Code Black Season 2 Episode 6 Review: Hero Complex

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Anybody else need a drink?

With two heavy story lines on Code Black Season 2 Episode 6, things got pretty dark. It was like a double whammy of making me feel like crap. As depressing as the cases were, they were handled with respect and dignity. The writers deserve respect for that.

A College Student - Code Black

Malaya's patient, Joy, suffered an all too common fate on her college campus, but like the case at Stanford, was aided by a good Samaritan, which was helpful in dulling my utter despair for goodness in humanity. Of course, the all too obvious "twist" of her alleged savior actually being the attacker plummeted my spirits right back down.

Ignoring the ripped from the headlines (with a twist) aspect, the story was good on a lot of levels. Malaya's own experience from Code Black Season 1 Episode 15 was worked in without feeling trite or heavy handed. The care given the examination made my heart ache.

There's a whole lot of rape on TV. But even Law and Order: SVU hasn't had as detailed a depiction of what a sexual assault exam entails that I can recall. I got the shivers when they focused on the speculum. Joy's face during the exam choked me up.

Joy: Everyone's going to think it's my own fault.
Malaya: No. No. You did nothing wrong.
Joy: I'm just a slut who got drunk at a party.
Malaya: Let me tell you something, Joy. You fought back.

It was heartbreaking to hear her talk about how she blamed herself and how she assumed everybody else would, too. But as devastating as it was to watch even a fictional person go through that, I have to applaud the writers for Malaya's response and their contribution against victim blaming. 

I only have one complaint against Joy's story, and that's that there wasn't any kind of PSA for the National Sexual Assault Hotline during or after the episode. At least not on the advance screener that I was given. If you (or somebody that you know) needs to speak to somebody about their assault, RAINN has a 24 hour hotline at 1-800-656-4673 as well as a chat service.

Joy: I don't know. Maybe this is who I am now. The girl who got raped. That's the worst part. Someday I'll have to tell my husband.
Malaya: No. He took *one* night from you. Don't let him have one more second. You are more than the bad things that happen to you. You are the grace that follows.

Because campus sexual assault apparently isn't dark enough, we were treated to the ever-so-lighthearted topic of physician assisted suicide (PAS) as the cherry on top of this sadness sundae. California's End of Life Option Act went into effect in June 2016, so Code Black wasted no time jumping on the issue.

I greatly admire the respect with which the writers treated Whitney's decision. That said, this plot didn't come off as well as the first. Their underlying goal was to make Campbell a more relatable, likable character, and (in my opinion) it didn't quite achieve that.

Not to mention an abysmal use of Annabeth Gish.

There's not a single part of me that wants to die. But I'm dying. And I want to do it while I'm still me.


Whitney was charming and sympathetic. Her position was sad, but it easy to see her point of view. But what, exactly, was Campbell's investment? He's never fought against DNR's before, and if his objection was truly that a doctor's job is to save patients, that would have been a problem for him.

He doesn't seem to have a personal connection to the issue of PAS. Ethan's willingness to assist was influenced by his mother's ALS, but I actually find it more reasonable that a personal connection would compel you against the notion. Alas, nothing was revealed about Will. 

Campbell: Oh now you think you know me.
Ethan: Not yet. But you did just get more interesting.

The bright spot of the hour was definitely Mike's recovery. Things were a little scary for a minute, and he's not out of the woods yet, but the whole family seems to be on the mend. 

I'm not sure which was better for me: Mike and Angus bonding as Mike explained why he picked his little brother as his proxy or Leighton Sr. turning out not to be a complete tool after all. I mean, he's still a little bit of a tool. Like, 35% tool/65% decent person.

Angus: My first year of medical school. Don't remind me. I was in worse shape than my cadavers. I remember, I begged you to come visit.
Mike: But you asked all the right questions, and I knew you'd make a great doctor. That's why I made you my medical proxy. Because you're the most thoughtful person I know.

Even if his recovery was (and will continue to be) painful, it was still a better B plot than Mario and Elliot's patient. I just could not bring myself to care about Richard Lewis' character. Or about Richard Lewis. The jokes weren't funny, the story wasn't compelling. 

It basically felt like it only happened so nobody would ask, "Where are Mario and Elliot?" You could cut all those scenes and it wouldn't make a difference to the episode as a whole. To me, that's always a problem. 

I should get a punch card for this place. Ten seizures and I get a free frappucinno.


WIll and Ethan are going to be confined to a submarine on Code Black Season 2 Episode 7 ("What Lies Beneath") and that isn't a joke. I imagine the two are going to be forced to confront their hostility towards one another while trapped in a tin can. I'd be more than a little surprised if there aren't some fireworks before they reach an understanding.

But even if they don't come to blows, who's to say that the rest of the docs will be safe? The ER is going to be flooded with convicts after a prison riot breaks out. I can't help but wonder if one of the doctors has a connection to any of those inmates. 

If you drank too much wine while trying to soldier through and can't recall some details, don't worry. You can always watch Code Black online. We'd love to hear your thoughts on "Hero Complex" down in the comments section. 

Hero Complex Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (15 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 6 Quotes

Joy: Everyone's going to think it's my own fault.
Malaya: No. No. You did nothing wrong.
Joy: I'm just a slut who got drunk at a party.
Malaya: Let me tell you something, Joy. You fought back.

You are exactly the right doctor to care for her. Nobody else knows her situation like you do. So use your memories to help her. But don't get lost in them.

Leanne [to Malaya]