"Skin Deep" didn't have the super slick feel "Frayed Anatomies" had and the pace felt a bit slow, but the intricate and interesting storylines had me wishing the Night Shift could cross over into the daytime more.
It's become painfully obvious, however, you can't look at NS as an extension of GH not even when it comes to the very basics. Robin and Patrick have never discussed kids in the Night Shift realm, but on the parent show it was a huge blow-up not all that long ago. Even the way characters are paired is showing signs of becoming different than what you see on GH. It appears Jason could become a threat to the Doctors Drake and Scorpio, Maxie Jones might be looking past Cooper to the hot new Dr. Julian, and what was that with Dr. Lee and Stan at the tail end? But I get ahead of myself…
First we learned that another major General Hospital character had been sentenced to the night shift. Jason Morgan reported to Epiphany in the beginning of the episode with his court order for three months of community service for shooting Spinelli in the foot. He was assigned to a janitorial role and was available throughout the episode to give us a peek inside the head of the mysterious Toussaint, rekindle his long friendship with Dr. Scorpio, and run interference when Spinelli showed up for therapy, and to conveniently run into his angel of mercy, student nurse Jolene.
Also receiving punishment of a totally different nature was Maxie Jones, who we learned had a staph infection on her posterior, presumably from her handcuffed sexual escapade with Cooper in the supply closet. Enter Dr. Julian, the cardiologist, because this particular strain of staph can do a nasty number on her transplanted heart. As Dr. Julian admitted his past to Maxie, we learned he would rather be playing guitar than practicing medicine, but being a doctor was what his very wealthy family expected of him. Does this mean he's a non-enthusiastic, somewhat of a hack doctor? No, he's the best, or so he says.
The Emergency Room was much more quiet this week as we only saw one new patient come in, one young woman who insisted she see a male doctor. Robin went looking for Patrick only to find him receiving a shoulder rub from the lovely Layla. That was enough to get Robin to begin turning green. What Layla started, the pretty patient who had been recently divorced notched up when it was revealed she wanted Dr. Drake to examine her recent breast enhancement and pass judgment on it – but not as a doctor. It seemed the woman should have been there for counseling with Dr. Winters, but Patrick did a bang up job getting below the surface, both in the way he displayed how much he's grown from the playboy we were first introduced to and in offering the woman sound advice in believing in herself.
It was a good thing Dr. Drake was handling "boobjob woman" as she was nick-named by Dr. Scorpio, because Dr. Winters was busy with Cody – the addicted Iraq vet with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Assuming he exhausted the pill supply he had stolen the week before, he showed up in the ER wanting a therapy session with Lainey. After explaining his dream, she kicked him out, accusing him of reciting psycho-babble just to get his next fix. She told him to come back when he was really ready to seek treatment. Later, he jumped her in the parking garage in what first appeared to be an angry outburst over her turning him away, but after getting her in a choke hold he really opened a vein and spilled to the doctor the helplessness and sheer terror he felt while at war. Back in the hospital, after a real session, Lainey gave him a new prescription – a six day supply – guaranteeing he will be back for his next appointment and that we'll see more of Cody next Thursday.
We learned the kindly old woman who had been overlooked throughout the first episode as being lonely and looking for company, but in the end was bleeding from her side, had stabbed herself while cutting broccoli. Throughout the hour she encountered much of the hospital staff and you still got the feeling if you looked a little bit deeper than the friendly and jovial shell, she was a very lonely woman.
The mysterious burn patient with no more of an identity than the last name of "Barrett" last week when she was left in the morgue even though she was still alive, spent much of this episode wrapped in head to toe bandages reliving the moments the explosion and Jason pulled her from the ambulance. For any fan who wasn't wondering if this was going to be the long-awaited return of Brenda Barrett, we had two more clues: The way the camera panned from Jason mopping the floors to the name on the wall, and in the final moments the woman struggling to say 'Jason'. Don't look to get beyond the surface on this mystery too soon though; the complete mystery behind the bandaged Barrett will be played out through the remaining eleven episodes.
Much to his mother Epiphany's dismay, Stan tried to organize a labor union amongst the orderlies and late confronted his mother on the difference between her dreams for him and his own aspirations. All of this before he joined Dr. Kelly Lee in the much-used showers of the doctor's lounge. We also learned nurse Regina was working hard to become a nurse because her Grandmother had always said it was the most selfless profession around and she wanted to make her Grandmother proud.
Stacy returned for another appointment with Dr. Lee, and she and Robin talked about the trials of dating when you are HIV positive. Later Robin talked to Jason about how much she admires Stacy and how disappointed she was that Patrick hadn't inquired about her appointment. When Jason asked if she had ever talked about having kids with Patrick, she said no, but she knew how it would end. Of course, she wasn't aware that Patrick was in the hall listening as she detailed for Jason how they would later meet on the roof and Patrick would first ask her where she wanted to go for breakfast and then suggest Kelly's almost in a wistful tone, as if she was frustrated or bored with the relationship. The episode ended with Patrick fulfilling her prophecy to the last detail, leaving me wondering if the message of the episode was this relationship was only skin deep. I certainly hope not.
General Hospital: The Night Shift airs on Soapnet. New Episodes premiere Thursday at 11:00 pm and repeat on Saturday at 5:00 pm, Sun at 12:00 pm, Sunday at 7:00 pm, Wednesday at 12:00 am, Thursday at 11:00 am.