Tonight, The Night Shift gave us a little bit of romance between Jordan and Cain — which also happened to be interrupted by TC calling in. He was on his way back to San Antonio after spending the first five episodes in Syria, and it makes sense that she’d be the first one he would call given their history.
Yet, she didn’t know what he’d gone through, just as he didn’t know that she had someone new in her life romantically. This was probably the high point of the episode for Cain, given that everything else from here on out was all sorts of chaos for him. There was discord between him and Shannon over caring for a patient (more on that in a bit), and then he also had to deal with Scott giving him the business over a possible relationship with him and Jordan and what that could mean for her career. (Why, Scott, why?)
The medical case at the heart of this episode also happened to be the scariest one that we’ve seen in some time, mostly because it involved one of the San Antonio Memorial Hospital’s own: Kenny. While training he suffered an extremely dangerous case, one that could impact his ability to ever walk again. It was hard for him to go into the hospital as a patient after spending so much time there helping others. Also, it was hard for him because he didn’t want any of the doctors to … well, see certain parts of him. It was actually Paul’s sister who was able to come in and help him with the catheter. We’re already wondering for some reason if there could be something more here down the road for them, mostly since this is the sort of story that would probably get people together in life.
This was a great performance by JR Lemon, who found himself wrestling with the same fears as every other patient who’s entered that hospital. If things were to go wrong, his entire life would change or worse. Kenny eventually did recover, but there were some touch-and-go moments. Through these, though, we learned a bit more about what matters in his life and why he was so scared about not being able to walk.
The other disturbing case
One of the reasons why Cain was working so closely with Shannon was because Jordan was concerned that the case would be too emotionally raw for her. The more that she got involved in the treatment, the more she realized that the patient at the heart of it was involved in a human-trafficking case. Not only that, but the man being treated was a predator. These sort of storylines are difficult to present just because they are so sensitive, but the show handled that properly and gave Shannon a huge spotlight in the process. In the end, she was able to help one of the victims and ensure that she could get off to a much better start for the rest of her life.
Also, Shannon had a moment to try and bond with Paul’s sister, as well, near the end of the hour. It was good that there was some of that lightness to balance out the dark.
Now, the cliffhanger
Mac has been trying to get himself together ever since the start of the season; unfortunately, things have not gone all that well for him, and tonight, his story ended with him getting stabbed. Is he dead? For now, it doesn’t look good. It would be even sadder if his time on the show ended like this, given how there was a tremendous amount of tension all episode between him and Drew after Kenny’s injury.
Given that we didn’t think Mac would make it out of the first couple of episodes, losing him here is Earth-shattering.
If you didn’t see our interview with Eoin Macken earlier today, you know that he directed this episode and did a really great job — that’s also why TC wasn’t in this episode all that much until close to the end, where he showed up to the airport to try and pick up Topher’s old car. Maybe this is the beginning of him trying to wrestle with his death.
Still, “Family Matters” was a great, emotional episode that put Kenny in peril and put all of the doctors and nurses through the ringer. That ending, though, was a dagger in more ways than one. Grade: A-.
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