In the aftermath of last week’s traumatic events, Angels picks right back up where it left off. That and we are graced with a list of guest-stars that’d make any television or film buff scream for joy. We open on Mario (Ben Hollingsworth) and Guthrie, wheeling in 22 year old Lizzie who is having difficulty breathing. Upon placing the chest tube, Mario discovers countless scars; lung transplant? Yes. As the doctors hurry to treat Lizzie effectively, we learn that she wants to be frozen cryogenically, to preserve her body, when she dies. Mario’s face says it all – cue the crazy.
Elsewhere, Malaya (Melanie Chandra) is welcomed back by Angus (Harry Ford) and Mike (Tommy Dewey) before the “Brothers Leighton” head to treat Coach Delaney (Guest Star, Beau Bridges) whose TV daughter is played by his real daughter. Talk about family affair. Coach Delaney is well known and has been admitted after suffering from vomiting spells and nausea. We cut to Christa (Bonnie Somerville) and Neal (Raza Jaffrey), as they are discussing a woman named Grace. She is in the ER and she is asking for Neal. WELCOME, Meagan Good. As Grace and Neal exchange “hellos” the lingering, telling looks illustrate more than just former work colleagues. There is history there, no doubt about it, and Christa is privy to it – “who is she to you?” Grace has come to Angels seeking medical treatment for a little girl (Rosalind) who she met while in Haiti. She needs a favour. A big one. The doctors approach (ass-hat) surgeon Dr. Campbell to see if he will perform the surgery for free. Hah, should have seen that NO coming.
Dr. Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden) arrives on the scene, all decked out in her new, official white coat. And it is just right to share this first moment of chiefly duty with none other than Mama Jesse (Luiz Guzman). The unspoken dialogue and banter between these two is thrilling to watch. The comedic chemistry just bounces off the screen. Malaya and Christa (#GirlSquad) are working to treat a single mother (Annie Wersching), whose just given birth, suffering from extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. With Jesse as their nurse, they all agree to take turns caring for her baby – talk about looking out for one another. In this moment, Malaya does zone out; is she thinking of Carla? Did she come back to work too soon? Cut back to Coach Delaney, where he is struggling, Angus is frenzied. He informs Mike that he has not yet ordered the tests, Mike is not happy. As they move to center stage Angus – Harry Ford is playing this downward spiral with a nuanced subtly I admire – can’t seem to focus. But with a little belief and a stern word from both Daddy and Mike, he gets back on top of things.
Angus and Malaya take a moment out from their day to check in with one another. We get a brief insight into how Malaya is doing; it’s obvious she is still struggling. Harry Ford and Melanie Chandra work effortlessly together, and their friendship is by far the strongest ship on the show. As Malaya exits, wise Dr. Guthrie enters. I swear he has a sixth sense, and pin points that whatever is troubling Angus, the young squire must deal with it.
When all seems to be moving smoothly in Angels, you know it is too good to be true. Rosalind bottoms out and is rushed to center stage, she is now emergent and needs that spinal surgery. Off flys Dr. Hudson to save the day, lets just hope Dr. Campbell doesn’t get wind of it. Cut to Lizzie, and she has lost consciousness and even with all measures taken to revive her, Mario must call time of death. Although her beliefs may not be held by the doctors on her case, the heartbreak and moment Lizzie’s husband changes his and whispers “I believe”, we are taught an important lesson in that everyone, from all walks of life have different stories, different beliefs and that that is okay. No judgement should ever be made when it comes to what one believes.
In other news, Malaya and Christa are brainstorming about their patient and have a lightbulb moment; pulmonary embolism. Luckily for them, they caught it soon enough to treat, but what comes with treatment is a risk. Big risk.She could die from the procedure and that is something she must think about. The results are back for Coach Delaney, and it isn’t good news. He has prostate cancer, and as the conversation moves forward we find out he has known for a while. It has progressed and requires immediate attention. He refuses, his daughter is heartbroken.
Christa and Malaya’s single mom starts to bleed out after agreeing to the treatment, the doctors head to center stage, fearlessly lead by Mike. As they get to work, Melanie Chandra once again delivers on all fronts as Malaya is suddenly crippled by flashbacks of her attack. Can you blame her? After Carla and Gordon, Malaya needs room to breathe. What is even more beautiful about this scene is Mike’s commitment to his resident. He refuses to give up on Malaya, brilliantly distracting her with everything medicine, as we hang on to the edge of our seats Mike talks Malaya off that edge.She’s back. Dr. Rorish looks on in pride, like a mother (or should I say daddy) whose child has just kicked the winning goal. Neal is in surgery and has struggled to get a bleed under control, he’s had to call on Dr. Campbell – that’s got to be hard to swallow. As all cases are coming down to the line, we revisit Coach who is still refusing aggressive treatment. His daughter has called in reinforcements in the form of Odell Beckham Jr. (guest star). The father-son dynamic is obvious, and a mutual respect is there. Will Odell be the one to convince Coach to fight?
One of my favourite scenes in the entire episode was brief, quiet yet powerful. Dr. Rorish has one of those mirror moments. Those moments where you look at yourself, and possibly don’t yet comprehend how you arrived where you are. And then, ever so subtly, Marcia Gay Harden illustrates the realization that nothing, not even a promotion at work, can change who you are. No words, just a look. This is why MGH is daddy.
As the episode winds down, Jesse still has that baby cradled in his arms. Is it me or did Jesse totally earn his “Mama” badge tonight. Odell and Coach share an inspiring heart to heart after he has decided to fight (character is revealed in success) and single mom is reunited with baby. We learn that Dr. Rorish pulled a quick on Ed with the spinal surgery debacle, she’s not apologising though, she knows it was all worth it. With all the cases ending on a relatively positive note, Grace sits by Rosalind’s beside. And what follows is a conversation with so much child-like innocence it’d make anyone’s heart burst. Meagan Good is flawless in this scene, and while she’s likened to a genie whose powers have granted Rosalind 2 wishes in one day, we are flying high on a magic carpet of joy. Mario and Heather share an exchange where we learn that Mario may be more than just bravado. His line of “we all have something we believe in” opens the door to what really drives this young doctor. The last scene sees Angus arrive at the cemetery where the Angels service for Gordon is taking place. He’s still not sure why he’s there, oh but Guthrie knows young squire. He knows all too well. Everybody is trying to get good with God.
This ensemble is delivering some inspirational work, and the season begins to wind down we are all left hoping that that Season 2 announcement is just around the corner. The performances, individually and collectively, are committed, visceral, and stoic.