The world has changed drastically since we last saw The Resident; tuning in, we have changed in that time, too.
But what hasn't changed is our appreciation for this series, and somehow, with The Resident Season 4 Episode 1, the affection for this series is stronger than ever.
The season premiere delivered an emotionally satisfying hour that touchingly served as a tribute to frontline workers for their extraordinary work and sacrifice amid the pandemic while transporting us to a more joyful, hopeful time beyond the pandemic.
As we've learned, there's a balance to bringing the Coronavirus to our screens and touching upon it without overwhelming viewers with the bleak reality of which we're inundated day in and out, and The Resident toed that line wonderfully.
It was an hour of fear and loss, but also of love, hope, community, triumph, celebration, and joy. And the series struck the right chord and note for a season-opener, particularly in giving us the long-awaited CoNic wedding.
Twenty-twenty, man. What a year. I mean we had no idea what was about to hit us.Nic
For the 'shippers and romantic ones, or those eager to lose themselves in the merriment of any kind, it was the perfect time for these two lovebirds to make things official.
Conrad and Nic are not the types who would want some grandiose wedding, so it's a refreshing but characteristic move to have them marry in a premiere versus a midseason or season finale.
It felt good to have something positive, a little reward for viewers, and a love letter to CoNic fans who have fallen in love with their love story.
And after the year that they've had, they more than deserved their sweet, down-to-earth wedding with their family and friends.
Conrad: You're about to be Mr. Conrad Hawkins.
Nic: I'm pretty sure you're about to be Mr. Nic Nevins.
Starting the hour with the moments leading up their vow exchange kicked things off on a pleasant note, and it meant that even when we flashed back to those times at the height of the pandemic when Chastain's finest were fighting the good fight, saving lives, we would have something light and cheerful to return to in the end.
It was the best stylistic choice for an hour like this, and it made it worthwhile to sit through the entire thing, even when some of the moments were tough.
And the preparation for the ceremony was emotional in its own right. Conrad and Devon had some ups and downs in their relationship, but they're best friends and like family, and you felt that as Devon helped Conrad prepare.
The moment was especially cherishable in hindsight because of Devon's impending departure. He couldn't stay for his friends' wedding, and he had to forgo standing behind Conrad as his Best Man because of his father's memorial, but he was there long enough to help Conrad gt ready and see him off.
Conrad: Slightly different guy than that jerk you met your first day of residency.
Devon: You were just doing your job the wrong way.
Conrad: I must've done something the right way. You turned into a damn fine doctor.
Devon: Yeah, well. It hasn't always felt that way.
Conrad: When all hell breaks loose, you find out what people are made of. You excelled.
Devon: That's very kind of you, but let's stick to you.
And their exchange was lovely when they teased each other and reflected on how their relationship started compared to where they are now.
It's a small moment that works even better if you consider that their previous issues would feel like a lifetime ago after fighting a damn pandemic together. I was thrilled they were able to share that moment before Devon left.
It also meant our beloved Marshall could stand in as Conrad's Best Man in Devon's stead, and it's enough to make you emotional when you think about how far Conrad and Marshall have come in their relationship.
And Mina and Nic's moment was just as special for different reasons. Nic lost her sister, but she also found a form of sisterhood and a unique bond with Mina because of her similar losses.
It's hard to imagine anyone else she'd want standing there behind her since Jessie couldn't be there in body, though she was in spirit.
Also, Mina carefully redesigning the wedding dress that belonged to Nic's mother was a nice touch. It speaks to Mina's care for her friend that she took the time, and it was a wonderful tribute to Nic's mother and made Kyle happy.
Nic looked gorgeous too, and their ceremony was beautiful. It's just like CoNic to spend part of their ceremony honoring their friends and colleagues they lost, and their vows suited them to perfection.
They've been through hell and back together, and they earned this slice of happiness and stability. I look forward to the series exploring what CoNic looks like now that it has solidified their relationship with marriage.
Nic: Tough times come they always will but when they do, Conrad, I want you by my side.
Conrad: No matter what. In sickness and in health.
Nic: I promise to always have your back no matter what. I promise to love you, to never obey you.
Conrad: I didn't have my hopes up.
Nic: Mostly, I promise you'll never lose me. This is forever.
Conrad: For as long as we both shall live.
And the best part, well for some (sorry, Dale), is that there's no shortage of relationship teases since Kit and Bell have grown closer, and Mina and AJ have taken a big step.
We knew we were getting a CoNic wedding, but did anyone expect a Minator kiss during the premiere, too? They've been the show's slow-burn, and they could've easily dragged it out longer, but the pandemic must've affected Mina more than she'll let on.
Mina feared that if they pursued something romantic, it would impair their working relationship. You can't begrudge her the concern when they are damn near extensions of one another in the OR -- they work so well together.
But she couldn't shut off her feelings either, and they were apparent to others around them. Devon couldn't resist teasing her about the real reason she couldn't bear lovey-dovey AJ while he was dating Andrea.
Mina: I loathe the in love Raptor.
Devon: Maybe you should ask yourself why.
And anyone with eyes has noticed the tension building between them. What do you want to bet Andrea saw it too?
AJ and Mina are honest with one another, and she had to know what he planned to say when she called him away from the reception to talk. AJ gets credit for attempting to move beyond his feelings for Mina by dating Andrea, but in the end, it wasn't fair to her that he loved someone else.
He's too good of a guy to string her along, so kudos to him for calling it quits. AJ even respects why Mina tried to put some emotional distance between them, and in the end, that's probably what prompted her to kiss him in the first place.
AJ has proven that he's willing to do anything for Mina, including respecting her wishes and not acting on his feelings. It's irresistible in a way, and so, Mina finally stopped resisting.
Mina: Andrea was supposed to be your guest, but you're alone. Why?
AJ: We're not together anymore. We broke up.
Mina: What happened? What did you do?
AJ: You see the way Conrad looks at Nic? Andrea deserves someone who looks at her like that, and quite frankly, I'm not that guy. You know if I were to be honest, to me, she was just filling the space that I wanted you to fill.
Mina: I already told you-
AJ: I know. You don't want to lose what we have in the OR. I get it. I don't want to lose that either, Mina. Look, you asked me, right? So I'm telling you the truth. That's what we do, right? Don't worry, I'm not expecting anything.
Good for her! Yay for Minator 'shippers, myself included. I may or may not have squealed in shock and delight. Even though Mina says this won't change anything, it's doubtful that's the case, so how will the two manage after this shift in their relationship?
And with CoNic married and Minator kissing, what does this mean for BellKit?
We didn't get to see it, but Conrad mentioned that Bell took care of Kit the entire time she was sick from COVID, and he had his money on the two of them becoming a couple, too. Always bet on Conrad.
Of the many great moments from the wedding, the most relieving one was when Hundley sang as Nic walked down the aisle.
Conrad: How many cases of COVID-19 in Seattle?
Irving: Fourteen known so far. Five deaths.
Devon: The symptoms fit. I think we have our first case of Coronavirus.
The flashback to the exact day when Chastain got its first COVID case effectively set the tone. It felt like any other day until it wasn't. The second Conrad heard their patient had traveled to Seattle --which was the first epicenter of COVID-19 in the States-- he knew things were about to get real.
And they did. You can't have a series touch on the pandemic without placing a beloved and familiar character in jeopardy. Hundley's brush with death hit all the right emotional beats.
We followed her home and met her daughter. Nic pulled from her experience of losing her mom at a similar age to connect with Hundley's situation beyond the standard nerves over potentially losing a friend and co-worker.
All of their COVID patients made you feel something, even when we hadn't met them. Little elements like the notes taped to each room with personal tidbits and factoids about each patient was enough to make you misty-eyed.
I've never felt quite so useless.Bell
Even now, it's all figures and counts, so it was a beautiful reminder that these are people, not numbers or statistics.
But Hundley gave it the personal element that affected each of the doctors and nurses, and the viewers, too. As her condition worsened, it was terrifying to think that she wouldn't make it.
If she got to the hospital sooner, would things have been different? By the time she drove herself to the hospital and collapsed on the pavement, she was in grave condition.
And no matter how hard she fought intubation, she had to go through it in the end. It's something about watching a nurse talk surgeons and doctors through her own care that hits you hard.
If you put me to sleep and put that tube in there's a good chance I won't wake up again.Hundley
She was aware of how bad things could get, so going on a ventilator upped the stakes knowing it was the last thing she wanted. It's a relief that she survived the ordeal at all, and kudos to The Resident for putting two characters we know in love in jeopardy without killing them off for shock value or a reminder of how deadly this virus is.
They did a great job of highlighting a lot of what healthcare workers have endured with their long, tireless shifts, fatigue, despair, helplessness, and frustration.
Kit felt as if she was fighting a losing battle. As she said, as a surgeon, she's accustomed to fixing things, and with COVID, the most she could do was make people as comfortable as possible while they died.
She poured her heart and soul into helping patients. Nic, Conrad, and Devon had relatable struggles of convincing their immuno-compromised or within the age-bracket fathers to stay home.
Mina dealt with ignorant patients like the maskless guy who made a scene in the waiting room, refused to social distance, and even spat at her.
Mina pulling out the tape measure was a whole mood and the exact type of thing you'd expect her to do. God, I love that woman.
I only wish someone would have knocked that jackass out for spitting on her. Under any other circumstance, spitting on someone is utterly foul and an act of violence, but doing so under these circumstances takes assault to a whole new level.
Irving and Jessica had to deal with staying apart from one another and losing out on physical affection, and Conrad and Nic risked it all for some snuggles and comfort.
I understand the male temptation to exaggerate length, but you need to back up.Mina
Poor Devon had to deal with his father getting sick and passing away from COVID while he was miles away from him. And it brought up the loneliness and sadness that comes with not being able to sit with a loved one as they go.
But in those last moments, Devon got a sense of closure and said the things that he owed his father, and that's a good thing.
Devon started the series looking down on his father for driving a taxi, but now, he recognized the sacrifices his father made for him and thanked him before it was too late.
You don't wish ill on anyone, and that's an awful thing for someone to experience, losing a parent to such a devastating virus.
Mr. Pravesh: I'm so proud of you, Devon. Take care of your mom.
Devon: I will take care of mom. No matter what, I promise. But dad, listen to me. I would be nothing without you. You helped put me through medical school, driving nights and weekends, and working overtime. I believed in myself because you believed in me, and I always knew matter what that you loved me. You are everything.
And yet, Devon is already displaying a solemn maturity. He's seasoned in a way that belies whatever experiences he's had, and it wouldn't be surprising if it's something that plays out for the rest of the season.
But he's not the only one who showed a shift in some ways. Logan Kim was surprising. It's doubtful that this is any indication that she's changed for the better, but his response to Conrad regarding the virus felt genuine.
Kit's mask snapping and leaving her exposed to the virus led Conrad to confront Logan about PPE. And we all know how difficult it was to acquire enough of it at the height of the pandemic.
On top of that, Red Rock wouldn't pay for it even if they did find some available, proving how little the company gives a damn about its staff. Red Rock was too focused on the money the hospital was losing with the loss of elective surgeries.
Logan: I know we haven't always been on the same side but we need to work together this time.
Bell: There's a government bailout coming. Where will that go?
Kit: Red Rock's bank account.
Apparently, it doesn't take much for Logan and Cain to get back on the same page. Despite Logan throwing Cain under the bus, he sought out his help, and Cain obliged for egotistical reasons.
Cain manipulating Bob into coming in when he didn't feel safe for his back surgery was despicable. Surprisingly, nothing terrible happened to him! Although the possibility is still there.
Cain hasn't changed much at all. He wouldn't even pitch in and help treat COVID patients. For Cain, it's neuro or bust. We only got a little bit of time with him, but it was more than enough to get annoyed.
It's interesting how he and Logan volley back and forth between having moments of showing a conscience.
Logan: All of you think I don't care. I care. I can't escape this either. This morning a woman, a total stranger called me a bat eater.
Conrad: I'm sorry. That's terrible
Logan: The China virus. The Kung Flu. I was born in Savannah. This is being used to turn us all against each other, and yes, I'm trying to save this hospital, I'll bend the rules if I have to do it but do not think for one moment that this hasn't hit me hard. I am human.
Conrad: Prove it. Prove it.
We never heard anything else in the present about what happened to Logan after he acquired the PPE from his family connections in South Korea.
The racism and anti-Asian sentiment he experienced amid the pandemic isn't the least bit surprising and is disheartening. He's a terrible person for many reasons, but he didn't deserve that in the least bit.
However, I can understand where it did make him take the virus more seriously than anyone gave him credit. That said, I loved how Conrad showed sympathy for Logan but told him he still needed to prove he gave a crap by doing something that would help them.
Conrad was surprised at the results. We probably all were, but it doesn't mean Logan has had some change of heart and is on his way to becoming a better person. After putting his neck out, it makes you wonder if he still has a future at Red Rock.
AJ: You know you had a chance to do the right thing, pitch in with the rest of us and help, but no, you just followed Red Rocks matching orders.
Cain: I'm a neurosurgeon, I cut. When the pandemic can be cured by brain surgery shoot me a page.
In many ways, it's a case of "better the devil that you know."
The Resident gets to explore COVID from another angle, with the hospital likely going in the red because of the pandemic setting it back. It's something that we likely won't see from other medical dramas, and that's what always sets The Resident apart.
I don't know if we'll get any more of the pandemic directly, but they have so much to explore by addressing the lingering effects of it on the hospital, and the corporate angle is going to be both fascinating and infuriating. I can already tell.
We also have to delve into the extent of what happened between Conrad and Logan. Conrad declined Logan's offer, but there has to be more to the story there. I didn't mind that we didn't jump right into that directly, though.
The season premiere felt like a love letter to fans, and it was most enjoyable as is.
Over to you, Resident Fanatics! How much did you enjoy the CoNic wedding? Do you think the series did a good job covering COVID without beating us over the head with it? How do you feel about Mina and AJ?
Hit that SHOW COMMENTS button, and let's discuss! You can watch The Resident online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.