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Home / TV Review: General Hospital: The Night Shift – “Paternity Ward”
Something evil is afoot on the night shift.

TV Review: General Hospital: The Night Shift – “Paternity Ward”

It's not only the night shift at your favorite Port Charles hospital, but it's more of an alternate universe where nothing and no one are quite the same as they are during the daylight hours. But, if you're up for in-depth stories with a sharper edge than the daytime fare, it's the place to be on Thursday nights.

Mrs. Stoltz, the kind elderly woman, was back as a patient in the emergency room this week; this time she didn't lose a fight with broccoli. It was a bit more poignant than that. Her incisions had become infected and she had developed pneumonia. When Dr. Julian asked if she had taken all of her antibiotics she said she could only afford to pay for one of the two prescriptions and had opted for the pain medication. Between that and the comment to student nurse Regina that she had a bed to sleep in for the night, I thought they were gearing us for a story about how she was homeless, maybe they were, but I sure she didn't expect the fate she got at episode's end.

Elizabeth brought baby Jake into the emergency room, scaring Jason, who was working his community service job. Liz assured it him it was only an ear infection and she just needed to get some antibiotic from the doctor, but was then called in to surgery when two seriously injured patients were brought in. As if it would ever be okay for a janitor to babysit his kid at work, Liz handed Jake over to Jason and asked if he could watch him while she was in the OR. Or course, Jason eagerly agreed. Though it was a jump from reality it was sheer joy to watch Jason spending time with his son, and an experience I can only hope will soon become more common during the light of day.

We were given a little more insight into Dr. Andy Archer, the anesthesiologist who student nurse Layla found sprawled out on a gurney administering oxygen to himself. Dr. Archer explained it was to help keep him awake and that all Vegas casinos pump it in to keep their gamblers spending money. He also had an unconventional method for helping another doctor rest up in the two hours he had between surgeries: putting him under. Archer insisted two hours under anesthesia would be the equivalent of eight hours sleep and he would wake up completely refreshed. Funny, I've never come out of anesthesia completely refreshed. This didn't turn out quite the way it was planned either.

The two patients brought in by ambulance this week that prompted Liz being called in for work were a gunshot wound and car accident. Liz was surgical nurse to the gunshot wound, a result of gang violence. The conversation with his pregnant girlfriend served as a parallel to Liz and Jason's situation. The young woman told Liz she would not and could not hang around to raise a child in the world her boyfriend insisted on living in. She asked Liz to tell him, if and when he woke up, that his girlfriend and baby were gone. You could see the reflection on Liz's face, the identification. The fear and violence are why she's living a lie and raising her son with Lucky instead of Jason, even though at the very same moment Jason was cradling his son lovingly in his arms and showering him with affectionate hugs.

The second patient fell to Dr. Patrick Drake. He was rushed into the emergency room shortly after Patrick threw one of his patented fits about his father stepping in and over-ruling him on a patient. He was pulled away from his attempts to call him up and out (disappointing this viewer who was hopeful for a split second we might get a bit of Dr. Drake Sr. on the night shift) to attend to the eighteen-year-old boy who had crashed his brand new Porsche. When Patrick asked if his parents have been called while examining him, the boy flew into a rage threatening to leave if they were. He doesn't, and they did call the parents.

His parents consist of an over-protective and extremely distraught mother and an angry and fed-up father who has no clue how to relate to his son any more. When Patrick explains his diagnosis of a cerebral edema (the same affliction that turned Jason Quartermaine into Jason Morgan, by the way) and says if he recovers they may see a completely altered personality in their son, the father seems almost hopeful – infuriating Patrick.

He later tells Robin for all the fights he's had with his father he never once felt like his Dad hated him. "That's because he doesn't," was Robin's simple reply. But it becomes very transparent that Patrick is also drawing parallels to his patient's relationship with his father and the rocky one he has with Noah.

Whether or not Patrick has learned anything from this patient is answered at episode's end as he walks toward the elevators. He's on his cell, leaving a message for his father. "Dr. Drake, it's the other Dr. Drake," he says before explaining why he's leaving it on his office phone (so as not to wake him up) and says he was just thinking about the Porsche Noah had given him as a graduation present. "I just wanted you to know how much I really, really loved that car," he says. Like Robin asked Jason, why can't fathers and sons just admit they love each other?

Amongst the storylines about fathers and sons, there was something sinister afoot that I only alluded to earlier. Someone, presumably hospital staff, both turned up the flow on the anesthetic being given Dr. Loyd, rendering him unable to do his surgery and later emptied a mysterious syringe into Mrs. Stoltz's IV. This was someone she was familiar with as she opened her eyes and smiled at whoever's face belonged to the gloved hands we saw. Mrs. Stoltz died at episode's end.

So someone evil is lurking the halls of General Hospital on the night shift. Personally, I have three suspects. One would be Dr. Archer, he just seems a bit off kilter – though I don't find that very likely. He seemed too rattled when he discovered Dr. Loyd had been given too much anesthetic. Two is nurse Layla. She just rubbed me the wrong way, and nurse Regina did look puzzled when she saw Layla going into Mrs. Stoltz's room earlier in the evening. The third would be the cranky Mrs. Sneed who is always worried about hospital waste and financial liability. She threw a pint-sized fit when she discovered Dr. Jillian had given samples of antibiotics to Mrs. Stoltz. Of course, I could completely wrong and it might be someone else altogether. I guess we'll have to keep tuning into the Night Shift to find out.

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