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TV Review: General Hospital: The Night Shift – “Gutter Ball”

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Sometimes in life no matter how hard you try, you come up on the short end. No matter what choices you make, they are the wrong ones. No matter how many times you try for the strike, all you end up with is a gutter ball. This was no more evident than on last Thursday’s General Hospital: Night Shift.

This episode opened with student nurse Layla passing Dr. Patrick Drake a note and telling him everything was set. Robin overhead and witnessed what she concluded to be plans to meet romantically, unaware Patrick was actually coordinating unauthorized surgery on Lainey’s father, the same type of stunt that got him sentenced to the night shift to begin with. When Patrick did ask Robin to join him, Dr. Kelly, Regina, and Layla in the operating room, she refused because she had an appointment with the social worker about Anna.

Frustrated and upset he drug her into the stairwell and began yelling at her about loyalty to her friends and wouldn’t even try and listen to her feelings about the baby, accusing her of being too focused on the child to see anything else in her life. A point Robin later proved wrong when she ran interference with Dr. Ford, throwing a temper tantrum to keep his attention away from the operating room where the surgery was being conducted.

The pill addicted Iraq war veteran, Cody, who for an unknown reason has been able to bond with Rodger Winters, showed up to check on him and was able to help transport him quietly to the OR, though Lainey continued to hold his motives suspect. Cody (expertly played by Graham Shiels) is certainly a formable foe and possible romantic interest for Lainey. They play off each other with such a delicate balance of suspicion and sympathy. After student nurse Jolene struck as the angel of death, injecting an air bubble into Winter’s IV causing an embolism that puts him on life support, it was Cody who was able to help Lainey see her father never wanted his life prolonged in the first place. In the end, she asked to enforce a ‘do not resuscitate’ and have him removed from life support.

The huge surprise came when Patrick was fretting over being suspended for doing an unauthorized surgery only to learn from Dr. Ford he had authorized it. He told Patrick they would have never made it into the OR if he hadn’t and he only created the public scene against to protect the hospital from MedCam. “MedCam is the enemy, not me,” he said with an almost defeated sigh as he left the room, causing Patrick and me both to blink in surprise and reevaluate Dr. Ford.

Jolene took time from killing and harming patients, to ask Jason out on a date at an all night bowling alley. Of course, he refused. I would suspect in part to protect the feelings of his smitten friend, Spinelli. He told Jolene “I’m no one you should be asking out,” referring to the danger in his life. When she pressed for a reason said she seemed like a nice girl. Boy, if he only knew what she was hiding! With only four episodes of the Night Shift left, I’m predicating now it will Spinelli’s stalking and Jolene’s infatuation with Jason that will be her undoing.

In a somewhat lighter moment, Toussaint and Epiphany had a little heart to heart talk, where he explained his musical career with The Saints fell apart because of ‘creative differences.’ When pressed about how he went from being a musician at the top of his game to working as a janitor on the night shift, he smiled and replied he could never go to bed before the sun came up.

After signing the forms to become the temporary foster parent for baby Anna, the first step in adopting the child, Robin went in search of Patrick, finding him in the doctor’s lounge. In a heart-breaking exchange, Robin spilled her heart about how important it was to care for the child, but by the same token she couldn’t force him into a role he wasn’t ready for. While Patrick sat quietly, unsuccessfully trying to suppress tears and saying very little, Robin cut him loose. He paused only a moment to kiss her cheek, before leaving her to her new life.

Patrick fled to the roof. The place where when this thirteen week punishment began for the two doctors they would go together to distress from the long night in the ER and face the new morning. He wasn’t there alone, though. Layla was doing some distressing of her own. Patrick apologized for a harsh remark he had made earlier when he was wrapped up in grief over his patient, and encouraged her to continue with her studies, before the two fell into a kiss. Without Robin in his life, I suspect he’s going to fall back to his days of wild abandon and non-commitment.

What he wasn’t aware of was back in the hospital a young man was waiting outside the nursery watching her with the child. Later he asked where he could find the social worker. Robin introduced herself as a friend of Stacy’s and asked why he needed to speak to a social worker and he informed he was the baby’s father and had come to take her home.

It was hard enough watching Robin and Patrick fall apart, but it will be even worse to watch while Robin loses this child she has fallen in love with and made room in her life for. I guess all we can do is tune in next week to see what happens.

Preview of next week’s Night Shift:

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