The Knick recap: 'The Busy Flea'

Doctors Gallinger and Edwards clash, while Dr. Thackery encounters an old love suffering from a shocking ailment.
Ep. 03 | Aired Aug 22, 2014

IF IT AIN'T COKE... don't inject it! (Dr. Thackery's motto, obviously.)

Mary Cybulski

Meanwhile, Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Chickering and Gallinger) review a French paper detailing the aortic procedure they'd like to attempt. Unfortunately, neither knows the language. Chickering wants to call in Edwards. Gallinger does not. Chickering notes that Edwards co-authored the paper. Gallinger replies, "Those people are known to exaggerate their accomplishments." We hate Gallinger.

Thackery puts his cocaine injection on hold when G&C come in. Like Bertie before him, Thackery notes that Edwards co-authored the paper. He reassures Gallinger that if they ask for his help, Edwards won't perform the surgery—he'll only talk him through it. (Ha! In some circles, that's known as schoolin' a dude.)

Hospital administrator Barrow's money troubles continue; he loses his corpse to a higher bidder, and his wife comes asking for money to go to lunch, buy the kids Sunday suits and a little something for herself. His troubles lead him to dig in the morgue for a corpse to sell. Barrow finally pays his debt and gets a tooth back; too bad it's not his own. Then he goes to visit a whore. Earlier, it was established that his wife's pearl earrings had gone missing. He blamed it on the maid, whom he said he would fire for the theft. Now we see that he's actually taken the earrings so he could give them to his pet prostitute—this is one truly despicable man. "Hermie, it's too much!" she says. Agreed.

Later, Barrow appears, staring at the butchered pigs Thackery and his minions have been experimenting on. He rolls up his sleeves and begins hacking away at one. After putting a pot aside—the heart?—he throws the legs into the incinerator. He's no physician, but what is this man up to? Certainly not God's work.

Also not doing God's work, according to the wisdom of ambulance driver Cleary: Sister Harriet. He's officially stalking her now. "If they only knew what you really are," he says to the secret abortionist as she cares for the children at the orphanage.

Thackery, notably relaxing in Nurse Elkins' company—she has, after all, seen his privates—submits his assessment of the skin-graft surgery: "That really was like trying to make a silk purse out of sow's ear." He predicts that Abbie will be alone for the remainder of her life. Nurse Elkins counters that Abigail will live a better life than she's been living. Thackery quotes Laertes from Hamlet: "No medicine in the world can do thee good." Lucy: "In the blackest darkness, even a dim light is better than no light at all." He asks who said that. She innocently replies, "I just did." He smiles.

With that, the sometimes tiger, sometimes god Thackery decides to operate on Typhoid Cora and saves her life. Cornelia is quite pleased.

By the way—that existential crisis Edwards flirted with last week? It's in full bloom as he gets drunk and irascible at a bar. He picks a fight with another patron, taking things outside to administer a brutal slow-motion beatdown. He wins the brawl handily; at least that's something for the plus column this week?


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