Hit medical drama, The Resident, has officially kicked off its fourth season. And after the events of The Resident Season 4 Episode 1, it's evident the series has no plans to slow down.
The premiere skillfully captured the dichotomy of existing during a global health pandemic with what was an arresting and emotional tribute to the frontline and essential workers through its powerful storytelling.
And while it transported us to a time beyond the COVID-19 pandemic at its height and most deadly, the lingering effects of it still grip Chastain and many of its characters.
Devon is among them. His own father perished due to the deadly virus, and in a post-COVID world, Devon is still trying to process this tragic and senseless loss.
We had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Manish Dayal about his character's trajectory this season after Devon's heartbreaking experience.
While the series opted to pursue their storytelling in a post-COVID world, it doesn't change that this devoted cast and crew face challenges and risks filming while the pandemic rages on ceaselessly.
"It's very nutty," Dayal says. "I mean, we're shooting a TV series in the pandemic, and of course, we're adhering to masks and face shields, and it's just been a lot of hard work."
But as expected, the series is rising to the occasion. "Now, we're sort of in the groove, and we're moving and shaking and used to the protocols and rules. I think it's going really well. We're all doing our best to keep each other safe and take care of each other."
Their collective efforts and hard work are paying off, and from the premiere and the teases that Dayal shares, this season may be one of the series' strongest to date.
From the premiere, we saw The Resident can balance out some of the joyous moments, providing fans levity when everything in our reality is tumultuous at best, with darker ones.
"What we see in the episode is a culmination of so many things, so many journeys, and so many characters all coming together ... beginning with the Conrad and Nic wedding, something we've been waiting on for years coming to a place of marriage, which was a really joyous occasion, whereas, on the other end of things, you see the grave impact of the Coronavirus pandemic when Devon loses his father."
And according to Dayal, the loss ushered in what is sure to be one of Devon's most challenging but poignant arcs of the series. In the final moments of the hour, we saw Devon watching the footage of his father passing away at a public hospital miles away from him.
As a doctor, his father's loss and how it came about serves as an awakening for Devon for many reasons.
"His realization about what really happened to his father, who passed away alone in a public hospital, and that Devon was not able to help even as a physician himself plagues him and brings him to a place where he's extremely sad and remorseful, and I think there's a whole gamut of emotions here."
It's another opportunity for the series to address some of the inequality and disparity in the healthcare system.
According to Dayal, "We're talking about the Black and Brown disparity in public healthcare that we know is occurring all over this country, and that directly affected Devon and his family and so to talk about that issue and also how he was not able to help his own father had serious consequences for him.
"I think this is something that so many people in this world can relate to all experiencing this pandemic together. It unites us in many ways, and I think we have to tell each other's stories in a deep, authentic, and personal way. I think that's what our show is trying to do and what we aim to do."
The series certainly aims to do so and succeeds. And in this current climate, it makes the actor more appreciative than ever that he has the privilege of representing our heroes.
"To even portray medical professionals and healthcare workers right now is a great honor because they are our heroes, and we want to be able to authentically spotlight them. If we can even play a small part in that, then we got something right. I feel we all share that goal as a show."
In the next few installments, we will see another side to Devon, and while it's without a question that the character has grown and evolved over the years, his latest journey is unlike anything he's endured before.
We can anticipate a stunning, heart-aching, and powerful arc. It's one that Dayal is proud of and sounded passionate about when speaking,
"You'll see in these first few episodes what occurs for Devon after this loss, and how that [pushes him into] completely new territory as a young man and doctor -- what that would do for him and his brand of healthcare and how he ultimately behaves as a doctor. You'll see this story start to unfold in episodes two, three, and four and leading you to a pretty powerful ending in episode five."
Devon's arc sounds promising, and it opens the door for the character to grow and expand, not just as a doctor but as a person. What he has endured is life-altering and will leave him forever changed.
"Really huge life-altering experiences like this help shape your thinking, help reshape the way you think, and ultimately help you grow and become a different person. Devon is an entirely different individual than he was in the first season. He's a totally different guy now. "
Dayal went into more detail about Devon's final moments with his father. It was a most heartbreaking scene where we overheard Devon racing to tell his father all of the things he felt he needed. Viewers saw Mr. Pravesh bed-bound and taking his last breaths.
It's not unlike the thousands of families and loved ones who faced similar situations where they couldn't be there in person -- in the same room as their dying loved one. It certainly was a scene that invoked strong emotion and tears, particularly when you consider Dayal's performance.
"When you're talking about that last scene, this is somebody who's watching his father pass away for reasons that are very much a part of his life. He's a physician, and he knows what it means to be innovative, and he knows all of these circumstances, and that his father had minutes left to live--
"And in that moment when he's on FaceTime ... we see that he's got minutes to tell his father what he did, what he accomplished, what he was able to do with his life, and how he essentially left a legacy that was meaningful," Dayal shares.
"It was real, and it was powerful, and it will mean something in the world. I can't even imagine how many people who were in those same scenarios Devon was in -- where they knew their loved one was about to pass, they weren't able to see them, their loved one was alone, and you have to think about 'what are you gonna say? What are you gonna do in that moment?'
"It's about -- those are very powerful thoughts and questions," Dayal continues. "And in that final scene, I was thinking about those things and what it means to be in those shoes for real. It would take anyone to a dark place."
After such a profound experience, it will make Devon look at what's happening at Chastain and consider the differences in private and public standards of care. The contrast is quite literally a matter of life and death.
And one couldn't help but wonder if Chastain's ongoing conflict with Red Rock will factor into Devon's latest quest.
"This experience will have a very important result. [Devon] witnessed firsthand his father pass away in a public hospital ... because of the lack of materials, the lack of funding, the fact that his father was in an underfunded Black and Brown neighborhood, and how that disparity was one of the primary reasons his father passed away alone.
"I think it will force Devon to a completely new place when he realizes that he himself is part of the system working at a private hospital so when Chastain changes and morphs into new territory, Devon will carry this experience with him, knowing that people that are less fortunate are not receiving the level of care that he was able to give at Chastain."
It sounds like some big changes are coming to Chastain in the aftermath of the pandemic, and Devon may be newly inspired to make some changes.
While he's always been a great doctor, it sounds as though he's reevaluating and reflecting on his profession and the role he plays in a larger system. Perhaps the best way he can honor his late father is by being an even better doctor who does whatever is within his power to make a difference.
Dayal says this will help Devon "transform and become a new type of doctor. It's about his belief in healthcare and everyone getting the same level of care. It's what Devon wants to bring to Chastain and the kind of doctor he wants to be. He wants to give the same standard of care to anyone and everyone regardless of where you're from and how much money you have."
It's something that doesn't necessarily align with what we've come to expect from Chastain under Red Rock's reign.
"For Chastain, for Red Rock, it's always about the bottom line, and it does have an impact because what you'll see in the upcoming episodes is management at Chastain will change. It'll change in a way that gives strength and power to the A-team, and you'll see how new management, and how that impacts the level of care at Chastain."
The notion that our beloved crew will have an edge is exciting, and it's also nice to know that, for the most part, our heroes will always band together for the good of the hospital and each other.
On a personal front, Devon could always turn to his friends and colleagues for support while grieving. Nearly all of his closest friends have lost a parent before.
The close bond between Devon and Conrad was on display during the premiere.
"Conrad and Devon have a brotherhood now. They've come so far in their relationship as mentor/mentee, colleagues, peers, and now two people who rely on each other. It definitely has an impact on our relationship, and you will see that in episode two, when Devon opens up to Conrad about what he's experiencing with the loss of his father."
As we all know and have often debated about, Devon and Conrad butt heads on occasion since they have different styles, but rest assured; the two are closer and more united than ever this season.
"They are very different kinds of doctors," Dayal admits.
"Devon is committed to protocol and has a very clear moral compass that he doesn't want to deviate from because he believes that the moral compass and commitment to protocol is what saves lives, and Conrad has his own idea of what saves lives. And they do butt heads often, and I think that's what makes their relationship dynamic and different.
"This season, you'll see that they transcend those differences and find a new common goal. Right now, the challenges that they face at Chastain exceed their personal differences, and they come together to fight the system."
Devon has quite an emotionally heavy, introspective arc ahead of him this season. It's something Dayal sounds very proud of, and he's excited to share it with Resident Fanatics.
He also teased one last juicy bit that we'll likely speculate about until we get an official answer. "I can tell you one juicy piece. Somebody is going to be coming back from Devon's past, and that's going to shake things up."
Well, Resident Fanatics? Who do you think it is?
It was a pleasure speaking with Manish Dayal about what to expect from Devon's journey this season. Tune in for the compelling story and more fantastic performances.
As always, you can watch The Resident online here via TV Fanatic.
The Resident airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.