Recap: ‘The Knick’ S1E7 “Get the Rope”
This week’s episode of The Knick was the most tense of the whole season, every piece of the action a reaction to one catalyzing moment that as modern audiences we can only watch in horror. This is the first time in which The Knick has created this extreme sense of tension, and the episode is brilliantly paced to keep us on our toes while keeping us involved in the character and story nuances taking place. “Get the Rope” is a turning point for many of our characters in terms of their opinions both socially and personally, and a few things set in place earlier on come to fruition.
Though the episode begins with a flashback to a successful surgery where Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) under Dr. Christensen proves himself to be the next “it boy” in New York’s surgical world, the real action begins when we return to the real world of 1900’s New York City. The start to an extremely stressful day begins when police investigator turned mob pimp Phinny Sears (Collin Meath) approaches an unsuspecting May Harris (Markita Prescott) on the street, suspecting her to be a young, black prostitute in need of his services. May denies she’s anything but, and that she is simply waiting for her boyfriend, who approaches. Upon hearing Sears’ accusations, May’s boyfriend stabs the police officer and runs away as the surrounding white onlookers call for his head. What follows is pure chaos.
Sears in brought to The Knick, and the newly back to work Dr. Gallinger (Eric Johnson) is forced to push his way through an angry mob of Irishmen – local hooligans and policemen alike. In the operating theatre, Gallinger walks into a few more surprises: a suction machine that doesn’t require a manual crank, and Dr. Edwards (André Holland) assisting Dr. Thackery in the friendliest manner. Though the surgery is initially a success, Sears dies from his wounds, and his bereaved (and drunk) mother incites the mob into a full blown riot out for revenge. The racial tension in the city continues to boil as black citizens simply going about their day who are unlucky enough to travel in front of The Knick are attacked. Dr. Thackery surprises us all when he comes to the defense of a man who was attacked while biking past and brings him into the clinic – the clinic normally only available to whites.
As the rioting and attacks continue, Gallinger proves yet again that he is the staff member behind the societal curve of his piers as he attempts to turn away several black patients seeking help, but Thackery corrects him and continues to treat his patients. Outside the hospital, Sears’ assailant is noticed entering The Knick through the back entrance, and the rioters – encouraged by the police – break down the doors despite Cleary’s best efforts (Chris Sullivan). As the mob enters the hospital, the black patients and the majority of the hospital staff are taken down to Edwards’ basement clinic, revealing its existence to Gallinger, Cornelia (Juliet Rylance), Barrow (Jeremy Bobb), and Bertie (Michael Angarano). In safety, a plan is hatched to take all the patients covertly to a hospital where they will actually be safe. Everyone except Bertie, Gallinger, and Barrow goes, and arrives safely at the closet Negro infirmary.
The tension begins to subside as Barrow begins to take stock of the damage to The Knick while Thackery and Elkins (Eve Hewson), Edwards and Cornelia take on patients at the infirmary, Edwards and Cornelia having a great moment of humor together which further releases the overwhelming tension. The day ends with Cornelia and Edwards heading back to The Knick to assess the damage, ending up in Edwards’ undamaged clinic. The tension between the two of them that has been brewing finally culminates in the two of them blowing off some steam together. Meanwhile, Thackery escorts Nurse Elkins home after what has been the most trying day the young nurse has ever seen. The two make love assisted by cocaine, even though Elkins’ knows that Bertie has feeling for her as well.
While this episode advances the romantic story brilliantly, it does so much more thematically and has a lot of revealing moments about not only the society of 1900’s New York, but also about our own that seems to be continually slipping back to where we came from. The reactionary cinematography is at its best in “Get the Rope”, and the modern, abstract soundtrack enhances the tense story incredibly well. With all the fast paced action that takes place during the first half of the episode, it is a relief to see no shaky hand-held camera movements and no attempts to put us into the action by literally crowding the camera and keeping the integrity of what each character is doing to assist those in need.
The Knick continues to impress, creating a new feel this week from a series we may have thought to have figured out, keeping us guessing as to what we will see and experience next week.(5 / 5)
(Photos copyright: Cinemax)