All good things must come to an end.
But first, you have to set up the exit strategy. Code Black Season 3 Episode 12 did an admirable job of that. Maybe a bit too admirable. A missing teenager, a doctor on a psych hold, a floundering surgical resident, an oedipal confrontation...that's a lot to wrap up in a mere forty-five minutes.
It's all about the pacing. We all remember eighth-grade literature, rising and falling action. The penultimate episode of a season is always about climbing the last stage of the last peak. It's all about the setup.
But sometimes writers bite off more than they can chew. Or more than we can swallow anyway. There were several plots that could have been axed for clarity, that did nothing to substantially move the story forward.
First on the chopping block? Angus' neurosurgery.
This is a tough one because Kathleen (Bird) York is amazing. As an OG West Wing stan, I adored her as Congresswoman Andy Wyatt, playing off of Richard Schiff as his ex-wife/baby-mama.
And she has an Oscar nomination! How do you hire a woman with an Oscar nom for best song and then have somebody else sing?!
But blatantly wasting York's talents wasn't the only offense this storyline committed. It was also just completely pointless. And factually wrong.
In theory, it's about Angus' continued conversion to surgical asshole as illustrated by his failure to properly inform the patient about the risks of surgery. Except that it's mentioned more than once that the family met with the neurosurgeon.
And why was Elliot there? It's great that he's not moping anymore of course, but what was the explanation for his presence? Simply that he's also a Guthrie protege but that he hasn't succumbed to some kind of god complex? That's a stretch.
I know you want to protect Ariel, but that's my job, I'm her mother. No matter what else happens, no matter how short a time we've been in each other's lives, I'm her mother. I need her to be home with me. I need her to be safe. It's my job to help with what she's going through. It's my job to hold her and tell her everything's going to be okay. And I really, really need to tell her that. And frankly, I need her to tell me that, too.Leanne
Leanne's search for Ariel was also less than satisfactory. This plot actually held some potential, but the payoff never came. Leanne was in the same situation at minute 60 as she was at minute 1. There was absolutely no movement to her narrative arc.
What's frustrating is that it's such an easy fix. Just have one of the adults searching skid row find Ariel and, boom, cut to black. Or even find the mysterious Joy. Anything to help us feel we're actually a step closer to a resolution.
And to be fair, it's not as if the matter could have been ignored. It just needed more -- a resolution of course, and maybe something about how this could impact the adoption proceedings.
Ethan's break with reality came out of nowhere. It served a purpose in that it gave Rob Lowe something to do while he waited for Rox to wake up, but it also wrote the character into a literal box.
It was quite obvious that Ethan was talking to a hallucination the whole time, of course. Why would a patient with hand laceration be hanging around the ICU? And why would he appear in a cloud of smoke?
The implied revelation that the mystery patient was a vision of Robert would only have been more obvious is Chad Lowe had been cast. He must have been too busy filming on Supergirl to make that work.
With all the excessive drama incited by Ethan's unacknowledged feelings for Rox, Mario and Noa's breakup was positively refreshing.
These two characters have been great together, but I have total respect for the writers for giving us a story where the woman decides to pursue her own dreams even if it means ending a relationship.
And then double that respect for not having Mario beg and plead and bully and harass her into changing her mind (looking at you, Chicago Med!).
Yes, the breakup is sad. But the reality is that love doesn't always fix everything. There are a million reasons that people who love each other can't be together.
The way the breakup was handled respected the deep feeling of the characters for one another, and the feeling we had for their relationship. The shots of their hands were the perfect way to interpret the emotion of that moment.
It did leave one nagging question though. An irrelevant question given CBS's cancelation, but still nagging...were Seitzman and Co. really going to leat Emily Tyra go?!
- A super medical nerd nit-pick: That wasn't what receptive aphasia looks like. The general condition affects over two million Americans, and it shouldn't be that hard to get some details right. Major fail by the tech advisor!
- Diego's dad is a dick, but that doesn't really make me like Diego any better. At a certain point in life, your demanding daddy isn't an excuse for your behavior.
- Rob Thomas and his crooning seem to have gone the way of Pepper. Have any of you noticed? Or cared?
Mr. Berlinger: What's wrong with doing things the old-fashioned way?
Keri: I was tired of waiting for someone else to make my best life. I can make it myself.
What was your take on "As Night Comes and I'm Breathing"? How do you think everything's going to shake out in the big finale? Will everything get wrapped up or will we be left hanging? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.