besides Charlie’s character, none of the other characters really saw any development this week. The episode began to build a solid foundation for Dash and Kara’s friendship however, the storyline wasn’t very memorable. Meanwhile, Leo, Emma, and Jordi were arguing once again over Emma’s affection. This storyline had a little more going on in it and based on the preview for next week it will continue to escalate and be important to the overall plot.
Overall, the best part of this week’s episode was that it showcased Spencer’s incredible acting skills. She brought moments of drama and comedy to the show, which is something difficult for any actor to do. Red Band Society needs to continue to work on its storyline development and the ensemble of the show. With main ensemble members getting lost in the background, storylines need to be re-imagined and have more action.
Red Band Society airs Wednesday at 9/8c on FOX.
Overall Episode Grade: B-