TV Recaps

'Emily Owens, M.D.' Review: Trauma changes everything

After a short break for the holidays, “Emily Owens, M.D.” was back on The CW last night with another fantastic episode. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but this show is so good and not enough people are watching it. Each week, the episode flies by because it’s impossible not to get lost in the writing, the cast, the characters themselves, everything about this show works and it’s a shame the network didn’t give it a fair shot (and yes, I am going to keep complaining about that).

In “Emily and the Car and the Cards,” the interns were prepping for a test, which to Emily was a good thing. She loves taking tests and studying. (Now normally, I can relate to just about everything Emily does, but not this. I was a terrible test taker in school). Emily had a system of color-coded note cards that had never failed her and Will was a big fan of those. As the two talked about studying together, Cassandra was not amused and explained that she had an app on her phone that she used for studying. The two women sniped at each other while Will (hilariously) looked back and forth between the two of them and then ultimately chose to study with Cassandra.

Poor Emily was not happy with that and proceeded to complain to anyone and everyone while she dealt with a patient, Sierra, who was a model and had a problem with her jaw. Sierra was concerned that the tests would damage her face, but Emily assured her that they would go in through the inside of her mouth. But then it turned out that she had cancer in her jaw and she needed surgery, which would destroy her face. Sierra protested and wanted to seek alternative medicine, which Emily was very against. However, Micah pointed out that she was being judgmental and just because something wasn’t important to Emily, didn’t mean it wasn’t important to the patient.

Emily realizes he was right, but she also noticed that Micah was being short with her and basically treating her like all the other interns all of a sudden. She called him out on it and Micah told her that he was her boss and he needed to act like it. But of course we know that means that he’s still hurt after realizing he has feelings for her and she’s still pining for Will. I really felt bad for both of them during these scenes. Micah is doing what he needs to do to protect himself from more hurt and Emily doesn’t understand why he’s pulling away from her because she can’t see that he has feelings for her because she’s so wrapped up in how she feels about Will.

Speaking of Will, once Tyra realized Emily’s complaints about the note cards was really a Will problem, she asked Emily why she could accept that Cassandra and Will were sleeping together, but the fact that they were studying together drove her crazy (valid question). Emily explained that studying was their thing; that was how they became friends in the first place and if she wasn’t his smart friend, then she didn’t really know what her place in his life was (Aw, Emily; this crazy logic makes perfect sense to me). Tyra, however, used real logic and pointed out that she stopped being his smart friend and now she was just his friend, no labels needed.

The big, emotional case of the episode (the one that had the audience constantly in tears/holding a collective breath) involved a teenage girl, Allison, who was brought in with a spike sticking out of her body after a car accident. Her boyfriend Ori had been driving the car and he had some superficial wounds, but her parents hated him and were convinced that he’d been high and the accident was his fault. He kept insisting that the other car had come out of nowhere and he just wanted to know that Allison was going to be okay. As the doctors prepared to start treatment, Will watched the whole thing with a haunted look on his face (How good was Justin Hartley in this episode? Even when he wasn’t speaking, his facial expressions spoke volumes, hinting at the pain and guilt that was eating at Will. I just wanted to hug him).

All of the scenes involving Allison were super intense. I wasn’t kidding about having to hold my breath. The first gruesome shot of the spike sticking out of her back was horrifying and then watching the doctors carefully wheel the gurney into the hospital and then have to lift her up to put her in the scanner without moving the spike was traumatic. It got even worse when Emily realized the spike wouldn’t fit into the machine so they had to have maintenance come and saw part of it off while the doctors held her still. Then there was the surgery, which was so long and complicated that Dr. Bandari had people rotating in and out in three separate teams.

Once again, Will was acting strange.  He wanted to stay in the surgery longer than his turn, but Dr. Bandari nixed that. Then, he was giving Ori a hard time when he took his blood for the drug test (which turned out negative) and Emily called him out on it. Will said that the kid was still driving the car. Emily tried to calm Ori down and she noticed he was bleeding from his nose, right before he nearly passed out, knocking her over in the process. She ran some tests, but didn’t find anything wrong and then she noticed that his legs were discolored and wanted to run more tests. She promised to keep him updated on Allison’s condition.

The surgery took 10 hours and as they were finishing, Dr. Bandari noticed there was something wrong with Allison’s spine that could mean that she was going to be paralyzed, but they wouldn’t be able to tell for sure until the swelling went down. A nurse found Will in the hallway and told him that Ori was missing and Will rushed off to find him, stopping him from going into Allison’s room. Ori pleaded with him, begging to see Allison because she needed to know that he was sorry. His words seemed to register with Will just as Emily came up and wanted to take Ori back to his room. But Will insisted that he needed to see Allison.

Will and Emily brought Ori into her room and Allison woke up and the two cried together and it was a really sweet scene. As Ori insisted that he didn’t see the car, Allison pointed out that it was a motorcycle. Emily realized that the reason Ori saw a car instead of a motorcycle was because he’d been experiencing double vision. She ran more tests and found out that he had lupus. Later, Emily and Dr. Bandari were checking Allison and she had feeling in her feet, which was a good sign that she wouldn’t be completely paralyzed. She also admitted that the weed had been hers (the reason the parents didn’t like Ori).

Emily headed to the roof to get some last minute studying in before the exam and then Will showed up. He started to leave, but Emily asked him to stay and tell her what was wrong. She could see that he was more affected by this than everyone else was. Will told her that when he was in high school, he was in an accident on a rainy night and his girlfriend died. He admitted that seeing Ori brought up the memories and Emily pointed out that it wasn’t Will’s fault; it was an accident and there was nothing he could have done. Will still felt guilty, but he explained to Emily that he hadn’t talked about it in a long time and he was glad he’d told her.

Then they had a cute hand-holding moment, which was interrupted by Cassandra, who assumed they were studying together. Will explained that it was like an addiction and Cassandra just rolled her eyes. The episode ended with the interns getting ready to take their tests as Emily’s voiceover explained that trauma changes everything, but sometimes things need to shift so people don’t get stuck because, “We’re not one thing.” She was so involved in her thoughts, she didn’t realize that the test had started and then she reminded herself that this was her Super Bowl…except in typical Emily fashion, she said the words out loud and everyone looked at her.

While this episode did not take the place of my current favorite (“The Good and the Bad”), it was still an A+, 5 star episode. It was nice to see movement on both ends of the triangle with some distance settling in between Emily and Micah while Will and Emily seem to be getting closer. But I have a feeling Team Micah will make a strong comeback soon. I also don’t think Cassandra will just sit back quietly since she obviously notices that Will is paying a lot of attention to Emily. We’ve still got five episodes left and I can’t wait to see what happens next. See you next week…

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.