Let's reiterate that The Resident has one of the best casts on TV.
It's not an exaggeration, and it doesn't have a single weak person in the bunch. We know this, but some hours you can't help but appreciate it more than usual.
Of course, The Resident Season 3 Episode 2 was one of those hours.
The series has an ensemble cast, which means it spreads around screentime. Yes, sometimes that means less Conrad and occasionally even less of Devon. But when done right, it's not about the quantity of screentime; it's quality that is the most important.
This installment was a primary example of that. It managed to focus on all of the primary characters in significant ways, and it gave us fistsful of the best dynamics on the series.
You can roll the dice and land on an excellent pairing. Everyone has superb chemistry and plays off of one another well.
In this one hour:
- Conrad and Nic took a huge step in their relationship with two scenes tugging at the heartstrings.
- Conrad and Devon had an engaging friendship/mentor moment where they discussed what motivates and drives them to be the kind of doctors they are.
- Mina and Devon's friendship quietly became one of the best on the series. He gave her reliable advice as a friend regarding Adaku.
- Nic and Mina teamed up to open the free clinic, rules be damned. Mina was a supportive figure for Nic, and their partnership in this venture is unmistakable.
- The escalation of Kit and Cain's tension was exciting, and the inevitable fallout will be as well.
- AJ and Conrad had an unexpectedly deep moment connecting over their experiences (or lack thereof) with their fathers.
- Mina was AJ's supportive friend but also his partner and safety net.
- Nic and Bell had another go over their different ways of helping the hospital and their patients.
Those were the heavy-hitters. We haven't even delved into the guest-stars, which included a Montel cameo and the incomparable David Alan Grier.
We've established the person responsible for casting deserves accolades, but they deserve a bonus for casting David Alan Grier as AJ's biological father.
Lamar was a jolt to the system. Grier somehow exuded the same energy of Warner.
You knew who he was from the second he walked up to AJ with the same swagger. He had the same confidence and mannerisms. He spoke in a similar, prestigious manner, and used comparable lexicon. Of course, they're both handsome with beards, too.
AJ: Speaking of me, I know who you are. There are photos of you in the email of the documents sent to me by the adoption agency. You are my egg donor's sperm donor.
Lamar: Biological father works just as well.
AJ: Ah the word father in any capacity is reserved for the man who raised me.
AJ has come a long way and has evolved into one of the best characters on the series. Malcolm-Jamal Warner joining the cast full-time has been a godsend, and this installment is proof.
It was an emotional arc of him grappling with the sudden presence of a man he resents. He perfectly captured the anger, hurt, and pain of a person with unresolved history with a parent.
His anger was warranted, too. Not only did Lamar show up unannounced and plopped down in front of him like it was a regular day and he had known AJ for his entire life, but he didn't apologize.
Lemar: Half your genes come from me, and I'm dying.
AJ: Make an appointment.
Lemar: It's hereditary which means you might be dying too.
He was not apologetic, and he demanded respect he didn't earn. AJ doesn't know him from a stranger, and Lamar didn't consider AJ's feelings at all.
Of all the ways to approach him, he also manipulated AJ into dealing with him by claiming he was dying and that AJ could've inherited something from him.
How did he think he'd make a decent impression with that? It's enough to ensure AJ wouldn't want anything to do with him at all.
The one-on-one moment AJ shared with Conrad was a highlight, and Conrad was able to give some perspective on the issue. It speaks to how close the Raptor is to the group now. At first, it seemed he only shared his background as an adopted kid with Mina.
He spoke freely with Conrad about it, and Conrad came from the angle of someone who had a fraught relationship with his father, too. Fortunately for Conrad (and us), he moved past that with Marshall, and the two of them are closer than ever.
Biology is a huge bitch, man. I mean Lamar rolls up on me with my walk, my talk. I never met the man, but it's obvious we share DNA.AJ
Conrad's advice to AJ was well-intended, but AJ was right about the situations being different. Conrad grew up with his father even if it wasn't perfect.
Lamar was a virtual stranger to AJ. His parents gave him up; in AJ's mind, they discarded him and had a whole other family afterward.
It's a lot to accept for anyone. He could make sense of his parents not being ready for a kid or any of the reasons a person has for giving up their child. However, his biological parents stayed together; they're still happily married.
They have other kids, which means AJ has full-blooded siblings, and none of them went looking for him. AJ was left wondering what the heck was wrong with him specifically, and why did they give him away?
AJ: I am an overachiever. Gifted with a competitive nature and a need to excel from as young as I can remember. I collected academic awards like other kids collected baseball cards. Spelling bee, debate team, Eagle scout, you name it, I mastered it. I had an addiction -- this deep-rooted need to conquer all. You see there's this tiny voice deep inside of me that cannot be silenced, that always thought maybe, maybe if they knew I was special that maybe mom and dad would come knocking on that front door. Realized what they gave away that I was worth something fighting to get back.
Lamar: You most certainly are.
Lamar had an answer for the question, and it was no less difficult to swallow as everything else. Lamar was afraid AJ wasn't his, and he couldn't bear to raise a child that didn't belong to him, but his wife's presumed infidelity wasn't enough to tear them apart.
What? How awful!
Now, all of these decades later, all it took was one look at AJ to know the truth. AJ wanted answers to make him feel less rejected, and everything Lamar provided had the opposite effect.
The tension between them was so damn delicious! Warner and Grier were like two titans dominating their scenes together with their ungodly talent; it was surreal and spectacular. They gave me chills!
It sickens me to say that all I have to do is look at you and know who my father is. A proper DNA will prove it.AJ
The sharp words and barbs cut like a scalpel; AJ's inner turmoil and conflict were mesmerizing as he worked through coping with this man for whom he had no respect invading his life.
AJ gave more of himself than he ever would've telling Lamar what it was like for him growing up. His speech about being overachiever who excelled at everything he did in hopes of being good enough for his birth parents to come back for and fight for him was heartfelt and raw.
He embodied the complicated feelings of an adopted child who had no idea why their birth parents gave them away.
AJ is an incredible surgeon; he's gifted and excels at what he does, but it doesn't change his pain and abandonment and rejection issues. All of it made him who he is today, but the pain lingers regardless.
Mina: So how did it go?
AJ: I'm fine, yo.
Mina: I don't believe you.
AJ: Well, I'm fine enough to do the surgery. But even if I'm wrong, you'll be there and I can always count on you, my partner.
And who he is today is the best person to save Lamar. Mina was concerned whether he was up to it, but AJ knew he would be OK since he had her.
Queen Raptor is magic. There is no other way to describe it. It was such a simple exchange and yet so damn meaningful that it was enough to bring tears to your eyes. He views her as a partner and equal.
The two of them had all the makings for a slow-burn, and it was their different positions which led to AJ not pursuing her beyond their friendship, partnership, and mentorship.
If he views her as an equal now, and she's the most supportive figure in his life, where will it lead them? How do you not love their love (however you choose to define it)?
Adaku: I love her, but she's bossy.
Devon: I love her because she's bossy.
Mina: Never say that again.
Devon knows a little something about loving Mina too. Again, their friendship is endearing, and it's impressive how far they've come since the series began. Although, there are some Mevon 'shippers out there who squealed.
Mina was never one to mince words with others, but she's such a softy. It's nice to know she appreciates when others don't mince words with her.
Devon was right about her reaction to Adaku's pregnancy. She spent more time fretting over her and smothering and judging, but she had to reel it in. It's a miracle baby for Adaku, and she had every right to enjoy her pregnancy.
Devon knew Mina's position; they both experienced the horrific case during The Resident Season 2 Episode 20. Devon didn't want to see Mina's strong opinions interfere with her and Adaku's friendship.
Devon: Mina, don't scare her off too much. Let her enjoy being pregnant.
Mina: I have watched too many women, particularly women of color, be harmed because nobody else was looking out for them. You know that as well as I do.
Mina came on strong, but her frustration was warranted. Adaku didn't check her embryo for the BRACA gene.
Adaku's mother died from cancer. Adaku had triple-negative cancer. You don't want to judge this woman, but why would she want to possibly condemn her child to something if she didn't have to do so?
She had multiple embryos to choose from, right? If they all tested positive, then so be it, but if there's a chance for her to have a healthy child, why not take it?
Adaku said she didn't want to play God, but she's a woman of faith who believes in science enough to get this far. Why pull back on science now? Some people may not agree, and that's fine, but science and faith can coexist.
Adaku cherry-picking when she was willing to allow both to do so was frustrating. Mina didn't apologize for being worried about her friend, but she did dial it back.
Lamar: My mind and mouth move at the same time. I act before I think things through all the way. Characters flaw. I'm working on it. I did what I did, and I want to do better. If you can't forgive, I'll have to live with that. But my wife, your mother, is better than me in every way she never would've messed things up like I did.
AJ:I wouldn't know.
Lamar: My hope is that you'll reach out to her when you're ready. She's truly special. Like you.
AJ: Goodbye, Lamar.
It's all she could do. She'll make the best aunt though. She appears tough on the outside and anti-kid, but she'll spoil the kid rotten!
Meanwhile, Devon turned in his green scrubs for a dress shirt and slacks for his Oncology rotation. Irving was less than enthused about losing his favorite intern, but Nurse Huntley was appreciative of Devon dressed up (as was I, along with his million-watt smile).
Little did Devon know that his first experience on the rotation was with the Mother of All Surgeries Cain brought in via an unexpected appearance on the Montel talk show.
I'm in, but not because I agree. I'm going to make good and damn well sure that Dawn makes it off that table alive and wakes up to have as many days as possible with her children.Kit
Devon got to see the workings of the case, and he was there to see the tension between Kit and the guys. Oncology was a field that interested him, but it lost its luster during the Lane Hunt saga.
He's been a fledgling intern trying to find his path. He showed interest in Oncology and the medical device field. But Devon shines the brightest in Emergency Medicine, General Medicine, and Obstetrics.
Irving spends the most time with him, but Conrad is who he started with in the beginning. His advice and opinion matters to Devon. Via their chat, Conrad's reasoning for sticking to the ER makes more sense.
It's the same high he got from being a medic in the military. For him, the battle is out there in the ER with the little people, and the potential to do as much harm as good in oncology didn't appeal to him. It was something Devon must have taken to heart; he was eager to get back to the pit.
All this corporatized medicine. Profit over patients I guess I look at it as a different kind of battle. One where we need to keep showing up, keep fighting, keep making a difference no matter what the odds are against us.Conrad
Cain is a hard character to get a grasp for in this, and it makes him captivating and infuriating at once. He's great with the patients, and they love him for it, but he's an ass to everyone else.
He's great at what he does, but he's too arrogant about it, and it makes you want to see him knocked down a peg. You want him to have a reality check; his God complex is out of control.
He makes promises he has no way of knowing if he can keep, and there is no way in hell he should've taken on Dawn's case. Kit was livid, and you can't blame the woman!
Cain comes across as though he's only in it for the glory, but then he has surprising moments like when he checked Kit on interrupting his pre-opt ritual and could recite the names of all seven of Dawn's children.
It's the type of information you don't retain if you don't care, right?
Kit's concern that they would kill the woman and Cain wasn't taking it seriously was reasonable. He's not a person who practices risky surgeries, and it's disconcerting, to say the least.
If you're going into a surgery of that caliber, you should have a game plan even if you will end up adapting to a new plan down the road. Cain belittles Kit for being cautious, which makes him offputting.
Your energy and your tone aside, I admire you Dr. Voss.Barrett
He also was an ass to all of them while he was performing his part of the surgery, and his cockiness about it not taking him as long as they estimated was gross.
I still enjoy the guy's playlist though; he has a song and genre of music for every occasion.
Dawn survived the surgery, but she's not breathing by herself, and she didn't wake up. We're left wondering if the surgery was a success as promised.
Cain and Bell knew how to spin it for the public. The media attention and good publicity is another form of helping the hospital.
Maybe I was too quick to question Bell and whether or not Cain will negatively affect him. Bell is trying to do what's best for the hospital financially and what's best for the patients.
Bell: What benefits the bottom line benefits everybody.
Nic: So now it's profits and publicity over patients?
Bell: Oh forget yourself. I care as much as you do about our patients everything I do, including publicity, is for profits and patients because you can't have one without the other. And by the way, I don't owe you an explanation
Nic approached him with the usual bit about serving the underprivileged, and by the end of their dispute, I was Team Bell.
He's right, you can't have profits without patients and vice versa. He's not a monster for considering everything.
Bell does appear wary and cautious with Cain. He has his guard up, which means maybe he isn't enamored by the guy either. He was put off by Cain's arrogance and inability to be a team player in the OR, too.
Nic and Mina's method for getting the clinic open was to re-open it themselves and worry about the fallout later. Nic found a way to use what Bell told her against him.
Through Montel, she used public scrutiny and publicity to keep the clinic open. It's cool that the clinic is open, and Nic and Mina needed the win, but Nic's underhanded tactic didn't sit well.
Bell let her know she got away with it this time, but it wouldn't happen again.
She's throwing herself into the clinic venture again, and she needs to get back in her element. We've discussed before how Nic's identity was tied to Jessie. She doesn't know a world where she isn't taking care of her sister.
She transferred a lot of that to Conrad; now, she wants to jump all-in with Conrad. Their scenes were endearing and sweet. It's the forward progress Conrad and CoNic 'shippers wanted.
Conrad: Are you sure right now is the right time to make this move?
Nic: I've never been more sure.
They're happy together, and it's beautiful. It's also suspect. It's not that trouble is on the horizon with them, it's that Nic has done a 180, and it's apparent the effects of her sister's death motivate her.
Conrad loves where they are and her, but he's trying to figure out if Nic is really ready or if all of the changes are part of her grieving process.
How on earth was the same house on the market? It's gorgeous, and Nic even got Conrad his chickens. He was over the moon!
They've taken a big step. Let's hope they'll remain happy, and maybe throw a housewarming party, too.
Over to you, Resident Fanatics.
What were your thoughts on Lamar? Are you thrilled CoNic are moving in together? What do you make of Cain? What was your favorite dyanmic?
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.