Code Black Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Second Year

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Overhauling a show after just one season seemed extreme.

It had a lot of fans worried. I was one of them. But Code Black Season 2 Episode 1 doesn't disappoint. The key elements that were so engaging are still there. And there's some great new cast members to boot. So here's hoping that the bumpy path of Code Black Season 1 has been paved over, and we can all get on with the medicine – and the drama.

Col. Ethan Willis  - Code Black

I want to start by addressing the elephant in the room: Neal and Christa. They're gone. Probably forever. And apparently, we won't ever hear about either of them again. This is stupid. 

Creator Michael Seitzman has said that there won't even be any throwaway lines about the whereabouts of last season's love birds because it wouldn't feel real. You know what doesn't feel real? Never speaking about two co-workers who have gone missing and are never heard from again.

If two of my coworkers vanished (or even left in some kind of normal way, like, say, moving to Seattle, or dying), and no one else ever spoke of them again, I would either think I was being gaslighted or be convinced that the rest of my office was filled with narcissistic sociopaths. Either way, I would GTFO.

You think you're smarter than your mama cause you got an M.D.? You're not. I can tell when you're lying, crying, or dying.


Now that my little rant is (mostly) out of my system...  

The episode was good. Not the best the show has ever done, not really even close. But considering all the casting shakeups, it was really solid. As much as I'll miss Christa and Neal, I'm loving the new folks.

Their introductions to both Angel's' ER and to the audience went pretty smooth. While everybody seems really likable, there are some hints at depth and darkness that bode well for some future conflict.

Kaya: I was with Tucker first you know. I know he's older, but we have a thing.
Ethan: What kind of a thing? You know what, don't answer that.

Rob Lowe's Dr. Ethan Willis is more than just eye candy. I mean, he certainly checks that box, too. In addition to ever present good looks (I'm ignoring Behind the Candelabra when they taped his face back so far he resembled Cassandra on Doctor Who), it's pretty evident that he's been working with a trainer to achieve an Army-ready bod.

But Ethan is also a really good doctor, at least from what we saw. His bedside manner with Kaya was adorable, with some definite Sam Seaborn awkwardness overtones. And while he's charming, he might cause just enough friction with other characters as he settles into his role to make things interesting. 

Throw in his mysterious line at the end about being given the position at Angel's because he did something really bad AND something really good, and he is totally #winning (in a good way) as best character this season. I can't wait to find out more about him...and for him to get puked on, necessitating a lock room scene.

Angus: You haven't seen The Artemis Stone? It was the seminal movie of my childhood.
Malaya: The Artemis Fowl was my favorite. I read the book twice.
Angus: The Artemis Thief was way better.
Malaya: You're crazy.
Mario: You're nerds.

The rest of the newbies were introduced in the most predictable way possible for a medical show: they're interns. Cliche, sure, but it worked. Especially since one of the new docs is on her second career.

Charlotte Piel is definitely the standout of her resident class, both because she seems like the most prepared and most intuitive of the three, and because she's basically Emma Watson if Emma Watson decided to go to medical school. I like her a lot, and not just because I'm curious about the Artemis series she was in as a child.

Unfortunately, the focus on Charlotte meant that we really didn't learn that much about Noa or Elliot. I mean, poor Elliot spent the entire time disinfecting a presumably homeless man in the locker room. At least Noa got to show us that she's a little bit approval seeking and not one to rock the boat or bend the rules.

There was one aspect of the new resident story that I didn't like, although I understand why it was done. They went on a tour. As new kids, it makes sense, and it also allows for new viewers to easily access the show. But seriously, it felt like Jesse and Leanne's dialogue was copied and pasted from an earlier script. It was extremely poor execution.

Leanne: You think I'm upset about losing a job I didn't even want? No, I'm *furious* that combining Trauma One with another department sets emergency medicine back forty years.
Will: Well, it happens to be more efficient...
Leanne: It's more efficient for *you*. What happens to me?
Will: You go back to being a doctor.
Leanne: I was *always* a doctor.

Other Thoughts:

  • How did a total douche like Desmond Leighton raise two great guys like Mike and Angus?
  • If Heroes: Reborn hadn't aired last year, would anybody have recognized intern Elliot Dixon as little Micah Sanders? 
  • Somehow, I don't think an ER and OR would be under the same administrative heading in the real world, unless it's at some tiny podunk regional hospital. I mean, for one thing, ER's get plenty of nonsurgical cases. The staffs have different specialties and accreditations.
  • Is Thomas Dewey's Mike headed to the same far-away-farm as Neal and Christa? His coma of indeterminate length makes me suspicious. At least he'll get a decent exit story.
  • Heather is boring when she isn't being promiscuous and mean.
  • With Neal gone, what's happening to his ex, Grace, and her budding romance with Will?

Mike: If you're afraid of flying in one, why'd you hop on board?
Ethan: I didn't say I was scared. I said I didn't like 'em. I also don't like bad tequila, but that didn't stop me last night.

"Life and Limb" (Code Black Season 2 Episode 2) will air October 5th, and it'll tackle some touchy issues. Mario's sketchy dad is going to stop by, when who I really want to meet is his grandma – let's crowd source casting ideas for that role! Camryn Manheim will also be hanging around, unfortunately not as a recurring character but as the wife of a patient.

We'd love to hear what you thoughts about "Second Year" down in the comments, and remember that you can watch Code Black online if you missed anything!

Second Year Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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Code Black Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

You think you're smarter than your mama cause you got an M.D.? You're not. I can tell when you're lying, crying, or dying.


Mike: If you're afraid of flying in one, why'd you hop on board?
Ethan: I didn't say I was scared. I said I didn't like 'em. I also don't like bad tequila, but that didn't stop me last night.