Code Black Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Pre-Existing Conditions

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Well, that got my adrenaline pumping!

We may have been dropped into the middle of a marathon code black situation, but Code Black Season 1 Episode 3 managed to actually feel a little slower paced, which made keeping up with all the crazy medical cases easier. In between central lines and unnecessary thoracotomies, the residents gave us plenty of interpersonal issues to dive into. 

"Pre-Existing Conditions" covered some familiar ground with a fresh take, and still hasn't resorted to any spectacularly crazy medical cases. If things hold steady, it may turn out to fill that ER shaped hole that's been in my heart for the past six years. 

The prisoner's dilemma is a staple of the medical drama. Code Black handled it earlier than most, and without making it the complete focus of the show. In fact, despite the emphasis of this story in the promos, I'd say it was, at best, the "C" story. But I actually liked how it was deemphasized.

It really wouldn't be unheard to have prisoners coming through a county hospital, 

I liked that Neal was so matter of fact about the situation, and wasn't also struggling with his feelings. His advice to Christa throughout the case was thoughtful and useful -- he really emphasized the ethics of the situation.

And having Christa – who is older than the other residents and generally less naive – deal with this leant it a slightly different flavor than we've seen on other shows in the past. 

I'll tell you what my mum used to tell me. Sometimes the way to be brave is to pretend to be brave.

Dr. Neal Hudson

My favorite story of "Pre-Existing Conditions" had to be Angus. Probably because I'm really starting to love Angus, who is humble and sweet, and the anti-douche to Mario. While he made some serious strides tonight, I don't think this is the last we'll see of his self-confidence problems. I really hope that they walk that line carefully. It's endearing now, but could easily be overplayed.

Not only did I love how Angus found his self confidence literally though song, but he turned his punishment into an opportunity. Maybe that was the point all along. When he trusts himself, he is a great doctor. He was actually doing fine with his first patient until Mario introduced that seed of doubt.

Angus' connection with Guthrie is great, and could develop into a real mentor relationship. Leanne may be head of the program, but she's not proving to be the most accessible of teachers.

The way that she views her role isn't wrong per se, but with medicine being as much art as science at times, the students may need some outside guidance to supplement her school of hard knocks tactics.

I'm not a teacher. I'm a filter. No one gets through me who doesn't deserve it.

Dr. Leanne Rorish

Leanne had a harrowing day herself, with a case that struck a little too close to home. I liked that we saw her weaknesses – her exhaustion and the way she pushed through it really set the tone.

Watching her deal with the mother of the car crash victims was great. I've been slow to warm to Leanne's tragic past, but seeing her relate to the mother, and use her experience for another's benefit has helped.

Her moments with Jesse also went a long way towards making her more relatable. I'd still really like to see Jesse outside of just being "Mama" to the residents, and Leanne's personal cheerleader, but there's plenty of time for that to happen if Code Black gets a full season order. 

Jesse Salandar: "El Gordo"? Look at me. I could have been a movie start with this face.
Dr. Leanne Rorish: It's not your face I'm worried about. It's your breasts.
Jesse Salandar: At least their mine.

A lot of the characters could use some more fleshing out, which is starting to happen, albeit slowly. I loved how they just kind of dropped into the end that Malaya is a lesbian and didn't make a huge deal out of it. Mario is only growing more irksome, but I think that can be good for a show.

There's always that one person in the office that only looks out for themselves. And having him start out as so selfish means that he has no where to go but up, right? 

Other Thoughts

  • Who takes patient charts into the bathroom?!  That can't be hygienic!
  • Luis Guzman's line about his face was hilarious.
  • I really want Mario's grandma to show up and have him have to pretend to be friends with everyone. 
  • Did anybody else think that nurse might slap Angus? I loved that moment of realization on his face. 
  • Seriously, is anyone else picking up on the Christa/Neal vibes? 
  • Should Angus give "Tiffany" a call?

If you missed "Pre-Existing Conditions" you can catch up and watch Code Black online, and then share your thoughts in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

Pre-Existing Conditions Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Code Black Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Dr. Christa Lorenson: Do I have time to go to the bathroom?
Dr. Malaya Pineda: Adult diapers.That's what I wear.

Dr. Mark Taylor: We're in the thirty-sixth hour of a code black. Not kosher, I know, but I gotta send the residents into extra innings.
Dr. Leanne Rorish: Since when have you ever worried about that?
Dr. Mark Taylor: Well, I'm the boss. I gotta pretend to worry, don't I?